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CSI Files - CSI: Crime Scene Investigation--'Harvest'

CSI: Crime Scene Investigation--'Harvest'

By Kristine Huntley
Posted at October 15, 2004 - 8:30 PM GMT

See Also: 'Harvest' Episode Guide

Synopsis:

The bell rings at a Catholic school, and students eagerly race outside. One mother, Sibyl Perez, searches for her daughter but doesn't see her. A nun approaches her car and says that her thirteen-year-old daughter, Alicia, never showed up for school that day. Mrs. Perez's cell phone rings—her eldest daughter April is calling. April says Alicia was with her, but that she's been abducted. Mrs. Perez speeds out of the parking lot to where the convenience store April and Alicia were at when Alicia was taken.

The CSIs descend upon the convenience store parking lot, looking for any traces of Alicia. April tells Brass that she doesn't often get to see Alicia so the younger girl would play hooky from school to spend time with her. April describes her sister's abductor: a black man with a bears driving a blue or black Buick. Carlos Perez has arrived, and he and his wife ask Grissom when he'll find their daughter. Grissom notices blood on Mrs. Perez's shirt, and tells her he'll need to examine it. Angrily, she rips it off and throws it at him.

An Amber Alert is issued for Alicia. The CSIs continue to examine the scene; Nick and Warrick go over a car in the lot while Catherine examines tire marks. In the store, a clerk tells Brass that he only noticed April, not her sister. He admits that the security cameras in the parking lot are fakes. While Catherine takes a disturbing phone call regarding her daughter Lindsay, Grissom tells Nick that because Nick failed his most recent firearm qualification test he has to go back to the lab. Catherine asks to hitch a ride back with Nick.

At the station, an officer tells Catherine that Lindsay was picked up for hitchhiking. When Catherine confronts Lindsay, Lindsay reacts angrily and calls Catherine a drama queen. Then she announces that her grandmother is on her way to pick her up.

Back at the lab, Mia Dickerson, the new lab tech, introduces herself to Warrick and takes Mrs. Perez's bloody shirt to analyze it. She mentions that she knows he has a bet riding on how long the new techs last. When Warrick looks at Greg puzzled, Greg tells him he's hoping Mia will be the one who lasts.

Brass talks to the Perezs, who tell him that the reason Alicia didn't see April often is because they kicked April out of the house. April is a troubled girl; she's already served time in juvenile detention for selling heroin.

Sara and Grissom go over Alicia's room. On Alicia's computer, Sara finds information about organ donation. On the bed sheets, Grissom finds the words "I Hate Mom and Dad" written in pen. Just then Daniel Perez, the Perez's only son, appears in the doorway. He describes his sister as a "giver." Grissom points out that Daniel's nose has started to bleed. Before he leaves to deal with it, he tells the CSIs to look at Alicia's diary.

Brass asks the Perezs if Alicia was ill, but they tell him it is Daniel who is ill. His kidneys are failing and Alicia was a matching donor. "Without her, he'd die," Mrs. Perez says.

The CSIs talk to Jimmy Jones, a friend of Alicia. The pair walked to school together, and Jimmy noticed a black man dressed in a track suit would sometimes follow them. The man creeped Jimmy out.

Nick compares a map of Alicia's route to school with the registered sex offenders in the area. Once they cut the list to the most dangerous offenders, the CSIs find a suspect: Marlon Waylord, a handyman who lives alone. Brass heads to Marlon's apartment and questions the man. He notices a cut on Marlon's face, and asks after Marlon's car, which happens to be a black Buick. In Marlon's apartment, Grissom finds a black hair and Sara finds semen in the bed and a pair of children's underwear. On Marlon's cell phone, Grissom finds pictures of children, including Alicia.

At the station Brass and Grissom question Marlon aggressively. Marlon claims he's innocent, and when asked about the pictures on his phone, he tells them he was looking at Jimmy, not Alicia. Marlon doesn't want to go back to jail; he says he's stayed away from places where children are likely to be.

The evidence seems to support Marlon's claim. The semen on the bed was Marlon's and the skin cells on the underwear were Marlon's alone. The hair found in his apartment was synthetic, from a wig or doll. Mia tells Warrick they should distribute fliers about Marlon to his neighbors just as Warrick gets a page: Alicia has been found.

Her body is lying in a field, covered in a bloody blanket. Her underwear is missing, and it appears she's been redressed. David Phillips is puzzled by her low body temperature, which is ninety degrees. When he gets her back to the morgue, he finds no signs of rape or any defensive wounds. Grissom looks at the blood on the blanket and suspects it's from the killer. He raises the camera to photograph her body, then lowers it sadly without taking a picture.

Catherine and Grissom, neither of whom has slept that night, discuss Lindsay. Grissom tells Catherine that she should tell her daughter about the dangerous world they live in, but Catherine is uncomfortable with the idea of frightening her daughter.

Dr. Robbins tells Grissom that Alicia died of heart failure. He's found signs that Alicia was a bone marrow donor and posits that Daniel has acute leukemia. When he tells Grissom that Alicia has been dead for 44 hours, Grissom knows April lied about Alicia's abduction.

Brass questions April, who denies killing her sister. He tells her she'll get one to four years for the Amber Alert at least. Alicia admits to being on drugs, but she denies it when Brass suggests she was selling her sister for drugs.

