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Two And A Half Deaths
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Season 8
Number 16
Writer Chuck Lorre,
Lee Aronsohn
Director Alec Smight
Original Airdate May 8, 2008
Navigation
Previous Episode: The Theory of Everything
Next Episode: For Gedda

Two And A Half Deaths is the sixteenth episode in season eight of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.

Synopsis

A temperamental sitcom actress is found dead in her Las Vegas hotel suite and there are plenty of suspects. Soon afterward, her photo double is also killed, this time in Hollywood in the dead actress' car.

Plot

Victim: Annabelle Fundt (deceased)

On the case: entire team

Annabelle Fundt, the temperamental star of the sitcom Annabelle!, is in Vegas to shoot an episode of the show. She makes most of the staff uncomfortable by insulting the dialogue and demanding her lines be switched to make her look funnier to the audience. The only one on her side is her dim-witted boyfriend, Bud Parker.

Annabelle is later found dead in her hotel suite by the show's creator, Spencer Freiberg. She has a head wound which Grissom figures came from the corner of a nearby table, which is covered in blood. When David Phillips opens her mouth, he finds a rubber chicken stuffed inside of it. Despite coaxing from David, Grissom refuses to make a pun about the situation ("suspecting fowl play").

Catherine arrives on the scene to assist and notes that there's no alcohol anywhere in the suite. Spencer says that Annabelle wasn't allowed to consume alcohol when she worked because it worsened her already poor temper. Catherine also finds candy bar wrappers in the closet, and Spencer confirms that Annabelle was bulimic. There's also a bottle of urine in the closet, which Catherine is told was being used for passing drug tests. Bud enters the suite and shocks Spencer by staying that he and Annabelle had gotten married two days ago.

At the station, Spencer and Bud are interrogated separately. Bud provides Brass with his marriage certificate and believes that it's the "bright side" when told that he stands to inherit half of Annabelle's assets. Spencer fills Brass in on Bud's past - he was Annabelle's driver, then writer, then producer; however, he never really did anything to earn his keep. Bud admits to having had sex with Annabelle the night she died and says that the rubber chicken was used as a prop in their escapades. Spencer explains that the last time he saw the rubber chicken was on the set in Los Angeles; he tried to use it in a scene, which didn't sit well at all with Annabelle.

Greg goes through the elevator surveillance footage with Nick and studio representative Stewart Lytle (pronounced "lie-tell, not "little"). Annabelle is seen in the elevator at 11:01 PM and entered her suite shortly thereafter. Bud is the next one on the elevator five minutes later; he, too, entered Annabelle's suite right after and stayed for 20 minutes. A man in a red cap gets on the elevator; Stewart is unsure if it's one of the writers, as Annabelle had a knack for hiring writers and firing them frequently. Annabelle is later seen riding up in the elevator, but Stewart identifies her as Annabelle's almost identical stand-in, Natasha Steele. Natasha rode down in the elevator at 11:57 PM carrying a garment bag. Nobody else was seen for the rest of the night.

Brass questions Natasha as she's getting ready to go to the airport. She tells him that one of her many jobs is handling Annabelle's wardrobe, which is what is in the garment bag. Annabelle had a rule where she was not to be awaken when she was sleeping. Natasha admits to knocking on Annabelle's door; when she didn't get an answer, she opened the door quietly, reached in to get the garment bag and left.

In autopsy, Annabelle's breast and butt implants are removed. Since there are abrasions in the upper esophagus, but no vital responses in the tissue, Doc Robbins concludes that the rubber chicken was inserted postmortem. The doc marks the cause of death as a subdural hematoma due to the sharp blow to the back of skull. He adds that Annabelle was dying slowly, as she had cirrhosis of the liver and near perforating stomach ulcers. There's confusion when it's revealed that Annabelle had a hysterectomy, but a tampon was found on her person.

It is found that Annabelle was dosing her tampons with vodka, something that wouldn't come close to getting her drunk. Catherine notes that there was no alcohol in Annabelle's suite; however, Grissom tells her that a test on a mouthwash bottle came back as pure vodka. In the layout room, Warrick shows Catherine and Grissom the blood-stained carpet from the suite. When he rolls back the carpet, he reveals a bloody shoe impression underneath that appears to belong to a woman's shoe. This makes Natasha their prime suspect...that is, until Grissom receives a phone call.

