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Unshockable
Unshockable.jpg
Season 10
Number 14
Writer Michael Frost Beckner
Director Kenneth Fink
Original Airdate 4 March, 2010
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Previous Episode: Internal Combustion
Next Episode: Neverland

Unshockable is the fourteenth episode in season ten of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.

Synopsis

Catherine and Nick try to find out how a member of the band Rascal Flatts was nearly electrocuted during a concert, while Langston and Sara run into roadblocks while investigating the death of a retired CIA director.

Plot

Victim: Jay DeMarcus (alive)

On the case: Catherine Willows, Greg Sanders, Nick Stokes

Rascal Flatts - Gary LeVox, Jay DeMarcus and Joe Don Rooney - is performing a concert for the music lovers of Las Vegas. Gary is sporting a black eye as he sings the band's song "Unstoppable." As Jay touches his lips to his microphone, electricity buzzes and knocks him backwards. He's carried off stage by security men (one of them pulls his bass off him and puts it on the ground.) Then an EMT sees his dilated pupils and tells everyone that Jay needs to be brought to the hospital. The band's manager sends bass technician Travis Murray onto the stage, as he knows how to play bass and can help finish the song. Travis relishes in the spotlight as the crowd roars in approval.

In the hospital, Catherine examines Jay, who doesn't remember the accident and also doesn't know that he's married. She sees Lichtenberg figures on Jay's arms and and deduces that the electrocution was no accident, as way more than 110 volts were sent through his system. When the other members of the group arrive, Gary asks him what happened and they scared him to death and then apologizes for their earlier fight. However, Jay doesn't recognize them and becomes annoyed when Gary's cell phone plays "Unstoppable," a song he wrote himself. He insists that he hates country music and is way more enamored with 50 Cent's "In Da Club," which a nurse is playing in the hallway. Catherine tells Jay's bandmates that he's not faking his new persona and a neurologist is on the way.

Catherine and Nick go to the concert venue and speak with Travis. He tells them that they perform a shock check before every concert; therefore, the building's wiring must be faulty. Catherine asks for Jay's stuff, which leads to Travis calling over the band's manager, Buddy Mills. Nick asks for all of Jay's stuff - his guitar, amp, mic, etc. - while Catherine informs him that Jay's injury was not an accident. She asks Gary about his black eye, and Gary replies that the band has at least one fight on every tour - "family stuff." Joe Don says that Jay has been working on a solo project and surprised his bandmates by asking for some time off. Buddy orders all of Jay's things to be handed over to the CSIs.

As Nick prepares to cut up Jay's guitar with an electric saw, Doc Robbins stops him and explains how priceless the guitar is. He also shows him how to open the guitar without damaging it. There's no evidence of shaved wires, nor is there evidence of any burned skin on the strings. This means that the guitar wasn't sabotaged - and that Doc Robbins saved it from being destroyed.

Nick confronts Travis and asks him why he gave the police the wrong guitar. Travis says that he gave the police the guitar case and assumed that Jay's guitar was in it because he put it there after he filled in for the performance. In fact, none of the guitars currently set up are responsible for shocking Jay. It appears that the guitar is missing, and Nick believes that someone his holding vital information from him. Buddy tells him that the security team would've stopped someone if they were seen leaving with Jay's guitar; Nick goes to speak with security in order to confirm this.

Greg finds out that a young woman was caught dumpster diving outside of the concert venue following the performance - and that she was wearing a shirt advertising her Rascal Flatts-loving website. A search of the website shows that the woman, Marta Petrovich, has been blogging about Jay's guitar nonstop. Greg, Nick and a uniformed officer pay Marta a visit and find that she has the guitar hanging on her wall. Greg tells the guitar is evidence in an tempted murder investigation. Nick decides to take a close look at the guitar but Marta tells him don't touch it. But then as he closely inspects the guitar he finds 5 burn marks on the strings and neck. The guitar is removed from the apartment and brought back to the lab, much to Marta's sadness.

Greg and Nick look over the guitar and determine that it's not the source of the shock. With the focus shifted to either the amp or the microphone, Greg finds that the ground on the amp has been removed. Nick points out that this wouldn't cause the level of electrocution that Jay suffered from. The XLR plug on the microphone has been singed, meaning that it's part of the circuit, as well. However, it's still not enough voltage to leave the fern patterns on Jay's arms. They note that the venue runs on 220 amps and figure that someone sabotaged the 110 box to allow 220 amps to flow through it and directly into Jay. Nick finds the singed 220 box and guesses that they could recover DNA from it.

