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Toe Tags
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Season 7
Number 3
Writer Allen MacDonald,
Carol Mendelsohn,
Richard Catalani,
Douglas Petrie
Director Jeffrey Hunt
Original Airdate October 5, 2006
Navigation
Previous Episode: Built to Kill, Part 2
Next Episode: Fannysmackin'

Toe Tags is the third episode in season seven of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.

Synopsis

The deceased victims in the coroner's office give voice to their own murder investigations for the first time: a drowning victim found in an elevator investigated by Catherine, a woman who fell off a cliff investigated by Warrick, Sophia and Greg, a soldier stabbed just after returning from Iraq investigated by Nick, and two victims of a chainsaw massacre investigated by Grissom and Sara.

Plot

Doc Robbins sews up a female victim and David Phillips wheels the victim to the morgue. On the way, he passes by Grissom, who is leading a group of students on a tour through the lab. After the victim is placed in the morgue, she opens are eyes and sits up on the gurney. She is greeted by another female victim laid out next to her who introduces herself as Rebecca. The first victim introduces herself as Donna and is unsure as to how she ended up dead.

Chapter I: American Beauty

Victim: Donna Basset (deceased)

On the case: Catherine Willows, Jim Brass

In a hotel elevator, a housekeeper finds a female body wrapped in a towel. Catherine finds white cotton fibers on the body, indicating that it was dragged onto the elevator. Eliminating the floor that they're on, Catherine tells Brass that they have to look at thirty three other floors. A rose petal is found near the victim's head. As David Phillips turns the body, water comes out of the victim's mouth, which would seem to indicate drowning. Catherine wonders how someone drowns in an elevator.

Catherine goes through the various floors until she founds cotton fibers in one of the door tracks. Knowing that she has found the right floor, she steps out and looks through the laundry bins. In one of the bins, she finds used towels, dark clothes and a gun in a holster. Amongst the dark clothes, she finds a wallet and ID that belongs to Donna Basset, a cop from San Francisco. Donna is not a registered guest of the hotel; however, the manager notes that a high-roller guest on the floor, Robert Hsing, always hires private security.

Robert's suite is empty, and Catherine notices that the furniture has been rearranged. In the bathroom, water is overflowing out of the tub as rose petals lay on the surface of the water. The manager notices that there are some towels and a bath sheet missing from the bathroom. Robert is located in a private gambling suite and is devastated at the news of Donna's death. He tells Brass that she had worked for him the last twelve times he came to Vegas and that he had last seen Donna four hours ago.

In autopsy, Doc Robbins tells Catherine that the cause of death was indeed drowning. There is bruising on the shoulders, indicating that Donna was held underwater. Cuts on her knuckles show that she fought back against her attacker.

Brass talks to Robert again, who admits to leaving his game at one point because his luck was bad. He went back to his suite by himself, as he couldn't get in contact with Donna. After relieving himself and changing his underwear, he came back down to his game and turned his luck around.

Catherine looks at surveillance footage from the elevator and sees Donna's body pushed into it. She notices that the killer's sleeve is wet and gets the idea to analyze the rose petals from the bathtub. It's found that the petals contain grapeseed oil, the kind that the hotel puts in Robert's bathtub upon his request. Catherine and Brass pay Robert another visit, and she asks to see his clothes. Robert hands over his freshly dry-cleaned clothes; any evidence that was on them has been destroyed.

Back in the A/V lab, Catherine goes over the elevator surveillance again and sees that the killer pushed almost all of the buttons in the elevator. Acting on Grissom's suggestion, she combines the partial prints from every button and forms one whole print that comes back to Robert. A flashback shows Robert entering his suite and finding Donna taking a bath in "his" water. Blaming her for his bad luck, he held her under the water until she drowned.

In the morgue, Donna recalls to Rebecca that Robert would gamble for exactly four hours every time he came to Vegas. She says that she took the bath every time, only this time it was considered bad luck.

Rebecca sympathizes with Donna and begins to tell her story. The camera pans around the back of Rebecca's head, and we see that there is a hole there and an absence of brains...

