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High and Low
High
Season 3
Number 10
Writer Naren Shankar,
Eli Talbert
Director Richard J. Lewis
Original Airdate December 12, 2002
Navigation
Previous Episode: Blood Lust
Next Episode: Recipe for Murder

High and Low is the tenth episode in Season Three of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.

Synopsis[]

Grissom, Nick, and Warrick investigate when a body falls from the sky and lands between a couple of skateboarders. But, soon, Grissom's hearing problem forces him to leave the case to Nick and Warrick. Meanwhile, Catherine investigates the death of a man who was shot with his own gun.

Plot[]

Victim: Jimmy Maurer (deceased)

On the case: Gil Grissom, Nick Stokes, Warrick Brown, Jim Brass

Two teenagers are skateboarding in a business park at night when a body falls from the sky. Nick and Warrick meet Brass at the scene, surprised that they arrived before Grissom. Brass informs them that the jumper is a John Doe with no wallet, keys, or ID on him. They notice that there isn't a lot of blood or brain matter and speculate on what happened. Grissom radios them from the roof; he actually did beat them to the crime scene. On the roof's ledge, he finds a lot of blood and some brain matter.

Nick joins Grissom on the roof and tells him he doesn't see any shoeprints. Grissom notes that the high velocity blood spatter he sees is usually the result of a gunshot, but there are no casings or bullets to be found. He adds that the severe head trauma appears to have happened before the victim's fall, guessing that the victim was killed then dumped off the building.

On the ground, Warrick looks over the victim and tape lifts a substance from the victim's pants. David Phillips arrives and notes that the victim has compound fractures to the hand, which will make getting fingerprints difficult; however, he doesn't rule out getting an ID from dental impressions. They notice a tattoo on the victim's right arm which David stretches out and Warrick photographs.

On the roof, Nick recovers a crack pipe, but is unable to find any blunt objects that could've been used as the murder weapon. While Nick is relaying the course of action to Grissom, Grissom's hearing goes out and Nick's voice becomes inaudible. Grissom tells him to bring the crack pipe to the lab to swab it and print it. Nick confusedly looks at him, as this is likely what he just said.

In the lab, Warrick visits lab tech Leah with the photo of the tattoo. She tells him that the artist signed the tattoo with 'II,' or the roman numeral for two. "Two" as in "tattoo" she tells Warrick; the guy is the premiere tattoo artist in Las Vegas. She adds that the man has a degree in psychology.

Nick and Warrick visit the tattoo studio where 'The Doctor' works, and the tattoo artist/shrink dissects the meaning of the tattoo found on the victim (strength, superiority, ambition). He then goes through his book of art and is able to identify the victim as Jimmy Maurer, explaining that the tattoo isn't an angel, but rather Icarus. The Greek mythology lesson: Icarus flew too close to the sun on wings of feathers and wax. When he got too close to the sun, the wings melted and Icarus fell to his death. 'The Doctor' believes that Jimmy's hubris is what brought him down, but claims to know nothing else.

According to the criminal records, 'The Doctor' had a past drug conviction for crack cocaine, making it possible the prints on the crack pipe are his. In autopsy, Doc Robbins informs Nick and Warrick that Jimmy's cause of death was suffocation. There are no ligature marks around his neck and no petechial hemorrhaging, which means Jimmy wasn't strangled. Since there were no footprints on the roof and Jimmy suffered from hypoxia (which occurs above 15,000 feet), they guess that Jimmy died in the sky and hit his head on the ledge on the way down.

Brass tells Warrick that Jimmy had no home address, but rather P.O. boxes in California, Utah, and Las Vegas. He throws out some guesses as to how Jimmy fell from the sky, but Warrick tells him that air traffic control found no evidence of aircraft in the area of Jimmy's death that night. Nick informs Warrick that the substance found on Jimmy's pants was pollen from a pinyon pine, a desert tree found in higher elevations 4,500 feet and up. They believe that Mount Potosi fits their criteria and that Jimmy was likely there before his death.

