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Scuba Doobie-Doo
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Season 2
Number 5
Writer Elizabeth Devine,
Andrew Lipsitz
Director Jefery Levy
Original Airdate October 25, 2001
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Previous Episode: Bully for You
Next Episode: Alter Boys

Scuba Doobie-Doo is the fifth episode in season two of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.

Synopsis

Grissom, Sara and Warrick are sent to investigate when a former tenant leaves behind a blood-splattered apartment and a missing girlfriend. Meanwhile, Catherine and Nick are confronted with what seems to be an urban legend turned fact: a scuba diver found in the top of a tree after a forest fire.

Plot

Victim: Unnamed victim (deceased)

On the case: Gil Grissom, Sara Sidle, Warrick Brown, Jim Brass

Apartment manager Stu Evans leads two prospective tenants to an a recently vacated apartment, and the three of them are shocked to find the walls covered in blood. The apartment was previously rented to a Cliff Renteria, and Brass informs Grissom that Cliff and his girlfriend skipped town in the middle of the night. Grissom doesn't jump to conclusions, guessing that the blood may belong to an animal; however, tests soon show that the blood is human. Since the human body holds eight pints of blood, Grissom figures their victim is dead.

Since the blood drops are one millimeter in diameter, Sara believes they're looking at a high-velocity impact event, such as a gunshot; however, there are no bullet holes in the walls. Warrick sprays the floor with luminol, and it shows that the floor was covered in blood. There are voids in the blood where the furniture would've been, and Grissom notes what would've been the couch, a square that could've been the TV or a magazine, and triangle that might've been a lamp or a coat rack. Warrick finds an odd shape that he thinks looks like an electric saw; such a weapon would create a high-velocity impact with minimal blood spray.

Brass tells Grissom that when they were at the apartment, they didn't have the full story. According to Stu, Alison Scott hadn't been seen in over a month, and Cliff claimed that she left town. Cliff didn't leave a forwarding address, only a piece of paper that said he was moving on. Stu is adamant that if Cliff is found, he's not getting his security deposit back.

When located, Cliff tells Grissom and Brass that Alison is in Canada visiting her parents. Grissom mentions the disturbing evidence of the blood they found in the apartment, and Cliff confirms that the blood is actually his. He says that it was all Stu's fault, as the apartment manager didn't take good care of the place. Cliff explains that he has Hepatitis-C and gets frequent nosebleeds; he expirated blood all over the walls to get back at Stu. Grissom privately tells Brass that Cliff is lying, as expirated blood from the nose would have an oval-shaped pattern; however, the blood drops on the wall were V-shaped. Brass asks for a sample of Cliff's blood from his arm, while Grissom asks to see Cliff's new apartment. Cliff reveals that he's been living out of the back of his rental truck. His furniture is crammed into the tiny living space, and Grissom spots some of the items that made the voids in the carpet, including the lamp and electric saw. The items are taken back to the lab for further processing.

None of Cliff's tools test positive for blood, and Sara and Warrick test various tools in an effort to replicate the blood patterns on the walls. Meanwhile, Greg confirms that the 16 blood samples from the walls all come back to Cliff; his nosebleed story was accurate. Grissom tells Brass that he was wrong, and Cliff reiterates that he was diagnosed with Hepatitis-C when he was 18 years old. Because of this, his blood would have trouble clotting and he would have blood to spare. When formally interrogated, Cliff says that the whole process took about a month and he shows Grissom and Brass what he's capable of doing with his nose.

Cliff's recreation matches the V-shaped blood patterns from the walls. As it turns out, he stood close to the wall and blew sideways, one nostril at a time; Grissom overlooked this because he figured the events occurred head-on. The big murder appears to be a nosebleed, but Greg informs the team that blood recovered from the lamp is actually female. Alison Scott is still missing, and this could have everything to do with her...or nothing at all.

Grissom and Sara return to the apartment to look for more evidence. Alison is still unaccounted for, as she never arrived at her parents' place in Canada; in fact, her parents didn't even know she was coming for a visit. Sara believes Cliff expirated blood over the walls to cover up Alison's blood, but Grissom finds no evidence of that. However, his attention is soon turned to the flies buzzing around the apartment. The number of flies have multiplied since the CSIs' initial walk-through, and they find fresh blood on the ceiling from fly regurgitation. Grissom notes that flies don't spontaneously generate; since the apartment was sealed, they must've found fresh blood somewhere. The majority of flies are in the kitchen, and Sara spots a vent on the wall that the flies have gathered around.

