Secrets and Flies
Season 6
Number 6
Writer Josh Berman
Director Terrence O'Hara
Original Airdate November 3, 2005
Previous Episode: Gum Drops
Next Episode: A Bullet Runs Through It, Part 1

Secrets and Flies is the sixth episode in Season Six of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.


While the rest of the CSI team investigate the murder of a single mother unsuccessfully staged as a suicide, Grissom works hard to disprove a deceptive entomologist who has falsified scientific facts to exonerate a murder suspect in court.


Victim: Christina Adalian (deceased)

On the case: Catherine Willows, Greg Sanders, Nick Stokes, Sara Sidle, Warrick Brown, Jim Brass

Lana Adalian arrives at her sister Christina's house and knocks on the door. After getting no response, she looks in the front window to see Christina lying on the floor dead with her infant son, Joey, nearby in a playpen. Catherine and Sara arrive on the scene, where Brass tells them that the victim has one gunshot wound to the temple. Inside the house, David Phillips adds that the body hasn't been moved and the time of death is four to five hours prior. The wound pattern and gunshot residue on Christina are consistent with suicide, and a note written in red ink is found on a nearby table that reads "Joey is better off without me.—Christina Adalian." The first thought is that Christina killed herself knowing that her sister was coming by later, leaving Joey in capable hands. However, Catherine notices that while the gun is spattered in dried blood, there's no blood on Christina's hand. Their suicide appears to be something else.

No red pen is found inside the house, and Grissom wonders if the killer brought their own pen or took it as a souvenir. Warrick finds evidence that someone broke into the house through the back door, and it appears to have been done with a long, thin metal object. Grissom ignores two calls from Ecklie; this eventually leads to Sofia arriving on the scene and telling him that he's needed in the lab ASAP. Outside of the house, Sara and Brass speak to Lana. They learn that Christina used to be in a relationship with someone named Evan. Lana expresses that her sister was a prude and assumed she was a virgin until it was revealed that she was pregnant.

In autopsy, Doc Robbins reveals to Nick that Christina was, in fact, a virgin when she died and that Joey was delivered through a C-section. The doc figures that she probably got pregnant through dry humping, which is commonly incorrectly believed to protect from pregnancies. Meanwhile, Bobby Dawson confirms that the bullet that killed Christina was from the gun found in her hand. He tells Greg that he ran the serial number and found that the gun was originally purchased in 1986 by a Duane McWane from Henderson.

Hodges tells Catherine and Warrick that particles collected from the site of the break-in at the house are diorite granite, which is used in high-end bathroom vanities. Warrick notes that Christina's bathroom had plastic countertops. Hodges informs them that he made some calls and found out that only one slab yard in the county works with diorite.

At the slab yard, the manager recognizes Christina from her driver's license photo and points Catherine and Warrick in the direction of her ex, Evan Peters. Evan initially tells them that he hasn't seen Christina in months, but eventually says that he helped her get into her house a few days ago after she accidentally locked herself out with her son inside. After he jimmied the back door open, they went inside and talked, where Christina told him that "God got her pregnant." He admits that he broke up with Christina after he found out that she had become pregnant; they had never had sex, so the natural assumption was that she was cheating. When asked why he lied about the last time he saw Christina, Evan tells them that he didn't want to get involved. Catherine tells him that it's too late for that and takes a DNA sample.

In the lab, Greg talks to Duane McWane, who is an attorney. He tells Greg that he got rid of his gun the day he got married and gave it to his paralegal, Rita Day, so she could protect herself. Duane insists that whatever crime they're looking into, Rita is innocent. Greg questions her later on and finds out that she lost the gun in a poker game years earlier to a man the others called "Cy" as in "cyclops", a reference to a large mole he had between his eyes.

New DNA tech Wendy Simms provides Catherine with some surprising results—Christina and Joey aren't genetically related. Furthermore, Evan isn't Joey's biological father. Evidence now points to Christina being a surrogate mother via in vitro fertilization; however, surrogates are supposed to return the baby to its biological parents after it's born.

Sara informs Catherine that they found baby Joey's birth certificate; on it, Christina is listed as the mother, while the father is unknown. In Christina's house, they also found a registration form for Project Sunflower, an organization that finds mothers for abandoned embryos. Sara says that, according to the organization's literature, fertility clinics usually freeze more eggs than they usually need; this organization finds willing mothers for those eggs. Catherine and Sara visit Project Sunflower's local office, the manager of which is uncooperative and won't give up the records of who Joey's biological parents are without a warrant.

In the lab, Professor Rambar tells Catherine that the suicide note was written by Christina under duress. He also says he can match the flow of the pen's ink to the pen that was used; uneven distribution of the ink will be unique to the pen that wrote the note. Sara interrupts and says that she has learned from Joey Adalian's birth records that his birth parents are Dan and Kenli Johnson from Seven Hills. Christina's will also named the couple as Joey's guardians. In other words, a single woman adopted an embryo from an infertile couple and agreed to give the child back to its biological parents upon her death.

