Season 12
Number 3
Writer Melissa R. Byer,
Treena Hancock
Director Frank Waldeck
Original Airdate October 5, 2011
Previous Episode: Tell-Tale Hearts
Next Episode: Maid Man

Bittersweet is the third episode in Season Twelve of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.


After finding body parts of a missing girl in concrete, the CSIs look back at a case that was solved years ago for answers. The CSIs must also find out how a man was able to literally drown in chocolate.


Victim: Samantha Chase (deceased)

On the case: Catherine Willows, D.B. Russell, Nick Stokes, Sara Sidle

Nick is at an art gallery opening with Doc Robbins’ niece, Callie. Upon close inspection of one of the pieces, he notices fluid dripping from a block of cement. The smell of human decomposition leads him to calling for backup. He and Russell find another piece of cement nearby with the impression of a human face. The artist tells the CSIs that he found the cement blocks in Tresser Park, where people dump their trash. Nick and Russell head out to the dump site and locate the blocks containing the rest of the young woman’s body parts. Insect activity leads Nick to conclude that the body has been exposed for about three weeks.

Nick recognizes the silver flower earrings the victim was wearing and brings Russell up to speed about a past case that Sara worked. The husband and wife team of Gina and Todd Sinclair kidnapped girls, sexually abused them, killed them, and dumped their dismembered bodies in blocks of cement. Russell watches a video of Gina and Todd abusing one of their victims, Colleen Hughes, but the videos weren't found until after the verdict came down. Colleen, who was held captive for three years, was the only surviving victim because she was completely compliant and indulged the Sinclairs' fantasies. Todd will be in jail for life, but Gina convinced the jury that she was just as much of a victim as the girls. She’s already out of jail on parole, having been released two months ago. Sara believes that Gina is already up to her old tricks and asks to be put on the case.

Nick and Sara free the other body parts from the cement blocks. In autopsy, Doc Robbins tells them that the victim is between 12 and 15 years old, which is consistent with the other Sinclair victims. There's evidence of sexual assault, possibly with a foreign object, and Sara notes that Gina used to use beer bottles. The tool marks used to cut up the most recent victim match the marks made on the previous bodies, as well.

Catherine views a website started by Ed Burroughs, the father of the Sinclairs' second victim. Ed has dedicated his life to following the Sinclairs' every move and is aware that Gina is out of prison. Russell knows that Sara is one of many people who want to see Gina pay for what she did, and Catherine advises him to protect his team. Sara goes to pay Gina a visit and finds Ed sitting outside in his car, adhering to his restraining order. After sending Ed home, Sara has a chat with Gina, who still blames Todd for the past murders. Sara alerts everyone in the complex that Gina is a rapist and advises the tenants to keep an extremely close eye on their children.

Back at the lab, Russell lays into Sara, telling her that Gina's attorney has threatened to sue Sara and the department for harassment. He adds that the team needs to be unbiased and impartial. Defense attorneys attack the CSIs when they can't attack the evidence, and Sara made a scene in front of 30 potential jurors. Though Sara isn't kicked off the case, Russell offers to speak to Colleen Hughes in her stead.

The police use serial numbers on appliances dumped in Tresser Park to track down potential suspects or witnesses. Ryan Thomas dumped his microwave with the other junk three weeks ago, which is around the time the body was dumped. When shown a photo of Gina's truck, he tells Nick that he saw the same truck that night with an attractive woman behind the wheel.

Russell meets with Colleen, who is in disbelief that Gina has been let out of prison. Colleen refuses to move back in with her parents and doesn't trust anyone else due to PTSD from the abduction. She also refuses police protection and tells Russell that she's done being a victim. Russell gives her a department business card with his cell phone number on the back.

Meanwhile, the victim in cement is identified as 13-year-old Samantha Chase, who went missing three weeks ago. She would walk home from the library every day, passing Gina's apartment building along the way. Sara knows that Gina is guilty, but Russell reminds her that nothing was found during a search of Gina's apartment. Trace results from Samantha's fingernail scrapings comes back as dog hair—more specifically, hair belonging to a Pomeranian, the same breed of dog Gina owns. However, it’s clear that Gina would've needed help lifting the cement blocks to dump them, so she has a new accomplice.

Colleen's mother comes to the station and tells Russell and Sara that her daughter is missing. Her gut feeling is that Gina has struck again. The CSIs go to Gina's apartment and find Ed Burrows holding her at knifepoint; he has also hit her in the face a few times. They convince Ed to drop the knife, telling him that Colleen is missing and only Gina can help them. After Ed gives up, Gina thanks Sara for her help. Sara walks away in disgust.

