Blood Lust
Season 3
Number 9
Writer Josh Berman,
Carol Mendelsohn
Director Charlie Correll
Original Airdate December 5, 2002
Previous Episode: Snuff
Next Episode: High and Low

Blood Lust is the ninth episode in Season Three of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.


A taxi driver is beaten to death by a mob after running over a boy with his taxi. When Grissom arrives at the scene, he finds out that the boy was already dying from a stab wound. Grissom and Sara later find the primary crime scene at a basketball court, where they discover the body of a man who was shot to death. Are the two murders related?


Victims: Todd Branson (deceased), Rajeeb Khandewahl (alive)

On the case: Gil Grissom, Sara Sidle, Jim Brass

A taxi driver, Rajeeb Khandewahl, is talking to his female passenger while driving, more focused on the woman's looks than the road in front of him. A boy hobbles out in front of the taxi and is struck, pinning the body under the wheels.. Rajeeb panics and gets out of the taxi, but when he appears to get back in to flee, a nearby mob beats him severely.

Grissom and Brass arrive at the scene, and Grissom notices the boy's internal organs are hanging out. Neither he nor Brass have seen this in a hit-and-run victim before. The passenger says the taxi driver wasn't trying to run away, but rather use his radio to call for help. She cannot identify a specific assailant, but knows that the mob standing nearby is guilty of beating up Rajeeb. Brass interviews the xenophobic mob, who claim they're heroes for defending their country, but Brass isn't impressed. Grissom demands DNA and a photo from each. The mob initially refuses, but relents after Brass threatens to bring them to the police station.

Grissom visits the hospital and talks to Rajeeb's nurse. She says that he's in critical condition with a ruptured spleen, collapsed lung, fractured ulna, and intracranial bleeding. Grissom collects his clothes and brings them to Greg in the lab.

In autopsy, Doc Robbins tells Grissom that the victim didn't sustain any bruises or fractures to the lower extremities, which is usually common with someone involved in a hit-and-run. The victim's chest was crushed and he has multiple rib fractures. Grissom concludes that the boy wasn't hit by the taxi, but he was run over as he was lying on the ground. Doc Robbins notes that there's a stab wound to the victim's abdomen. He can't tell how long it was between the stabbing and the taxi running him over, but does know that the incidents weren't immediate. The victim hasn't been identified yet, but there's someone coming in who called missing persons.  

With the rest of his team busy, Grissom calls in Sara for help. They find blood drops on the pavement and follow them for several blocks until they reach a park. However, they lose the trail when the drops go into the grass. Sara notes that since the victim was a teenager, it's more likely he was at the nearby basketball court rather than the playground. She finds blood droplets and castoff on the court, indicating that they've found their primary crime scene. Based on the timeline, the victim was hanging out at the court after sundown with minimal lighting. Grissom posits that the killer tossed the knife, giving them a big area to canvas.  

In the morgue, Jan Branson identifies the victim as her 14-year-old son, Todd. Meanwhile, Sara and Warrick have a conversation regarding whether they thought the attack on the cab driver was racially motivated. Sara responds that she thought it was.  

Jan visits Brass in his office, initially irate that Rajeeb hasn't been arrested for running over her son. Brass calms her down and tells her Todd was stabbed in the park, likely on his way home when the murder occurred. The taxi didn't kill her son, but someone did. Jan says that she and her sons were running from her ex-husband, who has been following them from city to city and threatening to kill them. A few days before Todd's murder, the ex-husband called her. She admits to Brass that they were going to move again during the upcoming weekend. Brass asks her why she didn't call the police, but realizes that there's nothing the police could've done to protect her.

In the park, Grissom finds a gun under a pile of leaves using a metal detector. Meanwhile, the scent dogs find a dead body 20 yards from where Todd was stabbed. At this time, it's undetermined if the two crimes are related.  

Back in the lab, Sara finds that Todd's jacket tests positive for gunshot residue, indicating he might've fired the gun that was found in the park. Meanwhile, Grissom looks at the gun under the microscope and finds what looks like burnt skin. He believes that someone palmed the cylinder gap, and when the gun was fired, the shooter burned their hand. Though it's impossible to get DNA from burnt skin, Sara notes that they can get DNA from sweat. Grissom has her swab the gun's grip and get the swab to DNA.

