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Up In Smoke
Up
Season 6
Number 16
Writer Anthony E. Zuiker
Josh Berman
Director Duane Clark
Original Airdate March 02, 2006
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Up In Smoke is the sixteenth episode in Season Six of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.

Synopsis[]

Smoke pouring out of a fireplace reveals a charred body who appears to be the son of the house's owner. The discovery turns out to be connected to a case from a year earlier when a young girl disappeared on her way to the house.

Plot[]

Victims: Unknown victim (deceased), Caroline Fitzgibbons (missing)

On the case: entire team

Martin Sidley lights a fire in his fireplace for his date. The romance ends quickly as the fireplace becomes backed up and smoke starts entering the room. When the fire department is called to the scene to check the chimney, they find a charred body buried in it.

Nick and Sara are called to the scene. Sara drills through the bricks to the chimney; afterwards, Nick punches through the clay backing to reveal the body. Based on the lack of decomp and the position of the body, they guess that that it was burned somewhere else and dumped into the chimney. David Phillips arrives on the scene later and says that, based on the mold on the body, it was burned a few days ago. He adds that the shape of the pelvic bone indicates the victim is a male.

Sofia and Brass talk to Martin and his date. Martin says that he had been out of town on business recently; therefore, he wouldn't have heard if there was anyone on the roof. He also claims that he last used the fireplace a few months ago; the assumption was that the smell emanating from it was because a rat had gotten caught in the chimney. When Sara asks Martin about the ladder leaning against the side of his house, he says that he used it to take down the Christmas lights a few months back. Sara takes his fingerprints to eliminate the ones found on the ladder.

David Phillips processes the body and finds a burnt piece of plastic on it that could be the victim's credit card. Meanwhile, Catherine and Warrick discuss the case of Caroline Fitzgibbons, a missing 16-year-old girl who was allegedly having an affair with Martin. She was an aspiring photographer and Martin was an avid collector. A flashback shows them visiting Martin at his house but being denied entry due to the lack of a warrant. In the present, they head back to Martin's house, fill Sara in on the missing persons case, and ask to be involved. Now that the house is a crime scene, they have access to search everywhere.

With help from Greg, Nick discovers that the card found on the burnt victim is a gym membership card; he's able to restore the picture, but not get a name. Meanwhile, back at Martin's house, Sara collects prints from the chimney and chimney cap on the roof. She also finds a white piece of thin plastic wedged in the shingles. Inside the house, Catherine walks through the living room, which is adorned with photos of the underaged Caroline in seductive poses. She finds evidence of bleach or a similar cleaning compound in an area near the stairs; however, it tests negative for blood. Warrick pries a piece of wood from the stairs and finds a drop of blood on the underside.

Martin is brought in for interrogation. He admits to Catherine that he met with Caroline five or six times to discuss her work and his interest in purchasing it, but denies having sexual relations with her. She had also been in the house to view Martin's collection. Catherine presents the wood with the blood spot on it, but Martin's lawyer tells her that this is outside the scope of their warrant and was illegally seized. Nick is called in with the printout of the gym membership card to see if Martin can identify the card's owner based on the photo. Martin identifies the person in the photo as his son, Tad.

In autopsy, Doc Robbins surprisingly tells Nick that he can't confirm the victim burned to death. Fractures in the bones are consistent with fire damage; however, he shows Nick that the victim suffered a subdural hematoma to the forehead, meaning that he suffered blunt force trauma before going up in flames. Meanwhile, Mandy finds that all of the prints from the chimney are from the same person; however, none of them match Martin or Tad. It's found that the prints belong to a Jonathan Wax, who was released from prison six months ago.

Sara questions Jonathan, who doesn't recognize Tad from his photo. The name Sidley eventually resonates with him and he explains to Sara that his prints were on the chimney because he cleans chimneys and fireplaces. He remembers that Martin had a big chimney and tells Sara that if he had found a body while cleaning it, he would've called the police.

Ecklie stops Catherine in the hall to discuss her search of Martin's house. He tells her that future searches of the house are to be limited to the areas pertaining to the case at hand. Warrick arrives and tells Catherine that Tad was a student at WLVU and had a roommate. Based on the fact that Doc Robbins said the victim had been dead for at least two weeks, he wonders why the roommate wouldn't report Tad missing.

Catherine and Warrick visit Tad's dorm room and speak to his roommate. The roommate confirms that he hasn't seen Tad for a few weeks, but adds that Tad wasn't around much to begin with. As they search the room, Warrick finds a post-it note on Tad's bulletin board with Don Fitzgibbons' name and phone number on it. They wonder why Tad would've spoken to Caroline's father.

Hodges finds that the plastic Sara recovered from the roof is polyethylene plastic, which has numerous uses. Meanwhile, Catherine speaks with Don Fitzgibbons, who provides her with some of Caroline's personal belongings to have her DNA tested against the blood drop. He recalls that his daughter was on the way to Martin's house when she disappeared; this is another reason why Martin became his prime suspect. When asked about the post-it note, he admits that he tried appealing to Tad when he couldn't get access to Martin's house; however, Tad refused to help. He left the note for Tad and told him to call anytime if he changed his mind, but Tad never did.

