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Man Up
Man Up.jpg
Season 11
Number 11
Writer Michael F.X. Daley
Director Alec Smight
Original Airdate January 6, 2011
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Previous Episode: 418/427
Next Episode: A Kiss Before Frying

Man Up is the eleventh episode in season eleven of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.

Synopsis

A prostitute is found dead at the same site where a staged photo of the same dead person was taken and posted on a website days earlier, and Hodges theorizes that the parts on his new motorcycle were in a fatal accident.

Plot

Victim: Amber Rowe (deceased)

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

On a slow night in the lab, Greg peruses the website vitimsofvegas.com. He, Nick Mandy and Hodges debate whether a female victim in one of the site's photos is alive or dead. Greg believes that the woman is dead, while everyone else believes the photo to be staged. When Greg and Nick head out to the scene, they find that the victim is actually dead - and is being photographed by a large group of onlookers. David Phillips puts the victim's time of death at four to six hours ago. She exhibits signs of strangulation consistent with the orange lanyard and ligature mark around her neck.

In autopsy, Doc Robbins confirms that the cause of death is asphyxiation due to strangulation. Catherine has been able to identify the victim as Amber Rowe, who has priors for solicitation and possession. A wet mount indicates that Amber had sex shortly before her death. Something's not sitting right with Nick, so he opens up the photo from the website. He notices that the ligature mark around Amber's neck is inconsistent with the lanyard's position in the photo, while Catherine adds that the dress Amber was wearing when she was found is also different from the photo online. However, the victim in the photo is clearly Amber.

Archie gets the metadata for the uploaded photo, which says that it was taken at least 24 hours before Amber's actual time of death. Nick has Archie zoom in on a hubcap in the photo. The hubcap's reflection shows fireworks going off over the Tangiers, which happened two nights ago. This proves that Amber was alive when the photo was uploaded and that someone killed her for real 24 hours later.

Greg and Nick go to Amber's apartment and are surprised to find her boyfriend, Craig Higgins, there. Amber had apparently quit hooking six months ago before she met Craig, but this doesn't seem to be the case. He tells the CSIs that he knew deep down his girlfriend was still hooking, but he couldn't stop her. A search of the apartment turns up the dress Amber was wearing in the staged photo.

In the lab, Greg collects fibers from the dress and informs Catherine that they're zebra hairs. He guesses that Amber was sitting on zebra-skin seats and shows Catherine another photo that a friend in Patrol sent him. The photo is an odd one, as it shows the comedian Carrot Top posing on a zebra-skin seat, wearing the same type of orange lanyard that Amber was strangled with. The comedian had been kidnapped for a few hours before being found in this compromising position.

Carrot Top confirms to Nick and Brass that he was kidnapped, having been tied up in the back of his limo. He recognizes Amber from her photo and says that she was definitely alive when he last saw her. The comedian remembers starting the night in a strip club, then sharing a limo with Amber and two "preppy-looking" guys. He gave everyone backstage passes, which the guys used to tie him up. The next thing he remembers, he woke up in his boxer shorts, passed out on the zebra skin seats in the limo. Later, Greg and Nick process the limo, recovering some hairs and a some broken jewelry.

Analysis of the jewelry shows that they're part of a costume. Catherine points Greg to the Mediterranean casino, telling him that she helped her father pick out the Spartan costumes when she was young. At the casino, Greg talks to the Spartan, who tells him that two nights ago, someone stole his equipment in the bathroom and knocked him out when he tried to prevent the theft. Greg finds fingerprints at the top of the stall door and collects them.

Archie traces Amber's "alive" photo to a social networking site and finds that three prepaid cell phone users all shared photos on the site anonymously. He, Greg and Nick go through the photos and discover that they're part of a bucket list: 1) grand theft auto, 2) steal from a casino, 3) kidnap a celebrity, 4) kill a hooker. The group has successfully completed the first three, stealing a car (which hasn't been part of the case yet), stealing the Spartan's gear and kidnapping Carrot Top. They also took a picture of a "dead" Amber 24 hours before her body was actually found. The CSIs have three cell phones and three suspects.

The area codes on the cell phones are Chicago-based, and Mandy is able to match the prints on the bathroom door to a Scott Horan, who is a Chicago resident. Credit card receipts show that Scott bought three hotel rooms and three plane tickets; the other tickets and rooms belong to Hunter Ahearn and Jeff Blakely. The three amigos are arrested and brought to the station for questioning.

Under interrogation, the three men say that they came to Vegas to celebrate their ten-year college reunion and that they were only playing a game. Hunter and Jeff admit that the loser of the game pays for the entire weekend and knew that Scott would end up paying the tab because he's easy to mess with (and also wealthy). The gang would have a rules dispute, with Hunter and Jeff teaming up with Amber, while Scott committed low-risk crimes (like tipping a valet so he could drive a Ferrari around the block). To solidify their win, Hunter and Jeff paid Amber to stage her own death, which caused Scott to freak out. They then took the photo and e-mailed it to Amber, who wanted to show it to Craig. At the conclusion of the game, they dropped Amber off back at the hotel bar. Craig is found gambling and arrested.

