Season 5
Number 21
Writer Sarah Goldfinger,
Richard J. Lewis,
Uttam Narsu
Director Richard J. Lewis
Original Airdate April 28, 2005
Previous Episode: Hollywood Brass
Next Episode: Weeping Willows

Committed is the twenty-first episode in Season Five of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.


Sara accompanies Grissom to a mental hospital, where one of its inmates has been murdered inside his room. Interviewing patients proves to be harder than usual, as most of them are mentally unstable. While the two CSIs are there, they uncover more than just the crime. One of the most shocking discoveries involves a patient with a dark childhood, which is still haunting him, and a nurse with a secret.


Victim: Robbie Garson (deceased)

On the case: Gil Grissom, Greg Sanders, Sara Sidle, Sofia Curtis, Jim Brass

During a stormy night at Desert State Mental Hospital, nurse Nanette Faber finds patient Robbie Garson dead on the floor in his room. Nearby, another patient, Kenny Valdez, is crouched in the corner covered in blood. Grissom, Sara and Brass are called to the scene and are told that the hospital houses two types of patients: the criminally insane and sexually violent predators. The CSIs are also instructed to stay close to their kits, and Sara is asked to remove her CSI vest, as new uniforms upset the patients. They're informed that the patients' doors are left unlocked at night, as locked rooms usually lead to the patients trying to harm themselves. As he looks around Robbie's room, Grissom notes the blood spatter on the walls.

They're then escorted to the seclusion room, where a frantic Kenny is being strapped to a bed. He has wounds on his arms, which Nurse Faber says are from self mutilation. Kenny suffers from Renfield's Syndrome, meaning that he gets off on blood. Nurse Faber confirms that the clothes Kenny is currently wearing are the clothes he was found in. Grissom and Sara talk privately in the hallway, and Grissom notes that while there was blood spatter on the wall of Robbie's room, there's no spatter on Kenny's clothes. It doesn't seem that Kenny is the guy they're looking for.

Sara photographs Robbie's room and finds a picture on the wall of two guys sitting in chairs; the picture is held up by blue tape. Next to the picture is an empty space with more blue tape, indicating that another picture used to hang there. Sara collects the tape as evidence. As she examines the room further, she finds evidence of semen on Robbie's bed. Under the mattress, she finds magazine ads featuring teenaged boys. Meanwhile, Grissom and Brass talk to the various patients of the hospital; their rap sheets include rape, murder, delusions, and suicide attempts. They get no answers about the murder but find out that one patient believes he has a cricket in his head, while another speaks to Grissom in nonsensical sentences.

Sara talks to the facility's on-call doctor, Valerie Dino. She tells Sara that Robbie had been chemically castrated and was unable to ejaculate. This means that the semen on his bed belongs to someone else. She relays this information to Grissom and Brass. Thinking that the semen could belong to the killer, Grissom and Sara take a DNA sample from each patient as well as the staff. While doing so, Sara has one patient lunge at her and start mumbling to himself.

In autopsy, Doc Robbins shows Grissom the various things Robbie had in his stomach at the time of his death, including band-aids, hair, and half of a snapshot. Grissom guesses that Robbie has pica, a compulsion to eat non-nutritive food items. The pulling out and eating of hair is another OCD disorder called trichotillomania. There are lacerations on Robbie's face, as well as a skull fracture. However, Doc Robbins says that the cause of death is actually asphyxiation, and that the head trauma occurred two hours after the suffocation. Ligature marks are also found on the victim's wrists and ankles, leading Grissom to believe that Robbie was restrained. He notes that nobody at the hospital mentioned restraints to him.

Hodges tells Sara that some of the hair in Robbie's system has bleached tips. Furthermore, the tox report shows that Robbie had olanzapine and ibuprofen in his system, but nothing more. Sara notes that Robbie's chart showed he was on at least four other anti-psychotics.

Brass informs Grissom that the hospital had two other reported deaths in the last three years from "complications due to restraint procedures." One more death would bring the feds in, and the hospital would likely get shut down. They note that this is would be good incentive for the hospital to keep it quiet or pin the murder on a patient.

Grissom, Sara and Brass visit the hospital again and talk to the administrator. They're shown the surveillance video of Robbie being restrained in the seclusion room the day he died. The video later shows Robbie being escorted out of the room alive. Sara asks why Robbie would be short four anti-psychotic meds, and the administrator explains that the patients may "cheek" them, deciding to sell them, trade them, or collect them and take them all at once to get high. They're directed to the pharmacist, Leon Cadera.

Sara and Brass pay a visit to Leon and find that he's giving the patients a range of medication including aspirin, ibuprofen and laxatives. She also notices that Leon has bleached hair. Leon is brought to the station for interrogation, where he admits that he doesn't get paid much for all of the abuse he suffers and that he sells the valuable drugs on the side to make extra money. Brass theorizes that Robbie caught Leon changing the meds and threatened to report him, and Leon killed Robbie in order to silence him. Leon denies this and says that the reason Robbie was in seclusion was because he freaked out in group.

