Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda
Season 9
Number 7
Writer Naren Shankar
Director Allen MacDonald
Original Airdate November 20, 2008
Previous Episode: Say Uncle
Next Episode: Young Man with a Horn

Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda is the seventh episode in Season Nine of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.


The CSI team investigates the death of a woman married to a man who committed murder 12 years ago. In the meantime, the fate of Natalie Davis is being decided...


Victims: Janelle Rowe (deceased), Nora Rowe (alive)

On the case: Gil Grissom, Greg Sanders, Riley Adams, Jim Brass

The bloodied bodies of a mother and daughter lie on a kitchen floor, victims of gunshot wounds. A paramedic check's the girl's pulse and finds that she has one; after that, it's chaos, as several paramedics walk through the blood pools in an effort to save the girl. The mother, who is dead on the scene, is identified as Janelle Rowe. Her daughter, Nora, is touch and go at the hospital. Peter Rowe, the man of the house, enters and sees his wife dead. When he's restrained, he punches an officer and gets arrested. Grissom wonders if Peter's reaction is grief or guilt.

A recently fired gun is found in the glove compartment of Peter's car; there are empty shell casings in the cylinder, which means it was recently discharged. Furthermore, Peter's hands tested positive for gunshot residue. Under interrogation, Peter tells Brass that he was target shooting in the desert earlier in the night, but he has no one to confirm his alibi. He's incensed that he's under suspicion for his wife's murder and doesn't know anyone who would want to kill her or his daughter.

Back at the house, David Phillips informs Greg that the bullet that killed Janelle exited out of her occipital bone and is somewhere in the vicinity. Greg sees that a chair has been knocked over and figures it could've happened during a struggle. He also finds blood and hair on the corner of the kitchen counter consistent with the forehead laceration that Nora suffered. Riley finds a small red gemstone in a blood pool on the kitchen floor, while Greg finds their missing bullet embedded in a phone book. The back door is slightly ajar and there are signs of forced entry. Riley searches the perimeter of the house, exits out the back gate, and eventually comes a cross a broken pink cell phone missing a red gemstone.

Brass continues to interrogate Peter. According to a neighbor, she heard arguing, saw a muzzle flash, heard a gunshot, and heard footsteps going out the back gate. It turns out that three calls were made from the Rowe house for domestic disturbances in the last three months. Peter blames his wife's "flair for the dramatic" but says he never laid a hand on her. Brass reveals that Peter used to go by the name Mark Redding and that he's the prime suspect in the murder of a private investigator 12 years ago. The PI, Trevor Murphy, was hired by Peter's first wife Amy because she suspected that he was cheating on her. When her suspicions were proven correct, Trevor "consoled" her. His car was later found abandoned and Peter became the prime suspect. However, Peter was never charged because the body was never found; he also insists that Trevor is still alive. With the evidence piling up against him, Peter whips out his cell phone and shows Brass one of several death threats he received in the last few months. He guesses that the person who killed Janelle was actually gunning for him.

In autopsy, Doc Robbins shows Riley that in addition to Janelle being shot, she also suffered a perimortem bruise on her cheek consistent with being pistol-whipped. Meanwhile, Brass talks with Trevor's daughter, Kelsey. He mentions that "Mark" is in custody and Kelsey immediately guesses that he's claiming innocence. Brass also says that Mark changed his name to Peter Rowe because he thought he had a target on his back. The death threats he started receiving all mentioned Trevor by name and were sent by an account that was set up on Kelsey's IP address. She refuses to say where she was the night before without a lawyer present and hands over her computer when told that the police have a warrant for it.

The pink cell phone that Riley found belonged to Nora. Archie wonders if the killer took it, but Greg asks why the killer would take it and ditch it just a block away from the house. They go through the phone's camera roll; it contains photos of Nora and Janelle taken a few hours before the crime. One picture is of the kitchen floor. Greg notes that the neighbor saw a muzzle flash when she heard the gunshot and wonders if the neighbor actually saw a camera flash instead. Since the killer thought his face was in the photo, he took the phone and tried to destroy it. Riley interrupts and says that Peter's gun isn't the murder weapon, leading them to think that maybe he was telling the truth.

