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Suckers
Suckers.jpg
Season 4
Number 13
Writer Josh Berman,
Danny Cannon
Director Danny Cannon
Original Airdate February 5, 2004
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Suckers is the thirteenth episode in Season Four of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.

Synopsis

Grissom, Nick and Sara deal with a bizarre case when a priceless 17th century Japanese samurai sword is stolen from an exhibit at a casino. Meanwhile, Catherine and Warrick have to look into the world of 'vampires' when a young woman is found dead with all her blood drained from her body.

Plot

Victim: None (stolen property)

On the case: Gil Grissom, Nick Stokes, Sara Sidle, Jim Brass

Ty Caulfield, the owner of the Mediterranean casino, is giving a speech in front of a large group of guests. They are celebrating the donation of a rare set of Japanese antiquities donated by frequent guest Yuri Yamamoto. Among the pieces on display are a piece of armor and an intricately crafted 17th century samurai sword. As Ty wraps up his speech, a woman screams diverting everyone's attention. There is a body floating in the pool with a live wire flailing around at the pool's edge.

Grissom and Sara are on the case and they meet Brass at the scene. Grissom immediately notices that the body is floating on the surface and he notes that after death, arms become dead weight, meaning that the body should have sunk to the bottom of the pool. Sara traces the source of the live wire and finds that it is attached to a car battery hidden in the bushes. Grissom fishes the body out of the pool and finds that it is a CPR dummy. They have no crime scene until they hear the security alarm. As they make their way inside the exhibition room, they find that the security guard has been hit on the head and wrapped up in duct tape. The display case housing the samurai sword has been broken and the artifact is missing. NOW they have a crime scene.

Brass talks to the security guard, Brandon Miller. He says that he was hit from behind and before he knew it, he was wrapped up in duct tape. A blood smear on a nearby desk confirms this. Sara makes her way over to the display case housing the suit of armor and notices a clear liquid on the floor. She takes a swab of it and tells Grissom that it smells sweet. This is odd, as there is a sign that says there is no food or drink allowed in the area. Grissom finds the empty roll of duct tape on one of the rope stanchions and removes it. Nick arrives and looks over the CPR dummy. He tells Brass that it's the type of dummy used by firemen and paramedics to learn life-saving techniques.

In the lab, Grissom processes the duct tape and finds a possible partial thumbprint on the tape that was put over Brandon Miller's mouth. He also curiously sees that the ends of the tape were cut, not torn off; Sara notes that this could indicate premeditation. She lets Grissom know that the liquid she found came back as sugar water. Grissom is still perplexed—why steal a samurai sword from a casino when you can just steal cash? He asks Sara if she has any knowledge of Japanese antiquities, noting that to find the hunter, you need to know the game.

Grissom and Sara revisit the exhibition room and find the rest of the artifacts have been moved to Ty Caulfield's vault. The head of security tells them that the vault is off-limits and that Yuri Yamamoto is on his way from Tokyo. He hands Grissom an inventory list and photos of the pieces upon request. Luckly, he says, the registrar, Vanessa Green, took photos of all of the pieces when they were brought in. They are unable to speak to her, however, as she is on vacation. Grissom and Sara are notified that Yuri carried his own insurance and that the hotel is not going to assume responsibility for the heist.

As Sara goes over the inventory list, Grissom focuses on the missing suit of armor. The plaque dates the armor to the 17th century; however, a quick bit of research finds that the Japanese military wasn't formed until 1868. The armor is out of place just like the sugar water is. Nick calls Grissom and tells him that the print recovered from the duct tape belonged to Brandon, the security guard. Grissom borrows a roll of duct tape from Sara's kit. He puts it on the stanchion, sits down in the chair, and spins around, revealing that Brandon actually taped himself up. Sara notes that someone would have seen the sword in Brandon's pants when the paramedics took him away. Grissom hears a rattling from the vent above him; when he opens the vent, he finds the samurai sword hidden in the ceiling.

