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Rashomama
Rashomama.jpg
Season 6
Number 21
Writer Sarah Goldfinger
Director Kenneth Fink
Original Airdate April 27, 2006
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Rashomama is the twenty-first episode in season six of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.

Synopsis

A wealthy but disagreeable prosecutor is murdered at her son's wedding, and the CSIs are called in to investigate. However, Nick's car is stolen with all the evidence inside it, and the case becomes compromised. The CSIs must think back to their investigations as well as search for new evidence to find the killer.

Plot

Victim: Diane Chase (deceased)

On the case: Catherine Willows, Gil Grissom, Greg Sanders, Nick Stokes, Sara Sidle, Jim Brass

As her son and new daughter-in-law are paraded in a car to celebrate their wedding, the body of Diane Chase is dragged behind it, much to the horror of the guests. Greg, Nick and Sara work the crime scene for eleven hours, collecting every bit of evidence. Afterwards, Nick joins them at Frank's coffee shop to have breakfast. While there, they see a news report about Diane that explains that she was a fierce lawyer known for defending high-profile organized crime members. She had recently represented mobster Dino Fatelli, who was sentenced to life in prison for murder. During the news report, a truck pulls into the parking lot, stopping between Nick's truck and the restaurant. When the truck leaves, Greg notices that Nick's truck is gone.

Grissom arrives with Brass and tells the three CSIs to keep their mouths shut and look apologetic. Undersheriff McKeen arrives with a roll of antacids in his hand. He recaps what has occurred, which includes two of the CSIs being maxed out on their overtime, Nick using his personal truck, and Nick not bringing the evidence back to the lab immediately to secure it. Grissom adds that, even if the evidence is recovered, the chain of custody has been broken. Therefore, all evidence would be thrown out of court. Additionally, the crime scene was released, meaning that it, too, has been compromised.

Nick tells Brass that he parked the truck in view and that a box truck blocked it for two or three minutes, tops. The alarm on the truck didn't go off and he's sure that he locked it. He adds that the truck has a tracking system on it. Brass guesses that the Fatellis stole the truck and that they would know where to find the tracking system. Sofia arrives and says that there is no evidence of broken glass or tire treads.

Grissom tells Greg, Nick and Sara that Internal Affairs will want their statements and he has them write down everything they can remember, including evidence collected and interview notes. After he leaves, Catherine runs into him in the hallway. He tells her that the Fatelli case was handled by the day shift and that they will need the case file. When told that they have no crime scene photos, Grissom says that every wedding these days has a videographer, so they will have to collect the video.

In autopsy, David Phillips shows Grissom that Diane had a vital response to the ligature marks around her ankles, meaning that she may have been alive when she was tied to the car. She also suffered significant trauma to the back of the head.

Undersheriff McKeen tells Brass that he has a problem - since Diane was an enemy of the department, the press will believe that they lost the evidence of her murder on purpose. He believes that it's going to look like the CSIs were paid off by the Fatellis, meaning that the department is either inept or dirty.

In the break room, Greg, Nick and Sara find that it may be easier to remember every detail if they talk things out. Sara begins:

Sara's flashback

Sara arrives at the crime scene, which is full of vibrant colors. She marvels at the cheesiness of the setup and the fake flowers set up on the trestle. As she makes her way through the crowd, she passes Nick, who is talking to two bridesmaids, Mindy and Cindy. Sara only hears them speaking in fast-forward gibberish. She then runs into a drunk groomsman, who admits that he and his friends tied the beer cans to the back of the car, but didn't do the same to Diane. He's uncaring about the fact that there has been a death and tells Sara that Diane and her son were "creepy close." Fellow groomsman Mikey Shoemaker intervenes and introduces himself as the brother of the bride and the best man.

End of Sara's flashback

Sofia tells Catherine that the tracking device from Nick's truck was found in a trash can a few blocks from the diner. She guesses that if the Fatellis are behind the theft, no prints are going to be recovered.

With the three CSIs still working on their statements, Nick pulls a cocktail napkin from the wedding out of his pocket. It has Mindy's phone number and a pink lipstick kiss on it. He denies getting a number and says that Mindy must have slipped it into his pocket. Nick then gives his point of view:

Nick's flashback

The color palette is a little muted compared to Sara's. As he approaches the flower arch, he notes that the scent from them was everywhere. He speaks to Cindy and Mindy and tells them that he'll need their prints. Mindy complains that she's cold, and Nick gives her his jacket. The two girls tell Nick that Diane's wedding toast was a disaster, ending with her slurring her speech and swaying all over the place.

End of Nick's flashback

Catherine enters the room and says that she has the wedding DVD. All three CSIs want to start with the wedding toast. They see that just a few minutes into Diane's speech, she starts swaying and uses her hand to balance herself on the table. After she loses her card with the speech, she wings it. The adlibbed speech turns into disdain towards the bride, Jill, as Diane criticizes her plain looks and boring name. The CSIs watching the video are stunned at what they have just watched, and Catherine jokingly wonders if Diane's murder was justifiable homicide.

