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Recipe for Murder
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Season 3
Number 11
Writer Anthony E. Zuiker,
Ann Donahue
Director Richard J. Lewis,
J. Miller Tobin
Original Airdate January 16, 2003
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Previous Episode: High and Low
Next Episode: Got Murder?

Recipe for Murder is the eleventh episode in Season Three of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.

Synopsis

Catherine, Grissom and Nick investigate when the chef of a fancy restaurant ends up in a meat grinder. They soon discover a lot more went on in the kitchen than cooking. Meanwhile, Warrick and Sara find out that the apparent suicide of a young woman who suffered from bipolar disorder is actually a murder.

Plot

Victim: Petrov Samsko (deceased)

On the case: Catherine Willows, Gil Grissom, Nick Stokes, Jim Brass

The shop foreman for Meteor Meat walks into the meat processing plant and turns on the equipment. Before turning on the meat grinder, he finds a human arm with the hand still attached. The last person to operate the grinder is questioned; however, the shop foreman vouches for him, saying that he inspected the equipment at the end of the last shift.

Catherine and Grissom arrive on the scene. Upon close inspection, Grissom sees that the ulna got jammed in the grinder, which is probably why the killer didn't finish the job. There's blood everywhere, so their usual CSI chemicals aren't going to help them. Catherine disassembles the meat grinder piece by piece and is able to remove the ulna. Meanwhile, Grissom finds an earplug on the ground, excited about the fact that ear wax contains a lot of DNA. The ear plug is different from the ones the workers wear, so the killer brought their own.

Doc Robbins has the hand propped up and tells Grissom that the victim was dead when their arm was cut off. There's scar tissue on the palm, which Doc Robbins says he sees a lot with laborers (bricklayers, carpenters, etc.). Grissom takes a sample from under the fingernails for trace analysis. Although the fingers are worn to the bone, Grissom applies a ridge builder application to temporarily make the prints visible again for lifting and tracing.

Catherine and Grissom run the print and find that it belongs to Petrov Samsko, head chef of the five-star DeBreff Restaurant. Grissom realizes that Petrov's occupation would explain the burnt scar tissue on his palm.

They visit the fancy restaurant and inform the hostess that Petrov has been found dead and dismembered. Catherine talks to the restaurant's owner, Les Dutton, and tells him that there were traces of aspic and olive oil under Petrov's fingernails. This indicates that he might've been murdered in the kitchen and brought to the meat grinder without showering. Grissom finds a uniform with blood spatter on it, but Les says that chefs use knives and cut themselves often. The uniform, however, belongs to a waitress named Stephanie, and the blood is on the back of the blouse.

Les wants them to wait until after the dinner rush before they close the kitchen and start processing. However, Catherine and Grissom notice that the "rush" is taking way too long. Grissom spots a table with flowers; when he removes the flowers, he finds a V-shaped pattern on the wall. He says the burn area seems too big to be from a burning candle; however, when Les is asked about it, he replies it's likely from the wait staff putting a candle too close to the wall. This response leaves Grissom a bit skeptical.

In the kitchen, Catherine and Grissom attempt to talk to Stephanie, but she's still busy bringing food out to the tables. Catherine informs Ross Halpo, a sous chef, that they found blood spatter on several uniforms from the night Petrov died. The blood was found on the uniforms worn by Stephanie, Ross, and Lola Creighton, the saucier. Ross says that the blood is his; while preparing food he accidentally touched Petrov's knife and Petrov sliced Ross's finger in retaliation. He explains that this is the "chef's code," while Lola adds that if someone gets cut in the kitchen, they act macho and disperse the blood to create "maximum spillage." Grissom informs them that the CSI team is taking over the kitchen.

Catherine and Nick examine the kitchen, where they find evidence of seminal fluid and a substance that tests positive for cocaine. Meanwhile, Grissom finds the presence of blood around the drain. Catherine notes that there was blood, semen, and cocaine in the kitchen—the only thing not going on was cooking. Grissom opens the drain and finds something that looks like sand attached to a blood clot. He concludes that the blood isn't from a knife nick; Petrov bled out long enough for the blood to pool and clot. Grissom asks to see everyone's knives, starting with Ross.

