CSI: Crime Scene Investigation

Season 11 Episode 12

A Kiss Before Frying

Aired Sunday 10:00 PM Jan 20, 2011 on CBS

Episode Recap

70 years prior

A girl is in bed with a man when several men enter, grab her, and drag her outside, against the protests of the man. Sophie is gagged and the men prepare to kill her, throwing her down onto the ground.


Greg and Ray go to the scene of an apparent murder that a passer-by called in. It seems that the victim was rolled down a hill and left by the side of a highway. An inexperienced investigator takes Greg and Ray over the crime scene. The two inspect the victim and find that he has severe facial burn marks and has apparently bitten his own tongue off. However, there are no burns anywhere else on the body or clothes. Just as they prepare to cut into the body to get a time of death, the man grabs the investigator's hand and starts screaming. Ray calls a medic and the victim is hauled off in an ambulance. Greg watches the ambulance leave as an investigator tells him to call if the condition worsens.

Doctors and CSIs go over the body of the victim while he is unconscious in a hospital and find circular burn marks on the crown of the head, five-point abrasions on the body, and some burn marks on the abrasions on the wrists. Ray, Greg, and Nick go over the photographs of the marks and burns in the crime lab. Ray tells Greg and Nick that these marks are consistent with execution by electric chair. Hodges leads a group of forensics enthusiasts into the lab on a tour and one of them, a woman, sees the pictures of the victim and asks if he is still alive. Greg tells her that he is not at liberty to disclose information on an open investigation and she backs down. She tells them that she teaches fourth grade science and was considering bringing her children on a tour of the facility. Ray orders Hodges to take some evidence downstairs and continues to lead the tour himself. Nick coerces Greg into going after the teacher and asking her for her phone number and a date, remarking that she obviously likes him. Greg rushes outside and does as Nick had recommended. The woman consents and gives him her number.

Ray prepares a jelly dummy and builds a homemade electric chair to test his theory. The chair, however, does not produce the sufficient heat to burn the head of the dummy. Hodges comes in and tells Ray that he got evidence reports back from material on the victim's head- it was a synthetic sponge. Ray tells Catherine and Hodges that a certain kind of sponge as to be used in electrocutions or the electric current will be reverted to heat, literally frying the head of the victim. Catherine asks Ray if there is any way to trace the power that had to have been used to kill the victim and Ray tells her that, due to the fact that all that is necessary to produce enough electricity to kill a victim in electrocution style is connectivity with the source, the source could be any house in the city. He also explains that all evidence points to a mobile killing machine, as the victim was thrown down the side of the road while still burning.

Catherine goes to Greg and he explains to her that, because of the unique tire marks left by the highway (two tires in front and for in the back), the vehicle that they are looking for may be a pickup truck. He also tells her that the victim now has a name- Carlton Doreen, a man with no record, no known enemies, and a seemingly normal job and a wife. Catherine, noticing Greg's tiredness, has him to go home and get some sleep. Greg goes and Nick reminds him not to let the teacher's number go cold.

Greg goes out with the woman (whose name is Ellen) and the two have several drinks and share experiences, Greg offering to talk to her students one day. After the drinks, the two leave the restaurant and share a romantic night.

The next day, Greg goes to the scene of another crime with Nick, commenting on the fun that he had with Ellen the previous night and telling Nick that Ellen always smells like fresh peaches. The two find tire tracks next to the road and a body rolled down the side of a hill in similar fashion to the first victim. Greg comments that they might be able to pull surveillance from a nearby storage shed. Dr. Robins analyzes the victim and finds similar burn marks and the five-point restraint ligature marks. However, there is not nearly as much burn damage on this victim as was on the first one. Dr. Robins cuts into the victim to estimate a time of death and finds another critical difference between this victim and the previous one- this one is dead.

