Pipe Cleaner

"Pipe Cleaner"
CSI: Vegas Episode

Synopsis

When the CSIs are called to investigate human remains found in a convention center owner’s bathtub, Sara and Grissom use the case to get close to attorney Anson Wix’s star forensic expert witness, just days before David Hodges’ trial begins.

Review

Only a few days away until Hodges' trial, and things are looking bleak.

With Maxine suspended (indefinitely), and Wix claiming Maxine’s interference is proof of malfeasance in the lab. The Undersheriff has taken over, and kept Sara and Grissom on the staff, which means they’re called in to help the regular CSI crew investigate a melted body in a bathtub. Since the body was doused with hydrogen peroxide and sulfuric acid, there’s no DNA to use, but they presume it’s the homeowner, Eric Shaw.

With Sara and Gil in charge, they dispatch the younger CSIs to investigate the victim’s wife, while they (mostly Sara) take apart the pipes and drain them of the body before it washes into the sewers, during which Sara looses her ring.

Back at the lab, Sara has been going through Wix’s trash for weeks and all she’s found is he’s very careful and shreds his paperwork to prevent identity theft. Sara decides to hire Janice Woo, Wix’s pet ‘former forensic artist’/expert witness to help them defeat a biometric safe using fingerprints (since their vic is liquid). Woo has no issues or difficulties making a fake hand using the prints and a 3D printer.

As the lab worths through the bones and goo, they don’t find Sara’s ring, but they do find femurs of two separate people. There was more than one person in the pipes. The CSIs return to the scene and find a brand new saw that doesn’t match the rest of his tools. This leads them to find there were two killers, who tried to dismember the victim first, after shooting him. They gave up and melted him, since hacking up a body is crazy hard work.

Sadly, due to the salt and iron content in the bodies, a metal detector is worthless to find any bullet fragments (or Sara’s ring). Sara does find teeth, or at least porcelain veneers, and she and Folsom recreate the mouth and match it to Chase Starr, who happens to run a pageant that Shaw’s wife (mid divorce) and children compete. Turns out Chase is actually his twin brother, Grayson, who explains his brother went missing.

Chase was dating Tammy, Eric’s soon-to-be ex-wife. Tammy confesses that she helped Chase get the chemicals that were used to melt the men she loved, but claims she didn’t kill him. WHile Grissom mulls over the how of all that, Sara returns to Wix’s place to take his garbage. As she does, the bag tears, leaving garbage on the ground just as Wix is coming to throw out some more. Sara, knowing she’ll be spotted, confronts Wix. He calls their science special effects, claiming he’s the hero with his doubt. Wix watches Sara drive away, studying her license.

Grissom, in turn, can’t let go of how odd the death was, and realizes the physical evidence only shows that the crowne of someone’s head hit the wall, not the shoulders or back. This lets him prove, with a practical experiment, that Chase killed Shaw and, when mixing the chemicals to melt him, was blown back and knocked into the tub, killing himself.

Sara’s adamant belief that there must be evidence comes through when she finds a tissue with lipstick on it. They match the DNA on the lipstick to both Wix and his expert, Janice Woo. The day of Hodges' trial, Grissom presents Sara with her ring and they go into the courthouse, only to see Woo get fired and dumped by Wix.

While everything else was going on, Maxine was working with Nora Cross to connect Wix to the hitman who attacked Brass. She finally makes the connection with a young punk named Esteban who was represented by Wix on drug trafficking charges. With evidence that Esteban is till in the drug game, Maxine blackmails him to help take down Wix.

Notes

  • Sara has lost weight due to the stress, causing her ring to fall off.
  • Sara loses her ring while collecting the bodily ooze.
  • This episode has the first mention of the COVID pandemic.

Quotes

Hugo: Still no ring? You’re not superstitious, are you? Sara: Uh, not usually. Hugo: When I was with my first wife, I lost my ring on a waterslide in Peru. We got divorced three months later.

 

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