While looking through the kitchen some more, Grissom uncovers a guéridon, which is used for tableside cooking and could explain the V-shaped burn pattern on the wall he found earlier. Grissom remarks to Les that a guéridon has been illegal since the '70s due to potential injuries to patrons, but the V-shaped mark on the wall is recent. He goes through the owner's log and notes that Danny Pasquale, an Italian male model, suffered third-degree burns to his face. Les admits that they do special requests and that's how the accident happened. However, he says that Danny never filed formal charges against Les or the restaurant.

In the interrogation room, Brass suggests that Danny didn't file charges because he wanted to take care of it himself. Grissom notices a bite mark, or "fight bite," on the back of Danny's right hand. He notes that human mouths are full of bacteria and can cause infections. Brass suggests Danny fought Petrov in retaliation for what happened to his face. When Danny doesn't say anything, Grissom tells him he doesn't have to. All he needs to do is swab the bite mark on Danny's hand.

A doctor removes fluid from Danny's wound. Meanwhile, Catherine has tested 25 knives for Petrov's blood, with each coming back negative. She finally finds what she thinks is blood on a knife only to realize it isn't. Elsewhere, Greg gives Grissom the test results—the DNA found on Danny's hand came from Petrov's mouth. It would appear that Danny attempted to settle the score.

Grissom is interrogating Danny when Brass gets his attention. The DNA from the ear plug found earlier came back to Harold Haskins, a delivery man for Meteor Meat who's out on parole for extortion. As it turns out, Harold delivered to the same restaurant Petrov worked at. Brass interrogates Harold, who says he got the "meat" from the restaurant freezer and brought it to the meat grinder. When Brass threatens to tell Harold's parole officer what's going on, Harold admits that Ross had him dispose of the body. Harold owed Ross $3,000 for cocaine and Ross had Harold repay the debt by doing him a favor.

In the restaurant kitchen, Ross denies any involvement in killing Petrov. Catherine says that nobody else is talking; it's what the military calls "code red"—fierce loyalty to the man in charge. She points out that Petrov used to be at the top before he was murdered. Grissom finds what looks like wool above the stove and claims that someone was cooking something that wasn't food.

The red mark on the knife that Catherine mistook for blood earlier turns out to be nail polish. In the interrogation room, she lines up the four female workers from the restaurant and looks at their nails. While the other ladies' nails are unscathed, the hostess has marks on hers. She removes one of the press-on nails and gives it to Catherine for evidence while the other three women are released. Elsewhere, in the lab, new lab tech David Hodges informs Grissom that the wool found is used in high-end suits, adding that there was blood found on the wool that belonged to Petrov. Someone burned a high-end suit in the kitchen.

Back in the interrogation room, Catherine interviews the hostess. She tells the hostess that the nail polish collected matches the nail polish found on the knife. Catherine believes the nail polish got transferred while the hostess was stabbing Petrov. For the time being, she isn't charged with any crime.

In the evidence room, Grissom is testing the knife when Catherine enters. He shakes the knife, and it makes a sound that nobody picked up on earlier. Upon twisting to open the handle, he finds sand, which Catherine says is for balance and precision. The sand is volcanic sand, and Catherine notes that she's seen the same sand before on the blood clot found in the kitchen's drain. Under a magnifying glass, Grissom sees blood on the handle of the knife where it twists open.

In one interrogation room, Grissom presents Ross his own kitchen knife and says he doesn't believe he killed Petrov, but he did fillet him. The knife twisted open while this was being done, causing sand to fall down the drain. In another interrogation room, Catherine interviews Les, who she claims knew about the murder and helped cover it up. While Ross got rid of Petrov's body, Les burned his own suit to get rid of the evidence, which caused wool to get trapped in the fan above the stove.

Brass speaks to Grissom and they agree that nobody is talking. However, Brass has a plan. He enters Catherine's interrogation room and whispers something to her, then takes Les for a walk. The same thing is done with Ross. As both men are being walked down the hallway, they pass the hostess and stare at her, for it looks like she isn't being charged with any crime. She stares back with a puzzled look, unsure of what's going on. Grissom is watching this happen and notices her reaction. He walks up to her and asks her why she killed Petrov.

