CSI: Crime Scene Investigation

Season 9 Episode 7

Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda

Aired Sunday 10:00 PM Nov 20, 2008 on CBS

Episode Recap

Woulda After Grissom makes a brief appearance then skedaddles to angst over a serial killer, Greg and Riley are left to investigate the shooting death of a young woman, Janelle Rowe. Her daughter Nora is also found gravely injured at the scene and is rushed to the hospital. While the scene is being processed, Janelle's husband Peter comes home to see his wife lying in a pool of blood on the floor and understandably loses his shit. However, Grissom isn't sure if the hissyfit is the result of grief or guilt. Peter was arrested for assaulting an officer while having his hissyfit, so Brass takes the opportunity to interrogate him. A recently fired gun was found in his car and Peter's hands tested positive for GSR, but Peter claims he owns the gun legally and he was target shooting in the desert. Alas, he was alone so his alibi can't be verified. Brass is skeptical of Peter's belligerent protestations that he has no clue who would shoot his wife and injure his daughter. Back at the Rowe house, Greg finds the bullet lodged in the phonebook. He makes a "let my fingers do the walking" joke but Riley doesn't get it because she's, like, 12 years old. Greg looks like he suddenly feels very, very old. Riley finds a small jewel on the floor and also discovers that the back door has been forced open. She heads outside and finds the object to which the jewel belongs, a cellphone that has been bedazzled to within an inch of its life. Interrogation. Peter is still denying any involvement in his wife's death, even after Brass reveals that Janelle made three domestic violence calls. He insists she had a flair for the dramatic but he never hurt Janelle. Brass has one more bomb to drop: Peter used to be Mark Redding, who was under investigation in the disappearance of Trevor Murphy, a private investigator who helped Peter/Mark's first wife discover her husband was cheating on her. Trevor comforted Amy, "in the biblical sense" as Brass puts it, and then shortly after Trevor's car was found abandoned in the desert. Brass says Peter was never charged because Trevor's body was never found. Peter suddenly says he thinks he knows who killed Janelle and tells Brass that he's been getting death threats referencing Trevor Murphy from an anonymous source. He even has a texted threat on his phone to show Brass. Now that's just lame. Threatening people has gotten so high tech nowadays. Nobody takes the time and care to cut letters out of magazines anymore. Riley enters the morgue and immediately starts boring me by gossiping with Doc Robbins about Facebook. CSI, referencing the latest trendy internet fad isn't going to make anyone forget that your average audience age is at almost-AARP level. Stop embarrassing yourself before you get really ridiculous, like turning Brass into a Twitter addict. Anyway, Riley is there to have Robbins show her a large bruise on Janelle's cheek, indicating she was possibly pistol-whipped. Brass has brought Kelsey, Trevor's daughter, into his office because the threats to Peter came from her computer. Still obviously bitter that the police never solved her father's disappearance, she's furious to learn she's a suspect in Janelle's death and says Brass can talk to her lawyer, but Brass makes her turn her laptop over because he's got a warrant. A/V lab. Archie says the bedazzled phone belongs to Nora and Greg wants to know why the killer would take a kid's cellphone then dump it, but I want to know who the hell gives a little girl who looks no older than eight a freakin' cellphone? [Lengthy rant about kids growing up too fast these days redacted. For now.] Archie thinks the killer tried to destroy the phone but didn't realize how strong the memory card was. They go through the photos and Greg is startled to see one of Janelle's kitchen floor and thinks Nora snapped a photo right when the killer attacked and the killer tried to destroy the phone thinking it had damning evidence. Riley arrives and says Peter's gun wasn't involved. All three feel Peter didn't kill Janelle and they're off to figure out who really sent the death threats. Later, Riley finds Greg and says the e-mail account where the threats came from was created on Kelsey's computer but the e-mails were sent from a halfway house. One of the residents is Nathan, Kelsey's brother and Trevor Murphy's son. They're both brought in for questioning and his scruffiness and twitchiness is in sharp contrast to his sister's professional look and demeanor. Kelsey admits she didn't tell Brass about her brother setting up the account because she wanted to protect him after everything else their family has