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In Harm's Way is the fifth episode in Season Two of CSI: Vegas.

Csi vegas lg
In Harm's Way
Csi vegas
Season 2
Number 5
Writer Graham Thiel
Director Lin Oeding
Original Airdate October 27, 2022
Navigation
Previous Episode: Koala
Next Episode: There's the Rub

Synopsis[]

After all the guests attending an upscale fundraising soiree for the science department at a local university fall ill, the CSI team gears up to investigate. Also, Catherine enlists Grace's roommate to help her find clues regarding Grace's disappearance.

Plot[]

Victims: Roland Woodall, Melany Peterson, Joe Milligan, rat (all deceased); multiple partygoers (alive)

On the case: Allie Rajan, Beau Finado, Joshua Folsom, Maxine Roby, Det. Serena Chavez

At a backyard party, Roland Woodall addresses the large crowd. He’s elated that the investors at the party have partnered with his university in order to help fund life-changing advances in the field of medicine. Professor Gene Morrow is one of those investors; he provided the university with a new electromagnetic enclave. The professor leaves the party early, but not before giving credit to the young scientists at the university who worked with him.

A few moments later, the lights flicker before coming back on. Suddenly, every partygoer becomes ill. Roland and two other attendees die, while everyone else is admitted to the hospital.

The CSI team arrives on the scene and puts on their Hazmat suits, as the cause of the outbreak is unknown. They see that the backyard looks like a warzone, complete with piles of vomit everywhere. Their attention soon turns to the three dead bodies, one of which is floating in the pool.

Detector tubes don’t pick up any toxins in the air; however, Max strictly cautions Beau about removing his Hazmat suit, as not every possible toxin has been ruled out. Folsom, meanwhile, extracts vitreous humor from one of the victims’ eyes in an effort to further narrow down the source of the poison. As they collect evidence from around the backyard, Beau pulls a dead rat out of a koi pond. Curiously, the rat is dead while the fish in the pond are still alive.

When one of the victims is identified as Joe Milligan, the COO of a defense contractor, Beau immediately recognizes the name. He explains to Max and Det. Chavez that the “tech transfer party” was a way for a lawyer like Roland Woodall to gin up grants and deals with big corporations; in other words, people like Roland help incentivize potentially fraudulent companies. This would provide a lot of people with motive for murder.

Max, Beau and Det. Chavez go to the hospital to speak with the survivors and collect their clothes. When the three arrive, they’re horrified to see the numerous patients struggling to move around. One patient, Dr. Parish, tells them that nobody has been able to identify the source of the toxin. Beau speaks with Luther Canal, who explains that an injury to his hand came from his job in the lab working with electromagnetics. Luther is concerned about Professor Morrow, who he says left the party early and hasn’t been seen since. Beau believes that they’ve found their first suspect.

Det. Chavez is able to track down Professor Morrow, who is very much alive and in good health. He confirms that he left the party early, saying that he didn’t fit in with everyone else there. The professor also says that he ate and drank everything at the party, and Det. Chavez asks him for a stool sample in an effort to further narrow down the toxin.

In autopsy, Sonya confirms that Joe Milligan died when he fell from the second floor balcony. Roland’s x-ray shows that he had an implanted insulin pump which appears to be empty. Folsom is trying to determine if the deaths and illnesses are just a coincidence, and Sonya offers up the theory of mass sociogenic illness—when a few people in a large group fall ill, the others believe they’ve been exposed to something dangerous and start acting as such.

Photos taken at the party show that Professor Morrow was telling the truth, making the stool collection a moot point. Beau relays to Det. Chavez that the vitreous humor taken from Roland’s eye showed no presence of known poisons. Furthermore, the outdoor surface swabs tested negative.

While performing one of the autopsies, Sonya is interrupted by the FBI, who claims the bodies as property of the U.S. Government. Agent Fenwick informs Max that the case is now a federal matter, a decision that even Catherine can’t help reverse despite her known connections. The lab is left with only a few inconclusive blood tests—until Beau arrives with the dead rat he pulled from the koi pond. He’s determined that the rat died at the same time as the human victims. Sonya necropsies the rat and finds ill-defined clusters in the rodent’s brain—it suffered a bunch of mini strokes that happened all at once. When Sonya mentions that she found traces of hydrogen peroxide in the rat’s lungs, Allie believes she knows what happened at the party.