Nick and Warrick visit Mount Potosi and find a paragliding operation set up. They speak to head instructor Rick Weston, who tells them that Jimmy had an attitude. Rick says Jimmy was more about showing off then just paragliding and taking in the sights, adding that he had hoped the "walk back" would humble him. Rick explains to Nick and Warrick that a paraglider can end up 30 miles from where he jumped; the "walk back" refers to walking back to the starting point.

Jimmy's car is still parked on the mountain. Inside, Nick and Warrick find a surfboard (for California), a snowboard (for Utah), and a paragliding canopy (for Nevada). The canopy, however, is ripped to shreds. Warrick wonders what Jimmy was flying with if the canopy was that torn up. He finds a somewhat threatening note under the car's windshield wiper signed by "T," which Nick offers to follow up on.

Nick speaks to 'T,' a photographer who has action photos of Jimmy paragliding. He notes that, in one of the photos, Jimmy's leg loops are untied. 'T' replies that Jimmy usually did that to show off and look fearless. In another photo, Jimmy is shown with a canopy different from the one he usually flew with. According to the photographer, Jimmy said someone messed with his rig; however, something like that wasn't going to keep him out of the air. Another photo shows Jimmy having an argument with Fred Dacks, a fellow competitive paraglider. Finally, Jimmy is shown following Fred's flight path in order to see who the better paraglider was.

Nick and Warrick find Fred working in a sporting goods store and note that Jimmy had also gotten hired there a month before. When asked about Jimmy, Fred says the two of them didn't get along. Warrick notices that Fred also has a tattoo that was done by 'The Doctor.' Fred seems jealous that Jimmy was always trying to steal his thunder, but denies ever flying with Jimmy—that is, until Warrick shows him a photo of the both of them. Caught in the lie, Fred relents and claims that the only rig he has is his own; the rig Jimmy was flying with was someone else's, and that person should be the one being questioned. He ends the conversation by tying up a sleeping bag. Nick notices sees this happen and offers to buy the bag to bring it back to the lab.

In the lab, Greg confirms that the DNA from the slashed canopy and the drawstring of the sleeping bag are a match to Fred. Nick and Warrick know that Jimmy got a new canopy after the old one was damaged, but where is it? He fell to earth without either a canopy nor a harness. They need to find the rig and canopy in order to figure out what happened to Jimmy. Using computer software and noting Jimmy's flight path and the wind speed, they believe the rig and canopy are somewhere near Summerlin.

The rig and canopy are found in an open field near Summerlin by a patrolman on a routine traffic stop; Jimmy's name is on the harness. Warrick notices that the leg loops are unbuckled, which is no surprise. Nick notes that Jimmy was 15,000 feet up in the air with no helmet, just two shoulder harnesses and a chest strap. Nick finds a busted altimeter, while Warrick spots that the replacement rig is from the Potosi Glide Center. Rick didn't tell the CSIs that he gave Jimmy his backup rig, likely because he knew what the end result would be. Nick notices that another part of the rig is cut.

Under interrogation, Rick says he wanted to see Jimmy get humiliated, not killed. Warrick tells him that the lines leading to the A-riser were cut, which means the canopy separated from the rig while Jimmy was in flight. Rick reveals that Fred told him he wanted to teach Jimmy a lesson, so they gave Jimmy a canopy that was slower than Fred's. He adds that Jimmy needed to be brought down a peg or two; Brass replies that Jimmy was brought all the way down.

In the lab, Nick notices that the cut lines weren't actually cut. The lines are frayed, and cutting wouldn't produce fraying. Nick believes it's possible this happened from normal wear and tear, but Warrick points out that Rick likely knew that the canopy was damaged. Unfortunately, there's no evidence to support sabotage.

