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Lover's Lanes
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Season 10
Number 8
Writer Dustin Lee Abraham
Director Andrew Bernstein
Original Airdate November 19, 2009
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Next Episode: Appendicitement

Lover's Lanes is the eighth episode in season ten of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.

Synopsis

The CSIs try to figure out who put a severed head in the ball return during a championship bowling match, while Langston re-investigates the case of a woman accused of shooting her husband after she kills herself in her prison cell.

Plot

Victim: Ronald Tobin (deceased)

On the case: Catherine Willows, Greg Sanders, Nick Stokes, Sara SIdle, Jim Brass

During a nationally televised bowling match, a severed head comes back in the ball return, much to the horror of everyone present. The victim is identified as Ronald Tobin, who works at the bowling alley's rental desk. Greg notes that if the head came out the ball return, it went in behind the lane. A check behind the lanes leads him to discovering an empty bowling ball bag with blood in it.

Greg locates the spot where the head was dropped into the ball return conveyor system. He also spots a pinsetter camera in the lane that could be of some assistance. Outside in the parking lot, Nick finds Ronald's car. The trunk is filled with bowling gear from Silver State Bowling Supply - and a homeless friend of Ronald's who was sleeping. Nick evicts the man from the car in order to being processing it.

In autopsy, Catherine and Doc Robbins take a closer look at the severed head. They see manual saw strokes at the decapitation point along with hesitation marks, suggesting that the killer isn't skilled. Based on the lack of hemorrhagic tissue, Doc Robbins says that the decapitation occurred postmortem. Catherine pulls something from the nostrils that they identify as lung tissue, which could have made its way into the nasal cavity after a traumatic injury, such as a gunshot to the chest.

Sara speaks with Ronald's girlfriend, Shea, who positively identifies the homeless man from earlier as Vitas Long. She says that she last saw Ronald alive earlier in the day and that his only enemy was himself - he had the skills to be a professional bowler, but not the mentality. Upon processing the empty bowling ball bag Greg found earlier, Sara finds two sets of prints on it - one belonging to Ronald and the other belonging to Kevin 'X' Chatts, one of the bowlers in the televised competition.

Under interrogation, Kevin admits that the bag belongs to him, but that it was stolen the first day of the competition. Kevin initially claims to not know Ronald, but Brass shows him tweets from fans and critics that indicate that the two squared off in a match. A flashback shows Ronald challenging Kevin and eventually beating him in front of dozens of onlookers. Kevin denies killing Ronald in revenge. Brass then pivots to Kevin's opponent in the match, Chevy Ciggs. Since Kevin has never been able to beat Chevy, Brass hypothesizes that he tried to mess with Chevy's head by sending an actual head up the ball return - with help from a partner. Kevin denies this, as well, and is allowed to leave; however, he's told not to leave town.

Greg goes through the photos from the pinsetter camera and spots the moment someone put Ronald's head in the ball return; however, the assailant is off-camera. He then goes through the photos from the night before when Ronald and Kevin battled and finds Vitas hiding out in the back of the alley.

Vitas is found at his place of employment at Silver State Bowling Supply and arrested. As Catherine and Nick walk through the place, Catherine spots a box saw and finds that it tests positive for blood. They follow a blood trail out into a garage; at the end of the trail, they find a large blood spot, medium velocity blood spatter and a 9mm bullet embedded in some wood. This appears to be where Ronald was shot. They then follow a trail of wood splinters across the premises and are overwhelmed by the smell of decomp. A trail of Staphylinidae beetles leads them to a wooden crate that contains the rest of Ronald's body.

Back at the station, Brass interrogates Vitas. When shown the picture of him behind the alley, Vitas admits that Ronald paid him money to knock down some pins during the match against Kevin. Vitas defends Ronald, saying that he was a stand-up dude who only cheated to impress Shea. He adds that Ronald never sold the stolen bowling gear found in the trunk of his car, either. Brass lays out the facts - Vitas was found sleeping in Ronald's car and works at the place where Ronald's headless body was found. Vitas admits to being a homeless drug addict, but denies killing anyone.

Catherine gathers the team for a recap of the evidence - the autopsy revealed that Ronald was shot once through the lung and that all of the blood at the scene was his. Additionally, no prints came back on either the saw or the bullet, and only Kevin's and Vitas' prints were found on the bowling ball bag. Television shots show that both men were in the crowd when Chevy was bowling, seemingly letting Vitas off the hook. Greg notes that the head appeared 18 seconds after Chevy bowled and the team wonders if someone could make it from the back of the alley to the front in that short amount of time. Greg and Nick time it out at the bowling alley and determine that it's indeed possible.

Sara goes over the raw broadcast footage of the tournament and sees that Vitas never left the spot he was standing in before the head appeared. However, she sees that Shea was moving at the time and tracks her from the back side of the lanes.

Shea is questioned and claims she had gone to her car to get her birth control pills, running back so that she didn't miss the match. Catherine enters the interrogation room and reveals that an expensive designer purse was found in Shea's apartment - only this purse appears to have been slashed with a razor. Knowing that a woman wouldn't do that to her own purse and figuring that the person who bought it for her wouldn't, either, Catherine asks Shea who gave her the purse. Shea admits that Chevy gave her the purse and that they were dating.

Brass interrogates Chevy in another room and reveals that not only does Chevy own a 9mm gun, but his the same ammo that killed Ronald was found in his house. The gun is missing, and Chevy claims that Shea stole it from him, which leads him to believe that Shea killed Ronald. He tells Brass that he broke up with Shea because she was nuts and figures that Shea killed Ronald in order to get him out of the picture and rekindle their relationship. Putting the head in the ball return and messing with his game was her way of getting revenge.

