Grave Danger, Part 1
Season 5
Number 24
Writer Carol Mendelsohn,
Naren Shankar,
Quentin Tarantino,
Anthony E. Zuiker
Director Quentin Tarantino
Original Airdate May 19, 2005
Previous Episode: Iced
Next Episode: Grave Danger, Part 2

Grave Danger, Part 1 is the twenty-fourth episode in Season Five of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.


The separated graveyard-shift team join together as one of their own is kidnapped from a crime scene and held for a million dollars ransom by a mysterious and vengeful assailant. However, it soon appears that the kidnapping may be about more than the ransom 


Victim: Nick Stokes (missing)

On the case: Catherine Willows, Gil Grissom, Greg Sanders, Sara Sidle, Warrick Brown, Jim Brass

Nick is called to a crime scene to investigate an anonymous 9-1-1 call about body parts in the area. When he arrives, the responding officer leads him to a bloody pile of intestines in a vacant lot. After the officer wanders off to his cruiser to get some fresher air and throw up, Nick starts taking pictures of the evidence, unaware that someone is watching him from behind a dumpster. He places an evidence marker next to the intestines, one next to a broken cigarette, and one next to some tire tracks. A short distance away, he sees a Styrofoam cup in an evidence bag. As he goes to process the bag, a figure appears behind him and grabs him.

Catherine, Grissom and Brass arrive at the scene 25 minutes later. Brass berates the officer for taking his eyes off of Nick, while Catherine and Grissom examine the scene. They find Nick's evidence markers and come across Nick's vest. Catherine pulls a white fiber from the vest and notes that it smells like alcohol. Grissom notices the plastic bag with the cup and finds it curious. Catherine joins him and points out that the evidence bag has yellow tape on it, which the lab doesn't use; furthermore, there are no initials on the seal. Grissom wonders if it's a message.

We flash back to several hours earlier in the lab. Grissom recreates a double murder and informs a surprised Sara that identical twins were shot back-to-back with one bullet, creating two different blood spatters with the same DNA. Elsewhere, on a seemingly slow night in the lab, Archie asks Ecklie for a little extra pay in order to fund a trip to present a paper, while Greg and Hodges play a board game. In the locker room, Warrick recounts the events of his date the other night to Nick, telling him that he almost got into a fight with two other guys. Catherine appears and presents Nick and Warrick with two cases: a trash run or an assault at a strip club. They flip a coin for the strip club case and Warrick is the victor. As Nick walks away, he flips the coin to Warrick saying that it's bad luck.

In the present, Nick awakens in the trunk of a car with his hands zip tied behind his back. As the car stops, Nick positions himself in a way where he'll kick his kidnapper when the trunk is opened. However, his kidnapper instead appears behind him and knocks him out him again.

Catherine and Grissom continue to look over the crime scene. While Catherine finds nothing in the nearby dumpster, Grissom examines the entrails. He notes that the blood pool around them is too perfect and that there's no spatter; it's almost as if someone carefully placed the entrails there as a lure. Ecklie arrives and tells them that this case is the only one the lab and the entire department are working. Warrick shows up and offers to help. Nick's vest is shown to scent dogs and they start running after a trail with Warrick behind them. The scent trail stops cold at a rectangular void in the pavement made by a large vehicle that was parked there while it was raining. Warrick measures the void and goes to take his notebook out of his vest. Instead, he finds the coin Nick gave to him earlier. Warrick looks up at the sky and sighs.

Doc Robbins informs Catherine that the intestines at the scene were canine. Sara tells Grissom that she got no results from the evidence bag that was recovered from the scene. She also went over Nick's camera and found pictures from the scene, but none of them included his kidnapper. Greg has pulled all of Nick's active cases and Grissom has him check to see if anyone has a grudge against Nick, including civilian complains and death threats. Hodges runs the track and wheelbase measurements in the system and finds seven possible vehicles that match the dimensions. Warrick speaks to a dispatch officer and has her run the traffic cameras in a three-block radius from Nick's crime scene. They spot a Ford Expedition truck that's moving rather quickly and Warrick has her track it.

We now see Nick lying flat on his back in a box with vents on the sides. The kidnapper cuts the zip ties from Nick's wrist and puts glow sticks, a gun and a tape recorder in the box. He then closes the lid and starts covering the box with dirt, burying Nick alive.

The team meets to go over what they have so far. The Expedition, assuming that it's the vehicle that's carrying Nick, headed east until it drove off the grid. The white fibers recovered from Nick's vest were cotton with traces of ether on them; Grissom finds this odd, as not many people use ether anymore. Greg says that none of Nick's active or recent cases stand out and that his stalker is still behind bars. They wonder if Nick was just a random target, as the kidnapper didn't know ahead of time that Nick would be the one called to the scene. Sara adds that there were no prints on the Styrofoam cup or the evidence bag. They're suddenly distracted by loud shouting.

Hodges is yelling at a courier, who has dropped off a package. He rips the package out of the courier's hands and tells Grissom that he was trying to prevent any prints from getting smudged, as the package pertains to Nick. Grissom takes the package into the lab while the rest of the team watches from afar. He carefully cuts open the package and finds a cassette tape and a flash drive inside. There's no trace on either item.

