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To Halve and to Hold
Halve.jpg
Season 1
Number 14
Writer Andrew Lipsitz,
Ann Donahue
Director Lou Antonio
Original Airdate February 15, 2001
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To Halve and to Hold is the fourteenth episode in season one of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.

Synopsis

When a single human bone is discovered in the desert, it's up to Catherine, Grissom and Nick to piece the skeleton together. Meanwhile, Sara and Warrick investigate the death of a male stripper who died shortly after performing at a bachelorette party.

Plot

Victim: Mel Bennett (deceased)

On the case: Catherine Willows, Gil Grissom, Nick Stokes, Jim Brass

A father and son play fetch with their dog in the desert. The dog soon returns with a bone, and the father assumes it's from a dead animal. However, upon observing the bone later, Grissom sees that it's a human tibia. The bone has been in the desert long enough that it's been picked clean by animals; the elements have also eradicated any evidence. Catherine operates under the assumption that they're looking at murder, and Grissom tells her that the rest of the bones need to be found in order to prove this theory.

Cadets comb the desert and are able to find approximately 100 more bone fragments, which should be enough to identify the victim. Catherine and Grissom reassemble the skeleton in autopsy; based on the bones, Grissom believes they're looking at the skeleton of a man who was six feet tall. Catherine finds calcification on rib cartilage, indicating the victim was at least 60 or 70 years old. Jagged marks on the bones lead the CSIs to conclude that their victim was chopped up, which seems to confirm Catherine's belief that this was murder. Catherine calls in forensic anthropologist Teri Miller to assist, much against Grissom's wishes.

Nick enters the mandible into the dental society database, and records identify the victim as 70-year-old Mel Bennett. Back in autopsy, Teri observes the grooves in the bones and deduces that the instrument used to chop Mel up was an electric saw.

Catherine, Grissom and Brass visit Mel's wife, Rose. She claims that her husband is at the store, much to the puzzlement of the CSIs. As Rose is escorted to the squad car for further questioning, Grissom notes that she looks distraught—either because she just found out her husband is dead or because she just got caught. The CSIs find blood in the bathtub drain, but Brass one-ups them, finding a cleaned electric saw in the garage. Tests confirm that it's the same saw used to chop up Mel. Teri notes that the tool marks on the bones suggest that whoever used the saw was unfamiliar with its use and had a weakened musculature; both signs point to Rose Bennett.

Under interrogation, Rose says that she and Mel had a perfect marriage; however, she failed to report him missing for a whopping seven months. She decides to ask for an attorney, and Brass gives her the paper to sign. When she goes to sign it, Catherine and Grissom notice that she has trouble gripping the pen properly.

Nick analyzes the soft tissue in the bones and discovers that Mel was already dead when he was cut up. When questioned again, Rose surprisingly admits to disassembling her husband's body, which isn't against the law in Nevada. She claims that she found Mel dead one day when she came home from the grocery store. Since she couldn't afford the burial, she cut him up into "manageable" pieces and transported the body out to Mount Charleston. Brass enters the interrogation room and reveals that Rose has been collecting Mel's Social Security benefits for the last seven months. While she's guilty of fraud, she's still off the hook for murder...for now.

Catherine and Grissom examine the bones further and hand off a sample to Greg. The lab test shows an abnormally large amount of digoxin, a heart medicine, in Mel's bones. Catherine believes that Rose poisoned her husband, but Grissom remains objective.

Rose eventually admits to Catherine and Grissom that Mel took the pills himself—suicide. He was dying from heart trouble and was in chronic pain. When Rose couldn't go through with ending her husband's life, he had her leave the house and do it himself. She also says that per Mel's instructions, she cut up the body so she could continue collecting his Social Security benefits. Catherine realizes that no matter what, a wife's benefits are cut in half when the husband dies. Rose denies killing her husband, lamenting the fact that she couldn't even put him out of his misery.

Outside the Bennett house, Grissom notes that, forensically, they can't prove whether Mel took the digoxin overdose or whether Rose forced it on him. Since they're faced with evidence that could equally exonerate or implicate a suspect, they're forced to side with the defendant. Rose is allowed to go free because they'll never be able to determine who administered the fatal dose. Before leaving, Catherine changes her tune, believing that Rose had no involvement in her husband's death.

Later on, as Teri prepares to leave, Grissom asks her out to dinner. However, in the middle of the date, Grissom gets a page on his beeper and a call on his cell phone. Apologizing to Teri, he answers the phone to deal with work and turns away from Teri to do so. When he turns back around to face Teri, he sees that she has left.