When they examine the vent cover, they find fly egg casings. Grissom identifies the Carrion Beetle, which he says typically feeds on decomposing human flesh; there's a dead body somewhere in the room. Stu Evans stops by to get an update on the case, and he's told that the CSIs are going to have to break down every wall in the apartment. He doesn't believe he'll get permission from the building's owner; without this approval, the hope of solving the case lies with the beetle.

Per Grissom, the Silphid beetle will feed on any decomposing mammal, so DNA must be extracted from it. The beetle's stomach contents contain human DNA, which gives the CSIs a warrant to break down the walls of the apartment. As Grissom, Sara and Warrick find nothing in the first wall, Brass introduces them to a visitor: Alison Scott. She says that she recently left Cliff to go back to her ex-boyfriend in Chicago, and confirms that the blood on the lamp is hers, as she was always stubbing her toe on it. Alison agrees to give a blood sample, but insists that Cliff isn't a murderer. A perplexed Grissom looks around the room; their supposed victim is alive and well. Sara encourages him to think outside the box, which leads them next door to Stu Evans' apartment.

Grissom and Sara look over Stu's apartment, commenting on the abundance of scented candles. The wall in the kitchen has been recently re-plastered, and Stu claims that he did so because it had water damage. Grissom spots the vent and and asks permission to check it out; however, Brass enters with a new warrant, so no approval is needed. As it turns out, Stu's wife has been missing, something the Super forgot to mention. Grissom sees that the two apartments in question share a heating duct—and it's full of Silphid beetles. Upon breaking down the wall, the CSIs find a blanket with blood on it, along with more bugs.

As the team goes through the apartment wall by wall, Warrick becomes excited when he comes across a hollow section. The excitement turns to disappointment when he finds out that the wall is only hiding a fold-away ironing board. Warrick wonders if they're in the wrong apartment again, but Grissom says that he doesn't think he's wrong this time. He goes outside to try to calm himself down, telling Sara that he's angry because Stu knows where his wife's body is and won't tell them.

Grissom reenters the apartment and tries to use the kitchen sink to wash some chalk off his face. He discovers that the hot water doesn't work; however, the cold water is fine. Cliff had mentioned earlier that he had lost his hot water at some point, and Grissom ponders the connection. He asks Stu to see the water tanks in the basement. They go down, and Grissom notes that there's a filtration system in place. While there's no interruption in the cold water line, Stu has cut off the water from the hot water tank to the filtration system. Stu claims that something's wrong with the line and he's having a plumber come to check it out. However, Grissom knocks on the nearby brine tank. He notes that brine tanks are usually hollow, but this one doesn't appear to be. When he opens the lid, he finds the body of Stu's wife inside, covered in bugs. "She nagged me," Stu says defeatedly.

Later, Grissom shares his breakfast with the beetle, telling Nick and Sara that his little buddy solved the case.

Victim: Bruce Skeller (deceased)

On the case: Catherine Willows, Nick Stokes, Ray O'Riley

After a forest fire has wreaked havoc on the desert landscape, Catherine and Nick are led to a more surprising scene: a dead scuba diver up in a tree. There's clearly no way the fully-dressed diver could've climbed up the tree, and Nick notes that Lake Mead is just over the hill. With the helicopters dropping water, they may have accidentally scooped the diver up from the lake and dumped him onto the tree. Catherine believes this is just an urban legend, and the CSIs have to prove what really happened.

Catherine photographs a pressure gauge amongst the charred debris, while Nick curiously finds a patch of vegetation that's completely unburned. The cause of the fire has been labeled as a downed power line; however, Nick spots a burned cigarette and a matchbook. He and Catherine figure someone lit the cigarette and stuck it in the matchbook as a sort of time-delay device. Nick sprays the matchbook with hair spray to prevent it from disintegrating before he can take it back to the lab.

In autopsy, Doc Robbins concludes that the scuba diver didn't die in the fire, as he didn't inhale any carbon monoxide. The thought is that the victim was killed someplace else and dumped. Unfortunately, Nick's urban legend theory goes out the window when the doc mentions that the diver's injuries are inconsistent with a fall from a great height. The cause of death is labeled as a cardiac concussion—something impacted the victim's chest so hard, the heart stopped beating. There's no evidence that the victim was scooped out of Lake Mead, but Doc Robbins does find some soap residue on the wetsuit.

