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Take My Life, Please!
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Season 10
Number 20
Writer David Rambo,
Dustin Lee Abraham
Director Martha Coolidge
Original Airdate April 29, 2010
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Previous Episode: World's End
Next Episode: Lost & Found

Take My Life, Please! is the twentieth episode in season ten of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.

Synopsis

Greg and Nick are baffled by the strange death of one half of a legendary comedian duo the night of their one-night only reunion. Meanwhile, Catherine, Langston and Sara investigate a dead pro-life extremist bomber with over 100 bullet holes of different calibers through his body.

Plot

Victim: Bernie Nash (deceased)

On the case: Greg Sanders, Nick Stokes, Jim Brass

Legendary stand-up comedians Bernie Nash and Knuckles Pratt rehearse on stage, preparing for their first reunion in 30 years. Bernie forgets his lines and laments that he has nobody to love him. On the night of the show, Bernie is found dead in his dressing room wearing nothing but a robe and boxer shorts.

On their way to the scene, Greg fills Nick in about the history of "Knuckles & Nash." In the dressing room, Doc Robbins tells them that he sees no obvious trauma and puts Nash's time of death at two hours ago. Blemishes and enlarged blood vessels are present on Bernie's skin, which is consistent with history of alcohol abuse. There's also an open bottle of vodka nearby.

In autopsy, Nick photographs the body and removes a hair from the edge of Bernie's mouth. Bernie's tox panel comes back positive for both alcohol and oxycodone. Nick theorizes to Doc Robbins that perhaps Bernie was nervous about the reunion and simply overmedicated. When they turn the body, they find scratches on Bernie's with gold flecks in the wound tracts. The doc recognizes them as "love scratches," meaning Bernie wasn't alone when he died.

In his dressing room, Knuckles tells Brass that he and Bernie were rehearsing until 4:00 PM; afterwards, Bernie went back to his dressing room to take a nap. Knuckles recalls the history of the comic duo, mentioning that Bernie quit in order to spend more time with his money. When the money was gone, he begged Knuckles for a comeback. Brass tells Knuckles that it appears Bernie was with a woman when he died, something that puts a smile on Knuckles' face. Knuckles points the finger at one of the showgirls.

Doc Robbins surprises Nick by telling him that Bernie didn't die from natural causes. He had a fair amount of fluid in his pharynx and sinuses, as well as a pulmonary edema in his lungs - all signs of drowning. Meanwhile, Nick tests the hair from Bernie's mouth and discovers that it came from a redhead. Greg gets the enviable task of paying the showgirls a visit and collecting hair samples from them. One of the ladies says that both Bernie and Knuckles loved getting action, but Knuckles' fun would be stopped by his wife, Terpsie.

Hodges informs Greg that the hairs collected from the showgirls are all synthetic, while the hair recovered from Bernie's mouth came from a true redhead. He adds that the gold flecks extracted from the scratches on Bernie's back contain real gold along with ingredients found in nail polish. Greg remembers that Terpsie was removing polish from her nails when Knuckles was being interrogated earlier.

Brass questions the flirtatious Terpsie. She admits that Bernie, who had a crush on her, caught her one day in a compromising position with Bingo Mathers, the club's owner. Bernie blackmailed her into sex in order to keep Knuckles in the dark; however, he couldn't perform when the time came. After their failed rendezvous, Terpsie made him a drink and left the room. She tells Brass that Bernie was alive when she left and that she didn't dope his drink with oxycodone; however, a flashback shows her pouring water down Bernie's throat from a water bottle. Brass informs her that Bernie was loaded up on dope, which explains his inability to perform.

Hodges tests the water from Bernie's lungs and finds that it contains a magnetic substance, which he identifies as iron rust. He tells Greg and Nick, who are still wondering who the red hair and oxycodone came from. Hodges adds that the water from Bernie's lungs was fresh water; combined with the iron rust, it's unlikely the it came from Terpsie's bottled water. Furthermore, all of the water samples taken from the dressing room also came back negative for iron particles.