Catherine goes over the evidence from the crime and Greg tells her that the second victim has a name- Elijah Newbloom III. He and Doreen both had wealthy families, but Doreen's family lost his money while Newbloom has never had to work a day in his life. They had no ties to each other but intersected Doreen Street and Newbloom Avenue. Hodges tells Catherine that he found a chemical on both victims; a substance called ammonium perchlorate that was in a contaminated field in Henderson. Hodges theorizes that the field may be where the operation headquarters is. Archie calls Greg and Catherine in and tells them that he got a match on a white pickup truck that was the only one on the road near the time of the murder. The truck belongs to a Johannes DeSmoot, an ex-member of the South African secret police who had fled the country Greg takes a call from Ellen and tells her that he'll have to work late and cannot meet up with her that night. Catherine remarks that DeSmoot would be no stranger to electrocuting people. Brass interrogates DeSmoot and the man tells him that he sold his pickup truck and cannot remember the name of the buyer. All he remembers is that the man was wearing a fedora, was in a hurry, and was willing to pay quick cash. It was a dark and rainy night. Brass tells DeSmoot that his work permit expired six months ago and that he can hold him because of that. He then says that he plans on finding DeSmoot's truck and will then send him back to South Africa and tell the men that he tortured where to find him.

Ellen visits Greg and the two have lunch, Ellen telling Greg that she isn't one to have sex on the first date but that she can't get him out of her head. Greg says that the same goes for her in his mind and then tells her that the burn victim who is in the hospital is starting to come around and might be able to identify his attacker(s). Greg is interrupted when a techie comes in to give him a report on the two victims (including the fact that they were both exposed to chloroform and that it was probably how they were abducted). Greg goes back to his office and finds Ellen going through his things. Ellen gives him a lame excuse and then promises to stay out of his things, telling him that she has to leave. Greg sees that Ellen was going through his files on the case and tails her to a club where she is antagonized by a large man and then dragged inside. Greg tries and fails to get the name of the man from a bartender but manages to grab a glass with the man's DNA on it (in the process noticing that the bartender knows the man and was keeping the information back from him). Greg goes to the front of the room to see the showgirl, Rita Von Squeeze, in her performance. When Rita shows her face, Greg sees that it is Ellen at the same time that Ellen notices him.

Greg analyzes the glass that he picked up from the club and finds that the DNA on it is a match to a man named Roderick Hammerbacher. Greg also looks up Ellen Whitebridge and finds her to be no more than a teacher. Nick goes over the details with Greg later and advises him to know who he's dealing with, saying that Greg should cut his losses with her before she gets him into trouble. Greg asserts that Ellen may be in danger of harm from Hammerbacher and that the only reason tat she did not tell him about her second job was because she didn't want to scare him away. Nick tells him to be cautious. He then goes with Ray to the scene of yet another electrocution. Greg heeds Nick's warning and tries to reach Ellen only to find out that she's currently teaching. This time, the technique is almost perfect and there was less time of struggle for the victim. Ray points out that the killer is not just a sadist, but he wants to make sure that he gets the technique right. Greg gets a call from the hospital and informs Nick and Ray that Carlton Doreen just died. Ray tells them that tissue buildup in the chest is common for electrocution victims. He also says that because Johannes was incarcerated at the tie of the third killing, he can be eliminated as a suspect.

