When the Dust Settles is the twelfth episode in Season Two of CSI: Vegas.

Csi vegas lg
When the Dust Settles
Csi vegas
Season 2
Number 12
Writer Jordana Lewis Jaffe
Director Rachel Raimist
Original Airdate February 2, 2023
Previous Episode: Trinket
Next Episode: Boned


Catherine's day off with her granddaughter gets interrupted when a woman wakes up from a four-year coma and remembers details from the night her sister died.


Victims: Sasha Khan (deceased), Mimi Khan (alive)

On the case: entire team

After hours in the Royal Salon, Mimi Khan gives her sister, Sasha, a keratin treatment. Sasha takes selfies of her and her sister, but the fun is soon interrupted by a noise coming from somewhere else inside the salon. Someone has apparently broken in, as Sasha claims that she locked up for the night. Mimi grabs a pair of scissors to defend herself, but before anything can happen, both women start coughing violently and fall to the floor.

A time lapse shows what the salon looks like in the present day; four years later, it's abandoned and covered in mold. In the hospital, a comatose Mimi is being read to by her friend and salon employee, Heather. As Heather gets up to leave, Mimi suddenly awakens from her coma.

Catherine is called into the lab on her day off, and she's brought her granddaughter, Hannah, with her. Max brings her up to speed on the new development in the case, which Catherine herself worked four years ago. The original coroner's report stated that Sasha's cause of death was from the noxious fumes of the hair treatment; because the incident happened on the same day as a highway pile-up, the case was pushed aside and never fully investigated. Now, Mimi is out of her coma claiming that her sister's death wasn't an accident.

Sasha's body is exhumed and brought to the morgue. The smell of formaldehyde overwhelms Beau, Max and Jack, but Max notes that the smell is coming from two places—Sasha's embalmed body and her hair treatment. In other words, two different forms of formaldehyde were used. Because her scalp dried out and shrunk after she died, the CSIs can see where her processed hair ends. Max relays that the original death was ruled as an accident, but that Sasha is convinced otherwise. Because Sasha was embalmed, there isn't much left of the original body to process. The CSIs have to go back to the scene of the crime.

Catherine and Det. Chavez go to the hospital to speak to Mimi; Heather is sitting by her side. They marvel at the fact that Heather was there when Mimi woke up, and Mimi believes that she could hear Heather reading to her while she was in the coma. Because Mimi was ventilated and has dry mouth, Heather offers her a mint; Mimi rejects the offer. Catherine notes that Mimi's coma was caused by severe systemic toxicity. Sasha went through the same thing, but because of the simultaneous hair treatment, the chemicals were too much and overwhelmed her system. Mimi insists that she had done keratin treatments for years with no issues and believes that someone broke into the salon that night and poisoned both her and Sasha. She adds that before she blacked out, she saw a "monster," who she believes was Sasha's husband, Ken. Catherine tells Mimi and Heather that the case is being reopened and that it's not too late to find the truth.

Allie, Catherine and Max visit the dusty, moldy salon; Catherine has brought her granddaughter along because she couldn't find a babysitter. The scene is as it was four years ago, meaning the prints and DNA haven't degraded. Because Mimi recalls mopping the floor after the last customer of the day, every shoe print on the floor was made after the fact; the oils they left behind prevented dust collection and kept them pristine. Catherine rules out the shoe prints from the paramedics, as well as the wheel tracks from the stretcher.

Various products from the salon are brought back to the lab for processing. There, Folsom discovers that a bottle of Panamanian Perm was tampered with; it contains way more formaldehyde than it should, making Mimi's hunch correct. There's no formaldehyde in the bottles of shampoo and conditioner, but test results show that they both contain ingredients they shouldn't. None of the ingredients in the sample match the ingredients listed on the bottles.

Max and Det. Chavez visit Ken at his place of work and take his fingerprints. Ken admits that he and Mimi didn't really get along; therefore, he never visited her in the hospital. He laughs off the fact that Mimi has accused him of murder and finds it equally funny that the police are believing someone who just "woke up from a four-year nap." When pressed, Ken says that his marriage to Sasha had some rough patches, especially when it came to raising their 19-year-old son, William. Sasha made William work at the salon, which just added to the friction. Ken provides an alibi for the night of his wife's death—he was out for a drive and was alone.

