CSI has been on the air for 12 seasons now and in between all the regular homicides and sexual assualts has been a fair number of completely ridiculous cases involving various sub cultures, urban legends and hobbies. Inspired by our impromptu chat on this week’s Everything Actioncast here our my picks for the top 10 most ridiculous CSI cases. (Disclaimer: My CSI knowledge is mainly for seasons 1-5 so if there’s any insane cases after that, please, let me know)
10. Chaos Theory
The Case: A college student is missing from her dorm and there are multiple suspects but each one is a dead end.
What Happened: Paige Rycoff, the victim, was getting ready to quit school and go home when she went out into the hall to dump out her garbage can. The garbage chute had a faulty spring that caused it to snap shut abruptly and Paige lost her can down the chute. Wanting to get her full security deposit back, Paige went down to the dumpster for the dorm and tried to get her can back by climbing up the back of the dumpster. An SUV was speeding down the alley at just that moment and clipped the dumpster, crushing Paige and causing her to fall into the dumpster and die. Her body is later discovered at the Las Vegas dump. Rube Goldberg would be proud.
Most Ridiculous Part: Probably Catherine having to rappel down the garbage chute to see if Paige had been pushed down it.
The Case: A high school girl named Angela Sommerville is found dead in an abandoned building with what appear to be fang marks in her neck.
What Happened: Angela had recently gotten involved with the Vampire sub culture and was hanging out with a “court” which Catherine and Warrick go and interview. They discover that Angela accused her court of being “gajas” or poser vampires and started hanging out at a bar that served blood where she met a “vampire” named Lazarus Kane. Angela offered herself to him and he drank her blood from her shoulder and also gave him a necklace with some of her blood in it. The CSIs track the blood back to a clinic and discover one of the lab technicians there, Bobby Jones, bit Angela after he followed her to one of her meetings with Lazarus and saw that he broke up with her. Bobby collected her blood in a tupperware container and has been drinking it since he murdered her.
Most Ridiculous Part: Probably Catherine and Warrick’s visit to the “blood bar” which you can see above, and also all the stupid vampire slang that gets used in the episode.
8. Turn of the Screws
The Case: A roller coaster called The Pharoah’s Fever at a local Las Vegas amusement park derails, killing six people.
What Happened: There were actually only five people on the coaster when it derailed and the sixth victim was park employee Jim Nevins. Nevins was notorious for coming to the park after hours and taking dates on the roller coaster. One of his dates was fellow employee Lisa Hunt, who works at one of the snack stands in the park. Lisa was getting tutored in math by another park employee, Zack Lawrence, who also had a crush on Lisa and got jealous when Jim “stole her” from him. Zack loosened the screws on the coaster during another of Jim’s “dates” but the coaster failed to crash so Zack followed Jim out to the parking lot, bashed him in the head with a pipe wrench and put him in the trunk of his car. Zack then failed to go back and retighten the screw, causing the crash a few days later.
Most Ridiculous Part: Probably the fact that this amusement park is somehow still operating with no security, already dangerous rides and an old maintenance man who only comes in a couple times a week.
7. Abra Cadaver
The Case: A woman vanishes during a magic act on the strip and later, the magician dies from catching fire during a show.
What Happened: The Amazing Zephyr performs his illusion, The Chamber of Doom, and his volunteer actually disappears. The CSIs investigate and find out that the “volunteer” was supposed to be Zoe Clein, a famous inventor of magic tricks and the creator of the Chamber. Zephyr most likely killed her and hid the body because he was angry that his assistant, Matilda, was trying to strike out on her own and wanted a Zoe trick. Zephyr had his son Punky, play the part of Clein on the night she “disappeared” in the Chamber of Doom and then later Zephyr kills his son and makes it look like a) he was murdered and b) that rival magician Toby Arcane was the one who did it.
Most Ridiculous Part: Toby Arcane’s over the top Criss Angelness and the fact that Zephyr’s motives are not really explained other than the fact that he’s played by Tom Noonan so he’s obviously insane. Also the fact that they were seemingly setting Zephyr up to be a recurring villain since at the end of the episode he seems ready to escape by regurgitating some handcuff keys in the back of a squad car.
6. A Little Murder
The Case: At a little person convention a dwarf sales representative is found hanging in the convention center’s theater.
What Happened: The victim, Lawrence Ames, had a normal sized finance named Jessica, who was pregnant with Lawrence’s child. Lawrence was having an online relationship with a woman whose screen name was Danielle256. Archie, the CSI’s A/V technician, figures out that Danielle’s profile picture is actually a digital composite of Lawrence made to look female and, from gathering other evidence, they eventually find that the killer is Jessica’s father Marcus, also a little person who sells various household goods, including the same rope Lawrence was hanged with. Marcus was pretending to be Danielle in order to break up his daughter’s relationship because if she got pregnant, there would be a 50/50 chance of her giving birth to a dwarf. Marcus lured Lawrence to the theater, punched him the neck to paralyze him and then tied the noose around Lawrence’s neck and used his elevating wheelchair to raise him up to the theater truss to hang him.
Most Ridiculous Part: As with the other convention episode we’ll get to later, it’s just the sheer amount of information the show throws at you to explain everything about little people and just seeing all the little people in one place and Grissom’s amusement at it all.
5. A Night at the Movies (B-Side)
The Case: A boy is found dead in a warehouse littered with hundreds of bullet casings and holes in the wall.
