It Was a Very Good Year
Season 13
Number 4
Writer Gavin Harris
Director Frank Waldeck
Original Airdate October 24, 2012
Previous Episode: Wild Flowers
Next Episode: Play Dead

It Was a Very Good Year is the fourth episode in Season Thirteen of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.


When an old friend of Greg's, a music historian, is killed and left in a piano, it turns out that a notorious mobster from the old days of Vegas may be responsible.


Victim: Alison Bailey (deceased)

On the case: entire team

A piano is found in the desert with a bloodied female body inside. A lack of accompanying blood on the ground leads to the conclusion that the woman was killed somewhere else. Upon seeing the body, Greg recognizes the victim as Alison Bailey, a music journalist from New York who helped him write his book about Vegas' mob history. Alison also wrote a few books herself about the music scene in Vegas in the '60s. Since her body was found in a piano, the thought is that her killer knew her personally.

The piano is on a triangular dolly, and tracks made in the dirt from it are a few feet long. There's a rectangular impression at the end of the dolly tracks; Greg and Morgan guess it was made by a truck's tailgate. It appears someone drove the piano into the desert, opened the tailgate, and gave the piano a little push. Greg finds something thin and opaque wedged between the keys, while Morgan notes the presence of black fibers both on the keys and inside the piano.

In the lab, Finn and Nick spray the piano with luminol and the whole right side lights up. Based on the blood, Finn guesses the killer sliced Alison's carotid artery in close proximity to the piano. The piano's serial number has been scratched out, and Finn notes that you can trace a piano's journey from the factory based on the number. Nick is eventually able to recover the serial number using the chemicals at his disposal.

Greg washes Alison's body in preparation for her autopsy. He found a hotel key card from the Palermo, which Morgan says she'll check out. When pressed, Greg tells Morgan that he and Alison had a week-long fling when she was in town the last time. He figures it was just a fling because Alison never bothered to contact him when she got back into town.

In autopsy, Doc Robbins tells Russell that Alison was stabbed 27 times but was not sexually assaulted. Based on bruising, the weapon of choice appears to be a boxcutter, which would be something a piano mover would carry with them. The doc found more black fibers in some of the wounds and sent them to Hodges for trace analysis.

The black fibers come back as carbon black and polyvinylchloride, while the thin, opaque trace is identified as hide glue. Based on how the edges of the glue pieces line up, Hodges guesses they came from one sheet of dried glue. There are striations on one side of the fragments that look like wood grain imprints. This would point towards a piano repairman, as they would be the ones most likely to use glue on a piano. However, none of the glue that holds the piano together is a match to the fragments found. The carbon black and polyvinylchloride is sheet vinyl, which is commonly used in floor tile covering. Hodges guesses that they're looking for someone who works in construction.

Morgan comes back with boxes of evidence from Alison's hotel room; it appears that she was setting up shop in order to do research on another book. The hotel room was clean, so it's not the primary crime scene. Morgan finds an appointment book amongst Alison's belongings; the last entry in the book is a number/letter sequence that's unrecognizable to the CSIs.

The serial number on the piano identifies its original owner as Ledo Wright. This excites Greg, as Ledo Wright was a legendary piano player in '60s Vegas. Greg tells Russell and Sara about Ledo and his murder: in 1966, in the Golden Age of Vegas, Ledo was a young hotshot piano player who played with Frank Sinatra. After one of his shows, Ledo hit on one of Sinatra's dames and got into a confrontation with Tommy Grazetti, a Mobster who was trying to impress Sinatra. Tommy shot Ledo right there, and Ledo's body was never found.

Sara says that the piano has been going to the same repair shop in Los Angeles for years, and the place was scheduled to receive it two days ago. The moving company, "Play On Movers," gassed their truck up five miles from where Alison's body was found and did so on the night she was killed. Lenny Vanders, who has done time in prison, is identified as the truck's driver.

