CSI: NY s04e14 Episode Script

Playing with Matches

*****please respond.
Structure fire at 512 49th street.
Multiple floors.
Repeat: Multiple floors.
Be advised:Occupants may be trapped.
Look out! Fire department was en route to a structure fire on 49th when this thing thing? That's what they called it-- came flying at them like some flaming meteorite, slammed right into the windshield.
Fire came to the firemen-- that's got to be a first.
Got some unis searching the area,nearby buildings.
As of yet,no idea where he came from.
Multiple punctures.
All consistent with this metal object.
Could be our cod.
Everything looks charred except for this.
Flame didn't touch it.
coming up as silica.
Probably ceramic,heat-resistant,like the tiles they use on the space shuttle.
Looks like something's melted into his glove.
It's some kind of patch.
A space capsule.
"Mercury 3,shepard.
" As in alan shepard,the astronaut? The witnesses did say our vic came out of nowhere.
Houston,we have a problem.
What are you finding? Mostly charred wood and melted plastic.
Flimsy ride,for a guy who came from another galaxy.
A face with no name is simply a face.
And your victim's helmet preserved his quite well,but it hasn't helped me make an id yet.
And to think I ever opposed the helmet law Not so fast.
That skull bucket also contributed to what killed him.
You mean,it wasn't the fact that he was on fire? Or the high-speed impact with a fire truck? Imagine your victim catches fire.
Helmet starts to fill up with toxic fumes.
He panics,struggling to get it off,which only increases the rate of smoke inhalation.
Result was direct toxicity to cardiac muscle.
So cod was smoke inhalation.
And death was near-instantaneous.
What about the stab wounds? Turned out to be minor injuries inflicted with a meat thermometer.
What? A meat thermometer? Who stabs a somebody with a meat thermometer? Cannibal? It's anyone's guess.
Severity of charring was significantly greater above his ankles than below.
And based on the degree of trauma to the bones, I'd say your human comet's rate of speed was at least 80 miles an hour at the time of impact.
Eighty? What was he doing to be moving that fast? Now,keep in mind,I'm simply a pathologist,but the injuries to this victim-- well,frankly,they appear consistent with him reentering the earth's atmosphere.
Now,until you come up with some evidence that says otherwise, that's my story and I'm sticking to it.
Miss,are you all right? Here,I'll help you up.
going out in a public toilet.
Gotta say,it's pretty low on my list.
Although it is one of the cleanest in the city.
New york's first automatic public toilet.
Automatic? Practically does the work for you.
One of my guys took it for a test drive when it opened last week.
Says it completely sanitizes itself.
Uses an automatic wash cycle with disinfectant.
Pressurized water.
Something like that.
Put it this way: If a dishwasher and a port-a-potti were to ever mix it up, this thing would be their offspring I got an id.
Vanessa matlyn,23.
Also got a business card.
Looks like she was a social worker.
Cash and credit cards here,too.
Rules out robbery.
That a ketchup packet? Yeah all that water might've washed it into her purse.
Pressurized water could explain these injuries but not these incisions.
Position indicates defensive wounds.
Pretty deep.
They may be our cod.
Looks like I found our murder weapon.
So the victim walks into bathroom,killer follows her in, attacks her with a knife.
knife looks clean.
I don't see any blood or prints.
Maybe the killer flooded the bathroom,thinking he could wash away any evidence.
Let's hope he was wrong.
first victim I haven't had to wash in quite some time.
Clean as they come.
Not so clean that you can't tell me anything.
Worry not.
When I was collecting head-hair combings, I noticed several red flecks of an unknown compound falling to the paper.
I sent them to trace,and I think I found something that may interest you even more.
What is that? Trace amounts of blood from under one of the victim's nails.
See that? She may have scratched her attacker.
the fingernail protected the blood from being washed away.
I already sent the sample to dna.
Oddly,the-the knife didn't hit any critical blood vessels.
If that didn't kill her,what did? Well,a ct scan indicated a significant volume increase in both lungs; so much so,you can see how they overlie the pericardial sac anteriorly.
I also noticed a significant amount of froth upon dissection of the main bronchi.
