Bear with me, CSI fans. I caught a nasty bug this week (not Grissom’s favorite kind, unfortunately), so tonight’s episode was watched with a bit of a fever. Then again, the episode was a little off-kilter.
[These spoilers are not imaginary.]
We open on a clean-cut, badge-wearing young man entering a gas station bathroom. He seems a little put off by its appearance (overflowing urinals, barely any toilet paper), but it’s nicer than any gas station bathroom I’ve ever seen. There’s graffiti etched on the mirror: 811 Skagg (I think, the reflection made it difficult to read) St Blow Your Gasket. The man notes it in a, well, notebook.
Despite his earlier discomfort, the man prepares to do his business at one of the urinals. The door opens ominously behind him.
Outside, a mid-20s slacker type — clearly in some bladder-related distress — tries to get into the bathroom. But hey, the door’s locked! And there’s screaming coming from inside, and other bad noise, and then a gush of blood mixed with urinal water from under the door. Slacker falls back ; the door opens and a hulking bodybuilder type walks past.
Cath and Ray are on the scene, and you know it’s bad when even Dave won’t stay on the scene. That bloody water is everywhere, as is our victim, some broken porcelain and… hey, it’s the vic’s right arm! It’s been torn off. Uh-oh: Brass says that one-armed corpse is William Ray Hatford, FBI. His gun, badge and wallet are missing. Weirder, Ray finds a mysterious chunk of flesh in one of the stalls.
Back to the lab! Ray and Dave (now less squeamish) determine the random flesh isn’t from our vic. In a nice shout-out to continuity, Ray asks to print him. But wait, the fingertip reader is saying Hatford doesn’t have prints. Curious.
Bring in the Feds, Hatford’s partners Agents Beckman and Stanley. Beckman explains that Hatford was working undercover investigating a human trafficking ring led by the mysterious Os Punho, or The Fist (or, as Google Translator insists, The Wrist). Hatford had his prints removed so the bad guys couldn’t peg him as FBI. Okayyyy…
CSI Tip o’ the Week: Gradual application of dry heat is the best way to bring a muscle out of rigor. You guessed it, the mystery meat is a muscle. Specifically, Ray realizes, biceps brachii (the upper arm muscle we just generally refer to as “biceps”). But it’s not from Hatford, and it had glass in it. Also, it’s necrotic and shows signs of possible steroid abuse. So… the hulking killer possibly used a dirty needle, his muscle was infected, and in his ‘roid rage after killing Hatford he cut out the whole damn thing.
After an interview with a jailed steroids seller, Nick and Brass head over to the Supreme Force Fighting League, a mixed martial arts cage-match affair whose symbol is a giant fist. Hmmmm. Their hulk, Vinnie Mingus, is a star fighter, only right now he’s hooked up to an IV, puking in the bathroom. And yeah, his right arm is swathed in a bloody bandage. Vinnie starts raving about the cops being fake and hobbles to the center of the cage. He pulls an officer’s gun, swearing it’s just a toy, and blows his brains out. Oops.
Among poor Vinnie’s possessions the investigators find Hatford’s badge and notebook, a cellphone with pics of our three agents, and a gun with the serial number filed off. Must be Vinnie’s, right? Wrong. Ray prints it (old-style this time, nicely using his fingers) and finds Hatford’s prints. No time for that; Brass has been called to another homicide… and this one is Agent Stanley, undercover as a hooker.
Best of all? Mandy sends Hatford’s DNA to Quantico for clarification… and Quantico says there is no Agent William Ray Hatford.
Agent Stanley, meanwhile, is identified as a former prostitute named Amanda Mosler. Her credit card from the gas station way at the beginning of this madness leads to a halfway house, where the supervisor on duty also identifies residents Billy Ray Salvia and Miles Gelson. Salvia — Hatford — is dead, but Gelson’s upstairs. Let’s go!
Gelson/Beckman is pretty clearly unhinged, but Ray and Brass agree to escort him out in handcuffs, to “preserve his cover.” But hey, they’re shot at drive-by style! Brass returns fire and kills the bad dude, who also has pictures of the three on his cellphone.
Let’s wrap this up. The fake Feds — psych cases who thought they were doing good — really were onto a human trafficking ring, but their evidence ledger is in code. Miles can decipher it, though, and does after some sweet-talking from Ray. One gun, tied to a known murder, leads to Vinnie’s fight doctor, who really is a human trafficker but probably doesn’t go by Os Punho. Except that his logo is a giant fist. Oooh, now I’m goin’ crazy.
In the end, Ray brings Miles (now in a psych ward) a copy of “Don Quixote de La Mancha,” and explains that the windmills Miles tilted at really were giants. Neat.