Sara and Brass pay Lenny a visit at the music store where he works. After feigning ignorance and being confronted with the fact that he moved the piano, Lenny recalls stopping for gas and tightening the straps to keep it in place. While doing so, he saw blood dripping on his shoes. Upon opening the piano, he found Alison's body inside, panicked, and dumped the piano in the desert. Lenny starts to freak, as he says the piano belongs to Tommy Grazetti, who he knows used to kill people for a living. Tommy is back in town and runs a Rat Pack theater show. Sara theorizes that Greg is onto something—if Alison was looking into one of Tommy's old murders, she may have become a victim herself.

Greg and Russell go to the theater. While a Frank Sinatra impersonator croons onstage, a bouncer leads them to a backstage area where the piano was stored before it was moved. The CSIs spray the floor with luminol, finding evidence of blood and spotting three voids identical to the piano legs. One spot hasn't been cleaned up, and Greg finds a bloody fiber in a crack in the floor. Just then, Tommy Grazetti appears. He recognizes Alison from her photo, saying that she tried to get information from him a few days ago. Greg accuses Tommy of murdering Alison, and Russell has to pull him aside and rein him in. He inadvertently admits to having a fling with Alison and calls Russell out for breaking the rules when his granddaughter was kidnapped. Russell can see Greg's point of view, but he pulls him off the front lines of the case, telling him to find out what Alison was researching.

Sara processes the backstage area and is alerted to music coming from down a hallway. This leads to a dressing room, which is occupied by the Frank Sinatra impersonator. Sara sees that a piece of the wall as been slashed and that there's blood in the cut; the attack on Alison seems to have started in this room.

Mr. Sinatra, whose real name is Jeff Levitt, recognizes Alison from her photo. He tells Nick and Brass that he met Alison a few years back when she was working on a Sinatra biography, but denies having anything to do with her death. After thinking a minute, Jeff realizes he told Alison where to find Tommy and that he warned her not to bring up the past; this may have led to her getting killed. When asked where he was the night of Alison's death, Jeff says he was "spotting" at a hip-hop club—in other words, he was listening to and recording new songs for an app's database. A representative from the app, called Note Seek, confirms Jeff's story.

While listening to a vinyl record, Russell comes to a realization when the record starts skipping. He scratches the record with a boxcutter and replicates the vinyl trace that was found in the piano and in Alison's wounds. Evidence is pointing to a record having something to do with Alison's death.

Greg goes through all of Alison's belongings, but finds no evidence that she was researching the Ledo Wright murder. She was definitely interested in Tommy Grazetti, but most of Alison's files are about the Mob moving into drug dealing or making inroads with the hippie crowd. Nick tracks down Alison's rental car, and the GPS shows that she took one trip out of a town to an abandoned house in Henderson. Greg recognizes the house's address and digs up a surveillance photo of Tommy entering the same house in 1966. The house was owned by Linda Overton, a violent radical who robbed a casino and killed two guards the same year. None of Linda's co-conspirators were ever found, but Greg believes that Alison uncovered Tommy's connections to the robbery.

Under interrogation, Tommy denies having anything to do with the casino robbery. Nick doesn't believe this and theorizes that during the course of her research, Alison uncovered the name of a co-conspirator in the robbery and ended up getting killed for it. Tommy won't admit to murder, either, and tells Nick that he and his associates "allegedly" became involved with drugs in the '60s when the Mob needed to find a different revenue source besides loan sharking.

Hodges admits to Russell that he was wrong about the hide glue found in the piano; it's actually used to clean records. The glue is poured onto the record and distributed evenly across the vinyl. In time, dust and particles affix to the glue. When it's later separated from the record, the record is clean. The removed glue also creates a perfect negative of the grooves in the vinyl, which explains the grooves in the fragments recovered earlier. Russell believes they can play their missing record from the fragments, which Sara reconstructs. With help from the Note Seek app, it's determined the music is from the Sinatra at the Sands album.

Greg listens to Tommy's interrogation and begins to poke holes in his story. During the interrogation, Tommy mentioned "hanging out with the boys" in the Sands in 1966; however, Greg finds out that he was actually banned from there in 1965 when he was caught counting cards. When Morgan suggests to Greg that he should stop living in the past (both with Vegas history and with Alison), she adds that she moved forward with her father, who she realized was a completely different person than she thought. Upon hearing this, Greg comes to a sudden realization.

