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The Finger
Finger.jpg
Season 2
Number 14
Writer Danny Cannon,
Carol Mendelsohn
Director Richard J. Lewis
Original Airdate January 31, 2002
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Previous Episode: Identity Crisis
Next Episode: Burden of Proof

The Finger is the fourteenth episode in season two of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.

Synopsis

Catherine gets involved in the kidnapping of a real estate developer's mistress and has to accompany him while he delivers a million dollar ransom. Meanwhile, she tries to leave clues for the other CSIs, who are on her trail.

Plot

Victim: Amanda Freeman (missing)

On the case: entire team

A distressed-looking man, Roy Logan, walks into a bank, goes to a teller, and makes a withdrawal of $1.000,000. After more than an hour, he's handed a briefcase containing the money and leaves. Upon walking outside, Roy spots a patrol car driving up the street. He thinks for a minute, gets in his car, then tries to hightail it out of the parking lot. The patrol car quickly pulls him over, and the officer sees that Roy has blood on his hands.

Roy is brought to the station for questioning, and Catherine and Grissom are tasked with collecting samples and photographing him. The CSIs observe that Roy has no visible injuries, nor does he have blood on his clothes. Roy's lawyer, Paul Dennison, arrives and has him released, displeased that his client was questioned and disrobed.

Catherine gives Grissom the samples she collected and prepares to head to her daughter's school play. Before doing so, she sees that Roy left his sunglasses behind and goes out to the parking lot to return them. Agitated, Roy orders Catherine to get away from him. He soon gets a phone call and ominously tells Catherine that it's for her. The high-pitched voice on the other end of the line confirms that she isn't a cop and orders her to leave her weapon, pager, and cell phone behind. Any false moves or attempts to contact the police will result in the death of someone named Amanda; further instructions will follow. Grissom leaves the station and sees Catherine driving off with Roy in the passenger's seat. He calls Catherine's cell phone and discovers that she curiously left it behind.

Greg tells Grissom that the blood on Roy's hands is female. A background check on Roy shows that he has no criminal record, and Brass puts Roy's vehicle under surveillance with orders to not make contact with its occupants. The rest of the team wonders what's going on and questions why Catherine would leave her stuff behind. Brass informs them that a welfare check on Roy's wife found her in good health, and Grissom advises his team to sit tight, as no crime has been committed yet.

In the car, Roy tells Catherine that Amanda is his mistress. He explains that when he had trouble contacting her, he went to her apartment and found a severed finger that was left behind as a warning. The kidnapper soon called Roy and left instructions to retrieve $1,000,000, or else the rest of Amanda's body would be sent, as well. Catherine drives Roy to a diner, where Sara is on a date with EMT Hank Peddigrew. There, she gets a call instructing her to drive to The Horseshoe Tavern, which is a few miles away. Catherine preserves the finger in ice and leaves it behind for Sara and her horrified date. Outside, Sara watches Catherine drive away in a car that clearly isn't hers.

Catherine has Roy mark the edges of the bills with a glow-paint marker, which was going to be used for daughter's play. As they drive down a dark highway, Roy spots a state trooper and frantically tells Catherine to slow down. She drives past the officer, who watches the car pass by.

Back in the lab, Sara relays to the team what happened in the diner, emphasizing that Catherine never even made eye contact. Grissom puts the pieces together: severed finger + $1,000,000 + radio silence = kidnapping. He remarks that it's now time to speak to Roy's wife.

Catherine and Roy drive to their destination, with Catherine purposely leaving skid marks behind in the road. Upon exiting the vehicle, she drags her feet, making large impressions in the direction she's walking. The duo is soon met by a shotgun-wielding figure in a rabbit mask. Using a helium-altered voice, the figure demands the ransom money and provides directions to the next destination. Catherine refuses to play along and demands proof of life, but Roy gives in and hands the money over.

Nick and Brass got to Roy's house and speak to his wife, Diane. She claims that she hasn't heard from her husband and refuses to talk to the police on the advice of her lawyer. They're also not permitted to have a look around. During the conversation, Nick watches Roy and Diane's son secretly eat a peanut butter and jelly sandwich in the back of their car.

