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Let the Chips Fall
Let the Chips Fall
Season 1
Number 5
Writer Graham Thiel
Director Kenneth Fink
Original Airdate November 3, 2021
Navigation
Previous Episode: Long Pig
Next Episode: Funhouse

Let the Chips Fall is the fifth episode in Season One of CSI: Vegas.

Synopsis[]

A cargo plane lands autonomously at McCarran Airport, but everyone on board is dead. Meanwhile, Grissom and Sara get closer to the person suspected of framing Hodges, only to find out that he's killed and thus not the mastermind.

Plot[]

Victims: Eduardo Reyes, Ellis Truette, Mike Conroy (all deceased)

On the case: Allie Rajan, Chris Park, Joshua Folsom, Maxine Roby

The control tower at McCarran Airport radios an incoming plane, but gets no response. Thinking they may be looking at a terrorist situation, the police are dispatched once the plane lands. A responding officer is horrified by what he sees when he opens the cargo door.

Allie, Folsom and Max head to the airplane hangar at the airport, where they're met by FBI Special Agent Marcus Barron. Max and Agent Barron have a personal history together, which piques Allie's interest. Agent Barron fills the team in—the cargo plane was inbound from Mexico and was radio silent on approach. Due to modern technology, the plane was able to land itself. In the cargo hold, the CSIs are shown the bodies of the three members of the flight crew; there's blood all over the walls.

Folsom uses a drone to map the crime scene without stepping foot inside the plane. He and fellow CSI Chris Park observe blood on the ceiling of the plane, but are unsure as to whether it's cast-off or arterial spray. Chris guesses that wounds on two of the victims are from the nearby fire axe, which is covered in blood; this will make fingerprint recovery rather difficult. The CSIs theorize that one of the crew members went crazy with the axe; the other victims died trying to fight back.

Clay Watkins, who works for the plane's parent company, identifies the victims as Eduardo Reyes (the captain), Mike Conroy (the first officer) and Ellis Truette. Ellis wasn't on the schedule, and Clay guesses that he hitched a ride home on the plane, a common occurrence. Someone also pulled the fuse, rendering the black box useless.

In the cargo hold, Folsom relays to Allie and Chris that there are three different blood pools with different blood types—each blood type is associated with a victim. The question is which victims the blood on the ceiling belongs to. Once the team determines who bled out where, they might be able to figure out who killed who.

After marking the numerous blood drops, Allie and Folsom make their way to an opened crate. The strap on the crate appears to have been cut open with the same fire axe used as the murder weapon. A search of the crate's contents leads to the thought that someone was looking for something. Allie wonders if one of the victims started snooping around and got caught, leading to the vicious attack. She also thinks they might be looking at a heist gone wrong; however, if something is missing, the heist may have been successful.

Max explains to Agent Barron that $1,000 chips at the local Zenith Casino are the most valuable in Vegas—they don't have RFID chips in them, meaning they can be cashed in by anyone at any time with no questions asked. She has a box on her desk roughly the size of the missing box from the crate; the box can hold $2 million in chips. Folsom checks the manifest and confirms that the missing box was destined for Zenith Casino; the chips themselves are made in a factory in Senora, Mexico. He believes that someone else was on the plane, killed the three men, and parachuted out. Agent Barron pokes holes in this theory, noting that the door to the cargo hold was closed and the cabin was pressurized when the plane landed. Max knows that the killer had to have left something behind on the plane; it's up to the team to find it.

In autopsy, Dr. Ramirez shows Allie and Folsom the bodies of Captain Reyes and First Officer Conroy. Both men sustained over 20 lacerations, but curiously had no defensive wounds. Folsom spots burn marks on Captain Reyes' neck consistent with a stun gun; the same marks on First Officer Conroy. Allie notes that tasers are packed with AFID tags—numbered tags that basically identify the weapon. No AFID tags were found in the cargo hold; however, If the door was open midflight when the thief jumped, they may have been sucked out of the plane. The story on Ellis Truette is different. Ellis, a single father to an eight-year-old boy, wasn't tased and didn't die like the other two victims. His cause of death was hypoxia; he was starved from oxygen, possibly from when the cabin depressurized. This means he was still alive when the killer jumped out with the chips. Dr. Ramirez holds up Ellis' x-ray, which shows that he had an advanced stage of lung cancer. Allie and Folsom wonder if Ellis was in on the heist, hoping to provide for his son once he passed away. Unfortunately, he snuck someone on board who took the chips for themselves and left Ellis to die.

Ellis' luggage is sent to the lab for analysis; when it's opened, there's nothing inside. Agent Barron immediately deduces that Ellis smuggled in his partner in the suitcase, as commercial pilots' luggage isn't x-rayed in Mexico. Max spots what appears to be cleaning residue in the suitcase, which likely wiped out any DNA. However, she finds a barcoded sticker that's slapped on luggage at the airport, which Agent Barron takes a photo of. Meanwhile, Chris finds out that the 212 blood samples recovered from the plane all belonged to the decedents; if there was another passenger, they didn't bleed on the plane.

