The Greater Good
Season 15
Number 13
Writer Christopher Barbour
Director Alec Smight
Original Airdate January 4, 2015
Previous Episode: Dead Woods
Next Episode: Merchants Of Menace

The Greater Good is the thirteenth episode in Season Fifteen of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.


Russell makes the risky decision to use his daughter as bait to catch the Gig Harbor Killer and discovers the shocking identity of the killer's partner.


Victim: Maya Russell (alive)

On the case: D.B Russell, Greg Sanders, Julie Finlay, Morgan Brody, Nick Stokes, Kevin Crawford

Maya Russell awakens from a nightmare in which she was hunted down by the Gig Harbor Killer, Jared Briscoe. The following morning, she calls her father and tells him that she wants to go back to Seattle, much against Russell's wishes. She convinces him that she'll be fine, informing him that she's booked a flight for that evening. Russell insists that she be brought to the airport by Det. Crawford. Unbeknownst to Maya and the surveillance officers watching the house, private investigator Daniel Shaw is listening in on the conversation. He calls Paul Winthrop and let's him know that "it's happening tonight."

In Seattle, Paul visits his twin brother and happily tells him that today is the big day—Jared is being exonerated and released from prison. However, Jared feels betrayed, as Paul had promised that in exchange for his sacrifice, he would "live forever." Paul replies that the two need each other and can start committing crimes together again. The plan is for the two of them to celebrate Jared's freedom in Vegas—and Paul will have a gift waiting for his brother.

Back in Vegas, Finn, Russell, and Sara watch Paul's press conference. The Seattle Police Department will be sued for Jared's wrongful imprisonment, so both Finn and Russell are on alert. Keri Torres, Daniel's partner, has been released from the hospital; however, she can't remember who kidnapped and attacked her. Det. Crawford arrives and tells Russell that Maya will be picked up at 7:00 PM, adding that he's surprised Paul didn't take try to make a move. To Finn's horror, she realizes that Russell used his daughter as bait on advice he took from FBI Agent Avery Ryan, encouraging him to think of the "greater good."

Hodges tries to replicate the process the killer used to make the strings for the crime scenes, but he notes to Morgan that it's a very difficult process that requires a high level of competence. He guesses that either the killer was an expert in the process or he recruited an expert and forced that person to do the stringing. Since string-making doesn't fit with Paul's résumé, the latter option seems more likely. Hodges' research reveals that there are only six experts in the art of string craft west of the Mississippi. One of those people is Rebecca Lowell, the woman Finn fatally shot after she violently attacked Greg.

Rebecca's address is on file, and Morgan and Hodges go to check out the place. When they enter the house, they're overwhelmed by the smell of decomp, and Morgan finds a mummified body in the bedroom that's been tied to the bedposts. In the living room, Hodges looks at a bulletin board covered in articles about the Gig Harbor Killer. It appears that their killer enslaved Rebecca, forced her to make the strings, then squatted in the house. The house itself doesn't appear to be Paul's style, so Morgan wonders if it's more the style of the person he's been working with. A trail of ants leads the duo to a nearby ice chest that contains frozen body parts.

Outside Russell's house, the surveillance officers on watch are alerted to a shooting two blocks away. When they leave the premises, Daniel Shaw drives up, knocks on the door, and is greeted by Maya. She's suspicious, but Daniel says that Det. Crawford was called away. When Maya recognizes him, he mentions that he used to work with her father back in Seattle and hoped that a familiar face would put her more at ease. She accepts Daniel's offer to help with the luggage and prepares to go with him to the airport.

The mummified victim in Rebecca's house remains unidentified; however, the frozen body parts belong to the last two Gig Harbor victims, Emily Bartson and Pamela Kramer. Morgan informs Finn that partial fingerprints were recovered from all over the house and that they're a match to Daniel. The team now knows Daniel and Paul are working together.

