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Long Road Home
Long Road Home.jpg
Season 14
Number 17
Writer Gavin Harris
Director Phil Conserva
Original Airdate March 12, 2014
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Previous Episode: Killer Moves
Next Episode: Uninvited

Long Road Home is the seventeenth episode in season fourteen of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.

Synopsis

The CSIs investigate the murder of a rock and roll groupie and the disappearance of a prostitute that both have ties to a mysterious band.

Plot

Victims: Marcie Cody (deceased), "Tangerine" (missing)

On the case: entire team

The morning following a concert, the body of a woman is found in the back of a limo. She's covered in blood, but the lack of blood in the limo suggests she was killed somewhere else. The victim has no purse or identification, but she's wearing a concert wristband from the night before.

The company that owns the limo tells Sara that it was rented to an anonymous rock band who paid cash and wanted to remain under the radar. When the driver wasn't looking, the band stole the limo and drove it to its current location. The driver eventually found it, but due to suffering from alcohol poisoning, he was unable to drive it back to the concert venue.

In the hospital, the driver, Mike Lassek, tells Nick that one of the rockers stole his ride. He describes the band as "four old dudes" who were rehearsing for a secret gig. Mike reveals that the victim, named Marcie, was partying with another girl. He recalls picking Marcie and the band up from the Mediterranean and driving them to the Brimstone Club, where they met another girl named Tangerine. Upon trying to chat Tangerine up, one of the rockers got jealous and threatened to fight Mike; however, the rocker backed down when Mike defended himself.

Greg and Morgan process the limo and find a wide variety of items, one of which is a necklace belonging to Tangerine. Morgan discovers a contract for "The Fame Experience," which lists the backstage needs of each band member, including the desires for cans of Vienna sausages and green gumballs. Greg collects trace evidence he believes to be drugs and brings it back to the lab.

The victim is identified as Marcie Cody, who is in the system for solicitation. In autopsy, Doc Robbins labels her cause of death as exsanguination from multiple sharp force injuries. Despite Marcie's occupation as a working girl, there are no signs of sexual activity, consensual or otherwise. Upon washing away the blood, the doc finds a signature above Marcie's left breast; someone in the band left their illegible autograph.

Hodges identifies the trace Greg collected as melted plastic. When he reconstituted its shape, he discovered that it was originally a guitar pick. According to the manufacturer, the pick was custom-made for one rocker, who even signed it. The signature matches the one Finn is trying to decipher, and they see that the initials are "G.S."

Gene Simmons, legendary rocker for the band KISS, is brought into LVPD for questioning. Brass shows him a photo of Marcie's body and reveals that his guitar pick was found in the limo, putting him at the scene of the crime. Gene denies any involvement and eventually reveals that the rock 'n' roll party bus isn't real. Everything is part of "The Fame Experience," where a bunch of people pay a lot of money to feel famous, party, and hang out with a celebrity. The gig wasn't real, and Gene gives Brass the name of the other "rockers" who paid for the experience: Arnold Borkowski, Lex Young, and Ed Kapena.

At The Fame Experience, Nick and Sara meet the manager of the show, Marty 'The Cat' Kirch, who tells the CSIs that he books the bands and recruits the clients. He remembers the three gentlemen backing up Gene Simmons and says that the rockers left the place a mess after their performance. Marcie was also part of the experience, having been hired to play a groupie. Marty is disgusted when shown a photo of her body, and he offers to do anything to help find her killer, including finding out where the rockers were staying. When the CSIs process the area, they find a bloody knife and two distinct blood events onstage. A circular void in the middle of the stage doesn't line up with common physics.

