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Leaving Las Vegas
CSI leavinglasvegas.jpg
Season 7
Number 11
Writer Allen MacDonald,
Carol Mendelsohn
Director Richard J. Lewis
Original Airdate January 4, 2007
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Next Episode: Sweet Jane

Leaving Las Vegas is the eleventh episode in season seven of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.

Synopsis

Catherine testifies in a murder trial in which a man is accused of murdering his own mother three years ago, but the suspect is found not guilty. Catherine, however, believes he did commit the crime and that he may also have killed two other people. Grissom prepares to leave on a four-week sabbatical.

Plot

Victims: Addie Finch (deceased), Mary Acheson (deceased), Heather Curtis (deceased)

On the case: Catherine Willows, Nick Stokes

A black-and-white flashback shows Addie Finch in her home washing dishes. She hears the front door open and assumes it's her son; however, it's in an intruder. He stabs her in the back with a knife, then stabs her several times in the chest. As Addie lay dying, the killer stood over her, letting the bloody knife drip blood onto the floor.

In the present day, Catherine is on the stand in the courtroom laying out the facts in the case. CSIs processed the knife and found blood from four different sources, three of which were intermingled on the blade. One source was Addie Finch, while the other two sources were females who were related to each other, either sisters or a mother and daughter. The fourth blood source was found on the steel area under the handle of the knife; it belongs to the Addie's son, Jay, who is the one currently on trial for murdering his mother.

Catherine gets cross-examined by defense attorney Adam Novak, whom Catherine has a past history with. Adam puts forth the theory that Jay came home, found his mother stabbed to death, removed the knife and brought it to the police. Catherine counters with the fact that Jay never called the police and waited five days to turn the knife in. Adam says that Jay was in shock and asks if one of the two unknown sources on the knife could be the killer. Catherine doubts this and believes that Jay cut himself while stabbing his mother. However, since Jay lived in the house his entire life, his blood could have gotten on the knife at any time.

Addie's actual cause of death, however, was a gunshot wound to the head. Catherine believes that Jay stabbed his mother, then stood over her body and shot her. A bullet was recovered at the scene, but a gun was not. Since there were photos of Jay's father holding a gun that has the same caliber as the bullet, she figures that Jay used that gun. There was also an empty gun case in Jay's closet.

All of this evidence is not enough to convict Jay, as the jury comes back with a "not guilty" verdict. Afterwards, Catherine tells Adam that Jay is guilty, but Adam replies that she thought he was guilty once.

Catherine and Nick watch Jay's interview video. In it, he explains that he gets anxiety attacks and brutal headaches, leading him to get into his car and drive for days in order to calm himself down. This explains why he took so long to deliver the knife to the police. Catherine tells Nick that Jay is lying; in the house, his bags were packed by the front door. She figures that Addie was finally kicking her son out of the house and that he snapped and killed her. A CT scan of Jay's brain showed damage to Jay's frontal lobe, which could lead to a change in personality. Catherine says that they need to identify the two unknown female victims so they can charge Jay with murder again without it being double jeopardy. Nick recalls that there were no female-related crimes in the Vegas metro area the week Addie was killed, but Catherine says that only cities were checked, not small the small towns in between.

Catherine tells Grissom that Jay got an oil change the day he killed his mother. A difference in odometer readings led them to a search radius that turned up an unsolved murder of Laura Montoya and her twelve-year old daughter, Robyn, in Larkston. Catherine says that she needs to go to Larkston, but Grissom rebuffs her by saying that he's going on sabbatical and that she will be the acting supervisor. Surprised by this revelation and somewhat unhappy that Grissom sprung it on her, she leaves for Larkston and says that she'll be back by the time he leaves.

Out in the parking lot, Catherine packs up the SUV for the trip and is confronted by Adam. He apologizes for his past actions as part of his twelve-step program for his drinking problem and Catherine reluctantly forgives him. Nick arrives as Adam leaves and accompanies Catherine to Larkston. On the way, Nick brings up Grissom's sabbatical, which he believes is his way of leaving the lab for good. He adds that Grissom shaved his beard and lost some weight, possibly because he has a girlfriend. Grissom had even shockingly taken a day off recently.