She inhaled water.
By the mouthful.
Help! Sohe t killer left her alive in that bathroom with superficial knife wounds and then he caused her to drown? It certainly appears that way.
But if she was still alive when the bathroom was filling up with water, why didn't she just let herself out? Hey,danny,check it out.
Before our vic was lit on fire,he was doused with accelerant.
Looks like a lot of it.
Yeah,I'm hitting on a wide range of fuels.
Everything from benzene to bio-diesel.
Whatever container the killer held the accelerant in must have been used several times.
No luck finding any trace of any matches or a lighter.
Me either,but I found this.
It came back as aluminized mylar.
That's what they used to use to make space suits.
I think I have something that eclipses your spaceman theory.
What is this,some kind of skateboard? It's a street luge.
It's also known as a board,a road ride,a land luge,a sled, and sometimes,a butt board.
It's a new gravity sport.
Only your victim's board wasn't new at all.
This looks makeshift.
What are these ceramic pieces? Mm,high-end,fully encased ceramic ball bearings.
Most pilots,especially if they've got a homemade board, they're packing their wheels with steel.
Ceramic's too expensive.
He was also wearing an expensive racing suit.
Premium leather,reinforced stitching.
Sounds like he had quite the identity crisis.
Usually,you either run with the knuckle-draggers: Makeshift board,skull cap,denim pants steel balls.
Or you hang with the pro crowd: Factory rides,leather racing suits and ceramic.
I got it.
So our victim was a real jekyll and hyde.
You seem pretty into this.
Nono,well,I used to be sort of, but I bore easily.
Traces of a matchstick in this burn pile? A lighter,anything like that? No,I'm afraid I can't help you there.
But I may have an idea of where to look.
Ran the red trace sid collected from vanessa matlyn's hair.
Came back as palmitic acid.
Organic wax.
Strange that it's red.
That's what I thought.
Adam's extracting any artificial dyes or pigments.
See if that gets us anywhere.
Vanessa matlyn drowned in that bathroom.
Means she was trapped.
You take a look at the lock? Didn't find any outward signs of tampering.
And the drainpipe? Six feet long by two inches wide,nothing stands out.
On my way to firearms for a bore scope to take a closer look.
Let me know what you find.
You got it.
Mac,I got a codis hit on the blood from underneath vanessa matlyn's fingernail.
We have an address? Yeah,but that's the problem.
Suspect's serving a life sentence up at five points.
Name's seth riggin.
He's been in a six-by-six for the last five years.
I remember the case.
He targeted a single mother,followed her out of her apartment, ambushed and brutally attacked her with a knife.
No apparent motive.
Her 12-year-old son was the one who found her and called it in.
By the time we got there,she lost too much blood.
Didn't make it.
What was the evidencewe had on him back then? Dna.
That was it.
Blood under the victim's nails,just like in this case.
During the entire investigation,seth riggin swore he was innocent,saying we had the wrong guy.
You sure you didn't? of course.
I don't mean to question your result I know,you're just trying to answer the impossible.
How do you kill a woman from a prison cell? So this is where our victim was found.
Autopsy results have him moving So using a friction coefficient 0.
8 for rubber on asphalt,an approximate speed of 80 miles an hour and what was the victim's weight? Sid didn't have an exact number,but based on the vic's bone structure,he estimated 165.
And 9.
8 meters per second for the acceleration of gravity Okay,we're looking for a hill with a downslope of 35% or greater somewhere in the vicinity of our crime scene.
Monroe: A quarter of a mile upstream from where our victim ended up.
Hmm,we used to call that stretch the "graveyard.
" The hills have names? Like ski slopes.
Graveyard is definitely double black diamond.
So maybe that's where our victim crashed and burned.
See anything that would turn a human into a fireball? No,but I think I figured out how he got airborne.
Sid said he was traveling at 80-plus,right? Vic could've hit this dip.
And at that speed,it easily could've launched him 25,30 yards.
Only thing that stopped him was the fire truck.
All right,I'm listening.
That was kendall.
She got a hit on the mylar trace and the mercury mission patch.
