Dead Doll
Season 8
Number 1
Writer Allen MacDonald,
Dustin Lee Abraham,
Naren Shankar
Director Kenneth Fink
Original Airdate September 27, 2007
Previous Episode: Living Doll
Next Episode: A La Cart

Dead Doll is the first episode in Season Eight of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.


With the Miniature Killer in custody, the CSIs search for Sara, who is trapped under a car in the Nevada desert.


Victim: Sara Sidle (alive—abducted)

On the case: Catherine Willows, Gil Grissom, Greg Sanders, Nick Stokes, Warrick Brown, Jim Brass, Sofia Curtis

Picking up where the previous episode, Living Doll, ended, Sara is trapped under a car in the desert placed there by Natalie Davis, aka "The Miniature Killer." Only her hand is sticking out from under the car. As heavy rains begin to fall, a clap of thunder seems to awaken her; she has a bloody forehead.

In the parking garage where Sara was abducted, Catherine and Greg speak with a security guard. One security camera seems to have a good view of Sara's car; however, they are currently unable to get the video feeds. Based on the time Sara usually eats in the mall, they have a time frame of when she was abducted.

Nick and Warrick search Natalie's apartment and come across a few sketchbooks. One sketchbook has drawings of a desert landscape, which Nick notes can be anywhere in Vegas. Another sketchbook contains drawings of Grissom and Sara at the crime scene Natalie visited. Nick says that crime scene photos didn't show Natalie holding a camera or sketchpad, and they wonder if Natalie is eidetic, where she can see something once and vividly transfer it to her brain. Warrick adds that Sara's location is probably locked inside Natalie's head. He gets a call telling him that her car has been found.

At the police station, Natalie has had a psychotic break and is mumbling inaudibly. Brass informs Grissom that search choppers with night vision have been deployed, but Grissom notes that the metal from the car will conceal Sara's body. A weather report shows that the storms are going to get worse. When Grissom pours water on top of the model, the Sara doll becomes submerged and eventually stops moving. Grissom realizes what this means.

Nick checks Natalie's computer and finds that she has searched for a lot of routes into the desert. Grissom and Warrick process Natalie's car, and Grissom collects a seed sample from the front bumper. It's determined that the last trip Natalie took in her car was 34r miles one way, giving the team a smaller search field when combined with the routes Nick found. Meanwhile, Hodges collects DNA and trace from a catatonic Natalie, who freaks him out by whispering different things.

Back in the parking garage, Catherine finds a taser barb in the groove of one of the tires on Sara's car. This gives the team the knowledge of how she was incapacitated. Grissom and Greg go through the security feed and see Sara get dragged and put into the trunk of Natalie's car. They follow the cameras and see that Natalie headed west when she left the garage, helping them narrow down the search field even more. They're also able to obtain the license plate number of the car Natalie is driving.

A flashback shows Sara getting a call from Grissom telling her that Natalie has been identified as The Miniature Killer. When Sara got to her car in preparation to head to the lab, she was tasered and stuffed into the trunk of Natalie's car. She awakened a while later with her wrists bound behind her back. Using the taser barb still in her vest, she unlocked the zip tie to free herself. With Natalie driving at a high speed, escaping from the trunk was not an option. Sara unscrewed a speaker, widened a tear in the material, pushed the back seat down, and lunged at Natalie. Natalie continued driving at a high speed while the two fought in the front of the car, with Sara smashing Natalie's head through the driver's side window. Sara was able to dive out of the car, but got injured in the process. Natalie then brought the car around and continued with her plan. In the present, rain continues to fall as Sara continues to have problems freeing herself, breaking her arm in the process.

Warrick continues going over Natalie's car, finding blood on the broken driver's side window and evidence that Sara unlocked her zip tie and got out of the trunk. He relays his findings to Grissom and wonders if Sara is even in the desert since she was able to free herself. Grissom replies that he looked into Natalie's eyes and saw that she completed the miniature; Sara is definitely under the car. Hodges enters and tells Grissom that the pollen spores recovered from Natalie's hair and from the car's bumper both overlap in Red Rock Canyon.