Wendy informs Catherine and Warrick that the DNA from Caroline's brush matches the DNA from the blood drop found on the wood floor. Warrick believes that the case is closed, but Catherine reminds him that one drop of blood won't be enough to convict Martin, especially since he admitted that Caroline was already in his house. It could also be argued that the blood came from a cut, despite the fact that a large amount of bleach was used on the floor.

As Grissom compares Tad's gym membership photo and the photo of the burned body, Sofia enters his office and informs him that Tad's credit card was used at a gas station in Seven Hills. The surveillance tapes are brought into the AV lab; there, Grissom and Nick find that Tad is very much alive and that he was the one who used the card. The question now is: whose body is in the morgue?

Sara lays out photos from both cases and goes over them with Catherine. From the crime scene sketches, Catherine notices a discrepancy in the distance between the chimney and the east wall in Martin's house—the wall is 17 feet from the chimney in the living room, but only 14 feet from the chimney in the attic. Sara admits that they only excavated the west-facing side of the chimney.

At the house, Catherine and Sara immediately see that the brick exterior of the chimney has been extended; there's a slight color disparity between the old and new bricks. When Sara breaks through the chimney, she finds that it's hollow and has no clay backing. As she removes more bricks, she finds Caroline's body. Based on the blood, they figure that Caroline was still alive when she was sealed inside the chimney.

Tad is found and lets Sofia know that he had been in Mexico and California for the past few weeks. He can't explain how his gym membership ended up in a dead man's pocket, adding that he didn't even know it was missing. In the morgue, Doc Robbins shows Catherine that Caroline was stabbed four times and no major organs were hit, meaning that she bled to death slowly. She also had several defensive wounds on both wrists and palms. The doc adds that Caroline was raped; however, too much time has passed to check on semen. Catherine guesses that Caroline was stabbed in the living room and brought up to the attic, which would explain the evidence of blood pools in both locations. Grissom enters and informs Catherine that Tad is alive and their burned body is now a John Doe.

Martin is brought in for questioning again and is surprised when Catherine tells him that Caroline's body was found in his chimney. His lawyer tries arguing for an illegal search, but Catherine replies that the chimney was part of the original warrant. Catherine notes that Martin lives alone and asks him who could've raped and killed Caroline under his roof. After thinking about it for a bit, he tells her that he came home early from being out of town and found Tad bricking up the chimney with Caroline's body inside of it. He claims that Tad and Caroline had been dating and that they had gotten into a fight. Unbeknownst to Martin, Tad is watching the interrogation from behind the glass. He tells Sofia and Warrick that his father is lying, recalling that he only met Caroline once. A month later, he found out she was missing; for two weeks after that, his father wouldn't let him near the house. He's now sure that his father killed Caroline. Tad enters the interrogation room and confronts his father, who is surprised that his son is still alive.

Sara shows Catherine that an unknown print from the chimney cap matched the partial print retrieved from the post-it note in Tad's dorm room. Both prints belong to Caroline's father, Don. She adds that Don works at the hospital and that their body bags are made of polyethylene plastic, the same material that she found on the roof. Don would have access to those bags. Sara believes that Don knew that if he made Martin's house a crime scene, then CSIs would be able to get access to it.

In interrogation, Don confirms that Sara's theory is true. He admits to stealing the body of an unidentifiable John Doe from the hospital morgue, climbing onto Martin's roof, and putting the body in the chimney. Catherine asks why he put Tad's gym membership with the body and soon realizes that he wanted to make Martin feel the pain of losing a child. He apologizes for what he put the CSIs through, but says that it was all worth it since Martin is in jail and his daughter can have her funeral. In response, Catherine apologizes for the fact that they couldn't find Caroline without his help.

Cast[]

Main Cast[]

Guest Cast[]

Music[]

  • Sleeper by Euphoria (ft. Tina Dico)
  • Professional Killer by KMFDM

Notes[]

  • The flashback scene where Catherine and Warrick visit Martin Sidley didn't occur in a previous episode. It was filmed specifically for this episode.

Trivia[]

  • The story could be partially based on the murder of Kimberly Szumski, who was allegedly killed by her husband and buried behind a concrete wall.

See Also[]

CSI:Las Vegas Season 6
Bodies in MotionRoom ServiceBite MeShooting StarsGum DropsSecrets and FliesA Bullet Runs Through It, Part 1A Bullet Runs Through It, Part 2Dog Eat DogStill LifeWerewolvesDaddy's Little GirlKiss-Kiss, Bye-ByeKillerPirates of the Third ReichUp in SmokeI Like to WatchThe Unusual SuspectSpellboundPoppin' TagsRashomamaTime of your DeathBang-BangWay to Go
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