Catherine and Roy's next destination is an abandoned gas station. An increasingly unhinged Roy discovers that the payphone is out of order and fears that Amanda is dead. Catherine finds a map stuck in the Yellow Pages; it has a red X next to Easelwood Reservoir. She whips out her cell phone to call for backup, but Roy frantically tells her to avoid contact with the police.

In the lab, Greg matches the blood from the finger to the blood on Roy's hands. Nick doesn't believe the finger was sent to Roy's house, remarking that his wife was way too cool to have seen something so grotesque. Roy, a real estate developer, does own a townhouse registered under his company's name, and Nick offers to get a warrant to search it. Warrick relays that the state trooper saw Roy's car on Highway 582 driving one way, then back the other way five minutes later. Grissom assembles his team and heads out to the location. There, they find the clues Catherine left behind, including the glow-paint marker she dropped on the ground. Up the hill, Grissom examines where the other car was and finds the helium canister the kidnapper used. It appears the ransom drop-off went down, but they wonder why Catherine hasn't contacted them yet.

Nick goes to the townhouse and finds Amanda Freeman's personal belongings. There are two wine glasses on the counter, both of which have lipstick on their rims. A caged cockatoo soon startles him, and a closer look at the bird reveals blood on the front of the bird's feathers. Meanwhile, in autopsy, Doc Robbins determines that the finger was severed postmortem with a serrated blade.

Catherine and Roy reach the abandoned Easelwood Reservoir, but find no body in sight. After a brief look around, Catherine opens a grate and finds Amanda's body floating at the bottom of a pipe. With the wild goose chase over, she calls Grissom, who commends her for leaving clues behind.

Doc Robbins autopsies Amanda's body, determining that she was in the water for 24 hours. There are waterlogged blowfly eggs in her mouth, and Grissom notes that the decomposing body would need time to attract the bugs. This leads to the conclusion that Amanda has been dead for 48 hours—24 hours above water and 24 hours under. Evidence shows that Amanda took a beating before death, and Doc Robbins labels the cause of death as blunt force trauma to the back of the head. He pulls a stone fragment from her wound. On her way out of autopsy, Catherine runs into Roy, who asks to see Amanda's body. Roy is granted access to body and laments the fact that he couldn't reach Amanda sooner. Grissom reassures him that there's nothing he could've done.

Nick sprays the condo for blood and observes a chip in the edge of a table where Amanda hit her head. Blood evidence indicates that she bled out in the living room, with spatter reaching all the way to the bird. Since there's no blood trail to the door, Nick guesses that the body was wrapped in something. Catherine, now on the scene, guesses it was plastic. She sees that the intruder washed all of the knives, and as she makes her way around the kitchen, she finds a photo of Amanda posing for the camera while getting out of the shower. There's a shower liner in the photo, and a search of the bathroom reveals that it's now missing. It seems the body was wrapped in the liner.

Sara and Warrick get the unenviable task of searching the storm drains at the reservoir. They soon find the missing shower liner amongst other garbage there. Back at the lab, they examine the liner and find a small tear in it, which Warrick guesses occurred when the kidnapper cut through Amanda's finger. He also finds a stain on the outside of the liner that Greg later determines is peanut butter. When told about the stain, Nick recalls seeing the Logan's son eating a sandwich in the back of their car. The CSIs process the car and finds the same peanut butter stain on the carpet.

Amanda's phone records show that the last call she made from the condo was to Diane Logan, which lasted for over three minutes. DNA from the two wine glasses come back to Amanda and a mystery female, which Grissom guesses is Diane. Diane is brought in for questioning, and Catherine and Grissom accuse her of fighting with Amanda, killing her, wrapping her body in the shower liner, and dumping it in the reservoir. She transported the body in her SUV, which is how the peanut butter transferred over to the liner. Diane admits to having a drink with Amanda and setting her straight about her relationship with Roy. Just then, Roy arrived at the condo and was stunned to see his wife and mistress together. Catherine has Brass hit the lights to check for traces of glow-paint, and they get a surprise—lawyer Paul Dennison's hands are glowing in the dark.