Chapter II: No Brainer

Victim: Rebecca McGill (deceased)

On the case: Greg Sanders, Warrick Brown, Sofia Curtis

Rebecca McGill's body lies at the base of a cliff, the victim of a fall. Warrick finds a piece of torn, bloody clothing near the top of the cliff. There's a hole in the back of Rebecca's head where her brains should be, and Greg finds them in some bushes. Warrick and Sofia speak with Rebecca's husband Gavin, a self-proclaimed geek who says he married a beauty. He tells them that Rebecca was taking pictures of a bald eagle, got to close to the edge and fell. Warrick goes through Gavin's camera and sees pictures of the couple, as well as some of the bald eagle. When asked why he hiked to the ranger's station, Gavin says that he didn't have any cell phone service.

In autopsy, Doc Robbins shows Warrick all of the injuries that Rebecca sustained. The injuries, which include fractures and abrasions, are all consistent with a fall. Rebecca's hands are torn, indicating that she tried to grab onto anything she could as she was falling. She has a broken middle finger, which leads Warrick to question whether she sustained the injury during the fall or from someone stepping on her hand.

Henry informs Warrick that Rebecca's blood contained an anti-depressant and that she had been drinking. Under interrogation, Gavin tells Warrick and Sofia that Rebecca had been worried about her looks going downhill. He took his wife to Vegas, where they first met, in order to raise her spirits; however, it didn't work. A flashback shows her standing at the top of the cliff and committing suicide by falling backwards.

With coaxing from Grissom, Warrick sets out to prove that Rebecca had tried to kill herself before. While going through her phone records, he comes across a video recording that shows Gavin pushing her off the cliff. When questioned about it, Gavin tells Warrick that having an attractive wife was costing him every day. He asks for a lawyer.

Back in the morgue, another body is wheeled in on a gurney. A man with a tattoo on his shoulder arises and asks Donna and Rebecca if they have seen his wife or little girl. He's relieved when told that they haven't been seen. He begins to tell the women his story...

Chapter III: Embalmy Day

Victims: Russell Caris (deceased), Jack Day (deceased)

On the case: Nick Stokes, Sofia Curtis

Nick comes to the scene where a driver has t-boned a police car. The driver of the car is dead, and the officer from the police car tells Nick that the driver ran a stop sign. There is no evidence of skid marks on the pavement. Nick finds blood on the handle of the driver-side door; he photographs and swabs it. Doc Robbins, now on the scene, reaches into the car and retrieves the driver's wallet. The driver is identified as Russell Caris. The doc notices that there is dried blood on Russell's hands and on the steering wheel, but there is no evidence of bleeding wounds on the body that could have contributed to it. Nick finds a bloody knife in the passenger's seat and has Sofia put out a broadcast for stabbing victims. The broadcast yields a quick result.

At a nearby gas station, the police got a call about a man wielding a knife. By the time the paramedics arrived, Jack Day was dead, having been stabbed in the chest in front of his wife, Cara, and their young daughter. Jack had offered his wallet to the killer, but the killer stabbed him and ran off without it. Cara explains to Sofia that Jack had just come back from his second tour in Iraq and met his daughter for the first time. Nick offers to take tire and shoe impressions around the scene.

In autopsy, Doc Robbins tells Nick that Jack was in top shape...except for the stab wound. Russell, meanwhile, has signs of inhaling a caustic poison or drug. However, his cause of death was his skull separating from his spine in the car accident.

In the A/V lab, Nick and Archie go over surveillance footage from the gas station. They watch Russell get out of his car, stagger over to Jack and confront him. Jack offers up his wallet, but Russell stabs him and runs off. Nick wonders why Russell would target the biggest guy at the station. They rewind the tape to the point where Russell gets out of his car and notice that he seems disoriented and shaky. However, Henry tells Nick that the only thing found in Russell's blood was a high concentration of THC.

Nick goes through Russell's car. Amongst the cigarettes in the ash tray, he finds a joint. Henry tests the joint and tells him that it was laced with embalming fluid, the same thing injected into dead people. Nick talks things over with Grissom, and Grissom guesses that dipping the joint in embalming fluid would give a longer lasting high. Jack's murder was about someone getting higher, and Nick asks what he should tell Cara. Grissom tells him to tell Cara the truth, which he does.

