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The End Game
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Season 15
Number 18
Writer Christopher Barbour
Director Alec Smight
Original Airdate February 15, 2015
Navigation
Previous Episode: Under My Skin
Next Episode: Immortality

The End Game is the eighteenth episode and season fifteen finale of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.

Synopsis

The CSI team investigates and faces the Gig Harbor Killer in a final showdown during which his true intentions and motives are finally revealed. Nick makes a decision that will impact his entire team going forward.

Plot

Victims: Amelia Vance (missing), Margo Vance (missing)

On the case: entire team

Paul Winthrop gets tattoos, puts on glasses, and cuts off a finger, all to emulate his deceased twin brother, Jared Briscoe. While doing so, he utters the words "my eyes are your eyes, my heart is your heart."

Finn gets home from her shift and opens a package ostensibly sent to her by her mother. She unwraps a statue of Castor and Pollux, the twins in the Gemini constellation. The package is also accompanied by a severed finger suspended in a jar, and Finn soon receives a call from Paul, who tells her that this is "the beginning of the end."

Finn takes the package to the lab, and Russell recalls the myth of Castor and Pollux. When Castor was killed, Pollux went to Zeus and asked him to let him share his own immorality with his twin. In other words, Paul is relaying the message that he has become his brother and is more powerful than ever. When the package is analyzed, it's found that the tracking number and barcode on it are bogus. Furthermore, the string used to tie the package is made from human tissue.

Ecklie reminds Finn and Russell that they already have Paul's supposed partner in custody: private investigator Daniel Shaw, whose daughter was previously abducted by the twins. Finn believes that Daniel is not the real partner, but she's told that he's willing to provide vital information in exchange for a deal. In the interrogation room, Daniel tells Finn that making a deal was his lawyer's idea and that he's strongly against doing it. He wants to fully cooperate and believes he can earn his freedom if he and Finn can find who Paul's actual co-conspirator is.

Daniel recalls following up on a lead before his daughter was abducted; the thought is that Paul's partner was helping him get his victims. The girls are obtained from the escort service run by Rebecca Lowell; however, Daniel found that she had a connection in Vegas. The same guy was getting a lot of money from Paul's company, and Daniel reveals that the man in question is Brother Larson, an old nemesis of the CSI team. Daniel promises that if he's given a 48-hour pass, he and Finn can nail the preacher-pimp.

Daniel confronts Brother Larson, telling him that he knows about the money. Finn soon reveals herself and directly asks Brother Larson if he's Paul's partner. The question is met with a stern 'no,' despite the fact that the money trail shows that he provided Paul with the victims. Brother Larson denies ever killing anyone, revealing that the money he received actually came from Paul's father, Collin. When the girls first went missing, Brother Larson believed Collin to be responsible. The preacher-pimp claims to have not seen Collin in a while, but does admit to still receiving extortion money from him.

The finger in a jar sent to Finn was suspended in saline and another component that Henry is unable to identify. DNA confirms that Paul's finger is the one in the jar, and Henry tells Morgan he also found blood evidence on the statue. The blood sample is actually female, and it's from identical twins. Blood spatter indicates that the statue was used as a murder weapon, which Paul sent to the lab directly.

Hodges identifies the mystery liquid in the severed finger jar as a mixture of saline and Cryers #2 Vermillion Ink, which was used specifically in the application of Jared's tattoos. The ink is very rare, and it helps Hodges identify the tattoo artist. He tells Greg that the tattoo artist, Margo Vance, moved from Seattle to Vegas in order to live with her twin sister, Amelia.

When Greg and Sara get to Amelia's loft, they find a fully-processed crime scene, the calling card of the Gig Harbor Killer. Strings and blood indicate two separate events and two victims; however, neither body is present. Sara notes that something is different - not everything has been dusted, and Paul didn't even try to hide his message among the trajectory strings. The murder weapon is also different, as Paul used a statue this time instead of a fisherman's gaff. Sara also finds a hand-braided rope on the ground with some yellow transfer on it.

Greg uses a hyperspectral imaging prototype to compare blood samples and determine exactly when the murders took place. It's found that the murders took place just 12 hours ago, which doesn't align with Paul's M.O. In the past, the murders have taken place weeks before the actual processed crime scene was found. It also took days to stage the scene itself, which means Paul has accelerated his timeline. There's a tape recorder in the middle of the room, similar to the other scenes.

