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Justice is Served
Justice.jpg
Season 1
Number 21
Writer Jerry Stahl
Director Thomas J. Wright
Original Airdate April 26, 2001
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Previous Episode: Sounds of Silence
Next Episode: Evaluation Day

Justice is Served is the twenty-first episode in season one of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.

Synopsis

Grissom, Nick and Warrick investigate a jogger who was killed by a vicious dog in the park. The case gets complicated when they discover that the jogger's liver was surgically removed after he was killed. Meanwhile, Catherine and Sara investigate the death of a six-year-old girl at a carnival ride, which gets Catherine emotionally involved.

Plot

Victim: Terry Manning (deceased)

On the case: Gil Grissom, Nick Stokes, Warrick Brown, Ray O'Riley

A jogger is jogging in the park when he is mauled by an animal. When Grissom, Nick, and Warrick investigate, they think it was a mountain lion attack. Grissom, however, notes that there's a surgical mark on the victim's torso, indicating he was cut open with a scalpel.

Based on the lack of scratch marks on the body, Doc Robbins surmises that the attacking animal was a canine. He does confirm that whoever removed the victim's organs knew how to handle a scalpel.

Nick and Warrick head back to the park to pick up all of the dog feces to find which one possibly belonged to the attack dog. While there, Warrick finds something that looks like ice and puts it in an evidence jar.

Grissom discovers that the dog that attacked the jogger is missing a tooth. With Doc Robbins' help, Grissom finds that the attack dog was a Great Dane and Mastiff mix, and that there are only 40 of that type of dog registered in the greater Las Vegas area. Sgt. O'Riley informs Grissom that they've located the dog and that it has a vicious past.

The dog belongs to a Dr. Susan Hillridge and is taken away from her for the investigation. She claims that the problem dog was her old dog, who has since been put down. However, Grissom tells her that the dog they're looking for is missing a tooth, much like the doctor's current dog, "Simba," is. When asked, Dr. Hillridge says that her specialty is nutrition and her patients are professional athletes—much like the jogger in the park.

A mold of Simba's teeth is an exact match to the bite mark on the jogger. Warrick discovers that the ice he found in the park was actually dry ice, as it evaporated instead of melted. Grissom notes that surgical teams use dry ice to pack organs shipped for transplant. Dr. Hillridge may be a nutritionist, but she would still be required to have surgical rotations.

In Dr. Hillridge's backyard, Nick finds dog feces that has human cellular tissue in it, meaning they have the right dog. Meanwhile, in the house, Warrick comes across an antique surgical kit, but blood discovered on the scalpel dates back 50-200 years. If Dr. Hillridge cut up the jogger, she didn't use the scalpel in question. When Dr. Hillridge pays a surprise visit to the lab, Grissom notes that she's owned three different vicious dogs in the past, all in mountain states. He passively accuses her of using her dogs to kill joggers and selling the organs on the black market.

Nick and Warrick spray luminol on every piece of Dr. Hillridge's kitchen equipment and are shocked to find that the blender and a glass test positive for blood. To the CSIs' surprise, she isn't selling the organs on the black market, she's drinking them.

Under interrogation, Dr. Hillridge admits that she has a genetic disease called porphyria. According to her, the cure is to drink human blood, as it's the richest source of hematin. Shooting someone or poisoning them would taint the blood, so she has trained her dogs to make clean kills. She then extracted the organs with the most blood—the liver, the spleen, and the heart. As she's arrested, Dr. Hillridge tells Grissom that she grinds the organs into protein shakes and drinks them as her treatment—and there's a fresh shake in her refrigerator.

Victim: Sandy Dantini (deceased)

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

Catherine and Sara investigate the death of a six-year-old Sandy Dantini, who died on the Tunnel of Love ride at a local carnival. Sara speaks with the girl's mother, Carla. She recalls that Sandy fell from the car during the ride and drowned in the shallow water adjacent to the track. By the time the operators stopped the ride, Sandy was dead.

The ride operator tells Catherine that he stopped the ride as soon as he hard Carla screaming. He also admits to fastening everyone's seat belts loosely, saying that people like to get "up close and personal" on the ride. Unfortunately, the belt may have been loose enough for young Sandy to slip through.

