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Leapin' Lizards
Lizards.jpg
Season 7
Number 22
Writer David Rambo,
Carol Mendelsohn
Director Richard J. Lewis
Original Airdate May 3, 2007
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Next Episode: The Good, The Bad, And The Dominatrix

Leapin' Lizards is the twenty-second episode in season seven of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.

Synopsis

The suicide of a farmer whose farm was raided by SWAT and a woman who was murdered and her head stuffed and mounted on a wall leads the crime lab to a form of conspiracy theories that some people are actually reptiles in disguise.

Plot

Victims: Hank Connors (deceased), Chyna DeVere (deceased)

On the case: entire team

Police cars surround the house of Hank Connors. Brass calls out to Hank via megaphone, but has to take cover when gunfire erupts from the house. Inside, Hank is firing from a window and taking cover from return fire. "Go back where you came from! You're not taking me!" he yells out before making his way to the back of the house. When SWAT enters, they find Hank standing against his back door. He grabs a gun, puts it under his chin and fires.

Nick enters the house, which is full of guns and ammunition. Brass notes that Hank seemed to be preparing for the end of days, as he had also stocked up on ready-to-eat meals and water. No booby traps or bombs were found in the house. Nick curiously asks Brass if there's any sign of Chyna DeVere; Brass answers in the negative.

Grissom and Warrick search the premises for Hank's truck and look in the garage. The truck is found there along with bloodstains in the truck's bed. Warrick notices that taxidermy was one of Hank's hobbies, and Grissom looks at a wall of mounted animal heads. His flashlight reaches the last mount, which contains the head of Chyna DeVere. Outside, Nick rounds up the pigs in the pen with the thought that Chyna's husband, who is also missing, might have been fed to them.

In the lab, Greg recaps the case for Catherine. Chyna had recently separated from her husband and found her own place. A large section of her living room carpet tested positive for blood and someone used a steam cleaner on it to denature any DNA. Records show that neither Hank nor Chyna's husband had rented a steam cleaner. CSIs found an isolated blood drop that didn't belong to either Chyna nor her husband; the DNA comes back to an unknown female. A soil trace found on the carpet came back to a tungsten ore, and Hank's farm is near an old tungsten mine. When asked about the connection between Chyna and Hank, Greg reveals that Hank and Chyna's husband were in a special club together.

Back at Hank's, Grissom flips through a book that contains images of aliens, UFOs and other unidentified creatures. Another book is titled Serpents of the Universe: A Comprehensive Account of the Reptilian Conspiracy. He also finds a flyer for a presentation by Dr. Sidney Buckman that reads "We are not alone. Come hear the truth." In another room, he finds a projection screen and a projector. The film is of Dr. Buckman explaining that intelligent life came to Earth from other planets because people on Earth have DNA, which is needed for other species' survival. Dr. Buckman goes on to explain that ancient civilizations on every continent have recorded evidence of encounters with extraterrestrials, and that those extraterrestrials were in serpent form. He also states that cutting off the serpent's head is the only way to kill it, and Sara wonders if that's why Hank cut off Chyna's head.

Brass interrogates Shannon Turner, a friend of Hank's, a week after interrogating her previously. Shannon claims to not know Chyna, as she wasn't in their club. Brass tells Shannon that Chyna's husband is missing and that Hank killed himself. He adds that she alibied a killer and is an accessory to murder. Shannon denies the fact that Hank killed Chyna's husband and doesn't seem to invested with helping out with the case. Later, when Greg comes to take her DNA, she freaks out exclaiming "I know who you are!" and ends up biting him on the hand after being restrained by some officers.

A search of Shannon's house reveals that she likely knew Chyna, as Chyna was a dealer at the Palermo, while Shannon is a gold level member. Shannon's bookshelf contains several books about UFOs and alien abductions, while a notebook found nearby contains several drawings of reptilian creatures. In the kitchen, Catherine finds a mug that has a photo on it of Shannon and Chyna's husband on vacation in Cabo. She also sees something sticking out from on top of the refrigerator. After grabbing a stepladder, Catherine shows Brass that the object is a large sword. Meanwhile, at Hank's farm, Nick finds a human bone in the muddy pigpen.