Arnold Borkowski and Ed Kapena are found and brought in for questioning. In one interrogation room, Arnold tells Brass that The Fame Experience was Lex's idea, as the three of them had a band when they were in college. When shown a photo of Marcie's body, Arnold claims that he wasn't the one partying with the girls. In another interrogation room, Ed backs this story up, telling Finn that he and Arnold stayed at the Brimstone Club after Lex left with a girl on each arm. He adds that Lex is the one who stole the limo. Meanwhile, Arnold recognizes the bloody knife in question as Lex's. Nobody has been able to get in contact with Lex, and Ed is surprised how things have developed, telling Finn that Lex was signed to a record contract a few days ago after a producer heard him recording one of his songs.

Lex has a criminal record, having been arrested twice in the past for assault. To Greg's surprise, it seems that Lex actually had interest from a record label, as he received a $1,000 from a Cogitator Music International. Credit card transactions show that Lex spent the money on champagne at the Brimstone Club; however, no other charges have been made. Greg tells Russell that the killer did a good job cleaning up the crime scene, as Henry wasn't able to develop any DNA profiles from the bloody mess.

There's still confusion about the circular blood event, and Greg and Russell are alerted to a sharp banging coming from the garage. There, they find Nick drumming heavily and getting green paint everywhere. Nick shows them that he's been able to replicate the blood event by pouring the paint on the drums and just rocking out. He theorizes that a drunk and high Lex, coming off signing a record deal and performing onstage, thought he was a rock god and tried to get with both Marcie and Tangerine. When he was rebuffed, he stabbed both girls in a rage, transferred their blood onto the drums, then went back to playing. The theory makes sense, but the bloody drum kit is still missing.

Greg and Morgan traverse an alleyway that's between The Fame Experience studio and where the limo was found. They come across a bloody drumstick on the ground and soon find a storage locker belonging to The Fame Experience. Inside the locker, they find the bloody drum kit - along with Lex's body.

In autopsy, it's found that Lex sustained eight sharp force injuries consistent with the knife found at the crime scene. The blood on the drum kit also belongs to Lex. Among Lex's personal belongings are a cell phone that contains pictures of him with Tangerine, along with a ripped up lyric sheet written by Lex and dedicated to the young woman. Figuring that Lex didn't tear up his own lyric sheet, Finn processes it for fingerprints, finding that Tangerine's real name is Angela Glenn. The young woman has arrests for solicitation, pandering, and fraud.

Based on her past, it seems that Angela may be involved in the murders of Marcie and Lex. Time stamps from the photos in Lex's phone indicate that he first met Tangerine six days ago when The Fame Experience started. A dream came true for Lex, as he met his muse, wrote a song about her, and was signed to a record deal - all in a matter of days. The whole experience screams "scam," and it's found that Lex sent Cogitator Music International a check for $50,000. Alex Gradenko, the owner of the record label, deposited the checks himself; however, the label is actually an offshore account in Belize. Lex's e-mails show a back-and-forth between him and Alex, which culminated with Alex asking for the $50,000 due to a "problem with their digital distribution." The $1,000 Lex received was just a come-on, just like Tangerine's advances.

But how does a con turn into murder? The prevailing thought is that Tangerine started to feel for her mark. Lex, realizing that he was being conned, confronted Alex. This led to his murder, and Marcie was just collateral damage. Tangerine is now missing, and the thought is that Alex is in the wind, as well. However, an I.S.P. trace run on Alex's e-mails comes back to Vegas, not Belize. The person responsible for the e-mails? Marty 'The Cat' Kirch.

When confronted by Brass, Marty admits to inventing Alex Gradenko as a way to help his clients fulfill their dreams of being famous musicians. However, Brass tells him that defrauding people out of their money is a crime. Marty denies killing Lex, revealing that Lex himself is the one who hired Tangerine. Since Lex went off-script when he hired her, Marty says that he's not responsible for whatever happened next. He recalls that Lex and Tangerine were hanging out all weekend, but the fun ended when the two had a fight. Marty has been somewhat helpful, but he's still placed under arrest for fraud.