Hodges analyzes dirt samples and Ray takes fingerprints. Eventually, the victim is identified as Hamish Hershkowitz, a professor at WLVU. Nick says that this shoots any theory of the victims being related by street names. Greg recognizes the name Hershkowitz and connects it to a gangster, Herzog "The Rat" Hershkowitz. Greg then tells Catherine, Ray, and Nick the story of how the three were related. At the end of WWII, a Jewish mobster named Bugsie found a poor French girl named Agnes, who thought that she had lost her true love, a Russian dancer named Boris Kuchko, in the Stalin killings, and took her to Las Vegas to work as a singer in a club, giving her al of the money that she needed. Boris, who had in fact survived, trekked across Russia, barefoot, and found Agnes in Las Vegas. The two reunited and began a series of secret trysts in a Santa Fe hotel. Agnes was careful not to let Bugsie know because he considered Agnes to be his property. Bugsie eventually did find out about the meetings and ordered his henchmen to carry Agnes away into the night and decapitate her, posing her in a dancing position in order to implicate Boris. Bugsie then relied on the bogus testimony of "the Rat," a stoolie for the mob, to cast further suspicion on Boris. He also paid Ambrose Doreen and Elijah Newbloom I (who were the lawyers in he case) to throw the case and let Boris be convicted of the murder. Everyone knew that the case was fixed, but the jury demanded Boris' life. Boris went to the electric chair, proclaiming his innocence the whole time. Doreen and Newbloom both became famous after the case and had streets and parks named after them. Greg then tells the group that the three victims were the grandchildren of the men who set Boris up to die and shows them a picture of Agnes that looks almost like Ellen's identical twin, asserting that Ellen is the granddaughter of Agnes. Though Catherine, Ray, and Nick tend to think that Ellen is somehow related to the murders, Greg says that she isn't capable of murder. He leaves the lab and gets a call from Ellen, asking him to meet her at a diner and telling him that she thinks that someone is trying to kill her. Greg goes to meet her and sees her wave to him, but when he tries to advance, a concealed car drives forward and a passenger tries to shoot him. Greg hides behind another car until his attackers are gone and then rushes into the diner and finds Ellen missing, her coffee cup and bag (which smells like peaches) left in her place. He opens her bag and finds a bus route book that has an area and a time marked off. Just then, he gets a call from the school that Ellen works at from a woman that sounds completely different from his girlfriend but that nonetheless says that she is Ellen Whitebridge. Greg tells the woman that he made a mistake in calling for her and then hangs up.

Ray talks to Catherine and she tells him that Vartann called from a diner where shots were fired and a man fitting Greg's description was seen fleeing the scene. Before either can suggest a method for finding Greg, Hodges comes in and tells them that magnesium oxide, consistent with that used by an abandoned paint factory in close proximity to the Henderson contamination site, was found on the third victim. A police detail goes out to the site and finds Hammerbacher. The man gets out a gun and starts firing at the police. They shoot him in his gun arm and he gets inside of a large red truck for cover. Jim tries to get him to give himself up, but he asserts that "Ellen" is coming and that the two of them are planning to escape together. Jim tells him that "Ellen" tricked him, but he still won't exit the truck. The police open it up just as Hammerbacher hooks himself up to a homemade electric chair and electrocutes himself, Brass telling him that he doesn't have to kill himself.

Greg, meanwhile, catches up to "Ellen" at the bus station. She tells him that she loves him and that she fled the scene in fear when Hammerbacher tried to kill Greg at the diner. Greg tells her that she played him from the start and used his work at the crime lab to find out how much he knew about her and Hammerbacher's killing spree. She saw that he knew about the pickup truck and switched trucks to throw the police off. "Ellen" tells him that it isn't true and that she didn't mean for him to get hurt. Greg tells her that she doesn't even know when she's lying anymore and that he's willing to bet that when the police go over the truck, her fingerprints will be everywhere in it. "Ellen" asserts that her grandparents didn't deserve to die the way that they did and that now the slate has been wiped clean. She offers to elope with him and do anything that he says if he will just forgive her, but Greg turns her down. "Ellen" prepares to leave on her bus and the police arrive and arrest her. She pleads with Greg to let her go but Greg orders the police to take her in. She tells Greg that, for what it's worth, she loved him from the day she met him. Catherine arrives and Greg thanks her for the opportunity to make things right. She tells him that she is still upset with him because of his unprofessional behavior but will not put him on suspension because she knows what it's like to fall into lust for someone that is obviously no good. She also tells him that the next time he does, she'll investigate he person for him, as she knows what the "rotten ones" smell like. Greg asks her why the rotten ones always smell so good.