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CSI: Crime Scene Investigation--'Lying Down With Dogs'

By Kristine Huntley
Posted at December 20, 2007 - 8:29 PM GMT

See Also: 'Lying Down with Dogs' Episode Guide

Synopsis:

The body of a woman in formal wear is found amid a dumping ground for dogs, her body riddled with dog bites. In the morgue, Catherine finds white trace on her feet and a needle mark on the back of her neck. Dr. Robbins is shocked when he sees the victim: he recognizes her as Elizabeth Rodriguez, a woman who was being honored for philanthropic work at a dinner his band played at. Dr. Robbins recalled Elizabeth's husband, Felix, left before she did, and the CSIs question him. He staunchly denies killing his wife. The white powder proves to be flea repellant, and there are no traces of it on Felix. Wendy Simms manages to get a DNA match in the canine CODIS database to a a dog named Hannibal, whose owner is Gino Aquino, a member of the D-Street Killers gang. Aquino tells the CSIs he never got his dog back from the Dos Santos Kennel after Hannibal was confiscated during a drug raid. When Catherine learns that Elizabeth had a drug in her system used to euthanize dogs, she and Nick pay a visit to the kennel. While there, they discover a pool of blood by a breeding restraint device as well as a hidden camera, and arrest the veterinary technician, Steve Card. A teen volunteer, Tommy Halpert, tells Nick that Hannibal was returned to Aquino.

Card tells the CSIs that Elizabeth was his business partner, and points to Aquino as a possible suspect in her murder, claiming Elizabeth cheated the D-Street Killers out of fifty grand. Elizabeth was the number one dog fighter in the state, and Card claims she cheated by using a rub to make the opponent dogs sick. Card gives the CSIs the location of a dog fight the D-Street Killers will be at and they raid it, only to have a shootout result. Aquino is arrested after being shot, but Aquino denies killing Elizabeth, pointing the finger back at Card, who he claims was the one cheating. Nick and Catherine aren't sure who to believe until they find a fingerprint on Elizabeth's key to the drug cabinet which matches Tommy Halpert. The DA tells Nick that Tommy was an informant for him; he was trying to bust the dog-fighting ring. Tommy, horrified by the animal abuse that went on in the dog fighting arena and outside of it, was disgusted when Elizabeth received a philanthropic award. He euthanized her and then threw her to the dogs--literally. Nick is even more disturbed when he learns Tommy called Elizabeth's husband Felix to warn him to stop his wife or he would--and Felix did nothing.

Warrick is cleared by IAB of any involvement in the death of Joanna Krimsky, the stripper he met at mobster Lou Gedda's strip club during a murder investigation in "Cockroaches", but he's unwilling to let the case go. Prints found in Warrick's car--where Joanna's body was discovered--lead Warrick and Grissom to Richard Dorsey, a homeless man who lurked around Gedda's establishment and they discover the man with a knife and a Blackberry with Joanna's picture on it. But when they arrest Dorsey, he refuses to admit he moved the body into Warrick's car for Gedda. Warrick rushes into the interrogation room, demanding Dorsey tell the truth, and Grissom puts Warrick on a two-week suspension. As Warrick storms out of the lab, an informant calls Gedda to let him know Warrick has been suspended.

Analysis:

There are few things more difficult to watch than cruelty towards animals, and "Lying Down with Dogs" is not for the faint-hearted or animal lovers. The dog fight depicted in the episode is so graphic that it's stomach-turning, and few things are more horrific than watching a brutalized animal die. I can't say that the episode was an easy one to watch, or that it's one that I'll be in a hurry to see again, but it was powerful and in places gut-wrenching, especially with the detailed descriptions of just how horribly dogs who are trained and used in dog fights are treated.

It's hard not to sympathize with Tommy Halpert, who early in the episode tells Nick he's spent some time in a cage, too. Clearly, he's the victim of some sort of abuse, and no doubt seeing how horribly the dogs were treated produced some sort of visceral reaction in him. While Nick of course can't condone his act, he does feel compassion for the boy, who's obviously deeply damaged and was devastated by what he witnessed day after day. And it's impossible not to agree with Tommy that it was disgusting that Elizabeth was receiving a charity award when she practiced such cruelty towards animals. Mark L. Young, who also gave a memorable performance in the CSI: Miami episode "Nailed", does quite well here, too, conveying Tommy's anguish with subtlety.

Nick is the eyes and ears of the audience in this episode, his disgust at the dog-fighting and his empathy for Tommy mirroring the audience's. It is Nick who is bothered by the fact that Felix left the party after taking a phone call, and he goes the extra step to make the connection that Tommy called Felix to alert him to the fact that he was going to "take care of" the man's wife. This shifts some of the guilt onto Felix, but his motivations remain murky. Why would Felix offer an award of a hundred grand if he knew who killed his wife already? Perhaps to make it seem as though he didn't know, but I imagine there's very little legally that he can be held responsible for.

Warrick's tough times, which came to a head in "Cockroaches," show no signs of coming to an end here. He is cleared by IAB--a little too easily, I think, as it takes much of the suspense out of the storyline. We know Warrick is innocent, but now that IAB has cleared him, the story shifts back to what it was in "Cockroaches": finding evidence on Gedda. Gedda remains just as elusive as he was in the previous episode; first he pays Brass a visit and offers Joanna's mother's phone number, claiming that Joanna had wanted him to call her mother and ease her worries about her daughter stripping. Then we learn the man Gedda must have hired to dump the body is the homeless man Warrick encountered at Gedda's auto detail lot, but he proves completely unhelpful.

Grissom earnestly tries to help Warrick during the episode, even going so far as to keep him involved in the case and defending him to Brass. He's also defending his own actions, too; Brass tells him he should have driven Warrick home after finding him in the strip club. It's a valid point, but Grissom has never been one to coddle his team, and he clearly expected Warrick to leave once he was told to--which Warrick did; he just didn't go home. He did take a cab, rather than getting behind the wheel of his own car, but he followed Joanna, which Grissom certainly would have frowned upon, to say the least. Grissom reaches the end of his rope when Warrick bursts in on his interrogation of Dorsey, angrily suspending Warrick for two weeks, telling the CSI to take the suspension or lose his job.

So, as Brass suspected, there's a mole in the department feeding Gedda information. It looked like it was someone in the precinct as opposed to the lab; is completely out of line to wonder if it's Detective Vega, who made his reappearance in this episode after an absence that lasted over a season? CSI shows have a habit of bringing back characters only to kill them or reveal they're involved in some wrong-doing, as Aiden Burn from CSI: NY and Dan Cooper on CSI: Miami can attest to. I have a feeling the Gedda arc will stretch out for the rest of the season--if there is indeed a rest of the season; as of this writing, CSI only has one more completed episode due to the WGA strike. Given Warrick's passion for taking down Gedda, I don't think he's going to take the suspension--or Gedda getting away with murder yet again--lying down.

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Find more episode info in the Episode Guide.


Kristine Huntley is a freelance writer and reviewer.

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