While Nick processes the wetsuit, Greg enters and immediately identifies the soap residue as dishwashing soap, noting that wetsuits aren't always easy to put on. Scuba divers have been known to use a cap of dishwashing soap to help with the process. Greg asks about the safety valve, which is still sealed. They both see that the pressure gauge Catherine found reads 3,000 psi, which means the oxygen tank was full. Nick mentions that pressure gauge valves will blow for two reasons: excess air or excess heat. When he says this, he comes up with an idea and thanks Greg for his help.

Nick takes a closer look at the oxygen tank and finds that it has a fissure in it, indicating that there was an explosion of some kind. He uses acid to produce a serial number in the hopes that it will lead them to the tank's owner.

The tank belongs to a Jerry Walden. When questioned by Catherine and Det. O'Riley in his apartment, he claims that he lent a spare tank to his friend and business partner, Bruce Skeller. The pair had recently broken ground on a an architectural project. Jerry mentions that Bruce was an experienced diver; despite this, he still had to borrow the tank, as he was quite the freeloader. Catherine looks around the room and spots scuff marks on the living room floor. A piece of furniture is missing, and Jerry says that he sent his coffee table out to get refinished. Like the other pieces, the table was made of ash, and Catherine finds ash splinters in one of the scuff marks. She remarks that the table needed more than just refinishing.

Catherine talks to Paul Newsome, the district engineer, who shows her the land that Jerry and Bruce owned. The property was originally purchased for $50,000 an acre, but just last week, the duo sold for it for a whopping $500,000 an acre. He adds that Jerry was all for selling the land, but that Bruce was an environmentalist and didn't want to. His fear was that Lake Mead was going to become urbanized, and he spent every cent he had trying to fight it.

At the lab, handwriting analyst Ronnie Litre tells Catherine that if the land deed is a forgery, then it's an excellent one. He shows her the original copy of the deed and uses lights of different wavelengths to make the signatures disappear. The only thing this proves is that Jerry and Bruce signed the deed using two different pens; otherwise, he says, the deed looks completely legal, and it's even been notarized.

Greg pulls DNA from the cigarette butt used to start the fire; all that's needed is a DNA sample to compare it to. Meanwhile, ash wood splinters are found embedded in Bruce's back. Catherine and Nick compare them to the splinters taken from Jerry's apartment and find that they match. She speculates that Bruce and Jerry got into an argument over the land. Jerry punched Bruce in the chest, causing him to fall backwards into the coffee table. The blow to the chest is what caused the irregular heart rhythm that was Bruce's cause of death.

Jerry is brought in for interrogation. His lawyer believes the CSIs have nothing to prove guilt, but Catherine and Nick lay out the series of events. Bruce was killed in his apartment when he was punched in the chest and fell backwards into the ash wood coffee table. The wood splinters didn't come from the forest, as only Tularosa and Oak trees are out there. Jerry then got creative, dressing Bruce up in a wetsuit and driving him out to Lake Mead. He dumped the body, then started a fire, assuming that the fire department would chalk this up to being another hotspot during fire season. Nick tells Jerry that the oxygen tank blew up because of the heat, which propelled Bruce's body up into the tree.

Cast

Main Cast

Guest Cast

Major Events

  • Brad Johnson make his third and final appearance as District Engineer Paul Newsome.

Episode Title

  • Scuba Doobie-Doo makes references to the animated cartoon franchise Scooby-Doo. The titular character's catchphrase is "Scooby-Dooby-Doo!"

Trivia

  • The story line of a man covering an apartment with his nose bleeds came from a real case that writer Elizabeth Devine worked.[1]

References

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

See Also

CSI:Las Vegas Season 2
BurkedChaos TheoryOverloadBully for YouScuba Doobie-DooAlter BoysCagedSlaves of Las VegasAnd Then There Were NoneEllieOrgan GrinderYou've Got MaleIdentity CrisisThe FingerBurden of ProofPrimum Non NocereFelonious MonkChasing The BusStalkerCats in the CradleAnatomy of a LyeCross JurisdictionsThe Hunger Artist
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