In the lab, Finn and Russell listen to the recording, which contains a digitally-altered voice analyzing the scene. However, this time, Paul reveals himself on the tape, threatening that those responsible for keeping him and Jared apart will feel his wrath. There's no evidence of anyone else on the recording, but he has to have someone else helping him. Since Paul was wounded and his bank accounts have been frozen, someone has been providing him with money and a place to stay. The thought is that Brother Larson's assumption about Collin Winthrop is correct.

Hodges analyzes the rope from the scene, finding that it's made of dogbane, which is an invasive plant species. The yellow trace from the rope is identified as pollen spores from the Artemis bloom, and since Artemis was the daughter of Zeus, it's theorized that the killer is sending another message. The Artemis bloom is a very rare, delicate, and expensive type of cactus that's only prized by serious enthusiasts with a lot of money.

As it turns out, Collin Winthrop is actually a wealthy recluse and a plant hobbyist. Finn finds multiple articles online that discuss various sexual assault allegations against Collin; however, one article says that Collin reportedly fled to Mexico. If this were true, he could still support his son from afar, but wouldn't be able to participate in the murders. Daniel goes through his case files and recalls looking into the Winthrop company financials. He had come across a series of transactions that were donations to a nature conservancy. Surprisingly, the charity actually exists, but the guess is that the money went straight into Collin's pockets. The address of the charity is in Briar Creek, California. Though the place is outside LVPD jurisdiction, Nick has an in with the San Diego Crime Lab.

A San Diego CSI relays to Nick that the Winthrop property is surrounded; Collin is working in the greenhouse, while the secluded guesthouse has its shades drawn. When the duo searches the guesthouse, they find evidence that Paul was tending to his wounds there. A door leads to an adjacent kitchen, where Paul has been making new crime scene markers and trajectory strings. Nick opens a freezer chest and finds the bodies of Amelia and Margo Vance.

Meanwhile, Finn and Daniel have been questioning Collin, who claims that he and his son are the real victims. However, when Nick radios the discovery of the bodies, Collin is placed under arrest. As Collin is brought to the police car, Finn gets a call from Paul, who reveals that he's been watching everything unfold. Finn yells out for everybody to hit the deck, but Collin is soon shot and killed by a sniper bullet. Daniel leaps in front of Finn to protect her from getting hit; however, he takes a bullet and dies in the process.

The sniper's ridge is found above the property 500 yards away. Though the entire search team is trying to track Paul down, it's noted that the killer knows the landscape better than anyone, giving him the upper hand. When the sniper rifle is processed, it's found that Paul's fingerprints are all over it. Finn calls Russell and fills him in, adding that she wants to stay there and help collect the evidence. However, Russell and Ecklie order her to come back to Vegas, as Paul has changed the game and made things personal between him and Finn.

The cause of death on both Vance sisters is listed as blunt force trauma to the head. Doc Robbins notes that Paul's M.O. has changed, as there is evidence of sexual activity on both victims; bruising and ligature marks indicate rough sex.

Collin had extensive HD surveillance set up all over his property, including in the greenhouse. One video shows him arguing with someone; however, there's no sound. The mystery guest is soon revealed to be Brother Larson, so his earlier statement about his impersonal dealings with Collin was false. Though there's no sound, Morgan mentions that the lab has audio equipment that can track minute vibrations in the leaves of the plants. By combining and filtering the minute motion over the image, the equipment can actually recover the sound of the voices.

Collin is seen and heard arguing with Brother Larson, telling him that he's tired of the blackmail. He also reveals that he has a daughter named May, and he claims that he needs to protect her from Paul. Paul has figured out who she really is and if he finds her, he'll likely kill her. Russell digs into the Winthrop family tree and discovers that Collin had a daughter, May, who ran away from home when she was about 15 years old.

In interrogation, Brother Larson claims to not know where May is, but he tells Russell a story. He states that May found out she was pregnant and ran off to a convent, where she gave birth to twin boys, Paul and Jared. She didn't want to keep the babies, and she didn't want her father to lay claim to him, as they were his blood. In other words, Paul and Jared were the products of incest. May hid behind the name Nancy Harper, and she found a home for Jared. However, Paul was sickly, and she tried to buy time by pretending that he died. Eventually, Collin tracked Paul down and raised him, but he never found Jared or May.

Russell immediately debunks the story, as DNA confirms that Brother Larson is the biological father of Paul and Jared. Brother Larson continues to insist that he has nothing to do with the murders, pointing out that Paul has been killing his mother over and over in preparation for the "End of Days." With Jared dead, the time has come; Paul will find May and "render judgment." Russell wants to protect May and asks where she is. Brother Larson reveals that she never left the convent she ran off to; she lives there under the name Sister Alice, and Finn has met her before.