Nick and Warrick look a picture of Fred and Jimmy paragliding and spot a cumulus cloud in the distance. Nick notes that big cumulus clouds suck a lot of air into them and that the two paragliders were heading straight for the cloud. They guess that Jimmy rose up fast to 15,000 feet and the air got thinner. This caused Jimmy to pass out and suffocate. The thermal (bubbles of rising air) took Jimmy for a ride and, since he wasn't tied in tightly to the rig, he fell far away from where he started. They note that Jimmy had an unused oxygen tank on his harness.

They examine the oxygen gauge, which is flowing fine. Nick notes that there's no way an experienced flyer wouldn't use the oxygen, but Warrick points out the busted altimeter and guesses that Jimmy didn't think he would need it. They note that Las Vegas is 2,030 feet above sea level; however, when they plug the altimeter in, it only registers 30 feet.

In the interrogation room, Brass informs Fred that his prints were found on the inside of the altimeter. In a flashback, Fred is shown decalibrating it. While in the air, Jimmy lost perspective and had to rely on his instruments, but since they were tampered with, he didn't know how high in the air he actually was. The two competitors are shown simultaneously looking at their altimeters, with Fred's registering 2,000 feet more. Noting that Jimmy would never back down from a challenge, Warrick tells Fred that he played Jimmy against himself. He adds that the truth is on the tattoo on Fred's arm; it stands for the three furies—unceasing anger, vengeance, and jealousy.

Nick is later shown paragliding on his own.

Victim: Roger Edmonds (deceased)

On the case: Catherine Willows, Ray O'Riley

Catherine meets Det. O'Riley in the parking lot of a bar, where the body of Roger Edmonds lies next to his car. Roger's wallet is on his person along with money and credit cards, seemingly ruling out robbery. He sustained a single gunshot wound to his chest, and unburned gunpowder indicates that he was shot at close range; the shot was a through-and-through. They notice that the car door is closed but not latched. As they circle the car, they find blood and hair on the corner of the front license plate.

They interview the waitress who called the police; she tells them that she heard voices and saw an altercation. She then heard a gunshot and saw the perpetrator speeding off in a pickup truck with a camper top on the back. According to the waitress, Roger was a regular customer who usually ordered beer; however, on this night, he drank six Jack Daniels in an hour. A short while later, Catherine finds a .50 caliber shell casing in the parking lot and notes that the weapon it was fired from had to have some serious firepower.

In the lab, Greg tells Catherine that the blood and hair found on the license plate came back as non-human; they're from an animal. She then talks to Bobby Dawson and informs him that Roger had bought a Desert Eagle a few weeks prior. Bobby says that type of gun is used more for bragging than for shooting. Catherine guesses that the victim got drunk and wanted to pick a fight in order to show off his gun. He was easily overtaken and shot with his own gun, while the murderer drove away with the weapon.

Det. O'Riley tells Catherine that the pickup truck seen driving away from the scene is registered to a Ned Bookman, who lives three blocks away from the crime scene in Henderson—and on the same street as Roger. The truck, which wasn't reported stolen, is soon located on someone else's property; the ignition block is intact and there's no sign of forced entry. When Catherine and O'Riley search the back of the truck, they find remnants of plants and mulberries.

They interview Ned at his house; the man is angered to find that his truck isn't in his garage. He claims he didn't report the truck stolen because he has another car and that he works nights. Catherine finds an empty hide-a-key attached to the garage door, which means anyone could've stolen the key and truck. Ned confirms that Roger lives across the street, but they're not exactly friends. Catherine notes that there's a mulberry tree in Roger's yard and that the evidence is starting to pile up against Ned. This leads Ned to blurt out that Frank Kraft (Roger's next door neighbor) stole his truck. He corrects himself and says Frank "borrowed" his truck and that he doesn't mind. According to Ned, Frank and Roger didn't get along, either.

