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High and Low
High.jpg
Season 3
Number 10
Writer Naren Shankar,
Eli Talbert
Director Richard J. Lewis
Original Airdate December 12, 2002
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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, Warrick and Nick 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 are surprised to find that they arrived at the crime scene 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 and speculate on what happened when 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 Nick tells him there are no casings or bullets to be found. Grissom says that the severe head trauma appears to have happened before the victim's fall. He guesses that the victim was killed, then dumped off the building.

On the ground, Warrick is looking over the victim and tape lifts a substance from the victim's pants. David Phillips comes onto the scene and notes that the victim has compound fractures to the hand, which will make getting fingerprints difficult. David does not rule out getting an ID from dental impressions, however. They notice a tattoo on the victim's right arm which David stretches out and Warrick photographs.

On the roof, Nick tells Grissom that he looked everywhere, but he couldn't find a blunt object that could have been used as the murder weapon. He was able to find a crack pipe, though. 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. Leah also tells him that "II" has a degree in psychology.

Nick and Warrick visit the tattoo studio where "II" works, and "II" dissects the meaning of the tattoo found on the victim (strength, superiority, and ambition). "II" then goes through his book of art and is able to identify the victim as Jimmy Maurer. He explains 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. "II" claims that Jimmy's hubris is what brought him down, but claims to know nothing else.

Nick tells Warrick that Brass informed him "II" had a past drug conviction for crack cocaine. In autopsy, the two speak to Doc Robbins, who tells them 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 didn't suffocate alone up there, 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 air traffic control found no evidence of aircraft in the area of Jimmy's death that night. Nick tells Warrick that the substance found on Jimmy's pants was from pinion pine palm, 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 and says 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." Nick says he'll check it out.

Nick speaks to a photographer who has action photos of Jimmy paragliding. He notes that, in one of the photos, Jimmy's leg loops are untied. The photographer says 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; the photographer says Jimmy said someone messed with his rig. 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 is better.

Nick and Warrick find Fred working in a sporting goods store and note that Jimmy had also gotten hired there a month before. They ask Fred about Jimmy and Fred says that they didn't get along. Warrick notices that Fred also has a tattoo that was done by "II." 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. Jimmy relents and ends the conversation by tying up a sleeping bag. Nick notices something 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 rig after the old one was damaged, but where is it? He fell to earth without one. 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 attached to the rig. 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 just two shoulder harnesses and 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. 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. They gave Jimmy a canopy that was slower than Fred's. Rick says 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.

Nick and Warrick look a picture of Fred and Jimmy paragliding and note a cumulus cloud in the distance. Nick notes that big cumulus clouds suck a lot of air into them and that the two paragliders are 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 the 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 messing with it. Brass tells him that Jimmy 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. Warrick also notes that Fred's tattoo 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 walks to a crime scene with Det. O'Riley who tells her that the victim had his wallet with him and is identified as Roger Edmonds. Roger is found lying on the ground near his car with a single gunshot wound to his chest. Catherine notes that Roger was shot at close range and the bullet 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 pick-up truck. According to the waitress, Roger was 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 informs Catherine that the blood and hair found on the license plate came back as non-human; they are 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 then 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.

O'Riley tells Catherine that the pick-up truck seen driving away from the scene is registered to a Ned Bookman, who lives three blocks away from the crime scene in Henderson. The truck, however, is not found at Ned's house and was not reported stolen. Even better, Ned and Roger lived on the same street. They find plants and mulberries in the back of Ned's truck.

They interview Ned at his house who is angered to find that his truck is not in his garage. He claims he didn't report the truck stolen because he had another car and that he works nights. Catherine finds an empty hide-a-key attached to the garage door, which means anyone could have stolen the key and truck. Ned confirms that Roger lived across the street, but they weren't exactly friends. Catherine notes that there is a mulberry tree in Roger's yard. Catherine tells Ned that the evidence is starting to pile up against him when Ned blurts 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. There is a dog chain tied to the tree. They interview Frank, who 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. She confirms that the same pruning shears made both cuts. She then pieces together all of the branches on a table.

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 comes home, sees what has happened to his tree, and decides to run over Frank's dog. Frank comes home, finds his dog, and goes out looking for Roger. He knew where Roger hung out, so he drives to the bar. The two get into an altercation outside of the bar with Roger reaching for his gun. Frank is able to overpower him and shoots 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 is 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.

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

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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