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Split Decisions
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Season 12
Number 19
Writer Michael F.X. Daley,
Richard Catalani
Director Brad Tanenbaum
Original Airdate April 4, 2012
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Previous Episode: Malice in Wonderland
Next Episode: Altered Stakes

Split Decisions is the nineteenth episode in season twelve of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.

Synopsis

When the CSI team is called in to investigate a man who is shot at point-blank range in a local casino, they shut down the entire building to find their killer. And they find their man - again, and again, and again...

Plot

Victim: Dennis Kiel (deceased)

On the case: D.B Russell, Julie Finlay, Morgan Brody, Nick Stokes, Sara Sidle, Jim Brass

At the Diamond Dust casino, an older man gets up from his seat at a slot machine and suspiciously looks around. A few minutes later, he's shot and killed by a bearded man wearing an orange shirt. The casino is immediately locked down; Nick, Brass and some uniformed officers arrive to track down the shooter. At the lab, Archie taps into the casino surveillance footage and helps keep eyes on the suspect. However, the man jumps around between different areas in the casino, seemingly at lightning speed. When the man reaches a stairwell, he vanishes, successfully dodging 65 cops and 40 security guards.

A witness tells Finn that the shooter fired two shots and also had a bloody nose. The shooter then went through the man's wallet before running off. The victim is identified as Dr. Dennis Kiel from Los Angeles; money and credit cards are missing from his wallet. Dr. Kiel has died from one gunshot wound to the chest, which contradicts the witness' statement. Finn finds gravitational blood drops away from the body, confirming that there was a fight. Upon recreating the shooting, she finds the second bullet lodged in a nearby slot machine.

Morgan and Nick canvass the hotel, knocking on every door. One of the doors is answered by a scantily-clad woman who says that she's waiting for a man - the same one in the surveillance photo Nick shows her. The woman, Shelley Jackman, says that she met the man the night before at the casino bar and they later had sex in the room. Morgan finds a condom wrapper in the garbage, which could contain both the man's DNA and fingerprints. Shelley adds that she made a video with the man, who only identified himself as "X-Man."

Sara and Brass find the hotel room that was registered to Dr. Kiel. In the room, they find the doctor's son, Avery, playing video games. Avery explains that his mother died last year and that he and his father are in town to see a concert. Dr. Kiel had won some money on the slot machines last night, and Avery believes that someone saw him win, followed him and killed him. Sara spots the doctor's computer and takes it with her as evidence.

In autopsy, Doc Robbins expresses confusion. He tells Russell that Dr. Kiel was only shot once; however, his liver is macerated. Lead fragments and a copper jacket are recovered from the body, but no core is found. The doc explains that in most cases, when you only find the jacket, it means the core has been separated. The only thing found is a small, red hourglass-shaped object that doesn't fit with any of the other findings. When Finn breaks open the shot-up slot machine in the lab, she finds the same thing - a copper jacket with no core and an hourglass-shaped object.

Morgan and Nick knock on another hotel room door. This one is answered by Lee Jacobs, who seems to be a little agitated. He denies seeing the man in the surveillance photo, but Morgan finds the man's wallet and driver's license on the dresser. The shooter, now identified as Jordan Brentson, is found hiding in the closet, arrested and brought to the station for questioning. Under interrogation, Jordan claims that the shooter in the photo isn't him and doesn't recognize the name "Shelley." Nick shows Jordan the video Shelley made, but Jordan once again denies that it's him on camera. His DNA was found in Shelley's room and his blood is on the casino floor, but Jordan maintains his innocence. He mentions to Nick that he won a free trip to Las Vegas and was spending time with his friend Lee.

Archie has found surveillance footage of Jordan at the casino bar just after midnight, corroborating Shelley's story. However, another still shows Jordan arriving at the casino with Lee at the same exact time, which is what he told Nick. Jordan is officially in two places at once.

Henry and Mandy relay their findings to Russell. DNA from Jordan was a match to the blood at the crime scene, as well as the semen in the condom in Shelley's room. However, the fingerprint on the condom isn't a match to Jordan. The same DNA with different fingerprints leads Mandy to theorize that Jordan has an identical twin. However, Jordan's birth records show that he was a single birth and is an only child. Archie tracks Shelley and her date from the hotel bar to an ATM, where money was withdrawn under the name Xavier Marx. Xavier is found in his hotel room getting down with identical twins.

Xavier is brought to the station for questioning. He tells Sara that he doesn't know a Jordan Brentson and is an only child. In fact, he and Jordan were born 20 months apart. He doesn't recognize Dr. Kiel from the crime scene photo and mentions that he, too, won a free trip to Vegas. When told that he shot Dr. Kiel, Xavier says that he was in bed with the twins all morning and tells Sara that room service can verify this.

In the layout room, Sara continues to maintain that Jordan and Xavier are identical twins. She also believes that the birth records are fake. Both men have criminal records, dressed the same and are claiming to have won free trips to Vegas online. Finn concurs with Sara, believing that the men are pulling some sort of scam. Neither of their alibis have been confirmed, but the thought is that they had to have planned this. Russell says that because the men have identical DNA, they can't prove who actually pulled the trigger; however, Finn says there actually is one way - antibody profiling.

It's explained that every person develops their own unique antibody profile in response to their environment. This means that identical twins can have the same DNA, but different antibody profiles. Therefore, finding out whose blood is on the casino floor is still possible. However, when Finn and Henry run the profiles, they find that neither one matches the blood at the scene. Jordan and Xavier are off the hook, but someone with their DNA shot Dr. Kiel.

