There's the Rub is the sixth episode in Season Two of CSI: Vegas.

Csi vegas lg
There's the Rub
Csi vegas
Season 2
Number 6
Writer Jordana Lewis Jaffe
Director Mario Van Peebles
Original Airdate November 3, 2022
Previous Episode: In Harm's Way
Next Episode: Burned (CSI:Vegas)


Max leads her team to investigate the death of a prestigious Michelin-starred chef found hanging in his restaurant's walk-in freezer.


Victim: Dario Donnelly (deceased)

On the case: Allie Rajan, Beau Finado, Chris Park, Joshua Folsom, Maxine Roby, Det. Serena Chavez

The body of Dario Donnelly is found in the walk-in freezer of the restaurant bearing his name. Upon arriving at the scene, Max notes that the killer bumped the freezer’s temperature down to -10 degrees Fahrenheit. Chris immediately recognizes Dario from his huge social media presence and his humanitarian work outside of the restaurant. A knife is sticking out of the body’s midsection—the same knife missing from the kit used by sous-chef Damien Pak. Lack of blood around the knife wound leads Max to conclude that Dario was stabbed after he was frozen; the blade itself also isn’t very deep. As she canvasses the area, Max comes across a freezer door with the words “I’M SO SORRY” written on it in grease.

Curiously, Dario died in his bare feet. Allie and Max believe that he undressed himself—freezing to death caused his circulatory system to stop working. Warm blood collected in his arms and legs, making his extremities feel scalding hot by comparison. Because the brain was also not getting enough blood, Dario became delirious and took off his own shoes and socks.

As everyone tries to warm themselves up, Max explains that they can’t autopsy a frozen body. If the body is warmed over 38 degrees, the flesh will begin to decompose while the internal organs will remain frozen. It will take a few days for the body to thaw and some questions to be answered. Chris is tasked with bringing the frozen body to the morgue in one piece. Max, meanwhile, hopes to get a print from the message the killer left behind. The belief is that the murder is an inside job.

Max and Det. Chavez collect prints from the restaurant’s staff. Delivery person Albert Santoni admits to touching the body when he found it, adding that he doesn’t know of anyone who hated Dario. Server Holly Prince tells Max a different tale, saying that Dario was equally hated and respected by his staff. She recalls last seeing him after the restaurant closed the night before. Since the customers were gone and an ID is needed to access the service tunnel, Holly deduces that one of the staff killed Dario. Hostess Valerie Bianco is angry that Dario cheated on her, but says that she’s still sorry he’s dead. Sous-chef Damien Pak tells Max that Dario’s humanitarian “schtick” was the complete opposite of his on-the-job personality; nobody in the kitchen was ever good enough for him. The knife sticking out of Dario’s midsection has Damien’s initials on it, but the sous-chef insists that anyone could've taken it.

Allie and Chris work on getting prints from the message on the freezer door. To their surprise, it’s actually not cold enough to extract prints, as the oil used to write the message is still semi-viscous. They use compressed air to freeze the oil and make it easier to make the Mikrosil cast. When the process is complete, they discover that some of the letters in the message contain prints while others don’t.

Folsom visits autopsy, but is informed that Dario’s body will have to warm up slowly. Sonya explains that Dario’s insides have been shredded by ice crystals; the faster the body thaws, the more likely his dehydrated cells will become deformed. Folsom takes photographs of the body and finds a handprint on the side of Dario’s face.

Allie discovers that the message on the freezer door was actually written by Dario himself—his prints were in the oil. There are flecks in the oil, possibly from a spice used in the kitchen. When prints from the case are run through the system, it’s found that every person of interest touched Dario’s body at some point.

The handprint from the side of Dario’s face came from Valerie, who admits to slapping him after she found out she was being cheated on with someone else from the restaurant. She adds that she slept with Dario the night of his murder. Prints on Dario’s left hand, jacket, and neck are from Holly. She also admits to fooling around with Dario and is surprised when told that another woman was in the picture. Albert’s prints were found around Dario’s waist as well as on his neck under the shirt collar. In Italian, he explains that both he and Damien tried reviving Dario and getting the body down off the hook.

Folsom recreates the slap to Dario’s face and deems Valerie's story as plausible. In fact, he says, everyone’s story seems to hold up. While leaning over the body, he notices the smell of almonds. Sonya determines that the body is releasing hydrogen-based gases that contain benzaldehyde, the chemical that gives a distinctive smell to cyanide. Not only was Dario stabbed, he was also poisoned.

Damien is found working in the restaurant garden, gathering herbs for the night’s dinner. Det. Chavez points out that with Dario now gone, Damien gets to take over the restaurant. Max finds a tray of peaches and notes that if enough pits are ground down, they can produce cyanide; she takes one as evidence. When told that his prints were found around Dario’s neck, Damien admits to having gotten into a fight with his boss and mentor. However, Damien claims that he would never hurt Dario, as he saw him like a father.

