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 the 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

Catherine and Grissom are called to the house of Tony Braun, the notorious drug-using son of casino mogul Sam Braun. Tony has been found dead in his living room by his gardener. When the CSIs search the living room, they find the tell-tale signs of a drug overdose, including an empty Xanax bottle and a piece of aluminum foil used to inhale heroin.

Sara finds an earring in the carpet near the body and notes the absence of bodily fluids, which are usually present during an overdose. Grissom sees that Tony's wrists have adhesive residue on them, indicating that he was bound at some point. Circular bruises on the body appear to be "love bites," so Tony definitely had company. Sara realizes that the case is actually a homicide, something Grissom says he figured out when he saw that the television was still on.

Outside, Catherine examines the gate to the backyard, which was curiously open when the gardener arrived. According to the gardener, the gate hadn't been opened in five years, and Catherine sees no signs of forced entry; either someone had a key or the gate was opened by someone in the house, Meanwhile, in the upstairs bedroom, Warrick looks over the numerous pill bottles on Tony's nightstand. Balloons containing traces of black tar heroin are also present. While Sara finds a rolled up ball of duct tape in the kitchen garbage, Nick processes the doggie door for fingerprints.

In autopsy, Doc Robbins concludes that the only drugs Tony ingested went up his nose; there are no needle marks anywhere on the body. He notes that abrasion marks around the mouth could be from someone placing an object there in an effort to subdue the victim. Petechial hemorrhaging could also indicate suffocation, but Doc Robbins doesn't immediately jump to that conclusion. Since CPR wasn't performed, the doc can't identify what the marks on Tony's chest are. As it's hard to overdose from inhaling heroin, Grissom believes that someone tied Tony up and forced him to ingest lethal amounts of heroin and Xanax.

Back at the house, Catherine and Brass are interrupted by Tony's ex-stripper girlfriend, Janine Haywood. She reveals that she owns half of the house and is even in the family will. As for her whereabouts at the time of Tony's death, she claims that she was sleeping at a friend's house. Catherine fingerprints a relatively uncooperative Janine, then heads to the casino to speak to Sam Braun. There, Sam reminisces about his son and warns Catherine that Janine is more than just a gold-digger.

Grissom fumes the empty pill bottle from the scene and finds six fingerprints on it—all of them belong to Janine. In the break room, Nick is scratching chigger bites on his leg, and the thought is that he got them from walking through the ferns in Tony's backyard. He informs Grissom that he recovered partial prints from the doggie door, so someone two-legged definitely went through it.

Doc Robbins collects Tony's stomach contents, finding that he also ingested Xanax and heroin. There are no undissolved pills in the contents, and the doc figures that someone mashed up the pills and dissolved them in red wine. With this new evidence, Catherine and Grissom hypothesize that Tony, weak from his heroin binge, was easily tied up with duct tape and fed the red wine/Xanax cocktail. Doc Robbins tells them that approximately 50 pills were found in the stomach contents, which leaves 50 pills unaccounted for.

Fingerprints from the balloons in Tony's bedroom trace to a local drug dealer named Skinny. He tells Warrick and Brass that he saw Tony right before he died and that Janine was there, as well; however, she didn't leave the house as early as she claimed. Before he left, Janine tipped him 30 Xanax. As for the rest of the pills, Janine tells Catherine that she accidentally dropped them down the sink. She explains that her fingerprints were on the bottle because she picked up the prescription from the pharmacy, and reiterates that she was staying with a friend who's now mysteriously out of town.

Lab results show that the amount of heroin and Xanax in Tony's system wasn't enough to be lethal, so he didn't die of a drug overdose, accidental or otherwise. However, when Doc Robbins opened Tony up, he found that his lungs were compressed. Using a dummy, Catherine and Grissom determine that Tony was "burked"—someone kneeled on his chest and covered his mouth and nostrils. The circular impressions on Tony's chest match the ones on the dummy, and Grissom guesses that Janine came back to the house and killed Tony when he wouldn't overdose fast enough.

Brass calls Grissom and has him and Catherine come out to Blue Diamond, where a man is found digging on Tony's land. The man, Curt Ritten, says he was a friend of Tony's and claims that he was told to "start digging" should anything happen. Catherine and Grissom open a door to an underground basement and discover that it's a vault used to house silver bullion. Back at the lab, Sara lifts a fingerprint from the duct tape recovered from Tony's house. The frayed edge of the tape matches up with a frayed edge from a roll of duct tape taken from Curt's truck.

When questioned, Curt says that he built the underground vault for Tony and was tasked with moving the silver up to his ranch in Wyoming; this is why he was digging. He also claims that he was last at Tony's house two weeks ago and didn't bring any work tools with him, such as the duct tape. The physical evidence so far connects Curt to Tony's murder; however, it's soon discovered that the fingerprint on the duct tape doesn't belong to either him or Janine, who just happens to be his mistress.

The fingerprints from the doggie door at the house belong to Walt Braun, Tony's brother. Catherine and Grissom wonder why someone who's part of the family would have to get into the house using the doggie door. When it's revealed that Walt's fingerprints are also not on the duct tape, Grissom goes back to square one: how did a roll of duct tape from Curt's truck end up wrapped around Tony's wrists without Curt's fingerprints getting on it?

When questioned by Grissom and Det. Vega about the doggie door, Walt claims that his brother accidentally locked himself out of his house after changing the locks. He crawled through the doggie door in order to get inside and unlock the front door. However, Grissom soon notices that Walt is scratching his legs. He's suffering from chigger bites, the same affliction Nick was suffering from earlier. Grissom compares Walt's bites with Nick's and determines that Walt was lying; the entomological timeline places Walt at his brother's house on the day of the murder.

Brass informs the team that Walt was isn't in the family will; however, Tony had promised to split everything he had 50-50 with his brother. That is, up until a month ago, when Tony had a change of heart and changed the will again. Janine was now going to be getting some of the estate, as well, something that couldn't have made Walt too happy. The team recaps the case and realizes that there's still one piece of outstanding evidence: the earring Sara found in Tony's living room.

When questioned, Janine tells Catherine and Grissom that they're actually looking at an earring back; someone who wears studs is missing it. Furthermore, she claims that the maid vacuums the house everyday, so whoever lost the earring back lost it on the day of the murder. In the lab, Greg determines that the earring back belonged to a female other than Janine. The only other female in the picture is Curt Ritten's wife, Bonnie, who just happens to be in the police station bailing her husband out of jail.

Under interrogation, Bonnie claims that she doesn't wear earrings; however, Catherine can see that the holes in her ears haven't closed up yet. She refuses to give her DNA, but it's revealed that the fingerprint on the check she wrote for her husband's bail matches the fingerprint from the duct tape. A flashback shows Walt entering the house through the doggie door and unlocking the back door for Bonnie. The two of them ambushed a drugged up Tony, tied him up, and forced him to drink the Xanax-laced wine. During the struggle, Tony fought back and knocked the earring back out of Bonnie's ear. However, they were interrupted by the gardener and had to improvise. They removed the duct tape from Tony's wrists and tried to make it look like he overdosed.

From behind bars, Walt reveals that he met Bonnie at one of Tony's parties. It was then that 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. Sam Braun later tells Catherine that he committed the cardinal sin by loving one son more than the other. In the end, he's left with one son dead and the other behind bars.


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