CSI
Spark Of Life

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The Wages Of Sin...

And now we're back to DNA Freakshow with Gil and Mia. Sadly, they are not dressed like ninjas this time. She pulls up the genetic charts she whipped up, and explains of the first, "This is the standard ladder of alleles that I run against every unknown DNA, and it contains all of the commonly encountered alleles in the population. You see at locus D3, the alleles are 12-19. Now, as you can see on the sample on the bottom, the locus D3 alleles are 15 and 21." In other words, the 21 allele is outside the normal range encountered in the population. Gil gets it: "It's an off-ladder peak, like Tara Matthews." Yes. Just like, as Mia demonstrates when she pulls down another chart and says, "And this is the DNA that was extracted from the vaginal contributions to the sheets at the Stewart house." Catherine breathes, "Tara Matthews' DNA in the Stewarts' bed." Gil says with some asperity, "We're working the same case."

So what better time to have a family meeting over pancakes? Unfortunately, Gil forgets the pancakes and brings only the evidence. He tells everyone there were several spots of high-density polyethylene embedded in Tara's fingers. Sara adds that the plastic's consistent with the material in most disposable lighters, and she just happened to find the top of a disposable lighter at the scene of the fire. Warrick points out that heat melts plastic and butane adds the kind of pressure that could drive plastic into someone's fingers. Catherine sputters incredulously, "So the lighter blew up in her hand? Are you saying she set herself on fire?" Well, that's what the flashback seems to indicate. Sara, who's still carrying quite the hate-on for the truck driver, speculates, "It's attempted suicide. She'd been assaulted by a truck driver shortly before her death, she was clinically depressed, she was having problems in her marriage --" "You know, some Eastern cultures believe that fire cleanses the soul," Gil begins, and Catherine takes time to derail a comparative theology lecture in the making by pointing out that if Tara's looking for excuses to purify the soul, "sleeping with Morgan Stewart" is as good an excuse as any. Catherine muses, "If she attempted suicide several hours after the Stewarts died, she's a possible suspect." Gil counters that "Just having her DNA in the bed doesn't prove she was there for the murders." Sara likes Neal for the murders, and that's when we find out from Warrick that Neal and Morgan have been friends since they were kids: "Neal was good at making money and Morgan was good at making debts." Sara theorizes, "Morgan was jealous of Neal, sleeps with Tara out of spite, Corinne finds out --" "And three people end up dead," Gil says. He then gets to the point: "If Morgan shot himself, then he's the prime suspect in the murders. But if he himself was murdered, then somebody else was in the house." I like the six-year-old for it. Kidding!

It looks like all signs point to Neal. Brass is swinging by the hospital to make some small talk -- unsuccessfully -- about how Tara's doing before asking, "With the detective who interviewed you earlier, why didn't you tell him your best friend and his family had just been killed?" Neal claims he didn't know. He also claims he wasn't at Morgan's house the day he was killed, but can't quite vouch for Tara. Brass prods a little with, "Well, she's been spending a lot of time there." Predictably, Neal rises to the bait with, "What's that supposed to mean?" Tactful as ever, Brass says, "Your wife was having an affair with your best friend." Now comes the fake empathy: "I feel for you, I do. Friends don't sleep with their friends' wives." Neal says scornfully, "You think you know how I feel," and Brass shrugs, "Guilty." Neal admits that yeah, he does feel guilty: "I couldn't give my wife what she needed. If she went to Morgan, that's the reason. She never handled rejection well." Brass does some fishing around to see if maybe Morgan rejected Tara to the point where she was driven to kill. Morgan's all, "Nope. Not Tara." Brass somehow ignores the big, flashing "BECAUSE IT WAS ME!" sign hanging over Neal's head.

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