As street performers go about their business, a woman comes out of the shadows, bleeding from her eyes. She makes her way to a man on stilts and collapses.
The team arrives. Don tells Mac it was a renegade street party, one of several that have occurred as a result of the city's putting restrictions on public gatherings. The woman is in a suit, but has no ID. With multiple lacerations to her face and skull, she appears to have died from blunt force trauma.
Danny finds plastic shards lie scattered near the body. Stella and Mac note bloody tissue on her bracelet, and no defensive wounds. Canvassers find her wallet and Blackberry. Her name is Ann Steele. Membership cards in her expensive wallet, and a business card that indicates she's a "professional consultant"…no specific type of consultant…indicate she has significant cash flow and a ritzy clientele. They ponder why she has no cash or credit cards. Theft? Then, why did they leave the Blackberry and expensive wallet?
Her Blackberry shows nothing in her calendar for the evening of her death. Her last call, though, was to Police Chief Sinclair, about two hours before her death.
Sid walks into the exam room to find an intruder, who quickly gets away. The security guard said the man flashed a badge, but he didn't get to inspect it closely enough to see what it was.
Adam gets a partial shoe print, but the intruder seemed to know how to avoid being seen too closely by the cameras. Mac and Don discuss the city's having recently replaced police guards with cheaper civilian security guards. As Mac gets testy about it, Chief Sinclair walks up and cheekily claims responsibility for that decision. Mac shows his indignation over such budget cuts that could jeopardize people's safety, as well as the safety of evidence. Sinclair responds that it's the way things are. With the huge deficit, budgets must be cut, yet CSI seems to manage with each belt-tightening.
When Sinclair asks Mac about the lab intruder, Mac asks him about his connection to Ann Steele. His question implies that he suspects him. Sinclair said she needed a parking ticket taken care of. He claims not to know her well, and only from seeing her at functions. He tells Mac that her consulting job entails "making things go away." Mac doesn't trust him.
Stella finds that the bloody tissue from the Steele's bracelet is synthetic polymer, not human tissue. Lindsay finds that a hair in her nylons isn't hers.
Don and Stella confront a man cutting hair on the street. He used Ann Steele's credit card to buy an amplifier. He claims he found the credit card on the street, right after he saw the woman die. He says he left right after that happened. He claims his alibi is the "steet walking ballerina". They were on the train together, before the party.
Adam and Danny look at the city's surveillance video. It shows the street, as well as a woman standing in a window down the street, looking right at the crime scene.
Danny and Don head to the apartment where the woman was standing. Trevor Jones, who lives there, claims it was a woman he met at a bar…the Bluetail…and who left around 12:30 AM.
Sheldon runs into a college buddy at a newsstand, Greg Pullman. Pullman asks him about the Ann Steele case. He says Steele works for one of his lawfirm's clients. He says she's very powerful, and has her "fingers in a lot of pies." Pullman invites Sheldon for drinks that evening.
Mac is receiving calls from everyone Ann Steele ever worked with. He tells Don they want to know what they've found. Don tells him no one at the Bluetail had ever seen the woman in the window, nor knew who Trevor Jones was.
Lindsay says the hair on Ann Steele's stockings belonged to Jan Fowler, a young woman listed, in Connecticut, as missing for the past two years. Isotopic breakdown in the hair match Boston. Lindsay contacted Boston Police, who sent her the record indicating that Fowler died of a drug overdose a year before.
Adam tells Stella that the partial print from the intrusion in the lab was a size 10 Nike Air. Adam adds that the synthetic polymer from the victim's bracelet is synthetic silicone skin. He tells her he'll figure out why it was in the bracelet.
Sheldon pieces virtually together the plastic shards that Danny spotted at the scene. It's a cover to a flash drive, but not the actual drive. He and Danny suppose that the drive is what the intruder was looking for.
Danny and Don go to Ann Steele's home. They hear rustling inside, and enter with their weapons drawn. They find Anthony Martino, a private investigator. Martino tells Don that he left the police force for more money. Danny notices his shoes, Nike Air. When they ask what he's been looking for, in Steele's apartment, and in the Medical Examiner's office, and who he's working for, he claims it's someone who'll make sure he doesn't do time for either charge of breaking and entering.
Mac confronts Sinclair. He believes he's behind the break-ins, because he's a client of Steele's, and his sexual harassment case from the year before went away suddenly. Sinclair is defensive. He tells Mac that, if the flash drive falls into the wrong hands, it would cause a lot of "fallout".
Adam discovers that a mortician in Boston was selling human hair to a New York company that makes high-end designer dolls. Stella, Lindsay, and Don visit the doll maker to get a list of clients who bought the dolls. They visit the man who bought "Tiffany". He says he traded her for a new doll from guy he met in an online "doll devotees" site. Don and Lindsay take the doll to search for DNA.
Lindsay finds a print on the doll's removable tongue. Adam interrupts, and is tongue-tied [pardon the pun…] by the doll's, um, life-likeness The print matches Trevor Jones.
Don and Danny visit Jones, and find the doll and the hook that was likely her holder in the window. The police take "Tiffany" and Jones downtown for questioning and to match the hair to that from Ann Steele.
At the bar, Pullman tells Sheldon that his father had used Steele's services. He also tells Sheldon that his father was behind the money that paid Sheldon's tuition. He asks Sheldon to hide anything that he finds among Steele's files that might have to do with his father. Sheldon declines.
The hair matches Jones' doll. Jones claims that he hooked up with her, but she walked out after seeing "Tiffany".
Sheldon gets home, where three men attack him. Before they run off, though, he manages to grab a hank of hair from one of the men's heads.
As Sheldon is testing the hair from his attacker, Danny whos up with news that they don't have anything to tie Trevor Jones to the murder. Sheldon, though, finds the guts of Steele's flash drive inside Tiffany. The drive has info on it from the Attorney General's office, where Jones works. Jones claims that she said it was lipstick. Jones finishes by comparing himself to the real monsters, the people of authority whose deeds were recorded on the flash drive.
Sheldon confronts Pullman. The man who attacked him told police that Pullman hired them to attack Sheldon. He hands Pullman a check to give to his father; a check for the tuition that he paid. Sheldon then tells him about the records from the flash drive that implicate Pullman's father to extortion and bribes to gain construction contracts. When Pullman offers him cash, Sheldon tells him to give his father the check before he gets hauled off to jail.
Sinclair asks Mac to see the flash drive. Mac tells him it's in a safe place, off-site, where it won't be at risk from the lowered security in the lab. He also tells Sinclair that he knows, from files on the flash drive, that Sinclair paid Steele $25,000 to keep the woman quiet who had accused him of sexual harrassment. Sinclair tells Mac that he is innocent. With these cases, though, it's just being accused that ruins you.
In a large evidence storage warehouse, a policeman stores a box. He puts it on a shelf, then removes the bag containing the flash drive, and puts it on top of the box. A hand reaches around, from the other side, and takes the drive.