Allie relays Sonya’s findings to Max. Her belief is that the guests were poisoned with hydrogen peroxide, but Max points out that most of the evidence would’ve degraded into water and oxygen by the time the CSIs arrived on the scene. However, this would explain the vomiting and the seizures. Allie notes that it was quite warm on the night of the party. The house had patio misters to keep the party guests cool, so it’s possible someone engineered them to spray out poison. Max sends her team back to the crime scene, as it’s been cleared by the FBI.

Beau swabs the patio misters, but finds that they’re dry and devoid of traces of hydrogen peroxide. He, Allie and Folsom make their way to the area that houses the filtration system; however, it’s soon found that the canister there houses regular filtered water. As they make their way around the property, they discover that the fish in the koi pond are now dead. Beau finds a container of water treatment nearby; the solution contains hydrogen peroxide. This leads to the conclusion that the dead rat respired the chemical in the water, meaning nobody else at the party breathed it in. The question now is why the fish are dead when they were alive a few days ago. Allie discovers that the oxygenation pump died, which means the fish suffocated to death. Folsom notes that the pump looks brand new; when he factors in everything else that’s been happening, he comes to a realization.

Inside the house, he notes that the electronics in the kitchen have been zapped—the microwave is flashing 12:00 and the television signal is scrambled. The CSIs check everything on the property that has a circuit. They soon discover that every malfunctioning electronic is in a pattern whose point comes from a storage area. There, they come across a large object plugged into the wall outlet. Beau identifies the object as a large, high-powered electromagnet capable of being a weapon.

The electromagnet is brought back to the lab. Folsom explains to Max that a directed-energy weapon sends pulses that synchronize with brain waves, causing tens of thousands of synapses to fire all at once. This results in seizures and vomiting, amongst other things. In order to prove that this was the weapon used, Beau and Folsom need to turn it on again. Duplicates of the electronics from the house are brought in, as is a replica insulin pump. When the electromagnet is turned on, it zaps the electronics. More importantly, however, it causes the insulin pump to malfunction. Folsom theorizes that Roland was the sole target of the attack; whoever knew of the insulin pump could cause it to malfunction and kill him. The other two victims were collateral damage—Melany Peterson had a seizure and drowned in the pool, while Joe Milligan fell from the second floor balcony. There were many people at the party who could’ve built the electromagnet; however, only one didn’t stick around to get sick.

The team pays Professor Morrow another visit. In his lab, they find an electromagnet similar to the murder weapon, albeit much smaller. When questioned in private, Professor Morrow confirms that Joe Milligan’s company paid him a lot of money for his autoclave (which uses similar technology); however, he insists that his device is used solely for sterilizing surgical equipment. During the interrogation, Max watches Luther Canal leave the lab on crutches. She immediately thanks Professor Morrow for his time and ends the questioning.

Outside, Max informs Det. Chavez that people with neurological damage walk with a hemiplegic gait—they have paralysis on one side of the body. When she saw Luther in the hospital earlier, he was walking in such a fashion; however, just now, he had a totally normal range of motion. Max concludes that Luther was faking his symptoms because he’s the killer.

The electromagnet is disassembled, but no prints are found anywhere on it. Beau expresses disappointment that Luther is their guy, as he had taken a liking to him. Folsom tells him that there’s nothing wrong with that; however, their job requires that they let the evidence overrule the human element. Beau finds welding marks inside the electromagnet and figures that the alloy matches the welding metals found on Luther’s clothes earlier.

Luther is brought to the station for interrogation. Max presents the CAT scans of his brain taken at the hospital; they show no signs of the disturbed infarctions the other patients had. Beau wheels the electromagnet into the interrogation room, much to Luther’s horror. He pretends to turn it on, and Luther strongly urges him to stop. Max then reveals that the welding metals in his clothing match the welding metals in the electromagnet.

