507 Charlie Don’t Surf

So you’re telling me the guy who surfed this island more than anybody else, paddles out on the swell of the decade with his big wave board, to a spot with no waves …

Summary: The death of a family friend puts Don’s team on the trail of an even bigger crime.

Original air date: November 14, 2008 (US)

Written by: Steve Hawk

Directed by: Emilio Estevez

Opening numbers:

60: Knot winds
96: Hour storm
1,500: Miles of open ocean
50: Foot waves

Family Concepts: (character development)

  • Colby is a surfer; he learned when he was stationed at Schofield Barracks on O’ahu, Hawai’i
  • Charlie was a good chess player at age four
  • Don needed a better pitcher to toss batting practice when he was eleven

Episode Quotes:

  • Alan: Stuff rubs off on out kids. Most of the time we don’t even know what stuff.
  • Colby: Thanks for running.  It’s easier to tell who’s guilty.
  • Colby: There’s a science behind fried grasshoppers!
  • David: Hey, dude, gnarly wipe out.
    Colby: You did not just say that.

Episode Synopsis:

Keith Watts, a friend of the Eppes family asks Don to look into the death of his son Nathan.  Don and Nate grew up together and played baseball together until Nathan decided to become a pro surfer.  Nathan was found dead in the water, an apparent drowning victim.  Keith doesn’t accept that explanation; Nathan liked big waves, but he was also careful.  Keith points out since Nate stopped surfing professionally he joined the Parks Service for the Channel Islands and had threats.  Don agrees to look over the file on the investigation and make sure everything that could be checked was checked.  Don is watching video of Nathan surfing when Colby notices something wrong.  Nathan surfed with his left foot back, however his board leash was on his right ankle, not something Nathan would have done.  Don realizes someone put the leash on Nathan’s ankle after he died, meaning Nate didn’t simply drown.

David interviews Nathan’s Parks Service partner, Carmeron Wilson but he isn’t much help.  The Channel Islands are a lot of ground and water to cover, but most people behave.  Nathan did run in a pair of sea urchin fishermen for killing sea otters.  Colby and Nikki arrest the fisherman, but soon realize they had nothing to do with Nathan’s death.  Don interviews Nathan’s girlfriend, Melissa Conroy and finds out the two broke up a few months ago. Nathan was happy in the island, Melissa however needed to make a living.

Charlie is able to reconstruct what the surf looked like the day Nathan was killed.  For some reason Nathan was in an area of the Channel Islands that was not experiencing big waves.  However his body was caught in an eddy and could have been floating for hours before he was found.  Looking at video footage from an interview Nathan did for a interview, the name Pat Drummond comes up as a potential suspect.  Pat and Nathan exchanges words over the fact Drummond was jet skiing in an area where jet ski’s are prohibited. Colby and Nikki go talk to him, but Drummond says he wouldn’t do anything to hurt Nathan, and he even saved Nathan’s life once.  Besides he was out surfing, or trying to get to a good spot to surf the day Nathan died.

There is a rumor marijuana is being farmed on the Channel Islands and it’s possible Nathan found the area.  Cameron doesn’t think it’s possible; there is a lot of marijuana farmed on federal land, but as far as he knows, nothing has made it out to the Islands, yet.  Colby and David have reason to suspect Pat Drummond of growing and they go back out to his surf shop to talk to him.  They find evidence of marijuana being packaged and arrest Drummond’s assistant, Kevin.  Kevin says Pat didn’t grow the stuff, he stole it from a grower on the Islands. He doesn’t know if Pat killed Nathan or even where Drummond is now.

Charlie is able to pinpoint where on the Island the farm must be.  Colby, David and Nikki lead a group out to the area and find the plants have been harvested.  They also find Drummond dead.  Nearby they find a surfboard.  Colby is able to trace the board back to Frank Hagen who made the board.  Hagen is able to use the number on the board to find out who he made it for.  IN this case the board was shaped for Carmeron Wilson.  Don and Colby arrest Wilson as he’s trying to get away with a load of marijuana to sell.  Wilson admits he killed Drummond, but says he didn’t kill Nathan.  Wilson tells Nikki Drummond had a partner: Melissa Conroy.  Don and Colby arrest Melissa who tells them she and Drummond were arrested by Nathan the day he died. When Nathan refused to make a deal, Melissa hit him over the head with a kayak paddle when he was turned away from her.