Catherine and Sara visit Kenli and her mother; there, they learn that Dan died died in a car accident a year earlier after they had tried several times to conceive a child. Figuring they weren't meant to become parents, they gave up their embryos. After Joey's birth, they visited him and Christina once a month. Catherine asks Kenli for the clothes she was wearing the night Christina was murdered and takes them back to the lab.

When a piece of clothing from her laundry tests positive for gunshot residue, Kenli is questioned at the station. She denies ever even firing a gun, let alone touching one. Catherine hypothesizes that Kenli saw her husband every time she looked into Joey's eyes, and Christina was the only thing standing between her and her son. Kenli claims to have been at home at the time of the murder, which her mother confirms—even though Kenli says her mother was out for her weekly gin rummy night.

When Sara finds blood spatter on a piece of clothing too big to be Kenli's, Catherine brings in her mother for questioning. Among her purse's contents, Catherine finds a red Coda pen that was likely the one used to write the suicide note and can be matched to the note by Professor Rambar. A flashback shows Kenli's mother holding Christina at gunpoint and forcing her to write the suicide note before finishing the job. Catherine also sees a photo of her late husband, who fits the description of "Cy". Since Kenli will get custody of Joey as per Christina's will, her mother confesses to the murder, saying that what she did makes it all worth it.

Victim: Joanna Whitson (deceased)

On the case: Gil Grissom

Grissom is asked for a personal favor by Ecklie and Undersheriff Jeffrey McKeen. A man named Preston Breckman is on trial for the murder of Joanna Whitman, McKeen's goddaughter. Though the prosecution has an abundance of evidence against him, including hairs, fibers, DNA, and even a witness who saw him stab Joanna, the defense has brought in a forensic entomologist, Mark Thayer, whom Grissom describes as a "gun-for-hire" and who claims that the insect activity on the body gives Preston an alibi. Grissom agrees to take a look at his findings to see if he tampered with the evidence.

When Mark takes the stand during the trial, he asserts that the fact that there were blowfly puparia on the body but no adult flies at the time of the discovery shows that Joanna had been dead for exactly 15 days, placing her time of death on November 1. Preston was in Mexico until November 3 and is believed to have committed the murder the following day when he returned. To prove his findings, Mark claims to have videotaped the development of black blowflies on a pig carcass in preparation for the trial. When the tape is about to be shown to the jury, the prosecutor objects since they haven't been allowed to examine it beforehand. Because they subpoenaed all related evidence and documentation but the defense withheld the video recording, the judge agrees to let the prosecution examine it.

Grissom examines Mark's video experiment, which confirms the timeline he proposed even though all the scientific literature states that it would only take 11 days for the black blowfly to develop that far. Unfortunately, the jury will probably be more influenced by video documentation than books, which would be enough to get a reasonable doubt. Ecklie is certain that Mark manipulated his experiment in some way to get the answers the defense needed, but Grissom confirms that everything was documented and that the experiment was replicated at a private lab with eyewitnesses. The only way Grissom can disprove Mark's claims is to replicate the experiment himself, which will take too long for the judge to allow it.

Archie examines the tape to see if it has been altered, but finds nothing incriminating. A short while later, Grissom acknowledges to Catherine that he knows Mark has altered his experiment in order to get favorable results, but he doesn't know how he did it. The problem, he says, is that jurors assume all scientists are ethical; however, that isn't true for them any more than it is for any other occupation.

Grissom looks over blown up stills from the tape, notices dead blowflies on the pig, and sends the larvae from the experiment to Henry. On the stand, Grissom reveals that Henry's testing of the larvae shows that they had digested malathion, which delayed the flies' puparia development by four days. The thought is that Mark had sprayed it onto the pig by before the experiment began to extend the flies' development cycle and give the defendant an alibi. When the court is adjourned, Mark is arrested for perjury and obstruction of justice. An impressed Undersheriff McKeen offers to repay Grissom somehow, but Grissom only asks him for some extra time to finish the personnel evaluations he has been putting off. Grissom also turns down the opportunity for a promotion, telling McKeen that he's happy where he is.


Main Cast[]

Guest Cast[]

Major Events[]

  • DNA Tech and Mia Dickerson's replacement Wendy Simms is introduced for the first time.


Henry (to Grissom): Why did the fly, fly?
Grissom: Because the spider, spied her. Catherine's daughter told me that when she was three.


  • Paramedics uniforms have their flags on backwards. The blue field with stars should always face forward (towards the front of the shirt).


  • In this episode, we find out that when Catherine was pregnant with Lindsey, she considered an abortion.
  • The note found at the crime scene states, "Joey is better off without me.—Christine Adalian." 


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