Came back from an authentic astronaut suit bought on the internet by a guy that goes by the name of "mercury.
" Purchase profile also indicated he bought a dozen meat thermometers from a kitchen supply company and a street luge two months ago.
What do you got? A wheel.
Different color than our vic'S.
Maybe he was racing someone? Maybe this mercury guy.
Maybe they got into some kind of an altercation.
The competition somehow sabotages our vic.
Things go downhill from there.
Find out if our wheel can answer that question.
I'm going to track down this mercury guy.
"Water-activated hydro-expansive "polyurethane for filling cracks and leaks in plumbing pipes.
Use sparingly.
" Instantly expands on contact with water.
I found a huge gob of it inside the drain pipe I collected from the automatic public toilet.
This was no malfunction.
So the killer slashes the victim, then pours hydro-expansive polyurethane in the drain and leaves the victim to drown? And our primary suspect's been locked away behind bars for the last five years.
There's no way he would've had access to our crime scene.
Anything else? I contacted the bathroom manufacturer; they told me that the automatic wash cycle is triggered after every third use.
And it requires about three gallons of water.
But in order for our victim to drown, there'd have to be at least 200 gallons of water in that bathroom.
So we know why the bathroom didn't drain.
Now the question is,how did all that water get in there? you hear of a guy named mercury? Yeah,I think that's him right over there.
All right,thank you.
You recognize this guy? It's kind of hard to tell,but no.
Hey,mercury,what happened to the astronaut suit? It's down for repairs.
Really? What happen? You know what? What's up with the meat thermometer? Yeah,who's asking,bro? Oh,detective messer,new york crime lab.
Angell! You luge,you lose.
Let's start over now.
What's the deal with the meat thermometer? All right.
All right! Listen,man,I mean,puking a wheel when you're rolling 90 ain't no fun.
So I crafted this little beauty right here.
It lets me know if I'm gonna flame out.
You know,melt a wheel.
I mean,we're riding on bacon and eggs out here.
Bacon and eggs? Rough roads.
It creates killer friction.
Oh,yeah? Well,speaking of you seen this guy before? Dude that's,uh,that's demon.
- What happened to him? - He's dead.
Demon,he have another name? Declan.
Declan hollister; only one to ever trip the pistol.
Don't make me ask.
Trip the pistol.
You know,the radar gun.
That boy put up a hundred and one,man.
I was there,I saw it.
I could tell you stories about demon why don't you start by telling me why you stabbed him with one of your meat thermometers right before he died.
How'd you know that? Let us worry about that.
When was the last time you saw demon? We dropped in on a hill together.
me rcury: We ride hard that way,you know? Anything goes.
Demon and I tangled brutal.
He ended up with a case of the screaming meemies.
Then sliced off on graveyard.
Last time I saw him he was headed off course down uncharted waters.
On fire.
Excuse me? How hot did it get between you and demon? You think I killed him? Demon? Dude,I had nothing but love for that guy.
Well,why'd you run when I badged you? Street racing is illegal.
Thanks for the tip.
Turn around.
Messer: So this mercury guy had a lot to say.
He also admitted to stabbing our victim.
I'm thinking he could be our man.
Funny,I was just thinking we might not be looking for a man at all.
I processed the wheel we recovered from graveyard.
Uncovered a logo.
Take a look.
"Concrete cowgirl.
" I already checked the wheel for accelerant.
Covered with it.
Chemical fingerprint is an exact match to the accelerant on our victim.
When I ran the logo,this is what I found.
Messer: That's concrete cowgirl? Yeah,her real name's sandra polk.
Why,you know her? I just talked to her at the street race.
She's sponsored by bad bones wheel company.
According to urban mach legend,she's the world record holder for speed.
Her board and her wheels are custom-made.
Not available for purchase.
Means this wheel puts her at the scene.
And check out her suit.
It's also custom-made.
Similar to the one our victim died in.
So maybe she heard about our victim breaking the hundred-mile-an-hour mark.
She thought he was threatening her title.
Or her sponsor money.
Right,so she decides to do something about it.
She pre-laces a racing suit with accelerant.