At the club, Bingo tells Greg and Nick that the dressing rooms were renovated a year ago; the CSIs find that the new pipes are copper, not iron. They're alerted to shouting and find Bingo shoving one of the showgirls and taking her bag. Nick places Bingo under arrest, which gives him the right to search the bag. Inside, he finds a bottle of oxycodone. Bingo is arrested for illegal possession - and homicide.

Greg and Nick are still puzzled as to how Bernie drowned - until they hear an ice machine make noise in the dressing room. Upon removing the machine's panel, they find a rusted, leaky pipe that's dripping rusty water onto some ice cubes. Nick points out that the vodka and oxycodone in Bernie's system would have caused respiratory failure, which would have rendered him incapable of fighting back as someone shoved the ice cubes down his throat. The question still remains, though: where did the red hair come from? Greg remembers that Knuckles wears a toupee and says that, despite the toupee's brown color, there's likely red hairs mixed into it.

At the police station, Knuckles admits to murdering his comedy partner, telling Brass that Bernie had "lost the funny." When that happens to a comedian, he explains, the show is over. A flashback shows Knuckles cancelling their show because Bernie couldn't remember any of his material. An irate Bernie refused to quit, threatening to open the show solo if he had to. Knuckles admits to killing Bernie "before the audience did," and says that Bernie would've done the same for him.


Victim: Kurtis Torse (deceased)

On the case: Catherine Willows, Raymond Langston, Sara Sidle

A dead body is discovered under a tarp by a sanitation worker, and Catherine and Langston are called in to investigate. When the tarp is rolled back, they find that the victim is riddled with bullet holes. Both the body and the tarp have a sticky white trace on them and a lack of blood leads them to think that the body was moved from another location. The victim's hands and feet have been blown off and his face is also missing. The victim has no identification and a gun is found inside the body. The CSIs compare this level of violence to that of drug cartels near the Mexico-U.S. border.

In autopsy, David Phillips tells Sara that the victim has over 100 bullet holes, including one in his mouth. Sara also removes a finger from the victim's chest cavity. When the fingerprint is run, the victim is identified as Kurtis Torse, who just happens to be on the FBI's Top Ten Most Wanted list. Sara recalls that Kurtis is responsible for blowing up an abortion clinic in Seattle and mentions that he had been on the run for over a year.

Catherine questions Kurtis' wife, Julianne. She says that she has been under constant surveillance since the bombing, making it very difficult for Kurtis to contact her. In fact, the last time she saw her husband was the day of the bombing. Julianne believes that one of the bombing victims' families is responsible for Kurtis' death, saying that they would follow her around and call the house. Catherine asks for Julianne's phone records.

It's discovered that Kurtis was shot 127 times with bullets of different calibers. The time of death is put at one to four hours before the body was found. Some of the bullet holes are blackened, and it comes back that they were actually singed. Langston notes that tracer rounds could cause that kind of burning. While tracers are designed for use on the battlefield, Sara says that fully automatic firearms and surplus ammo are sold illegally to recreational shooters in Nevada.

Bobby Dawson tells Sara that the bullet extracted from Kurtis' mouth came from a lead-free frangible bullet, which is designed to disintegrate on impact. This particular type of bullet is used in shooting ranges. Sara notes that based on the different caliber bullets in Kurtis' body, it's possible he was shot at such a place. Bobby adds that the brand of frangible is used by only one shooting range in town, Blast Away Alley.

Langston and Sara visit the shooting range and ask for the surveillance videos. When they spray the shooting gallery with luminol, they surprisingly find no evidence of blood, leading them to conclude that Kurtis wasn't shot there.

Catherine questions Daniel Peidre, whose family was killed in the bombing that Kurtis carried out. A gun was found in his apartment and he has been spending a lot of time recently at the shooting range. When told that Kurtis is dead, Daniel jumps up from his chair and celebrates. Catherine asks Daniel for his prints, DNA and the boots he's wearing; he happily gives up everything.