Grissom and Sara go over the video logs and confirm that Robbie was in seclusion for two hours. Nurse Joanne McKay noted that Robbie was awake and in bed by the 9:30 PM checks. Since the body was found shortly after midnight, Sara figures that Robbie was killed closer to 9:30 since the blood needed time to coagulate. Greg enters and tells them that Robbie's pillow was covered in his own saliva. He also shows them that there are slits on either end of the pillow, indicating that someone grabbed it and smothered Robbie.

Sara goes to the hospital and talks to Nurse McKay, who is on a cigarette break. She tells Sara that Robbie brought a personal item to group, which isn't allowed; the item was a photograph of a little boy. A flashback shows Robbie caressing the photo; when Nurse McKay got up to take it away, he started yelling and shoved it into his mouth. Robbie was then medicated, secluded and restrained. Nurse McKay admits that she never mentioned this because things like this happen every day. After the conversation is over, Sara gets a call from Grissom, who tells her that the semen recovered from Robbie's bed belonged to another patient, Adam Trent.

Grissom and Sara search Adam's room; one of the walls is adorned with dark, detailed drawings. Sara removes one to look at it but drops it behind the dresser. As she goes to pick it up, she finds an air vent and spots something inside of it. After removing the vent, they discover a stack of letters addressed to Adam that are postdated over a year ago along with a hairbrush.

Dr. Dino reveals to Grissom and Sara that the letters addressed to Adam are from his mother, and that their relationship is incestual. She explains that mother-son incest is rare and deeply pathological. When Adam's father died when he was little, his mother replaced him with her son. This caused Adam to become schizophrenic, suicidal, and a pathological narcissist. Since he was unable to retaliate against his mother, he became incapable of actual intimacy and started raping women. Dr. Dino confirms that Adam has only raped women, which doesn't explain why semen was found in Robbie's bed. She believes the finding to be out of place, as someone like Adam would rarely veer from his pattern. Dr. Dino says that Adam's mother lives near Reno and that every time she sent her son a letter, it resulted in a manic episode and severe depression, as well as a suicide attempt. Adam's mother stopped sending letters once Dr. Dino returned them to her without giving them to Adam.

Grissom and Sara interrogate Adam, and he admits to the murder because Robbie was gay. He doesn't know why he went through with the sexual act but says that he smashed Robbie's head into the floor. As the interrogation goes on, Adam becomes fixated on Sara, staring at her face, fingernails and other parts of her body. He tells them to check the bucket in the bathroom for proof that he's guilty. Adam then changes his motive, saying that he killed Robbie because he's crazy.

Grissom and Sara check the bathroom and discuss Adam's admission. There was no mention of suffocation, and since Adam is a chronic nail biter, there's no way he would've been able to dig them into the pillow. Furthermore, there were no traces of blood from his cuticles. In the bucket, Sara finds clothes that have blood spatter on them. There's also a pair of boxer shorts that have a red mark around the crotch; they immediately know that it's lipstick. Sara goes back outside to where Nurse McKay was taking her cigarette break and bags one of the cigarettes as evidence. She asks the officer on duty for access to the nurse's station.

At the nurse's station, Sara finds the other half of the photo that Nurse McKay confiscated from Robbie in group. She notices blue tape on the top of the photo, similar to the tape found in Robbie's room. The photo is of a young boy that looks suspiciously like Adam. After Grissom has trouble opening some of the drawers, he goes to look for someone who can assist. While Grissom is away, Adam sneaks into the room and corners Sara. She grabs a syringe, but Adam overpowers her and holds a pointed piece of hardened clay against her neck. When Grissom returns with an orderly, they find that the door is locked. He looks into the room and is horrified at what he sees. Nurse McKay appears and distracts Adam long enough for Sara to escape and run out of the room. After Sara leaves, Adam takes the piece of clay and slits his throat. Sara runs down the hall while medical aid is applied to Adam.

Sara eventually collects herself and tells Grissom that when her mother killed her father, her mother was taken to a place very similar to this hospital. Grissom offers to take her off the case, but Sara says she has moved beyond that childhood trauma and insists on finishing the case. Nurse McKay interrupts and blames the CSIs for what happened, telling them that they've disrupted the status quo. An angry Sara fires back and accuses Nurse McKay of having a sexual relationship with Adam, as her lipstick was found on the boxer shorts. Nurse McKay says that she sometimes let Adam borrow her lipstick, but Grissom replies that there wasn't any lipstick found on Adam's lips.

Grissom brings the piece of clay Adam was holding to the art room and finds Adam's workstation. The therapist tells Grissom that Adam was working on a vase but that he never got to finish it. Before he could do so, Nurse McKay came in and had an argument with Adam. She then yanked him out of the class. Grissom takes a closer look at the vase and confirms that it was on the pottery wheel while the argument was occurring.