The head of security informs Grissom and Sara that Brandon never made it to the hospital, meaning that he faked his concussion. They bring the sword to Yuri, who has just arrived from Tokyo; however, they will not let him have it back until the lab processes it. Grissom asks Yuri about the out of place suit of armor and Yuri tells him that there is no suit of armor in his collection. They have Ty open his vault in order to look at the rest of the collection. In there, they discover that the money that was being stored in the vault has been stolen—a total of $10 million. The suit of armor is left behind, leading Grissom and Sara to think that someone was hiding inside of it in plain sight, similar to the Trojan Horse.

While Sara bags the discarded money bands as evidence, Grissom focuses on the suit of armor. He finds a bag of glucose along with a bag of urine. The glucose was the mystery thief's food source and explains why they found sugar water on the floor in the exhibition room. It is clear that whoever was hiding in the armor was there for a long time. Grissom also finds a tape recorder; when he plays it back, he hears a beeping musical code. The mystery thief recorded the code to the vault, which explains how he was able to move in and out unseen. Through trial and error, Grissom eventually punches in the right code himself. Ty tells Grissom that there are no security cameras in the vault or in his office, so the mystery thief was not caught in the act.

Nick shows Grissom and Sara the recovered security footage. The mystery thief is seen leaving the hotel, presumably with stacks of money taped to him underneath his clothes. While carefully avoiding the cameras, he swipes an ID badge in order to exit the building, meaning that he is possibly an employee. The mystery thief then gets into a car driven by security guard Brandon Miller. Grissom tells Nick to get the best shot of the mystery person he can and to compare it to the Mediterranean employee database. Nick immediately dreads this task, as there are over 3,000 recorded employees in the hotel.

Using computer technology, Nick is able to come up with a reasonable guess as to what the mystery thief looks like. Nick and Sara pay the lifeguard at the hotel pool a visit; he recognizes the photo composite as Nathan Pollard, a fellow lifeguard. According to the lifeguard, Nathan hasn't been to work in four days. He also confirms that they are missing a CPR dummy, which he will get back after the CSIs are done with the investigation.

In the lab, Grissom dusts the samurai sword for prints while Sara watches. He finds a print on the sword's scabbard and he has Nick tape lift it. When Nick does so, a piece of the scabbard is lifted with the print. A worried Nick shows Grissom what he has done. Grissom looks at the sword and wonders if 400-year old lacquer should look that good and smell like acrylic. He then removes one of the precious stones from the scabbard and easily breaks it, showing that it, too, is a fake. They wonder if someone switched swords on them at some point.

Grissom, Nick and Sara head back to Ty Caulfield's vault to look at the other pieces in the collection. They determine that everything in the collection is fake—the kimono has been stained in tea to make it look aged, the mask has paint that easily chips away, and the suit of armor has boot polish on it. Ty overhears them saying that the collection is worthless and is inconsolable. Grissom remembers that the head of security told him that the collection was documented by Vanessa Green, the internal registrar. Despite Vanessa not being an official appraiser, Grissom thinks that she still would have been able to tell the collection was fake. Ty now comes to another realization.

Grissom, Ty and the head of hotel security rush to Yuri Yamamoto's suite to find that Yuri has left, as no luggage has been left behind. Grissom mentions that four people have disappeared—Brandon Miller, Nathan Pollard, Vanessa Green and Yuri. Ty points out that the $10 million is missing, as well. The head of hotel security tells the gentlemen that Yuri never checked out of the hotel and that Vanessa made reservations at a resort in Hawaii and never checked in. The only thing left behind where the Japanese antiques which Yuri knew were worthless.

Grissom has all of the antiques laid out on the table sans the samurai sword, which Sara brings in. She tells him that the sword's handle is made out of molded plastic and impossible to trace; Nick adds that the other materials used to make the collection (leathers, fabric) are also relatively generic and not that unique. However, Sara informs Grissom that the ivory on the sword's handle is not ivory, but is treated bone from an emu. It is not widely used, and Nick says that there are only six US importers, one of which made a sale to a business in Las Vegas—Chen's Scenic Prop House owned by Graeme Chen.

