Season 7
Number 13
Writer Richard Catalani,
David Rambo,
Jacqueline Hoyt,
Carol Mendelsohn
Director Kenneth Fink
Original Airdate January 25, 2007
Previous Episode: Sweet Jane
Next Episode: Meet Market

Redrum is the thirteenth episode in Season Seven of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.


In order to snare a major drug dealer who has gone into hiding after killing a politician, Catherine, Keppler, Brass and Undersheriff McKeen initiate a reverse forensics operation to stage a crime scene and lure him out. Unfortunately, this proves difficult when the other CSIs start seeing through the bluff due to their case of a murdered woman being linked to the politician's death.


Victims: Danilo Zamesca, Monique Carter (both deceased)

On the case: Greg Sanders, Nick Stokes, Sara Sidle, Warrick Brown, Sofia Curtis

A radio show discusses the death of Assemblyman Danilo Zemesca, who, following the death of his son a year ago, had dedicated his life to putting away drug suppliers and traffickers. In a flashback, Zemesca is shown pulling up alongside another car in the middle of the night in the desert. The person in the other car is holding a large drink cup and a folded photo. He hands the photo to Zemesca, who angrily rips it up. A piece of the photo falls to the ground; it shows Zemesca doing lines with a woman who has a tattoo of the astrological sign Scorpio. As Zemesca walked away, the killer dropped his drink and shot him in the back. Zemesca managed to get into his car before being shot two more times and dying.

On the scene, Nick takes photos of the torn picture and drink cup, along with the bullet casing on the ground. In Zemesca 's car, Nick photographs the body and finds a plastic bag full of drugs on the passenger's seat. Evidence suggests that the killer ran back to his car; Nick photographs the shoeprints, while Catherine lifts the tire impression and finds a piece of foam next to it.

In the lab, it's found that the recovered 9mm shell casing and prints on the cup's straw both belong to Thomas Simon, the biggest drug trafficker on the west coast. When the LVPD try to pick Thomas up at a club he owns, he turns out to have been gone for weeks.

Catherine, Keppler, Brass and Undersheriff McKeen join each other for breakfast and discuss the case. McKeen is incredulous at the fact that Thomas has been unable to be located despite the evidence against him. Keppler suggests something radical to lure Thomas out into the open: reverse forensics, i.e. faking a crime scene. He says that it worked when he tried it Philadelphia; however, it was unsuccessful in Baltimore. The goal of faking the scene is to make the suspect think that he's off the hook. Keppler adds that you have to be willing to deceive the people you work with, and Catherine thinks that that can't be done. To start, they'll need someone to play the role of "killer," meaning the district attorney will have to get involved. McKeen scoffs at the notion of the district attorney agreeing to play along. Keppler tells Catherine that if everyone does their job right, no one will remember the deception; Catherine replies that she will.

In the lab, Keppler converses with Warrick under the guise of stealing Zemesca's file; Warrick seems to catch him in the act. Sara spots Catherine and Keppler putting up sheeting to block out windows in one of the labs. When she asks Catherine what's going on, Catherine says that she can't talk about it. Meanwhile, Brass confronts drug dealer Edward Dennison in an alley and presents him with the opportunity to be their patsy in exchange for getting a new life elsewhere.

Sara is called to an apartment where the body of a female is found. David Phillips puts the time of death at least 48 hours ago. On a nearby table, Sara sees quite of bit of drug paraphernalia laid out; the drug of choice appears to be heroin. The victim is eventually identified as Monique Carter. There are track marks on Monique's arm as well as a Scorpio tattoo; the assumption is that Monique, a chronic user, simply overdosed. Sofia notices the amount of food in the apartment, and Sara wonders if Monique had a roommate.

Back in the lab, Catherine lays out the evidence from the Zemesca case—shoe impressions, tire impressions, a jumbo soda cup, and a plastic bag of drugs. She also notes that the gun used was a 9mm. An undercover cop, Ezekiel Holstein, has donated a pint of his blood in order to assist with the ruse. Keppler tells Catherine that one of the CSIs will have to process the scene in order to make things look kosher. She believes the CSI will figure things out, but Keppler tells her to keep them away from the car, as the recreation will be less than perfect. Catherine begins to spray the passenger's side window of a car with Ezekiel's blood.

