Iona Vail, a social worker at a battered women's shelter, is killed, mauled by a mountain lion, dressed in skin-tight attire with indications of restraint use on her ankles, and bruises on her face. Iona had been shot with a stun gun before being dumped, which causes more trace than normal to cling to her.
After breaking up with her boyfriend, Iona quit the shelter. Her datebook last says she was seeing Dr. Heather Kessler (aka Lady Heather). Heather is pleased to see Sara, and discusses Iona's intimacy issues due to her lack of childhood (having to raise her siblings). Via gestalt role-play, Iona acted as a cat, and seemed to be improving until, in her last session, she refused to break out of character at the end of the session and bit her boyfriend. The boyfriend admits that he snooped in Iona's stuff and found she was into bondage.
A fake tooth left by Iona leads them to Dr. Tyrell Neth, who specializes in making feline-teeth. He also runs a rather large cat house for people who, like Iona, like to play at being cats. Iona had moved into his palace and was living in his pine tree. Since other pets at Neth's have stun-gun marks, they were made by her own stun-gun. A latent print leads them to her coworker at the shelter, who tried to bring Iona 'back' to sanity by stunning her and kidnapping her. But, as in her therapy session, Iona refused to break out of her persona, left the car and fled into the woods where she died.
Heather has also been following the news about Haskell and his relationship with Langston. When he goes to talk to Heather about the current case, she brings up Haskell and the reciprocity of the dom/sub relationship - like that of Haskell and Langston.
Meanwhile, Nick and Dr. Robbins are accidentally called to a fresh suicide of a teenage girl, Maria Diorio. Dr. Robbins, noticing she's pregnant and the fetus is moving, performs an emergency cesarian and saves the baby. The autopsy implies that she'd been in a fight two hours before she died. Maria's mother had no idea she was pregnant, and is stunned to find out about the granddaughter she now has. Her boyfriend, an honor student, knew she was pregnant, but also that she was very much despised by her schoolmates to the point that they made a website mariaisabitch.com. The bullying led her to suicide and they follow up on the kids who created the website.
Sara Sidle Review
As in the past, Sara takes any issues with women being abused to heart. She brings Iona's datebook back from the shelter and sees appointments with "Dr. K." Sara and Heather don't exactly get along, but they do manage to respect each other as professionals.
Sara seems uncomfortable with the idea of gestalt roleplaying to work through issues, but keeps her personal views out of the case and remains non-judgemental.
- Grissom is still in Peru (and Heather knows about his work).
- Sara drinks chamomile tea.
- Sidle: Maybe she escaped one animal, only to fall prey to another.