Back at the salon, little Hannah spots a cell phone under a desk that's covered in dust. Allie, meanwhile scrapes some black powder off the floor that can't yet be identified. Catherine shows Allie that she's identified 11 different sets of shoe prints—the two paramedics, the responding officer, Mimi and Sasha are already accounted for. This leaves the team with six different shoe prints to identify.

Folsom and Det. Chavez are tasked with questioning the salon's employees and collecting gait analyses. Heather, who kept the salon's books, remembers restocking the products in the front of the salon. The place, she says, wasn't without it's drama. It turns out that three of the other employees have very similar names—Nick, Nicky and Nicole. Nick says that he was fired on the day Sasha died, but insists that he loved both of the sisters. He's a little sour that the sisters decided to keep Nicky around, who he describes as a "backstabbing, talentless diva." Nicky recalls that she stayed at the salon after hours that night to fix her hair, which had been partially cut by Nicole after the two had an argument; Nicole stayed behind to watch her fix it. William admits that he and his mother fought about everything, but he regrets that he left that day without saying goodbye or telling her he loved her. He also says that he hasn't visited Mimi since she woke up.

There's one set of shoe prints in the salon still unaccounted for, and they lead to nowhere. Nobody's shoe size or story matches the last set of prints. Chris marvels at the amount of fungus growing in the salon and remarks that the temperature had to have been over 130 degrees for all of this to happen. Catherine comes to a realization and follows the last set of shoe impressions to the salon's ventilation system. There, Allie sees that one of the cables in the system was cut. Since the system was serviced the week before Sasha died, someone had to have tampered with it after the fact. Catherine concludes that the killer spiked the keratin treatment with formaldehyde, then cut the ventilation. This means that there was nowhere for the fumes to go but into the sisters' lungs.

Chris observes that the shoe print near the ventilation system doesn't belong to a "monster"—its size is more consistent with a shoe worn by one of three people: Ken, Heather or Nick. He follows the trail of prints and comes across another pile of black powder similar to the one found earlier. Allie, meanwhile, finds a fungal bloom in air vent; since the vent likely sucked everything up while it was running, it's likely the bloom sprouted from something the killer left when they cut the air.

Back in the lab, the black powder is identified as charcoal, which is not uncommon in a salon, as many products contain such an ingredient. Meanwhile, Allie cuts open the fungal bloom and unearths a single hair. Beau examines the follicle under a microscope and finds evidence of a finasteride, a hair loss medication, on it. This would seem to indicate that the killer is (or was) going bald,

In the hospital, Mimi tells Catherine that Ken has been going bald for quite a while and has the pictures to prove it. Mimi remains quite insistent that Ken was the one who was in the salon that night and begins to recall the night's events slowly. She remembers that the formaldehyde treatment smelled more intense than usual, which tracks since the solution was doctored. The music the ladies were listening to also got louder, which makes sense since the ventilation system was cut. Mimi says that she didn't see Ken that night, but she knows that he was there. Before she passed out, she remembers seeing a haze of gray and a snout, as if she was looking at a monster.

Sasha's phone is plugged into a computer. As Catherine, Chris and Max go through the most recent photos in the phone, they come across the ones taken on the night of the murder. In one photo, they spot the shadow of a "monster" lurking in the background—and it appears to have a snout. Between the photo, the finasteride on the hair in the vent, and the killer's shoe size, everything seems to be pointing at Ken being the culprit. However, Mimi's testimony won't hold up in court since she was drugged, traumatized, and just woke up from a coma.

Ken agrees to come down to the station for questioning. He's surprised when told that someone cut the ventilation system, which allowed the formaldehyde fumes to enter the sisters' lungs and poison them. Ken admits to having used finasteride a long time ago, but soon reveals that he's severely actually allergic to it. Catherine and Det. Chavez ask for his medical records to confirm this.