Grissom has the vase brought back to the lab. There, acoustic archaeology is used to pull sounds from the grooves in the vase. When the audio is played back, Nurse McKay can be heard saying the name "Robbie." They listen further and are able to pick up the words "my angel," which Grissom notes is what Adam's mother called him in her letters to him.

Nurse McKay is brought in for questioning. Sara tells her that the DNA from the hairbrush found in Adam's room is a match to the cigarette butt. Nurse McKay is revealed to be Adam's mother. Six months ago, she started getting back the letters she sent Adam. Being registered as a nurse, she applied to the hospital and got a job there to be closer to her son. As time went on, she would watch him form a sexual bond with Robbie and knew something had to be done. In the art room, she told Adam to end things with Robbie, but he refused. Knowing that Adam could use this "lover's leverage" against her, Nurse McKay felt she had no choice but to get rid of Robbie.

Nurse McKay tricked Robbie into bringing the photo of a young Adam into group, knowing that taking the photo away from him would set him off and cause an episode. Robbie was restrained in seclusion and, later that night, she went into Robbie's room and smothered him with his pillow. She then had Adam cover up the murder by beating Robbie's head into the floor. Nurse McKay says that none of this can be proven, but Brass lets her know that the incest alone is a Class B felony, which carries a penalty of up to ten years in prison. She defiantly tells Brass that there's no way Adam will testify against her.

Grissom, who was watching from behind the glass, tells Sara that Nurse McKay won't last six months in prison without her son and that she'll die there. "That would be better for both of them," Sara solemnly replies as she watches Nurse McKay get escorted out of the interrogation room in handcuffs.


Main Cast[]

Guest Cast[]

  • Louise Lombard as Sofia Curtis
  • Wallace Langham as David Hodges
  • James Badge Dale as Adam Trent
  • Jon Huertas as Psych Tech Leon Madera
  • David Bowe as Phil Boyd
  • Christian Clemenson as Charles Pellew
  • Kristoffer Ryan Winters as Robbie Garson
  • Jason Matthew Smith as Jake Wernerer
  • Chris Williams as Lt. Reed Owens
  • Allan Kolman as Glen Frydman
  • Michael Reid MacKay as Ronald Salter
  • Robin Weigert as Dr. Valerie Dino
  • Annie Corley as Nurse Joanne McKay
  • Monique Edwards as Nurse Nanette Faber
  • Harry Perry as Earl Simmonds
  • Richard Wharton as Kenny Valdez

Episode Title[]

  • "Committed" is a term often used to denote someone's residence at a psychiatric hospital and references the setting of the episode at Desert State Mental Hospital. 


Sara: When my father died, my mother came to a place like this for a while for evaluation. It looked the same, it smelled the same. It smelled like lies.
Grissom: You sure you're okay?
Sara: Crazy people do make me feel crazy.


  • Why did Grissom and Sara swab the patients for their DNA? A handful of them were convicted rapists, so most (if not all) of their DNA would already be in the system.
  • The "conversation" between Charles Pellew and Grissom was based (according to the director's commentary on the DVD) on an email that he received several months earlier, which seemed to have gone through a translation program, so that the syntax of the sentence seems correct, but the words actually make no sense at all.


  • Marg Helgenberger (Catherine), George Eads (Nick) and Gary Dourdan (Warrick) are credited but do not appear in this episode.
  • In this episode, it's revealed that Sara's mother spent some time in an institution after murdering Sara's father. Sara had previously told Grissom about her family history in the episode Nesting Dolls.
  • This is the last episode where is Sofia seen working in the lab. She's already a detective in her next appearance, Bodies in Motion.


  • According to the production code, this episode was supposed to air before the previous episode Hollywood Brass.
  • For East Coast viewers, this episode was bumped to 10:00 p.m. ET due to a last-minute press conference by President Bush at 8pm ET that bumped "Survivor" to 9:00 p.m. ET.
  • According to MSN's "TV Best Bets," there was originally supposed to be a Case B ("Elsewhere, Catherine looks into the murder of a man found inside a crop circle.") in this episode. This case was used in the later season episode Iced.
  • Christian Clemenson played Charles Pellew in this episode. He's more recognizable to fans of the CSI franchise as pathologist Tom Loman in CSI: Miami, whom he played for 52 episodes.

See Also[]

CSI:Las Vegas Season 5
Viva Las VegasDown the DrainHarvestCrow's FeetSwap MeetWhat's Eating Gilbert Grissom?FormalitiesCh-Ch-ChangesMea CulpaNo Humans InvolvedWho Shot Sherlock?SnakesNesting DollsUnbearableKing BabyBig MiddleCompulsionSpark of Life4 x 4Hollywood BrassCommittedWeeping WillowsIcedGrave Danger, Part 1Grave Danger, Part 2