She sends it to him and then she tails him until he's alone and lights him on fire.
we didn't find any ignition source at graveyard.
Maybe she took it with her or maybe someone else grabbed it.
Either way,this cowgirl might be into smoking her competition.
Copy of seth riggin's birth record.
Had the prison's head physician fax it over.
Single live birth.
Rules out any twin brother theory.
Did you talk to the warden up at five points? He checked their inmate tracking system.
All his movements are accounted for.
He say anything about privileges? Contact with the outside,anything like that? No visitors.
Privileges include mail,internet,television.
Seth's old case? I re-sampled and re-tested all the evidence.
Different instruments this time.
Everything still comes back to seth riggin.
The chance of there being another man out there with a matching dna profile is one in five trillion.
Which isn't zero.
Stella,I know we didn't have the wrong man back then.
All right,mac,you and I both know that dna isn't like a fingerprint.
It's not unique.
I know the odds are overwhelmingly against it.
I'm not denying that.
You could,in theory at least,come across two people with matching dna.
Then it's time to go talk to one of them.
man: News of this young woman's death saddens me.
She was lovely,I'm sure.
But this dna match-- this is good news.
Why do you say that? It quite perfectly demonstrates what I've been saying all along: That there's another man out there who committed the crime that I am serving time for.
seth: I'm a model citizen,detective, wrongfully imprisoned,and this dna match proves it.
You expect me to believe that? It really doesn't matter what you believe.
That's right.
I plan on taking this new evidence to an appellate court.
Ask yourself: What will a judge believe? That I somehow managed to break out of prison, attack this woman,only to then break back in? Or that maybe,just maybe there's someone else out there? And this "someone else" just happens to have the same dna as you? To quote your testimony against me,detective, you're simply "a means by which the evidence speaks for itself.
" Now,I do enjoy your company, but I relegate myself to knowing that the only thing that could possibly strengthen my position in this matter is for you to go out there and apprehend the real perpetrator.
Seth riggin wasn't any help.
How about his cell? "I like tuna fish.
After lunch I took a nap.
" Wonder what this is.
A lot of words and nothing to say.
We should have this checked for encryption.
See what seth is really saying here.
And who he's saying it to.
Dye on our wax came back as vermilion.
A lot of applications,only one of which makes sense: Seal wax.
Like for sealing expensive bottles of liquor or wine.
Or in this case,port.
Olivia di pascal vintage port,to be exact.
They're the only ones using that particular wax-dye combination.
When you peel off the wax,it crumbles.
Somehow it ended up in our victim's hair.
Who distributes it? happened to fire a warehouse loader two days ago for lifting a bottle of that exact brand.
Got a name? Vinnie palgrave-- paroled two weeks ago,did three years for grand larceny.
Could just be our one in five trillion.
How did you and vanessa meet? Man: We met online.
You're quick,vinnie.
You just got out of prison two weeks ago.
We actually met eight months ago on felonydate.
I was given computer privileges for good behavior.
How about your behavior with ms.
Matlyn? Look,I didn't touch her.
I wish I hadn't even met her.
She cost me my job.
Oh,'cause she asked you to steal a bottle of port for her.
Right? I want to know about that night,vinnie.
I went over to see vanessa.
She told me it was over.
You need to leave.
Come on,baby.
Don't be like that.
Remember those e-mails you sent? You told me you loved me.
I also told you it was over,vinnie.
Flack: You expect us to believe you just left? Vinnie: That's right,and I took the bottle with me.
I wasn't going to waste it on her.
I don't suppose you'd consent to a dna sample? Whatever prevents me from going back to prison.
that our concrete cowgirl? Sandra polk,according to the sign-in log out front.
Yeah,well,I think it's about time we take the wind out of her sails.
Demon and I had an interesting relationship.
Rivals from afar,I guess you'd say.
I heard what happened to him.
He was wearing a suit just like yours when he died.
Do you have any idea where he got it? Word got out he broke a hundred miles per hour, so I sent him a suit along with some ceramic bearings.
It's awfully nice of you to send a gift to someone who just broke your speed record.
My record's official.