Sara shows the video to Grissom and says that Jill now has a motive for murder. Grissom wonders when a bride would have had time for murder on her wedding day. He then recounts what he saw at the scene:

Grissom's flashback

Grissom walks through the flower arch reciting a poem, and stops to watch a ladybug on one of the roses. He questions Jill, who says that Diane made her life a living hell and that she told anyone who would listen that she wished Diane would die a fiery death. Diane had done everything possible to sabotage the wedding - she wore white, she invited her son's attractive, single female friends, she changed the gift register behind Jill's back, she demanded roast beef be served despite Jill being a vegetarian, and she gave the horrible speech. Jill adds that Diane fought with everyone that day, including the caterer.

The caterer shows Grissom a smashed wedding cake, courtesy of Diane. He adds that Diane scared him and took years off of his life, then goes into detail about how tightly scheduled a wedding day is.

End of Grissom's flashback

As Sofia interrogates Dino Fatelli's brother, Sylvano, Undersheriff McKeen and a federal agent watch from behind the glass. The federal agent, who had infiltrated the Fatelli organization, tells McKeen that Sylvano didn't kill Diane, as he was running numbers out of his bar all day. McKeen thinks that Sylvano could have ordered someone to kill Diane, but the agent says that the brothers like to be hands-on and adds that he heard the Fatellis were mad that someone had stolen their M.O.

Doc Robbins tells Greg that Diane suffered two separate events - the back of her scull was punctured, creating a subdural hematoma. She then ended up with subsequent blows to her skull due to being dragged behind the car, causing her death. The doc says that he autopsied the Fatellis' original victim and that they go the whole nine yards, they don't "mostly kill someone."

Catherine shows Nick a blow up still from the wedding video; there is someone peeking through the window during the reception. Nick recognizes the guy as the groom's father and says that he was found in the bushes trying to sleep one off. While interrogating Ernest Chase, Brass recalls his conversation with his son, Adam. Adam claims that nothing went right during the wedding, including his mother "accidentally" bringing the wrong dress. He says that his father showed up uninvited, that he's unstable, and that he's had a drug problem for years.

Ernest tells Brass that Diane's stories about him are untrue. Because of the way she acted after she went back to work, he started taking antidepressants. This resulted in the two getting divorced, with Diane saying that Ernest had a drug problem that affected his libido. He tells Brass that he doesn't drink much because of the medication, but decided to do so before the wedding. A flashback shows him trying to sneak by Diane to get into the wedding; however, he got caught and subsequently kicked out. He says that he stuck around to watch the ceremony and some of the reception before being found sleeping in the bushes. Ernest makes sure to add that they better make sure Diane is dead, as you can't kill the devil.

Henry tells Nick and Sara that Ernest's blood alcohol content was way to high for him to be functional enough to kill Diane and tie her to the car. And, assuming that whoever took Nick's truck is the killer, Ernest was already in the tank when that occurred. He also says that Diane had high levels of diazepam in her system; however, the was no script for it in her medical records. This would seem to explain her behavior during the reception, but it doesn't explain how someone tied her to a car bumper. Greg enters and says that he thinks he knows what happened:

Greg's flashback

Greg tells his story in sepia tone a la a film noir. He admires a woman and follows her through the flower arch. As he makes his way through the crowd, he makes his way to bridesmaids Lacey Finn and Valerie Whitehead, sitting by themselves in a secluded area. The two ladies aren't the least bit upset about Diane's death, comparing her to a witch. They take cotton swabs from Greg's kit and begin to take each other's DNA samples, which Sara guesses didn't really happen.

Lacey tells Greg that the last time she saw Diane, she was in the hospitality suite complaining of a headache. The next time Diane was seen, she was dead. In the suite, Greg looks around and finds some snowboards that were given as gifts. He eventually comes across a statue of cupid pointing a bow and arrow. He notices blood on the arrow's tip and two red sports on a nearby towel that tests positive for blood.

End of Greg's flashback

Greg wonders if Diane, high on diazepam, slipped and got the arrow straight to the back of her head. The arrow was four-sided and would have left a diamond wound pattern similar to the one on Diane's skull. If the wound was accidental, Sara asks, why would someone tie Diane to the back of the car? Nick points out that this discovery narrows the suspect field down to anyone who had access to the suite. The statue was collected as evidence but, much to their dismay, it was placed in the back of Nick's truck.

Diane's fingernail scrapings unsurprisingly come back as butter cream frosting due to her smashing of the cake. The car Diane was tied to is cleared and brought to the CSI garage. In the trunk, Greg and Sara find a snowboard case, which she finds odd since the snowboards were in the suite. Inside the case, there are white towels covered in blood.

Archie has watched the wedding video and followed Diane's comings and goings. He tells Catherine that Diane had two glasses of champagne, but shows her that fifteen minutes after Valerie brought her the second glass, Diane started to look woozy. Diane is later shown getting up during best man Mikey Shoemaker's speech. During the speech, Mikey quips that he drives a tow truck, so he knows something about "getting hitched." Diane makes her way over to Valerie and whispers something to her before departing. Lacey then gets up and follows Diane out of the room. Catherine has Archie play back Mikey's speech and calls Brass to find about his wants, warrants, and the location of his tow yard.

