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A convict, who has been in jail for 18 years based on evidence collected by Catherine in her very first solo case as a CSI, challenges his conviction for murder based on purportedly shoddy evidence by newer, more modern standards. The team opens up and re-investigates the case, applying new techniques and new eyes to very old situations and very old evidence. As one expects with CSI, things don't lead where anyone expected them to go.

Episode Info

Episode number: 9x21
Airdate: Thursday April 23rd, 2009

Alternate Airdates:

UK (Channel 5) Jun 02, 2009
NL (RTL 4) Feb 01, 2010


Special Guest Stars
David BermanDavid Berman
As David Phillips
Liz VasseyLiz Vassey
As Wendy Simms

Guest Stars
Adolphus Ambrose WardAdolphus Ambrose Ward
As Thomas Harrott
Charlotte RossCharlotte Ross
As Sabrina Owen
Henry ThomasHenry Thomas
As Jeremy Kent
John ProskyJohn Prosky
As ADA Vanderpool
Mark TottyMark Totty
As Clint Owen

Co-Guest Stars
Brooke NewtonBrooke Newton
As Sabrina Littee
Steve SeagrenSteve Seagren
As Middle-Aged Detective
Main Cast
George EadsGeorge Eads
As Nick Stokes
Eric SzmandaEric Szmanda
As Gregory "Greg" Sanders
Robert David HallRobert David Hall
As Dr. Albert "Al" Robbins
Wallace LanghamWallace Langham
As David Hodges
David BermanDavid Berman
As Dr. David Phillips
Marg HelgenbergerMarg Helgenberger
As Catherine Willows
Laurence FishburneLaurence Fishburne
As Dr. Raymond Langston
Lauren Lee SmithLauren Lee Smith
As Riley Adams
Paul Guilfoyle (1)Paul Guilfoyle (1)
As Captain Jim Brass
Episode Notes
Henry Thomas is probably best known as Elliot from the movie "E.T."

Catherine: It was 1991. The night of the Rampart Casino fire.

While there is currently a Rampart Casino in Vegas, it did not obtain that name until 2002, at a location built in 1999, and there has never been another significant casino by that name, so the event in question is strictly fictitious. Source.

Episode Quotes
Catherine: It was 1991. The night of the Rampart Casino fire. My first solo.

Catherine: The State Supreme Court has granted Jeremy Kent a new trial. The standards of documentation have changed substantially since 91, so we're going to re-examine all my old evidence. The house was demoed six months ago, but I still have the crime-scene sketch, so I can walk you through it.

(at the remains of the house where the crime occurred)
Catherine: The house is dark, there's no car out front, Mr. Harrott hadn't driven since he was 85, so, to Kent, the place must've looked empty.
Nick: Well, it says here two nearby houses were also burglarized around the same time?
Catherine: (pointing) The first one was on Crawford, and, the second one, on Skidmore. Lights out, no cars, and a rock used to break the window. A witness on Crawford saw a man running down the driveway recognized him as a neighborhood kid, and picked Kent out of a line-up.
Nick: Other than the rocks, was there any evidence of Kent at the other two houses?
Catherine: No, the only physical evidence that led to the suspect was the print on the rock that I found right here (indicates the spot on the foundation remains)
Nick: Kent came here to burgle the place.
Catherine: Yeah. And his plans changed when he ran into Mr. Harrott.
(a re-enactment of the presumed event is shown)
Raymond: Old man, half-deaf, half-blind.. Mr. Harrott wasn't a threat. There was no need to kill him.
Catherine: I always thought that tipped the jury.
Nick: Did you recover the murder weapon?
Catherine: No. But the depression fractures on the victim's skull suggested a hammer.

[Raymond: So, all you had, was an eyewitness who was half a mile away, testimony from Jeremy Kent's ex-cellmate, and a single fingerprint from a rock...
Catherine: (obviously mentally granting how thin the evidence actually is)Back then it was enough...

Catherine: I've been subpoenaed by Jeremy Kent. He's requesting a pre-trial conference.
Nick: Yeah, he probably wants to talk to you about how he got Life based on a rock.