Russell tells Sara that he and Finn are going to head up to Seattle, put Sister Alice in protective custody, and use her as bait. However, when he goes to Finn's condo to pick her up, he finds a blood smear on the door handle. He makes his way inside and finds a processed crime scene, complete with a blood pool and trajectory strings. Paul reveals himself and tells Russell that "he and Jared have been waiting for him." Meanwhile, back in the lab, the Seattle Police Department has told Morgan that Sister Alice has been reported missing. Sara gets a bad feeling and heads to Finn's condo, ordering Greg and Morgan to follow behind.

As Russell starts to get overwhelmed at what has happened, Paul points a gun at him and demands that he analyzes the scene. Russell spots a small blood pool. The lack of blood spatter and the fact that not all of the trajectory strings have been set up leads Russell to believe that Finn is still alive. He figures that he interrupted Paul before he was finished. Paul insists that Finn is dead and that he buried her in the desert where her body will never be found. Russell informs Paul that he knows who his mother is, and he offers to trade that information for Finn's location. He also reveals that Brother Larson is the twins' real father. Paul threatens to kill Russell, but the CSI says that he'll never find out who his mother is if he pulls the trigger.

Sara and Officer Mitchell burst into the condo. When Paul fires his gun, Officer Mitchell opens fire in return, hitting Paul in the shoulder. Paul's life must be saved, as he's the only who knows where Finn is. The thought is that since Paul never finished the job, Finn is somewhere close. If he was going to take her to the desert, he was going to need a car.

Sara radios Greg and Morgan, telling them that Paul's vehicle is somewhere in the parking garage. They come across a car that's been reported as stolen, and Finn's bloodied body is found in the trunk. The body is still warm, but she's unresponsive. Greg tries applying CPR as Morgan radios for medical assistance.

Weeks after the ordeal, Russell sits in his office packaging Finn's belongings. He reveals to Nick that Finn is still alive and is healing in the hospital; however, doctors are unsure if she'll ever regain consciousness. Paul is expected to make a full recovery from his injury, and he'll end up paying for what he's done. Due to what has happened, Nick is hesitant to leave Vegas, but Russell convinces him to take the lab director job in San Diego. As he prepares to leave, he takes one last look at the case board and recalls the many ups and downs he's had on the job and the friends he's made along the way. He puts a "SOLVED" placard over his name and leaves the Vegas lab for the last time.

Cast

Main Cast

Guest Cast

Major Events

  • Finn is attacked by Paul Winthrop and put in the hospital. It's later revealed in Immortality that she succumbed to her injuries.
  • Nick decides to leave the Vegas crime lab and become the lab director in San Diego.

Music

  • Deep Six by Marilyn Manson
  • I Lived by OneRepublic

Notes

  • This episode marks the final contract appearances of George Eads (Nick) and Elisabeth Shue (Finn).
  • As Nick leaves the lab, scenes from several episodes are shown. Among them are:
    • House of Hoarders (season 11) - Nick accidentally steps in evidence and has his picture taken by Sara
    • Shock Waves (season 11) - Nick is blown into the air by an exploding vehicle
    • Built to Kill, Part 1 (season 7) - Nick and Catherine dance at a private John Mayer concert
    • Long Ball (season 10) - Nick practices his golf swing as evidence for the case
    • Turn, Turn, Turn (season 9) - Nick kneels over the body of slain teen Haley Jones (played by Taylor Swift)
    • Appendicitement (season 9) - Nick, Greg, Hodges and Henry are stranded in the desert after a car accident
    • Rashomama (season 6) - Nick walks through an archway and smells a flower
    • Grave Danger, Part 2 (season 5) - Grissom finds the location where Nick has been buried alive
    • Pilot (season 1) - Nick puts a "SOLVED" placard over his case as Warrick congratulates him

Trivia

  • This is the final episode of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation. The series concluded with the TV movie Immortality.
  • The very first episode (Pilot) concludes with Nick solving his case, standing in front of the case board, and being promoted to a level 3 CSI. As Nick departs the lab for the last time, he puts a "SOLVED" placard over his name on the same board.

See Also

CSI:Las Vegas Season 15
The CSI EffectBuzz KillBad BloodThe Book of ShadowsGirls Gone WilderThe Twin ParadoxRoad to RecoveryRubbery HomicideLet's Make A DealDead RailsAngle of AttackDead WoodsThe Greater GoodMerchants of MenaceHero to ZeroThe Last RideUnder My SkinThe End GameImmortality
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