Blood Drops
Blood drops
Season 1
Number 7
Writer Ann Donahue,
Tish McCarthy
Director Kenneth Fink
Original Airdate November 17, 2000
Previous Episode: Who Are You?
Next Episode: Anonymous

Blood Drops is the seventh episode in Season One of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.


When four members of a family are brutally murdered in a suburban house, except the two daughters who are the sole survivors, the night shift is called. At first, Grissom and his entire team suspect a bizarre cult murder, but the evidence tells an even more disturbing story when they discover the motive behind the massacre.


Victim: Four victims of Collins family (all deceased)

On the case: entire team

Tina Collins runs out of her house screaming in the middle of the night and runs to her neighbors for help. Upon arriving on the scene, Grissom is told that there are four people dead: the mother, the father, and two teenage boys. Tina and her younger sister, Brenda, are the only survivors. According to statements, Tina heard a noise and hid in the closet.

Grissom makes his way through the house, noting that the air smells like copper, indicating the presence of a lot of blood. He first comes across the father's body in the upstairs hallway and observes that there are no drag marks, so the body doesn't appear to have been moved. He suffered multiple stab wounds to the back and neck, and the weapon appears to have been a single-edged blade. A circular blood swirl on the adjacent wall could be the mark of a cult; at the very least, someone left a message. Grissom and Sara next make their way to the master bedroom, where the mother has been killed in her bed, the victim of a single stab wound to the throat. Lack of defensive wounds leads the CSIs to believe that she was killed in her sleep.

Grissom makes his way back down the hall to the father's body, which is lying outside of Brenda's room. After looking around Brenda's room, Grissom checks out the boys' room; one of them was killed in bed, while the other lies on the floor next to it. There's another blood swirl on the mirror, and there are two bloody handprints on the wall next to the bed, which means the boy was alive and awake when he was killed.

Outside, Grissom instructs Det. O'Riley to get the paramedics back on the scene immediately. He also orders that his entire team be called to work the case—no exceptions. Sara is tasked with blowing up the crime scene photos and obtaining forensics tools available. Grissom speaks with Tina and gives his condolences; however, Tina is much more concerned about Brenda. When Grissom questions Brenda about anyone breaking into the house, the little girl is initially unresponsive. However, she soon says two words: "The buffalo."

Catherine, Nick, and Warrick arrive on the scene to assist, and Grissom instructs them to not talk to anyone, including the sheriff. He tells his team that the killer was in the house no more than two hours ago, and it's up to everyone to find any evidence left behind. Catherine is tasked with mapping and collecting blood samples, while Nick and Warrick are told to work the perimeter. It needs to be known how the killer got into the house, how he got out, and how he left.

Grissom and Det. O'Riley checks out the kitchen, which is the only room in the house without any blood. The knife drawer is open and there's one single-edged knife missing; this is the only drawer opened. Because of this, Grissom suspects that the killer had been in the house before and knew exactly where to go. Grissom spots a shoe impression on the linoleum floor and electrostatically lifts it. Outside, it's determined that the paramedics are the ones who walked through the kitchen, as the bottoms of their shoes match the impression lifted.

Grissom refuses to discuss the case with the members of the press gathered behind the police tape. He also takes a similar stance with Sheriff Mobley, who is quite unhappy that there's no information to relay to the mayor. Sara is almost equally incensed when told by Grissom to transport Brenda to the hospital; the CSI doesn't appreciate being a taxi service on the biggest case of the year.

The following morning, Nick finds a bidi cigarette and a discarded match in the backyard. Meanwhile, Warrick spots a fresh set of tire tracks in the mud. Since the sprinkler system went off at 2:00 AM and the paramedics pronounced on arrival at 2:40 AM, the killer exited the house in that 40-minute time frame and left on something resembling a dirt bike. Nick figures the same person also smoked the bidi and threw it in the plants.

Inside, Catherine collects blood samples from the various locations in the house. She and Grissom conclude that the murders aren't the work of a cult; at most, they're a cheap imitation. Based on the blood evidence, Grissom believes the mother was killed first in her sleep, which explains why her blood is confined to the bed. The father then got up and tried to run down the hall to protect his kids; however, the killer slashed him first, then finished him off in the hallway. However, there's a lack of blood between the master bedroom and the spot where the father was ultimately killed. The CSIs note that Tina is their first suspect; if she's guilty, she would've had help.

Under interrogation, Tina says that upon hearing footsteps in the kitchen, she hid in her closet. Despite living in a house with six other people, she says that she knows everyone's footsteps and these were unfamiliar. When asked about her relationships, Tina says that she spends time with several guys, but none of them are "special." Grissom asks her if any of them go by the nickname "Buffalo," but Tina says no. However, when answering, she refuses to make eye contact with either Grissom or Brass.

Sara is still upset that she's been the one chosen to spend time with Brenda. The girl is taken to the hospital for a psychiatric evaluation, where it's also mentioned that she'll need a head exam. This is relatively unexpected, and Sara says that she needs to collect any forensic evidence still on Brenda. The still-traumatized girl attaches herself to Sara, and Sara vows to protect her.

Warrick discovers that the tire treads outside the house belong to a 1993 Honda Scooter—and that a kid four blocks away owns the same make. Grissom is too focused on his own thing to give Warrick the proper congratulations for busting the case open. Instead, he notes that Tina's pajamas don't have a speck of blood on them. The girl's whole family was murdered, but evidence indicates that she never went to check on any of the bodies.

Warrick and Brass question the owner of the scooter, a local teenager named Oliver. The boy says that he owns the scooter with three other friends, and Warrick has him write down their names. Oliver claims that he was out of town when the murders occurred, but admits to knowing Tina, saying that she's a "freak" sexually.

