|Original Airdate||December 11, 2008|
19 Down... is the ninth episode in the ninth season of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.
When a new murder leads to a connection with an infamous serial killer, Grissom secretly joins the class of well-known criminal pathologist Dr. Raymond Langston, to gain access to the killer and get a crack in the case.
The episode opens with a man watching a video of some sort with someone else behind him. He asks his friend what he "thinks it's worth" before being violently grabbed from behind and choked to death. His unknown guest then stuffs his body into a plastic bag, drags it into a car, drives into the wilderness and throws the bag down a hill, where it remains for a long time, the body inside decomposing.
Back at the crime lab, Grissom assigns his team their cases before making a surprise announcement: he will be leaving the lab. Afterwards, he gets called to a 419 on Mt. Charleston - the man in the plastic bag. He remarks that, considering the conditions, the bag might have been there for years. When the remains, which have decomposed to the bones, are examined at the lab, Nick finds a Star of David pendant on the body. Doc Robbins describes the man as being a Caucasian male, at least 25 years of age and around 5' 9". Cause of death is strangulation. As they work, the team and lab workers all wonder what Grissom will do when he quits and say their goodbyes to him.
Grissom inputs the physical description for the body in the bag into a missing persons database and narrows the possible missings down to one man: Joel Steiner, who disappeared in 1997 and was suspected of being a victim of the "Dick & Jane Killer", Nate Haskell. Haskell, a serial killer, was suspected of killing at least 14 people in Nevada, California and Arizona. Upon being stopped at a sobriety checkpoint, he was arrested when the police found DNA evidence linking him to two of the male victims on him and the inside of his car. In the middle of his trial, he changed his plead to guilty. He got two life sentences without parole and is serving it in Ely, Nevada. Though seven male victims were found strangled and their wives or girlfriends disappeared, Haskell refused to discuss the female victims. Each male victim had post-mortem stab wounds; the first had two, the second three, the third four, etc. Because of this, it was suspected that his first victims were never found. Joel Steiner and his girlfriend, Tiffany Cohen, were suspected to have been killed by him since they disappeared before any of the other couples and lived in the area.
While Grissom briefs his team, Brass talks to Joel Steiner's parents. They identify the Star of David pendant as his and give DNA samples to help identify Joel. In the lab, David, who is resentful of Grissom for quitting, examines a pair of sneakers found on the body. After Wendy identifies some hairs found in the bag as belonging to Haskell, David learns that the body is definitely not Joel Steiner; the sneakers were made only two years earlier, but Steiner has been missing for eleven years. The shoes, which were custom made, are traced back to a Gerald Tolliver, who has a criminal record for drugs and theft and went missing six months earlier.
Nick and Greg go to Tolliver's home along with a local police officer. As Tolliver had recently become an informant in a drug case, they figured he had left. Though the crime scene examination only uncovered some blood stains match to him, it also found a shoe print in the blood. As the house is searched, Nick, Greg and the detective find items that turn out to have belonged to various male DJK victims, including two Pearl Jam tickets that belonged to Steiner and Tiffany Cohen. At the lab, Grissom remarks that Haskell changed his plea because his defense was about to argue that it wouldn't have been possible for him to control the female victims while strangling the males. None of the males had any drugs in their systems except for small amounts of THC. Upon examining the shoe print photo, Greg recognizes it from the murders of Ian Wallace and Justine Stefani in Leave out All the Rest. Wallace had nine post-mortem stab wounds, which wasn't important at the time but fits Haskell's M.O. Greg figures that they were killed by a copycat who tried to continue the cycle.
Though there is no chance of getting Haskell to admit to even having accomplices, the CSIs realize that they'll never be able to question him directly. Grissom learns that Haskell will take part in a seminar at WLVU headed by Dr. Raymond Langston, a former physician who once worked alongside an Angel of Death who killed patients at the hospital they both worked at. Though the evidence was in front of him, Langston couldn't "connect the dots". Grissom attends the seminar posing as a professor and listens in. In the beginning of the seminar, Haskell tells the class his father beat him all the time and that he only has vague memories of his mother. During the Q&A part, the students are allowed to ask questions. When Grissom asks Haskell whether or not he shared his fantasies with others, he denies it. After the Q&A, the seminar ends and Haskell agrees to do it again the next day.