Luther admits that Roland Woodall made a deal behind his back—Joe Milligan’s company was going to take the technology and make a weapon out of it. Feeling he had no choice, Luther set up the electromagnet in the pool enclosure and zapped Roland with it. He then blended in with the survivors when the police arrived. Luther claims it was their last chance to stop Roland from making the deal. Beau "turns off" the electromagnet, revealing that he removed the power pack from it. Luther repeats that Joe Milligan’s company didn’t care about the autoclave; they only wanted the pulse power generator that came with it.

Beau rips into Luther, telling him that he killed three people. Luther, however, did his own research, mentioning that Beau has also unintentionally made negative contributions to the world in his previous lines of work. After Luther is arrested, Beau confirms that his allegations are correct. He believes that Luther may have actually done everyone a favor; however, Max tells him that it’s not their job to decide what ought to be. Their job, she says, is to find out what happened.

The FBI concludes their investigation and wheels the electromagnet out of the lab. Before departing, Agent Fenwick apologizes to Max for the intrusion. As the agents get onto the elevator, Beau walks up beside Max and reveals that he still has the power pack from the electromagnet; without the power pack, the electromagnet is useless. Max decides not to disclose this to the FBI and tells Beau to get back to work.

Victim: Grace Huang (missing)

On the case: Catherine Willows, Joshua Folsom

Catherine visits a strip club and speaks with a dancer named Monica. Monica was Grace Huang’s roommate, and Catherine informs her that Grace is dead. Catherine adds that Grace was murdered and buried in the desert; the body was eventually moved. When pressed about seeing or hearing anything unusual leading up to the incident, Monica clams up. Catherine leaves her business card behind and encourages Monica to stop by the lab for further discussion.

Monica eventually stops by the lab and gives Catherine a watch. She explains that she and Grace had a side job serving drinks in a private poker room; the watch was given to Grace as a tip by one of the players. According to Grace, the person who tipped her also told her to stop asking questions. It seems that Grace was into something that got her killed.

After working her shift in the poker room, Monica stops by the lab again, this time with some items used by the players. She gives Folsom a chewed toothpick, a used napkin, and a smoked cigarette. The final item is her dress, which was touched by a handsy participant.

Catherine meets with Jodi Wallach, one of the board members at the Eclipse. She informs Jodi that she has a person of interest in Grace’s disappearance—Mikel Koslov. Jodi recalls that the Eclipse hosted Mikel dozens of times, as he liked to play craps and cards. However, Mikel has left the country, and Jodi is hesitant to say where he went. Before she leaves, Jodi begs Catherine to just let the case go.

Catherine visits Monica at the strip club, telling her of Mikel’s involvement. The cigarette she lifted from the poker game is a DNA match to the watch given to Grace as a tip. Grace knew something that Mikel was trying to keep quiet; that something got her killed. Mikel is hiding out in Belarus, and Catherine sets out to find him.

Cast[]

Main Cast[]

  • Paula Newsome as Maxine Roby
  • Matt Lauria as Joshua Folsom
  • Mandeep Dhillon as Allie Rajan
  • Ariana Guerra as Det. Serena Chavez
  • Jay Lee as Chris Park (credited only)
  • Lex Medlin as Beau Finado
  • Marg Helgenberger as Catherine Willows

Guest Cast[]

  • Christian Navarro as Luther Canal
  • Sherri Saum as Jodi Wallach
  • William Allen Young as Professor Gene Morrow
  • Sara Amini as Sonya Nikolayevich
  • Amanda Tavarez as Monica Jessop
  • David Gibson as Dr. Parish
  • A.J. Tannen as Roland Woodall
  • Jon Briddell as Agent Fenwick

Music[]

  • Don't Bring Me Down by Electric Light Orchestra

Notes[]

  • Jay Lee (Chris) is credited but does not appear in the episode.
  • Max once again shows off her expertise in gait analysis, something she did previously in the season one episode Under the Skin.
  • It’s revealed that Beau’s real name is Thomas.

See Also[]

  • Category:Images from In Harm's Way
CSI:Vegas Season 2
She's GoneThe Painted ManStory of a GunKoalaIn Harm's WayThere's the RubBurnedGrace NoteIn the White RoomEyeballsTrinketWhen the Dust SettlesBonedThird Time's the CharmAshes, AshesWe All Fall DownThe Promise


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