Archie discovers that while the email account used to send the death threats was set up at Kelsey's house, the emails were actually sent from a halfway house downtown. One of the occupants of the halfway house is Kelsey's brother and Trevor's son, Nathan. Under interrogation, Nathan admits that he sent the emails because he wanted "Mark" to be constantly looking over his shoulder every night in fear. He laments the fact that he's not as strong-willed as his father was in terms of getting revenge. When told that Janelle was murdered and her daughter is in the hospital, Nathan clams up and asks for his lawyer and a phone call.

Greg discovers that one year before Trevor disappeared, he was staking out a liquor store for a client. When the liquor store got robbed, he shot the robber. The bullet, which is still in evidence, is compared to the bullet that killed Janelle, and it's found that both bullets were fired from the same gun. Greg theorizes to Riley that Peter killed Trevor with his own gun and later used it to kill Janelle.

Greg and Archie go through surveillance videos from Desert Palm Hospital and find Kelsey confronting Peter with something that looks like a gun in her jacket. The GPS on Kelsey's car leads Brass and some uniformed officers into the desert. There, Kelsey has Peter at gunpoint and is forcing him to dig. When he digs deep enough, a skull is revealed. Still at gunpoint, Peter confesses to killing Trevor and burying him in the desert.

With officers' guns pointed at her, Kelsey tells Brass that her brother found Peter (or "Mark") and that she couldn't get her father's murder out of her head. She staked out Peter's house and learned his schedule like her father would've. That night, she hid in the house and waited for Peter; however, she was surprised when Janelle and Nora entered instead. They got into a scuffle, which resulted in Nora hitting her head on the kitchen counter and Janelle being killed. Brass tells Kelsey to relax and says that he knows she didn't mean to kill anybody. He also mentions that Nora is going to pull through. Peter tries to get Kelsey to stand down, reiterating that he killed her father and is willing to spend the rest of his life in jail. Kelsey, however, tearfully says that she "really tried to forget" before shooting Peter four times. In response, Kelsey is shot twice by an officer. Both Peter and Kelsey die.

Victims: Chase Bowman and Max Poole (both deceased)

On the case: Catherine Willows, Nick Stokes, Chris Cavaliere

Nick is called to a scene where a car has run into a tree, killing high school students Chase Bowman (the driver) and Max Poole (the passenger). He theorizes that the two were driving at a high speed down the highway, saw an obstacle too late (such as a deer), swerved to avoid it, and ended up hitting the tree. Onlookers have gathered just beyond the police tape; however, since they're in a rural part of town outside of Vegas, there really weren't any witnesses. Upon examining the car, Nick sees pieces of gravel in the soft top. There are splinters in Max's wound inconsistent with branches from the tree.

In autopsy, Doc Robbins tells Nick that both victims died from injuries consistent with the accident. However, Max also suffered multiple injuries to his shoulder, including a dislocated shoulder and a torn rotator cuff. The doc says that the direction of the force applied indicates that Max was holding his arm out the passenger's side window upwards at a 90 degree angle. Something bent the arm back with such force that it caused the injuries. Doc Robbins says that the crash didn't cause the injuries and that all of the wounds were perimortem.

The car's Event Data Recorder (EDR) shows data for about five seconds before the airbags deployed. It indicates that the anti-lock brakes were activated four seconds before impact. Nick watches a 3D rendering of the accident and sees that the car veered right and overcompensated left. The car lost traction, but not because of a wet road or an oil slick. Hodges, there to assist, theorizes that the one of the tires was on the shoulder in the asphalt spinning around, which caused the anti-lock brakes to activate. It would also explain the pieces of gravel in the soft top. Nick informs Hodges that while the theory is good, the shoulder was undisturbed at the scene. They're still missing something.

Under the microscope, Hodges shows Catherine and Nick that the splinters from Max's wound don't match exemplars from the tree. Hodges adds that the splinters in the wound were white ash, which is commonly found in long handles, such as shovels, as well as baseball bats. A light bulb goes off in Nick's head; he realizes that the kids were playing mailbox baseball, a game in which participants take turns swinging a bat at mailboxes while the car is traveling at a decent speed. This would explain the weird fracture to Max's right arm. Catherine reminds Nick that there was no bat found at the crime scene and that they have no explanation for why a mailbox full of air would cause such an injury.

In the parking garage, Nick and Hodges play some mailbox baseball. Nick tells Catherine that they determined it would take something far more massive than an aluminum mailbox to generate the force necessary to break someone's arm. His thought is that they could be looking for a telephone pole or a sign post; however, he finds no such damage back at the scene. Down the road a short way, though, he spots a brand new removable mailbox. At the base of the mailbox are red paint chips and some gravel consistent with the gravel found in the car. Over the phone, Hodges confirms that the gravel is actually concrete.