His wasn'T.
But I was curious to see what he could do with some real gear,an even playing field.
Did you ride graveyard night before last? We walked that stretch of road.
We found one of your wheels,melted.
It had accelerant all over it.
That's the same juice that sent demon to hell.
All right,I went out there.
My sponsors would kill me if they knew I was racing unofficially, but I just wanted to see if I could match demon's speed on the same course.
I got up to about 96.
Then I flamed out.
Anyone out there to see the sparks fly? No.
I didn't want anyone to know I was there.
Why not? 'Cause you were nervous that you'd lose your title,right? Had prize money and endorsements on the line.
You didn't want to get burned by the underdog, so you decided to burn him first and send him a spiked suit.
Look,I don't have a clue who killed demon,but I can tell you one thing.
It wasn't me.
You guys think we're just a bunch of street-happy skate punks, but this sport is my life.
The last thing I'm gonna do is screw it up by taking someone else'S.
There really is a felonydate.
It's an online dating service for felons.
Is there no justice for law-abiding single men? Here we go.
Vinnie palgrave,27,6'1".
So he's a crook and a liar.
mac taylor.
Vinnie's dna sample didn't match seth riggin.
So vinnie,who's on the outside,is cleared for this, but seth riggin,who's in prison,is still our primary suspect.
Doesn't make sense.
Let's see if seth has a profile.
Looks like somebody deleted it.
Wonder why.
Maybe because seth didn't want anyone to know that he was in a relationship with vanessa matlyn.
That letter we found in seth riggin's cell.
Po box didn't give us anything.
And I ran it by questioned documents.
They couldn't come up with any hidden codes or messages,so I figured it was the envelope itself that was the message.
The envelope had double postage-- one stamp on top of another-- and it wasn't done by accident.
Seth: "Vanessa,you can do this.
Stay strong,my love.
" Flack: It's called wila.
It's tiny writing prisoners use to secretly communicate with each other.
Or in this case with someone he cared for and didn't want anyone to know about, which makes me think our innocent victim wasn't so innocent after all.
So maybe vanessa met seth on felonydate.
He convinced her to stage an attack in order to help him get out of prison, using wila to correspond.
That would mean she brought this into the automatic bathroom with her,inflicted her own injuries.
that's why no major blood vessels were hit.
Each wound was strategically placed.
Problem is it still doesn't explain how she had seth riggin's blood under her nails.
We know seth was sending hidden messages.
Maybe he sent more than just that.
But how do you smuggle blood out of prison? Ketchup went dark.
It's absorbing uv.
I take it ketchup's not supposed to do that.
It's not ketchup.
It's blood.
anything on how vanessa drowned? Turns out the problem thwi the water system wasn't a problem with the water system.
It was electrical.
It's an automatic shutoff valve.
Watch this.
Burn residue where the wire meets the sensor.
So,I went back to the crime scene,pulled the door off the electrical panel.
Found three wires with melted insulation,practically making contact with each other.
One is a power feed from the emergency backup battery.
Another runs the signal to the automatic shutoff valve.
Well,how can we be sure the wires didn't melt because of an electrical malfunction? Outer surface of the insulation is soot-covered,but the inner surface is clean.
Somebody held a flame to these wires.
Then aligned them to reroute current flow from the backup battery to the automatic shutoff valve, causing the bathroom to fill up with water.
we know the victim was alive when the bathroom was filling with water.
This still doesn't explain why vanessa wasn't able to get out.
The third wire feeds the sensor for the door lock mechanism.
So,a stopped-up drain and tampered wiring.
The bathroom was definitely sabotaged.
The only question left to answer is by who? man: Pull it off.
Put it on the fender.
this looks interesting.
Well,we couldn't find an ignition source,and both of our suspects, you know,mentioned this whole flameout phenomenon.
Monroe: So now,we're thinking if the concrete cowgirl spiked demon's suit at a high speed, he'd eventually flame out.
And turn into a human torch.
So,you got the same wheels demon was riding the night he died.
And now it's time to give that theory a ride.
There's no way anyone was going that fast.
What? What?Keep spraying.
Trust me.