Upon reaching Larkston, they speak to Sheriff Beth McGuire in the parking lot of a malt shop. Laura Montoya was a good friend of Sheriff McGuire's, so she wants to help solve the case. She recaps the case - Laura and her daughter were sitting at the bench eating well into the night, even after the shop had closed. A couple of skateboarders went by later and found a pool of blood, with some blood drops leading from the parking lot to the main road. The blood pool matched Laura's DNA, but no weapons were found at the scene. Nick notices some nicks in the pavement and Catherine guess that based on their direction, the shooter approached Laura from behind and shot her in the back. Knowing that the killer had to stand over Laura, he guesses the trajectory and looks under the table. Sure enough, there's a bullet embedded underneath.

The bullet recovered is a .25 caliber, which is inconsistent with the .38 caliber gun used on Addie. Nick figures that the crimes are unrelated, and Sheriff McGuire remarks that she has to call Laura's sister for the second time after getting her hopes up. She reveals that the first time was when a double murder occurred the same day that Laura and Robyn went missing. Mary Acheson and her daughter, Heather Curtis, had been murdered about twenty miles outside of Larkston; in that case, they got the guy. Robert Guffey's bloody fingerprints were all over the crime scene, and he even confessed the next day. He had stabbed and shot both victims. Sheriff McGuire says that there was no evidence to link Robert to Laura and Robin's abductions and Robert only confessed to killing Mary and Heather. Heather lived in the house with her mother, her husband and her son; the son was found hiding when the bodies were found. Robert, who had a history of violence, was the family plumber. His gun, a .38 caliber, was also recovered.

Sheriff McGuire takes Catherine and Nick to the Curtis house, which bears a striking resemblance to Addie Finch's house. The house hasn't been touched since the murders took place; inside, they see that blood pools are still on the floor. A rip in the screen door leads Catherine and Nick to figure that the killer forced his way in and stabbed Mary. Heather was stabbed after coming out from the kitchen to see what the commotion was. The killer then shot both women. Her son, Danny, was found hiding in the cabinet underneath the kitchen sink. Robert's fingerprints were found on the kitchen phone, and he admitted to making an anonymous 9-1-1 call from the house. A bloody doorknob on the door leading to the backyard came back positive for both victims' blood. Nick guesses that the killer saw the toys in the backyard and figured there was someone else in the house. In the backyard, he finds a rabbit hutch with skeletons inside. Sheriff McGuire guesses that the killer figured Danny was hiding in the hutch and fired into it, killing the rabbits. The bullets weren't collected because Robert confessed to the murders. When added together, the bullets fired into Addie, Mary, Heather and the hutch add up to six, meaning it's possible they were all fired from the same gun. But the question remains: who fired the gun - Robert Guffey or Jay Finch? They dig through the dirt under the hutch and find a bullet that still has enough characteristics to run for a comparison.

Doc Robbins calls Catherine and tells him that all three victims - Addie, Mary and Heather - had consistent wounds. They were each stabbed in the chest, then shot. The cause of death for all three was a gunshot wound to the head.

Catherine visits Robert Guffey in prison and tells him that for each question of hers that he answers, she will unbutton a button on her blouse. Robert doesn't recognize Addie from her autopsy photo and eventually admits that the cops coerced him into a confession by holding him in a room for twelve hours until he confessed. He confessed when told that he would be facing the death penalty. As to why his prints were all over the house, Robert says that he entered the house and found both Mary and Heather dead. He touched their bodies to see if they were still alive, then called the police to report the murders.

Nick calls Catherine and informs her that the bullet found under the rabbit hutch isn't a match to Robert's gun; however, its stria match the bullet that killed Addie. This brings them back to the missing .38 caliber gun that killed Addie. Catherine replies that they only way they'll get a conviction is if they can place Jay Finch at the Curtis house. She has Nick tell Brass to put a tail on Jay in case he tries to flee.

Catherine visits Sheriff McGuire at the police station. She brings up the fact that the sheriff interrogated Robert the same week her best friend and her daughter disappeared and used that emotion to coerce a confession out of him. Catherine says that she now has the opportunity to right a wrong.

Adam Novak shows up to the Vegas police station and demands to speak to Catherine. With Catherine still away, Nick intervenes. Adam is irate that the police are tailing his client, Jay, despite that fact that he was exonerated for the murder of his mother. Nick mentions that they're working on trying Adam for a different crime, and Adam believes that Catherine is doing this because she has a personal vendetta against him.

