Pirates of the Third Reich
Season 6
Number 15
Writer Jerry Stahl
Director Richard J. Lewis
Original Airdate February 9, 2006
Previous Episode: Killer
Next Episode: Up in Smoke

Pirates of the Third Reich is the fifteenth episode in Season Six of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.


The CSIs uncover the body of a young woman, Lady Heather's daughter, in the Nevada desert. While Heather pursues an investigation of her own, the crime lab discovers that the victim's killer has more victims in his past.


Victim: Zoe Kessler (deceased)

On the case: entire team

Grissom meets up with Nick and Brass in the desert during a dust storm. The body of an emaciated, half-naked woman has been found sticking out of the sand. Her right hand has been cut off and her head has been shaved. The number 19 is branded into the victim's upper arm. Due to the dust storm, any shoe prints and tire treads have been blown away.

In autopsy, David Phillips takes vitreous fluid from the victim's eyes to get a better estimate on the time of death. When he does this for the second eye, it pops out of its socket—the optic nerve has been severed. Doc Robbins tells Grissom that the victim had puncture wounds around her glandular areas from large-gauge needles. He also pulled something metallic from between the victim's teeth. All of the victim's organs are abscessed due to necrotizing fasciitis, a flesh-eating disease. Because the disease started in the victim's bloodstream, Grissom wonders if the needles were used to inject something into the victim, not take something out.

Wendy finds that eyes tested positive for two different drugs, one of which is chlorpromazine, which Sara notes is usually given to mental patients. Furthermore, Wendy discovers that the severed eyeball actually belongs to a male, and it's been separated from its owner for over a week. The eye's previous owner was a Jack Landers, who is a convicted sex offender. Jack's parole officer leads Sara and Brass to Jack, who is living on the street believing he's a pirate. Jack is brought to the hospital, where the doctor tells Nick and Sara that he believes Jack has been lobotomized, as lobotomies in the '30s and '40s were done through the eye socket. When Jack takes his shirt off, Nick notices the number 13 branded onto his upper arm, making Jack another victim, not a suspect.

Brass lets Grissom know that the victim has been identified as Zoe Kessler, the estranged daughter of Lady Heather. In Zoe's apartment, Catherine, Grissom and Brass find evidence that Zoe hadn't been there in at least ten weeks. Grissom finds a note for an appointment with a "Betz." The answering machine has three messages, two of which are from a Betz Clinic following up with Zoe after one of her visits. Grissom also comes across a photo of Zoe and notes that she has heterochromia—each eye is a different color.

In the morgue, Lady Heather identifies Zoe's body. She notes that the branding on Zoe's arm required skill and the infliction of pain. When asked if Zoe had given birth, Doc Robbins tells her that due to the condition of the body, it's difficult to tell. Lady Heather mentions that Zoe always wore her grandmother's ring on her right hand; Doc Robbins silently confirms that they haven't found the ring nor the hand yet. Upon exiting the morgue, Lady Heather bumps into Grissom. She tells him that Zoe dropped out of school a year ago and she didn't know she was back in town. The two hadn't been in contact for reasons Lady Heather keeps private. Grissom informs her that Zoe participated in a study at the Betz Clinic and disappeared shortly after. When told that Zoe's body was found in the desert off of Highway 55 near the town of Sparks, Lady Heather excuses herself from the conversation and leaves with a determined look on her face.

At the Betz Clinic, Dr. Jacob Wolfowitz tells Catherine and Greg that Zoe was part of an overnight sleep study due to chronic insomnia. However, she left the study early because she was uncomfortable with her surroundings. Dr. Wolfowitz adds that the patients are intensely screened before joining the study. The study itself involves getting medications administered and having electrodes attached to the body.

Back in the lab, Greg informs Grissom that Zoe and Captain Jack were part of the same sleep study and that both left the study early. There were ten other people in the study; however, they've turned up alive and well (and not branded). Zoe's car was also found at an impound lot downtown, having been towed from the clinic's parking lot two days after she disappeared. Elsewhere, Wendy tells Nick that the substance pulled from between Zoe's teeth was sinews from her own hand—she tried to eat herself free from whatever she was trapped in.

While searching for Zoe's missing hand in the desert along with some cadets, Nick and Warrick come across a barn. Outside of it, they find a pile of dirt with flies buzzing around it; they note the smell of decomp. The barn contains many abnormal plants, one of which is called a "corpse flower." Nick notes that the only reason someone would own such a flower would be to cover up the smell of real decomp. They make their way to the house and find a package on the front stoop addressed to Dr. Wolfowitz. After hearing some rustling around inside, they announce their presence, only to have the door answered by Lady Heather.

In interrogation, Lady Heather admits to Grissom that she's guilty of breaking and entering. She says that she pieced together that Dr. Wolfowitz was the one overseeing Zoe's tests and that he lives close to where her body was found. By breaking into the house, her hope is that the doctor would press charges, allowing the police to investigate. If he refuses to press charges, the assumption is that he's hiding something. Dr. Wolfowitz tells Brass that he won't press charges and owns nothing of value, calling Lady Heather "disturbed."

Lady Heather shows Grissom a page from a book that's one of the earliest illustrations of the Romulus and Remus myth. She believes it's worth thousands and doesn't think Jacob could afford the print. The illustration is confirmed to be genuine. When told that Jacob could've used spit and string to cleanly remove the page from the book, Grissom swabs it for DNA. However, he still needs the original book to confirm the match.