See the moisture coming off the wheel.
weren't there light showers the night our vic died? Right.
The asphalt was still wet when we were processing the crime scene.
And a light shower would cause oil and gas to seep up from the cracks and crevices in the road.
Demon's wheels would have sprayed road oil all over him.
Monroe: Well,that explains the wide range of accelerant.
It would have been a mixture of every car,truck,and motorcycle that had been on that road.
Yeah,it would also account for the concrete cowgirl having matching accelerant on her wheel.
She went down that same road.
Well,that explains where the accelerants came from,but somebody still had to light demon on fire.
Or something.
Monroe: Well,we already proved it wasn't a flameout.
What else is there? Well,the answer's right in front of us.
We just don't see it.
So,let's go back over everything we know.
Mercury and demon raced.
You know,things get a little messy,they traded some paint, mercury stabs demon with the meat thermometer which sent demon off course and down graveyard,a much steeper hill, and that's where he really picked up speed.
Messer: And because he was out of control and on an unfamiliar course, there was only one thing he could do.
Danny? The only way to stop a luge run is with your feet.
That rubber heel could have worn down from numerous runs.
The heel's reinforced with steel just below the surface of the rubber.
Looks pretty scraped up from the road.
Messer: The heat from the fire melted the rubber around steel.
That's why we didn't see it.
So this was all an accident? A lethal combination of oily roads,worn down shoes.
And killer speed.
Hawkes: Just heard from flack.
Turns out one of the companies that purchased a caseload of that polyurethane we found stopping up the bathroom drain pipe .
also happens to have been in a fierce bidding war for a new york city restroom contract.
Innovations - Restrooms already in use are still in testing.
- Right.
Which means this F.
Innovations could still win the contract if the current bathrooms prove faulty.
Sounds like motive.
Checked the tampered wires for prints? Yeah.
Superglue with an argon laser.
Went over it twice,came up empty.
Whoever did this must have handled those wires.
Yeah,it's very intricate work.
Difficult wearing gloves.
The insulation on electrical wire's made of rubber,a polymer.
Similar to plastic,an ideal surface for lifting undetectable prints with gold.
Let's give it a try.
we'd like a reference print from you,mr.
Szabo, to make a comparison to a print we lifted from inside the bathroom.
Not gonna happen.
Because it's going to match,isn't it? I don't know what you're talking about.
Actually,you do.
Your start-up company,F.
Innovations, lost a bidding war for a public restroom contract with the city.
I went into the electrical panel to snoop around, steal some ideas.
Maybe I touched a few wires,but that's it.
I'm telling you.
Come on.
You really think I going to kill someone over a city contract? Worth close to $5 million? Yeah,I do.
So will a jury.
I've been a dedicated city employee for 12 years.
You'd think when I try to branch out a little, start my own company,those years would count for something.
You know what? It didn't count for squat.
City went with low bid,like they always do.
Gave the contract to some foreign company in switzerland.
Is that fair? A woman lost her life inside that bathroom because of your reckless abandon and your greed.
You want to talk about fair? Go talk to her family.
No one's going to believe the paperwork on this one.
Woman dies trying to spring one dirt bag from prison.
And instead puts another one in.
Okay,now,the first retrial hearing is scheduled for this thursday, so we just need to finalize a few things,but overall,everything looks good.
I just want to uh,excuse me,detective,you can't barge into the middle of a private meeting with my client.
Seth,do not say a word.
He doesn't have to say anything.
I'll do all the talking.
But as his counsel,you might want to listen pretty carefully yourself.
Seth,I know all about you and vanessa.
The website,the stamps.
The ketchup packet.
I'm guessing you stole the packet from the prison commissary,brought it back to your cell.
Then sent the blood to vanessa.
Probably paid off some mail screener to look the other way, and then when she got your blood,she took it with her into the automatic public restroom.
It was brilliant.
Mailing your blood to her so she could make it look like there was another attacker out there with your dna.
Aren't you forgetting one thing? Ms.
Matlyn is dead.
Murdered,wasn't she? Who did that? Not me.
That's a separate investigation.
As for this one,it's over.