Nick and Det. Cavaliere pay a visit to the owner of the house (and mailbox), Hal Jackmin. When questioned, he says that his mailbox is removable because kids kept smashing the old one. Nick walks around the house and sees a bag of cement in a wheelbarrow. Further down a concrete walkway, he notices that there's a freshly laid slab. When the slab is pulled aside, he finds a mailbox buried under it filled with concrete. Hal explains that his mailbox was trashed four times and he wanted to teach the kids a lesson. A flashback shows Max hitting the concrete-filled mailbox, which bent his shoulder back. The bat then hit Chase, which caused him to veer off the road and hit the tree. Hal heard the accident and went to check on the kids, but they were dead. He then replaced the mailbox and buried the evidence. Nick tells him that there were other ways to handle this, and Det. Cavaliere places him under arrest for two counts of negligent homicide.

On trial: Natalie Davis

Present: Gil Grissom

Grissom receives a letter that says that Natalie Davis, aka the Miniature Killer, is being considered for transfer from her mental illness hospital to a prison. He has flashbacks to what Natalie did, culminating in attempting to crush Sara to death under a car. Alarmed by the letter, he takes his glasses off to think about what all of this means.

In a courtroom, Assistant District Attorney Valerie Nichols lays out all of the crimes Natalie is guilty of. Natalie, now lucid, says that she was found guilty at the time, but deemed mentally ill. After being arrested, she suffered a psychotic breakdown and was diagnosed with catatonic schizophrenia; however, medications have helped that go away. She says that she feels "normal" now, which is why it's being suggested that she be transferred to prison to serve the sentence she was lawfully given. After hearing all of this, Natalie slowly turns around and sees Grissom sitting a few rows behind her.

District Attorney Monroe questions Natalie's doctor, who reveals that Natalie is being treated for her catatonic schizophrenia; however, her psychopathic compulsion to kill could still come back. It's therefore argued that Natalie isn't responsible for her actions and that she should remain at the hospital instead of being transferred to prison. After court is adjourned, ADA Nichols asks Grissom to testify, as he was the only one present when Natalie had her psychotic break. Grissom agrees to a meeting with Natalie so he compare how she is now with how she was then.

He meets with Natalie in the hospital laundry room and tells her that he wants to see the person she really is. Natalie is told that Sara is no longer a CSI and wonders if it's because of what she did. She uses bleach with the laundry, a form of occupational therapy to help her diminish the power of something she fears. When she apologizes for what she did to both Grissom and Sara, Grissom asks her if that's how she feels or how she thinks she should feel. Natalie understands Grissom's cynicism, but repeats that she's truly sorry.

On trial, Grissom recounts that Natalie became unresponsive during their first interview and started singing to herself. He says that Natalie now seems lucid, making eye contact, answering questions in a logical manner, and expressing remorse for her actions. DA Monroe asks Grissom what he hopes to get out of his visit and asks if he's out for revenge. After all, the police video shows him violently shaking Natalie when she wouldn't give up Sara's location. Grissom maintains that he has no stake in the courtroom proceedings and is more interested in seeing whether people can change, no matter how damaged they may have been.

The judge orders Natalie to be transferred to prison. DA Monroe tells Grissom that Natalie will continue to receive her medications, but they can't do much with therapy now. As she's ushered out of her room, Natalie tells Grissom that she's changed and that she truly believes people who do bad things need to be punished. Alone in the room, Grissom notices a hollowed out bar of soap on the sink and a loose tile in the floor. When he removes the tile, he finds a miniature of Natalie hanging herself, indicating that she'll plan to do so in prison.


Main Cast[]

Guest Cast[]


  • Det. Cavaliere is sporting a bandage on his nose, remnants of the injury he suffered in an explosion in the previous episode Say Uncle.


See Also[]

CSI:Las Vegas Season 9
For WarrickThe Happy PlaceArt Imitates LifeLet It BleedLeave Out All The RestSay UncleWoulda, Coulda, ShouldaYoung Man with a Horn19 Down...One to GoThe Grave ShiftDisarmed and DangerousDeep Fried and Minty FreshMiscarriage of JusticeKill Me If You CanTurn, Turn, TurnNo Way OutMascaraThe Descent of ManA Space OddityIf I Had a Hammer...The Gone Dead TrainHog HeavenAll In