(examining autopsy x-rays)
Raymond: Two depressed circular fractures of the frontal skull.
Al: Sam Barnard conducted the autopsy. Minimal documentation. Listed C.O.D. as intra-cranial hemorrhaging.
Raymond: Can we call Dr. Barnard for a consult?
Al: Passed away in '98. Loved chili dogs but his arteries didn't.
Raymond: Two fractured ribs on the left side, third fracture on the right, and a dislocation from the vertical column.
Al: Barnard attributed all these other injuries to the fall, after the attack.
Raymond: That's ridiculous! A ninety-year-old man may have bones like eggshells, but he can't possibly fall on his left side and his right side at the same time. (looking at the x-rays again) Logic dictates that the thoracic injuries were sustained prior to the head blow -- beaten, then killed.
Al: You couldn't get away with this quality of work today.
David: Hey. I dug up the original ME's notes.
Raymond: And what did the good doctor have to say about the hairline fractures to the femur and the tibia...?
David: He describes them as "age-related osteo-parotic degeneration".
Raymond: (shakes head) It could have just as easily been caused by a struggle.

(Wendy comes in, gives Riley a report. Sees her looking over a laid-out blood-stained carpet)
Wendy: What are you looking for?
Riley: The blood stains that Catherine analyzed are consistent with the victim... But the lab didn't have ALS until 1995 so I'm thinking that it's possible that there was an area of non-visible blood from the suspect that Catherine couldn't see.

Jeremy Kent: ...Speaking of evidence, per the ASCLAD regulations, all current evidence examinations must meet the 2009 forensic standards
Catherine: You've done your homework.
Jeremy Kent: Which brings me to the only physical piece of physical evidence we have in this case, which is Item Number CW-2, the rock which you claim you found in Mr. Harrott's living room. Now, I was convicted on a five-point of minutia match, which, per ASCLAD regulations, is far from conclusive today, which makes the print more prejudicial than probative. I maintain that that print belongs to the real killer of Thomas Harrott, and I am filing a motion with the court to have the rock excluded.

Nick: Hey, Catherine!
Catherine: Did you get any usable prints off the hammer?
Nick: Yeah. Two. Neither one of them matches Jeremy Kent.
Catherine: What?(shakes head, mystified by the unexpected revelation)
Nick: Yeah, I did a visual comparison, Mandy peer-reviewed...I'm sorry, Catherine, it just... it isn't him.

Jim: So you hit a snag.
Catherine: Well, Jeremy Kent now admits that he was at the Herrott house.
Jim: ...And when he got there the old man was already dead. I call that "perp" fiction.
Catherine: The problem is that his story is consistent with the new evidence I have yet to disclose.
Jim: No, c'mon, Catherine, no. I had this guy pegged as the bad guy the minute I laid eyes on him 18 years ago, and so did you.
Catherine: (shakes head) What if he's telling the truth? Wrong place. Wrong time.
Jim: Oh, you gotta tune that out. That's all bull. All that matters is what you've got on him. No, these guys lie, because, what, because they're good at it, and because they're hiding something, and th thing they're hiding is usually the thing that makes them guilty.

Catherine: A million years ago... ummm, back when Eddie and I first started dating, we, ahh, went to a party and, ummm, y'know we drank our fair share, and it was time to leave and he tosses me the keys 'cause I'm the responsible one. So... y'know, I'm driving and he starts singin' this stupid song which I've completely blanked from my memory, and... one moment, I'm just, laughing hysterically, and the next he's grabbed the wheel from my hands because I almost ran over a man... And, in that moment, my life would have changed completely. Because of a bad decision. So -- what makes me any different than Jeremy Kent?
Jim: You know, Eddie was right. You are the responsible one. And if you had hit that guy, you would have called the cops, because you would have taken responsibility for your actions. Now, Jeremy Kent is a jailhouse lawyer. He's a scumbag. Now his freedom, his whole life, depends upon getting you to doubt yourself... Don't let him live rent free in your head.

Cultural References
Title: If I Had A Hammer

If I Had a Hammer is a song written by Pete Seeger and Lee Hays. Written in 1949 as a part of the progressive movement, it was first recorded by classic folk group The Weavers and later on in its most popular release, in 1962, by Peter, Paul and Mary as well as by many other artists. Its underlying theme is the notion of a blacksmith's hammer being used to forge a better society.

Riley: ...But the lab didn't have ALS until 1995 so I'm thinking that it's possible that there was an area of non-visible blood from the suspect that Catherine couldn't see.

ALS in this context refers to Alternate Light Source, a system of lighting using variable wavelengths and related filters which can be used to make trace materials fluoresce, thus revealing their presence in-situ.

Jeremy Kent: Speaking of evidence, per the ASCLAD regulations...

ASCLAD is a "speakronym" for American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors/Laboratory Accreditation Board (ASCLD/LAB), one of the two organizations which defines the standards used to certify Crime Labs around the country, and usually mentioned in laws detailing the admissibility of forensic evidence as applicable to criminal cases.

Other Episode Crew

CreatorAnthony E. Zuiker
Main Title ThemeThe Who
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