Catherine and Greg review the tape of Zoe's sleep study and find that, at one point, the door to her room opened and someone stood in the doorway. Meanwhile, on Captain Jack's tape, he's shown waking up in the middle of the night and leaving, never to return. Catherine figures Dr. Wolfowitz is involved, but doesn't know how to get to him. Grissom enters and interjects—they found that the good doctor stole the book from the UNLV library, which gives them cause for a warrant.

Dr. Wolfowitz is later found dead in his car in the clinic parking garage. Grissom notes that there's no sign of trauma or blood; however, the driver's seat in which the doctor is sitting in is wet, as is the body itself. When Doc Robbins autopsies the body, he finds that it's completely frozen. He tells Grissom that it takes at least two days for a body to be frozen to the core. Before his Y-incision, he finds bruises and puncture wounds all over the body, similar to Zoe. He shows Grissom the number "1" branded into the victim's left shoulder. Grissom relays this information to Catherine, who is perplexed, since she talked to a completely unfrozen Jacob the day before.

In the parking garage, Grissom is met by Lady Heather, who says that she can help him with the case. She tells him that, a year ago, Zoe had become pregnant with her therapist's baby. The therapist was not only married, but he violated an oath. Lady Heather called the AMA and had the therapist's license revoked, which caused Zoe to stop speaking to her. Assuming that the lab would need Dr. Wolfowitz's DNA, she admits to having sex with him the night before and hands Grissom a used condom in a plastic bag. Grissom tells her that the doctor has been dead for two days, but Lady Heather claims it's not possible.

Catherine processes Jacob's car, lifting a print from the steering wheel and finding a pill stuck in the fold in the passenger's seat. Meanwhile, Wendy tells Grissom that the dirt from outside the barn tested positive for human DNA, containing over a dozen profiles, including Zoe's. She adds that the saliva from the book page and the used condom both matched Dr. Wolfowitz.

Catherine finds that all of the prints recovered from the car are a match to a Leon Sneller, not the doctor. She shows Grissom a photo of Leon, and they see a striking resemblance between the two. Grissom guesses that Jacob and Leon are twins, which means they have the same DNA, but different fingerprints. Catherine notes that Leon's record shows that he joined the army in 1985 and was stationed in Berlin until about a year ago. She hypothesizes that Leon came back to the United States, killed his brother, stuck him in a cooler, and started impersonating him.

Catherine, Grissom and Brass go back to Dr. Wolfowitz's house along with some uniformed officers. As they search the living room, Catherine finds a menorah in one of the drawers of the hutch. Grissom walks across the room and hears a creaking; he rolls back the carpet to reveal a trap door. Underneath the living room, they find a hidden lab, complete with textbooks and lab equipment. On the wall, Grissom finds a plaque that reads "Arbeit Macht Frei"—when translated into English, it means "work will set you free." He notes that the same words hang over the gates at Auschwitz. Catherine mentions that Zoe would've made the perfect woman except for her one brown eye. She sees that a nearby grandfather clock has no numbers on it. They hear groaning coming from behind the wall. When Grissom and Brass push the clock to the side, they reveal a hidden torture chamber. Two twin men are found horrifically sewn together; one of them is dead, while the other one ends up dying in the hospital.

Nick later informs Catherine that Sneller was Jacob and Leon's birth name and that they were adopted by a Jewish couple named Wolfowitz. Meanwhile, Grissom reads through Leon's notes and finds quotes attributed to Adolf Hitler along with notes on experiments regarding the human brain. He also reads that Zoe gave birth to a baby girl on August 3, 2005. Grissom takes photos of the metal pipe in the torture chamber and envisions Zoe being tied up there. A flashback shows her seeing Captain Jack being tortured; it's then that she decided to gnaw at her wrist to try to aid her escape.

Grissom climbs back upstairs into the living room. There, he notices a necklace under the couch; it matches the necklace Lady Heather was wearing earlier. Grissom hurriedly leaves the house and starts driving towards Sparks. When he reaches the location where Zoe's body was found, he finds Lady Heather torturing Leon with a whip. He grabs the whip from her and uses the safe word "STOP." Lady Heather tearfully says that she wants to finish what she started, but Grissom again tells her that he's asking her to stop. She gives up the whip and collapses crying into Grissom's arms.


Main Cast[]

Guest Cast[]


  • Slipping Away by Nine Inch Nails


  • A Viewer Discretion Advised warning was given with this episode.
  • Catherine tells Grissom that she learned of Zoe from a conversation she had with Lady Heather. This conversation occurred in the Season Two episode Slaves of Las Vegas.
  • Leon's notes included the following details about Zoe Kessler:
    • Patient No. 19
    • Zoe Susan Kessler
    • 21 year old white female
    • Daughter of Heather Kessler
    • Father unknown
    • Birth mother of infant girl born August 3, 2005
    • Comments:
    • Physically pure with the exception of right eye
    • Solution:
    • Dye injections
    • Eye transplant
  • The fate of Zoe Kessler's baby girl is revealed in the Season Seven episode The Good, The Bad and the Dominatrix.


  • Jim Cody Williams who played Happy Jack is also known for portraying the Half-Blind Fisherman in the Disney live action movie Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest the same year this episode was aired

See Also[]

CSI:Las Vegas Season 6
Bodies in MotionRoom ServiceBite MeShooting StarsGum DropsSecrets and FliesA Bullet Runs Through It, Part 1A Bullet Runs Through It, Part 2Dog Eat DogStill LifeWerewolvesDaddy's Little GirlKiss-Kiss, Bye-ByeKillerPirates of the Third ReichUp in SmokeI Like to WatchThe Unusual SuspectSpellboundPoppin' TagsRashomamaTime of your DeathBang-BangWay to Go