Back at the salon, Allie and Folsom are unable to successfully recreate the shadow lurking behind the sisters in the photo using the items present. Because the "monster" isn't in every picture, it had to have been constantly moving. The CSIs recall that Mimi said the "monster" crouched down beside her, and Folsom spots what appear to be talon marks in the dust on the floor. While Allie vacuums up some dust in the immediate area, Folsom focuses on an old picture taken of the salon employees during happier times. He also spots a label peeling off one of the shampoo bottles on the shelf.

Beau confirms that the salon was selling knock-off products, which explains why the ingredients on the labels didn't match up with the samples the lab processed earlier. The results show that the ingredients in the bottle are "bargain bin drugstore quality"—which the salon is selling at a very high upcharge. This might give someone motive for murder.

A tiny shard of plastic is found in one of the piles of dust Allie vacuumed up. Catherine immediately sees that it's tessellated plastic, which she says is a common component in gas masks. This would explain the "snout" in the photo, and would also explain why the killer was able to stay alive in a toxic environment. Catherine believes that this tiny bit of plastic will help them solve the whole case.

Allie relays the new findings to Max, explaining that the killer didn't crouch down next to Mimi. The killer likely tripped, as gas masks are hard to see out of. This caused the gas mask to break on impact, which is why remnants of its charcoal filter were found on the floor. As for the talon markings, Allie explains that they're either from the killer bracing themselves for impact with the floor or they were made when the killer got up. The "talons" are nothing but forearms and pinkies.

Beau tests the charcoal from the mask filter and sees that it contains traces of spearmint. The charcoal will also contain the killer's DNA. Catherine and Max question Heather and tell her that the mints she chews gave her away. They also examine the old photo of the salon employees and see that Heather used to have short hair. She confirms (perhaps accidentally) that she takes finasteride, as her hair is now significantly longer.

Heather was the one who in charge of the salon's books; however, she was also the one in charge of buying the supplies and stocking the shelves. She bought the cheap shampoos and conditioners and passed them off as top-shelf items, pocketing the profits. At some point, Sasha found out what was going on, but Heather didn't give her a chance to press charges. She knew that Sasha was getting a keratin treatment that night, so she doctored the bottle and killed the HVAC system. To everyone's surprise, Mimi didn't die. During her daily visits to the hospital to read to Mimi, Heather continuously whispered that Ken was the real killer. This thought seeped into Mimi's brain, which is why she was convinced of Ken's guilt when she woke up.

While William visits his aunt in the hospital for the first time, Catherine has to deal with the fallout for taking Hannah to a crime scene. Lindsey is furious at her for doing so, and Catherine tries smoothing things over by offering to take some time off from work and take everyone on vacation to Hawaii.


Main Cast[]

  • Paula Newsome as Maxine Roby
  • Matt Lauria as Joshua Folsom
  • Mandeep Dhillon as Allie Rajan
  • Ariana Guerra as Det. Serena Chavez
  • Jay Lee as Chris Park
  • Lex Medlin as Beau Finado
  • Marg Helgenberger as Catherine Willows

Guest Cast[]

  • Chris Williams as Ken Yacoob
  • Joel Johnstone as Jack Nikolayevich
  • Shelli Boone as Mimi Khan
  • Nina Millin as Heather Glass
  • Tiffany C. Adams as Sasha Khan
  • Zoe Petrescu as Hannah
  • Adria Petrescu as Hannah
  • Capri-Antoine Vaillancourt as William
  • Luis Avila as Nick
  • Ashley Amato as Nicky
  • Nicole Dele as Nicole


  • I Will Survive by Gloria Gaynor
  • Don't Dream It's Over by Lauren Daigle

See Also[]

  • Category:Images from When the Dust Settles
CSI:Vegas Season 2
She's GoneThe Painted ManStory of a GunKoalaIn Harm's WayThere's the RubBurnedGrace NoteIn the White RoomEyeballsTrinketWhen the Dust SettlesBonedThird Time's the CharmAshes, AshesWe All Fall DownThe Promise