In autopsy, David Phillips and Doc Robbins separate Chyna's head from the wall mount. Doc Robbins shows Grissom that Hank used duct tape to close up a laceration in the back of Chyna's head. There's a matching laceration on the skull, which could be the cause of death. The doc lays out exactly how Hank was able to make a wall mount of the head, a process that takes several days from start to finish.

Catherine lifts some prints from the sword. She tells Mandy that the tip of the blade was wiped clean and tested negative for blood, while she was able to recover prints from the blade just above the hilt and from the handle.

Nick measures the femur he found in the pigpen and finds that it belongs to a female that was the same height as Chyna. He theorizes to Grissom that Hank cut up Chyna's body and fed it to the pigs. Grissom observes the teeth marks on the bone and concludes that human teeth aren't strong enough to make those marks.

Based on tool marks, it's found that the sword Catherine found in Shannon's house is the murder weapon. Warrick informs Grissom that the blood found in Hank's truck and on his workbench was Chyna's. Grissom, unfazed by this revelation, shows Warrick a website about the "Draco Conspiracy," where creatures from the constellation Draco have been mating with humans to form a super-race. Catherine enters Grissom's office with the news that Shannon's prints were all over the sword handle, but the prints by the hilt were Chyna's. They theorize that Chyna tried to defend herself from Shannon. The lone blood drop on the carpet in Chyna's apartment was also a match to Shannon. When told that Shannon was interrogated by Brass and didn't have an visible wounds, Catherine guesses that Chyna pushed the sword into Shannon's nose, resulting in a non-visible injury. With all of this information, Grissom wonders why people who believed in a reptilian conspiracy would kill a blackjack dealer.

Back at Hank's farm, Warrick finds a circular stone formation with ashes in the center. When he and Nick sift through the ashes, they find a human vertebrae and some fabric. They also come across Chyna and Preston's inscribed wedding rings.

In the A/V lab, Archie shows Sara surveillance footage from the Palermo. He says that Shannon had joined the Player's Club, and when she used the card at the blackjack table, the casino was able to record everything that happened (time spent gambling, win-loss ratio, etc.). Chyna was the dealer the first time Shannon used her card, and Shannon never gambled with another dealer. Sara thinks that maybe Chyna was Shannon's good luck charm; however, records indicate that Shannon never won. Her next theory is that Shannon was acting friendly towards Chyna in order to gain her trust and stalk her.

Shannon is brought into interrogation again and presented with the facts that she killed Chyna and had Hank help her move the body. Hank then killed Preston because he was obsessed with Shannon and was getting rid of the competition. Brass shows Shannon a picture of the Shannon and Preston mug from Cabo. Shannon denies this and says that Preston can't die and is over 4,000 years old. Grissom brings out Shannon's sketches and asks her if Chyna was a reptilian; he gets no response. Shannon identifies a sketch of a reptilian with a crown as the reptilian Athena; she refuses to say if it's Chyna. Another sketch of a warrior princess is identified by Shannon as the Protector of Mankind. Before she can answer whether the Protector is supposed to be her, she watches Brass drink from a cup of water and sees that he has a snake-like forked tongue. Shannon admits to Grissom that "she had to do what she had to do" and a flashback shows her dressed in full warrior garb attacking Chyna with the sword.

Archie goes through more surveillance from the casino and finds Preston confronting Chyna at the blackjack table the day she disappeared. Chyna doesn't look too happy to see her husband. The two end up arguing and taking off their wedding rings, with Chyna putting both of them in her pocket. This means that she was killed before she could change her clothes and explains why both rings were found in the ashes.

The other bones Nick and Warrick discovered are laid out on an autopsy table. Doc Robbins tells Warrick that the pelvic bone is female, there are no duplicates and that the femur is the same length as the one the pigs were chomping on; they are looking at Chyna's remains. Furthermore, a bullet was found in T-9 vertebrae, meaning that it had to pass through at least one vital organ. Doc Robbins confirms that the bullet passed through Chyna's heart, lung and liver. It's later confirmed that the bullet came from Hank's Walther PPK.