Hodges tells Langston that the white substance found on the tarp and on Daniel's boots is magnesite. As it turns out, the largest magnesite mine in the United States is located in Gabbs, Nevada, which is 250 miles outside of Vegas. Hodges wonders if Kurtis was killed there, but Langston, noting the time of death, replies that there's no way the killer could have shot Kurtis 127 times, drove 250 miles to Vegas and dumped the body in under four hours. Langston notes that there's probably plenty of magnesite washing down from the mine, and an internet search turns up the town of Koral, Nevada, which is just 50 miles outside of Vegas.

Langston and Sara head to Koral and visit a shootout range, where people from all walks of life are firing every gun imaginable. They spot frangible bullets for sale, and tracer bullets can be seen being fired in the darkness. The range's owner, Delf Rod, calls the range a "festival that celebrates gun ownership." He doesn't recognize Kurtis from a photo shown to him; however, he does recognize Daniel from another photo and remembers him from a few days ago.

In the daylight, the shootout range is searched. Sara comes across a dismembered foot near a fence and follows the blood trail to a nearby van that's used for target practice. She also finds a finger on the ground along the way. In the back of the van, she and Langston find a bloodied sleeping bag that's been shot to pieces. A flashback shows Kurtis sleeping in the van and being awakened by the gunfire. He was shot multiple times and unsuccessfully tried to escape the range.

Langston and Sara speak with Delf again and tell him that Kurtis' body was found wrapped in a blue tarp that was taken from the range. They theorize that Daniel captured Kurtis, brought him to the range and had everyone use him for target practice. Delf denies this and says that Kurtis was already dead when he found him during a late-night sweep of the property. He admits that he and Daniel transported the body to Vegas to make the police think that the murder was gang-related. Based on the time of the sweep, Delf figures that Kurtis snuck onto the property afterwards. A flashback shows Kurtis hiking, likely from his starting point in Seattle, and settling in for the night in the van. The shooters had no idea he was in the van until it was too late. Sara tells him about Kurtis' past and says that if he had called the police, he'd be a hero. Instead, he tried to cover it up, which makes him a criminal, too.

Cast

Main Cast

Guest Cast

  • Jorja Fox as Sara Sidle
  • Gerald McCullouch as Bobby Dawson
  • Larry Sullivan as Officer Akers
  • Tim Conway as Knuckles Pratt
  • Jennifer Tilly as Terpsie Pratt
  • John Barbour as Bernie Nash
  • Marcus Coloma as Bingo Mathers
  • Kayla Ewell as Bettina Clark
  • Shaun Sipos as Daniel Peidre
  • Eric Ladin as Delf Rod
  • Hedy Burress as Julianne Torse
  • Jeremy Cohenour as Young Knuckles Pratt
  • John K. Farless as Young Bernie Nash
  • Jason Gray as Kurtis Torse (uncredited)

Episode Title

  • The title is based on Henry Youngman's signature joke, "Take my wife, Please!"

Quotes

Greg : Well, having dabbled in the art of discrete hair coloration myself in my younger, more experimental days, I know a thing or two about the calibration of highlights and low-lights required to obtain certain effects.

Goofs

  • On the printout that Hodges hands Langston, it shows the chemical formula for magnesium carbonate as being CMgO3 when in fact it actually is MgCO3. The carbonate ion (CO3) would never be broken by magnesium.

Music

  • The Last Dance by Frank Sinatra

Notes

  • Liz Vassey (Wendy) is credited but does not appear in the episode.
  • Bobby Dawson (Gerald McCullouch) appears for the last time in this episode. It was later mentioned that he has been transferred to day shift. He appeared in 36 episodes.

Trivia

  • Knuckles Pratt was played by Tim Conway, himself a legendary actor and comedian.

See Also

CSI:Las Vegas Season 10
Family AffairGhost TownWorking StiffsCoup de GraceBloodsportDeath & The MaidenThe Lost GirlsLover's LanesAppendicitementBetter Off DeadSin City BlueLong BallInternal CombustionUnshockableNeverlandThe Panty SnifferIrradiatorField MiceWorld's EndTake My Life, Please!Lost & FoundDoctor WhoMeat Jekyll
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