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Hitting for the Cycle
The Cycle.jpg
Season 11
Number 18
Writer Daniel Steck,
Richard Catalani
Director Alec Smight
Original Airdate March 31, 2011
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Next Episode: Unleashed

Hitting for the Cycle is the eighteenth episode in season eleven of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.

Synopsis

With a suicide, a homicide, and an accidental death already in the books, the team places bets on whether there will also be a natural causes death to complete "the cycle" before the end of the shift.

Plot

The grave shift has logged a suicide, a homicide and an accidental death in the same shift, leaving them one short of the "cycle" - the fourth component being a natural death. Greg, Nick, and Hodges place bets on who will pull the natural death case, and the rest of the lab gets in on the action, much to Henry's dismay.

Victim: unnamed female (deceased)

On the case: Greg Sanders, Sara Sidle

In autopsy, Greg and Sara meet Doc Robbins’ new assistant, Kevin. The new transfer from L.A. is quite crass and has zero regard for victims or his co-workers. When Doc Robbins cuts open the bloated female corpse on his table, pus beings to flow from it. The doc eventually finds a paperclip lodged in the woman's intestine, causing a deadly infection - and ruling out a natural death.

Victim: Steven Pyles (deceased)

On the case: Catherine Willows, Greg Sanders, Sara Sidle, Jim Brass

Greg and Sara are called out to another crime scene, and Greg remains hopeful that he can come across a natural death by the end of the shift. They go to the home of Steven Pyles, aka Dv8Avenger, an overweight man who died while playing a video game. In fact, Steven took his gaming so seriously that he was wearing a diaper. David Phillips arrives at the scene with the abrasive Kevin in tow. The initial diagnosis of a stroke isn't too surprising since Steven is surrounded by junk food. However, when David checks for a liver temperature, he finds it abnormally low.

In autopsy, Doc Robbins tells Catherine that Steven suffered a violent regurgitation of food that got trapped in his vocal cords and caused his death. The doc also spots healed contusions on the victim's tongue and concludes that he likely had a history of seizures, which could have contributed to his death. Catherine then tells the doc that she has bet against the team hitting for the cycle, and that the pot is a few thousand dollars.

A bottle of carbamazepine, an anticonvulsant, is found in Steven's apartment, confirming the victim's medical history. Greg notes that there was a past instance of a gamer dying from a seizure while playing a game due to external circumstances. The case is looking more like an accidental death, much to Greg's disappointment. However, Greg figures that Steven, a serious gamer, likely recorded all of his games to review his moves and correct mistakes.

Greg reviews the footage from the last game Steven played and finds something unusual - another player in the game used 54 flash-bang grenades, a weapon that does nothing to help a player's score. Catherine wonders if the point of the attack was to give Steven a seizure. The user who launched the attack is identified by the username NinjaAssassin, and if he or she knew Steven was epileptic, the team could be investigating a homicide.

Greg and Brass crash the semi-finals of a gaming competition and question NinjaAssassin, whose real name is Neal Monroe. He admits that he knew Steven was epileptic, but insists that someone can't die from a seizure based on what he read online. Brass tells Neal to get a lawyer.

Steven's tox panel shows that he had high levels of zolpidem in his system, which is a sleeping pill. Henry tells Greg that Steven was asleep when the flash-bang grenades were going off, meaning Neal is off the hook. Greg goes through Steven's personal effects and finds the soda container collected at the scene; it appears to be laced with zolpidem. Sara notes that she found a bottle of zolpidem at the scene but didn't collect it because it didn't have any ties to the case at the time; she did, however, take a photo of it. She snaps a photo of the bottle's barcode from the photo and finds that it's prescribed to an Evan Ferrari. The CSIs figure that Evan is a fellow gamer.

Greg and Brass once again crash the gaming competition and are directed to Evan - a statuesque blonde working as a Cyber League girl. To Greg's surprise, she tearfully says that Steven was her boyfriend. She admits that Steven would sometimes have trouble sleeping, so she would give him the recommended dosage of zolpidem, but nothing more. Brass theorizes that Evan paid another gamer to knock Steven out of the tournament to get a share of the prize money, something Evan vehemently denies.

Steven's stomach contents show that the pizza he ate had an extra ingredient - ipecac, which induces vomiting. Greg and Sara note that knocking Steven out with zolpidem and force-feeding him the laced pizza would cause him to choke to death on his own vomit. The CSIs believe that Evan is guilty of the crime, but fingerprints from both the pizza box and the bottle of zolpidem come back to Monica Gimble, the emcee of the gaming competition.

In interrogation, Brass reveals that Monica bought ipecac from an online pharmacy using her credit card. Furthermore, her fingerprints were found on the zolpidem bottle prescribed to Evan, meaning that the two women know each other. It's revealed that Monica and Evan were a couple - until Evan dumped her for Steven. Monica was irate that she was dumped for an overweight guy like Steven, and even more upset that he could win the tournament and walk away with $100,000. She admits to spiking Steven's food and drink, not thinking that the cops would look into this death after seeing his weight, his lifestyle and how he died. The case is ruled a homicide, preventing the cycle from being completed.