Catherine has pulled Daniel's medical records. He was diagnosed with Acute Promyelocytic Leukemia at the age of ten, and Alicia was conceived to be a genetic match so that she could be a donor for him. She donated both blood and bone marrow to her brother.

In the lab, Greg observes Mia's progress. She tells him she doesn't need help, but he says he's just trying to ease her transition. He casually asks if she would like to go to dinner with him, but she tells him she never eats out. Too much DNA from others on the food, she says. She doesn't do birthday cakes either.

Mrs. Perez asks Catherine what will happen to April. She laments not being there for her elder daughter. But when Catherine asks about how Alicia was used as a donor for her brother, Mrs. Perez fires back. When Catherine tells Mrs. Perez that she's a mother, too, Mrs. Perez implies she's a better mother than Catherine, and asks how often Catherine sees her daughter.

When Mia tells Grissom for the blood analysis from the blanket, she tells him that it matches the victim's blood. Grissom is puzzled and asks her to run the sample again. Sara and Greg go through piles of garbage and dirty laundry from the Perez house. Sara is puzzled when she finds a Mapquest printout to the convenience store from Marlon Waylord's house.

Catherine brings Lindsay to the morgue to see the body of a young woman to drive home how unsafe the world can be. Distressed, Lindsay runs out, and Dr. Robbins criticizes Catherine for using the morgue to teach Lindsay a lesson.

The CSIs subpoena Mapquest's records and trace the map back to the computer of Sibyl Perez. While Sara, Warrick and Nick search the house, Brass questions the Perezs. Warrick finds a boot that matches a footprint found near Alicia's body, as well as blue fibers that might match the blanket Alicia's body was found in. Sara also find prescription bottles: Daniel was on the pain-reliever Oxycontin, while Alicia was on the anti-depressant Diazepam.

Brass turns the screws on the Perezs, asking Carlos how he could dump the body, and telling Sibyl that they have enough to charge them with murder. Brass is disgusted that they tried to frame an innocent man, and assumes that they did it because Alicia had refused to donate a kidney to her brother.

Greg tells Grissom that a second run of the blood on the blanket still matches it to Alicia. He defends Mia, telling Grissom to not be so hard on her. Grissom agrees, but has other things on his mind. He's cracked the case.

Grissom finds Daniel Perez at church, praying. Daniel is resigned to his death. He says Alicia was his best friend, his strength. During his last relapse, he made his parents swear to not put him through another operation if he relapsed again, but they went back on their word because his kidneys failing wasn't directly related to the leukemia. He poisoned Alicia so that she wouldn't donate a kidney to him. Grissom fires back that it was an execution, not a mercy killing. It was Alicia's blood in Daniel's veins that dripped onto the blanket that he wrapped her in. Grissom asks him why he didn't just take his own life, but Daniel protests that suicide is a sin. Grissom retorts with, "And murder isn't?" Daniel says he's only got six months left and won't even live to see a trial. Before he's taken away by the waiting police officer, he thanks Grissom for speaking for Alicia and thinking only of her, saying that the CSI does God's work whether he believes in him or not.

Analysis:

A powerful episode that packs an emotional punch, "Harvest" is disturbing on many levels. After it's over, and the viewer realizes that the entire Perez family worked together to not only cover up the murder but also to actively deceived the CSIs and police by leading them to believe that Alicia was kidnapped, it becomes even more disturbing. The idea that the Perez family could play such an active part in Alicia's death and act so convincingly to cover it up is horrifying until one realizes just how much they've lost, and how much they stand to lose. Sibyl and Carlos have lost one daughter, it won't be long before they lose their son, and they're all but estranged from their other daughter. Looking at it from that standpoint, it's somewhat easier to see how desperate they must be.

The Perezs are a start contrast to the Durbins in last week's "Down the Drain". The Durbin family is effectively destroyed in that episode when all three are carted off to jail, but there's no emotional resonance. The Durbins had no convincing motive to do what they did. No matter how much one might disagree with how the Perezs handled Daniel's murder of Alicia, it's at least conceivable why they would have acted to cover it up.

Interestingly, the storyline bears some similarities to the novel My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult. Picoult's novel is the story of the Fitzgeralds, whose daughter Kate is battling APL. It is thirteen-year-old Anna, the child conceived as a donor for her sister, who sets the story in motion by going to a lawyer to sue her parents for the rights to her own body. They want her to donate a kidney to her sister, but after countless blood and bone marrow transfusions, she's now saying no. The writers may or may not have read Picoult's powerful novel, but the similarities between this episode and My Sister's Keeper merit mention.

Catherine's struggle with Lindsay mirrors the case nicely, but I can't help but wonder, after early reports indicate Horatio Caine on CSI: Miami will grapple with similar problems with his nephew Ray, Jr. in an upcoming episode. Are there no good kids on CSI shows? Either way, Mrs. Perez's accusation that Catherine probably doesn't know where her daughter is half of the time clearly resonates with Catherine, as it was proved accurate earlier in the episode. Showing Lindsay the body in the morgue wasn't an easy decision, and having the contrasting points of view from Grissom, the realist who encourages Catherine to level with Lindsay, and Dr. Robbins, the idealist who wonders at how shortened childhood has become, prove that there is no easy answer to the dilemma. It will be interesting to see if Catherine's choice has the desired effect or the opposite.

Next week: Ebola in Las Vegas?

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Find more episode info in the Episode Guide.


Kristine Huntley is a freelance writer and reviewer.