Identity Crisis
Season 2
Number 13
Writer Ann Donahue,
Anthony E. Zuiker
Director Kenneth Fink
Original Airdate January 17, 2002
Previous Episode: You've Got Male
Next Episode: The Finger

Identity Crisis is the thirteenth episode in Season Two of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.


Paul Millander returns, leaving another staged suicide. Upon finding a clue that connects all the victims, Grissom and Catherine end up in a courtroom, where the judge bears an uncanny resemblance to Millander. Further investigation reveals a startling secret about Millander's past.


Victim: Pete Walker (deceased)

On the case: entire team

On a dark, rainy night a man drives past a hitchhiker wearing a long black coat with a hood, holding a sign that says 'Vegas.' After a moment, he stops the car, backs up, and and picks up the hitchhiker. When asked where he's headed, the hitchhiker ominously replies, "It's not where I'm headed."

Catherine and Grissom are called out to the town of Good Springs, and Grissom is informed that "his name is on the tape." The CSIs enter an empty warehouse and find a man shot to death lying in a bathtub, the work of serial killer Paul Millander. They play the tape recorder left behind; in it, Pete Walker reads a suicide note and shoots himself. The suicide tape ends with Paul wishing Grissom a happy birthday. Catherine realizes that Grissom's birthday is in August and coincides with Paul's M.O. of killing men who share a birthday with the anniversary of his father's murder. As it turns out, Grissom's birthday is the next one on the list.

The rest of the team arrives to assist in the case, stunned that Paul Millander has returned—and that Grissom's birth date is an important one. Nick is confident that Paul can't outsmart the entire team, but Grissom cautions him that it's certainly possible. Sara and Warrick check the perimeter and find footprints in the mud leading up the warehouse door. The footprints are deep, indicating that Paul was carrying the body. Inside the warehouse, Grissom observes stippling on the side of Pete's face and notes that unburned gunpowder shouldn't burn in such a way. There are also no entry wounds in Pete's face. Catherine finds a long hair in the bathtub, likely from a female.

In the A/V lab, Nick and Archie go over the tape recording. The lack of an echo combined with the sound of windshield wipers in the background lead to the quick conclusion that the recording was made in the car. A whirring sound can be heard, but can't yet be identified. Nick is able to identify a country song playing on the radio and offers to call the local stations and establish a timeline. Finally, an auditory imbalance in the recording leads Nick to guess that Paul was the one driving.

In autopsy, a scan of Pete's body shows only the bullet's entry wound in the chest. Grissom again observes the stippling on the side of the face, noting that unburned gunpowder doesn't change direction. As he stares at the stippling, he recalls a past meeting with Paul, where the serial killer revealed his latest mask, which he called "Good vs. Evil." Grissom concludes that Paul is sending him a message.

Pete's abandoned car is found next to the highway along with the 'Vegas' sign Paul was holding. Sara concludes that Pete picked up the wrong hitchhiker, but Warrick questions how Paul would know the good Samaritan's birthday. They search the car and find gunshot residue on the headliner, but no bullet. The conclusion is that the bullet went out the window, which would explain what the whirring sound was in the recording—it was the window going down.

In the lab, Greg analyzes the planted hair from the bathtub. The hair has a complete follicular tag, and the amelogenin on it comes back as female. Grissom takes a closer look at the hair under the microscope and sees that the tag cell is aged; the hair is a few decades old and was likely kept in a freezer for preservation. He wonders if Paul is trying to say that he used to kill women.

Nick looks over Pete's car and finds a hyphenated eight-digit number stamped to the bottom of the center console. He comments to Greg that paper only burns itself into plastic in extreme heat, so this could've happened during the summer. Grissom summons everyone to the lab and the case is laid out again. Nick was able to determine that the song heard on the tape recorder was played between 1:47 AM and 1:51 AM, which gave Paul about three hours to do his dirty work before the sun came up. All of the physical evidence is presented, but Grissom remarks that none of it matters; he believes Paul is planting evidence to tell a story.

Brass informs the team that Pete Walker drove between California and Vegas regularly, using the same route each time. His record was clean, save for one speeding ticket he got last July—in the middle of the summer. Nick realizes the connection and has Brass search for the speeding ticket on the computer using the imprinted numbers from the car's center console. The speeding ticket comes up, and a search of the other two victims also turns up vehicle violations. As it happens, each ticket was written by the same cop: Officer Kevin Yarnell.

Catherine and Grissom go to the town of Mulberry to speak with Officer Yarnell. The officer tells the CSIs that there are three different traffic court judges, and he encourages the them to sit in on a case. When Catherine and Grissom sit in on a case presided over by Judge Douglas Mason, they're stunned to see that he has a striking resemblance to Paul Millander. Grissom tries to have Judge Mason arrested, but is instead held in contempt of court and put in jail.

After the trial, Judge Mason pays Grissom a visit and insists that he has a doppelganger. He returns Grissom's belongings, including an ID badge, and invites him to dinner at his house. When Catherine arrives, Grissom uses her mentholatum to fume a bar of the cell Judge Mason carelessly touched. Catherine tape lifts the print while Grissom tells her he has dinner plans.

Back at the lab, Greg finds testosterone in the planted female hair. He also identifies the hair as being from a post-pubescent female and concludes that the testosterone came from either an injection or supplements, not naturally.

Grissom visits the Mason residence and admires the rain boots on the porch as he waits for someone to answer the door. He's greeted by Judge Mason's wife and is introduced to their adopted son, Craig. During dinner, Grissom gets a call from Catherine, who has run the fingerprints Judge Mason left behind in the jail cell. The prints surprisingly come back to Judge Mason himself, not Paul Millander. Judge Mason correctly guesses what the call was about and reiterates that he has been confused with a "very bad man." Grissom excuses himself from dinner so that he may return to the lab, but not before Craig takes a photo of him to use for a school-sponsored identification program for students.