As Russell and Brass sit in Brass' office trying to make headway on the case, they're interrupted by Gene Simmons. The rocker hands them a pair of women's underwear, telling him that they belong to a woman named Tangerine. He adds that Tangerine is actually outside in his limo, and the police go to bring her in for questioning.

In the interrogation room, Tangerine is told that she's a suspect in two murders. While her background as a foster child could explain her violent streak, Russell reveals something much more interesting and shocking - she has 13 alleles in common with Lex, making them father and daughter. Tangerine admits to finding out about her father, insisting that she didn't accidentally sleep with him, nor did she kill two people. She recalls having a drink at the bar with Lex when he revealed that he was her father. He apologized for abandoning her and told her that he came to Vegas in an effort to fix things between them. Claiming that he wasn't good with words, he handed his daughter the lyrics to the song he wrote about her. Tangerine responded by ripping up the sheet.

All of this happened on Monday night; however, one night later, Tangerine was seen leaving the club with Marcie and her father. They were all friendly then, but one hour later, Marcie and Lex were dead. Tangerine says that Lex later apologized and wanted the chance to play his song. When she agreed, the three of them stole the limo and went back to the studio, where Lex performed. Before Tangerine left, Lex mentioned that someone was going to drop by the studio and record the song with backup vocals. She swears that everyone was alive when she left.

Marty turns over the recordings from the studio. Upon analyzing them, Hodges finds the one track Lex recorded; however, there appear to be no recordings with the background vocals. Hodges separates out the background noise from Lex's vocals and is able to hear someone else singing. Someone else was there recording vocals, and they likely erased their track to in an effort to remain anonymous. There isn't enough in the recording to identify the voice, but the lab has the microphone used.

DNA and trace evidence from the microphone comes back to Arnold Borkowski, as a few particles of green gumballs were found inside of it. Arnold tries to reason that he was singing into the microphone all weekend, but Nick explains that the gum contains an organic sweetener that can help them determine exactly when Arnold was performing. The last few particles of gum found in the microphone put him at the crime scene during the time of the murders.

Nick theorizes that Arnold arrived at the studio, where he was told to perform backup vocals. Arnold, tired of always being in the background, finally had enough. Irate, he tells Nick that he was always the heart and soul of their college band, but Lex is always the one who had to call the shots. With his hatred and jealously bubbling to the surface, he snapped when Lex told him that his "entire existence is background." In a blind rage, he picked up the knife, stabbed both Lex and Marcie, then drummed his aggression out on the drum kit. Arnold tells Nick that he only felt alive when they were all playing music, and he starts to sob over the realization of what he's done.

Outside in the waiting room, Brass sits down with Tangerine. He tries to convince her to give up the street life, as both a favor to him and to her dad. Seeing a lot of his own daughter in Tangerine, Brass gives her his business card, telling her to call him if she ever needs help or just wants to chat. Before leaving, he gives her the CD of the song Lex recorded for her.

Cast

Main Cast

Guest Cast

  • Larry M. Mitchell as Officer Mitchell
  • Gene Simmons as Himself
  • Michael Des Barres as Marty 'The Cat' Kirch
  • Jamie Kennedy as Ed Kapena
  • Joshua Bitton as Arnold Borkowski
  • Katherine McNamara as Angela Ward/Tangerine
  • Paul Greene as Lex Young
  • Nick Galarza as Mike Lassek
  • Alicia Fusting as Marcie Cody
  • Robert S. Martin III as Young Uni

Goofs

  • When the dead body is first shown in the bus, the head is looking to its right. In the follow up shots, the head is turned to its left.

Trivia

  • Jamie Kennedy, who played Ed Kapena, is an actor, screenwriter, standup comedian, and television producer. His most well-known acting credits include playing Randy Meeks in the Scream franchise and having his own show called The Jamie Kennedy Experiment.
  • The TV series Bones has done a previous episode involving The Fame Experience, but in that occasion, it was called "Rock 'n Roll Fantasy Camp."

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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