Because Dario’s body can’t be tested yet, it needs to be determined how the poison got into his body. The staff shared a “family meal” before Dario’s death; however, nobody else got sick. Chris discovers that Dario was famous for his spice rub, which he would rub onto the meat. He would prepare the next day’s meat at the end of the dinner service, and the thought is that someone laced the spice rub with cyanide. Therefore, the cyanide would be absorbed through Dario’s hands. Allie points out that traces of a spice were found in some of the letters of Dario’s message.

It’s determined that the spice rub was laced with cyanide; however, the amount wasn’t enough to kill Dario. Numbers show that the concentration would’ve been high enough to incapacitate Dario, perhaps even causing a seizure or cardiac arrest. He would’ve certainly lost consciousness, which means he was alive and paralyzed when he was locked in the freezer.

Chris continues scouring Dario’s social media page and comes across a tacky cartoon video of a dancing (and frozen) Dario. It’s determined that the picture of Dario came from a “family meal” he had with his staff on Damien’s most recent birthday party. The photo was posted on a public account, which means anyone had access to it.

An analysis of Dario’s undigested stomach contents proves that he was poisoned right after the “family meal” and dragged to the freezer almost immediately. Chris determines the order of events—after the body was dragged into the freezer, the killer dropped the temperature to -10 degrees. However, the concentration of cyanide was too low, causing Dario to wake up. He took off his shoes and socks, then wrote the message on the glass. When the killer realized his plan had failed, he came back and stabbed Dario using one of Damien’s knives.

Upon closer inspection of Dario’s written message, it’s determined that only some of the letters contain traces of the spice rub; therefore, Dario didn’t write every letter. The other letters are smooth, as if they were written by someone wearing a glove. Dario only wrote the letters ‘MSSY,’ and Chris spots a smear between the words “I’M” and “SO.” It appears to be a missing ‘E,’ which would make Dario’s message read “MESSY.”

Chris and Max head back to the restaurant, where they find a frustrated Damien barking out orders to his staff. He explains that he’s short-staffed and that the kitchen is a mess. In fact, things are messy because “Messy” himself isn’t there to wash dishes. Damien explains that Albert’s nickname is “Messy,” a name given by Dario. As it turns out, Albert hasn’t been to work since Dario died, claiming that he’s too shaken to work.

Max watches Albert’s interrogation video again, amazed that someone with a thin grasp of the English language could turn “MESSY” into “I’M SO SORRY” in such a short amount of time. After the interrogation ended and Albert was left alone, he muttered to himself in perfect English, even throwing in a pop culture reference. He lied to the police and deceived them in the process.

Beau and Folsom search Albert’s apartment, which is rather upscale for a dishwasher. The address matches the address provided on Albert’s W-2 forms; however, there’s mail addressed to a Peter Nesicolacci. Beau soon finds Albert’s laptop, which contains the cartoonish video of a dead Dario. A deeper dive shows that Albert had been stalking Dario and taking candid photos of him. Albert adopted a new identity as a dishwasher to get close to Dario, using his skills as a graphic artist to fake a Social Security card and a fake green card. Folsom also finds a book written by Dario; in it, Albert wrote the word “MESSY” over and over again on the pages.

Det. Chavez finds out that Albert has assumed different identities in the past and has been part of multiple criminal trials. He also has a history of assault and battery, but has seemingly never escalated to murder. Albert’s history also doesn’t line up with him being a stalker; however, things may have escalated due to the stressful work environment and Dario’s attitude toward Albert.

Just then, Albert appears in the doorway; he spots the CSIs and begins to run, Folsom gives chase and eventually corners Albert on the roof. Albert frantically says that he can’t go back to jail and that there’s nothing for him on the outside. When asked about the video, Albert cryptically says that it wasn’t made for the police. Folsom tries to talk him down, but is unsuccessful; Albert backs up to the edge of the roof and gracefully falls backwards to his death below.

Max and Det. Chavez return Damien’s knife to him. They explain that Albert had been beaten on his whole life. He changed his identity to get close to Dario, whom he idolized. However, when he saw how poorly Dario actually treated people, his illusion of him was shattered. Albert wasn’t prepared to handle the truth, which caused him to snap and kill his idol.


Main Cast[]

  • Paula Newsome as Maxine Roby
  • Matt Lauria as Joshua Folsom
  • Mandeep Dhillon as Allie Rajan
  • Ariana Guerra as Det. Serena Chavez
  • Jay Lee as Chris Park
  • Lex Medlin as Beau Finado
  • Marg Helgenberger as Catherine Willows (credited only)

Guest Cast[]

  • Joel Johnston as Jack Nikolayevich
  • Alberto Frezza as Albert Santoni
  • Rushi Kota as Damien Pak
  • Sara Amini as Sonya Nikolayevich
  • Kara Royster as Valerie Bianco
  • Christy St. John as Holly Prince
  • Sandra Valladares as Line Cook


  • Joy to the World by Three Dog Night


  • Marg Helgenberger (Catherine) is credited but does not appear in the episode.

See Also[]

  • Category:Images from There's the Rub

CSI:Vegas Season 2
She's GoneThe Painted ManStory of a GunKoalaIn Harm's WayThere's the RubBurnedGrace NoteIn the White RoomEyeballsTrinketWhen the Dust SettlesBonedThird Time's the CharmAshes, AshesWe All Fall DownThe Promise