The sticker Max found traces back to a flight from 2014; Ellis' cousin, Gary Hayworth, was on that flight. Gary has a long rap sheet, and his bio lists him as 5'2"—small enough to fit into a suitcase. Furthermore, Gary's last known address was Ellis' house; the two had apparently been living together.

When the FBI arrives at the house, they're greeted at the door by Laura Kennerly, a part-time babysitter to Ellis' son, Cole. Laura claims to not know when Gary was at the house last, as he usually only stopped by when he needed a place to crash. She adds that she wasn't a fan of Gary's, saying that he wasn't the best influence on Cole. The FBI sweeps the house, but finds no trace of Gary inside.

Allie and Folsom are granted access to the house. While Allie finds a stained shirt that she offers to take back to the lab, Folsom finds something much more interesting—Ellis' computer. The last website visited was a currency exchange calculator, and Gary was finding the exchange rate between US dollars and Maldivian rufiyaa. They're soon interrupted by sobbing coming from young Cole's bedroom. Folsom enters and tries consoling the boy, who is sitting on his bed with a snow globe next to him. Cole explains that the snow globe is new, as it was waiting for him when he came back from getting ice cream with Laura. He figures that Gary stopped by and gave it to him after he heard about Ellis. Folsom tells Cole that someone hurt his dad, and he vows to find the person responsible. He then asks to borrow the snow globe as evidence, promising that he'll return it when the lab is done with it. Cole consents to the request.

In the lab, Max lifts a fingerprint from the snow globe's curved surface in an effort to place Gary in the house after the murders. There are actually six overlapping prints on the snow globe, some of which come back to a Jenny Romero, who also has a rap sheet. Max notes that the five foot tall Jenny would also be small enough to fit in a suitcase.

Max treats Agent Barron to breakfast at a local diner. To the agent's surprise, Gary walks in and sits at the counter. Max explains that half of Gary's shirts all had the same stain—a mix of beef tallow and starch instead of cooking oil. She put a call into all of the places on this side of town that cook the old-fashioned way and discovered that Gary eats at this particular diner daily. Gary, however, has put on quite a bit of weight from his diner diet, making it impossible that he could fit into a suitcase. While he may not have been on the plane, he could still be an accomplice.

When confronted, Gary claims that he's innocent and that he doesn't know where Jenny is. He rejects the notion that Ellis committed theft, adding that Jenny never even met Ellis, despite her prints being on the snow globe. Gary says that Jenny picked up the snow globe for him, and he gave it to Cole as a gift. Agent Barron wants to speak to Jenny and confirm this story; however, Gary says that Jenny has been ignoring his calls.

Folsom stops by Ellis' house to give Cole a replacement snow globe while the other one is still in the lab being processed. A counselor from Child Protective Services arrives to take Cole into foster care and gives Laura a form to sign. While she's signing it, Folsom notices that her fingertips have frostbite.

Laura is brought to the station for questioning. Folsom deduces that she got frostbite because she was 40,000 feet up in the air on the plane. She denies being a murderer, but Agent Barron reveals that she's a former airmen who served six years in the Air Force brig for trying to kill her superior officer. Laura says that she made a mistake and has since turned her life around. She claims to know nothing about stealing the poker chips, saying that the idea was Ellis'. However, Folsom theorizes that Ellis smuggled her onto the plane in the suitcase. While he distracted the pilot, Laura emerged and stole the chips. Greed got the better of her, though, as she decided to kill everyone on board and keep the $2 million for herself instead of splitting it with Ellis. Had she stuck to the plan, nobody would've noticed her, and the heist would've been successful. Laura says that none of this can be proven and, since she isn't being formally charged with anything, she gets up and leaves.

Jenny Romero is located and provides an alibi, ruling her out as a suspect. A frustrated Folsom tells Allie that there's no evidence of Laura being on the plane; while there were a lot of prints on the packages in the crate, none of them were hers. He's seemingly out of places to look. Allie returns Cole's snow globe; upon flipping it upside down, Folsom comes to a realization. During the murders, the plane itself was upside down, meaning all viable evidence is actually on the ceiling. He and Allie return to the plane and find an AFID tag from a taser that got left behind in a vent.

The serial numbers imprinted on the AFID tag trace back to a taser cartridge that Laura recently purchased. A flashback shows her incapacitating Captain Reyes and First Officer Conroy with the taser; however, they fought back. She then grabbed the nearest weapon (the axe) and started swinging. The plane then rolled, getting blood evidence everywhere and causing the AFID tag to slip down into the vent. Laura jumped out of the plane with the assumption that everyone on board was dead; however, Ellis was still alive and had enough strength to shut the door and activate the auto-land system. By doing so, he prevented a crash and saved hundreds of lives on the ground.

Gary stops by the lab and is greeted by Cole. Folsom talks to Gary privately and convinces him to take Cole, as it's what Ellis would've wanted.

