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Wild Life
Wild Life.jpg
Season 11
Number 9
Writer Treena Hancock,
Melissa R. Byer
Director Charles Haid
Original Airdate November 18, 2010
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Previous Episode: Fracked
Next Episode: 418/427

Wild Life is the ninth episode in season eleven of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.

Synopsis

The death of a casino hotel guest is tied to an unlikely sexual encounter with a married woman in the room next to his, and a cat and a parrot may hold the clues of their owners' apparent double homicide.

Plot

Victim: Brad Malone (deceased)

On the case: Catherine Willows, Nick Stokes, Raymond Langston, Louis Vartann

A man wearing nothing but boxer shorts falls to his death from a hotel balcony, smashing into a glass table on the ground. Upon arriving at the scene, Langston notices that the victim smells like alcohol. Nick questions the two young women who were witnesses; neither of them recall hearing any yelling or screaming before the victim landed in front of them. Catherine is able to find out that the victim is Brad Malone, a guest at the hotel. Over the last few days, he had lost over $100,000 gambling. The CSIs wonder if Brad decided to commit suicide after losing all that money.

In Brad's hotel room, Langston and Nick see that he neatly folded his clothes and left his wallet and cell phone on the nightstand, both things being consistent with a suicide. However, there's no suicide note to be found. Nick notes that Brad was divorced twice and was about to file for bankruptcy, while Langston goes through Brad's phone and finds several past due notices. There's also no sign of sexual activity in the bed. The door to the balcony is locked, and since it doesn't lock from the outside, it seems that Brad wasn't alone.

Langston recovers some prints from the door handle, which come back to Brad. There's also only one set of shoe prints leading to the balcony, and they're consistent with Brad's size 10. Thinking that Brad was pushed from somewhere else, Langston and Nick head to the balcony and find that it doesn't line up with where Brad's body landed - it lines up with the room next door.

The neighboring room is registered to out-of-towners Stacy Cano and Dana Carlson. When Langston, Nick and Det. Vartann reach the door, they find blood drops on the bottom of the door frame. There's a blood trail inside the room that leads to a bed - where Stacy and Dana are lying under bloody sheets. When Langston goes to check for a pulse, both women wake up badly hung over. Both women are covered in blood, which the CSIs guess is Brad's. The women don't recognize Brad from his photo, but they're having trouble piecing anything together from the night before.

In the hospital, Catherine photographs the women's bruises and runs sexual assault exams on them, which come back positive for recent sexual activity. Neither woman can remember Brad being in the room due to the drunk stupor they were in. Stacy only remembers dancing in a club and downing yard-long drinks; she admits that it's possible her drink was out of her sight at one point. Dana also doesn't remember anything and is upset when told that she engaged in sexual activity.

Langston and Nick continue to process the hotel room, finding semen stains over the furniture and a used condom in the bed. On the couch, Brad's pants are found with some blood drops on them. There's also the remnants of a yard-long drink on the floor. Langston recovers prints from the base of the balcony door and later finds a bloody iron under the bed. The CSIs wonder if something was said or someone got jealous during the three-way, which caused one of the women to strike Brad with the iron. The women then dumped the body over the balcony to try to get rid of the evidence.

In autopsy, Doc Robbins can't tell whether Brad was struck with an iron due to the damage to his skull. There are scrapes on Brad's buttocks and thighs; linear clotting indicates that he was alive when he fell. The scrapes look like drag marks, and Doc Robbins pulls paint chips from the wound that match the color of the railing of the room's balcony. All of this is consistent with Brad being pushed over backwards. A swab shows that Brad did indeed engage in sex; Langston finds the result odd since he found a used condom in the room. Langston observes fingernail marks on Brad's arms and wonders if he got too aggressive with one of the women and didn't want to wear a condom. One of the women then struck Brad with the iron and when that didn't work, they pushed him over the balcony.

