Season 9
Number 18
Writer Dustin Lee Abraham
Director William Friedkin
Original Airdate April 2, 2009
Previous Episode: No Way Out
Next Episode: The Descent of Man

Mascara is the eighteenth episode in Season Nine of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.


One of Langston's former grad assistants is murdered. He discovers that she was investigating Mexican Wrestling to discover the identity of an unknown serial killer.


Victim: Sylvia Mallick (deceased)

On the case: entire team

A disoriented young woman runs from a Lucha Libre match out into the streets of Vegas, trying to hail a cab but failing. When she notices a masked man following her, she flees; however, the man catches eventually catches up to her and breaks her neck. When the CSIs arrive at the scene, Langston is shocked to recognize the woman as Sylvia Mallick, a former student of his from WLVU. A flashback shows Langston meeting with Sylvia at a diner and telling her that he was leaving to become a CSI.

In autopsy, Catherine determines that Sylvia wasn't sexually assaulted, while Langston discovers a piece of white leather in Sylvia's hand that he sends off to the lab for analysis. Doc Robbins determines that Sylvia's killer broke her C3, C4, and C5 vertebrae, killing her swiftly. When the doc says that he sent a blood sample to Tox, Langston tells him that it will come back negative, as Sylvia wasn't a party girl.

Langston looks over surveillance videos from the area near where Sylvia's body was found, but comes up with nothing. Riley interrupts and says that Sylvia had received six calls from one person a few hours before she died. That person is another former student of Langston's, Dan Forester. Langston goes to the casino where Dan works as a bartender to speak with him. Dan tells Langston that Sylvia, who was his live-in girlfriend, told him that she was doing research the night before, and Langston tells the young man that Sylvia is dead. Dan doesn't know what Sylvia was researching and says that everything is in her office on campus. When Langston goes to the office, he finds it trashed. He finds the autographed copy of his book that he gave her—along with a picture of a murdered woman.

Another flashback shows Langston meeting Sylvia at the same diner. She asks him for a favor—she needs crime scene photos from a couple of unsolved homicides to be used in her research. In the present, Langston brings the picture back to the lab. Catherine recalls the case: the Southwest Strangler killed three Hispanic women 11 years ago, severing their C3, C4, and C55 vertebrae. The Feds ran a task force, but abandoned it when the bodies stopped turning up. Langston's belief is that Sylvia was investigating the murders and got too close, costing her her life. Since her purse wasn't at the scene, Catherine wonders if the killer took it in order to break into the office and steal incriminating evidence. The DNA from the piece of leather is a mixture that's unable to be run through CODIS. However, Catherine says that all three Hispanic victims had a plant-based hallucinogen, Datura, in their system. When ingested, its effects can be stronger than LSD. Datura was in Sylvia's system, as well, and there were traces of powdered Datura on the leather. Langston notes that Datura is used in Santeria and voodoo rituals to speak with the dead.

The team contacts the narcotics department to get a list of known Datura dealers, leading Nick and Brass to a house in a rundown Las Vegas neighborhood. They interrupt a voodoo ritual in the house and spot a bowl of brown powder they recognize as Datura. They show a photo of Sylvia to the priest, but he claims not to know her, only guessing that she's dead.

Greg looks at surveillance camera footage from locations near to where Sylvia's body was found and pinpoints her location: the corner of Harmon and Pinchard, coming out of a building whose name is partially obscured. When Langston, Nick and Brass get to the location, they discover that it's a Lucha Libre, or Mexican wrestling, match where the opponents face each other wearing elaborate masks. Brass and Langston set about questioning the various wrestlers with criminal records, but all of them claim innocence of the past crimes they were arrested for or convicted of, and none of them admit to murdering Sylvia. The announcer, Esteban Fillipe, recognizes Sylvia and tells the CSIs that she used to come up to him with lots of questions for research about her paper. Like the other wrestlers, he refuses to give his DNA.

Stymied, Langston turns back to the leather fragment. After Hodges tells him it's approximately 50 years old, Langston and Riley scour a database of luchadores; they get a match to one named Fantasmo. Fantasmo, whose real name is Jesus, tells Langston and Brass that his mask is a copy of the mask that belonged to his father, also a Lucha Libre wrestler. When asked for his DNA, he readily offers it up. Wendy analyzes the leather for DNA and eliminates Jesus' sample, finding only one other: Esteban Fillipe's.

In the locker room at the wrestling ring, Jesus confronts Esteban and accuses him of stealing his father's mask. Jesus notes that the mask had been missing ever since Sylvia had been killed. He's seen Esteban looking at girls—including Sylvia. An irate Jesus blames Esteban for bringing the cops down on all of the wrestlers and kicks him out of the locker room. While Jesus is in a tanning stall, Esteban comes back into the locker room and turns on all of the showers to mask any noise. When Jesus emerges from the stall, Esteban shoots him twice. Jesus still has the strength to wrestle Esteban to the ground; however, Esteban is eventually able to retrieve his fallen gun and fire a fatal shot.

Langston and Brass go to the arena to arrest Esteban. Upon being spotted, Esteban tries to run, but he's eventually cornered and arrested. Under interrogation, Esteban denies hurting anyone—he claims Ogun, the god of violence and brute force, is responsible for his actions. Disgusted, Langston refuses to let him shirk blame for the murder. He slams Esteban's head into the table and departs, breaking things out of frustration out in the hallway.

Afterwards, Langston recalls Sylvia's compassion for the victims of serial killers who were never caught and starts to write the book she never got a chance to finish.


Main Cast[]

Guest Cast[]

  • Liz Vassey as Wendy Simms
  • Matt O'Leary as Dan Forester
  • Larry M. Mitchell as Officer Mitchell
  • Carlos Carrasco as Esteban Fellipe
  • Aimee Deshayes as Sylvia Mallick
  • Aaron Aguilera as Fantasmo
  • Reynaldo Gallegos as Julio Maytorena
  • Enigma de Oro as Los Chivos
  • Kayam as Los Chivos
  • Martin Fernandez Lepe as Mercurio Jr.
  • Conrad Robert as Palo Priest
  • Alan Fleury as Steve (uncredited)


  • Sylvia's name is spelled with a 'y.' However, when Langston signed a copy of his book for her, he wrote it as 'Silvia' with an 'i.'


  • This is the 200th episode of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.


  • The opening credits for this episode are different from the usual, partly from it being the 200th episode overall.
  • Langston signed a copy of his book for Sylvia. The inscription reads: To Silvia (sic), when you get published... I will expect your autograph. Your fan, Raymond Langston.
  • Aaron Aguilera, who played Fantasmo, is a real life professional wrestler who briefly wrestled for WWE in the mid 2000s under the ring names Jesús and Uno.

See Also[]

CSI:Las Vegas Season 9
For WarrickThe Happy PlaceArt Imitates LifeLet It BleedLeave Out All The RestSay UncleWoulda, Coulda, ShouldaYoung Man with a Horn19 Down...One to GoThe Grave ShiftDisarmed and DangerousDeep Fried and Minty FreshMiscarriage of JusticeKill Me If You CanTurn, Turn, TurnNo Way OutMascaraThe Descent of ManA Space OddityIf I Had a Hammer...The Gone Dead TrainHog HeavenAll In