Grissom and Brass are called out to Los Angeles. Natasha has been killed in a car accident while filming the rest of Annabelle! When they watch the tape, they see Natasha driving past the camera calling out for help before crashing into a pole. They're informed by Detective Carolina Flores that the car Natasha was driving actually belonged to Annabelle; she used her own personal car on the show. The car had been on a locked truck since before the company left for Vegas. Since Annabelle was supposed to be the one driving the car, it appears that someone tampered with it. Shortly after, Grissom and Brass are interrupted by the cries of fellow actress Megan Kupowski; her dog Binky is lying in the street dead.

Grissom calls Catherine and informs her that the Los Angeles Crime Lab found an after-market chip inside the car's engine control system, but no fingerprints. This would allow anyone with the proper knowledge to get the car to do whatever they wanted. Grissom adds that the chips are easy to obtain and virtually untraceable. Meanwhile, Hodges, doing his own investigating online, finds video evidence that Bud actually married Natasha, who was acting as a stand-in for Annabelle at her own wedding.

Grissom and Brass visit Bud's office and find empty mouthwash bottles, a bottle of vodka and a box of tampons in a desk drawer. Bud explains that Annabelle was a mean drunk, but she was even meaner when she was sober, so he was dousing the tampons. When confronted further, he admits to having sex with Natasha and that their plan was to fake the wedding, kill Annabelle and inherit everything she had. However, when Natasha went to do the deed, she found Annabelle dead already. Brass accuses Bud of killing Annabelle then killing Natasha because she was the only one who knew about the plan. Bud denies this and is completely clueless that you can put a computer chip in a car. Brass has Bud arrested for conspiracy to commit murder, which comes as a surprise to him because he thought he was talking to extras and not the real police.

Wendy tells Catherine and Nick that there was an unknown male contributor on the rubber chicken. Furthermore, the DNA matches the urine found in the water bottle in the closet. In the A/V lab, Greg shows them surveillance footage from earlier in the day. At around 7:00 PM, four members of the writing staff went up in the elevator; however, only three of them came down half an hour later. The fourth writer is shown riding down around midnight; he's carrying a Titan Springs water bottle, the same type of bottle that was found filled with urine. They guess that the guy hid in the closet and killed Annabelle when she got back to her suite.

Brass visits the three writers and asks for a DNA sample. The three admit to going up to Annabelle's suite for cocktails, then riding down shortly after. The fourth writer, a new hire named Jimmy, is nowhere to be found. One of the writers tells Brass that Annabelle would hire anyone to be a writer. They would work for a few weeks and earn some money before leaving. Jimmy hasn't been seen since they were in Vegas, which makes him the prime suspect in Annabelle's murder. The writers are disappointed that they're not under arrest for being accessories to murder, as they would prefer it to comedy writing.

Prints on the urine-filled water bottle and the candy bar wrappers in the closet come back to a Richard Langford, a former actor who had a bit part as a plumber in Annabelle! Richard is found on the streets of Vegas working as a street performer and is arrested. Under interrogation, he tells Nick that he was going to become a regular on the show until he refused to sleep with Annabelle because he was married. Annabelle fired him, which led him to not finding more work and getting divorced. When he saw that the show was filming in Vegas, he thought that he could talk to Annabelle and get another chance, especially since he isn't married anymore. He rode up in the elevator with the other writers, then hid in Annabelle's closet in an attempt to talk to her one-on-one. However, she left the room and he hid in the closet until she came back later. She would come back later and have sex with Bud (using the rubber chicken as a prop) while Richard watched from the closet in horror. After Bud left, Richard emerged from the closet. Annabelle recognized him as "plumber guy," but while the two were making out, she grabbed his manhood, causing him to scream. When he pushed her off, she backed into the edge of the table, hit her head on the corner and bled out. He then stuffed the rubber chicken in her mouth in attempt to pin the death on Bud or one of the writers. Nick asks Richard why he didn't just call the police if it was an accident. Richard replies that it would look bad when it was revealed that he snuck into Annabelle's suite and hid in the closet before her death. Nick corrects him and says that it looks like premediated murder.