Victim: Benjamin Fowler (deceased)

On the case: Nick Stokes, Raymond Langston

Nick and Langston investigate the death of Benjamin Fowler, a recently divorced man found dead at the bottom of his friends’ swimming pool. He was housesitting for the owners while they were on vacation. The CSIs find evidence that the house was broken into and, sure enough, there are a lot of things missing inside the house. Nick is already convinced that the case is a robbery-homicide and wants to close it so he can get back in the game.

While Langston process the inside of the house, Nick fishes a gun from the bottom of the pool. The serial number on the gun has been etched off. The CSIs examine the body and see that the wrists are bound with a cord from the curtains inside. Benjamin has suffered a broken nose and other signs of blunt force trauma; however, the cause of death is a single gunshot wound to the back of the head. There's no money in Benjamin's wallet, consistent with a robbery. Langston and Nick theorize that Benjamin interrupted a robbery and was tied up by the robber. When he tried to escape, he was shot and fell in the pool. There's a photo of a woman in Benjamin's wallet that Langston guesses is his ex-wife.

In autopsy, Doc Robbins (who refuses to say which CSI he has bet on to complete the cycle) tells Nick that fibers found in the victim's teeth are consistent with the restraints on his wrists. X-rays show inside-to-out beveling in the skull, meaning that the bullet hole in Benjamin's head is actually an exit wound. The bullet's entry wound is in the mouth; lack of soot around the wound indicates that Benjamin was shot from at least three feet away. Nick heads back to the house and finds that the missing bullet fell into the pool and was sucked up by the robotic pool cleaner.

Langston speaks with Benjamin's ex-wife, Olivia, who tells him that she last saw Benjamin a few days ago when she had to bail him out following his DUI. They went back to the house that Benjamin was looking after, but she left after Benjamin unsuccessfully tried to get her to stay. Olivia regrets turning her back on Benjamin, as her ex-husband had recently lost his job and started drinking and gambling.

DNA from blood found in the house comes back to two contributors: Benjamin and an unknown male. From fingerprints, Langston is able to identify the other man as Carl Jansen, a loan shark with several priors. Phone records show that Carl contacted Benjamin several times. Under interrogation, Carl admits to going to the house and threatening Benjamin in order to get him to pay what he owed. Figuring that Benjamin wasn't going to pay him back on time, Carl had his guys steal the items from the house to cancel out the debt. He then sold the items to a fence. Carl tells Langston and Nick that he's guilty of stealing, but not murder, as dead people don't repay their debts.

Ballistics on the bullet match the gun found in the pool, while it's discovered that all of the items taken from the house have been accounted for except for one - a sculpture. Hodges tells Catherine and Nick that trace recovered from the front sight of the gun is human tissue that came from Benjamin's tongue. The killer apparently shoved the gun into Benjamin's mouth, but Nick notes that this isn't possible since there was no gunshot residue found around the wound. Catherine theorizes that Benjamin was shot underwater and sees that the way the gun had to have been held is consistent with a suicide.

Catherine proves her theory correct, while Nick discovers that Benjamin staged the break-in by kicking in a door and smashing a window. Hodges, meanwhile, was able to prove that it's possible to tie yourself into knots. Based on the fibers in Benjamin's teeth, the team concludes that he tightened the knot around his wrists with his teeth.

Catherine questions why Benjamin would go through so much trouble to make a suicide look like a homicide, and Langston provides the answer. It's discovered that, on the morning of his death, Benjamin pawned the missing sculpture for $1,000, which enabled him to pay off the remaining balance on his $1 million life insurance policy. He staged his death as a homicide so his ex-wife could collect. The case is ruled a suicide, so Nick also loses his bet.


At the end of the shift, Doc Robbins and David Phillips are dealing with one last body. This man was killed during a robbery, making it a clear homicide case. They went the whole shift without a single natural death among the ten bodies they processed. David goes to find Kevin so they can prep the body for autopsy, but he finds Kevin dead. He notifies Doc Robbins and tells him that Kevin had been complaining of a headache and popping aspirin all day. Kevin's cause of death is determined to be an aneurysm, which is a natural death. The cycle is complete, and Doc Robbins wins the bet - he put his money on David finding a natural cause death, figuring that the CSIs normally don't investigate naturals. The doc calls Henry to collect his winnings.

Cast

Main Cast

Guest Cast

  • Jon Wellner as Henry Andrews
  • Travis Aaron Wade as Kevin Tilsdale
  • Nathalie Kelly as Monica Gimble
  • Kaitlin Doubleday as Evan Ferrari
  • Nicholas Braun as Neal Monroe
  • Ali Hillis as Olivia Fowler
  • Sal Landi as Carl Jansen
  • Victor Browne as Benjamin Fowler
  • Ramsey Moore as Steven Pyles
  • Erin Brown as Polly

See Also

CSI:Las Vegas Season 11
Shock WavesPool SharkBlood MoonSqweegelHouse of HoardersCold BloodedBump and GrindFrackedWild Life418/427Man UpA Kiss Before FryingThe Two Mrs. GrissomsAll That CremainsTargets of ObsessionTurn On, Tune In, Drop DeadThe ListHitting for the CycleUnleashedFather of the BrideCello and GoodbyeIn a Dark, Dark House
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