In autopsy, Doc Robbins tells Grissom that neither Todd nor the new victim had burn marks on their hands. However, he points out the incised wound on the new victim's right hand. Grissom notes that this is a common injury among knife-wielding killers. They assume that this victim is the one who stabbed Todd, but what killed this guy? There's a bullet fragment lodged in the victim's heart and Grissom suggests the bullet fragmented on impact. This would also explain the victim's shattered right femur that contains copper fragments. Grissom notices an x-ray that shows the victim had a dislocated shoulder. Doc Robbins tells him that this happened post mortem, as there was no inflammatory muscular response. David Phillips interrupts them and tells them that Rajeeb has died in the hospital.    

Brass visits Todd's home to talk to his mother, but she isn't home. Instead, he finds Todd's brother, Eric, in the driveway playing basketball. Brass asks Eric about his father and Eric replies that his father died when he was two. Before leaving, Brass hands Eric his business card and tells Eric to have his mother call him.

Under a microscope, Bobby Dawson confirms that the bullet in the new victim's heart came from the gun they uncovered at the park. Sara informs Grissom that the gun found is registered to a John Ruark, who Jan Branson says is her ex-husband. Brass tells her that Eric told him his father was dead, and Jan confirms that that is what she tells her sons. When shown a photo of the gunshot victim in the park, she frantically identifies him as Stewart Bradley, her boyfriend.

Visiting the park at night, Sara finds drag marks leading from the basketball court to Stewart's body. Back in the lab, she tells Grissom that they know Todd was bleeding from the stab wound, but there was no blood around the drag marks. Grissom and Sara think there was another person present when everything went down. They note that the presence of gunshot residue doesn't mean Todd fired the gun, and since he had no burn marks on his hand, it's likely someone else fired it. The evidence brings them back to John.

Under interrogation, John tells Brass that he has stayed away from his family and hasn't violated any court orders. When told that Todd is dead, John reacts in shock. He says he hasn't seen Todd since he was a toddler. John also denies killing Stewart and claims that the gun used was stolen from him. He adds that he was nowhere near the park when the murders took place; he was in New Mexico and he has a hotel room receipt to prove it. Grissom enters the room and checks John's hands, which don't show any burn marks. Brass agrees to keep John in custody for three days.  

Grissom conducts an experiment, having Warrick lie down and Sara pull his right arm to drag him along the floor. He also gets Judy the secretary to attempt the same thing. Sara has an easier time dragging Warrick than Judy does due to Judy being smaller in stature. Grissom tells Warrick that Stewart had a dislocated shoulder post mortem and that he weighed about the same as Warrick. Based on the experiment, they conclude that Stewart was dragged by someone with limited upper body strength. Grissom posits that Jan Branson shot Stewart after Stewart stabbed Todd; she was protecting her son. Off of this theory, Sara thinks that Jan sent Todd home not knowing the severity of his injury, buried Stewart, and disposed of the weapons.  

Grissom and Brass meet Jan in her driveway while she's in the process of packing up the car to move again. She's relieved to find out John is currently in police custody. Grissom asks her to show him her hands palms up, but she also has no burn marks. Brass catches Eric looking at them through the car's side mirror. They walk to the side of the car, where Grissom asks Eric to show him his hands, palms up. The boy complies and shows them a burn mark on his left hand. 

In the interrogation room. Eric claims that he burned his hand on an iron. Grissom tells him that they found a gun in the park and the burn indicates that his hand was covering the barrel of the gun when it was fired. When pressed, Eric admits to following Todd to the park. There, Todd was in the process of confronting Stewart, irate that the family had to move again due to Stewart's promotion at work. Todd insisted that he wasn't moving again and leaving his friends behind. He pointed a gun at Stewart, but Eric showed up and interfered. All three wrestled for the gun, with the gun going off and shooting Stewart in the knee. While on the ground, Stewart pulled out a knife and stabbed Todd. Todd shot Stewart with Eric's hand over the gun. As he ran from the park to go home, Todd told Eric to hide Stewart's body.  

Sara interrupts and tells Eric that she swabbed the pistol grip. The sweat on the grip wasn't Todd's, but the DNA is male and shares eight markers in common with sample, indicating a familial relationship. Grissom guesses that, despite gunshot residue being on Todd's jacket, Eric fired the gun when he was standing next to him. Grissom puts forth a new scenario that's the opposite of Eric's: Eric is the one who met Stewart in the park and pointed a gun at him. Todd was the one who tried to intervene, with everything else playing out the same—all three wrestled for the gun with Stewart getting shot. Stewart stabbed Todd, and Eric shot Stewart while holding his hand over the gun. Eric then told Todd to go home.  

