Season 12
Number 9
Writer Joe Pokaski
Director Alec Smight
Original Airdate December 7, 2011
Previous Episode: Crime After Crime
Next Episode: Genetic Disorder

Zippered is the ninth episode in Season Twelve of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.


As CSI and the FBI work together to solve the murder of a gunrunner working for a private defense firm, they discover that hundreds of very dangerous black market weapons may be out on the street.


Victim: Michael Newbury (deceased)

On the case: entire team

Catherine and Russell are called to a cabin owned by ex-military ranger Michael Newbury. In the kitchen, they find a pool of blood and unusual bullet casings—but there's no sign of a body. The CSIs can see that Michael was shot in front of the refrigerator and crawled on his hands and knees. Catherine spots scuff marks on the floor consistent with furniture being moved. They push a desk away to reveal a passage down to the basement. The basement contains a large number of high-powered guns, but, again, no body.

When Greg arrives on the scene, Russell leads him to a secondary scene outside. They come to a large blood pool surrounded by cartridge casings, and Russell guesses that the material in the pool is human flesh. Greg's analysis of some tissue indicates that the victim was dead when he was shot numerous times. But why shoot a dead body? A grommet is found amongst the mess, possibly from a shower curtain. Inside, Catherine and Morgan search the bathroom, with Catherine pulling a hair from the shower drain. The medicine cabinet is full of medications, including one that's written in Farsi.

Russell brings ballistics expert Xiomara Garcia in on the case. She informs Russell that the unusual bullet casings are rare and can't be bought in the United States. A quick scan of the weaponry leads her to conclude that none of the guns on the wall use the same caliber as the murder weapon. Upstairs in the kitchen, Catherine and Sara recreate the crime. Based on the bullet trajectories and the broken beer bottle on the floor, they conclude that Michael let his killer in and shared a beer with them at the counter before he was shot—he was killed by someone he knew.

In the lab, Morgan goes through Michael's background, seeing that he hasn't left the country since the early '90s. However, Hodges disagrees, informing her that the Farsi label is hexadecyl phosphocholine, which is used to treat the bite of a Middle Eastern parasite. When they run the hair from the shower drain, they determine that Michael has traveled all over the world recently; however, there are no records of this anywhere.

There's no hit on the bullet casings in IBIS; in fact, the caliber has never been used in a crime in the United States. When run through the military database, it's discovered that the same weapon was used in a crime in Pakistan three months ago, which is one of the places Michael traveled to. Russell reads a report on the incident that has been heavily redacted, and is soon greeted by two FBI agents from the Las Vegas field office, Agents McQuaid and Pratt. They offer to help the LVPD; however, they won't reveal the full details of their own investigation.

Based on the evidence so far, Catherine guesses that Michael was a ballistics consultant for the FBI. This is neither confirmed nor denied by the agents; their main focus is retrieving the murder weapon, which they guess is an FN-P90. The high-powered weapon is currently being used by troops in Afghanistan; how it got into Vegas is also classified information. To maintain everyone's integrity, Russell pairs everyone up with an FBI agent—Catherine is sent back to the crime scene with Agent McQuaid, while Agent Pratt is tasked with helping Russell obtain a unredacted crime report.

Back at the crime scene, Catherine tells Agent McQuaid what she now knows: someone brought a super-gun to an expert, then shot him in his kitchen. Tire treads at the scene indicate that the killer drove a Dodge pickup truck. The body was wrapped in a shower curtain and transported outside, where it was shot again repeatedly. Agent McQuaid refers to the overkill as "zippering"—cutting the body in half, making it easier to transport. Catherine finds garbage bags in the nearby shed and figures that the body parts were placed in them. She notes that there's almost always leakage when it comes to garbage bags and, sure enough, she finds a directional blood drop in the driveway.

In the lab, Agent Pratt provides Russell with an unredacted report. Four weeks ago in Pakistan, a warehouse guard was killed trying to stop a raid on U.S. military supplies; he was shot with the FN-P90. The stolen supplies were never recovered and the shooter was never found. Agent Pratt explains that the scene was processed by operatives working for Ceressus Logistics, a U.S. military contractor. The thought is that the theft was an inside job, and that someone at Ceressus was responsible for it. This idea is also supported by the fact that the gun ended up in Nevada and not in the hands of insurgents. They have no evidence of it being an inside job, but Russell convinces the agent to question Ceressus based on the crime scene in Pakistan.

Catherine and Agent McQuaid follow the dirt road leading from the house, but are unable to find a continuous blood trail. As the agent is about to radio for assistance, Catherine notices vultures circling in the distance. The halved body of Michael Newbury is eventually discovered along with a broken beer bottle that was used to mutilate a tattoo on his arm. Back in the lab, the piece of tattooed skin is put in the video-spectral comparator; the machine can be used to look for different ink colors and pull one color at a time.