been through. As for Nathan, he freely admits to sending the threats and has no remorse over that, but denies that he shot Janelle or hurt Nora. By referencing files from Trevor Murphy's cases, Greg has learned that the bullet that killed Janelle came from Trevor's old gun. Now he and Riley think Peter's a suspect again and get Brass to bring him in for more questioning. Unfortunately, nobody can find him and after looking at the hospital surveillance footage, they discover that Peter left with Kelsey Murphy, probably at gunpoint. Archie tracks the GPS on her car to the desert and when Brass arrives, he finds Peter digging while Kelsey holds a gun on him. Peter's digging has uncovered the bones of Trevor Murphy and Kelsey tearfully admits that when Nathan tracked down Peter it stirred up all the grief and frustration she felt when her father disappeared. She started following Peter and, after learning his schedule, lay in wait at his house. When Janelle and Nora came home instead of Peter, Kelsey panicked and shoved Nora, where she hit her head on a table, and Janelle was shot when they struggled for the gun. Brass tells Kelsey that Nora is going to be fine and Kelsey is relieved, but she still can't lower the gun. She tells Brass that she tried to forget, then she fires several shots into Peter. The cops gun her down and Brass is left surrounded by three bodies and probably wondering if he can foist the job of telling Nora she's an orphan onto somebody else. Coulda Ah, drinking and driving. It's all fun and games until you ram headfirst into a tree at high speed. Nicky and Catherine are taking on this case, with an assist from Hodges, who is shockingly not whining this time about being taken out of his labby lair. The two victims are high school students, Chase Bowman and Max Poole. Nicky finds pieces of what's obviously concrete what he keeps calling gravel until the plot decides it's time to let him be smart scattered on the passenger side and shards of wood in Max's shoulder, although no branches from the tree appear to have splintered. Morgue. Doc Robbins tells Nicky that the cause of death for Chase and Max was, no surprise, driving into a tree. However, he says Max suffered multiple fractures and breaks on his right arm, the same arm where Nicky found the pieces of wood. Max was holding his arm up and out when something caused it to bend backwards and cause a chain reaction of breaks. The bruising suggests it happened right before death. Nicky downloads the airbag system data and shows Hodges how Chase suddenly veered right, then overcorrected to the left and ended up inadvertently kissing a tree. Hodges brings up the concrete gravel but the right shoulder is unmarred. "We're still missing something, Columbo," Nicky says. Hodges has identified the wood embedded in Max and it's not from the tree. It's wood used in making baseball bats and Nicky immediately knows what Chase and Max were doing. "Mailbox baseball!" he snickers. Catherine doesn't get it, because I guess she's never seen Stand By Me, so he explains it to her, but she's still not seeing why he's so amused. "That's pathetic," she snorts. "Actually, it's awesome," Hodges begs to differ. He and Nicky bond and giggle over playing boyish pranks, but Catherine reminds them they still have a case and scolds them like the mom she is. "Recess is over." Naturally, as soon as she leaves, Nicky and Hodges start cracking up again. Catherine walks out into the parking garage just as Nicky and Hodges are playing their own little game of mailbox baseball. She yells at Nicky for risking his arm but she should really be yelling at him for sending shards of mailbox flying at her face. Those botox treatments are really expensive, okay? Nicky assures her that they already tested it with the dummy and learned there's no way Max could've broken his arm from hitting a mailbox. Catherine wants to know why they're still smashing mailboxes, then. "Because it's fun," Hodges obviouses. "And I wonder why I'm still single," Catherine sighs. Hee. Nicky heads back out to the road to take a look at anything else Max might've hit that broke his arm, but there are no signs of damage on the electricity pole or sign posts. He walks over to the mailbox closest to the accident and, noticing that it wobbles a little, he realizes that the box can be lifted out of its stand. Even though the box looks brand new, there are pieces or red paint on the ground and Nicky finds more of that concrete gravel. Thankfully, he calls Hodges and finally gets the report that it's concrete, so we can stop pretending it wasn't obviously concrete from the very beginning. I really dislike it when the CSIs are made to look stupid for plot purposes. Cavaliere talks to the owner of the house, Hal Jackmin, while