Grissom, Nick, Sara and Brass pay a visit to the prop house. Among all of the props in the storage area is a table with several swords on it; Sara guesses that they were prototypes. Brass finds a cot with a pair of pants on it; inside the pants is a wallet. Brass looks at the ID and shows Grissom that Yuri Yamamoto is, in fact, Graeme Chen. Sara sees a showboard for Mikado, a Gilbert & Sullivan opera. On it are photos of the actors who were in the opera—Brandon Miller, Nathan Pollard and Vanessa Green. Grissom starts singing the song "Three Little Maids From School Are We" and notes that it is the same tune used in the keypad for Ty Caulfield's vault. He says that this can't be a coincidence.

Grissom talks with Ty Caulfield in Ty's office. He comments that $10 million dollars weighs 220 pounds and that there was no way someone of Nathan's stature could walk around with that much money. Grissom then shows him the money bands and notes that they are always wrapped tightly around stacks of money and that the only way to get them off is to cut them. However, these bands are not cut. Grissom guesses that there wasn't $10 million in the vault, but Ty was going to be asking the insurance company for that amount. This is why he had his "thief" leave the money bands behind. He hired Graeme Chen and his actors to rip him off so he could, in turn, rip the insurance company off. Grissom tells Ty that he will report his findings to the insurance company and that Ty shouldn't be expecting a payout. As Grissom leaves the office, he gleefully whistles the tune to "Three Little Maids From School Are We."

Victim: Angela Sommerville (deceased)

On the case: Catherine Willows, Warrick Brown

Catherine and Warrick arrive at the scene of an abandoned house. The responding officer tells her that the house is cursed—there were two suicides a few years ago; now there is a murder. A neighbor heard a scream, which led to the 911 call. They enter the house while the responding officer refuses to step inside. As they make their way through the creepy house, they come upon David Phillips, who is knelt down next to the body. David tells them that the jugular vein has been punctured and that the two marks are possibly bite marks. Could it be the work of a vampire? A skeptical Catherine and Warrick don't think so until David opens the victim's mouth—along with a tongue piercing, the victim has fangs. David says that the victim bled out; however, there is no blood around the body. Catherine has David swab the neck; if the victim was bitten, the person who bit her left DNA behind. Warrick goes to take a look around the house and finds a red-painted insignia on the floor of an adjacent room. Catherine tests it, but it comes back negative for blood. She guesses that it's just house paint.

Doc Robbins identifies the victim as 20-year-old Angela Sommerville. He shows Catherine and Warrick that the fangs Angela was wearing were acrylic. They are actually clip-ons; bite marks on her tongue show that she was still breaking them in. Catherine notices that a tattoo on Angel's ankle is the same symbol that was found painted in the house. Warrick did some research and found that the symbol is the ankh—the Egyptian symbol for eternal life. It is also the universal symbol for vampires. Doc Robbins tells them that there was still some blood left in Angela's system and that he sent some to the tox lab. The body has multiple incised wounds on both shoulders, a few of which are fresh. Warrick notes that the shoulders have a lot of blood and that they heal quickly, which would make them a good place to start for someone who wanted to drink Angela's blood. Catherine wonders, then, why the killer would switch to the jugular.

Catherine and Warrick visit the Somerville residence, where Angela's parents tell them that she went goth six months ago. Catherine picks up a book titled "The Black Veil: 13 Rules of Community" about guidelines for vampires. Angela had written down all of her thoughts in the book, which her mother had read. Catherine finds an HIV test that came back negative; Angela's mother had insisted that she get tested. Warrick opens the closet door and finds a makeshift shrine with a man's photo in it. Angela's parents don't know what the man's name is, as Angela wouldn't tell them. Catherine tells them that Angela was found in an abandoned house and that there is evidence that someone else was there. Angela's mother says that that would be her court, the equivalent of a witch's coven.

They interrogate the three other girls in Angela's court. The girls are uncooperative at first, referring to Angela and themselves by their vampire names. This changes when Catherine threatens to separate them and hold them in custody for 24 hours. They change their personas and say that they don't recognize the man in the photo that was found earlier. Alice (who also goes by Luminessa) admits to Catherine that the three girls and Angela (who goes by Daegana) were in the abandoned house the night before. A flashback shows Angela getting mad at the rest of her court because they refused to go to a blood bar and drink human blood. They were accused of not being real vampires; the three girls say they are vampires more in the spiritual sense. The girls kicked Angela out of the court; when Angela refused to leave, the girls left instead. That is the last time they saw her.