In the break room, the team goes over the findings in the case so far, with Warrick mentioning the tire treads and Grissom still puzzled about the lack of blood on Tina's pajamas. DNA from the bidi Nick found is still processing; however, according to Tina, nobody in the family smoked. Sara relays that Brenda's psychiatric exam revealed that she's in a catatonic state from a trauma; however, the girl reacted to the name "Buffalo" by freaking out.

Tina's earlier statement to the police says that she hugged her mother, who was bleeding profusely. She then ran out of the master bedroom and tripped over her father's body in the hallway. Despite this, the girl has no idea why there wasn't any blood on her pajamas. She insists that she's telling the truth, but Grissom tells her that the evidence is telling a different story. Meanwhile, Nick and Brass question the scooter's other owners. One teenager, Jesse Overton, immediately asks for a lawyer. As he sits in interrogation, he removes a pack of bidi cigarettes and tries to smoke. When Nick stops him, he hands over his cigarettes and his matches. Brass interrupts Tina's interrogation, informing Catherine and Grissom about Jesse. Tina reacts to the name, and the two CSIs notice this.

Nick lines up the match found in the Collins' backyard with a broken half from Jesse's matchbook. The missing scooter is found disassembled in a bin in Jesse's garage along with a pair of jeans covered in blood. Jesse pleads guilty to the murders and takes a lie detector test, during which he confesses to killing the family on Tina's request. He admits to taking a knife from the kitchen and killing the four members of the Collins family. Every answer he gives is truthful, except for the last one, where he falsely admits to killing the family so he and Tina could be together. The team has got their killer, but Grissom is still unsatisfied, as the 'why' is still unanswered.

Grissom retrieves the evidence from the house that Ecklie was purposely withholding from him. As he processes it, he finds a buffalo medallion that's covered in blood. Grissom calls Sara and asks her if Brenda showed any signs of sexual abuse. Though there were no overt signs, ultraviolet photographs reveal several bruises on the little girl's upper arms and shoulders.

Catherine looks at a schematic of the Collins house and notes her blood mapping. As she speaks into her recorder, she suddenly realizes something: the directionality of the blood drops in the hallway indicate that the father was coming from Brenda's room, not moving towards it. He was leaving the girl's room when he was butchered. Evidence now shows that the father was killed first, followed by the mother, and that the blood drops in the hallway came from the knife.

Grissom questions Tina again and shows her the ultraviolet photographs of Brenda's injuries. Forensic evidence indicates that the father was sexually abusing Brenda and that he was in her room on the night of the murders. Grissom concludes that something horrible happened in the house long before the murders occurred.

Tina tearfully admits that she was also sexually abused by her father when she was younger. She became pregnant and gave birth at age 13—Brenda is actually her daughter. She had her father killed to prevent the same thing happening to Brenda, adding that the rest of the family was killed because they failed to protect her. A flashback even shows the mother willfully allowing a very young Tina to get sexually abused, and the father was wearing the buffalo medallion when he did the deed. Tina seemingly has no regrets, telling Grissom that she protected her daughter, something her family never did with her.


Main Cast[]

Guest Cast[]

Major Events[]

  • Sheriff Brian Mobley and Dayshift supervisor Conrad Ecklie are both introduced for the first time.

Episode Title[]

  • Blood Drops makes reference to the blood dropped on the floor by the knife of Collins' killer. The direction of the blood drops indicated the order of the murders and was pivotal in solving the case. 


  • Let's Stay Together by Al Green


  • This episode is known under three names: it was originally titled "The Beast", then aired under the title "If These Walls Could Talk", and has been known in all subsequent repeats and home video releases as Blood Drops.
  • Blood Drops was the first single-plot episode, the first episode on which the entire night shift worked, and the first episode directed by Kenneth Fink.[1]
  • The story was inspired by a real crime investigated by Technical Consultant Elizabeth Devine, who is credited under the name Tish McCarthy. Devine worked in the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department at the time.[2] News reports cite the specific case being the Flores family massacre by Michael Naranjo at the instruction of his girlfriend and a niece in the family, Monica Diaz.
  • The case even more closely evokes the Menendez brothers case, where Erik and Lyle Menendez killed their parents, evoking physical, sexual, and emotional/psychological trauma as their motives, with an established alibi to avoid suspicion.
  • At the crime scene, Brian Mobley tells Grissom that the mayor had called him. In 2000, then-Democrat (now independent) Oscar Goodman was the Mayor of Las Vegas. He is now the First Gentleman of Las Vegas, after his wife Carolyn succeeded him in 2011.
  • Dakota Fanning made a special guest appearance as Brenda Collins in this episode. Her sister, Elle Fanning, also appeared a special guest as Molly Walker in CSI: Miami episode "Death Grip" and as Jenny Como in CSI: NY episode "Officer Blue".


  1. Flaherty, M. & Marrinan, C. (2004). CSI: Crime scene investigation companion. New York, NY: Pocket Books.
  2. Flaherty, M. & Marrinan, C. (2004). CSI: Crime scene investigation companion. New York, NY: Pocket Books.

See Also[]

CSI:Las Vegas Season 1
PilotCool ChangeCrate 'n BurialPledging Mr. JohnsonFriends & LoversWho Are You?Blood DropsAnonymousUnfriendly SkiesSex, Lies and LarvaeI-15 MurdersFahrenheit 932BoomTo Halve and to HoldTable StakesToo Tough to DieFace Lift$35K O.B.O.Gentle, GentleSounds of SilenceJustice is ServedEvaluation DayStrip Strangler