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CSI: Crime Scene Investigation--'Unbearable'

By Kristine Huntley
Posted at February 14, 2005 - 5:12 PM GMT

See Also: 'Unbearable' Episode Guide

Synopsis:

The night shift CSI team is summoned to the abandoned car of Lori Kyman, a young woman whose husband has reported her missing. Grissom and Sofia look over the car and note that while it has a flat tire, there's no sign of a struggle. Grissom looks at Lori's cell phone and sees that the only call Lori made that night was to her husband, Mark, at 9:30. Sara and Brass question Mark and Lori's best friend, Amy, at the Kymans' house. Mark was working while Lori's mother, Diane, was taking care of the couple's baby. He fell asleep and awoke on the couch at 2am and called the police when he realized Lori wasn't home. Amy was with Lori on the girl's night out, but she says they all parted company around 11. She tells Sara that there was a man named Brad who kept hitting on Lori despite the fact that she rebuffed his advances.

Nick and Brass arrive at the site of a murder in the woods: a male victim with no ID lies dead with a severed carotid artery--apparently the man was killed by a wild animal. The animal itself--a giant Kodiak bear--lies dead not far from the hunter's body. Nick notices broken branches leading away from the bear's body and catches sight of a swath of torn fabric. Dr. Robbins performs a necropsy on the bear and determines that it was shot twice. The fatal bullet entered through the bear's ear and lodged in its brain. The non-fatal bullet came from a rifle, but the fatal one was from a handgun. Robbins also notes that the bear's gall bladder was removed post mortem.

Greg shows Sofia that Lori's car was sabotaged--someone unscrewed the cap on one of her tires so that it would leak air and eventually go flat. A palm print on the car matches Lori's would-be suitor Brad, so Brass has him brought in for questioning. Brad admits to unscrewing the cap in the hopes that he could rescue Lori when her tire went flat. But Brass receives a call that makes it clear no one rescued Lori: her body has been found. At the scene, David Phillips estimates she's been dead between 36 and 48 hours, while Sofia notes that marks on her neck suggest she was strangled. When they get Lori back to the lab, Sofia pulls flecks from a birch tree from her hair. Grissom finds red and blue fibers on her dress, while Sofia discovers white powder on her palms.

Dr. Robbins shows Catherine a Clark County ID microchip between the bear's shoulders. Warrick and Nick question the zookeeper, who identifies the bear as Tippy. He claims an animal broker named Ken Bovick was supposed to place Tippy in another zoo. Back at the lab, Sofia tests the wheel of Lori's car and determines that Lori died before the tire on her car went flat.

Warrick suspects the bear's gall bladder was taken so that it could be sold, as the gall bladder is a symbol of virility in some Southeast Asian cultures. The zoo Tippy was supposed to be transferred to has never heard of the bear, and Ken Bovick's documents are fake. Nick finally has an ID on the hunter: Rod Hollis. Nick goes to talk to the man's wife, but they've been separated for a year and she has no idea who might have been with him on the hunting trip.

Robbins tells Grissom that Lori Kyman died of manual strangulation. There's no sign of sexual assault, but he does see a post mortem burn on her body. David Hodges has examined the white powder on Lori's hands--it was talculm powder. The red fibers from her body are from the trunk of a car--specifically, a Bentley. Sara questions Lori's friend Amy, who drives a Bentley. Amy tells Sara to look at Mark; she confesses that she had an affair with him, but broke it off because he liked it rough. Sara and Greg go over Amy's Bentley, but are able to eliminate it as it's black.

Sofia and Grissom go to the Kymans' house to get a sample of their baby powder. Grissom notes that the carpet in the baby's room is Berber, which matches the blue fibers found on Lori's body. Back at the lab, they match the baby powder from the Kymans' home to the powder on Lori's hands.

Bobby Dawson examines the bullets from the bear and matches the bullet from the gun to one used in a robbery several years ago and registered to one Aaron Colite. Warrick and Nick pay Aaron a visit. He admits to killing the bear: he says he came across the bear attacking Rod and he shot the animal, but Rod was already dead so he didn't report it. Nick pokes the first hole in his story when he finds the bear's gall bladder in Aaron's freezer, but when Aaron shows them his legs, there are no cuts on them, indicating he wasn't alone when fleeing the scene. Back at the lab, Catherine has found barbiturates in the bear's blood. Nick posits that perhaps Rod paid to have the bear smuggled to Las Vegas for a hunt.