Amber's bank records show that Craig cleaned her out after her death. Under interrogation, Craig tells Nick that what was Amber's was also his. Nick theorizes that Craig saw the phony photo as an opportunity to really kill her, get her money and pin the murder on one of the Chicago boys. Craig denies this, telling him that he was gambling the night Amber was killed, while she was spending time with one of the Chicagoans. She earned $5,000 from her trick, deposited it into the ATM and transferred it to Craig.

The ATM is brought into the lab, where Catherine and Greg are able to single out the bills Amber deposited. Prints on the bills come back to Scott Horan. He tells Nick and Brass that his friends showed him the photo of Amber's body and told him he lost the game. While he pondered what course of action to take next, he would see Amber walk into the hotel bar the next day, fully alive. After Amber laughed at him for being so gullible, he decided to pay her for another photo shoot and kill her for real, all in an effort to prove his manliness to his friends.

Hunter and Jeff are arrested for misdemeanors, while Scott will be sent to prison for murder one. There are no winners in this game.

As a side story, Nick and Greg make a bet on whether the woman in the photo was actually dead or not. While Nick won after it was proven the woman died after the photo was taken, he gives Greg's money back after Scott is arrested, noting that there are no real winners.

Victim: Peter Farmer (deceased)

On the case: David Hodges, Raymond Langston, Louis Vartann

Hodges wheels a motorcycle into the CSI garage, telling Langston that he bought it "all-original" at a swap meet. Langston can immediately see that this isn't the case, as the bike contains both old and new parts - as well as a bloody air filter. Upon examining the air filter, Langston finds the severed tip of someone's thumb. He tells Hodges that this is his opportunity to prove that he should be in the field more.

Hodges discovers that the DNA from the thumb and blood found in the air filter are from two different contributors. The blood came back to an unidentified male who was killed in an accident a month ago when two buses were involved in a head-on collision. Hodges relays this information to Langston and theorizes that the victim wasn't a passenger on either bus; instead, he was riding the motorcycle and got sandwiched between the two buses. Langston reads the accident report, noting that there was no mention of a motorcycle anywhere. He sees that wreckage was hauled away by Mars Brothers Salvage, and instructs Hodges to follow up on that lead.

Hodges heads to the salvage yard and is directed to the buses' location by Doyle Mars. After Hodges leaves to check them out, Doyle gives his brother, Denny, a worried look. Hodges finds blood on one of the fenders and envisions himself riding a motorcycle between the two buses. A flashback shows the unidentified driver trying to pass the bus on the two-lane highway, only to see the other bus coming from the opposite direction in the other lane. He cut off the first bus, causing the deadly collision. Hodges recovers a motorcycle part wedged in the wreckage and sees that it has a serial number on it.

The part is traced to a motorcycle that was owned by a Peter Farmer. Langston and Hodges question Peter's ex-girlfriend, Sandy Colfax. She tells them that after they broke up, Peter bought a motorcycle in an effort to hit the open road and "find himself." During the conversation, Hodges sees many similarities between he and Peter.

Hodges pays the Mars brothers another visit and asks them for a refund on his motorcycle. He explains that they sold the parts to the guy who put the bike together, which means they knew it was involved in a deadly accident that they didn't report. That qualifies as evidence tampering. Doyle tries to get Hodges to look the other way, but he and his brother get arrested by Det. Vartann. Hodges reveals that the severed thumb tip belongs to Denny, who cut it off accidentally when he was salvaging the bike.

Cast

Main Cast

Guest Cast

  • Alex Carter as Louis Vartann
  • Archie Kao as Archie Johnson
  • Sheeri Rappaport as Mandy Webster
  • Scott 'Carrot Top' Thompson as Himself
  • Rich Sommer as Scott Horan
  • Kevin Weisman as Craig Higgins
  • Amy Acker as Sandy Colfax
  • James Snyder as Hunter Ahearn
  • Jonathan Chase as Jeff Blakely
  • Trevor Donovan as Spartan
  • Blake Gibbons as Doyle Mars
  • Scott Anthony Leet as Denny Mars
  • Lili Mirojnick as Amber Rowe
  • Keith Middlebrook as Officer Arnold

Goofs

  • When the Spartan was using the toilet, he forgot to tear out the center of the paper seat cover before he sat down.

Music

  • For the Love of Money by The O'Jays

Notes

  • Jorja Fox (Sara) is credited but does not appear in the episode.

Trivia

  • Langston once again shows off his knowledge of motorcycles, as he did in the season nine episode Hog Heaven. In reality, Laurence Fishburne is a founding member of the Guggenheim Motorcycle Club, a group that arranges rides to art museums around the world.

See Also

CSI:Las Vegas Season 11
Shock WavesPool SharkBlood MoonSqweegelHouse of HoardersCold BloodedBump and GrindFrackedWild Life418/427Man UpA Kiss Before FryingThe Two Mrs. GrissomsAll That CremainsTargets of ObsessionTurn On, Tune In, Drop DeadThe ListHitting for the CycleUnleashedFather of the BrideCello and GoodbyeIn a Dark, Dark House
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