Langston is shocked to confront the corpse of Sylvia Mallick, his former criminology student, whom he promised continued support for her grad assistant thesis on serial killers and the hunt for them. Even her house mate, barman, Dan Forrester, was kept in the dark about her research on escaped killers. The team tracks it to the Mexican 'lutta libre' free-style wrestling circus, and especially the extra crazy voodoo practice there.
One of Langston's former grad assistants is murdered. He discovers that she was investigating Mexican wrestlers to solve a series of unsolved murders.
- "CSI" - "Mascara" - April 2, 2009
The Who get a break tonight as the credits run over a burning ring of fire, through which a man in Mexican wrestling mask jumps. People watch the match, drinking and carousing. One young blond woman seems overcome by drink or drug, dropping her glass and stumbling out. As she tries to flag down cars for help she sees a man in a wrestling mask and foolishly flees down some steps and under a spooky underpass instead of staying on the street in full view of traffic. The man follows her. She stumbles and runs and falls. The man grabs her by the neck and kills her.
Later, in the rain, the CSI's - Catherine, Langston, and Brass- examine the scene. Ray recognizes her as Sylvia, one of his former criminology students at WLVU.
We flash back to 4 months ago when Langston was meeting with Sylvia in a diner to tell her he's becoming a CSI. He's her thesis advisor but he's passing her off to another professor and thinks she'll do well. He says if she needs him all she has to do is call. She says she will.
Back in the present Langston takes photo of Sylvia on the slab. Catherine says there's no sign of sexual trauma. Langston notices she's holding a small scrap of leather in her hand. Hodges and Wendy try to ID it: boot, purse, glove, jacket, very small cow.
Cause of death was a broken neck/spinal cord according to Robbins. He's going to run a tox screen. Langston says it will come back negative since Sylvia wasn't a party girl.
Langston looks at traffic cameras and Riley enters with phone records. A Dan Forrester called her repeatedly. Langston knows him.
He goes to the casino where Forrester is a bartender. Dan and Sylvia lived together. The last time he saw her was the previous night when they fought about her going out somewhere to do research. Langston informs her she's dead. He freaks, he doesn't know what the research was, only that she kept that info in an office at school.
Langston goes there. It's been ransacked. He picks up a copy of his book from the floor among the scattered papers. He had autographed it for her. He flips through the pages and finds a folded photo of what appears to be a dead girl with the same wounds around her neck as Sylvia had.
We flashback to another meeting at the diner between Langston and Sylvia. She reports that life is complicated since her new advisor took a sabbatical. She asks if he can get her a couple of crime scene photos from some unsolved homicides. She won't tell him what her research is but she promises to let him read her thesis once it's done.
Back at the lab he and Catherine are looking at crime scene photos of women killed the same way. All Latino and physically similar, all murdered 11 years ago. The guy was called the Southwest Stalker but the guy was never caught. She doesn't fit the profile of the victims but Langston thinks she was investigating the murders and wound up dead. They think the killer grabbed her purse, went to her office, and confiscated her research to cover his tracks.
No luck turning up a match on the little piece of leather in her hand. They did find a weird drug in her system that was consistent with other victims. A strange hallucinogen used by Santeria to commune with the dead. He goes to NARCO to find out how one might get some of this weird drug.
Nick and Brass go run down a dealer. No one answers the door. They're about to leave when there's a scream. An older woman comes to the door. They walk into some tribal ritual with drums and religious statues and dancing and chanting. There's a ground powder on the table that looks like the drug to Nick. Brass breaks up the party.
Back at the lab Nick and Brass show a medicine man-type gentleman a photo of Sylvia and the little piece of leather she had.
Langston and Sanders look at a bit of surveillance video of Sylvia in a few places including the street where she almost got hit. They locate a corner from whence she came and Langston and Nick go to the wrestling club. Another match is going on. They watch, we watch. Guys in masks go at each other in the ring.
The announcer whips up the crowd. (He was one of the people at the ritual/party although his face is painted now.) Langston and Nick and now Brass take a walk around the club.
Langston interviews one of the wrestlers who has a record in Texas. He's offended since he hasn't committed in a felony in two years. They show him Sylvia's picture. He saw her once, two weeks ago, she asked for an autograph in the parking lot. Another man at the club, wrestler or bouncer who also has a rap is asked for a DNA sample. He turns them down. They question another older gentleman who has a rap in New Mexico. His signature move is a neck twist/headlock. They point out since he wears a mask no one would know who was attacking him if he attacked in the real world. They interview the announcer who admits it felt good to have a pretty young girl asking him questions. It took him back to the days when he was wrestling champion. He also has a rap for beating his wife, but the charges were dropped. They show him Sylvia's picture and he explains she was a fan of Lucha Libre and investigating it for a paper she was writing. They run the other victims' names by him.. He doesn't know any of them. They ask for a sample of his DNA. He turns them down saying it got him in trouble in the past.
Langston and Hodges look at photos of wrestler masks. Langston thinks this is where the leather piece came from. Hodges says if it did, it's an old mask, at least 50 years old.
Riley pulls photos of masks and sends them to Langston. He tries to match the leather piece to one and does.
They bring the guy who uses that kind of mask- Fantazmo- in for an interview. He says his dad gave him one from 50 years ago. The one he's holding is a copy. He rhapsodizes about how much he loves Lucha Libre. He also has a rap, a bar brawl with fans who thought wrestling was fake. The charges were dropped. He also has a signature head lock move. They ask for a DNA sample. He says sure.
Wendy tells Catherine she got a hit. She subtracted Fantazmo's DNA and came up with the announcer guy, the one who beat his wife.
We cut to the real Fantazmo fingering his ripped mask. The announcer guy comes in and Fantazmo wants to know what he was doing with his classic mask. Fantazmo accuses him. The announcer says he had nothing to do with it. Fantazmo is mad that announcer guy brought the heat down on them all. The announcer swears he didn't do it. Fantazmo kicks him out. He goes into a tanning booth. We see a hand outside turn on some showers. Fantazmo leaves the tanning booth and the announcer guy shoots him twice. This just makes Fantazmo mad and he comes out and wrestles the guy under the shower heads. They both fall and announcer guy finally gets off a fatal shot.
The announcer guy hurriedly wipes his face and Brass and Langston appear behind him. Announcer guy takes off through the crowd, currently watching another match. They chase him. They corner him at an exit.
Back at interrogation he claims he's innocent. Langston says they have the DNA. He says he didn't do it. They show him the pictures of the other women. He says he didn't do it. He says it was "Agoon"- the god of violence- did it. He says he tried to stop him, reason with him, but Agoon would not listen. So the guy is bonkers. Langston freaks out and pins announcer guy to the table in great anger. Brass has him back off. He walks out and breaks a bunch of stuff. He flashes back to Sylvia at the diner who is telling him he'll be a great CSI. He says she will be one day too.
More calmly he walks into his office and opens Sylvia's file and takes out her photo. He has found her thesis and is forwarding it to a professional journal just like she wanted. We hear her voice-over reading her introduction, saying she's dedicated her thesis to the cold cases of the LVPD and hopes by the time she's done with her paper the serial killers will have been caught.