CSI Las Vegas: Tuesday March 27

csi: crime scene investigation
loco motives (10/24)

The phenomenally successful Las Vegas-based forensics drama continues its seventh season tonight. In this episode, a man incriminates himself when he falls in cement while trying to transport his wife’s dead body. Meanwhile, Grissom investigates the third murder connected to a serial killer who leaves replica models of his crime scenes.

The team arrive at a unusual crime scene where a man is trapped waist-high in cement next to the dead body of a woman. The man has been stuck there all night and unhappily refuses to explain his predicament: “Figure it out yourself,” he challenges.

Elsewhere, Warrick and Nick visit an apartment complex where an elderly Russian immigrant named Alyona Ivanova has been found dead with her head in the oven. Wounds on her body rule out suicide, and Nick is puzzled to find what turns out to be jelly behind her ear. Warrick follows a trail of spilled jelly to another apartment, where he finds evidence of a hasty clean-up job. He also notes that the view from the window looks straight into Alyona’s apartment.

The cops learn that the name of the woman who sublet the second apartment was Paula, and that she occasionally babysat for a little girl named Suzy. Suzy’s mother reveals that her daughter was in the flat on the day of Alyona’s murder. She says that Paula was not at home but her husband Max was. Little Suzy is brought in for questioning.

Meanwhile, at the station, Brass has made a bet with the ‘cement man’ that he will crack his identity by nine o’clock. However, the deadline passes and the suspect remains as uncooperative as ever. The man gloats about his victory over Brass all the way back to his cell – but his glee is shattered when he passes Suzy in the hall and she recognises him instantly: “Hello, Max,” she says.

Back under questioning, Max confesses all – but insists that his wife’s death was an accident. He recounts a ridiculous and tragic comedy of errors in which a kitchen mishap resulted in his wife Paula being stabbed through the heart. He felt he couldn’t report the accident because, as a child, he accidentally killed his grandmother and thought that no one would believe him this time. But in the course of cleaning up the body and a bowl of jelly that was broken in the confusion, Max realised that his neighbour Alyona had witnessed the whole episode through the window. He went over to explain what happened but ended up knocking her out in a struggle and decided to put her head in the oven. “I thought I’d make it look like suicide,” he confesses pathetically.

The rest of Max’s story is a litany of misfortunes – Suzy entered his apartment while he was cleaning up, and on the way to dispose of his wife’s body he got a flat tire, became stuck in the concrete and was even mugged.

While Max’s actions are untangled, Grissom and Greg are investigating the death of a janitor in a chicken processing plant. The discovery of a miniature crime scene at the site reveals that the ‘replica’ serial killer has struck for the third time. Grissom reviews video evidence from the previous cases and finds a link to an organisation of train enthusiasts called ‘Locomotiveville’. On the organisation’s website they find a picture of one of the workers at the chicken plant – a man called Ernie Dell.

Detectives head to Dell’s home and discover a wealth of model trains and gruesome murder scene replicas. Dell is now the prime suspect for the killings, but he knows that all the CSIs have to go on is circumstantial evidence: “Charge me or let me go,” he says. For the time being he is allowed to walk free, but Grissom is determined to find concrete proof that Dell is their man.

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