Jan admits that Eric got the gun from her. After John had contacted her a few days ago, she took it out of her lockbox and put it in her nightstand. She didn't realize the gun was missing until it was too late. Brass tells her that Stewart's associates never saw him carrying a knife. She says that she warned Stewart about her ex-husband, and Stewart overreacted and started carrying a knife with him. Brass informs her that Eric will be taken to a juvenile detention center to await trial. If he's convicted of murder, he'll be sent to a state custodial facility until he's 21 years old.  

Meanwhile, Greg shows Grissom exactly which members of the mob inflicted which wounds on the cabbie using the DNA on his clothes. Unfortunately, epithelials were only found from six of the 12 members of the mob, meaning the other six cannot be tied to the murder. Grissom revisits the crime scene and imagines what took place. He tells Brass that forensics can only take it so far; the rest is up to the police.

Brass interrogates the leader of the mob, Graham Cooper, and tells him the physical evidence proves that he was the one who pulled Rajeeb out of his cab. Graham proudly says he would do it again if the same opportunity presented itself. However, Brass informs him that he's looking at first degree murder, much to Graham's surprise. Brass tells him that Rajeeb didn't kill Todd and that he wasn't trying to flee the scene; he was reaching for his radio to call for help. He says the real hero was the Rajeeb and asks Graham "What does that make you?" The district attorney asks to make a deal and Brass asks Graham to give up his buddies. It's presumed that Graham will give up all of his friends, including the ones the lab couldn't tie DNA to. Grissom nods in approval and smiles as he watches from outside the room.


Main Cast[]

Guest Cast[]

  • Gerald McCullouch as Bobby Dawson
  • David Berman as David Phillips
  • Palmer Davis as Attorney Margaret Finn
  • Joseph Patrick Kelly as Officer Joe Metcalf
  • Victoria Prescott as Judy Tremont
  • Michele Greene as Jan Branson
  • Gina Philips as Raina Krell
  • James MacDonald as John Ruark
  • Michael Welch as Todd Branson
  • Brandon Mauro as Eric Branson
  • Candace Edwards as Medical Examiner
  • Anjul Nigam as Rajeeb Khandewahl
  • Bryan Friday as Rick Midgen
  • Matt Kaminsky as Stewart Bradley
  • David Meunier as Barry Lawrence
  • Tim Mikulecky as Claude Allen
  • Eric Ritter as Graham Cooper
  • William Winter as Joey Watson
  • Mary Jo Mrochinski as Ms. Karpell

Featured Music[]

  • Get Your Freak On by Missy Elliot
  • Everything In its Right Place by Radiohead


  • When Grissom and Sara are tracing the blood trail from the boy hit by the cab, they're in one scene where you see thunderclouds, you hear thunder in the background, and it's getting dark. In the next scene, they've arrived at the park, but it's more or less in the middle of the day, and the sun is shining from a cloudless sky


  • Rajeeb Khandewahl's beating appears to be inspired by the mob lynchings of Jack Moore and Anthony Stuckey, whose van accidentally hit pedestrians before they were pulled out of their vehicle and beaten and kicked to death by a violent mob. The racism is also similar to the Howard Beach racist assault, where three black-Americans were accosted and set upon by a racist white mob, before one man ran into the road to escape and was killed by a passing car.
  • This is the first episode where Nick Stokes doesn't appear.
  • When Grissom asks Judy the secretary to help in the experiment, she's reluctant and tells Grissom that she heard what he did to Greg's feet. This is in reference to the episode Let the Seller Beware, where Grissom infected Greg's foot with mildew.

See Also[]

CSI:Las Vegas Season 3
Revenge is Best Served ColdThe Accused is EntitledLet the Seller BewareA Little MurderAbra-CadaverThe Execution of Catherine WillowsFight NightSnuffBlood LustHigh and LowRecipe for MurderGot Murder?Random Acts of ViolenceOne Hit WonderLady Heather's BoxLucky StrikeCrash & BurnPrecious MetalA Night at the MoviesLast LaughForeverPlay with FireInside the Box