Pick and Roll
Season 13
Number 6
Writer Rick Eid
Director Alec Smight
Original Airdate November 7, 2012
Previous Episode: Play Dead
Next Episode: Fallen Angels

Pick and Roll is the sixth episode in season thirteen of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.


Things get personal when Russell is drawn into the investigation of the death of his son’s basketball coach.


Victim: Tom Burns (deceased)

On the case: entire team

Russell's son, Charlie, gets berated at basketball practice by his coach, Tom Burns. Coach Burns also has the school president and a notable booster ejected from the closed practice. Russell later gets a call that the coach has been murdered in one of the showers; his naked, beaten, and bloodied body is found in one of the stalls. The coach has been dead for no more than three hours, and Russell notes how important he was in Charlie's development as a basketball player. Since Coach Burns had a daily routine, it's possible his killer used it to their advantage.

Blood evidence shows that Coach Burns was knocked to the ground, then beaten repeatedly while he laid there. There's no sign of the murder weapon, and Finn and Sara see that the killer tried to wipe the blood away. The cleanup stops in the locker room, and shoe impressions indicate that the murderer ran out. There's another impression that looks like a sports cleat; it's possible there was more than one assailant.

Russell visits his son's dorm room and meets his girlfriend, Vanessa, in the process. When told that Coach Burns was murdered, Charlie says that everyone on the team had gotten into it with him at one time or another, as the coach always had to keep his players' egos in check. Charlie goes on to say that when he was showering the previous night, he felt like someone was watching him, waiting for him to leave. When he came back later to retrieve the dorm key he left behind, he saw Coach Burns arguing with Jack Oxford, the booster; the two were arguing about money.

In autopsy, Doc Robbins tells Nick that Coach Burns was struck at least nine times in the face, fracturing his nose, skull, and cheekbone. There are no defensive wounds on the body, so he never stood a chance against his attacker. Doc Robbins identifies two different wound patterns—one is large and flat, while the other is small and triangular. The large wounds show signs of caving, and the smaller ones are deeper and sharper. They're either looking for two weapons or one weapon used multiple ways. The doc also points out that Coach Burns has gotten into more than one altercation over the last few days, as he has remnants of a bloody nose and a large bruise on his side. A white, dried substance is found on the forehead, but there's no sign of sexual assault.

Jack admits to Brass that he had an argument with Coach Burns, but he refuses to say what the argument was about. He denies killing the coach, as it would be bad for his business, which is putting millions of dollars into the program.

Laundry from the university is brought to the lab, and Coach Burns' DNA is found on some bloody towels. Henry also finds high-velocity blood spatter on one of the basketball jerseys. The jersey belongs to T.J. Fair, and the player is brought in for questioning. Blood on the jersey matches Coach Burns, but T.J. says that he would never kill anyone. When pressed, T.J. explains that he tried to break up a fight in the locker room after practice between Coach Burns and a player. The player threw a punch at the coach, which is how the blood got on the jersey. T.J. identifies the player as Charlie, much to Russell's disappointment.

Charlie admits that he took a swing at Coach Burns after the coach called Vanessa a "tramp." As for his whereabouts at the time of the murder, he says that he worked out for an hour and a half before meeting Vanessa for breakfast. The only person who can confirm the alibi is Vanessa herself, and Charlie gives Brass her phone number so he can follow up with her. After Brass leaves, Russell berates his son for withholding vital information as well as physically assaulting his coach.

Hodges is able to identify one set of bloody shoe prints from the locker room as women's heels; however, the other set of prints is still unidentified. Morgan points out that Hodges will need Charlie's shoes to make a comparison, something Russell clearly won't be happy with.

Coach Burns' wife, Linda, arrives from Tahoe and speaks with Brass. She tells him that despite some struggles, she and her husband had a good marriage and that she wouldn't kill him. Brass asks for her DNA and permission to search her house, which she agrees to. A search of the house turns up a collection of sex toys in the coach's man cave, while the bedroom shows signs of recent sexual activity despite Linda being out of town for the last few days.

DNA from the sex toys and bed sheets comes back to Coach Burns and an unknown female, and infrared photos of the coach's body show that some of his bruises are consistent with a riding crop. Nick goes through the coach's phone records and comes across a text message to a "Mistress Z." In the message, Coach Burns asks for some "discipline" and is told to meet the mystery woman at a club called The Iris. Nick and Russell go the club and ask to meet with Mistress Z. When they do, they find out that it's actually Vanessa.

Vanessa admits that she's a licensed sex therapist and that Coach Burns was one of her clients. She confirms that her alibi is the same as Charlie's, as they went to breakfast together at 6:15 AM after Charlie got back from his workout. Russell continues to stare Vanessa down, but she denies killing the coach. Nick theorizes that another one of Vanessa's clients could've killed Coach Burns in order to have Vanessa all to themselves. She refuses to say anything else, citing therapist-patient privilege.

Vanessa recently had dinner with Charlie and his parents, and Russell bags a wine glass she used for evidence. DNA is a match to the unknown female in Coach Burns' house, so she was definitely sleeping with him. An exasperated Russell sums up the case: his son is in a love triangle involving his coach, who died hours after Charlie got into a physical altercation with him. Furthermore, shoe impressions at the scene suggest a female and an athlete were present. On the plus side, none of Charlie's shoes match the mystery shoe prints from the locker room. Russell knows his son is innocent, but also knows that people do stupid things when they're in love. The murder weapon is still unidentified, and there are many suspects still in play; Russell knows they're missing something.