Catherine and Sheriff McGuire stand outside of the Curtis house along with Shawn Curtis and his son, Danny. Shawn is upset that the case is being reopened, as he has spent three years trying to get the memories out of his head. Catherine informs him that Robert Guffey was likely in the house after the fact and that Danny might remember something, as he's the sole survivor. She asks Danny if he's able to go back into the house and recall what took place; Danny agrees, as he wants to say a final goodbye to his mother and grandmother.

In the house, they walk past the pools of blood and into the kitchen. Danny remembers that his mother had made cookies. He reached in the cookie jar and took one, causing the jar to make a mooing sound. Heather heard him take the cookie, so he hid in the cabinet under the sink to eat it. While he was in there, the killer came through the front door and stabbed and shot his mother and grandmother. The killer then stood in front of the cabinet, letting blood drip from the knife onto the floor. Danny then heard the cookie jar moo and the killer eat a cookie. The killer then went into the backyard and fired more shots before coming back in through the front door and calling the police; however, they now know that Robert is the one who called the police. Catherine lifts the cookie jar lid and finds a bloody fingerprint on the inside of it.

Catherine brings the cookie jar back to the lab for processing. The blood on the lid is a match to two DNA markers - Mary and Heather. Furthermore, the print is Jay's. Jay is handcuffed in his home and taken away.

Catherine and Nick search the house, finding that Jay is keeping it as if his mother were still alive. Knowing that the gun case was kept in the bedroom closet, Catherine searches it and brings down a shoebox from the shelf. It contains a notebook that belongs to Jay; it's filled with pages upon pages of the same sentence: "There's no place like home. There's no place like home." Catherine notes that Jay was constantly writing in his notebook during the trial; now she knows what he was writing.

Nick guesses that Jay had been driving for days during one of his anxiety attacks/headaches and came upon the Curtis farm. Due to its similarity to his house, an exhausted and disoriented Jay thought he was home. When Mary, an elderly woman, denied him access to the house, Jay essentially saw this as his own mother kicking him out. He saw red and killed both Mary and Heather.

As Jay waits in the interrogation room, Adam meets up with Catherine and tells her that he will only defend cases he thinks he can win. She mentions Robert Guffey, who is in jail for a crime they now know he didn't commit. Catherine adds that everyone deserves justice, even the second time around. Adam smiles, noting the parallel between her statement and his past actions.

Grissom leaves for his four-week sabbatical, putting Catherine in charge and giving some of the team members advice and encouragement. After he leaves, a package is put on his desk. A view inside shows that the package contains another model crime scene, complete with a mini newspaper and a picture of a bloody doll.

Cast

Main Cast

Guest Cast

  • Vincent Duvall as Lt. Jack Parker
  • Alan Rosenberg as Adam Novak
  • Wallace Langham as David Hodges (uncredited)
  • Lucinda Jenney as Sheriff Beth McGuire
  • Jed Rees as Jay Finch
  • Michael Sean Tighe as Robert Guffey
  • Kevin Rankin as Shawn Curtis
  • Anne-Marie Johnson as ADA Jasmine Davis
  • Skyler Gisondo as Danny Curtis
  • Lupe Carranza as Laura
  • Pat Destro as Mary Acheson
  • Ian Gilmore as Jake Hanson
  • Ted Heyck as Judge Heyck
  • Danielle Kennedy as Addie Finch
  • Virginia Newcomb as Heather Curtis
  • Trenton Rogers as 4 year old Danny Curtis

Episode Title

  • The episode is possibly titled after the 1995 movie of the same name. Leaving Las Vegas starred Nicolas Cage and Elisabeth Shue (who later play Julie Finlay in CSI).
  • The title also refers to the fact that Grissom is leaving for a sabbatical, while Catherine and Nick travel outside of Vegas to solve a crime.

Notes

  • Louise Lombard (Sofia) and Paul Guilfoyle (Brass) are credited, but do not appear in this episode. Guilfoyle is listed as uncredited despite the fact that Brass is seen on tape interviewing Jay Finch.
  • Grissom tells the team that he's leaving for a sabbatical, something that was hinted to the viewer in the episode Happenstance.

Trivia

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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