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Waiting in the Wings
Waiting in the Wings
Season 1
Number 9
Writer Craig S. O'Neill
Director Christine Moore
Original Airdate December 1, 2021
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Previous Episode: Pipe Cleaner
Next Episode: Signed, Sealed, Delivered

Waiting in the Wings is the ninth episode in Season One of CSI: Vegas.

Synopsis[]

The CSI team investigates the eccentric world of sideshows when a couple of performers are discovered burnt in a pit. Hodges mulls a plea deal as his criminal trial kicks off.

Plot[]

Victims: Jonah and Tori Tanner (deceased)

On the case: Allie Rajan, Joshua Folsom, Det. Zaya

A man is thrown down an embankment and comes to a stop next to a dead body. The victim, a female, is wearing angel’s wings. We then see that the man, who is still alive, has horns protruding from his head. The man attempts to climb back up, but is unsuccessful, as his hands are bound. An unseen person at the top of the embankment pours gasoline down and strikes a match, setting the area ablaze.

A few months later, the bodies are discovered by a construction crew. Folsom arrives on the scene and is briefed by Allie. He comes across the badly charred bodies and sees the wings and horns on the victims. The assumption is that they’re fake; however, when Folsom is urged to take a closer look, he sees that the appendages are part of the victims’ skeletons.

In autopsy, Dr. Ramirez shows Allie and Folsom a video of Jonah and Tori Tanner performing at one of their shows; he knew of them because his wife also performs in the arts. Due to the fact that Jonah’s hands were bound while Tori’s weren’t, he concludes that Tori died first. Furthermore, Jonah was still alive when the fire engulfed him, as his bronchioles were inflamed and shot through with soot. There was no soot present in Tori’s lungs, only blood. Dr. Ramirez says that he doesn’t have enough evidence to determine Tori’s cause of death; he’s only been able to rule out poison. Marks on Tori’s clavicle are believed to be part of a surgical procedure, which Dr. Ramirez describes. She had part of her scapula removed and grafted back on in order to form anchor points the wings could clip to. The wings have been detached and are also sitting in autopsy.

Dante Tanner arrives and identifies his parents by their wings and horns. He admits that he had been expecting the worst for quite a while, as his parents had been missing for several months. The unhappy ending was also somewhat expected, as Dante says his parents worked at a freak show, which he describes as “Cirque du Soleil on acid.” It’s revealed that Jonah and Tori were last seen after a Saturday matinee performance; their car was found abandoned and there were no signs of a struggle there or at their home. Dante can’t think of any suspects, saying that he hadn’t talked to his parents in a year.

Folsom examines the wings and determines that Tori was dragged at some point; some of the damage wasn’t caused by the fire. The wings were made from paraffin and polyester; however, he pulls a red fiber from them that he and Allie figure came from the crime scene.

While on a date, Allie cuts into her ribs and makes a knife mark on the bone. She realizes that the marks on Tori’s clavicle weren’t from a surgical procedure; her belief is that the marks contributed to the cause of death.

Allie and Folsom visit Dr. Cho, the doctor who performed the surgical procedures on Jonah and Tori. He introduces them to the growing field of body modification, explaining that the procedures allow patients to be seen the way they want to be seen, which improves mental health. Dr. Cho has a pair of replica angel’s wings on the wall behind his desk; Folsom examines them but finds no red fibers. When shown the autopsy photos, Dr. Cho says that he only works with a scalpel; the mark on Tori’s scapula was made with a wider implement, such as an axe or sword. He adds that he operated on Tori’s lower back, therefore having no reason to be working near her shoulder.

Axes and swords are among the many implements used by the performers at Bizarre Del Arte, the show the Tanners performed in. Folsom questions the show’s other performers, including a fire eater and a sword swallower. The swords found in the sword swallower’s locker were the sharpest weapons found; however, the wound on Tori’s scapula came from something more dull. She tells Folsom that the only dull prop used in the show was Jonah’s scythe, which he used to use in his final act. There was no scythe found at Bizarre Del Arte, and the sword swallower confirms that the weapon was retired when the final act was changed.

Det. Zaya visits the Tanners' house, running into Dante in the process. Dante allows her to take the mount the scythe hung on; however, he claims the blade is missing. He assumes that one of his parents’ “freak show buddies” stole it. Because Dante is going to inherit everything his parents had (including the house), the thought is that he has motive for murder.

Prints on the mount that held the scythe come back to Gary Snyder, Bizarre Del Arte’s manager. He admits to taking the scythe when he last visited the house, explaining that the Tanners were missing and that he needed his costumes and props back.