What Happened: While Catherine and Grissom are investigating a Hitchcock inspired murder a local indie theater, Warrick, Sara and Nick head to an abandoned warehouse and find the body of Timmy McCallum with a gunshot wound to the chest. After discovering a long bamboo pole on the roof and that the trajectory analysis of the bullets has them all coming from a tall vertical line. Timmy’s brother Kevin and Timmy’s friends are brought in for questioning and they admit that they were all obsessed with “don’t try this on TV” style shows like Jackass. All the boys got bruises from a stunt called “Speedway surfing” and Timmy came up with a stunt called “Bamboo Russian Roulette” where a semiautomatic machine gun was set to fire and then spun down the bamboo pole and the boys try to dodge the bullets.
Most ridiculous part: Pretty much everything about this case.
4. Revenge is Best Served Cold
The Case: A young man named Jace Felder is found at an abandoned air strip with a bullet wound in his head.
What happened: Felder was involved in Las Vegas’ underground street racing scene and evidence gathered by Nick and Catherine reveals that Felder was probably killed during a race because there is glass from two different windows on the bullet and Felder’s driver side window is missing. The CSIs track the car back to the mechanic who souped it up and are pointed toward another street racer named Tony Del Nagro. Del Nagro admits to killing Felder because Felder was the driver of a hit and run accident that killed Tony’s mother. Using his mother’s insurance payment, Tony bought a car and waited for his chance to take out Felder.
Most Ridiculous Part: Probably Nick and Catherine’s experiment, which you can see above.
3. Precious Metal
The Case: The CSIs are called in to investigate a decomposing body that is found in an industrial chemical barrel.
What Happened: Christian Cutler is the victim in the barrel and he was an engineer who participated in Robot Rumble, basically (and guest starring) Battlebots. Cutler was the creator of the bot Smash ‘n Burn, which recently destroyed several competitors. Tracking the parts of Cutler’s opponents, Catherine and Nick (who seemingly get all the insane cases) come across a bot machine part shop owned by Brian Kelso. Kelso was Cutler’s friend and they dealt with parts together. Kelso admits that he and Cutler were testing out Smash N Burn when it went haywire and attacked Cutler, first severing his foot and then cutting him in the head. Kelso panicked thinking he would be accused of murder, so he hid Cutler’s body in a chemical barrel and disassembled and sold off Smash N Burn’s parts. Nick learns that Kelso’s radio controller isn’t responding to the reassembled Smash N Burn and the duo figures out that a third party, rival bot builder Luke, was watching the two men from a small office in the abandoned chemical factory the men used as a parts shop and hijacked Smash N Burn’s signal with a transponder and killed Cutler as revenge for destroying his robot.
Most Ridiculous Part: The fact that all the robots featured on the show are from Battlebots and that the murder was over such a petty matter as “your robot broke my robot”.
2. Scuba Doobie Doo
The Case: A scuba diver is found up a tree, seemingly confirming the old urban legend about a scuba diver getting scooped up by a firefighting helicopter getting water to dump on forest fires.
What Happened: The scuba diver is Bruce Skeller and he and his friend/business partner Jerry Walden were involved in real estate, most recently trying to sell some Lake Mead lakeside property. Walden claims he let Skeller borrow his scuba suit but evidence suggests that Skeller was killed and then put in the scuba suit. Catherine and Nick (again!) find Skeller’s signature was forged on the bill of sale for the property and wood fragments from Skeller match Walden’s coffee table. Catherine theorizes that Walden and Skeller got into an argument over the property and Walden shoved Skeller, causing him to land on the coffee table and the impact killed him. Walden then put Skeller into his scuba suit and brought him out into the area he was found, that was suffering from a number of forest fires and used a matchbook as a delayed fire starter in attempt to burn Skeller’s body and make it look like the urban legend. The heat from the fire ignited Skeller’s air tank and he flew into the tree.
Most Ridiculous Part: Just the fact of how convoluted Walden’s plan to hide the body was instead of just burying in or dumping it somewhere like a normal murderer.
1. Fur and Loathing
The Case: A man in a raccoon costume is found dead on the side of the highway, seemingly hit by a car, whose driver, a young woman, is also dead after getting into a crash with a tractor trailer.
What Happened: “Rocky Raccoon” aka Robert Pitt was a recovering alcoholic who was also a furry. Grissom and Catherine find out after his autopsy that he had blue fur in his stomach and also died of a bullet wound and the pair go to the Plushies and Furries Convention that is currently underway at one of Las Vegas’ convention centers. Tracking down any furry with blue fur, Grissom and Catherine narrow it down to Sexy Kitty, who is really a balding, short lawyer named Bud Simmons. Simmons claims that he and Rocky were in the same “yiffing” pile where furries and plushies pet and fondle each other. The crime lab finds traces of ipecac in both Pitt’s stomach and on the Sexy Kitty costume and they find it got placed there by a jealous fellow furry, Mr. Lee. Pitt stole Lee’s girlfriend, Linda Lamb at the last convention and Lee wanted revenge this year, so he wanted it to seem like Pitt was drunk to disgust Linda. It turns out Linda Lamb is actually Linda Jones, the other victim of the car crash. A valet at the hotel remembers seeing Linda and Pitt having an argument, Pitt throwing up and seeming drunk and then both of them driving away in Linda’s car. Grissom theorizes that eventually Linda got fed up and kicked Pitt out of her car but then had a change of heart and did a u-turn to pick up Pitt but got hit by the tractor trailer after swerving to avoid a crawling Pitt in the road. The mystery of who shot Pitt is solved when Grissom and Catherine find out that a man lives near the road where accident took place who raises dogs. He came out when the dogs were making noise and saw what he thought was a coyote, so he shot it.
Most Ridiculous Part: Just the fact that an entire episode of one of the most popular prime time shows ever did an entire episode about furries. I wish I could have seen how some of CBS’ more elderly viewers reacted to this episode.