The Money Maker on the Merry-Go-Round
A bunch of dads playing at the park with their kids find a dead body under a merry-go-round. The whole merry-go-round is brought back to the Jeffersonian, apparently so that some intestine can fall on Saroyan. Brennan and Wells estimate sex as male from the lack of subpubic concavity, age-at-death as mid- to late-20s from the auricular surface, and white ancestry from the parabolic dental arch. Saroyan puts time-of-death at 2 to 2.5 days before. The dead man had a mouth full of veneers worth tens of thousands of dollars, but no phone or wallet, and his wedding band was missing. There's hemorrhagic staining in the cranium around the time of death. Saroyan and Angela reconstruct the skull and face and get a positive ID: Toby Wachlin.
Booth questions Anne Wachlin, but she just returned from a trip. She notes that Toby worked at Horizon Equities, and Aubrey bristles (wahn wahnnnn, sad backstory alert). They go talk to Mason Barnes, who runs the company. He said that Toby was having issues with Blair Ellis, who has a temper. Blair denies killing Toby.
Hodgins finds from the lack of playground particulates in Toby's shoes that he was killed elsewhere. Saroyan finds that Toby had a cocaine problem. Traces of an industrial-strength insecticide coupled with pollen from Hungarian oak trees lead the FBI to a house in an affluent neighborhood. While Wells figures out that there were multiple points of impact on Toby's skull from a blunt object, Booth finds out that Toby was injured in Derek Kaplan's house the night of his death. Wells notes a perimortem injury to the distal radius from a thin, cylindrical object that came to a point. Angela looks at Kaplan's bedroom and thinks the weapon may have been the candlestick. Toby was in the bedroom with an escort. The escort admits to having stabbed Toby with the candlestick, but denies killing him. He owed her money for cocaine, so she took his wallet, cell, and wedding ring as collateral; he wanted the cell phone back desperately. Angela needs Toby's iris to unlock his phone, so Saroyan reconstitutes it with saline. Once in, they find evidence that Toby's boss was trying to bribe the chief technical officer at the stock exchange to put their computer closer to the server. Wells finds hemorrhagic staining to the right side of the mandible, circular and 25mm in diameter.
Booth heads back to Horizon to arrest Barnes for securities fraud. Barnes denies killing Toby. Brennan finds blood on Barnes' desk and doorknob, but he insists that anyone could have come into his office because it's unlocked. Wells goes back to the wounds and finds that Toby was hit 9 times; Brennan hypothesizes that the skull may have fractured along the suture lines and that that fracture may have cut the killer. Within the sagittal suture, they find a fragment of emerald. Booth realizes it's a ring that Ellis wears, and they call him in for questioning. He admits it pretty quickly: Toby was sneaking into Barnes' office to take money to give to the escort/coke dealer, and Ellis was annoyed that Toby wasn't playing well with others.
- Lack of subpubic concavity is one of three traits used in the Phenice technique for estimating sex. It's not the best trait (that would be ventral arc), but at least it's better than narrow ischiopubic ramus ridge, amiright? Auricular surface aging is fine, I suppose, but a parabolic dental arch isn't the most reliable indicator of ancestry. As usual, no osteologist would use just three traits to ID the person. (As a point of reference, I just handed out a packet of 25 pages of data collection sheets to my Human Osteology class today, for use in their final skeletal ID report.)
- I don't buy that the cranial sutures would break in such a way that they could cut the assailant without his noticing it. I mean, there's muscle and flesh and other stuff before you get to the bone.
- They're not even pretending that these are federal cases anymore, are they? There's no reason to call the FBI in, like, most of the last several seasons.
- Anthropologists know that IQ is not a good measure of intelligence. So it's weird that Wells and Brennan keep arguing about it.
- Why aren't sex, age, ancestry, veneers, and missing person's report enough for ID? Why do they need to do a facial reconstruction (which always seems to make a positive ID, even though in real life, that doesn't cut it)?
- How did Ellis move Toby's body? Why the playground? Why under the merry-go-round? Seems really random.
- Oh jeez, far too many people said the word "ass" far too many times in this episode.
Forensic Mystery - C+. Pretty clear who did it from the get-go.
Forensic Solution - B-. Eh. Not much forensic work in this episode. Pretty tidy all around.
Drama - C. I aggressively don't care about Aubrey's back story. I kinda liked him better before they tried to give him depth.