The hostess explains that she walked into the kitchen for lemons and saw Petrov making out with Lola. Petrov would play around with women all the time, but doing so with Lola apparently crossed the line since Lola was a chef. Due to her poor culinary skills, she wonders where she stood in Petrov's eyes. The jilted hostess admits to stabbing Petrov, while Ross and Les covered everything up to help "protect the kitchen."

Victim: Linda Damon (deceased)

On the case: Sara Sidle, Warrick Brown, Dale Sulik

Det. Dale Sulik informs Sara and Warrick that Linda Damon, 23 years old, was found dead of an apparent suicide by her father, John. There are no signs of forced entry and her empty wallet was found by the body, which is lying on the bed in Linda's apartment. Linda slashed her left wrist, which Sara notes is unusual for females, as they usually commit suicide in bathtubs for easier cleanup. The straight-edge razor she used is also lying on the bed near the body. According to EMT Hank Peddigrew, Linda was dating a Brody Jones, but he says nobody knows where Brody works or lives. Warrick notes a blood streak on the bedsheets and asks Hank if the body was moved. The EMT says they only had to prop the body up while checking for vitals and/or life-saving actions. Sara responds by calling Hank "baby," then admonishes herself. Warrick notes that Linda bled out and died in two different spots.

In Linda's closet, Sara finds a white blouse with blue stains on it; the stains are cool to the touch. Meanwhile, Warrick finds bloody shoe prints on the carpet, indicating Linda's death might not be a suicide.

Warrick checks the shoes of Linda's parents, but finds no match to the shoe prints in their daughter's bedroom. John laments that Brody is a gambler who would keep Linda out late at night, draining her of her health and spirit. Linda's mother, Jane, says Linda had a tough time finding herself after college, but she was getting better.

In autopsy, Doc Robbins tells Sara that the transection of the left wrist is consistent with a self-inflicted wound, especially since Linda was right-handed. Sara notes that there are no hesitation marks, which she believes is unusual for a suicide. She says that nothing with the case adds up and that the body was two feet away from where it bled out. Doc Robbins hasn't received the toxicology screen yet to confirm any foul play. Sara sees that there's glass in Linda's hair and notes that they didn't find any broken glass in her apartment. The glass is polarized and tinted with round edges; Doc Robbins guesses that it could be safety glass.

Sara talks to Hodges, who confirms that the glass is polarized and is from a car windshield. She wonders whether Linda was in a car accident, but Hodges wonders why she would go home and commit suicide afterwards. Hodges can't provide a make of the car, but narrows it down to a 2002 model.

Sara and Warrick head to the apartment's parking garage and find the windshield of Linda's car intact. They soon come across a car that looks like it had it's windshield recently replaced. The owner of the car arrives and claims that Linda was responsible for damaging the old windshield, adding that she never paid for the damage she caused throughout the complex. This ranged from damaging mailboxes to throwing patio furniture into the pool. The neighbor says Linda destroyed the windshield because she "heard" the neighbor talking on her cell phone about her. Warrick informs her that Linda died the day before via suicide, and the neighbor says she's surprised someone didn't kill her. Sara and Warrick glare back at her. After the neighbor leaves, they conclude that they need to get a hold of Linda's toxicology report.

Linda's parents provide Sara with a picture of Linda and Brody together. Jane asks Sara if the footprint in the bedroom matched Brody, but Sara tells her they're not sure yet. Sara then informs the parents that she spoke to one of Linda's neighbors, who described Linda as "troubled." Jane says Linda had been diagnosed as bipolar her junior year of college and was prescribed lithium. John admits that they knew Linda was destructive in her complex and that her moods would swing from up to down rapidly. When Linda was "up," she didn't think she needed the lithium, which would make her more unstable.

With help from Det. Sulik, Sara and Warrick find Brody at a casino slot machine writing down the results of each spin. Warrick spots blood on the right sleeve of Brody's shirt. Brody doesn't want to be bothered, as he's trying to crack the pattern of the slot machine. He gives them his shirt when asked, but continues to play. The CSIs finally have enough and drag Brody away to the police station.

