Identity Crisis is the eighth episode of the first season, and the eighth episode overall. It was released on April 1, 2005.
When Riley, who practiced an ingenious pyramid method of skinning numerous bank accounts for over half a million dollars, is strangled, exactly the same way - not revealed to the press - as Lisa Bayle, for whose murder Don Eppes' investigation once put Cliff Howard in jail after a plea bargain-confession, Don now fears the wrong man was arrested. Charlie helps him quantify the improbability of such a coincidence, which leads him to seriously question the forensic evidence. Electrician Jose Salazar, whom Don suspects, equally turns out to be innocent of Lisa's murder, but Charlie realizes that's not the point: what if a third person committed both murders, linked rather by the victims?
A friendly poker game is being held at the Eppes' house. Charlie is winning. He finds out that there is a baseball league among the local law enforcement. He wonders why Don, who used to play second base in the minors, isn't playing on the FBI team. Don and David get called to a crime scene.
They meet Terry there. The victim's girlfriend found him not long ago. He (Riley) died that morning. The murder mimics one from a year and a half ago. It couldn't be a copycat as not all the details were released to the press. Don goes back over the previous murder while looking into Riley who was a con man.
He stops by the Eppes' house to talk to Charlie about the case. He brushes off both Alan and Charlie's comments about him not playing on the FBI baseball team and focuses on the case. It takes some convincing, but Charlie agrees to help. Don reveals that Cliff Howard, the man that was put away for the first murder, plead guilty and so the case never went to trial.
At Riley's apartment they find a bunch of money stashed in various places throughout from the cons he ran. They hear a neighbour, Mark Andric, in his own apartment and talk to him. He says that he heard Riley arguing (louder than his opera music) with an electrician the morning he was killed. David follows up with the electrician, Jose Salazar. They did have an argument, but he says he couldn't have been at the apartment because he was at the batting cages. Don and Terry look into it, but the staff couldn't say if he was there or not.
Charlie discovers that Riley had been running a pyramid scheme on his clients. Don asks him to look into the previous murder of Lisa Bayle. Terry finds out that Riley got his client list from his girlfriend. During interrogation they find out that she had been blackmailed for the list. They bring Andric in to look at potential suspects for the murder. He identifies Salazar and Don and David bring him in. He sticks to his story. Don starts asking him about the Bayle murder. Charlie and Don meet to find out what he found. Don says he's going to get Howard out of jail if he was truly innocent of Lisa Bayle's murder. Don and David talk to Howard's wife.
Charlie asks to Terry about how lineups are conducted and points out some flaws in the how they're done. She agrees to bring in the witness from the Bayle murder to ask her to redo the lineup. Don talks with Jonas Bayle, Lisa's husband, to see if he knew or saw Salazar and that there are questions about Howard's guilt.
Larry, Amita, and Charlie discuss the flaws in the traditional lineup process. The witness from the Bayle murder comes in. Terry shows her a picture of Salazar and the witness identifies him as the murderer. They decide to check the only hard evidence that they have from Lisa Bayle's murder - a fingerprint. Based on what the tech sees it was Howard's. Charlie questions that methodology. The fingerprint does not match Salazar's prints at all due to a rare marker on the print.
Larry, Alan, and Charlie are eating dinner. Don is mulling over the case over basketball. Larry gives Charlie an idea. Don needs to find a different approach to solve both murders. They need to find a link between the victims rather than the killer.
Don and David go back to the batting cage and asks another person to look at some photos. He recognises Salazar. Don suggests they go talk to Andric at the school that he works at as a music teacher. Don realises that Lisa Bayle's daughter goes to the same school. When they arrive at Andric's classroom they find out that he hasn't been to work in about a week. They try to find him at his home, but he has fled.
It turns out that Mark Andric immigrated from Bosnia and was really a former Serbian Lieutenant under an assumed name. They track down the cities where he used to live: Sydney, New York, Chicago, and LA. They find him in Seattle. The SWAT team arrest him, but it's not Andric. It's the man that Andric sold his credit card to as a red herring. They try to find what links the four cities that he lived in and what their appeal was to him. They figure out the link: world-class opera companies. A well-known opera singer is doing a final performance in LA that night, the suspect that Andric will be there. They stake-out the theatre. He spots them and runs, but they catch up to him.
Don talks to Jonas again. He suspected something was going on between Lisa and Andric. He didn't say anything about his suspicions due to him being a suspect. At the prison Don talks to Howard about the case. He is released and reunites with his family. Don brushes up on his skills in prep for the FBI's baseball team.
- Rob Morrow as Don Eppes
- David Krumholtz as Charlie Eppes
- Judd Hirsch as Alan Eppes
- Alimi Ballard as David Sinclair
- Sabrina Lloyd as Terry Lake
- Peter MacNicol as Larry Fleinhardt
- Molly Hagan as Fingerprint Technician
- Luis Antonio Ramos as Jose Salazar
- Chris Butler as Cliff Howard
- Marek Probosz as Mark Andric
- Dominic Fumusa as Jonas Bayle
- Angela Paton as Eyewitness
- Vanita Harbour as Velma Howard
- Janan Raouf as Mikelle
- Charlie's manner of playing poker is presumably very similar in essence to Larry Fleinhardt's, and would probably equally get him barred from most official gambling establishments, one way or another.
[This appears on the beginning of the episode] 23,360,309 Accused, 1,541,809 Convictions, 10,160 Exonerated, 2 Same MO