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Keep Calm and Carry On
Jim Brass & Julie Finlay - S14 E12 Keep Calm And Carry On (1).jpg
Season 14
Number 12
Writer Thomas Hoppe
Director Brad Tanenbaum
Original Airdate January 15, 2014
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Keep Calm and Carry On is the twelfth episode in season fourteen of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.

Synopsis

A petty crime aboard an inbound plane to Las Vegas erupts into a murder investigation when one of the passengers is found dead.

Plot

Victim: Helen Morrison (deceased)

On the case: entire team

A plane makes its descent into Las Vegas. Onboard, a male passenger, Kenny Greene, unsuccessfully hits on an attractive female passenger and later tries to apologize for coming on too strong. After landing, as the passengers retrieve their carry-on bags, some realize that personal items have been stolen, including a wallet and a watch. This gets everyone into a frenzy.

Later, just outside airport property, Nick and Sara walk up to a crime scene. The victim is the female from the plane; road rash and impressions in the dirt indicate that she was thrown from a moving vehicle. She has also suffered a broken neck and blunt force trauma to the head. A boarding pass identifies the victim as Janet Riggins, and she died less than an hour after landing in town.

In the airport, Finn and Brass try to keep the passengers under control. When asked, some of them remember Janet based on her description and recall that she was acting suspicious. Now that she's dead, this is a homicide investigation. Kenny is singled out for his earlier attempts to converse with Janet. He's now sporting a black eye, which he says he got when an older gentleman pushed him to the ground and exited the plane. Another passenger confirms this story, and everyone suddenly realizes that Janet wanted to get off the plane quickly.

Janet's flight landed at Gate F24, meaning she had to take the tram to baggage claim to pick up her bags. The road her body was found next to leads to the airport, so she had to have gotten a ride from someone. Nick finds a swerve mark in the road and Sara estimates that the car was traveling 45 MPH. The driver never hit the brakes, so either Janet jumped out or was thrown out. Her bags are unaccounted for, so they could still be in the car. Just then, a laser is pointed at Nick's chest. The CSIs track down two teenagers who were flashing pilots with their lasers, which is a felony. Neither boy says anything when told about the murder in the vicinity, and they soon surrender their lasers and are returned to their parents.

Janet's carry-on bag is found down the road from the crime scene. Among the items is a Nevada driver's license that Russell quickly determines is fake. Elsewhere, Nick and Brass look at surveillance video from the baggage claim. In it, they can see Janet (who has no checked bags) running and looking over her shoulder. Kenny is soon seen running after her - with both eyes intact. His earlier story about getting shoved earlier on the plane was a lie.

Under interrogation, Kenny tells Brass that he ran into Janet again at baggage claim. The time code on the surveillance photo shows that Kenny had two hours of free time before he showed up to the gate to file a report about his stolen watch. He admits to trying to flirt with Janet again, but when she ran, he concluded that she was the thief. After tracking her down, he took her cell phone as a bargaining tool, but she responded by punching him in the face and running off. Kenny produces the cell phone, and Brass threatens to charge him with robbery and strong-arm assault.

Along with the fake ID, Janet also had a burner phone, which she purchased locally. Hodges finds that she texted another burner phone when she landed and made another phone call 13 minutes later to Nalley Janitorial Services. Nick and Sara talk to the owner, Jefferson Nalley. When shown a photo of Janet, Jefferson recognizes her as Helen Morrison, a former classmate of his in New Jersey. The two of them had reconnected online six months ago, and she mentioned that she was taking a trip to Vegas. Jefferson admits that he was interested in Helen, but he cut things off when he found out she was married. He then plays the voicemail Helen left on his phone; in it, she frantically asks for help before hanging up. Having cut her off for good, Jefferson decided not to follow up on the call.

Onboard the plane, Finn, Russell and Brass go over the flight manifest. The flight attendant recalls that Helen's carry-on bag wouldn't fit below the seat and was stowed in the overhead bin two rows back. In total, 12 passengers were robbed and four overhead bins were targeted; in each bin, there was at least one bag that was some distance from its owner. Brass goes through the mind of a professional thief, noting that he or she would grab an aisle seat in the back half of the plane. They also would have likely been one of the first people to board. Helen is ruled out, and the field is narrowed down to eight suspects. The person who fits every description is the older gentleman Kenny encountered earlier.