Trace in Samantha's body parts comes back as soap that's commonly used in industrial pressure washers. Nick cuts a pork shank with a pressure washer and finds that the traumatic injuries are consistent with the other cases. Sara notes that there was no soap found in the other cases, and Nick theorizes that rinsing the body was Todd's job. In this case, either Gina or her accomplice missed that step, leaving soap behind.

Henry tells Russell that semen from Samantha's vaginal swab is a match to DNA taken from someone else in the case—Ryan Thomas. Fibers pulled from the cement blocks turn out to be fiberglass, and the team notes that Ryan's last employment was at a marina, which houses fiberglass boats. Russell figures that a power washer would be used in washing the boats.

The team heads to the marina that employed Ryan and make their way towards an abandoned warehouse in the back. There, they shockingly find Colleen torturing a young girl while Ryan films it. While being arrested, Colleen tells Sara that she wanted to give Gina "another flower" and claims that she's a "good girl."

In the hospital, Sara tells Colleen's mother that her daughter was at a critical age when she was abducted, as she was still developing some key aspects of her personality; thus, she started to identify with her abusers. Colleen's mother asks how she can now protect her daughter from herself.

Victim: Chad Ellis (deceased)

On the case: Greg Sanders, Morgan Brody

A naked male body has been found in an alley under a highway overpass. Greg and Morgan arrive on the scene while David Phillips examines the body. The victim has blunt force trauma, but there's no blood pool around the body. Lividity is prominent in the lower extremities; however, there's no blanching on the soles of his feet. This would indicate that the victim died standing up, but not standing on anything. Absence of ligature marks leads David to conclude that the victim wasn't hung. The victim is well fed and doesn't seem to be a drug addict, leading the CSIs to guess that this is a body dump.

In autopsy, Doc Robbins is perplexed as to why the victim's lungs are inflated. He and Morgan soon find that the lungs are filled with chocolate. When combined with the findings at the crime scene, Greg and Morgan conclude that their victim was floating in the chocolate after drowning in it. They fill Russell in; based on the height and weight of the victim, he tells the CSIs to track down a vat of chocolate that can hold at least 100 gallons.

The team tracks the vat to the Sinful Pleasures candy company. Upon arriving, Morgan admires the pictures of the male model on the wall, who is seen drizzling chocolate on himself. The CEO, Angie Salinger, recognizes the victim from his photo, telling the CSIs that he came into the factory a few days ago looking for a job. However, Angie doesn't remember the applicant's name off the top of her head.

Analysis of the chocolate identifies the particular type, and when Morgan examines the vat, she finds a pubic hair floating on top. Greg notes that if their victim died in the vat, someone had to get him out. The-six foot drop from the vat to the floor would explain the postmortem blow to the victim's head. Since the area around the vat is spotless, someone definitely cleaned up after getting rid of the body. Greg examines the drain in the floor nearby and finds a piece of scalp stuck to it.

The victim is identified as 25-year-old Chad Ellis. A search of his place reveals that he was gorging himself on chocolate before he drowned in it. Greg searches Chad's laptop and finds over a thousand images of the male model Morgan was ogling earlier. They see that the model's eyes are a rare amber color and note that Chad also had amber eyes. A comparison of Chad's DMV photo and the model show that they're the same person, only Chad is now 100 pounds heavier.

Under interrogation, Angie identifies the model as 'Tristan Duran' and is surprised to find out that 'Tristan' and Chad are the same person. She admits to having a fling with 'Tristan' and assumed that he was modeling overseas after they parted ways. When confronted with the evidence, Angie admits that Chad paid off her security guard and drowned himself in the vat in an effort to relive the happiest days of his life. She then paid the security guard to dispose of the body and clean up the scene. Greg informs her that dumping a body is a felony, punishable for up to five years in prison. Lying to the police could add another year to the sentence.


Main Cast[]

Guest Cast[]

Major Events[]

  • Henry Andrews has been promoted to DNA Technician.


  • Though credited on this site and on IMDb, Wallace Langham (Hodges) and Paul Guilfoyle (Brass) do not actually appear in this episode.


See Also[]

CSI:Las Vegas Season 12
73 SecondsTell-Tale HeartsBittersweetMaid ManCSI DownFreaks & GeeksBrain DoeCrime After CrimeZipperedGenetic DisorderMs. Willows RegretsWillows in the WindTressed to KillSeeing RedStealing HomeCSI UnpluggedTrends with BenefitsMalice in WonderlandSplit DecisionsAltered StakesDune and GloomHomecoming