Gary’s office is decorated in red carpet and red drapes; however, none of the samples taken match the red fiber found embedded in Tori’s wings. During a conversation with Folsom, Allie spots a red fiber stuck in his boot. The fiber is a match to the one found in the wings, meaning the CSIs have already been to the place where Tori’s body was dragged. They also discover that one of her prescription pill bottles was filled with sugar pills.

Allie and Folsom head back to Dr. Cho’s office. They see that his red desk chair appears to be made of the same material found embedded in Tori’s wings. Dr. Cho offers up the explanation that the fiber adhered to Tori when she came in for her most recent appointment. As it turns out, her last appointment was on the same day that she and Jonah disappeared; it was also at 7 PM, making it likely it was the last appointment of the day.

Every surgical tool in the office is tested, but none of the results are positive for blood. Folsom examines a display case and notices that one pane of glass is different from another; the new glass is tempered and refracts light differently. A book in the display case also has a fair amount of blood on it which comes back to Tori.

Dr. Cho is brought to the station for a formal interrogation. Folsom breaks a pane of glass on the table and concludes that the wound on Tori’s scapula was caused by her going head first through a glass cabinet. Dr. Cho tries explaining that he’s a surgeon and that Tori’s blood could’ve come from his gloves. However, Tori’s tox report shows that she was suffering from an infection. The prescription Dr. Cho wrote to treat the infection wasn’t helping, as the antibiotics were actually a placebo. Furthermore, the pharmacy has no record of the prescription on file.

Allie and Folsom theorize that Dr. Cho was in love with Tori; if he cured her, she would have no reason to visit anymore. Therefore, he kept her sick so she kept coming back. Things went sideways when the Tanners decided to get a second opinion. A flashback shows Jonah confronting Dr. Cho and deciding to bring Tori to the hospital. Dr. Cho only admits that the Tanners came to see him for a follow-up; how Tori’s blood got in his cabinet is a mystery.

Folsom then shows the doctor some grains of sand that were found in the cabinet. The grains are consistent with the samples taken from the burial site; they likely fell out of his sleeve when he came back to his office to clean up. A flashback shows Dr. Cho arguing with Jonah. They got into a shoving match, with Tori accidentally getting shoved through the glass cabinet. The glass lacerated her throat and she started to bleed out. When Jonah suggested they call the police, Dr. Cho knocked him out, then took the bodies to the burial site. There, he finished the job.

Under investigation: David Hodges

On the case: Gil Grissom, Joshua Folsom, Maxine Roby, Penny Gill, Sara Sidle

The team knows that Anson Wix, the attorney for the class action suit against the state, framed David Hodges and killed Martin Kline, one of his expert witnesses. It’s been discovered that a young man named Guillermo is the link between Anson and the attempted murder of Jim Brass. With this knowledge, the team is going to use Guillermo to help them take down Anson.

Hodges’ trial has started, and the lawyer for the prosecution accuses the disgraced CSI of fabricating evidence in a case a year ago. The lawyer implores the jury to make the right decision in prosecuting Hodges. After looking around the courtroom, Hodges writes something down on a notepad and shows his lawyer: “They hate me.”

Folsom and Max confront Guillermo, who claims that he only provided Anson with the name of a hitman. Unbeknownst to him, the target was Jim Brass, a retired cop. They threaten Guillermo with the fact that Anson ties up loose ends; it may only be a matter of time before he’s silenced. Guillermo can only recall that he talked to Anson on a burner phone, but Max continues to press, showing him the photo she took of him commiserating with a known cartel member. This is a violation of his parole, which will get him put back in prison. Guillermo soon reveals that he was paid via a cash drop in the desert; Anson paid with a bunch of old $100 bills. Max figures that the money is from the 25-year-old kidnapping case Anson’s firm represented back then. Luckily, Guillermo still has some of the money in his freezer; he swears he’s the only one who’s touched it. Max takes it as evidence—if Anson’s prints are on the money, they might finally have a case against him.

Sara tells Grissom how we got to this point—Max noticed that the guy hired to kill Brass had tattoos that marked him as a cartel soldier. She looked into Anson’s old cases and looked for clients with the same affiliations. Sara and Grissom process the money, but are only able to get a few degraded prints, which aren’t enough to run through AFIS. Tech Penny Gill has overheard everything and suggests using modern technology to pull DNA off the bills.