Nick awakens in the box and hits his head on the lid as he tries to sit up. As he comes to, he finds the glow stick and illuminates the area, horrifyingly discovering that he's buried alive. He picks up the gun nearby and finds that it's loaded. As he reaches around, he also finds the tape recorder and hits the play button. He hears the following message:

"Hi, CSI guy. You wondering why you're here? Because you followed the evidence. Because that's what CSIs do. So breathe quick, breathe slow, put your gun in your mouth and pull the trigger. Any way you like, you're going to die here."

Nick's breathing becomes panicked and he starts banging on the box trying to find a way out. His panicked screams soon turned into sobs.

Back in the lab, with the team huddled around him, Grissom puts the tape cassette into a player and presses the play button. The only thing on the tape is the song "Outside Chance" by The Turtles, and it's only purpose it to taunt the CSIs. Grissom then puts the flash drive in a computer and the following message appears:

"One million dollars in 12 hours or the CSI dies. Drop-off instructions to follow. And now for your viewing pleasure...you can only WATCH."

Grissom clicks the WATCH button, and they're horrified to see a live video feed of Nick's predicament. As the lights in the box shine on Nick, he continues to wriggle around trying to find a way out.

As the rest of the team continues to watch the feed, Grissom does some calculations and believes that Nick has an hour and 15 minutes of air left. Catherine notes that they have 12 hours to deliver the money; if Nick is going to be kept alive for that long, he must have an additional air supply. The video feed cuts out and brings them back to the "WATCH" screen again. Warrick clicks the button and verifies that they're looking at a live feed.

Brass interrogates the courier and his lawyer. The courier says that he got a call to pick up a package; when he got to the address, he found the package with $100 taped to it, which he quickly gambled away. He never spoke to anyone. Brass and some officers head to the address and break down the door. Inside, they find an overweight drunk guy asleep in his recliner; the address is a dead end. Brass relays this to Grissom, who guesses that the kidnapper picked a house at random knowing that the police would chase it.

Ecklie informs the department that the city of Las Vegas isn't going to finance the ransom, as they have a policy to not negotiate with terrorists. Meanwhile, Catherine and Grissom meet with Nick's parents, who tell them that they've gathered up some money but will need another day to reach the $1 million ransom. Grissom tells them that they have very little information about who has Nick or why they have him. Nick's father asks for proof that Nick is still alive, and Grissom shows him the live video. As they watch the feed, Nick's mother leaves the room. His father wonders aloud what Nick has gotten himself into and calls him "Pancho." As she watches the timer under the video count down, Catherine appears to come to a decision and exits the lab.

Ecklie meets up with Undersheriff Jeffrey McKeen and offers to cut back on the lab's budget to help save $1 million over the next fiscal year. Undersheriff McKeen rejects the idea, saying that there's no way the sheriff will cut back on services to the taxpayers. He coldly advises Ecklie to prepare his people for a funeral.

Catherine heads to the casino and asks her father, Sam Braun, for the money. Sam correctly guesses that the department won't finance the ransom and asks why he should. She tells him that this would be good publicity for him, but he rebuffs the notion that he even needs publicity. He refuses to help the police and has Catherine ask for the money as his daughter, not as a cop.

Catherine is able to get the money and brings it to Grissom, who is unhappy about where she got it from. He tells her that it will look like Sam bribed the lab, but Catherine replies that she cares way more about Nick than the lab's integrity. Grissom sighs deeply and agrees to accept the money on the condition that he's the one who makes the drop. Catherine is incensed, as it's her money; however, Grissom says that she needs to be hands off. As far as they're concerned, the money was given to the lab anonymously.

The timer on Nick's video feed ends and a message pops up in its place:

"4672 Carney Lane, Boulder Highway. Be there in 20 minutes, or don't bother coming."

Grissom heads to the address alone. Inside, he sees a vehicle that matches the description of the getaway car. He mentions aloud that he's from the crime lab, and a voice from another room tells him to come through the door. As Grissom moves further in, he spots a dead dog amongst a rather dingy living space. In the other room, a man is seen watching Nick on the live video feed. Grissom slides the money over to the kidnapper, who seems sure that there's some trick in play, such as a tracer or a dye pack. Grissom assures him that there are no tricks; they just want Nick back. The kidnapper opens the bag and seems surprised that the money is real. When Grissom asks where Nick is, the kidnapper starts asking him questions:

"What does Nick Stokes mean to you? How do you feel when you see him in that coffin? Does your soul die every time you push that button? How do you feel, knowing that there's nothing you can do to get him out of that hell? Helpless...useless...impotent?"

The kidnapper reveals that he's wearing a Semtex vest and suggests to Grissom that he back up. Soon thereafter, the kidnapper blows himself up, leaving Grissom bloodied and money floating in the air. He's no closer to finding Nick.

TO BE CONTINUED appears on the screen.


Main Cast[]

Guest Cast[]

Major Events[]

  • Nick is buried alive and the whole team must rally together to find out where he is and rescue him before it's too late.


  • Lucky Too by Bob Neuwirth
  • Outside Chance by The Turtles


  • Nick's stalker is originally considered a suspect in his abduction. This is in reference to Nigel Crane, who pursued Nick in the Season Two episode Stalker. It is eventually revealed that Nigel is still in prison.
  • Undersheriff Jeffrey McKeen is introduced for the first time.

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