Russell realizes that in-vitro fertilization (frozen embryos) is the only way you can get identical triplets from one set of parents born to three different families in different years and locations. The fertilized embryo split three ways, a miracle in itself. However, Dr. Kiel was a pediatrician, not an IVF doctor. Russell has Morgan look into the doctor's past to see what he did before he became a pediatrician.

Vivian Brentson, Jordan's mother (and lawyer) arrives at the police station. She doesn't recognize Dr. Kiel from his photo, but her memory is somewhat jogged when Sara brings up the past. Vivian admits that 25 years ago, one of her embryos split three ways. However, she could only afford to care for one child. She told the clinic to dispose of the other embryos, something the clinic apparently didn't do.

Dr. Kiel's work history shows that he did an internship at an IVF clinic in the same town where Jordan was born. Brass believes that Vivian is lying and has motive to kill Dr. Kiel. He theorizes that she found out the extra embryos weren't tossed and blamed Dr. Kiel for playing God, giving away what was hers. She then rounded up her sons to enact some payback on the doctor.

Finn discovers that the bullet used to kill Dr. Kiel is a no-ricochet bullet, commonly used by air marshals on aircrafts. They're designed to not go through-and-through and puncture an aircraft's fuselage. The no-ricochet shell breaks up on impact, and the hourglass-shaped object acts like a cork that pops and releases a lethal shotgun blast of pellets. This would explain Dr. Kiel's macerated liver. Finn and Russell figure that they're either looking for an air marshal or an air marshals' gun.

Morgan discovers that three "free trips" to Vegas were booked online via the same travel company. E-mails were sent to Jordan Brentson, Xavier Marx and Kevin Chance - who bears a striking resemblance to other two suspects. Kevin has a criminal history and was also training to be an air marshal at one point in his life. He's still checked into a room at the casino; however, when CSIs bust into the room, they find Kevin sitting a chair, dead from an overdose. Credit cards in Dr. Kiel's name are found on a table, and Sara finds a gun and a box of no-ricochet shells nearby. She also finds a laptop; on it is a video confession, where Kevin admits to killing Dr. Kiel, blaming him for the miserable life he's had. Kevin then ingests a bottle of pills and some scotch, killing himself.

In autopsy, Doc Robbins confirms Kevin's cause of death as an overdose of alprazolam and alcohol. However, there are signs of blunt force trauma: Kevin has a blow to the back of the head and abrasions on his trachea consistent with the diameter of the mouth of a bottle. Furthermore, there are no solid remnants of pills in Kevin's stomach. The scotch bottle tested positive for toxic levels of alprazolam, meaning someone ground up the pills, dissolved them and spiked the drink. It seems that the suicide video is a fake. Doc Robbins puts Kevin's death at 12 hours ago - one hour after the shooting of Dr. Kiel. Russell figures the twins are involved and hopes they left behind some touch DNA or antibodies.

Morgan does more digging and finds that the "free trips" to Vegas were booked by Dr. Kiel himself; he booked a vacation with his son at the same time. Files from the doctor's computer show that he had been keeping track of the triplets over the last few months and had even gotten the contact information for the parents who received the embryos. Nick questions why Dr. Kiel would book this odd reunion, and Morgan notes that the triplets haven't had the best lives. She figures that Dr. Kiel felt guilty and was trying to make things right. Records show that he withdrew $150,000 two days before he was murdered, possible compensation for pain and suffering. Morgan says that Dr. Kiel was a successful and wealthy pediatrician, and wonders if the triplets blackmailed him into getting more money.

Henry confirms that it was Kevin's blood on the casino floor; he shot Dr. Kiel. However, antibody results from the touch DNA on the scotch bottle show that they're looking for a fourth suspect, as the antibodies excluded the other three. Sara believes that the fourth suspect is still at the hotel and heads there to talk to a possible witness. In Dr. Kiel's hotel room, Avery tells Sara that he saw his father meeting with two identical men dressed exactly the same. Dr. Kiel told Avery that he helped deliver the two men - and their two brothers - when they were babies. Sara offers to treat the distraught Avery to some ice cream downstairs.

A tired Archie continues to go through the casino surveillance footage looking for their fourth suspect. He's surprised to find that they're missing fourth brother is currently eating ice cream with Sara. The relative position of his features and his facial metrics are set.

In interrogation, it's revealed that Avery's DNA matches his brothers. It turns out that Avery is the one who booked the "free trips" to Vegas using his father's credit card. Furthermore, Avery is the sole beneficiary in his father's will. The $150,000 transferred from the account was to be sent to Jordan and Xavier. Kevin, however, got the short end of the deal, likely being killed after he demanded more money for being the trigger man. Antibody profiling puts the bottle of scotch shoved down Kevin's throat in Avery's hands.

Avery explains that when his mother died, he overheard that she gave birth via in-vitro fertilization. He confronted his father, who confirmed that the embryo split four ways and that Avery has three brothers. In a fit of anger, Avery blamed his father for his mother's death. His belief is that no jury is going to put a 12-year-old away for murder and refuses to give up his brothers, claiming that they're his only real family.

Cast

Main Cast

Guest Cast

Notes

  • Both Archie Kao (Archie) and Sheeri Rappaport (Mandy) appear for the last time in this episode.
  • Eric Szmanda (Greg) and Wallace Langham (Hodges) are credited but do not appear in this episode.

See Also

CSI:Las Vegas Season 12
73 SecondsTell-Tale HeartsBittersweetMaid ManCSI DownFreaks & GeeksBrain DoeCrime After CrimeZipperedGenetic DisorderMs. Willows RegretsWillows in the WindTressed to KillSeeing RedStealing HomeCSI UnpluggedTrends with BenefitsMalice in WonderlandSplit DecisionsAltered StakesDune and GloomHomecoming
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