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Hog Heaven
Hog Heaven.jpg
Season 9
Number 23
Writer David Rambo
Director Richard J. Lewis
Original Airdate May 7, 2009
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Hog Heaven is the twenty-third episode in season nine of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.

Synopsis

When a brutal gang of local bikers, the Vegas Blasters, kill one of their own, the victim turns out to have been an undercover cop who had infiltrated the gang to identify the leader, but apparently got a little too immersed into his cover.

Plot

Victim: Joseph Niagra (deceased)

On the case: entire team

A fight breaks out at a biker bar causing someone to anonymously call the police. Inside, the body of one of the bikers is lying dead on the floor. The biker, a member of the Vegas Blasters, has suffered multiple stab wounds to his chest; Langston notes that it takes a serious knife to cut through leather. He has no wallet or identification on him and, unsurprisingly, nobody has stepped forward as a witness.

Greg and Hodges arrive on the scene, and Langston tells them that his theory is that the fight started in the back of the bar and gradually worked its way towards the front. He bags a metal chain found near the body and notes the bloody footprints near the blood pool. Outside, Det. Vega tells Langston that all of the bikes in the lot are registered to someone in custody except for one. In the kitchen, Hodges tests the knives for blood and finds that all of them test positive, including some for human blood.

In autopsy, Doc Robbins tells Catherine that the victim was stabbed 24 times. A looping pattern around his leg is seemingly consistent with the chain Langston found at the scene. When Catherine runs the victim's prints, she finds that the victim is Joseph Niagra, who is also the owner of the unclaimed bike.

Hodges, Mandy and Wendy are tasked with collecting DNA, biologicals and fingerprints from the various bikers. Brass interrogates them, but gets the silent treatment from all of them except the bartender, who is the only one of the group that isn't carrying a weapon. During the lab techs' collection process, a female biker gives Wendy an attitude, causing Hodges to step in and protect his colleague. The biker responds by headbutting Hodges' nose, causing it to bleed. As the she's taken into custody, Wendy notices that her jacket says "Property of Joey." When asked if it refers to Joey Niagra, the biker refuses to answer.

While processing Joey's bike, Langston is informed by Catherine that Joey is connected to an open homicide - a dead hooker who was sexually violated postmortem. They figure that this was Joey's initiation into the gang. Langston finds Joey's previously missing knife hidden in the bike; it's been wiped clean.

Ecklie finds Brass to ask him about taking Joey's prints and reveals that Joey's real name is Jack Nettles, an undercover cop in the Vegas Blasters. They visit Joey/Jack's wife, Rita, to break the bad news. Rita recognizes Brass immediately and it becomes clear they have a past history. Upon learning about her husband's death, a hysterical Rita says she lost her husband six months ago when he became a different person. She admits that she went to the police station the night before looking for Joey's/Jack's captain. A flashback shows Rita clearly inebriated and hysterical insisting that her husband be pulled from his assignment. When Ecklie asks Brass about his history with Rita, he refuses to say anything.

In the bar, Greg and Riley analyze the bloody handprints on the floor. All three prints come back to Joey/Jack, and they realize that he was crawling on the floor in his last moments. Back at the station, Tonya Charles, the female biker who attacked Hodges earlier, is dragged into the interrogation room. There, it's revealed that she, too, is an undercover cop. She tells Catherine and Brass that Joey/Jack was infiltrating the gang and trying to find out who the guy at the top of the gang was. The leader is only known by the name "Scratch," and he calls the shots in the drug racket and the murders for hire. She goes on to say that it was like any other night at the bar until the bartender received a phone call; her guess is that the caller was "Scratch." Just like that, every non-member and female was escorted out of the bar. It's revealed that she was the one who called 911 after she saw Joey/Jack getting stabbed through a window. She tells Catherine and Brass that a rival gang got word of a cocaine shipment coming in from Mexico and that there's going to be a war. When told that she's being removed from her assignment, a strung out Tonya rages and says that she wants to tell Ecklie face-to-face that she's going to finish what Joey/Jack started.

In autopsy, Doc Robbins tells Langston that Joey/Jack was alive while he was being stabbed until he was stabbed in the heart and left temple. Meanwhile, Nick and Wendy determine that Joey/Jack was stabbed twice with his own knife, including the one to the head. However, none of the other knives recovered from the bar match the stab wounds on the body. There were two CODIS hits on the knives that tie to the murders of rival gang members. Langston notes that the police arrived just one minute after the 911 call, so the murder weapons have to be somewhere near the scene.