Another flashback shows Natalie reviving Sara with water from a bottle; Sara is once again bound by a zip tie. As Natalie drives, Sara tries to relate with her, discussing her own past as a foster child. Natalie whispers that Ernie loved her more than Grissom loves Sara, much to Sara's confusion. Sara starts to lose consciousness, as Natalie slipped something into the water. When she awakens, the red Mustang is being lowered on top of her in the desert. Sara gets pinned under the car and a satisfied Natalie drives away. A little while later, coyotes approach the car, but get scared off by a clap of thunder. Heavy rain starts to fall. In the present, the water level continues to rise as Sara struggles to free herself; she's in a considerable amount of pain.

In Natalie's apartment, Nick starts to get frustrated with his lack of progress and recalls a conversation he had with Sara after he had been rescued from being buried alive. He soon finds a phone number Natalie wrote down for the Desert Diamond Auto Yard and confirms from the police file that the wrecked red Mustang was taken to that location. Brass speaks with the auto yard owner, who recognizes Natalie from her photo and confirms that she bought the car a few weeks ago. The owner is eventually able to remember that he towed the car out to Ice Box Canyon.

Police and helicopters are dispatched to Ice Box Canyon. Greg is able to spot the car from the helicopter and guide the team towards the wreck. However, when Grissom and Nick get to the car, they're only able to recover Sara's CSI vest; Sara is nowhere to be found. Grissom spots shoeprints in the sand, indicating that Sara freed herself from the car and escaped on foot. A flashback shows Sara ripping the rearview mirror from the car and using it to move a rock that was wedged under the car. When she moved the rock, the car shifted, allowing her to free her arm and swim to safety. She then started walking through the desert with the rearview mirror clutched in her good hand.

Sara, who has fashioned a sling for her injured arm, wanders through the desert under the hot sun. She reaches a high point and looks around, only to find more desert as far as the eye can see. Meanwhile, Catherine and Grissom run into trouble following Sara's footprints, as the wind has covered them in sand. Grissom spots three rocks stacked on top of each other and knows that Sara has been marking her path. Fear washes over Grissom when he eventually finds a body; however, he and Catherine soon discover that it's not Sara. The body is identified as a camper who likely got caught in the flash flood and couldn't make it to higher ground. Grissom is still concerned, as Sara is in the desert with no water.

Sara continues to make her way through the desert, frequently collapsing from exhaustion and dehydration. She eventually collapses in a small shady spot, dropping the rearview mirror in the process. She's eventually discovered when Nick sees the sun bounce off the mirror, creating a bright flash of light. However, upon discovery, Sara has no pulse. She's given oxygen and airlifted in a Medivac helicopter to the hospital. On the way, she opens her eyes and sees Grissom sitting next to her and squeezing her hand.

Back at the police station, Natalie continues to mumble to herself in her catatonic state.


Main Cast[]

Guest Cast[]


  • Wallace Langham (Hodges) is promoted to the main cast and is shown in the opening credits for the first time.
  • This episode marks Louise Lombard's last appearance as Sofia Curtis until the Season 11 episode Father of the Bride.
  • A flashback is shown of Sara wiping something off of Grissom's cheek. This occurred in the Season Two episode Scuba Doobie-Doo.
  • A flashback is shown of a conversation between Nick and Sara. In it, she tells him that in their line of work, they can't assume they're going to rescue a person. He replies that he was rescued after being buried alive, leading her to say that it wasn't his day to die, which is a reference to the episodes Season Five episodes Grave Danger, Part 1 and Grave Danger, Part 2. The actual conversation occured in the Season Six episode Gum Drops.


  • Patrick Renna played the security guard in the parking garage. Fans of baseball movies will recognize him from his role as Hamilton 'Ham' Porter in The Sandlot.

See Also[]

CSI:Las Vegas Season 8
Dead DollA La CartGo to HellThe Case of the Cross-Dressing Carp The Chick Chop Flick ShopWho and WhatWhere and WhyGoodbye and Good LuckYou Kill MeCockroachesLying Down With DogsBullGrissom's Divine ComedyA Thousand Days On EarthDrops OutThe Theory of EverythingTwo And A Half DeathsFor Gedda