The calm and peaceful day at the Bay Vista Marina is interrupted by the sound of sirens and police cars and helicopters arriving. Tripp leads the chase, going after a young man named Tobey Hollins, who is bloody and trying to escape the scene of a murder. Tobey's escape route is cut off by Horatio, and he is handcuffed and led away from the scene. Tripp is rather pleased with the arrest, but Horatio is hesitant. Something does not seem quite right.
The murder in question took place on a boat. Horatio takes a closer look at the victim, Patrice Boland, as Delko arrives. There is a large pool of blood on the floor. The gunshot wound was through-and-through and it appears Patrice has bled out. The suspected murder weapon is lying on the floor, and they notice a splatter of blood on the wall. There is also a bloody hand print. Somebody slipped in the blood pool and attempted to break their fall. The bloody print is on top of the splatter, meaning that the first splatter had dried before the print was put there. Horatio is even more unsure of Tobey's guilt now. Why would he kill Patrice, wait for the splatter to dry and then slip on the blood? But he has barely finished stating his doubts when Delko gets a text message from Tripp. Tobey has confessed. That doesn't mean much to Horatio; you don't have to be guilty of a crime to claim you committed it. He needs to make sure whether or not Tobey did it, and fast. A kid like Tobey is not going to last 48 hours in the prison system.
Tripp has little sympathy with Tobey. He believes that he's guilty and deserves whatever he gets. As Tobey is being escorted to the bus they pass by Horatio, who tells Tripp about his doubts. Tripp points out that Tobey has Patrice's blood on his clothes and witnesses have placed him at the scene, not to mention the fact that he confessed to the murder. Horatio doesn't argue with this, but still questions whether they have the right man. As far as Tripp is concerned, Tobey is the killer unless Horatio can find someone else who might have done it.
Alexx is onboard the boat, examening Patrice's body while Delko processes the scene. There are some glasses standing on a table, one of which has lipstick on it. Patrice wasn't wearing lipstick. Unfortunately, the surface of the glass is rough and unlikely to provide them with any prints. Alexx spots blood around Patrice's mouth, most likely from air bubbles. She was struggling to breathe, meaning she didn't die right away.
Tobey is being loaded onto the bus which will take him to the Regional Detention Facility. The other people on the bus look at him like fresh meat. Tobey is starting to look scared, slowly realising what is happening to him. One of the inmates, Darrel Grimwood, claims he has to pay him taxes for riding the bus. When Tobey arrives at the RDF Darrel is wearing his shoes and has set his mind to making Tobey his bitch. After the booking process is finished Tobey accidentally bumps into Darrel, who takes his food bag and breaks his wrist. Three Mala Noches laugh at his pain and urinate on him to further humiliate and hurt him. It's not even been an hour, and already Tobey is in trouble.
Calleigh talks to Jim Markham, the new guy in Firearms, who tells her that the gun found on the scene is in fact the murder weapon but it didn't provide them with prints. He tracked the serial number and got the registered owner, however he didn't put it in his initial report. Calleigh is starting to lose her patience with him. He needs to put his findings in the reports, or else they can't act on it. Markham seems to think it's just a small slip-up, but since the gun is registered to Michael Boland, the victim's husband, it's too important to be overlooked.
Michael is brought in, but has no gunshot residue on his hands. He tells Tripp and Horatio that he keeps the gun onboard for protection, and that he hasn't been on his boat for three months. However it's not his boat, it's registered to Patrice, who was selling it due to the couple getting divorced. But since she is now dead, it is in fact Michael's boat. Did he kill his wife to keep it from getting sold? Michael says he doesn't want the boat. He didn't want Patrice either; he had met someone new. Tripp notes that it's always another woman, but Michael corrects him and says that in this case it's actually a man.
Since Michael is a day trader, and worked from his home, Wolfe takes his computer to Cooper to see what they can find. Michael is the only one to have logged on that day. Wolfe touches the computer by accident and notices that it's really hot. Cooper finds that odd. He opens up the chassis and finds love letters stashed there, blocking the fan. Wolfe takes a closer look at them together with Cynthia Wells, who determins that the writer must be male, based on the way he's worded himself. They compare it to Tobey's confession letter and finds several similarities. Cynthia is positive that Tobey wrote the love letters. So is he Michael's new love? Or perhaps Patrice's?
Horatio goes to talk to Tobey. Tobey says he was hired by Patrice to detail her boat, but he barely ever met her in person. Horatio doesn't believe him. He gets the kid to admit that he was romantically involved with Patrice, who was a very lonely woman. He says he didn't kill her; he only wrote the confession because he felt he had no choice. Tripp was coming down very hard on him during the interrogation.
Wolfe takes a closer look at the pictures of the two glasses Delko found. They can't get any prints off them, but they might still be helpful. Patrice apparently had a mojito with her killer, and judging by the spill from the glasses the boat was in motion. Patrice was shot in open water, leading Delko to believe that someone might have killed her while out on a test drive of the boat. The two CSIs look through a number of Boat Trader magazines in search for an ad placed by Patrice. Delko finds it and calls the number in the ad, getting Patrice's cell phone. The last number on her phone belonged to Gina Rankin. Delko goes to talk to her. She confirms that she was out to buy a boat, but she couldn't afford Patrice's. Delko wants to get a swab of her DNA to match it with the lipstick found on one of the glasses, and Gina reluctantly reveals that she and her boyfriend Steve were on the boat and out on open water. While they were out on the water Steve went down to use the bathroom. When he didn't come up Patrice went to check on him, and then Gina heard a gunshot. She went down to see what had happened, and found Patrice on the floor, and Steve holding the gun. He told her it was self defence and wanted them to take the boat and head for a far-off island. Gina insisted that they go back to the docks and leave Patrice there for someone else to find; nobody would have to know who the killer was. Delko wonders why she didn't call the cops, to which she replies that Steve threatened to put the blame on her if anyone found out.