The rabbit mask is found in the trunk of Paul's car. He admits to putting on the mask, making some phone calls, and taking the money. However, he denies killing Amanda and says that he did everything Roy asked him to do. Roy set everything up and staged it to look like a kidnapping gone bad. As for the money, Paul says it's in a locker at Roy's country club. Catherine and Brass go to Roy's hotel room at the Tangiers, only to find it empty. Grissom also has no luck, finding the locker empty, as well.

Back at the lab, the team reviews the case. Amanda invited Diane over to discuss the affair, but she broke the cardinal rule: "Don't call the missus." Roy fought with Amanda and accidentally killed her when she fell into the marble table. He now has two problems: 1) his wife was going to leave him and take half of his money and 2) he was going to jail for murder. Roy carefully planned out the coverup, cleaning up the crime scene and calling his lawyer for help. Everything after that was calculated, including getting Amanda's blood on his hands, being the last customer in the bank, getting pulled over by the cop, and leaving his sunglasses behind. His cell phone even rang on cue when he and Catherine were outside the police station. He also led Catherine to the body; with no body, he would be the prime suspect. This would also explain why he left the wine glasses behind in the condo and why he used his wife's SUV to transport the body—acts to shift the focus to Diane.

Grissom notes that the briefcase was too big to fit into the locker, so Paul had to remove the money. In the process of handling it, he got the glow-paint on his hands. Roy is likely long gone by now, and Catherine laments playing a part in the disappearing act. Just then, she gets a call from the state trooper from earlier—Roy has been caught speeding on the same stretch of highway they were on before. The trooper took notice of Roy's high-end Lexus and found it unusual that he would see it twice in two days.

Catherine visits Roy in his jail cell and congratulates him on his scheme. He admits that he's lied so many times before, one more wouldn't make a difference. "Try explaining that to your son," Catherine replies before walking away in disgust.

Cast

Main Cast

Guest Cast

  • Eric Szmanda as Greg Sanders
  • Robert David Hall as Dr. Al Robbins
  • Christopher Wiehl as Hank Peddigrew
  • Madison McReynolds as Lindsey Willows
  • Ty Upshaw as Officer T. Brantley
  • Tom Irwin as Roy Logan
  • Al Sapienza as Paul Dennison
  • Barbara Williams as Diane Logan
  • J. Robin Miller as Amanda Freeman
  • Gigi Bermingham as Waitress
  • Stan Sellers as Bank Manager
  • Rachel Wolfe as Female Teller

Featured Music

  • Our Love's in Jeopardy by Greg Kihn Band

Goofs

  • Sara says that the finger is severed 'just below the right intercostal joint.' Costal refers to ribs, so such joints are not found in the finger. The finger was actually severed at the metacarpophalangeal joint.
  • When the LVPD officer stops Roy Logan after he leaves the bank, he notices what looks like blood on Roy's hands. Yet, the bank teller and manager in the previous scene apparently never noticed the blood, despite having numerous opportunities during the hour they spent with him, including several close views of his hands (such as when he presented his driver's license). When he was in the bank, blood was also not apparent to viewers, so the makeup department must not have added it during that scene.

Notes

  • Sara is on a date with Hank Peddigrew at a restaurant when Catherine surreptitiously gives her the severed finger. He brings up their first meeting in Bully for You, where Sara smelled like the decomposed body she was processing.

Trivia

  • According to creator Anthony E. Zuiker, the "rabbit shot" is so iconic, the picture was blown up and pinned in the writers' offices.

See Also

CSI:Las Vegas Season 2
BurkedChaos TheoryOverloadBully for YouScuba Doobie-DooAlter BoysCagedSlaves of Las VegasAnd Then There Were NoneEllieOrgan GrinderYou've Got MaleIdentity CrisisThe FingerBurden of ProofPrimum Non NocereFelonious MonkChasing The BusStalkerCats in the CradleAnatomy of a LyeCross JurisdictionsThe Hunger Artist
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