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Cases are connected by one man on ‘CSI’

Three bodies and three pets named Gareth make for a strange night as Ray, Catherine and Nick realize that all of their "CSI" cases overlap.
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And for our first body: Ray investigated the death of Carsten Pennington, a wealthy art dealer who was found dead in his pool. He wasn’t quite what he seemed. His cat, Gareth, couldn’t stop licking fragments of a priceless broken vase, which turned out to be a fake. It had been smeared with yogurt and then covered with dirt to falsely age it. But you can’t fool a cat. Carsten’s fiancée, Darcy, was the most likely suspect, but perhaps she’d had a little help.

Heartbreak hotel: Jena Mackin was found dead in her hotel room. She’d been shot twice through the chin, and the bullets had gone through her brain. A bloody fingerprint on a tortoise named Gareth led Catherine to actor Mickey Ross, the star of a series of low budget “Killer Instinct” films. But he said he didn’t kill her. She had fallen for Tripp, a producer who had promised to revive Mickey’s career. Mickey said that Jena had gone to find Tripp, but he had pretended not to recognize her. Despondent, she killed herself. And the reason that Tripp didn’t acknowledge her is that he’d moved on to a new life as … Carsten Pennington.

Double trouble: Why two shots? The ammo in Jenna’s gun was oxidized and old. The first bullet got stuck in the chamber; the second one pushed them both through.

Pinball wizard: Tucked under the steering column of a car was the third body of the night: private investigator Sean Hagen. At first, the CSIs couldn’t determine the cause of death, but it turned out that a bullet that had gone through Hagen’s hand had traveled up his arm and into his torso, moving through his lungs and ending up in his spleen. “Ballistic pinball,” Nick called it. Nick also found a contact lens on the body.

Is there a doctor in the house? Nick tracked down Dr. Anton, who’d hired Hagen to find Ryan Morton, a man he’d treated as a second son, who had swindled him out of $175,000 and left town. Dr. Anton denied killing Hagen. And the contact lens cleared him. A Web site revealed that Ryan had a dog named Gareth. The contact lens belonged to his brother, named — you guessed it — Gareth.

Sibling rivalry: Brass arrested the human Gareth, who said he’d come to Vegas to track down Ryan to sign a quit claim on the house that his mother had left him. He said that Hagen had come looking for him, trying to find Ryan. Gareth had gone to the cocktail party at Ryan/Carsten/Tripp’s house, but he said he didn’t kill him. “I still loved him," he said. "I just didn’t have the courage to tell him.”

Clue is in the underwear: In Ray’s search of Gareth’s car, he found clothes from a bargain-basement store, but there was also a $150 pair of underwear. Carsten’s fianceé, Darcy, confirmed what Ray hinted at. The Gareth who was arrested was actually Ryan/Carsten/Tripp. And the body in the pool was Gareth. Ryan/Carsten/Tripp had killed Gareth accidentally in the midst of a fight, and then he and Darcy had thrown the body in the pool. He then took on Gareth’s identity, and accidentally killed Hagen.

One last tall tale: Ryan told Brass that he had tried to give his mom money back when she was alive, but that Gareth wouldn't let him. “That is so sad,” Brass said. “What old movie did you steal it from? You’re just one lie wrapped in another.”

“It’s the truth,” Ryan said. “I swear to God. Even if it never happened.”

Who is that guy? If Ryan/Carsten/Tripp looked a little familiar, you might be a “House” or “Scrubs” fan. Actor Michael Weston played Lucas, the P.I. who befriended House early this season and he also played Private Brian Dancer on “Scrubs.” Weston also wore a suit of armor in “Garden State.”