O'Riley tells Catherine that Frank has a dozen complaints filed against him by other people on the block, ranging from property line disputes to petty theft to assault. They notice tire tracks on Frank's lawn leading to a tree, which has a dog chain tied to it. When they interview Frank, they see he has a big bruise on his chin. Catherine guesses that the bruise is from the recoil of a gun. Frank asks them if they have a warrant; when O'Riley says no, Frank closes the door and ends the conversation.

Outside of Frank's house, Catherine notices that Frank was stealing cable from Roger who, in turn, cut the line. Ned told O'Riley that Frank had a dog that was chained up in the yard and always barking. From observing the tire tracks, Catherine believes that Roger drove onto the lawn and ran the dog over. She also finds pruning shears buried under some leaves. Using the shears, Catherine cuts some branches off of the tree, which O'Riley bags for evidence.

In the lab, Catherine compares the branches she cut from the tree to the branches found in the back of Ned's truck and confirms that the same pruning shears made both cuts. The cuts on the branches also line up, proving that everything came from the same tree.

Catherine and O'Riley interview Frank again in his home. She says the whole case boiled down to retaliation—Roger cut the cable that Frank was stealing, so Frank cut the branches off of Roger's tree and used Ned's truck to dump the branches. Roger then came home, saw what had happened to his tree, and decided to run over Frank's dog. When Frank returned home, he found his dog, then went to the bar, knowing that's where Roger liked hang out. The two got into an altercation outside of the bar, with Roger reaching for his gun. Frank was able to overpower him and shot him in the chest. An officer finds the gun under a recliner cushion. Frank simply says that Roger killed his dog.


Meanwhile, Grissom gets his ears tested at an audiologist. His test results show a decline in his hearing from his previous visit. The doctor tells Grissom that he should consider surgery. Later on, Catherine visits him in his office as he is researching otosclerosis on the computer. He switches to another webpage about bugs when Catherine shows interest in what he's reading.

Cast[]

Main Cast[]

Guest Cast[]

  • Skip O'Brien as Detective Ray O'Riley
  • Gerald McCullouch as Bobby Dawson
  • David Berman as David Phillips
  • Richard Burgi as Rick Weston
  • Michael Trucco as Fred Dacks
  • Colleen Porch as Artsy Photographer
  • Leslie Bega as Leah
  • Cynthia Preston as Waitress
  • Sal Landi as Frank Kraft
  • Philip McNiven as 'II' / 'The Doctor'—Tattoo Artist
  • Cooper Thornton as Ned Bookman
  • Catherine MacNeal as Grissom's Doctor
  • Dennis Cockrum as Roger Edmonds
  • Justice Coleman as Jake—Blader #1
  • Jeremy Jimenez as Tim—Blader #2
  • Carl Paoli as Jimmy Maurer
  • Rain Denise Wilson as Female Employee
  • David John Adamson as Paragliding Student

Goofs[]

  • At one point, Catherine refers to Roger Edmonds using a different last name, calling him Roger Mitchell.
  • When Nick is speaking to the photographer, the bird on the background doesn't sync when the camera zooms out of their conversation.

Notes[]

  • Sara doesn't appear in the field with the other CSIs and when she sought Catherine for help, she mentioned that "she maxed out her overtime in a month."

Trivia[]

  • When Nick and Warrick are talking about the weather during the victim's paragliding, Nick brings up the case of the sudden storm in Diablo Canyon. This is in reference to the woman drowning in the desert in the episode Anatomy of a Lye.

See Also[]

CSI:Las Vegas Season 3
Revenge is Best Served ColdThe Accused is EntitledLet the Seller BewareA Little MurderAbra-CadaverThe Execution of Catherine WillowsFight NightSnuffBlood LustHigh and LowRecipe for MurderGot Murder?Random Acts of ViolenceOne Hit WonderLady Heather's BoxLucky StrikeCrash & BurnPrecious MetalA Night at the MoviesLast LaughForeverPlay with FireInside the Box
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