At the lab, the team learns that Wallace and Stefani had bought two Paramore tickets which were used after their deaths. Figuring the killers used the tickets themselves, they look at video footage of the concert and see two men at Wallace and Stefani's seats who wore caps from the same body shop. Brass questions them and learns that they got the tickets from a scalper, though they can't describe him. At the lab, Mandy examines the used tickets for fingerprints and finds one belonging to a Curtis Keesey. The LVPD raid his house only to find him dead for at least a month. Though his car's tires are the ones from the Wallace and Stefani crime scene, the shoe print doesn't match his shoes. The team figures that Keesey and "shoeprint man" killed Wallace and Stefani in a DJK copycat killing after which Keesey tried to make money on the stolen tickets and his accomplice killed him to shut him up in case they were traced back to him.
During the next seminar, Grissom tries to get information about Haskell's accomplices again. When he brings up the fact that, considering his size, it would have been difficult for him to subdue the male victims, who were larger and stronger than him, while controlling the female victims, Haskell insists that he committed his murders alone, but won't explain how. When asked whether or not he had help in his killings, Haskell vehemently denies it. When he starts talking about killing Joel Steiner, Mrs. Steiner, who was in the audience, angrily asks him where her son is buried. Haskell only says Joel is at "the perfect place, the place where it all began" and that he would bring him some company if he could. When Grissom reveals himself to be in law enforcement and offers to make life in prison a little easier for Haskell if he tells them about his accomplices, Haskell becomes uncooperative and the seminar is ended.
At the station, Langston is furious that the crime lab "hijacked" his class. Grissom promises to keep him informed. At the university, Langston gets a phone call from Haskell, who claims that Mrs. Steiner's outburst in class made him think about closure. He reveals that he buried Joel Steiner under a rock near a concrete tunnel near Boulder Highway. The CSIs go to the location and find the skeletal remains of Joel Steiner where Haskell said they would be. To their surprise, they also find a fresh male body with ten post-mortem stab wounds nearby - Haskell's copycat has claimed another victim.
- William Petersen as Gil Grissom
- Marg Helgenberger as Catherine Willows
- George Eads as Nick Stokes
- Eric Szmanda as Greg Sanders
- Robert David Hall as Dr. Al Robbins
- Wallace Langham as David Hodges
- Lauren Lee Smith as Riley Adams
- Paul Guilfoyle as Jim Brass
- Laurence Fishburne as Raymond Langston
- Bill Irwin as Nate Haskell
- David Berman as David Phillips
- Liz Vassey as Wendy Simms
- Alex Carter as Detective Louis Vartann
- Archie Kao as Archie Johnson
- Sheeri Rappaport as Mandy Webster
- Larry Sullivan as Officer Akers
- Brad Carter as Gerald Tolliver
- Jimmi Simpson as Thomas
- Maury Sterling as Detective Ken Martz
- Matt O'Leary as Dan Forester
- Richard Gilliland as Mr. Steiner
- Caroline Aaron as Mrs. Steiner
- Todd Giebenhain as Donny
- Stephen Sowan as Richie
- Aimee Deshayes as Silvia
- James Aldridge as Jimmy (uncredited)
- Matthew Woodward as Scott Pherell (uncredited)
- Gil Grissom: So, let's assume that 'shoe print' was involved in all four murders. It's possible that he knew, Gerald, right? Is it also possible that he was an accomplice of D.J.K.?
- Greg Sanders: That would explain the 9 post-mortem stab wounds in Ian Wallace. It's a continuation of the master's work.
- Catherine Willows: But if he was D.J.K.'s helper, back in the day, why go quiet for 10 years then suddenly start killing again?
- Greg Sanders: Maybe he was doing time?
- Catherine Willows: And when he realized that his old partner turned informant, he got scared and killed him.
- Gil Grissom: Maybe that's what brought the old thrill back. Once these guys get a taste, it never seems to go away.
- Captain Brass grabs a concert ticket between thumb and index. He didn't have gloves on but his fingerprints don't appear.
- While designing the victim's shoe online, Catherine puts on the checkered design on twice.
- As Nathan Haskell reveals the location of his first murder victim, the LVPD races to the scene: an old railway arch bridge. In the establishing shot of that arch bridge, a commuter train rolls past. The commuter train is a Metrolink train, which operates exclusively in Southern California.
- This episode marks the first appearance of Raymond Langston, who enters the Las Vegas Crime Lab as a CSI Level 1.
- This also marks the first appearance of Nate Haskell who appears several times after.
- This episode concludes a storyline that originated in an earlier season episode "Leave Out All The Rest".
- List of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation episodes
- CSI:Crime Scene Investigation Season 9
- Category:Images from 19 Down...