Brass is called to the Nevada desert, where an officer tells him that a naked man was found running around. The officer recognized the man from the news, and Brass sees that it's Preston. In the backseat of the officer's squad car, Preston tells Brass that he was held against his will for over a week by tall creatures with reptilian features.

In the hospital, Preston tells Brass that he was abducted nine days ago. When told that his wife is dead, Preston begins to cry; however, Brass sees through the phoniness. Despite having his picture with Shannon on a coffee mug, Preston insists that nothing romantic was going on between them. However, he says that he's romantically involved with a woman named Clarissa Niles and that he was with her when the reptilians abducted him. This is also his alibi for the night Chyna was killed.

Grissom and Brass go to pick up Clarissa and find her in an Alien Abduction Survivors Group meeting. As the group discusses the reptilian takeover, Grissom notes that they seem to be under some kind of mass hallucination. He tells Brass that they believe that the cops are in on the conspiracy as well, which is why Shannon bit Greg and Hank shot himself. Flashbacks show Shannon watching Greg turn into a reptilian, while Hank only saw reptilians storming his house with guns. Brass interrupts the meeting and Clarissa identifies herself, telling the rest of the group that she's not afraid.

Catherine and Greg process Clarissa's car and find evidence of scheelite, which was also found in the soil at Hank's farm. Preston's clothes are found neatly folded in the back seat, while a steam cleaner is found in the trunk.

Under interrogation, Clarissa tells Brass that she was spending the night with Preston when, all of a sudden, the room turned very cold. When she woke up, Preston was gone. She denies the fact that Preston is just a con man, telling Brass that Preston cured her of cancer because he knows how to prevent human cells from dying. Brass shows her Preston's file and informs her that Preston is not 4,000 years old, but just forty-two. He's also not a nutritionist, nor did he go to all of the schools he said he went to. In fact, Preston's only job is manipulating women, as he got Shannon to kill his wife for him and got Clarissa to give him money. A flashback shows Preston telling Clarissa that he disabled an implant that was put in her, freeing her of the reptilians' control and making her cancer-free. To pay back his kindness, Clarissa drove him out to the desert, dropped him off and took his clothes in order to help fake his alibi for Chyna's murder.

Hodges processes the steam cleaner and finds a hair in the bristles, while Greg recovers a print from under the plastic water container. The hair turns out to be Chyna's, while the print comes back as Preston's. A flashback shows Preston telling Shannon that she is a Protector of Mankind and to have no fear, while telling Hank to cut off Chyna's head ("cut off her tail, she lives; cut off her head, she dies."). Preston then steam cleaned the carpet and dumped the bloody water down the drain, but not before getting his print on the container. He exploited the reptilian conspiracy theorists to orchestrate the murder of his wife.

As Preston is led down police station hallway in handcuffs, Brass reveals that Chyna had a large inheritance until she met Preston. Preston replies that Chyna was sucking the life out of him and that she got what she deserved in the end. Clarissa approaches him and spits in his face.

While Dr. Buckman's speech about reptilians is played again, Grissom is shown building a scale model of a room. Perhaps he's been the "miniature killer" all along...

Cast

Main Cast

Guest Cast

Notes

  • Louise Lombard (Sofia) is credited but does not appear in this episode.
  • Sara finds a letter Grissom wrote to her when he was on sabbatical; however, he never sent it. Grissom was shown writing the letter in the episode Redrum.

Trivia

  • "Leapin' lizards!", a catchphrase from the comic strip Little Orphan Annie.
  • Ally Sheedy, who played Shannon Turner, is most famous for her role as Allison Reynolds in the movie The Breakfast Club.
  • Enrico Colantoni played Preston DeVere. He is an established actor, perhaps most recognized for his roles in the television shows Just Shoot Me! and Veronica Mars.

See Also

CSI:Las Vegas Season 7
Built to Kill, Part 1Built to Kill, Part 2Toe TagsFannysmackin'Double CrossBurn OutPost MortemHappenstanceLiving LegendLoco MotivesLeaving Las VegasSweet JaneRedrumMeet MarketLaw of GravityMonster in the BoxFallen IdolsEmpty EyesBig ShotsLab RatsEnding HappyLeapin' LizardsThe Good, The Bad, And The DominatrixLiving Doll
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