When Daniel passes the exit for the airport, Maya immediately concludes that she's being taken somewhere else. Russell tells Finn that the surveillance team was pulled away from his house on a false call, but he's not surprised when told Daniel has been identified as Paul's partner. He pulls Finn aside and reveals that Maya agreed to act as bait "for the greater good" and is wearing a wire. Her location is currently being tracked, and Greg and Nick are in one of the cars giving pursuit. The plan is to have Maya delivered to Paul; when the latter reveals himself, the police will swoop in.

Finn is still upset that Russell went along with this plan, but she mentions that something else is bothering her. She claims that something isn't adding up and she asks to see the evidence from Rebecca's house herself. While there, she's startled by Hodges, who has been instructed to collect evidence. He tells Finn that while Daniel's fingerprints were found in a lot of places, they weren't found on the news clippings or the freezer, possibly because he was wearing gloves. Finn sees that someone moved the work table in the room. When she moves the table herself and pries open a floorboard, she finds a strongbox containing a lot of money and a flash drive.

The fingerprints on the strongbox come back to Rebecca, and the flash drive contains files from an escort service. Every one of the Gig Harbor victims were involved in the sex trade, and all of them were working for Rebecca. Paul's name is on the client list, and a "friends" list contains names of cops and judges from both Vegas and Seattle, including Daniel. This connects the loose ends in the case.

Meanwhile, DNA from the mummified body in the bed identifies the victim as Rebecca's sister. Her cause of death was a broken hyoid bone, which suggests manual strangulation, something inconsistent with the killer's M.O. Morgan observes the insect activity on the frozen body parts, finding both blowfly and beetle larvae. Since the insects are natural enemies, she theorizes that the eggs weren't laid at the same time. This would suggest a timeline of events, leading her to conclude that the body parts were moved multiple times. Because of the freezing and refreezing of the parts, the blowflies died off and the beetles eventually took over. Morgan believes that if they can identify the species and isolate them to a specific habitat, then they might be able to find out the killer's movements.

Greg and Nick continue to give stealthy pursuit behind Daniel's SUV. He soon turns down an alleyway, stops, and gets out of the car to make a phone call. Maya tries to get Daniel to say who he was talking to, but he refuses to answer. After the brief stop, he continues to drive in almost a circular pattern, making his way back towards the airport. Back at the station, Russell remembers that Paul's private jet took off from Seattle four hours ago. The brothers have already landed, and Daniel soon drives Maya to an industrial building owned by the Winthrop International Land Group. With the pressure building, Russell decides to stick to the plan and wait for Paul to show up.

Daniel pulls the SUV into the building's garage and puts it in park. He encourages Maya to stay quiet, turns on the radio, and begins a soliloquy. In it, he talks about watching a concert violinist's recital and being in disbelief that someone so beautiful "could be his," adding that he knew he didn't deserve her. Russell listens in and suddenly realizes that Maya hasn't said anything in a long time. He has the plug pulled on the operation, but when Greg and Nick go to check out the SUV, they find it empty. Daniel has ripped the wire off of Maya and left behind a recording device that's playing his voice.

The CSIs find a corridor that leads to a side entrance, but when they get outside, Maya and Daniel are long gone, having switched vehicles. Nick finds a wedding ring in the dirt, and it becomes evident that she left it behind on purpose as evidence. Flecks of red paint are in the dirt, and tire tracks are visible nearby. The assumption is that Daniel switched cars and ordered Maya to drive. Being a CSI's daughter, she purposely left her ring behind near the tire tracks and keyed the car, leaving the paint chips as evidence. By doing so, Maya has provided the CSIs with the color of the getaway vehicle and the make of its tires.

Back at the lab, Finn talks with Det. Crawford as Russell sits down the hall, alone with his thoughts. When Crawford mentions Daniel's soliloquy about the concert violinist, Finn gets a revelation. She leaves in a hurry and tells Crawford to keep an eye on Russell.