At the concert venue, Nick confronts Travis and tells Gary and Joe Don that he's the one who sabotaged Jay's equipment. Travis confesses and tells them he wanted to give Jay a little jolt so he could perform the one song before he got too old to do so. Joe Don tells him all he had to do was ask them. Jay returns with his memory intact, and Travis apologizes to him for things getting so out of hand. Travis is then arrested by getting taking into custody and hauled away. Jay tells his bandmates that he wrote a song while he was in the hospital and would like to perform it on stage. As Catherine and Nick watch from backstage, Jay is reintroduced to the crowd. He tells the crowd that he wrote a new song, but much to their confusion, he starts to rap. The rapping eventually leads into their song "Unstoppable," much to the delight of everyone in attendance. 

Victim: Vance Colton (deceased)

On the case: Catherine Willows, Raymond Langston, Sara Sidle, Jim Brass

The police fish a body out of Lake Mead and hand it over to Langston and Sara to process. Based on the body's bloating, Langston figures the body has been in the water for at least 24 hours. There is a deep laceration behind the victim's right ear. The victim is dressed to go fishing; however, there's no fishing boat or equipment in the vicinity. A search of the body turns up no identification, but Langston finds a lighter with the image of a skull on it and a watch that indicates the victim may have been part of a German flight squadron in World War II. He also finds a bottle opener with "CIA" engraved on it.

In autopsy, Doc Robbins tells Langston that the victim shows no signs of drowning and that the laceration to the head was not enough to kill him. Langston observes that the victim had stage 4 prostate cancer that migrated to his liver, colon and stomach; however, this also isn't the cause of death. Meanwhile, Sara processes the victim's clothes and finds blood on his shirt and on the inside of his vest. Based on this, she tells Langston that the victim was purposely struck in the head while he was standing up and that someone dressed him after the fact.

While Langston runs the victim's fingerprints, Catherine receives a phone call from Craig Halliday, the Associate Director of the CIA. After she confirms his identity, he informs her that their victim is Vance Colton, a former Deputy Director of Operations. Halliday tells her that the CIA is going to take the body and all of the evidence that the team has collected; however, Catherine says that he'll have to go through the county coroner's office first. This leads Halliday to offer a compromise - their information for Vance's home address. When Langston runs the fingerprints, he finds out that access is restricted. Catherine fills him and Sara in and sends them to Vance's house, which could be the primary crime scene.

Langston and Sara arrive at the house to find everything being removed from it by CIA officers. Halliday introduces himself and Sara tells him that his officers are corrupting a potential crime scene. He feigns ignorance and replies that the case is closed, as Catherine informed him that Vance drowned, something Langston knows Catherine didn't say. Sara tells Halliday that it's not too late for him to pull his officers back, but he says that in the event of a death of a CIA member, the crime scene is turned over to the agency for 24 hours in order to secure anything that might pertain to national security. However, it appears that everything is being removed, as Sara sees a mattress being loaded onto a truck. Halliday takes the file Langston was holding and departs. All the while, the CSIs are being photographed by someone unseen.

Langston and Sara walk through the house, which has been completely stripped. Sara asks why the CIA would want to cover up Vance's murder (if he was, in fact, murdered), and Langston wonders if the CIA removed something they thought the killer might be looking for. However, the whole house has been stripped, not just a few items removed. Langston figures that either the CIA didn't know what they were looking for or didn't want anyone to know what they were taking.

The CSIs make their way to the backyard, which is adjacent to a lake. Langston sees that a canoe and a paddle are missing from a setup. Since Vance was dressed to go out on the water, they could be looking at the primary crime scene. There are freshly split logs nearby, but no axe to be found. Sara finds green paint chips on the ground and remarks that it's the same color and composition as the other two canoes. Langston spots green drag marks that lead out to the dock. They note that if Vance dragged his canoe to the dock each time he used it, there would be way more drag marks. A test for blood on the dock comes back negative. The conclusion is that Vance was in the canoe before it was dragged to the water. A flashback shows Vance being hit from behind, falling into the canoe and being pushed into the water by the killer, hoping that the canoe would sink and leave no evidence.

Halliday pays Brass a visit and apologizes for not fully cooperating with CSI. As he's doing so, Vance's son, Larry, arrives. Larry is only interested in signing what he needs to and leaving, telling Brass that he hasn't seen his father in 20 years. He's also quite skeptical of Halliday and his ways. When asked if his father had any enemies, Larry mentions his five ex-wives and the numerous people he had killed during his time with the CIA.