Hodges and his lawyer meet with the state attorney general, who is less than thrilled that the case is still in court. Because Hodges has a baby on the way, the state makes a generous proposal—if he admits to tampering with only the 12 cases found in the storage locker, he’ll only have to serve 12 years in prison. However, his confession must be sincere and give off the impression that the 12 cases were deeply personal for him. Because the number of wrongful imprisonments could bankrupt the state, they need a fall guy. A counterproposal of a five year sentence is rejected, and Hodges is informed that he has a week to make a decision.

Hodges and his lawyer meet with Grissom and Sara. The thought is that the deal makes sense, as most of the criminals would stay behind bars; however, Grissom reminds Hodges that he would be in jail with those criminals. Hodges is more concerned with the well-being of his wife and unborn child, adding that he doesn’t want to miss his son’s life, as well. Sara implores Hodges not to give up, but can see that things are already trending that way.

DNA on the bills comes back too degraded; however, Penny was able to amplify two samples. Unfortunately, neither one of them is a match to Anson Wix. The prints come back to Guillermo and another suspect who isn’t in CODIS.

Max and Sara question Guillermo, demanding to know who else touched the money. Guillermo is hesitant and wants to offer his assistance another way; he relents when Max threatens to expose his involvement with the police. He soon identifies his accomplice as Manuel Garza, a cartel member—the same cartel who tried to kill Brass. Guillermo recalls that Anson wanted Brass killed, and he called Manuel to handle it. Manuel, in turn, called Guillermo. Guillermo refuses to give up Manuel’s whereabouts, saying that he would rather go to prison than be put in a hole in the ground.

While attending Hodges’ trial in court, Sara observes Anson, who she notes looks extremely confident. Grissom believes they have the upper hand, though, as Anson doesn’t know that Guillermo is working with the police. However, Guillermo is soon found dead in his apartment with his tongue cut out. Grissom and Sara arrive at the scene, with Sara determining that Guillermo’s tongue was cut out postmortem. There’s also dual lividity, suggesting that he was killed somewhere else and staged. Sara believes that this was their last chance at helping exonerate Hodges, but Grissom chooses to be more optimistic.

Back in court, Hodges is a no show. The judge calls the counsel to his chambers and asks that Grissom join them. There, the judge plays a video confession that Hodges posted online. Hodges’ location is unknown, as he disabled his ankle monitor. The LVPD has been notified that Hodges is on the run and is officially a fugitive from justice. During the confession, Hodges implores his wife to speak to Grissom, as he’s the only one who can make sense of everything. Grissom, however, is puzzled.

Calls to Hodges’ phone go straight to voicemail. His lawyer tells Grissom, Sara and Max that there were no signs that Hodges was going to do something like this. Grissom replays the video and notes that since he doesn’t take confessions at face value (something Hodges knows), the video may be an invitation to find Hodges. Hodges had been granted permission to visit his wife that morning, but he never showed. His phone is turned off, meaning that the location can’t be tracked; however, Max notes that there’s more to the file than audio and video.

Penny determines that Hodges didn’t record the confession with his own phone; instead, the phone used was a prepaid one. The immediate conclusion is that someone else purchased the phone and forced him to confess. Penny is able to zero in on Hodges’ location at the time of the confession—a warehouse across the street from the hospital where Emma is going to deliver. Grissom and Sara search the warehouse, and Sara soon finds a vacant chair along with Hodges’ ankle monitor. An adjacent bucket contains a pair of bolt cutters—the same used to cut out Guillermo’s tongue. Sara immediately fears the worst.

Cast[]

Main Cast[]

Guest Cast[]

  • Wallace Langham as David Hodges
  • Jamie McShane as Anson Wix
  • Stephen Oyoung as Dr. Cho
  • Joseph C. Phillips as A.G. Rhodes
  • Nanrisa Lee as D.A. Lauren Tate
  • Nolan Bateman as Dante
  • Rich Ceraulo Ko as Mark
  • Oliver Muirhead as Gary Snyder
  • Travis Johns as Jonah Tanner
  • Cat LaCohie as Tori Tanner
  • David Paladino as Adam Tyner
  • Sarah Gilman as Penny Gill
  • Johnny Rey Diaz as Guillermo
  • Arlene Santana as Det. Zaya

Music[]

  • Fast Evil by Infraction
  • Fast Boy by Spooked Horse
  • I am not a woman, I’m a god by Halsey
  • In Too Deep by Battle Tapes

See Also[]

  • Category:Images from Waiting in the Wings
CSI:Vegas Season 1
Legacy (Vegas)Honeymoon in VegasUnder the SkinLong PigLet the Chips FallFunhouseIn the BloodPipe CleanerWaiting in the WingsSigned, Sealed, Delivered


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