Steve is brought in, and Delko and Calleigh question him. Like Gina predicted, Steve claims that she was the killer. He says she's crazy and does irrational things all the time, like buying a boat she can't afford. He is more than happy to have his hands tested for GSR, but since the GSR would be gone from his hands by now they settle for prints.
Over at the RDF the guards notice that something is about to happen. On the video surveillance they can see the inmates passing something between each other and preparing for something. They order a lockdown. In the chaos that follows Tobey goes out in the cellblock hallway, just before smoke starts to fill the place. When the smoke clears Darrel is found lying on the floor, stabbed with a shank, and Tobey is in the cell with him.
Horatio arrives at the scene. Alexx is already there, and she's found a white substance in Darrel's mouth. Horatio notices the shoes Darrel wears, new and far too big for him. Alexx finds a shell casing stuck on the bottom of the shoe. It's a .32 caliber, the same kind used to kill Patrice, only no casing was found on the boat. They realise that the shoes actually belong to Tobey.
The casing has Steve's prints on it. Delko confronts Steve, who breaks and tells him that the plan was to throw her overboard and steal the boat. Only he found the gun and decided to shoot her instead. But something is not quite right. Alexx has finished the autopsy on Patrice and saw that the bullet didn't do any serious damage to her. A closer examination tells Alexx that she was smothered. When Delko asks Steve about it he learns that Steve thought she was dead after he shot her. Someone else smothered her. Steve is thrilled to be off the hook, but Delko brings him back down to earth by pointing out that he will go to jail for attempted murder.
Calleigh is having a closer look at the shank used to kill Darren. Wolfe comes in and she tells him the shank was made out of turkey bone. She also found some dental floss. The turkey bone is sent to Valera, to see if Tobey left some traces on it. Valera hasn't gotten Tobey's clothes yet, which annoys Calleigh. Tripp should have sent them to Valera after he booked Tobey, but all he saw was the confession and didn't bother to send anything over to Valera.
Horatio pays Aaron a visit to see what he's found out about the white substance found in Darrel's mouth. It turns out to be plaster, like the cast Tobey wears. Horatio goes to talk to him, and a visibly angry Tobey claims he was sending Darrel a message for stealing his shoes. He has given up and resigned to his fate; he is a killer and will go to jail. Horatio thinks there's more to the picture. He doesn't like the angry, bitter person Tobey is turning into. Tobey refuses to change his story. He didn't kill Darrel in self-defence; he killed him because he deserved it. Horatio calls in Calleigh to process Tobey's cell, hoping to find signs of provocation.
Calleigh takes Tripp with her, and finds dental floss which might match the floss they found on the shank. Calleigh notes that Horatio won't like her findings, but Tripp is far from surprised. He knew Tobey was bad from the minute he saw him. Calleigh points out that they don't know yet whether he actually did kill Patrice. They move on to Darrel's cell and find what appears to be teeth marks on the pillow.
Back at the lab Wolfe checks in on Valera to see what she has found. There was a handkerchief in one of the pockets, with blood on it. It could have been used to smother Patrice. Wolfe takes a closer look and finds the initials MEB. Horatio questions Michael again, who doesn't see how it points to him. He keeps some of his handkerchiefs on the boat; anyone could have used it. However Tripp has taken a look at the info Cooper got from the computer, and it shows a two-hour period where Michael was not using it. Horatio notices blood on the rubber wristband Michael wears, blood from an air bubble. This tells them that Michael found Patrice after she was shot but before she died. Cornered, Michael admits that he saw the ad for the boat and was furious that she was selling it. He found her in that state and smothered her so that he would get the boat and the money.
Tobey is cleared from Patrice's murder, but not from Darrel's. Calleigh and Wolfe review the photos from the crime scene and with the help of a life-sized dummy they try to re-create what happened. Darrel was stabbed in the back, and if the person who did it was standing behind him he would have had to have used his right hand. Darrel's right hand was in a cast. For Tobey to have used his left hand Darrel would have had to have charged at him, leaned over. If so then it was not only provocation, but self-defence. Valera walks in with the results on the saliva found in Darrel's cell. It wasn't Darrel's, it was Tobey's. The reason why he didn't talk before was that he was ashamed.
Horatio goes back to Tobey and tells him that Michael has been arrested for murdering Patrice. That doesn't matter to Tobey. He murdered someone else, and he won't be let out of jail. Horatio tells him that they know what Darrel did to him and a devastated Tobey admits that it's true. He realised that it was not going to be a one-time thing; Darrel was going to sodomize him every day. And if not Darrel then someone else would once word got around that he was someone's bitch. Tobey needed to fight back and make it clear that he wasn't going to let people walk all over him. Horatio believes that if Tobey tells the truth about what happened he will go free. After all, truth is all one has.