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CSI: Crime Scene Investigation--'Werewolves'

By Kristine Huntley
Posted at January 9, 2006 - 9:45 PM GMT

See Also: 'Werewolves' Episode Guide

Synopsis:

After a husky-voiced caller phones 911 to report a murder, the body of a young man named Hayden Bradford is discovered. Brass tells the CSIs that Hayden was found in his living room, the victim of a bullet to the chest. David Phillips notes Hayden has been dead about twelve hours. The CSIs note Hayden's extremely hairy body and the hair sheddings that cover the floor of the house. Hayden's cell has 6 missed calls from a woman named Michelle on it, and Nick spots a picture of a young woman with the name 'Michelle' written on the back--presumably Hayden's girlfriend. Outside, Catherine spies a broken window and Nick finds a rock near it. He retrieves a print off the rock. Inside Hayden's office Warrick finds a threatening e-mail from someone with the address casinodan@gmail.com , while outside Catherine and Nick uncover a gun buried in the yard.

In the autospy theater, Dr. Robbins tells Grissom that Hayden suffered from Hypertrichosis, a rare genetic disorder causing excess hair growth, which some refer to as 'human werewolf syndrome.' Robbins retrieves the fatal bullet from Hayden's chest. Archie tracks the threatening e-mail to a man named Dan Nobler, who runs an online casino business. Warrick and Greg track him down, and he says he sent the e-mail to Hayden after Hayden lost ten thousand dollars gambling and called his credit card company when the charge went through and falsely claimed it was fraudulent. Dan seems surprised to learn Hayden is dead and denies any involvement. After he goes into his house, Warrick combs the welcome mat he wiped his feet on for trace and discovers pebbles similar to the ones outside Hayden's house. Back at the lab, Bobby Dawson fires the Beretta recovered from Hayden's yard, but the bullets don't match. The fatal bullet from Hayden's chest is silver--the type used to kill werewolves in myth.

The fingerprints on the rock are matched to Brent Moyer, who tells Nick that Hayden was his best friend. Brent says the two were playing a game of catch and the ball broke the window. Brent claims he used the rock to scrape away the glass around the window. The woman Hayden was dating, Michelle, is Brent's sister. Sofia calls Sara to the phone booth where the 911 call was made--there's hair all over the floor. Wendy tests the hair and discovers the DNA is female, with seven alleles in common with Hayden. The hair belongs to Hayden's sister. Sara uncovers a birth certificate for an Allison Bradford, but the paper trail stops there--there's no record Allison went to school or is employed. The hair in the booth and some of the hair from Hayden's house belong to Allison. Catherine, Warrick and Sara return to the house. While Warrick and Sara search the perimeter, Catherine goes inside and discovers a hollow wall. She knocks on it and hears a female voice asking her to go away. Catherine persuades Allison to open the door and discovers a shy young woman, completely covered in hair. In a halting voice, she tells Catherine that she hid in her room when she heard a knock at the door and came out to discover Hayden dead. She waited until midnight to call 911 so no one would trace the call to her. She asks Catherine to help her stay a secret.

When pebbles and glass are discovered in Dan Nobler's doormat, Warrick and Nick have him brought in. Dan admits he went to Hayden's house to try to get his money, but when he went up to the broken window to catch a glimpse of Hayden, he quickly left because of Hayden's appearance. Nick turns back to the bullet, which Hodges tells him was homemade. Catherine and Sofia question Michelle who is heartbroken about the death of Hayden, who had just proposed to her. When asked about the six calls to Hayden, Michelle says she was trying to reach him because she couldn't record a golf tournament on ESPN he had asked her to tape. Grissom tracks down Hayden and Allison's mother, whom they believe Hayden was looking for through Peopledetectors.com. Allison believes her mother is dead, but Mrs. Bradford tells Grissom that after raising Allison and having to refuse to let her outside for fear of what would happen to her, she couldn't take it anymore and asked Hayden to tell Allison that she'd been killed in a car crash. Grissom notes it's not too late for her to go back.