On the shore of Lake Mead, Langston and Sara find where Vance's canoe washed up on shore and spot green paint transfer on a nearby tree. There are tire tracks from three different Chevy Suburbans, indicating that Halliday and his men got to the scene first and cleaned it up. They spot a black car occupied by two men; one of them is taking photographs of the CSIs. Langston approaches the car and speaks with the driver. After flashing a gun, the driver reveals that he and his passenger are both members of the German consulate. He adds that they have diplomatic immunity and that their car is technically German soil. Langston hands the man's passport back to him before the car drives off.

In the lab, Hodges' printer suddenly starts printing on it's own - and what it prints is Vance's memoir. Someone has hacked into the computer and printed the entire thing. Langston and Sara go over the memoir, which starts off with juicy information. It seems that Nettie Moller, who is currently running for office in Germany, used to work as a double agent, recruiting agents for the CIA and betraying them to the East German Stasi for execution. Langston figures that if they have a copy of the memoir, then the CIA and the Germans also have a copy. Based on the writing, Langston thinks that the memoir was written from a recording, and that the CIA stripped Vance's house looking for the tape. Catherine tells him that this is a good theory, but they have no evidence or a cause of death.

An expanded tox panel for Vance comes up clean - including no trace of cancer drugs. Langston has Henry run trace for four other drugs that Colton mentioned in his memoir. Meanwhile, Archie traces the source of the hacking of Hodges' printer and finds that it came from the Blue Siren Motel, which is right in Vegas. As it turns out, Larry has been a registered guest at the hotel for four days. Larry is then seen watching television in his room when someone enters and shoots him three times with a silenced pistol. Sara and Brass arrive too late and find Larry's body on the bed. The room has been tossed, and Sara figures that whoever did so was looking for the tape. Larry's computer is also gone. Sara finds photos on the bed next to the body, and one of the photos shows Larry killing his father. The Germans have also left evidence behind that they were the ones who killed Larry.

In the lab, Catherine, Langston and Sara look over the photos that prove Larry's guilt. A flashback confirms that events in the photos, as Larry confronted his father, knocked him out with paddle and put him the canoe. Langston figures that Larry died believing that he had killed his father and that he sent the manuscript to deflect suspicion onto the Germans. It's once again noted that there was no fishing equipment in the canoe; however, Vance had taken the canoe down and was dressed to go out on the water. The team concludes that even if Larry wasn't present, his father was going to die anyway. But, who was going to commit the act?

Henry informs Langston and Sara that sarin was found in Vance's system; however, the levels present should have killed Vance instantly. This suggest that the poison was administered when he was already in the canoe. Langston asks if there's any way to make sarin not instantaneously lethal, and Henry replies that it could be done if it was placed in a capsule. Therefore, it's possible Vance ingested it before he was out on the dock. Sara is confused by what has happened, but goes to relay Vance's cause of death to Catherine.

Langston leaves the lab with Vance's memoir in his hand. He meets Halliday at a bar and hands the memoir over. As the two men chat, Langston posits a theory - Halliday helped his old friend commit suicide. Vance, caring about his legacy and wanting to die a hero, wrote his memoir and published it on the internet, while Halliday provided the tape. It would look like Vance's old enemies came back to kill him while he was fighting for his country. Impressed (but also feigning ignorance), Halliday officers Langston a job with the CSI, which Langston silently rejects. Before he leaves, Halliday asks Langston about his father and his time in Vietnam. Langston is left alone at the bar alone with this thoughts.

Cast

Main Cast

Guest Cast

Music

  • Unstoppable by Rascal Flatts
  • In Da Club by 50 Cent

Goofs

  • Raymond checks the watch of the drowning victim and reads the German word 'Kampfgeschwader', which he correctly translates to 'flight squadron'. However in the close-up shot of the watch face, it shows the word 'kampfflieger' (combat pilot).
  • When Greg and Nick are in the garage looking over the burned guitar, the flashlight in Nick's hand swaps from his left to his right hand repeatedly in between shots.
  • The German's diplomatic passport looks nothing like a real German passport. Real German passports are dark red, not blue and the eagle design looks completely different. Also, the text inside the passport is written in broken German.

Trivia

  • Will Patton had previously played a CIA officer in The Agency and Quentin Glass in the 2004 film The Punisher.
  • April Bowlby, who played groupie Marta Petrovich, also appeared in the season five episode What's Eating Gilbert Grissom?. She is perhaps most recognizable for her role as Kandi in Two and a Half Men.

See Also

CSI:Las Vegas Season 10
Family AffairGhost TownWorking StiffsCoup de GraceBloodsportDeath & The MaidenThe Lost GirlsLover's LanesAppendicitementBetter Off DeadSin City BlueLong BallInternal CombustionUnshockableNeverlandThe Panty SnifferIrradiatorField MiceWorld's EndTake My Life, Please!Lost & FoundDoctor WhoMeat Jekyll
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