Victim: Darren Pyne (deceased)

On the case: Sara Sidle, Warrick Brown, Ray O'Riley

Sara and Warrick are called to the Lucky Seven Motel, where 23-year-old Darren Pyne has been found dead in one of the rooms. There are signs of a struggle in the room, and evidence suggests that Darren was hit over the head with a lamp. The room is registered to a Lynn Henry, and credit card receipts lead the CSIs to a casino, where Lynn is with her friends, Meg Wheeler and Joyce Lanier. When shown Darren's photo, the women recognize him as the stripper they hired for Meg’s bachelorette party the night before. Meg explains that they rented a room at the out-of-the-way motel to prevent her fiancé from finding out. They claim that when they left the room at 3:00 AM, Darren stayed behind to sleep—and he was alive when they left. Sara notices bruises on Lynn’s wrists, but she can't explain how they got there.

In autopsy, Doc Robbins finds that Darren suffered multiple blows to the head, one of which caused cranial bleeding. It's also discovered that he had sex just before he died. The doc puts the time of death at around midnight, contradicting the earlier statement from the three women. Sara and Warrick confront the women with this evidence, and Lynn admits that upon returning to the motel room to retrieve her purse, Darren raped her. This would explain the bruises on Lynn's wrists, but she once again says that Darren was alive when she left the room later. Lynn is taken to the hospital for a rape exam.

As she and Warrick search the hotel room, Sara notes that the victim's wounds didn't contain any trace from the lamp, so they may be looking for a different murder weapon. Warrick spots a tiny diamond in the crease of the sofa; however, when he discovers that it doesn't cut glass, he realizes that it's a cubic zirconia stone. It's possible the stone could be from the bride-to-be's ring. On their way to the wedding to question Meg, Sara and Warrick learn that Lynn was lying about the rape. They crash the wedding and confront the women, informing them that the "clock will explain it all."

Sara gives the women a "free course in the forensics of sexual intercourse," explaining the forensic difference between consensual sex and rape. Lynn's exam showed that she wasn't raped; in fact, she hasn't had sex in months. However, there's evidence that Darren had sex with someone that night, and Meg finally admits to being guilty of the fact. She says that she had consensual sex with Darren, but made him stop halfway through when she felt guilty of cheating on her fiancé. Darren refused to stop, so Meg claims that she hit him in the head with the lamp and accidentally killed him.

Meg tells Sara and Warrick that her engagement ring contains a real diamond; however, her fiancé, Luke, has a zirconia-studded ring. When the CSIs take a closer look at Luke's ring, they see that one of the studs is missing. The CSIs figure that Luke caught wind of the bachelorette party and confronted Lynn, which explains the bruises on her wrists. He then walked in on Meg having sex with Darren. In a fit of rage, he knocked the lamp on the floor and banged Darren's head into the headboard until he was dead. Instead of getting married in Vegas, the couple is hauled away in a squad car.

 Cast

Main Cast

Guest Cast 

  • Eric Szmanda as Greg Sanders
  • Robert David Hall as Dr. Al Robbins
  • Pamela Gidley as Teri Miller
  • Skip O'Brien as Sergeant Ray O'Riley
  • Palmer Davis as Attorney Margaret Finn
  • Eileen Ryan as Mrs. Rose Bennett
  • Dorie Barton as Meg Wheeler
  • Lisa Dean Ryan as Lynn Henry
  • Ele Keats as Joyce Lanier
  • Chris Jacobs as Luke
  • Bobby Giovinazzo as Robb
  • Colby Giovacchini as Matthew
  • Michael Vincent as Darren Pyne
  • Blaze Jones as Police Cadet (uncredited)
  • William Wantland as Extra

Episode Title

  • To Halve and to Hold refers to a phrase used in many Christian marriage vows, "to have and to hold". The change from "have" to "halve" refers to the events of the episode in which it's discovered that Rose Bennett cut up her husband's body after he died.

Trivia

  • This is the first time "Who Are You" by The Who is used as the show's theme song.
  • The grid search was shot in Red Rock Canyon on one of the show's first location trips to Nevada.[1]
  • Sara's comment about the vagina telling a monologue during her interrogation of the bridal party references the play "The Vagina Monologues," which premiered in 1996.

References

  1. Flaherty, M. & Marrinan, C. (2004). CSI: Crime scene investigation companion. New York, NY: Pocket Books.

See Also

CSI:Las Vegas Season 1
PilotCool ChangeCrate 'n BurialPledging Mr. JohnsonFriends & LoversWho Are You?Blood DropsAnonymousUnfriendly SkiesSex, Lies and LarvaeI-15 MurdersFahrenheit 932BoomTo Halve and to HoldTable StakesToo Tough to DieFace Lift$35K O.B.O.Gentle, GentleSounds of SilenceJustice is ServedEvaluation DayStrip Strangler
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