Nicky and the cops look around. Hal says he built the removable mailbox after his was smashed several times. Nicky follows a path of concrete stepping stones to one that looks brand new and gets an officer to help him lift it. Underneath is Hal's former mailbox, which he filled with concrete. Under questioning, Hal admits he was tired of the kids smashing his mailboxes and decided to teach them a lesson by filling one with concrete. He remorsefully says he didn't know that it would cause Chase to veer off the road and smash into a tree, killing both kids. And then he made a terrible situation even worse by taking the baseball bat from the car, trying to hide what had happened. Hal definitely deserves to be punished for being an idiot and coward, but I could really do without Nicky's self-righteous lecturing as Hal is arrested. Shoulda Miniature Las Vegas! I bet the props department was delighted to bring that out again, and I'm still bitter they didn't get an Emmy nomination for their superb work. Grissom is in his office, brooding over a letter. We don't get to see it all but it suggests that a hearing will be held to determine if Natalie Davis should remain in a psychiatric facility or be moved to prison. Grissom looks like he would rather make out with Hodges than deal with this. Grissom arrives at the hearing just as ADA Nichols, in favor of moving Natalie to prison, is questioning her. We get a recitation of Natalie's crimes and her psychotic break while being interrogated by Grissom. Natalie answers all the questions calmly and says her new medication helps her feel normal. Nichols declares this as proof that Natalie is ready to go to prison. Natalie's advocate, Monroe, sees Grissom enter and sit down. Natalie turns to see what he's looking at and she stares calmly at an unsettled Grissom. Next up is Natalie's psychiatrist, Dr. Wilson, and Monroe gets her to admit its possible that Natalie's craziness could return as her catatonia continues to lift, despite all the meds she's on. The hearing is ended for the day and Grissom is accosted by Nichols, who wants Grissom to testify in favor of Natalie going to prison. Grissom says he's not an expert in psychiatry but Nichols says he was the only one with Natalie when she had her psychotic break. She just wants him to meet with Natalie and then give his observations. Grissom agrees. Grissom finds Natalie working in the laundry room of the mental hospital and the first thing she says is that she wasn't surprised to see him. She knows he's there to make sure she goes to jail and she understands. He says he came because she wanted to see how she really is, since she wasn't herself the only other time they met. Natalie asks if Sara's going to speak at the hearing and Grissom says Sara doesn't work with him anymore. Natalie thinks it's because of what she did but Grissom admits he doesn't really know why Sara left. Oh, Grissom. Grissom is surprised to see Natalie working with bleach and she says it's part of her therapy. She looks directly at Grissom and apologizes for what she did to him and Sara. He's unconvinced but she repeats her apology, with a tearful quaver in her voice, and Grissom is unnerved by this seeming sincerity. The hearing resumes and Grissom's now on the stand, testifying as to what happened the night he questioned Natalie in Sara's disappearance. Nichols asks him how Natalie appears to him now and he says she makes eye contact, answers questions logically, and even expresses remorse for her actions. "In other words, normal," Nichols concludes. She sits down and Monroe gets up, saying he has only one question. He wants to know what's in it for Grissom to testify, implying revenge is the reason. Grissom says he has no stake in the outcome and, looking at Natalie and not Monroe or the panel, says he's trying to find out if even damaged people can change, but he's not sure if they can. Natalie looks back at him like she understands he's not just talking about her. The hearing has concluded and Grissom stands outside Natalie's room, watching as she is prepared for transfer to prison. Monroe tells him that Natalie will continue to get her meds but she won't receive much therapy. Before she leaves, Natalie looks at Grissom and insists she really has changed, then repeats that and says pointedly that she believes people who do bad things need to be punished. After she's gone, Grissom, his mind racing, looks around her room. He finds a bar of soap all carved up and a loose floor panel, which he removes to find a miniature Natalie carved out of soap, hanging from a noose. His eyes widen as he realizes what Natalie's last words to him meant but we go to the credits before we find out if what, if anything, he's going to do about it. Found at www.recapist.com