By Jay Conaty
It seemed likely from outset that a bigger player would eventually enter the game in the investigation into David Hodges. This week’s episode “Let the Chips Fall” finally set the pieces in motion that that to happen.
Most of the hour was devoted to this week’s B storyline — a genuinely intriguing locked-room/impossible crime mystery involving the murders of all crew members onboard a cargo plane at 30,000 feet. Where did the killer go? Did he or she bail out? And if so, how did the plane manage to repressurize itself, seal an open door, and land in relative safety?
Allie and Josh were on the case.
Meanwhile, in all things Hodges related, Gil and Sara pressed forward from their recent success from last week in which they finally pinpointed the identity of the only man with access to the lab’s tampered files, and his possible creepy penchant for stealing bones. Meet Martin Kline — former medical examiner and current expert witness, working in the same field as Hodges.
If Sara and Gil could arrest someone for a test of spooky coincidences, this case would be closed!
To test a theory, the pair visit a “body farm” to see if the donated decomposing body of one Riley Jones is missing any parts. You see, one particular case that Hodges supposedly “fixed” hinged on a piece of broken femur leeched of DNA. Kline is the only one with the smarts to know how to do that. As a conductor of private autopsies, Kline had access to all the bones he needed. As the pair investigate, Gil is practically giddy with excitement.
“Ah, that smell! So many memories!”
Gil and Sara’s search is fruitful. Riley Jones’ body is missing some bones taken by a bone saw. Martin Kline is definitely their man.
However in a bold step, Kline turns up at the lab, rictus smile fixed firmly in place, under the pretence of questioning his autopsy work on Jones. This dude is seriously creepy, guys. And just in case there is any lingering doubt, he later makes a secret panicked phone call to persons unknown.
“They know. It’s gonna have to be dealt with.”
Kline is not the only one feeling panicked. Sara is too, telling Gil that their time operating in the shadows has clearly come to and end. They need a warrant to search Kline’s house and they need it fast.
Maxine stands behind them, despite Sara’s concern the search may endanger her position at the lab if they are unable to find evidence that Kline is their actual man. Maxine gently reminds them that if they can’t clear Hodges’ name, the reputation of the whole lab will likely be tarnished forever anyway.
They have nothing to lose.
However, the pair are too late. When they get to Kline’s house, the Fire Service are there too — putting out a blaze that started when a grenade strapped to Kline’s neck went off, blowing his head off and generally making a mess of things.
This is probably not how Klein wanted things “dealt with.”
Sara and Gil go over the charred and exploded remains, both acknowledging a larger power at play. Someone just took a dud piece off the board. But who?
In the final seconds, Gil finds some hastily cleaned blue-light evidence on a wall in a corridor of Kline’s house. He seems pretty confident he knows what it is (hastily cleaned blood spatter? Something else?), and how it might help, but we’ll have to wait until next week to find out.
Meanwhile, back to our locked-room mystery, which initially seems to suggest 3 men butchered each other with an axe, leaving the plane to land itself while on autopilot. Bit of a reach? Yeah. Josh and Allie think so too.
As they work the case with Park (welcome back, Snarky Park), a bored Park invites them to play a round of “Never Have I Ever” which, being British (Oh those quaint Brits!), Allie has never heard of. She inadvertently reveals that she would never date anyone from work, and just to make it doubly clear, repeats her belief later, thus ruining both the spirit of the game AND Josh’s entire day.
The investigation is given a boost when the pair uncover the plane’s manifest: poker chips. Some of which (2 million dollars worth) have gone missing. An empty suitcase points to a fourth person who may have stowed away unnoticed. An autopsy of one of the vics reveals he had only months to live, and a young motherless son to take care of at home.
It looks like he made a deal to steal the chips to provide for his son, but his accomplice got greedy and tried to steal even more, was discovered by the other crew members, and went to town on the 3 of them with a taser and an axe before bailing out with the booty.
In a last heroic act, Dad closed the plane door, and managed to set the autopilot, preventing the plane from nose-diving into the Las Vegas strip and killing thousands.
Dad, despite his plan, is kind of a hero.
While visiting his son, Josh spots the babysitter has some frost-bite damage on the ends of her fingers. Seems like something you might pick up when bailing out hurriedly at 30,000 feet.
The sitter’s rap sheet also points to her past as an Airman. It also points to the attempted murder of her supervising officer, for which she spent 6 years in an airforce brig.
The babysitter did it!
With the right person behind bars, her young charge is sent to live with the deceased Dad’s brother. Josh and the kid bond, and Josh seems to hint at his own troubled boyhood. But like the Big Bad waiting in the wings this season, we will have to wait for more on that score.
CSI: Vegas continues Wednesdays (10:00-11:00 PM, ET/PT) on CBS.