Hank Kasserman is brought to the station for interrogation. Brass reveals that Hank's most recent flights have coincided with in-flight thefts, and he also notices that the watch Hank is wearing is remarkably similar to the one stolen from Kenny. The list of items stolen on the flight match the list of items recovered from Hank's hotel suite. Caught in the act, Hank admits to clocking Helen the moment she walked on the plane. He bought Kenny a drink to keep him inebriated, then rifled through the overhead bin where Helen's bag was. There, he found $30,000 in cash. When shown a photo of Helen's body, Hank claims that he had nothing to do with it. A student of human nature, Hank mentions that he saw Helen continuously putting makeup on around her eye in order to hide a bruise. He suggests that the police look for the person who used Helen "as a punching bag."

In autopsy, Doc Robbins labels the cause of death as atlanto-occipital dislocation due to being thrown from a moving vehicle, adding that she was also beaten the night she died. He also finds several perimortem fractures and bruises consistent with long-term physical abuse. Hank's assumption about Helen was correct.

Helen's checked luggage is finally located and brought to the lab. There, Morgan goes through it and items such as a childhood photo and bronzed baby shoes - things people pack when they're never going home again. When combined with the $30,000 and the fake I.D., she definitely had a plan. A check on her husband in New Jersey reveals that he's not home and that he, too, has taken a flight to Vegas. In fact, he caught a nonstop flight and landed 15 minutes before his wife. Doc Robbins pages Russell and lets him know that Allen Morrison is currently down in autopsy.

Outside the autopsy room doors, Allen angrily tells Doc Robbins that he wants to see his wife's body. Nick arrives and is able to stop him from physically attacking the doc. Allen is incensed that he's a suspect in Helen's murder, but he admits to physically abusing her because she liked to "test him" and make him feel jealous. A few months ago, he read one of her e-mails that involved an exchange of explicit pictures between her and Jefferson. When she emptied the bank account, he knew she flew to Vegas and he followed her. However, Allen claims that his flight out was delayed due to a mechanical error, so he couldn't get to his wife first.

Under interrogation, Jefferson says that when Allen found out about their online chats, he put Helen in the hospital. Allen, he adds, is a control freak who monitored every aspect of Helen's life. He tells Sara that he set Helen up with a guy nicknamed "The Wolf," who could make anybody disappear for a price. There were non-negotiable rules involved, including the fact that he and Helen had to cease communication with each other for at least six months. Jefferson is unsure whether "The Wolf" picked Helen up from the airport, but he's able to provide Sara with the contractor's phone number.

The phone number provided is the same one Helen texted when she landed that night. According to Jefferson, the agreement was payment on arrival, as "The Wolf" had paid for Helen's plane ticket, fake I.D., cell phone, and any other future arrangements. The plan went awry after she was robbed on the plane, so she ignored the instructions and called Jefferson.

Greg discovers that Helen's cell phone was purchased at a local convenience store, while her plane ticket was bought at a travel agency on Boulder Highway. Both times, the buyer paid cash and the locations didn't have security cameras. Morgan brings up a map of the Vegas area and pings "The Wolf's" cell phone. While the phone is now silent, she finds that most of the activity on it is between 10:00 PM and 6:00 AM. Furthermore, he has a routine, as he's in certain places on certain days of the week. On the night Helen was murdered, his phone pinged off a tower near the airport.

Hodges shows Morgan and Sara the fake I.D. and marvels at its authenticity. However, this I.D. has an RFID chip in it, something normal driver's licenses don't have. He notes that RFID chips are common in security badges and that casinos and large companies make their own. There are a couple dozen businesses in the area that print their own badges. "The Wolf" would have to have access to blank security cards and a printer and, based on the high quality of the printing, Hodges narrows the list down to a dozen facilities. Morgan zeroes in on a facility in North Vegas near where "The Wolf's" cell phone pinged recently.

The manager of Slots of Luck Industries, Rhonda Briggs, tells Sara that they don't print driver's licenses, as the practice is illegal. However, the machine they possess is capable of doing so. Rhonda says that the only people with access to the printer outside of business hours are the security guard - and the cleaning crew.