Sara has been looking up information on red Bentleys in the area and has found one was rented to Diane Hoyt, Lori Kyman's mother, and returned one day after Lori's death. Sara, Greg and Sofia get the car and go over it. Sara finds a pod on the windshield that looks similar to one found in Lori's hair. Greg tests it--it's a match. Brass interrogates Diane about the car--she backed her own car into a tree and was renting the Bentley until it came back from the shop. Hairs in the car match Mark, Lori and their baby, but none of them match Diane. Brass does take note of something interesting: Diane is Lori's stepmother, not her mother. Sofia asks for Diane's DNA. While going over the car again, Sofia discovers human tissue in the exhaust pipe. She also swabs several stains in the back of the car.

Ronnie Litra looks at the document sent to the Clark County zoo for the bear and determines its a forgery and that serial numbers on the paper can lead them back to the copy machine. Catherine and Warrick pay a visit to Sam Tracy, the zookeeper, whose copy machine produced the forged document. Sam and Aaron, who used to be employed at the zoo, were paid by Rod to procure the bear for him to hunt. Rod thought his shot had killed the bear, but when he went to investigate, the bear began to maul him. Aaron shot the bear and then he and Sam fled through the woods. It was Sam whose pants were torn in the process. Catherine tells him she's going to recommend they be charged with second degree murder.

In the interrogation room, Sara tells Brad that his semen and Diane's vaginal fluid were found in the back seat of the Bentley. She also notes that he called Diane on her cell phone at 11:23 pm the night Lori was killed. In another room, Sofia asks Diane about Brad, who she claims not to know. Sofia posits that Diane set Lori up: Brad was supposed to abduct her when her tire went flat, but it never did so when Lori came home and changed her baby, Diane snuck up behind her and strangled her. Brad helped her dispose of Lori's body in the Bentley. Brass fills in the motive: Lori's father died and left all his money to Lori's baby son, with Lori as the trustee with a sizeable income. If anything happened to Lori, Diane would take her place.

Elsewhere, Sofia tells Grissom that she's planning to quit because she can't stomach the demotion. Grissom suggests they have dinner.

Analysis:

CSI follows the trend set by the other two CSI shows of a solid if unremarkable entry for the first full week of sweeps. While not bad by any means, "Unbearable" isn't as exciting or as significant for the characters as last week's "Nesting Dolls". But it's nice to see both the night and swing shifts getting their due in this episode with two cases that are equally as compelling.

Animal lovers probably cringed at the plot with the Tippy the bear, where a hunter paid sixteen grand for the opportunity to hunt a Kodiak bear. The resolution was a little too easy--copier machines produce a serial number on every copy? Since when? CSI is usually accurate about these things, but I highly doubt most copiers (especially older ones--and I doubt most zoos sport state-of-the-art equipment) have this feature. It was a tad convenient--it would have been more believable has Aaron Colite just given up his partner in crime.

The other plot, the disappearance and murder of Lori Kyman, felt a bit rushed in the end, with the explanation for the murder literally tacked on as an after-thought with a comment from Brass. It would have been nice if this information could have been included in the interrogation of Diane, as it would have been more dramatic that way. The yarn overall was exciting with very few sympathetic suspects, including the conniving best friend Amy, the cheating husband Mark, the slimy Brad and murderous stepmom Diane. Guest casting for this episode, including Brad Rowe, Forbes March and Lolita Davidovich, was also impressive.

This episode does bring us a full-fledged romantic triangle. Grissom and Sofia's interest in each other has grown over the past few episodes, and now he's asked her out to dinner. Is it romantic? Is he just trying to convince her not to leave the department? In traditional CSI-style, it's left vague enough that the audience can't tell for sure whether the dinner is business, personal or a little bit of both.

It's enough to make one feel bad for poor Sara, though. The girl has pined after Grissom for five seasons, and despite their heart-to-heart in "Nesting Dolls," it seems like she's no closer to winning him than ever. And, even though she's acknowledged that she chooses inappropriate men, it's clear that she's not over Grissom by any means. At one point, she comes up to Grissom and Sofia laughing over something in the lab, and the look on Sara's face that she's hurt by their closeness.

But is Sofia ultimately a red herring? Louise Lombard's pregnancy is going to sideline her for a while, making it difficult for the writers to develop a relationship between Grissom and Sofia. So is this another CSI would-be romance that's going nowhere? If it is...why bother throwing it in to begin with. CSI sure does like to tease.

The already-large CSI cast continues to grow with news that Wallace Langham, the persnickety and snide Hodges, is joining the regular cast, apparently to replace Greg in the lab (story). While Hodges is a great character, and his snarky comments about Greg are always worth a laugh, I don't know that CSI needs another regular character. Its cast is already significantly larger than those of the other shows, and I think it would benefit the show to continue to explore the main characters the audience has come to love rather than pad the already-large cast.

Next week: The CSIs investigate the murder of an adult baby.

Discuss this reviews at Talk CSI!

Find more episode info in the Episode Guide.


Kristine Huntley is a freelance writer and reviewer.

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