Catherine searches the ride and finds a hammer in the shallow water adjacent to the track. She photographs the recent repairs to the track and immediately suspects the carnival owner, Thomas Pickens. Thinking that Thomas is high on drugs, she has him pee into a cup. Back in the lab, Greg tells Catherine that the test came back positive for estrogen. Thomas switched the urine during the test, and the officer in charge of Thomas didn't check Thomas' trailer for the possibility of a swap.

Sara discovers that the carnival has eight OSHA violations in eight states; furthermore, Thomas' real name is Roger Peet, and he's a convicted sex offender out on parole. Under interrogation, Thomas claims that he was walking down the midway when he heard the screams. After stopping the ride, he and the ride operator found Sandy lying face down in the pool of water. He swears that he didn't come near the body and called the police. Catherine is still convinced Thomas is the guilty party, noting that he was hanging around the only ride that takes kids into the dark.

In autopsy, Doc Robbins labels the cause of death as drowning. Since Sandy was three feet tall and the water was only 18 inches deep, someone had to have held her underwater. It's possible she was unconscious, but the doc finds no head injuries. The only injury of note is a fractured forearm; x-rays indicate that someone twisted Sandy's arm hard enough to break it. Since there was no swelling, the injury happened shortly before death.

Catherine and Sara theorize that Thomas yanked Sandy out of the car with the plan of taking her somewhere and sexually abusing her. However, since none of the emergency exit doors were operational, he became trapped in the ride. Faced with no other choice, he drowned Sandy in an effort to get rid of the evidence. Outside the autopsy room, Catherine is met by Carla Dantini. Carla is surprised when asked if someone reached into the ride car and pulled her daughter out. She also doesn't recall if seeing or hearing anyone else when she went in to try to rescue Sandy.

With help from Brass, Catherine prevents the carnival from leaving town in order to continue the investigation. Catherine gets on the ride herself with a dummy and puts a loose seat belt around the both of them. No forensics tech can pull the dummy out of the car, which eliminates Thomas as a suspect.

Catherine now shifts her focus to Carla and recalls that when they spoke earlier, she was looking to her left when recalling the events of the night, meaning that she was fabricating her story. While in Carla's house, Catherine sees that her watch is water-logged, but her shoes are dry. She notes that the shoes were never wet, as the blue lining from the shoes would've bled onto the white socks. Catherine surmises that Carla drowned her daughter in order to start a new, carefree life with her boyfriend, much to his horror. When Sandy tried to fight back, her mother broke her arm.

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Catherine takes a rain check on dinner with Sara and ends up driving to the house of District Engineer Paul Newsome, whom she met and worked with in the earlier episode $35K O.B.O. She kisses him after entering.

Cast

Main Cast

Guest Cast

Goofs

  • Catherine claims that the mother of the victim lied because she moved her eyes to the left when answering her question. The theory is, in fact, that a person would be telling the truth because they are accessing auditory/visually remembered event. This is correctly explained in the 1998 movie The Negotiator.
  • When Grissom is examining the wounds on the torso of the body found in the park, you can see the victim breathing in multiple shots.

Notes

  • In the season 11 episode Blood Moon (LV), Nick mentions Dr. Hillridge's porphyria, telling Raymond Langston that she ground her victims up into protein shakes.

Trivia

  • The investigation into the Dantinis appears to be based on the Susan Smith case.
  • This episode was inspired by a dream Jerry Stahl, the writer of the episode had.[1]
  • Alicia Coppola (Dr. Susan Hillridge) played Faith Coleman on JAG and NCIS.

References

  1. Flaherty, M. & Marrinan, C. (2004). CSI: Crime scene investigation companion. New York, NY: Pocket Books.


See Also

CSI:Las Vegas Season 1
PilotCool ChangeCrate 'n BurialPledging Mr. JohnsonFriends & LoversWho Are You?Blood DropsAnonymousUnfriendly SkiesSex, Lies and LarvaeI-15 MurdersFahrenheit 932BoomTo Halve and to HoldTable StakesToo Tough to DieFace Lift$35K O.B.O.Gentle, GentleSounds of SilenceJustice is ServedEvaluation DayStrip Strangler
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