At the police station, Nick sits down with one of the pot-smoking, laser-pointing teenagers from earlier. The young man is staring at 4,000 hours of community service, and Nick offers to shave most of it off if he can remember what he saw the night of Helen's murder. After thinking for a while, the young man remembers seeing a "farmer with a pitchfork" at the end of the tarmac. He then says it was a cartoon painted on the side of a van - a cartoon of a man with a mop. When shown a picture of Jefferson's business card, the teenager recognizes it as the cartoon he saw.

Along with the teenager's statement, the travel agency identified Jefferson as the one who purchased Helen's plane ticket. Jefferson also had access to print the fake driver's license. In interrogation, he tells Sara and Brass that he loved Helen and that he was trying to help her. Helen was terrified that Allen was going to kill her. Knowing that she didn't want to get him involved, Jefferson made up "The Wolf" to help ease her fears. He denies that the whole scheme was only about the money.

A flashback shows Helen freaking out when Jefferson picked her up at the airport, as he was ignoring "The Wolf's" requests. After much coaxing, she got into the van, but not before telling Jefferson that she lost the money. On the way to a motel, Jefferson admitted that "The Wolf" didn't exist, which only led to Helen panicking more. She accused Jefferson of not caring about her and only wanting the money. As Jefferson was driving, she unbuckled her seat belt and tried to get him to stop the van. When this failed, she tried to exit the passenger's door while the van was moving, which led to Jefferson striking her in the face. She then attacked Jefferson in retaliation, which led to him swerving all over the road. In the process, she fell out the passenger's side door and down the embankment to her death. Jefferson says that he didn't meant to hurt Helen and repeats that he loved her. Sara tells him that if he really loved her, he would've stopped the van when she fell out instead of driving away.

Outside the police station, Allen Morrison is reveling in the fact that he got most of his money back and got the divorce he always wanted. When he tells Nick that Helen "got what she deserved," the CSI places him under arrest for felony assault in Nevada. Allen denies ever laying his hands on Helen in the state, but Nick says the assault is for his earlier attack on Doc Robbins, which is essentially like hitting a cop. While the case may not stick, Nick notes that it's 4:00 PM on a Friday afternoon and that Allen will have to spend the weekend in jail.

Cast

Main Cast

Guest Cast

  • Larry M. Mitchell as Officer Mitchell
  • Ethan Embry as Jefferson Nalley
  • Jaleel White as Kenny Greene
  • Ellen Hollman as Janet Riggins/Helen Morrison
  • Todd Cahoon as Allen Morrison
  • Tammy Townsend as Rhonda Briggs
  • Joel Grey as Hank Kasserman
  • Corie Vickers as Flight Attendant
  • Anthony Mangano as Male Passenger
  • Susan Slome as Female Passenger

Episode Title

  • "Keep Calm and Carry On" was a motivational poster produced by the British government in 1939 in preparation for World War II. The poster was intended to raise the morale of the British public, threatened with widely predicted mass air attacks on major cities.

Quotes

Greg Sanders: I did meet a guy named "The Goat", who says he'll eat anything for a dollar.
Sara Sidle: He have a pierced ear?
Greg Sanders: Yeah
Sara Sidle: I had to get evidence OUT of him once.

Goofs

  • Sara uses the formula of Dropping distance d = v²/2μg to calculate the velocity of the car in which the victim, Helen Morrison, is thrown out of. The formula v = √(d×c×μ) is used, where d is the distance between tire treads and the body which is 75 feet, the constant is 30, Sara and Nick give the friction coefficient, μ as 1 because it is a rough surface. They determine v = √(75×30×1) = √(2250) = 47.2. However, Sara, the Physics major, states that the van was moving 45 miles/hour while pushing the victim out.

Music

  • Take It Back by Norah Jones

Notes

  • David Berman (David Phillips) and Jon Wellner (Henry) are credited but do not appear in the episode.

Trivia

  • Jaleel White (who played Kenny Greene) and Tammy Townsend (who played Rhonda Briggs) both appeared on the 90s sitcom Family Matters, playing Steve Urkel and Greta McClure, respectively.

See Also

CSI:Las Vegas Season 14
The Devil and D.B. RussellTake the Money and RunTorch SongLast SupperFrame by FramePassed PawnsUnder a CloudHelplessCheck In and Check OutGirls Gone WildLost ReindeerKeep Calm and Carry OnBoston BrakesDe Los MuertosLove for SaleKiller MovesLong Road HomeUninvitedThe FallenConsumedKittyDead In His Tracks


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