Brass gets a visit from Rita, but he refuses to discuss their past history. She tells him that she called Joey's/Jack's captain every day because weeks would go by without hearing from her husband. Joey's/Jack's behavior got worse over time, escalating from stealing money from his Rita's purse to physically abusing her. During one of their fights, Rita saw the name "Tonya" tattooed on her husband's chest and lost it. Det. Vega interrupts and informs Brass that Tonya is being released. Rita immediately connects the dots and glares at Tonya as she's escorted down the hallway.

Nick is examining the crime scene when an unknown biker arrives inside the area: Langston. They exchange thoughts about the missing knives and the bikers who where able to avoid the police. Langston narrows down his search grid to the north and heads that way. After letting a group of bikers pass him on a street, Langston goes down an alleyway, where he finds a bag full of bloody knives. Back at the lab, it's found that the knives recovered match the tool marks on the victim's body and that the prints lifted match five of the bikers already in custody.

Archie pages Catherine and tells that the call into the bar, right before the attack, arrived from a payphone inside the LVPD. She has the surveillance camera checked, while she tells Brass that he should recuse himself from the case, as he possibly has a conflict of interest. First, he denies this, but when the camera proves that the caller was Rita, he stands corrected. With Brass watching from behind the mirror, Ecklie interrogates her. He theorizes that since she told them earlier that their marriage was over and she didn't recognize the man she loved, she wanted a quick death sentence instead of a long and arduous divorce. Det. Vega interrupts the interrogation - Tonya has relayed word that the cocaine shipment is coming in from Mexico, but only "Scratch" knows where it's being dropped off.

Greg and Nick unload some mannequins at the crime scene, when Tonya and two female associates arrive in a taxi. Tonya enters her vehicle, which explodes after the key is turned. Greg examines the engine compartment for the incendiary device, and Nick finds red paper with wax coating: dynamite. Since the area was under constant police surveillance since the crime, and the police arrived in one minute after the 911 call, Greg and Nick figure that the gang knew about Tonya being a mole and wanted to eliminate her.

The team reexamine the scene, and play out the chain of events. Langston thinks that the gang wouldn't kill a member of their own, even a cop, without the order of their leader; therefore, the mysterious "Scratch" must've been inside. He finds a bug hidden in the phone behind the bar. Compared with an iPod and AM/FM receiver they found earlier with Joey's/Jack's possessions, he realizes that it's a homemade bug. Catherine, Brass and Archie listen to the last call on the iPod: it's an irate and inebriated Rita calling the bar to tell them about Joey's dirty secret. Archie pulls another voice file known to belong to "Scratch" and matches them: Brass realizes that "Scratch" is the bartender.

The gang members are released from custody and they pick up their bikes from the impound yard. What they don't know is that a tracking device was planted in each of the vehicles to help bust the drug deal. Archie tracks them to an industrial building, where police show up during business. Every gang member surrenders, except for "Scratch" - he tries to force break the police blockade, but Brass shoots him non-fatally and the bike crashes into the police car. "Scratch" tries to play mind games with Brass, telling him that Tonya was easy to make as a cop, while Joey should've taken better care of Rita. Brass doesn't bite and places "Scratch" under arrest.

At the end of the episode, Brass grimly watches Rita being walked down the hallway in handcuffs. Catherine brings in a bottle of scotch to cheer him up; he speechlessly pulls out two glasses.

Cast

Main Cast

Guest Cast

Goofs

  • All the bikers arrive on motorcycles, including both undercover officers. They are all arrested after the male undercover is murdered. The female undercover reveals she is a police officer to the CSI staff and is released. She returns to the bar where the crime occurred, gets into her car and it blows up when she starts it - yet she originally arrived on the back of a motorcycle.

Trivia

  • Laurence Fishburne, a self-described motorcycle enthusiast, is a founding member of the Guggenheim Motorcycle Club, a group that arranges rides to art museums around the world.
  • The motorcycle Langston rode was a BMW K1300R.

See Also

CSI:Las Vegas Season 9
For WarrickThe Happy PlaceArt Imitates LifeLet It BleedLeave Out All The RestSay UncleWoulda, Coulda, ShouldaYoung Man with a Horn19 Down...One to GoThe Grave ShiftDisarmed and DangerousDeep Fried and Minty FreshMiscarriage of JusticeKill Me If You CanTurn, Turn, TurnNo Way OutMascaraThe Descent of ManA Space OddityIf I Had a Hammer...The Gone Dead TrainHog HeavenAll In
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