While David is washing Monique's body in autopsy, he notices a wound on her skull consistent with impact from a weapon; they're now looking at a homicide instead of an overdose. Meanwhile, Henry finds that the mixture of heroin found in Monique's apartment is consistent with the mixture found in Zemesca's car. He relays this information to Catherine, who has him step out of the lab. After he leaves, she collects a piece of the drug, puts it in a plastic bag, and pockets it.

Out in the desert, Catherine and Keppler stage the crime scene. Edward drinks from the soda cup, while Catherine photographs a bloody Ezekiel in the front seat of the car and Keppler breaks the driver's side window using a spark plug. Catherine throws a bullet into the passenger's seat. When Edward drops his soda cup to the ground, Keppler notices the way it lands and concludes that Thomas dropped his cup casually as well, as if he wasn't expecting trouble. He figures that Plan A was the blackmail photograph. When Zemesca didn't give in, Thomas resorted to Plan B—murder. Thomas panicked, which is why he left evidence behind and then disappeared. Keppler sets the stage by calling the crime in to the police; Brass, who is standing next to Keppler, responds and says that he is en route to the scene with Catherine and Keppler.

In autopsy, Doc Robbins goes over his findings on Monique with Sara. He tells her that Monique's head wound is inconsistent with a fall. Furthermore, he concludes that the drugs in Monique's system were injected after her death; the drug makeup is similar to what was found at the Zemesca crime scene. During the autopsy, he gets a call from Catherine and gives her permission to move the body at her crime scene after photographing it.

Catherine calls Warrick and has him come to the scene to process it. She tells him that the victim is Ezekiel Holstein, victim of a gunshot wound; his body has already been taken to the mortuary. Warrick notes the similarities to Zemesca's crime scene and questions whether Thomas has come out of hiding. He offers to process the car, but Catherine has him process the perimeter instead. All of this occurs while Brass and Undersheriff McKeen look on.

Sofia questions the apartment manager who found Monique's body. He tells her that Monique spent a lot of time with an "average-looking white dude" who was driving her car. Meanwhile, Greg finds out that someone made a dozen calls from Monique's phone after she died. Since the phone was recovered from the scene, someone was making calls on it while Monique lied dead nearby.

Nick walks past the trace lab and sees the jumbo drink cup sitting on the counter; Hodges tells him that it's the cup that was recovered in the Holstein case, not the one found in the Zemesca case. In the ballistics lab, Bobby Dawson catches Keppler looking through some files. As Bobby tests the 9mm bullet from the Holstein case (which Keppler test-fired earlier), Keppler curiously looks over his shoulder. It's found that the bullet from the Holstein case is the same caliber bullet as the one from the Zemesca case; however, they were fired from a different gun.

Nick visits Doc Robbins in autopsy and asks to be caught up on the Holstein case, but the doc says that the body hasn't come in from the mortuary yet. The doc is prepping Monique's body, and Nick notices the Scorpio tattoo on her arm. He quickly connects the dots and realizes it's the same woman from the photo found at the Zemesca scene.

Greg and Sara process Monique's car. Sara notes that the seat is pushed all the way back as if a man was driving. Inside, Greg finds evidence that Monique was a lawyer who was suspended because she fell behind on her Bar Association dues. Nick enters the garage and informs them that the murders of Monique and Zemesca are related. He notices foam in a cut in the front seat and believes that it's the same type of foam found at the Zemesca scene. If the foam samples are a match, it places the car at the Zemesca scene with Thomas behind the wheel.

Catherine relays the information to Warrick that the print found on the straw at the Holstein scene came back to an Edward Dennison. Nick arrives and tells them about the link he discovered between Monique and Thomas Simon; this gets Keppler's attention. Catherine brushes off this revelation and says that Edward is being brought in because of the print they found. Nick and Warrick share a puzzled look. As they walk through the hallway, Catherine shares her concerns with Keppler about deceiving her team and playing the odds that they wouldn't connect the dots.

McKeen holds a press conference and tells the reporters that Edward Dennison is being brought in for the Zemesca's murder, amongst other things. His story is that Edward lured Zemesca to a remote location seeking to get out of the drug trade. When Zemesca encouraged him to surrender to the police, Edward shot him. He later shot Holstein over a botched drug deal. Nick watches the press conference on TV and is clearly not happy with what he sees.

In the ballistics lab, Warrick is processing the bullet found in Holstein's car when Keppler walks in. Warrick tells him that if the bullet went though a car window and Holstein's head, it would be covered in glass and brain matter; however, the bullet is almost clean. The fact that there's still blood on the bullet means that it hasn't been cleaned yet. Keppler brushes this off and half-heartedly says that autopsy will turn something up.

