Built to Kill, Part 1
Season 7
Number 1
Writer David Rambo
Director Kenneth Fink
Original Airdate September 21, 2006
Previous Episode: Way to Go
Next Episode: Built to Kill, Part 2

Built to Kill, Part 1 is the first episode in Season Seven of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.


Foul play is suspected when an apparent suicide victim still has the gun in his hand, and a flower delivery woman is found crushed to death in the middle of a Cirque du Soleil performance.


Victim: Celia Noel (deceased)

On the case: Catherine Willows, Gil Grissom, Greg Sanders, Nick Stokes, Sofia Curtis

During a Cirque du Soleil performance, a performer finds the body of a young woman on the floor underneath the stage. There's no ID on the victim, and nobody recognizes her as a performer. Catherine notices a green powder on the victim's dress. The manager tells Catherine and Grissom that the body has been moved from its original location due to the complexity of the facility's layout and leads him to where the body was discovered, known as the "crush zone." There are several large drops of blood on the ground.

As she, Grissom and Nick look over the scene, Catherine finds a monogrammed necklace with the initials "AFD." The CSIs soon conclude that anybody familiar with the crush zone would know to stay away from it. Grissom notices blood spatter on the underside of one of the lifts.

In autopsy, Doc Robbins records his findings—a sexual assault kit on the victim came back negative. There are several red and brown linear abrasions on the chest and back along with several rib and sternum fractures. A crackling sound from the abdomen leads the doc to conclude that the victim was subjected to significant crushing force across the torso. He later tells Catherine that the victim was dead before she was crushed, and that the cause of death was a temporal laceration of the brain due to a skull fracture. The blow to her head was a separate event from the crushing. Catherine examines the victim and notices calluses on her hands and feet, leading her to think that the victim may have been a dancer or gymnast.

Hodges tells Grissom that the green substance on the victim's dress is open-celled phenolic foam, used commonly in floral arrangements. Grissom remembers that the security guard at the performance said that he let a young woman in through the artists' entrance with a delivery of flowers. The guard escorted the woman to the green room, but never saw her leave.

Greg goes over the surveillance footage from the performance and finds the victim entering a door backstage with a guy. The guy left alone the same way they entered, and left just before the end of the performance. One of the security cameras picks up footage of the guy playfully grabbing the victim from behind, causing her to drop her purse from a catwalk. Nick watches part of the performance and believes that the timing of sand falling from one of the platforms coincides with the victim dropping her purse.

Back at Cirque du Soleil, Nick uses the timecode from the surveillance video and has a stagehand recreate that specific part of the performance. He uses a replica purse to help find where the victim's purse eventually ended up. Later, while sifting through buckets of sand (which is actually ground cork), he comes across the victim's purse. The driver's license inside identifies the victim as Celia Noel, and she had tickets from every Cirque du Soleil performance in town.

The blood on Celia's necklace was her own. Catherine finds that the initials "AFD" stand for the Arcadia Federation of Dance—Celia was a dancer, which explains her calluses and her fascination with Cirque. Nick goes through the tickets in Celia's purse and finds that one of them was purchased with a credit card by an Arnie Clifton. Arnie is questioned by Nick and Sofia at his place of work. He tells them that Celia invited him to one of the shows and that he paid for it, but says that he didn't see her again after the show. Nick glances down and notices "sand" stuck in Arnie's shoes.

The sand, of course, turns out to be particles of cork. Under interrogation at the station, Arnie tells Sofia that Celia was desperate to get backstage at the Cirque du Soleil performance. She was able to make her way in and let Arnie in through the artists' entrance. As Celia got closer and closer to the stage to watch the performance, one of the lifts clipped her in the head, causing her to fall. A freaked out Arnie then left the premises.

Victim: Robert O'Brien (deceased)

On the case: Sara Sidle, Warrick Brown, Jim Brass

Sam Braun arrives at a fancy party with a blonde woman on his arm. The party is to celebrate the implosion of one of Sam's casinos, the Rampart. Afterwards, as a couple goes to a private cabana to "celebrate" further, they find the body of man who has been shot to death; there's a gun in his hand.

Sara and Warrick arrive on the scene and note that it's odd that the victim still has the gun in his hand, which is uncommon for a suicide. There's also no suicide note, which leads them to think that the scene may be staged. Rigor sets in the body and, as David Phillips tries to remove the gun from the victim's hand, it gets fired accidentally.

Sam shows Brass a model of his next casino, the Eclipse. He identifies the victim as Robert O'Brien, one of the Eclipse's investors. Because no shot was heard, Sam figures it happened during the implosion. Robert and his partner, Joe Hirschoff, bought a few shares of the new casino, priced at a few million dollars each. This leads Brass to question why Robert, who had a lot to gain from the investment, would want to kill himself.

Sara and Brass speak to Joe, who hands them a prescription bottle of alprazolam, which is used to combat stress. He claims that both he and Robert hated guns and didn't own any. Sara tests Joe's hands for gunshot residue and notices that his hands smell like alcohol. Joe admits to spilling the drinks he was holding when he saw Robert's body.

Robert's body is transported to the morgue. There, Doc Robbins finds that David didn't tape the bags shut well enough, causing the body to bleed out. He angrily notes that blood all over the hands corrupts any evidence of gunshot residue.