As Greg, Nick and Sara process the car further, Greg finds a nearly empty bottle of diazepam prescribed to Jill. The missing amount is similar to the amount found in Diane's system. Wendy enters the garage and informs them that the blood on from the snowboard bag is a match to Diane, meaning the bag was likely used to transport the body from the suite to the car Furthermore, there are two female epithelial contributions, one on each handle of the bag, and one of those females was a match to the DNA in the knot in the pantyhose tied to the back of the car.

Nick, tired of waiting for Internal Affairs and adamant that he didn't do anything wrong, heads to the locker room. As he is complaining about his situation to Warrick, Warrick interrupts him and tells him that his shirt is covered in blood. Nick later explains to Wendy that he loaned his jacket to one of the bridesmaids and that the blood must have transferred from her to him when he put the jacket back on. Wendy cuts the shirt off of Nick, saving it as evidence. Nick adds that he has napkin in his pocket and wants Wendy to compare it to the female epithelals from the snowboard bag.

Brass tells Catherine that Mikey has a prior conviction for car theft. Nick's car was found in the paint bay in Mikey's garage next to a delivery truck; Mikey's whereabouts are unknown. Catherine says that Mikey never left the party after Diane disappeared, so he's innocent of her murder. Nick's car is towed into the CSI garage and is distraught when he sees the new stylized paint job his car was given.

The cupid statue is recovered from a dumpster near Mikey's body shop. Greg measures the tip of the arrow and the wound from Diane's head and sees that they match. Sara enters and tells him that the evidence won't stand up in court due to the chain of custody being broken; however, Greg says that the suspects might not know that. The CSIs job is to convince the suspects that they know what happened. Greg finds that there are two handprints on the front of Diane's suit jacket and comes to three conclusions - 1) Diane was stabbed by the statue, 2) she accidentally fell on it (again, if so, why would someone tie her to the car), or 3) she was pushed into the statue.

Lacey's prints are the ones that were on the jacket; however, they are absent from the diazepam bottle. Mandy finds that the prescribing doctor for the diazepam is a Dr. Whitehall, Valerie's husband. Hodges walks in with the trace results from the jacket - it's hair gel. Greg remembers that Lacey went back to the suite to fix her hair.

Mikey is located and brought in for interrogation. Catherine tells him that he's being charged with grand theft auto, obstruction of justice and conspiracy to murder. Mikey cops to everything but the murder and says that one of the bridesmaids approached him and asked him to steal Nick's car and trash the evidence. With sex on the brain, he doesn't know which bridesmaid asked him, but he also doesn't care.

It is found that the Mindy (the one who gave Nick her phone number) matches the DNA found on one of the snowboard bag handles. In the break room, Greg, Nick and Sara recap the case for Grissom, telling him that every bridesmaid had a hand in Diane's murder. Based on the wedding video, Valerie got Diane a drink and laced it with diazepam. When Diane left during Mikey's speech, she whispered in Valerie's ear that she knew what Valerie did and that she would have her arrested for attempted murder and have her husband's medical license revoked. Lacey heard this and followed Diane to the suite. After getting berated by her, she pushed her into the statue accidentally. Lacey then went back to the reception and told Cindy and Mindy what happened. The three then put the body in the snowboard bag in an effort to frame the Fatellis. Afterwards, they made it back to the reception for the bouquet toss.

The four bridesmaids - Cindy, Mindy, Lacey and Valerie - each tell Brass individually that Diane was a terrible person and that her murder was accidental, but seemingly justified. Internal affairs finally arrives for Greg, Nick and Sara. Grissom tells Undersheriff McKeen that, while they were waiting for Internal Affairs, they recovered the evidence and solved the case. A still unhappy McKeen asks which one of the CSIs wants to give their statement first, and Grissom tells him that it doesn't matter - he's sure their stories are all the same.

Cast

Main Cast

Guest Cast

Episode Title

  • The episode's title is a reference to Rashomon, a movie by Japanese director Akira Kurosawa. The film uses the perspectives of multiple characters to tell the story of a crime, similar to how the CSIs individually remember what they saw at the wedding.

Music

  • Feel Like Makin' Love by Bad Company
  • Any Other Name by Thomas Newman
  • Dead Already by Thomas Newman

Trivia

  • Ray Wise played Enerest Chase in this episode. Wise is an accomplished actor of both television and film, known for his role in the show Twin Peaks.
  • Amanda Seyfried played Lacey Finn. She would later become recognized for her role in the 2008 film Mamma Mia!
  • Chris Hardwick played Mikey Shoemaker. He is known for being the host of the show Talking Dead, which recaps the most recent episodes of the shows The Walking Dead and Fear the Walking Dead. He is also the host and executive producer of the game show The Wall.

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
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