Catherine and Sara quickly conclude that there's no way Shea could have done everything - shooting Ronald, cutting off his head, stuffing the body into a crate and dragging the crate across a parking lot - by herself. All of Chevy's clothes come back negative for blood, but Catherine finds blood in one of the finger holes of his bowling ball. The blood comes back to Ronald and since the blood on the severed head was already dry when Chevy touched it, it had to have gotten on his finger beforehand. He also didn't touch his ball after touching the head. Back at the bowling alley, Chevy wins the tournament by knocking down a 7-10 split before being placed under arrest.

Sara tells Shea that she needs to come completely clean, or else she'll rot in a jail cell while Chevy continues to win bowling titles. She admits that when Ronald found out about her and Chevy, he forced her to lure Chevy to the bowling supply store's warehouse. There, he held Chevy at gunpoint; however, unbeknownst to Ronald, Chevy also had a gun. Chevy shot him and had Shea help him put the body into the crate. As they were doing so, Chevy broke up with her and told her to keep quiet. Shea admits that she was tired of being lied to by both Ronald and Chevy, and so she wanted to give Chevy something he would never forget - the head of a man he had killed. She asks Sara how long her and Chevy's jail sentences will be and concludes that they may still get together after they're released - if Chevy has forgiven her by then. Sara puzzledly stares back at her.

Victim: James York (deceased)

On the case: Raymond Langston

Langston is called to a women's prison where one of the inmates, Carla York, has hung herself. He returns to the lab after taking some photos and goes over the case with Carla's public defender. The defender tells Langston that Carla always swore she was innocent in the shooting death of her husband, James, 13 months ago.

A flashback shows the couple getting into an argument, which ended when Carla, who served in the National Guard, shot James from a second floor window. The revolver, which was registered to James, was found in the bushes below the window, and the bullet recovered from the body matched the gun. There was no gunshot residue found on Carla, with evidence suggesting that she had showered after committing the act. She was also heavily intoxicated and claimed that she didn't remember anything from that night. Carla's sister, Hannah, was staying at the house and claims to have heard the gunshot and found the James' body in his car. The defender tells Langston that he tried to get Carla to plead out, but she refused. She was found guilty in five hours and, five hours after that, she was found dead in her cell. When asked why he's so interested in the case, Langston tells the defender that Carla hung herself over the verdict and that he would like to find out why.

Langston goes over photos from the crime scene and notes that the angle of the shot that killed James was 14.6 degrees. With Hodges' help, he recreates the angle of the shot and ends up getting the same entry wound path from two different shooting angles. He explains to Hodges that the bullet is a hollow point. Due to the shape of the bullet, the lower lip of it could have struck the windshield first, which caused it to become unbalanced and deflect down. He notes that if this fact is unaccounted for, one might conclude that the shot came from a second-story window when, in reality, it was fired from ground level. Langston has exonerated Carla for the murder of her husband; unfortunately, it's too late for Carla.

At the York house, Langston determines that the true path of the fatal bullet came from the backyard, which is where Hannah said she was. He sprays a brick wall that tests positive for gunshot residue; an overhang had protected the spot from the elements.

Langston has Hannah come down to the station and informs her that Carla was innocent for the murder of her husband; however, he points the finger at Hannah, instead. He theorizes that James was having an affair with Hannah and wonders if the murder was an accident, adding that he figures Hannah didn't think her sister would go down for the crime. In fact, Hannah didn't even try to frame Carla. She confesses, saying that James was a horrible human being who had children with three other women, and that she didn't want him screwing up her baby niece's life. Before being arrested, she says that she did everyone a favor by killing James and hopes that will mean something upon being sentenced. Langston replies that it's not for him to judge.

Cast

Main Cast

Guest Cast

  • Jorja Fox as Sara Sidle
  • Larry M. Mitchell as Officer Mitchell
  • Marcus Giamatti as Chevy Cigs
  • Devon Gummersall as Kevin 'X' Chatts
  • Ashley Jones as Shea Lammet
  • Scoot McNairy as Vitas Long
  • Blake Shields as Ronald Tobin (victim)
  • Jennifer Crystal Foley as Jennifer Delaney
  • Elizabeth Lambert as Carla York (suicide)
  • Jos Viramontes as Public Defender
  • Annabella Salvati as Eva

Quotes

"When did bowling become so serious?"
―Sara Sidle

Goofs

  • In the opening few minutes the bowling score for Chevy Cigs is incorrect. The score of 237 is counting the eight pins from the split that he hasn't bowled yet.
  • When Sara is talking to Shay at the station in the beginning, Shay's hands on the cup of tea in her hands change position in between shots.
  • When Langston is at the house with Hodges talking about the overhang on the column keeping the GSR on the column, Langston's hands on the column change position in between shots.

Music

  • Offset (Swamp Mix) by Toob
  • Your Decision by Alice in Chains

See Also

CSI:Las Vegas Season 10
Family AffairGhost TownWorking StiffsCoup de GraceBloodsportDeath & The MaidenThe Lost GirlsLover's LanesAppendicitementBetter Off DeadSin City BlueLong BallInternal CombustionUnshockableNeverlandThe Panty SnifferIrradiatorField MiceWorld's EndTake My Life, Please!Lost & FoundDoctor WhoMeat Jekyll
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