Doc Robbins tells Sara that Robert's blood alcohol content was nearly twice the legal limit and that there was alprazolam in his bloodstream. Sara notes that Joe has a prescription for alprazolam and was also the one bringing Robert drinks. The doc concludes that Robert would've been too stoned to stand, making it easy for someone to come in, stick a gun in his mouth and pull the trigger. He also pulled sesame seeds from Robert's oral cavity, which he finds odd since there weren't any in the stomach contents.

Warrick tells Sara that material found in the revolver's forcing cone was identified as melted sesame seeds, and she notes that the same seeds were found in Robert's mouth. No prints were able to be retrieved from the gun's grip; however, Warrick found that it's registered to Joe. Sara remembers that Joe said he hated guns and adds that he and Robert held their share in the Eclipse project as joint tenants, meaning that with Robert dead, Joe would immediately and automatically own all of the shares.

Joe is brought in for questioning. He tells Brass that he bought a gun when he moved out west and figures Robert found it. When told that alprazolam was found in Robert's bloodstream, Joe says that Robert was depressed and figures he may have taken the pills himself. A background check reveals that Joe is over a million dollars in debt, and Brass hypothesizes that he drugged and killed Robert in order to get his shares in the Eclipse. Joe fiddles with a ring on his finger and asks for a lawyer.

Sara and Warrick look through the items from Joe and Robert's hotel suite, but find no evidence of a suicide note. Amongst the items is a single oven mitt, which strikes Sara as odd since the suite didn't have a kitchen. Inside the oven mitt, she finds more sesame seeds. In the trace lab, Hodges cuts open the oven mitt and Warrick collects the seeds found inside of it. Ferrotrace reveals that the gun was transported to the hotel room inside of the oven mitt. The only question is who did the transporting.

Warrick goes through Robert's clothes and finds sesame seeds in the lining of one of the pants pockets. Based on the trail of the seeds, the CSIs conclude that Robert did, in fact, kill himself. Sara explains to Grissom that the gun was still in Robert's hand after the fact because he had a rare condition called Dupuytren's contracture, in which one or more fingers become permanently bent in a flexed position. Since the condition was in its early stages, it presented itself as rigor.

Sara has Joe sign for Robert's personal effects. When Joe puts Robert's matching ring on his finger, Sara realizes that they were a couple. She tells him that she's sorry for his loss, and he leaves without saying anything.

In a separate storyline, Brass receives the Medal of Valor for his heroism in the standoff that resulted in him getting shot. When Warrick asks to see the plaque, Brass reveals that he hides it in his desk drawer. He tells Warrick that despite 23 years of police work, he got played in the hotel room; putting that on a plaque is a reminder of the mistake he made. Later, he gets a tattoo under the bullet scar that reads "May 11, 2006."

Meanwhile, Catherine and Nick go to a bar after work and are treated to a surprise performance by John Mayer. As Nick dances with a woman, Catherine gets a drink from the bar. After rejecting an offer from a guy to buy her a drink, she later starts to feel woozy as the whole bar becomes fuzzy and the music becomes faded. She wakes up the next morning lying naked in a motel bed. After checking her wallet to find that her money and credit cards are still there, she opens the curtains to find a swimming pool and more motel rooms. In the bathroom, she collects evidence from under her fingernails and performs a sexual assault kit on herself.

Victim: Izzy Delancey (deceased)

On the case: Gil Grissom, Sofia Curtis

Elsewhere, the inside of a kitchen is shown. As the camera pans through the kitchen, it comes to a stop on a bloody figurine. It's revealed that the kitchen is a replica of an actual crime scene, copied down to every last detail—including the dead body. Sofia says that the detail in the model is terrifying and Grissom replies that he's never seen anything like it before. He's unsure what occurred first—the murder or the building of the model.

TO BE CONTINUED flashes across the screen.


Main Cast[]

Guest Cast[]


Hodges (to Warrick): I perfected my butterfly technique on chicken breasts. I saute them in a Chardonnay reduction with Herbes de Provence. Drives women wild. (pause) Well, Mom.


  • When Doc Robbins opens the mouth of the suicide victim, you see a chipped tooth on the bottom middle. However, when they show the zoom-in to see the sesame seeds, there is no chip.
  • When Sara walks up during the autopsy of the second victim, you can clearly see the cadaver breathing.


  • Battlefield by Cirque du Soleil
  • The Fever by Bonobo
  • Junny Gittar by Creighton Wallace (Instrumental)*
  • Waiting on the World to Change by John Mayer
  • Slow Dancing in a Burning Room by John Mayer

*Guitar rift appears in this song, however, full audio may be from a different, unknown, song entirely.


  • Louise Lombard, who plays Sofia Curtis, is listed in the main credits for the first time.
  • This episode marks the introduction of the Miniature Killer, but not physically until when the identity is revealed.


  • The Medal of Valor Brass received reads as follows: For heroism in the line of duty. He displayed great personal courage and a disregard for personal consequences, risking loss of life or great bodily injury in the attempted rescue of innocent civilian life. He is to be commended.
  • Danny Bonaduce (Izzy Delancey) is known for playing Danny Partridge on The Partridge Family and related shows.

See Also[]

CSI:Las Vegas Season 7
Built to Kill, Part 1Built to Kill, Part 2Toe TagsFannysmackin'Double CrossBurn OutPost MortemHappenstanceLiving LegendLoco MotivesLeaving Las VegasSweet JaneRedrumMeet MarketLaw of GravityMonster in the BoxFallen IdolsEmpty EyesBig ShotsLab RatsEnding HappyLeapin' LizardsThe Good, The Bad, And The DominatrixLiving Doll