In the morgue, Jack has a smile on his face and tells Donna and Rebecca that this was the best week of his life because he got to hold his baby girl. He lays back down and closes his eyes. In another part of the morgue, two guys sit up; one of them is missing his left arm...

Chapter IV: The Nevada Chainsaw Massacre

Victims: Lou Beltran (deceased), Ray Gaynor (deceased)

On the case: Gil Grissom, Sara Sidle, Jim Brass

Grissom and Sara are called to a residential neighborhood. The house is owned by a Lou Beltran. Vomit in the driveway from the water delivery boy tells the CSIs how gruesome the scene may be. The door to the garage has been forced, and there is a shoe print on it. In the garage, they find two bodies on the floor; one of them has a severed arm. A bloody chainsaw lies next to the bodies and the garage is covered in blood.

Grissom photographs blood castoff on the ceiling and asks Sara for her theory. She hypothesizes that someone broke into the garage, attacked the two men with the chainsaw and left. Despite the appearance of old and new furniture and appliances, Grissom says that this is a workable theory for now. ID on the one-armed victim comes back to Ray Gaynor, who lives a few houses down the street. They assume that the other victim is Lou.

In autopsy, Doc Robbins tells Grissom that the directionality of Lou's wounds are from bottom to top. However, Grissom notes that the teeth of a chainsaw move away from their operator. If this is the case, Lou should have been sliced from top to bottom, not the other way around. During the doc's analysis, Grissom notices a watch tanline on Lou's wrist.

Sara discovers that the chainsaw was owned by Ray. She also finds bits of wood and metal shavings on the inside of the cover plate, consistent with the furniture and appliances. The teeth on the chainsaw are dull, which she guesses is from cutting everything up.

Brass speaks with Lou's wife, Julia. She tells him that she and Lou were very close to a divorce, and it seems that Lou cut up everything that she was going to take with her. Her alibi is that she was on a plane during the murders, working as a flight attendant.

Grissom and Sara reconstruct the blood spatter on the ceiling using dummies. He uses the chainsaw on the Ray dummy, but finds that the blood spatter doesn't line up, meaning that the angle is off. Sara takes the chainsaw and repositions it, as if a left-handed person were using it. The spatter ends up matching. It seems that Lou cut off Ray's arm, but who killed Lou? Remembering that Lou was cut from bottom to top and that he had a watch tanline on his right wrist, Grissom guesses that he was left-handed. When added with the facts that the teeth on the chainsaw were dull and that Lou, according to his wife, wasn't very handy, the CSIs guess that there was kickback from the chainsaw. A flashback shows Lou struggling to operate the chainsaw and Ray confronting him about it. A startled Lou whirled around accidentally cutting Ray's arm off; kickback from the chainsaw then pushed it into Lou's chest.


Grissom explains to the group of students that 2,500 left-handed people die each year using products designed for right-handed people. One of the students asks how the CSIs knew that there wasn't a third person in the garage; Grissom explains that there no bloody shoe impressions, amongst other things. He tells the students that part of being a CSI is learning to work in the absence of absolute uncertainty, and highlights things that were learned in each case. Grissom is then asked why he does what he does. "Because the dead can't speak for themselves," he replies.

Cast

Main Cast

Guest Cast

Music

  • Sleepers Awake by Johann Sebastian Bach
  • Walk in the Sky by Bonobo ft. Bajka

Quotes

Sara (while looking at the crime scene): I thought this only happened in the movies.
Grissom: Life imitates art.

Goofs

  • During Chapter III: Embalmy day, the corpse swallows when Doc Robbins points to his throat.
  • In Chapter IV: The Nevada Chainsaw Massacre, you can see the first corpse repeatedly breathing on the autopsy table.

See Also

CSI:Las Vegas Season 7
Built to Kill, Part 1Built to Kill, Part 2Toe TagsFannysmackin'Double CrossBurn OutPost MortemHappenstanceLiving LegendLoco MotivesLeaving Las VegasSweet JaneRedrumMeet MarketLaw of GravityMonster in the BoxFallen IdolsEmpty EyesBig ShotsLab RatsEnding HappyLeapin' LizardsThe Good, The Bad, And The DominatrixLiving Doll
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