Mark Gabriel, the CEO of Ceressus Logistics, speaks with Russell, Brass and Agent Pratt. He's unaware as to how the gun in question ended up stateside and believes the theft in Pakistan to be relatively straightforward, perpetrated by insurgents. Russell suggests that the theft is an inside job, something Mark shoots down immediately. Meanwhile, Catherine runs into an old friend of hers in the station waiting room—Mark's wife, Laura. The two make plans to meet up before Mark leaves and has wife follow him out.

Nick calls Catherine with some good news and bad news. Their missing gun has been found, having been used in a convenience store robbery. Both the shooter and victim were wounded by the powerful gun. The shooter claims to have found the gun behind a dumpster. Nick and Russell are glad the gun is off the streets, but Agent Pratt is clearly distressed. He informs the CSIs that the guns are the items stolen in the raid in Pakistan, and that 144 were stolen in total. There are still 143 of these monstrous guns unaccounted for.

Hodges analyzes the gun's magazine well and finds a frayed knot from a Persian rug. Elsewhere, the mutilated tattoo leads to the 532nd Airborne Division. The team figures that the killer carved up the tattoo because he had the same one and could be identified from it. They cross-reference the 532nd Airborne with locals who drive a pick-up truck, and the name Lenny Wesson pops up. Lenny was dishonorably discharged and now works as an independent truck driver. The team theorizes that someone from Ceressus stole the guns, hid them in some Persian rugs, brought them into the U.S., and had Lenny transport them. Lenny found out what he was transporting and brought the guns to Michael Newbury to see what he had.

Lenny's truck is eventually located at a truck stop. When Catherine and Agent McQuaid search the trailer, they find Lenny wrapped up in one of the Persian rugs with duct tape over his mouth. Someone then closes the doors to the trailer and starts firing one of the mega-guns. Catherine is able to wound the shooter, and both he and Lenny are arrested.

Lenny's saliva and fingerprints were all over the beer bottle, placing him at the murder scene. Under interrogation, he admits to bringing the guns to Michael, the gun expert. Michael knew the guns were stolen and offered to return them to the military anonymously. Lenny, who saw the guns as his golden ticket, shot and killed Michael to keep him quiet. He refuses to say who gave him the driving gig, asking for complete immunity before he starts naming names. Agent McQuaid obliges, much to Catherine's disgust.

Mark Gabriel is questioned again. He refuses to provide the names of the men involved in the gun theft and also denies access to his personnel files. Meanwhile, Catherine and Laura catch up at Catherine's house. Laura eventually tells Catherine that she heard something she wasn't supposed to, but quickly recants. Catherine writes a phone number down on the back of a lawyer's card and gives it to Laura.

After Laura departs, Agent McQuaid shows up to apologize for blindsiding Catherine earlier. The two are interrupted by their cell phones and notified to come back to the office. There, they're told that Lenny Wesson died en route to a federal holding facility. The 37-year-old died of a heart attack, and Agent Pratt believes that nothing will be found in autopsy; it looks like Mark was covering his tracks. With the guns off the street, the LVPD's job is complete. The case isn’t over, but Agents McQuaid and Pratt have to return to Quantico—it’s the FBI’s problem now.


Main Cast[]

Guest Cast[]

  • Annabeth Gish as Laura Gabriel
  • Matt Lauria as Agent Matthew Pratt
  • Titus Welliver as Mark Gabriel
  • Grant Show as Agent Viggo McQuaid
  • Benjamin Ciaramello as Lenny Wesson
  • Monique Gabriela Curnen as Xiomara Garcia
  • Sterling Beaumon as Drillbit
  • Patrick LoSasso as Michael Newbury
  • Kay Panabaker as Lindsey Willows (uncredited)


  • You Only Wanna Dance by The Burning Leaves


  • This episode marks Kay Panabaker's final appearance as Lindsey Willows before she started working as a zookeeper. Katie Stevens would play Lindsey Willows in the TV movie Immortality, the CSI finale.


  • Matt Lauria played Special Agent Matthew Pratt in the episode, also appearing in two other episodes. He would be cast as CSI Joshua Folsom in the 2021 revival of the franchise, entitled CSI: Vegas.

See Also[]

CSI:Las Vegas Season 12
73 SecondsTell-Tale HeartsBittersweetMaid ManCSI DownFreaks & GeeksBrain DoeCrime After CrimeZipperedGenetic DisorderMs. Willows RegretsWillows in the WindTressed to KillSeeing RedStealing HomeCSI UnpluggedTrends with BenefitsMalice in WonderlandSplit DecisionsAltered StakesDune and GloomHomecoming