Nick informs Catherine that the blood on Brad's pants, the iron and the bed sheet all came back to one person - an unknown male. There was a second man in the room, meaning that the three-way is now a four-way. Det. Vartann finds it hard to believe that the women don't remember anything from the night, something Catherine defends from past experience. Nick interrupts the conversation with some interesting news - both Stacy and Dana had GHB in their system; however, Dana's blood alcohol level wasn't nearly high enough to make her drunk.

Under interrogation, Dana admits that she and Stacy met another guy named Kyle, and Stacy invited him back to their room. When Brad showed up complaining about them blasting their stereo, Stacy invited him in, as well. Brad and Dana had unprotected sex in the living room, and when Dana went into the bedroom, Kyle figured it was his turn. However, when Kyle saw Brad, he got jealous and started shoving him, which ended with Brad being shoved over the balcony.

Langston finds it hard to believe that Dana was raped, witnessed a murder and then went to bed as if nothing had happened. Catherine tells him that Kyle threatened Dana to keep her quiet and that Dana's sexual assault exam came back inconclusive for rape. Hodges ushers Langston into the Trace lab and shows him that a feather that Nick found on the room's floor is inconsistent with the feathers the hotel uses in their bedding. The synthetic fiber from the floor is traced back to a manufacturer who supplies low-end pillows to several places in Vegas, most notably a bar called the Pillow Club. From his personal experience, Hodges knows that the Pillow Club sells the yard-long drinks that were found in the hotel room.

Langston and Nick visit the Pillow Club, which is filled with half-naked people hitting each other with pillows (or as Nick calls it, an "adult slumber party"). They're directed to the bartender who was working the night Stacy and Dana went to the club - it's none other than Kyle. He's wearing a bandage that's covering a wound consistent with the tip of an iron.

When questioned, Kyle admits to giving Stacy GHB because she asked for it, wanting to party and lose control. He also admits to going back to the hotel room and having sex with Stacy, but when he tried to have sex with Dana, she struck him with the iron. After hearing the commotion, Brad came out of his room to see if the women needed help. Kyle says that he and Brad were never in the room together and that when he left to go to hospital, Brad was helping Dana back into her room.

Kyle's alibi checks out; he was in the emergency room when Brad hit the pavement. Dana lied, and Nick wonders what else she's been lying about. The team proves that Dana is physically capable of pushing someone Brad's size over the railing, but an experiment proves that she was actually sitting on Brad's lap on the balcony's railing seven stories up. A flashback shows the two engaged in sexual activity on the railing when Brad started to fall backwards. The scratch marks on his arm are from Dana trying to grab him, but she was unable to do so, leading to Brad falling to his death.

Dana tells Catherine that she would never cheat on her husband, but that her and Brad had an immediate connection. Catherine informs her that she's not being charged with anything, but does have some explaining to do to her husband.

Victims: Lance Irwin (deceased), Denise Irwin (deceased)

On the case: Greg Sanders, Sara Sidle, Jim Brass

Greg and Sara are called to the scene of a double homicide, where elderly couple Lance and Denise Irwin have been murdered in their apartment. Brass tells them that Denise called 911, but was only able to repeat the words "Help me, help me." Denise's body is in the living room, having fallen through a glass table; a knife lies on the ground nearby. There's no blood on the phone, but there's castoff all over the living room furniture. Lance's body is in the bathtub, entangled in a shower curtain; lividity indicates that he was killed only an hour ago. Greg theorizes that the killer came in through a broken window and took care of the Irwins, but Sara rules out robbery when she finds money and credit cards in one of the wallets. The only witness in the apartment is the Irwin's pet parrot, who refuses to talk on cue. There's also a cat that's unaccounted for.

In autopsy, Doc Robbins tells Sara that Lance suffered a fractured skull and intercranial bleed, which rendered him unconscious. The cause of death is labeled as drowning, which the doc says is possible in as little as an inch of water. There are healed scars on the upper body, indicating that Lance had been involved in prior altercations.