The white substance on Coach Burns' forehead is biological, but there isn't enough DNA to generate a profile. Hodges identifies the substance as a teardrop—more specifically, an emotional teardrop. He explains to Sara that emotional teardrops contain 25% higher concentrations of certain enzymes, and the conclusion is that someone cried while standing over the coach's body. The tear contained Longessa, a key component in a prescription drug that promotes eyelash growth. Several bottles of Longessa were found in the coach's house, and they're prescribed to his wife.

Linda can be placed at the murder scene, but it's still unknown who she was with. Nick goes through her phone records and finds several calls between her and Jack Oxford. It seems Jack was sleeping with Linda while her husband was sleeping with someone else. Nick calls Brass and asks him to bring Linda back to the station for questioning. Bringing Jack in will be a little more difficult—he's been found shot to death in the middle of the WLVU basketball court.

Jack was shot twice, once in the head and once in his privates. The gun used was found in a trash can outside the gym, and it's registered to Linda. Things aren't looking good for her—there are numerous calls between her and Jack, her DNA was found in his bed, shoes from her closet match the ones at her husband's crime scene, and the teardrop actually puts her there. Despite the evidence stacking up against her, Linda maintains her innocence. She admits to having an affair with Jack, as well as being in the gym that morning, not in Tahoe like she previously stated. When she found her husband's body, she crouched over it and shed a tear before running off. She tells Brass that she didn't call 911 because she figured Jack was the culprit, as he and the coach had a fight about Jack's son not being allowed to play on the team.

The case isn't closed yet, however; the gun used to shoot Jack was wiped clean, and the weapon that killed Coach Burns is still unidentified. Linda has motive, but neither weapon can be placed in her hands. Hodges has determined that the other set of prints in the locker room didn't come from a shoe, but he hasn't figured out the culprit yet.

Charlie visits his father's office and says that Vanessa broke up with him out of the blue and got a job at another school. After his son leaves, Russell examines a basketball and has an idea. Hodges and Morgan bounce and roll basketballs every which way in an effort to replicate the mystery pattern from the locker room. While they're unsuccessful, they conclude that the print came from some sort of ball. Hodges takes a closer look at the imprint and realizes that part of it was made by laces. He explains to Morgan and Sara that prior to 1948, all basketballs had laces, as the game back then was more focused on passing rather than dribbling. When he rolls an antique basketball, he's able to replicate the mystery pattern.

Hodges notes that antique basketballs are usually displayed on unique, rectangular stands. Such a stand would explain the two different wounds found on Coach Burns' body. Old basketballs like this are rare, and WLVU President Rob Austin just happens to own one.

Coach Burns' blood is found on both the basketball and the stand, and both items were found in Rob's office. Under interrogation, Rob tells Finn and Nick that he wanted the coach to do one thing—put Jack Oxford's son on the team. Coach Burns refused to do so, even after Rob offered him the basketball, worth $85,000. After the coach knocked the ball away, Rob beat him to death with the stand out of anger. Before leaving, he kicked the basketball into the shower, which is how the the coach's blood got on it.

Rob explains that Jack gave millions to WLVU; if he stopped doing so, other donors would pull out, and Rob would lose his job. On his way out of the gym, he saw Linda driving up. Knowing she was having an affair with Jack, Rob decided to pin the murder on her. Rob also knew she had a gun, so he snuck into the Burns' house, stole the gun, and used it to shoot Jack. He killed two people he hated and framed it on someone else involved in the case. Rob says that he gave his life to WLVU for 20 years, and he's told that the same life will now be served behind bars.


Main Cast[]

Guest Cast[]

  • Brandon W. Jones as Charlie Russell
  • Peri Gilpin as Barbara Russell
  • Robert Mammana as Coach Tom Burns
  • Theodore Borders as TJ Fair
  • Michael Gross as President Rob Austin
  • Bryan Callen as Jack Oxford
  • Kevin Mondane Jr. as Assistant Coach
  • Italia Ricci as Vanessa Drake
  • Alexie Gilmore as Linda Burns
  • Elaine Tan as Miss Lotus


  • Madness by Muse


  • Finn notes the irony in Russell discretely using Vanessa's wine glass as evidence without a warrant, something she similarly did when trying to nab venture capitalist Tom Cooley for murder when they were working in Seattle. She previously mentioned this case to Nick in the Season 12 episode Homecoming.


  • Michael Gross, who played WLVU President Rob Austin, is most recognizable for playing Steven Keaton in the '80s television show Family Ties.
  • Bryan Callen played Jack Oxford in the episode, and previously appeared in the season three episode Last Laugh playing a different character. He also appeared in the CSI: Miami episode Getting Axed, playing Kent Ackerman, and was a performer on the sketch comedy show MADtv from 1995 to 1997.

See Also[]

CSI:Las Vegas Season 13
Karma to BurnCode Blue Plate SpecialWild FlowersIt Was a Very Good YearPlay DeadPick and RollFallen AngelsCSI on FireStrip MaulRisky Business ClassDead AirDouble FaultIn Vino VeritasExileForget Me NotLast Woman StandingDead of the ClassShelteredBackfireFearlessGhosts of the PastSkin in the Game