Catherine finds Nick in the evidence locker looking for the case file on Holstein. Nick tells her that he's convinced Edward is innocent of what he's being charged with, but Catherine tells him to back off the case. Nick has had enough, and he calls a meeting outside with Greg, Sara and Warrick. They go through everything they've found—Zemesca knew Monique, both are dead, and the same drug was found at both crime scenes. That drug was then found at the Holstein scene. Sara notes that Catherine had Henry step out of his lab before he was able to put drug evidence away. Warrick adds that he saw Keppler checking Zemesca's file the day before. The final straw is when Nick informs him that he can't find the Holstein evidence; it turns out Catherine has locked it away. Warrick says that the bullet in the Holstein case was too clean and that Keppler didn't seem concerned about it. Doc Robbins still doesn't have Hostein's body and Nick's call to the mortuary revealed that Catherine never called them. Finally, Catherine had Monique's car brought to the impound yard. Nick tells them that the four of them are a team now; they can't trust Catherine or Keppler.

Nick finds the car at the impound yard and breaks its seal. He looks at the blood and notes that there's high-velocity exit spatter, but no brain or bone fragments. In the lab, he tests the blood from the car and finds that it tests positive for EDTA, an anti-coagulant, meaning that the blood came from Holstein's arm and not his head. Meanwhile, Sara steals a key from Grissom's office and opens the storage locker where Catherine locked away the Holstein evidence. Warrick comes across the broken car window and sees that it was punched out with a spark plug, not shot out. Nick concludes that the Holstein scene was staged and Warrick offers to get Brass involved; however, before he can do that, he sees Brass talking privately with Keppler.

Thomas Simon is found in his club and arrested for Zemesca's murder even though he's aware someone else was already arrested for it. A 9mm gun is found on his person. All of this is for naught, however, as McKeen never cleared the operation with the district attorney and she now cannot tell what evidence was fabricated and what wasn't. Thomas is allowed to walk for Zemesca's murder.

Catherine and Keppler finally come clean, telling the rest of the team about reverse forensics. The goal was to make Thomas think he was off the hook for Zemesca's murder and come out of hiding. None of the team is too happy about being deceived despite Catherine's apologies. They now must link Thomas to Monique's murder.

Greg tells Catherine that three calls were made to Thomas' strip club after Monique died, and another six were made to known associates of Thomas; he used Monique's phone to do business, thinking everything was safe. One call was even made to Thomas' wife's cell phone. Nick and Sara process Monique's apartment again; much of it has already been cleaned. Knowing that Thomas spent a good amount of time in the apartment, they start processing the furniture. Nick discovers that the couch pulls out into a bed and Sara dusts it for prints; the prints come back to Thomas. In the ballistics lab, Keppler processes Thomas' gun and finds blood and hair on the cartridge, proving that Thomas killed Monique with the butt of the gun. Thomas is arrested for Monique's murder.

A radio report reveals that Zemesca and Monique were classmates in law school, which could be why the murders were linked. Over a drink with Catherine, Keppler theorizes that Thomas lured Zemesca out into the desert under the guise that he was meeting with Monique. He drove Monique's car so that Zemesca would recognize it and feel safe.

Back in the lab, Nick angrily leaves for the day, blowing off an after-work drink with Warrick; he's still having a hard time getting over being deceived by those he trusts. The radio report then informs its listeners that the anti-drug legislation that Zemesca was sponsoring was put into law by the Nevada State Legislature.


Main Cast[]

Guest Cast[]

Episode Title[]

  • The episode title is probably a play on the theme of the episode's "reverse forensics." The word "Murder", when reversed, is "Redrum."


  • William Petersen (Grissom) is credited but does not appear in the episode.
  • Hodges tells Keppler about Bobby Dawson having an accidental discharge on his record. This occurred in the Season Five episode Mea Culpa.


See Also[]

CSI:Las Vegas Season 7
Built to Kill, Part 1Built to Kill, Part 2Toe TagsFannysmackin'Double CrossBurn OutPost MortemHappenstanceLiving LegendLoco MotivesLeaving Las VegasSweet JaneRedrumMeet MarketLaw of GravityMonster in the BoxFallen IdolsEmpty EyesBig ShotsLab RatsEnding HappyLeapin' LizardsThe Good, The Bad, And The DominatrixLiving Doll