The paint flecks and tire treads come back to a 2014 red Chevy Impala, a car that's far too common to narrow down a search. Morgan relays to Russell that the bodies of Emily and Pamela were frozen and unfrozen multiple times, which means they were kept in at least one other place outside of the abandoned Mizu hotel and Rebecca Lowell's house. While the species of blowfly on the body parts is too common, the beetles are identified as fir engraver beetles. Upon reaching out to the Bureau of Land Management, she's told that there's been an infestation of the beetles along Bighorn Ridge. There are very few access roads in the area, so the hope is that a traffic camera picked up the car Maya and Daniel are in.

Finn processes a violin found in Rebecca's house and makes a discovery. She hurriedly tells Russell that the violinist Daniel was talking about earlier wasn't another victim—it was his daughter. The violin, which is the size of a kid's instrument, contains female DNA that's a familial match to Rebecca's sister, the mummified body found in the bed. The DNA is also a match to Daniel—he had a daughter with Rebecca's sister. Finn notes that Daniel was protecting the escort ring run by Rebecca and that her sister was one of the escorts. Birth records show that an Amy Lowell was born in 2001, and Finn believes that Paul Winthrop also knows about this. He's exploiting Daniel's one weakness, and evidence suggests that Paul murdered Rebecca's sister, kidnapped Amy, and is holding her for one reason: he wants to make an even exchange—Maya for Amy.

Daniel has Maya drive to an abandoned warehouse. Inside, she spots the trajectory strings made famous by the Gig Harbor Killer, and she's soon confronted by both Paul and Jared. Daniel proclaims that he held up his end of the bargain and demands to see his daughter, and Paul soon brings her out. Upon Paul's request, Daniel gives up his gun and kicks it over to him.

Traffic cameras spotted Daniel's car traveling east on Sunrise Highway a mere 20 minutes ago. Paul's M.O. says that the location will be an industrial area or a warehouse district, and air support soon finds the vehicle parked outside the warehouse where the exchange is taking place. Russell and Det. Crawford leave immediately to head out to the location.

After Daniel is reunited with his daughter, Paul turns the tables and mentions that they have to clean up loose ends. Figuring that this might happen, Daniel tells his daughter to run, pulls out a backup gun, and shoots Paul twice. Jared tries to kill Daniel with a fisherman's gaff, but Daniel wrestles it away from him and strangles him to death with it. The ordeal is seemingly over, but Paul soon rises and shoots Daniel in the back. Paul is unharmed, as he was wearing a bulletproof vest underneath his clothes. As Paul stands over Daniel and threatens to do serious harm to Amy, Maya arrives and gouges him the back with the fisherman's gaff.

Maya runs outside with Amy and waits for the cops to arrive. She tells Nick that both brothers are dead and that Daniel is injured; however, when the place is searched, Paul is nowhere to be found. Maya is reunited with her father, both relieved that the ordeal is over.

Daniel has survived his injuries, but he's told by Finn that he won't be able to see his daughter. Amy has been handed over to Child Protective Services, which Daniel says is probably for the best. He regrets not having to come to Finn for help when everything started, and he tells her to make sure Amy gets to live in Texas with her grandmother instead of getting lost in the foster care system.

Sara informs Russell that a blood trail was found that led from the warehouse to a drainage tunnel, which led to a wash. Paul was nowhere to be found, but she says that with Jared dead and Paul a fugitive, the LVPD is now in the driver's seat, as they can plaster his face everywhere and freeze his accounts. Russell thinks otherwise, however, stating that Paul is an animal—and animals are most dangerous when they're cornered.


Main Cast[]

Guest Cast[]

Episode Title[]

  • The title refers to the phrase FBI Agent Avery Ryan used in earlier conversations with Russell. In the last meeting between the two, she encouraged him to use his daughter as bait for catching the Gig Harbor Killer.


  • Robert David Hall (Doc Robbins) is credited but does not appear in the episode.
  • After the police lose track of Maya, Morgan mentions to Russell that she's been in the same position before, with her father similarly placing a lot of blame on himself. She allowed herself to be used as bait and was kidnapped in the Season 13 finale Skin in the Game.

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