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Season 2
Number 1
Writer Carol Mendelsohn,
Anthony E. Zuiker
Director Danny Cannon
Original Airdate September 27, 2001
Previous Episode: Strip Strangler
Next Episode: Chaos Theory

Burked is the first episode in season two of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.


Tony Braun, the son of Las Vegas mogul Sam Braun, is found dead in his home, apparently victim of a drug overdose. But as the scene lacks all evidence normally connected to an overdose, the team soon suspects murder.


Victim: Tony Braun (deceased)

On the case: entire team

Tony Braun, notorious drug-using son of casino mogul Sam Braun, is found dead by his gardener at his mansion, with circular bruising on his chest. Grissom and Sara immediately begin to process the scene and realize that the incident was a homicide, not an overdose; the television was on, which would not be the case if Tony had been taking recreational drugs or attempting suicide. They also find adhesive residue on his wrists and an empty prescription bottle for Xanax near the body. Warrick finds black tar heroin in the bedroom, along with a collection of other drugs and a few balloons used to inhale heroin. Meanwhile, Catherine and Captain Brass interview Braun's obnoxious and uncooperative ex-stripper girlfriend, who reveals that she owns half of the Braun mansion.

At the lab, Greg examines the adhesive; it is typical of that used on duct tape. He also determines from Braun's toxicology panel that the cause of death was not a drug overdose. The pathologist Dr. Robbins concurs: he found Xanax and red wine in Tony's stomach, but not in lethal quantities. He rules that Braun was killed by compressional asphyxia. Meanwhile, Nick and Sara find fingerprints at the scene, one on the house's doggy door and the other on a tangled piece of duct tape from Braun's bin. The duct tape print does not match any AFIS records, but the doggy door prints come back as Walt Braun, Tony's brother.

When Grissom questions Walt, he claims that the prints were the result of him opening the front door for Tony when the latter forgot his keys. With the aid of a mannequin, Grissom later deduces that the victim was "Burked": one assailant knelt on the chest of the victim while the other assailant smothered him. Suddenly, Brass calls Grissom: he has caught a man digging in the ground on Tony Braun's land in Blue Diamond, Nevada. The man is Curt Ritten, a contractor and friend of Tony's who built an underground vault for him to store silver bullion in to limit his losses when the silver market fell; this is what Curt had been digging up. Sara and Warrick compare duct tape from Curt's truck to the tape at the crime scene: the frayed edges match, and Ritten is arrested.

When Catherine and Detective Vega search the Ritten house, they get a surprise; Janine Haywood emerges from the shower. When Bonnie Ritten arrives from Carson City to bail out her husband, there is an angry confrontation between the two women. However, the CSIs lift the wife's prints from the bail cheque and found her earring stud on the carpet. Grissom also notices that Walt Braun has sustained chigger bites, which Nick had also suffered after processing the back yard at the Braun house. When Mrs Ritten's print is matched to the duct tape print and it is found out that the half of the house owned by Janine was previously promised to Walt, the story unravels: Walt and Bonnie met at a party, and they plotted to get revenge on the person who had hurt them, Bonnie by killing her husband's lover's boyfriend and Walt by killing the brother who had cut him out of his will. They are both arrested and the episode ends with Walt citing one of his father's parables as a metaphor for his motives:

"The Scorpion and the Frog. The scorpion wants to cross a river, and asks the frog to help him across. The frog replies: "I can't trust you, you're a scorpion!" The scorpion replies, "Sure you can!" and hops on the frog's back. Half way across, the scorpion stings the frog. The frog asks "Why did you do that? Now we're both gonna die." The scorpion replies: "Hey, I can't help it. I'm a scorpion.""


Main Cast

Guest Cast

Major Events

  • This episode marks Scott Wilson's first appearance in the series as casino head Sam Braun.

Episode Title

  • Burked refers to the manner in which Tony Braun was killed. To burke someone is to suffocate them and comes from the name of William Burke, one of a pair of murderers in Scotland in the 19th century who suffocated victims before selling the corpses and/or organs.


  • Dr. Robbins has an amputated leg and wears a prosthetic.
  • Catherine's mother was an old flame of casino owner, Sam Braun.


  • The plot of this episode draws very heavily upon the facts surrounding the actual 1998 Las Vegas death of Ted Binion, son of Benny Binion, who was the original owner/founder of Binion's Horseshoe Casino in downtown Las Vegas. Binion's girlfriend (and former Cheetah's dancer) Sandy Murphy, as well as her lover Rick Tabish, were arrested and originally found guilty of murdering Binion, but eventually they were granted a new trial and acquitted regarding the murder charge.

See Also

CSI:Las Vegas Season 2
BurkedChaos TheoryOverloadBully for YouScuba Doobie-DooAlter BoysCagedSlaves of Las VegasAnd Then There Were NoneEllieOrgan GrinderYou've Got MaleIdentity CrisisThe FingerBurden of ProofPrimum Non NocereFelonious MonkChasing The BusStalkerCats in the CradleAnatomy of a LyeCross JurisdictionsThe Hunger Artist
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