The scene opens with Nick arriving at Catherine’s office looking for her, but she is absent. Wondering why, he decides he should inform DB Russell about something important. He has found a money trail from Gabriel to a hit squad through a Swiss bank account. So Russell should call him back so that he can keep him filled on this one. When Sara arrives at the scene, Nick wants to know if she has seen Catherine. Sara replies, no, and he won’t see her for a few days. Hasn’t he heard? Gabriel was killed in FBI custody when the hit squad infiltrated the protection. Three agents were killed as well. Catherine’s off to the crime scene, and Russell was sent home to cool off.
Turns out Russell may be in some downtown motel right now. Nick gets call. It is a report on a shooting crime that’s taken place near Catherine’s house. When they arrive at Catherine’s place, one of the officers is wondering why they are not at the exact location. Sara finds a bullet on the street. It is a 5.7, the same that Gabriel’s men use. They go into Sara’s place, but no one’s to be found. Sara notices a photo frame has been repaired, and a strange mark on the wall. Nick finds out Sara’s back up gun case is empty. Sara points out that could be a good sign – at least she had the time to fetch it. Nick points out the bad sign is she needed it. Almost immediately, Nick receives a report about Russell’s car. He is gone missing, but the abandoned car was found shot down near his motel.
When they arrive at the scene, a cop shows them a great deal of blood on the back seat, and Captain James Brass tells them neither Catherine nor Russell can be reached on their cell phones. The walkie’s in the car. Before long, they discover their cell phones in the bushes. Russell’s wife is calling. James wants to answer it – the mission’s Nick’s, but this call is James’. Later, Nick tells the medical examiner to take the blood for sampling at the lab. James orders – no radio communication on this one. Gabriel’s men have the capacity to tap in. All communication should be face to face. Nick receives a call from a doctor. He is at the motel, which turns out to be a major crime scene. A woman is already dead in one room, but after identifying Room 12, the doctor knocks on it. Inside are a hooker, Russell and Catherine. She is fighting a bullet injury that’s caused a lot of blood loss. The doctor suggests she would be better off at a hospital. Meanwhile at CSI HQ, an FBI agent lays into Captain James for informing him an hour late. Doesn’t James think he cares about Russell and Catherine as much as he does? James doubts that. And so does the sheriff standing by, when he reports Mark Gabriel is coming in demanding to see his wife’s dead body.
Meanwhile as CSI investigators are on the blood trail, they figure out Catherine was shot just as she was about to get into Russell’s car. However, they find another pool of blood. It leads them into the woods. When they get to the dead body, it’s eaten by bugs beyond recognition. Only bones are what they can see. One of them identify the bugs to be the hyper active ones that Gabriel’s men use. Back at the apartment, Sara and Nick find out a bullet stuck in a wall. And then, they discover a blood patch on the carpet. After clicking a photograph, Sara cuts out the portion for a DNA test. After the doctor attends to Catherine’s wounds using a hooker’s hair curler, she needs to sleep. However, Russell wants the doctor to send a message to Captain James. He should bring them in. Then he sends the hooker off with a couple of hundred bucks saying she really deserves it. Catherine gives away her watch – she helped save her life after all.
At CSI HQ, Mark Gabriel is waiting to see his dead wife. When the FBI agent comes, Gabriel lays in accusing him of the murder. But agent Pratt lays back at him, saying he can’t pretend to be the victim when he is the one who killed the wife. Before long, the doctor arrives at the scene, and reports Catherine and Russell have gone missing. They raid the motel room, but it’s only a pool of blood on the bed. The window seems like someone broke in. However, Catherine and Russell are safe. They are escaping in a car with the hooker and her boyfriend. Meanwhile, Nick learns from the medical examiner that the man dumped in the woods is probably a white middle-aged man. From what the doctor can suggest, he might have been shot while he was with the black ops team, and later they dumped him.
Catherine and Russell arrive at a strip club where she used to work. They will find safe haven here. This is where she became what she is today, as a previously working detective would sit with her between dances, and figured she was more than just a pretty face – someone worth her opinions.
Meanwhile at CSI HQ, the detectives deduce that if the man dumped in the woods appears to have been shot, and then set up with hide beetles, they have a clue. But with the evidence they have, they can only say Gabriel’s being set up. Back at the strip club, Russell shows Catherine her ‘resignation letter’. She is surprised and doesn’t understand how it’s come up. Before long, they realize someone must have hacked into her account, because the letter has information that only Catherine can know. And besides, somebody is trying to set her up because her friend was killed in a CSI op. It is easy to say she wants to resign. Next, Russell calls Catherine’s strip club contact for two dead body bags. They manage to arrive at CSI in those.
Before long, it turns out that Laura Gabriel may not be dead. While that comes as a hint when Sara reminds Catherine about recent events, and her childhood friendship with Laura, the Agent Pratt and Russell are matching DNA’s. They suspect Pratt’s friend McQuaid is already dead, but the DNA tests do not match. Besides, the woman at the morgue with the tag Laura Gabriel is a different person. She is a US marines woman. All this confusion came by because the bodies were charred beyond recognition. They soon find out all this is the work of Laura Gabriel, who has been acting against her husband. The detectives meet Mark Gabriel and tell him what they suspect. He thanks them for the information, but prefers to handle his own issues himself. Before long, a hitman arrives at Laura Gabriel’s place at Fern Ridge Road. He breaks in, and quietly approaches the sounding shower after noticing she has taken her garments off. However, when he fires at the shower tub, he there is no one in it. Behind him are the detectives. Pratt wants to know where McQuaid is. He tells them they already have him.
Back CSI HQ, they realize McQauid is actually dead. Not the charred body, but the one eaten by hide beetles. He tried to save Catherine by firing a warning shot, which looked like he missed. Catherine wants to know why he wanted to save her, but to Pratt and Russell it is obvious. Later Pratt runs up behind Catherine to tell her last night she kicked ass. And McQuaid probably saw in her what he used to be before – an officer with integrity. Catherine calls for a family meet at CSI HQ, and announces her retirement in an emotional speech. This one’s for real. Later she sits at dinner with one of the agents and tells her to hold on to what does well, but not so tight that she has to let the other things slip away.