It appears Lance had some enemies. One of those enemies might be next-door neighbor Dwayne Simmons, who had left a threatening message on the Irwin's voice mail a few days ago. Under interrogation, he admits that he threatened his neighbors several times and tried to get them evicted, as all they ever did was fight loudly. To make matters worse, the parrot squawked constantly. Dwayne provides his alibi for the time the Irwins were murdered - he was paying $4.99 per minute to have phone sex with a woman named Betsy.

Dwayne's alibi checks out, as does his statement about the Irwins' martial problems. Police were called to their house at least once a month, and 911 tapes shed a light on the abusive relationship. The only prints recovered from the apartment belong to the Irwins, and the broken window was broken long before the murders. Greg and Sara theorize that there was no intruder; Lance stabbed Denise to death and slipped in the shower after trying to wash her blood off of him. If the theory is correct, Lance's fingerprints will be all over the knife.

Greg and Sara head back to the apartment and are surprised to find that Animal Control hasn't swung by to pick up the parrot. After unsuccessfully trying to get the parrot to talk, Greg heads to the bathroom to examine the bathtub drain. There, he finds hair and bloody feathers, indicating that the Irwins also bathed their feathered pet. Sara finds previously absent blood drops and eventually discovers that they're paw prints from the cat. She finds the cat hiding under the couch.

In autopsy, Sara is stunned to find out that Denise was only stabbed once, despite all the castoff in the apartment. She's beside herself that none of the evidence in the case makes sense, telling Doc Robbins that only Denise's prints were found on the knife and only Lance's blood was found in the shower. The doc interjects and shows her the talon marks on Denise's scalp. He tells Sara that parrots are extremely intelligent, even to the point of being able to let themselves in and out of their cages when taught to do so. But, is the parrot intelligent enough to pick up a knife and stab its owner?

Hodges processes the cat and finds a piece of plastic in its claws consistent with the shower curtain. Sara, meanwhile, finds blood under one of the parrot's wings that matches Denise. Furthermore, the castoff on the walls and furniture actually came from the parrot flapping its wings. Combined with soap found on the parrot and feathers found in the bathtub, Greg and Sara give Brass their accounts of what happened.

Lance was showering with the parrot on his shoulder when the cat tried to attack it. In the ensuing scuffle, Lance fell, hit his head and drowned in the bathtub. Hearing the commotion, Denise, who was making breakfast with a knife, went to see what was going on. In its agitated state, the parrot then attacked Denise, causing her to fall forward into the coffee table and accidentally stab herself in the chest. The cat then went into hiding and the parrot flew back into its cage and closed the door behind it. One question remains unanswered - how did Denise not get any blood on the phone when she called 911?

Later, Greg and Sara sit in the break room with the parrot. When Greg slices his finger with a knife, the parrot spots the blood. It goes over to the phone, knocks it off its cradle, dials 911 with its beak and asks for help. This explains why there was no blood on the phone. A bewildered Greg and Sara laugh at what they've just observed.

Cast

Main Cast

Guest Cast

  • Alex Carter as Louis Vartann
  • Leisha Hailey as Dana Carlston
  • Jennifer Aspen as Stacy Cano
  • Leonard Roberts as Kyle Decker
  • Damon Herriman as Dwayne Simmons
  • Susan Park as Paige
  • Briane Lane as Maddie
  • Lauren Gottlieb as Suzanne
  • Brian Johnson as Brad Malone

Notes

  • Catherine tells Det. Vartann that a few years ago, she was roofied at a John Mayer concert and woke up with no recollection of what happened. This occurred in the season seven premiere Built to Kill, Part 1.

Trivia

  • This is the only episode in which the killers of one of the cases are not human (in this case the pets themselves, the parrot and the cat, killed their own owners because of the deadly hate that the parrot and the cat felt for each other).

See Also

CSI:Las Vegas Season 11
Shock WavesPool SharkBlood MoonSqweegelHouse of HoardersCold BloodedBump and GrindFrackedWild Life418/427Man UpA Kiss Before FryingThe Two Mrs. GrissomsAll That CremainsTargets of ObsessionTurn On, Tune In, Drop DeadThe ListHitting for the CycleUnleashedFather of the BrideCello and GoodbyeIn a Dark, Dark House
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