Under Investigation: David Hodges

On the case: Gil Grissom, Maxine Roby, Sara Sidle

Grissom and Sara provide Maxine with a file on the person they suspect is framing Hodges. The suspect in question is Martin Kline, a former medical examiner who now makes a living as an expert witness. Not only does he match the phenotype of the suspect the CSIs are looking for, he's the only one with the technical expertise to leach DNA from bones. Martin also conducts private autopsies and apparently swipes parts from corpses. Sara contacts the coroner's office and gets files on the cases Martin worked recently. One case involved the victim's family donating their loved one's body to science, and Martin performed the autopsy. Grissom is excited at the prospect of going to the body farm.

Grissom and Sara visit the body farm, focusing on the body of Riley Jones, whom Martin autopsied. Their belief is that the farm didn't receive a fully intact corpse, and Dr. Patel Abbas leads them to the grid where Riley's body was disposed. The body is in several different quadrants of the grid, and some bones appear to have animal bites on them, making their job a little more difficult. They hope to find enough evidence that Martin Kline visited the body farm before the wild animals did.

Grissom and Sara reconstruct the body and see that three bones are missing. When told that a private autopsy was performed by someone who may have taken souvenirs, Dr. Abbas immediately guesses that it was Martin, as he has a reputation amongst other pathologists. Teeth marks near two of the missing bones prove that a wild animal got to them; however, the third missing bone was cut, likely by an autopsy saw.

As Sara waits for Grissom to meet her, she's confronted by Martin, who greets her with an overly enthusiastic smile. When Grissom arrives, Martin introduces himself and says that the three of them should work together in regards to determining Riley Jones' cause of death. Grissom excuses himself and Sara, and Martin cheerfully offers to stop by another time. As Martin walks away, Grissom and Sara conclude that they've been made—Martin was on a fishing expedition. The guess is that he won't be back, as he wouldn't want to make the CSIs even more suspicious. Sara figures that Martin isn't going to leave them anything to find, either; he'll scrub everything. Now that the investigation is out in the open, Sara believes they should get a warrant. Meanwhile, Martin gets on an elevator and makes a phone call, telling someone that Grissom and Sara know something, which is going to have to be "dealt with."

Grissom peruses a list of crimes in an effort to find the charge against Martin that will provide them with the widest search parameters. However, Max warns him that this will set of alarms in the district attorney's office; without enough evidence, the entire investigation will be shut down. In other words, Grissom and Sara have one chance at making this work; otherwise, Hodges is finished. Sara offers to find another way to get a warrant, as she doesn't want to put Max's job at risk. However, Max replies that she values the lab's reputation above all else; if Hodges goes down, the lab will never recover. With this in mind, she sets out to get the warrant to search Martin's house.

Grissom and Sara arrive at Martin's house with the warrant, but find the house mostly blown to smithereens. There's a charred body inside that has yet to be identified; however, Sara recognizes the watch on the victim's wrist and remembers that Martin was wearing the same watch earlier. While Martin appears to be the victim, the thought is that the grenade that did the damage belonged to someone else. Grissom and Sara know that the timing of this is no coincidence; whoever did this was determined to keep their secrets a secret.

As he walks through the house, Grissom reaches Martin's workbench. He soon figures out that the fire in the room didn't come from the grenade blast; someone didn't want them examining Martin's tools. Sara finds a piece of duct tape that was stuck to Martin's neck, concluding that the grenade was taped to him. All signs point to the fact that Martin was working for someone else when he framed Hodges. Grissom soon makes his way to an adjacent hallway, part of which is surprisingly intact. When he shines a red light on the wall, he sees that someone sprayed it with luminol. Grissom believes that their mystery suspect finally made a mistake.

Cast[]

Main Cast[]

Guest Cast[]

  • Jay Lee as Chris Park
  • Yancey Arias as Marcus Barron
  • Georgina Reilly as Laura Kennerly
  • Joshua Bitton as Gary Hayworth
  • Izzy Diaz as Martin Kline
  • Abhi Trivedi as Dr. Patel Abbas
  • John Churchill as Clay Watkins
  • Roger Dale Floyd as Cole
  • Tunista Hardison as CPS Counselor

Goofs[]

  • When Gary Hayworth's rap sheet is brought up on the FBI website, the words "receiving" and "identity" are spelled wrong (spelled as "recieving" and "identitiy").

Music[]

  • If I Told You by Al Casey
  • Devil by Two Feet

Notes[]

  • The note Agent Barron leaves for Max reads: Sorry I didn't have time for a proper goodbye. We make a good team. Next time... -Marcus.

Trivia[]

See Also[]

  • Category:Images from Let the Chips Fall
CSI:Vegas Season 1
Legacy (Vegas)Honeymoon in VegasUnder the SkinLong PigLet the Chips FallFunhouseIn the BloodPipe CleanerWaiting in the WingsSigned, Sealed, Delivered


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