Grissom meets up with Catherine, still convinced that Judge Mason is pulling one over on them. Curiously, there's no birth certificate for Judge Mason, as the records building mysteriously burned down in 1982. However, there's good news: there are current property tax records on file in the name of Paul and Isabelle Millander.

Catherine and Grissom visit Isabelle, who believes the inquiries are about her late husband, who was also named Paul. As it turns out, Paul used to run a company in the 1930s called "Halloweird," where he would make movie makeup and use himself as a model; it seems the younger Paul was following in the family business. Isabelle shows Grissom one of the few things she has left of her husband: a hand mold that has a green substance at the tip of the finger impressions. She lets Grissom take the mold back to the lab for analysis with the promise that he brings it back.

Catherine, meanwhile, excuses herself and goes to find the bathroom. Her fact-finding mission leads her to a little girls' bedroom; the name "Pauline" is on a name plate on the wall. There are vintage clothes in a dresser and in the closet. Catherine lifts a hair from one of the shirts in the closet and pockets a stack of baseball cards she finds in the dresser. Isabelle soon catches Catherine in the act. When questioned, she reveals that her daughter died a long time ago and begins to get upset when asked about her son. Catherine and Grissom are ordered to leave; outside, they wonder if a young Paul killed his sister.

The green substance from the hand mold is identified as alginate, something used by makeup people in the '70s to make molds and impressions. Grissom realizes that Paul was planting his father's fingerprints at the crime scenes as if they were his own, which means every murder was coming back to a dead man.

There are no fingerprints on file for a Pauline Millander, nor is there a birth record or death certificate. Catherine processes the print on the baseball card and confirms that it's Paul's. Greg pages Catherine and Grissom to the DNA lab, where he reveals that the hair from Pauline's bedroom is a perfect DNA match to the hair in the bathtub and the most recent scene. Sara adds that Paul planted his own hair—Pauline was taking male hormone injections, likely for a sex change. Catherine notes that there were no photos of Paul in the Millander house, and Grissom remarks that Paul did kill his sister, but he didn't murder her.

Grissom pays Isabelle another visit, and she confirms that her daughter went away a long time ago and came back a "very strange man." After this, she kicked him out of the house. She allows Grissom to collect hairs from Pauline's bedroom for use in court.

Paul is brought to the station for questioning, where he admits that he had an "endocranial ambiguity." He managed to live as both a boy and a girl until the night he saw his father murdered. Because of his failed testimony in court (as Pauline), the guilty men walked free. Believing that a boy could've saved his father and stood up to the men who killed him, Pauline started to associate with the aggressors and decided to get a sex change. Paul offers to swab his own cheek for DNA and brings up the birth dates. Grissom shows disinterest in the fact that he may be the next victim, but Paul remarks that his next victim has already been chosen.

In court, Catherine is informed that Paul is representing himself; therefore, his is the last case on the docket. This concerns Grissom, who rushes to the room where Paul is being held. Upon entering, he sees that Paul has vanished and left behind his prison clothing; his ID wristband has also been cut. Security cameras show Paul leaving the courthouse and using Grissom's ID badge to do so; he photocopied Grissom's badge earlier and used the photo Craig took at dinner. Upon leaving the courthouse, Paul salutes the camera.

Back at the lab, Grissom prepares to go home at the end of his shift. Catherine tells him that Paul slipped up; while Pete Walker's suicide note mentioned his mother, records show that he didn't have one—she died in childbirth. Grissom notes that Paul never slips up, and he rushes out of the lab.

Grissom goes back to Isabelle Millander's house once more, this time with his gun drawn. Inside the darkened house, he finds Isabelle sitting at the dining room table with a knife in her chest. He's alerted to a noise coming from the bathroom down the hall. There, he finds Paul dead in the bathtub, just like his victims. Pauline's birth certificate is on the floor; it lists the same birthday as Grissom's. As Grissom reads it, he plays Paul's suicide tape, which ends with a gunshot.


Main Cast[]

Guest Cast[]

Major Events[]

  • This is the third and final appearance of Matt O'Toole as Paul Millander. He previously appeared in Pilot and Anonymous from season one.


  • When Grissom and Catherine arrive, the detective says "Welcome to Good Springs." Although it's implied that they had to travel out of their jurisdictions, Good Springs still belongs to Clark County.
  • In Paul Millander's suicide note at the end of the episode, he states that he is 46 years old. The show also mentions in previous episodes that he was ten years old when he saw his father killed on August 17, 1959. This would mean that this episode takes place in the mid 1990s. But, since the show is set around the same date that it airs, this is wrong.
  • In the Season One episode Anonymous, Sara reads an article about the supposed suicide of Paul Millander's father. The article mentioned that "the boy's testimony was shaky" and it mentioned Paul by name. However, in this episode, it's discovered that Paul was actually born a female.


  • I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry by Hank Williams


  • Grissom shares the same birthday with Paul Millander; they were both born on August 17, 1956.
  • Paul Millander was born as Pauline Millander, but had a sex change.


  • Millander’s crimes over all are inspired by Edmund Kemper, a.k.a. "The Co-Ed Killer". Kemper is a serial killer who hated his mother and took his rage out on other women, until he killed her at the end of his spree and turned himself in.
  • Craig Mason is portrayed in this episode by Devon Alan. When the character appears later in season ten's Ghost Town, he's played by a different actor with the same first name: Devon (Devon Graye).
  • Neil Flynn played Officer Kevin Yarnell. He's perhaps most recognizable for his role as the wise-cracking janitor in the show Scrubs.

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