Greg is able to get a fingerprint off a Ledo Wright poster recovered from the theater and finds that it belongs to...Ledo Wright himself. He shows Russell an old picture of Ledo and notes that the pianist used to always wear an Irish Claddagh ring. When the picture of Tommy in front of Linda Overton's house is blown up, the person in question is wearing the same ring. Why would an Italian like Tommy Grazetti be wearing an Irish ring? Greg now theorizes that Ledo actually killed Tommy back in the day and assumed his identity. Ledo's print matches the prints they have on file for Tommy; perhaps Alison uncovered this fact and was killed to keep it a secret.

Greg confronts Ledo at the theater and accuses him of killing Alison when she found out the truth. Ledo says that he's never killed anyone and tells Greg what really happened back in 1966. He explains that he got drafted into the military, bad news for an up-and-coming star. Fate would step in when Tommy would choke to death on a chicken bone. Because Ledo and Tommy had the same height and build, Ledo assumed Tommy's identity in order to avoid the draft. He came back to Vegas because he missed the glory days, and he now gets to bring that magic back in the theater. The story is confirmed when Ledo turns Greg onto a 1966 John Doe who died from asphyxiation due a chicken bone.

Sara does some research on the Sinatra at the Sands album and discovers that it's an extremely rare pressing. She explains that every vinyl record is imprinted with a stamped I.D. on the lead-out groove. The I.D. number on the record is the same one Alison had written down in her appointment book. Only one store in town sells the album—the record store Sara and Brass visited earlier. Lenny Vanders confirms that he recently sold the album to Jeff Levitt, the Frank Sinatra impersonator.

Jeff is brought into interrogation again, where it's revealed that he lied about his earlier alibi. Nick proves that he was nowhere near the hip-hop club on the night of Alison's death, as none of the songs played at the club that night are recognized by the Note Seek app. Jeff goes on to explain that Alison contacted him, asking him for help in tracking down the record. He went above and beyond to get the record and clean it, all in an effort to impress her. When Alison instead said she was gifting it to "some guy named Greg," Jeff lost it. Feeling disrespected, he attacked her with a boxcutter and cut up the record, getting revenge the way they did in Old Vegas. Greg has been observing the interrogation from behind the glass, witnessing Jeff slip deeper and deeper into his Sinatra persona and blurring the lines of reality.

A solemn Greg sits on the bench in the station locker room. Morgan tells him that Alison wanted to see him, a memory he should hold on to. She gives Greg a Sinatra at the Sands record that she bought, and Greg listens to it on the record player in the lab.


Main Cast[]

Guest Cast[]

  • Jessica Lee Keller as Alison Bailey
  • Erhun Akpinar as Ledo Wright
  • Jay Acovone as Tommy Grazetti
    • Frankie Aydugan as Tommy Grazetti (21 Years Old)
  • Channon Roe as Lenny “Moondog” Vanders
  • Toby Huss as Frank Sinatra/Jeff Levitt
  • Marcus Brown as Stage Manager


  • Pain by BigStat (ft. Jordan Meyer)
  • It Was a Very Good Year by Frank Sinatra


  • Despite being credited here and on IMDB, Jon Wellner (Henry) does not actually appear in the episode.
  • While speaking privately with Greg, Russell mentions his state of mind during the investigation into his granddaughter's kidnapping, which occurred in the episode Karma to Burn.
  • IMDb lists the Frank Sinatra impersonator's last name as "Levitt." However, he's referred to multiple times in the episode as "Jeff Lummet."

See Also[]

CSI:Las Vegas Season 13
Karma to BurnCode Blue Plate SpecialWild FlowersIt Was a Very Good YearPlay DeadPick and RollFallen AngelsCSI on FireStrip MaulRisky Business ClassDead AirDouble FaultIn Vino VeritasExileForget Me NotLast Woman StandingDead of the ClassShelteredBackfireFearlessGhosts of the PastSkin in the Game