Doc Robbins informs Greg and Nick that the blood in Annabelle's brain never clotted. Nick points out that Annabelle was an alcoholic; however, past medical records never showed that she had a clotting problem, even at the height of her alcoholism. Henry says that Annabelle's blood tested positive for hemadin, a blood thinner. Something like that would never be prescribed to her since she had ulcers. A test of the food and drink in Annabelle's suite revealed that there was hemadin in the vodka-filled mouthwash bottle. Someone was poisoning Annabelle, and they had to know that she wasn't using the mouthwash for its intended purpose. Doc Robbins believes that if Annabelle didn't have hemadin in her system, she may have survived her accident. He adds that there was hemadin in Natasha's system, as well, which was likely caused by drinking Bud's tainted vodka. Annabelle and Natasha were ingesting the same poison, but who knew Annabelle was drinking her mouthwash?

That person would be Annabelle's co-star, Megan. It turns out hemadin had been prescribed to her dog and that she had ordered extra refills of it from her veterinarian. Brass shows her a behind-the-scenes video from the show. In it, Megan tells Annabelle to take a break and go get "minty fresh." Megan knew about the alcohol in the mouthwash and Annabelle knew that Megan knew about it. What Annabelle didn't know, however, was that the alcohol was being spiked with the hemadin. Brass theorizes that when Annabelle wasn't dying fast enough, Megan tampered with the computer chip in her car, knowing that even a minor accident would likely cause her to bleed out and die. However, the scene kept getting pushed and Natasha ended up dying in the car instead.

After Megan makes up a bizarre backstory for her "character," she asks Grissom and Brass what her motivation would be. They theorize that she was tired of Annabelle's constant abuse and humiliation. Since she's not getting any younger, she could kill Annabelle and move up to top billing. Megan informs them that they have no hard physical evidence against her like fingerprints or hairs. She leaves with her "lover/executive producer" Spencer, as they have a spinoff to produce with her character from Annabelle! Grissom and Brass watch the two of them depart.

Later, Bud is seen shaving. He nicks himself and is alarmed to see blood start pouring from his neck, a result of the hematin-tainted vodka he was drinking earlier.

Cast

Main Cast

Guest Cast

  • David Berman as David Phillips
  • Liz Vassey as Wendy Simms
  • Jon Wellner as Henry Andrews
  • Larry Mitchell as Officer Mitchell
  • Katey Sagal as Annabelle Fundt / Natasha Steele
  • Rachael Harris as Megan Kupowski
  • Diedrich Bader as Bud Parker
  • Stephen Tobolowsky as Spencer Freiberg
  • Constance Marie as Carolina Flores
  • Benjamin King as Stewart Lytle
  • Brian Letscher as Richard Langford
  • Tom McGowan as Mark
  • J.D. Walsh as Eddie
  • Kevin Sussman as Don
  • Dayna Devon as Herself
  • Jon K. Farless as Murph (uncredited)
  • Schatar Sapphira as Paparazzi (uncredited)
  • Charlie Sheen as Himself/Charlie Harper (uncredited)
  • Jon Cryer as Himself/Dr. Alan Harper (uncredited)
  • Angus T. Jones as Himself/Jake Harper (uncredited)

Music

  • Club Donkey Ass (Interlude) by OutKast

Goofs

  • When Megan Kupowski mourns over Binky, her dead dog, she is conveniently kneeling on a small red rug to protect her knees. The rug also changes positions during the scene.

Trivia

  • The episode was marketed as a crossover with the show Two and a Half Men. The related episode, "Fish in a Drawer," had a cameo by George Eads, who played a wedding guest.
  • The movie studio that Grissom and Brass respond to for the crime scene involving Natasha is Universal Studios, Hollywood. As Grissom and Brass are being driven to the scene, they pass a road marker labeled "Jay Ward Drive". Jay Ward was a prolific animator, responsible for such iconic characters as Super Chicken and Tom Slick, among many others.
  • Katey Sagal, who played Annabelle Fundt, is well-known for many roles, one of which is that of Peggy Bundy in the 90s sitcom Married..with Children.
  • Deidrich Bader, who played Bud Parker, is perhaps most recognizable for his role as Oswald Harvey in The Drew Carey Show.
  • Constance Marie, who played Carolina Flores, is known for her role as Angie Lopez in the show George Lopez.

See Also



CSI:Las Vegas Season 8
Dead DollA La CartGo to HellThe Case of the Cross-Dressing Carp The Chick Chop Flick ShopWho and WhatWhere and WhyGoodbye and Good LuckYou Kill MeCockroachesLying Down With DogsBullGrissom's Divine ComedyA Thousand Days On EarthDrops OutThe Theory of EverythingTwo And A Half DeathsFor Gedda
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