Greg informs Catherine and Warrick that Angela's blood alcohol content was .14, and that the tox panel detected traces of thujone. Thujone, Greg explains, is the psychoactive chemical found in absinthe. Despite absinthe being illegal, Greg says that he has heard that it is sold in underground bars. Warrick connects the dots and thinks it came from the blood bar Angela's court were talking about.

They visit the blood bar and talk to Lazarus Kane, who admits to having a drink with "Daegana" the night before. He also admits that he drank her blood in the past. Lazarus tells Catherine that he ended their three-month relationship the night before, as well. He exposes his shoulder from underneath his shirt to show the same incised wounds that Angela had; Lazarus explains that "Daegana" was his donor. However, he was not her donor, as it doesn't work that way. When told that Angela was killed, Lazarus says that he follows the rules of the "Black Veil," one of which is to not mistreat your donor. He is wearing a pendant around his neck with Angela's blood in it; Catherine takes the pendant as evidence and takes a DNA sample from Lazarus, as well.

Catherine and Warrick pay Greg another visit. He tells them that the saliva from around Angela's puncture wounds does not match the DNA sample Lazarus provided. He adds that the blood in the pendant was Angela's blood and that it was mixed with a polyester base, a fluid prepackaged in test tubes for HIV testing. Catherine and Warrick remember that Angela's parents insisted on one thing—that she be tested for HIV.

They visit the clinic where Angela had her blood drawn for HIV testing and speak to the technician, Bobby Jones. He remembers Angela from her visit and admits to filling her pendant with blood, as he had taken more than enough for testing purposes. Warrick opens up Bobby's refrigerator and provides Bobby with a warrant when told he can't go in there. In the refrigerator, Warrick finds a container of blood. Catherine asks Bobby for a sample of his DNA, but he refuses and states that she doesn't have a warrant for that. Warrick believes they have more than enough evidence in the container.

Bobby is brought into interrogation. Catherine says that the blood taken from his refrigerator belonged to Angela and that there was lip print on the container. Bobby admits that after Angela showed no fear of needles or getting her blood drawn, he started "watching over her." He reveals his fangs to Catherine and Warrick. A flashback shows Bobby following Angela to the abandoned house and watching her fight with Lazarus. After Lazarus left, Bobby entered. Despite Angela not knowing who he was and refusing his advances, Bobby attacked her and bit her neck. He claims that Angela "offered herself to him." Catherine tells Bobby that the saliva from the rim of the container was consistent with the saliva around the puncture wounds on Angela's neck. Bobby claims that Angela isn't dead; he released her from her body and she is now inside of him.

Cast

Main Cast

Guest Cast

  • David Berman as David Phillips
  • Danny Huston as Ty Caulfield
  • Sherman Augustus as Security Chief
  • Wendy Gazelle as Mrs. Sommerville
  • Alan Gelfant as Scott Sommerville
  • James Haven as Lazarus Kane
  • Steven Lee Allen as Brandon Miller
  • Joel Bissonnette as Bobby Jones
  • Sam Doumit as Angela Sommerville/Daegana
  • David Chung as Yuri Yamamoto/Graeme Chen
  • Mei Melançon as Vanessa Green
  • Alexandre Chen as Himself

Episode Title

  • The title's reference is two-fold—"suckers" can refer to the vampire (sucking blood) aspect of the story, while also referring to the fact that people were suckered into thinking the artifact collection was real.

Music

  • This Is the New S**t by Marilyn Manson
  • Set My Baby Free by Ian Brown

See Also

CSI:Las Vegas Season 4
Assume NothingAll For Our CountryHomebodiesFeeling the HeatFur and LoathingJackpotInvisible EvidenceAfter the ShowGrissom Versus the VolcanoComing of RageEleven Angry JurorsButterfliedSuckersPaper or PlasticEarly RolloutGetting OffXXBad To The BoneBad WordsDead RingerTurn of the ScrewsNo More BetsBloodlines
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