In the interrogation room, Warrick informs Brody that his shoeprint matches the one found in Linda's blood and that it's Linda's blood on his shirt. Brody, however, is more concerned that someone is playing the slot machine he was pulled away from, wiping out 72 hours of his hard work. When pressed, Brody admits to entering Linda's apartment to take money for gambling. He thought Linda was asleep until he spotted the blood and tried to revive her. Warrick asks Brody why he left Linda's body there and didn't call the police; Brody responds by saying that he is the "Son of God" and that he can only do so much. Warrick figures out that both Brody and Linda are bipolar and that they may have stopped taking their lithium together.

Outside of the interrogation room, Warrick talks to Sara and they agree that Brody may be too high to even realize what happened. Doc Robbins stops by and hands Warrick Linda's toxicology results. There was no lithium in Linda's system, but there was a huge dose of Valium ingested less than an hour before her time of death. Sara notes that Valium is the last thing a depressed person would take. The report says that there was 200 milligrams in Linda's system, more than five times the normal dosage. Sara realizes that Linda would've been in no condition to fight back if someone was attacking her with a weapon.

Det. Sulik informs Sara and Warrick that Linda didn't have a prescription for Valium; however, her mother does. Warrick interviews Jane Damon in her home, and Jane confirms that she takes Valium in order to deal with Linda. The prescription was refilled a few days ago. Sara and Warrick accuse Jane of drugging Linda, which Jane vehemently denies, while John says they're accusations are out of line. Greg calls Sara and tells her that the substance found on the blouse from the closet was biological with a high salt content—tears. Sara hangs up and informs the Damon's that the tears found on the blouse had male DNA.

John says that the only way to get someone psychological help is if they hurt themselves or someone else. He explains that Linda was out of hand, attacking strangers and vandalizing property. Linda refused to take her medication and her parents couldn't force her to. John admits to slicing Linda's wrist to make it look like a suicide attempt. When he heard someone (Brody) at the door, he discarded the straight-edge razor and hid in the closet. Brody tried to save Linda, but it was too late. While John watched Brody's attempted resuscitation from the closet, he buried his head into Linda's blouse and cried. John tearfully explains that he just wanted to get Linda help, while his wife stares back at him, stunned by the confession. Warrick relates something his grandmother once said: "Crazy people make even sane people act crazy."

Cast

Main Cast

Guest Cast

  • Christopher Wiehl as Hank Peddigrew
  • Wallace Langham as David Hodges
  • Daniel Hagen as John Damon
  • Marita Geraghty as Jane Damon
  • Robert Mailhouse as Les Dutton
  • Kimberly Huie as Lola Creighton
  • Darren Pettie as Ross Halpo
  • Chad Lindberg as Brody Jones
  • Perrey Reeves as Linda's Neighbor
  • Cameron Mathison as Danny Pasqualle
  • Lori Rom as The Hostess
  • Scott MacDonald as Harold Haskins
  • Larry Clarke as Detective Dale Sulik
  • Pat Asanti as Harlan
  • Dar Dixon as Chef Petrov Samsko
  • Iva Hasperger as Linda Damon

Major Events

  • This episode marks the first appearance of Wallace Langham as Lab Tech David Hodges.

Featured Music

  • Awaiting An Accident by Lali Puna

Trivia

  • This episode takes several cues from Anthony Bourdain's autobiography Kitchen Confidential, such as the flicking of blood around the kitchen after cutting oneself and the phrase "don't touch my knife, don't touch my johnson." The notion of someone being murdered in the kitchen and a chef butchering the corpse for disposal had previously been featured in Bourdain's first novel Bone in the Throat.
  • Actress Marg Helgenberger worked at a North Dakota slaughterhouse to pay for college.[1]

References

  1. Flaherty, M. & Marrinan, C. (2004). CSI: Crime scene investigation companion. New York, NY: Pocket Books.

See Also

CSI:Las Vegas Season 3
Revenge is Best Served ColdThe Accused is EntitledLet the Seller BewareA Little MurderAbra-CadaverThe Execution of Catherine WillowsFight NightSnuffBlood LustHigh and LowRecipe for MurderGot Murder?Random Acts of ViolenceOne Hit WonderLady Heather's BoxLucky StrikeCrash & BurnPrecious MetalA Night at the MoviesLast LaughForeverPlay with FireInside the Box
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