Dr. Robbins discovers the lividity of Hayden's body indicates he was moved after he died, and he also has found blue fibers on Hayden's body. Catherine recalls blue carpeting in Allison's room, so she and Sofia return to the house to search Allison's room. Catherine discovers a huge bloodstain under Allison's bed. Allison denies any involvement in her brother's death and then admits that he was shot while he was in her room. She caught sight of the shooter in the television set: Brent Moyer. Allison wants Brent to go to jail, but because of her appearance she refuses to testify. Catherine uses Brent's fingerprints on the rock outside Hayden's window to get a warrant, and inside the house Sofia discovers a silver shards and a mold machine that could have been used to make a bullet. Confronted with the evidence, Brent confesses saying the 'werewolf disease' was hereditary and he didn't want Hayden to marry his sister. Sofia breaks the news to Michelle gently, and then tells her she knows there was no golf tournament on ESPN that night. Michelle admits she was bothered by Brent's reaction to the engagement and tried to call Hayden to warn him. Afterwards, Brent threatened her if she shared her suspicions that he was the one who killed Hayden. Catherine returns to Allison, concerned for the young woman. Allison says she has all she needs and that she knows her mother is still alive--she was the one who contacted peopledetectors.com. While Allison speaks to Catherine, Mrs. Bradford hesitantly approaches the door and knocks.

Analysis:

CSI's latest has an eerie feel to it, so much so that at one point I wondered if there was any other reason the CSIs didn't turn on the lights in the Bradfords' house or even when executing the warrant at Brent Moyer's place other than creating a spooky atmosphere. It might not be a practical crime scene investigation technique, but it is effective in giving the episode a Gothic feel. And make no mistake, "Werewolves" is a Gothic. From the sister kept in seclusion in a hidden room to the mother who fakes her own death to the man who kills his sister's fiancÚ, the episode packs a lot of secrets and melodrama into a single hour.

And like any good Gothic tale, it's impossible to turn away. When Catherine is at the secret door to Allison's room trying to coax the young woman out, the viewer is every bit as curious as Archie and Hodges are later in the episode when they sneak into the morgue eager to see the body of the man afflicted with the "werewolf syndrome." Though Archie and Hodges are sent packing by Dr. Robbins, the viewer gets a good look at Allison. She's meek but never simpering, and Leisha Hailey is particularly good at emphasizing Allison's shrewdness--she wants to put away her brother's killer but doesn't want to become a "sideshow freak" in order to do it. It's safe to assume that Hayden wouldn't have wanted that for her, either, given that he sheltered her once their mother abandoned her. Allison is also smart enough to have figured out her mother didn't die in a car crash. She might be isolated from society, but Allison is no naive waif.

Those looking to learn more about Hypertrichosis can see from descriptions and pictures that the condition varies in severity, which explains why Hayden was more or less able to live a normal life and his sister, who had much more hair than he did, was not. Allison's isolate makes Hayden's death even more sad, since it essentially leaves her alone, although in the last scene of the episode we see her mother tentatively knocking on the door, indicating a reunion is imminent.

I always enjoy seeing one case alone as the focus on an entire episode--there's plenty of time to full explore every avenue and at the conclusion the full impact of the case sinks in. The cases themselves often seem more memorable as well--episodes like "Bloodlines", "Grave Danger", "Still Life" and now "Werewolves" resonate long after the final credits roll.

The character moments come in small doses in this episode, but there's a particularly nice scene with Catherine and Grissom discussing getting a warrant for Brent Moyer's house. Catherine worries that the evidence they have--the rock with Moyer's fingerprints on it--is flimsy and getting the warrant is a risk. She suspects Grissom will disapprove of the idea but he surprises her by pointing out that in many cases they've known who the killer is and haven't had the evidence to obtain a warrant, and therefore in this case, when they do have the evidence, she should take the chance. It's a nice moment between the two that emphasizes why Grissom and Catherine work so well together. They clash sometimes, but they also support each other when it counts.

There's clearly still tension between Sofia and Sara--it's evident when Sofia complains that Sara kept her waiting at the phone booth for hours. I feel bad for Sofia, who has already been through hell this season when she was suspected of shooting another officer, and I can't help but wish a situation would come up where she and Sara could bury the hatchet. Though, with Grissom between them, that might not happen anytime soon, if ever.

There are also several quietly powerful scenes between Catherine and Allison. It is Catherine who is able to coax Allison out of her room initially, and Catherine who labors to find a way to get enough evidence against Brent while keeping Allison's existence a secret. There's a compelling mother/daughter aspect to their interactions, and at the end it's no surprise to see Catherine following up with Allison even as Allison's own mother debates coming to the door to reconnect with the daughter she hasn't seen in seven years.

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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