Inside the Box
Season 3
Number 23
Writer Carol Mendelsohn,
Anthony E. Zuiker
Director Kenneth Fink
Original Airdate May 15, 2003
Previous Episode: Play with Fire
Next Episode: Assume Nothing

Inside the Box is the twenty-third episode and Season Three finale of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.


Grissom and his team have to investigate the shooting death of one of their own during a bank robbery. For Catherine, the case becomes very personal when Sam Braun is brought into the investigation. Meanwhile, Grissom's hearing is interfering with his work and he finally takes a step to counter it.


Victim: Cyrus Lockwood (deceased)

On the case: Entire team

At First Monument Bank, Det. Cyrus Lockwood is in line to make a transaction. A young boy standing with his mother sees Det. Lockwood's badge and smiles. Suddenly, a group of armed masked men enter the bank. They make all patrons line up against a wall, while one member has the bank manager lead him to the vault where the safe deposit boxes are. He places charges on certain boxes and detonates the charges. In the lobby, Det. Lockwood draws his gun on of the men and is shot in the back. As the police arrive, they get ambushed by gunfire from an unseen location.

Grissom arrives at the bank and is soon met by Catherine. His hearing is causing a problem again, as he can neither hear the sound of the alarm or Catherine speaking to him. The enter the bank and see Brass and David Phillips crouched over the body of Det. Lockwood. Brass informs Catherine and Grissom that Det. Lockwood was shot protecting a woman and child. David says that he only sees one bullet wound through the back, which matches the witnesses' statements. Grissom walks over to one of the front windows and sees evidence that the shot was fired from outside of the bank. Brass tells them that the robbers weren't interested in money and directs them to the vault.

In the vault, Grissom sees the pattern that the charges were placed in, leading Catherine to surmise that the robbers knew exactly what they were looking for. Grissom notes that thanks to the robbers' precision, the focus of the CSI team can be narrowed.

Nick, Sara and Warrick enter the bank to assist while Grissom stands contemplating, his hearing muffled again. Each member of the team except for Catherine picks an area to process—Grissom and Sara head to the vault, Nick heads outside to process the shot-up police car, and Warrick is on the cameras. Warrick finds some black substance covering the camera lens, but Catherine tells him to grab the security tapes anyway. Brass interrupts and says that they found the getaway vehicle; the driver is dead.

On the floor in the vault, Grissom finds an electric blasting cap and thinks that the robbers could've used C-4. He and Sara figure that whatever the robbers were looking for was located in the center of the blast. Grissom also finds the detonator on the ground, which Sara offers to fume for prints back at the lab. Outside, Nick tells Catherine that the police car was shot twice in the hood and once in the windshield with a high-powered long-range weapon. Catherine says she'll take any of the bullets to start processing them.

Catherine and Brass go to the scene of the getaway vehicle. The driver is inside nearly decapitated, with the wire used still around his neck. Brass guesses that the driver became a liability after the job was done; he was killed and the other robbers got away in another vehicle.

In autopsy, Doc Robbins pulls the bullet from Det. Lockwood's body. Elsewhere, outside the bank, Nick is able to pull one of the bullets from under the police car's hood. Meanwhile, back in the vault, Sara recreates the original layout of the safe deposit boxes.

In the A/V lab, Grissom and Warrick watch the bank's security footage and see one of the robbers spray something on the camera. After lamenting the loss of Det. Lockwood, Warrick tells Grissom that the results of the black substance came back as camouflage cream. He guesses that the robbers used the same stuff on their face as they did on the camera and he was able to find an eyelash in the cream.

Doc Robbins personally brings the bullet pulled from Det. Lockwood to Grissom, saying that he owes it to the fallen officer. Grissom stops by the print lab and tells Catherine that they have the bullet. She responds by saying they identified the getaway driver by his fingerprints. The driver is Larry Whiting, whose criminal past includes assault and a drunk and disorderly. He was a valet at the Rampart Casino, which Grissom notes is one of Sam Braun's hotels. Grissom says you need a non-gaming work card to park cars at a Vegas casino, so how did a guy with a criminal record obtain one? They figure Sam Braun is involved. Grissom tells Catherine to check it out despite knowing her past history with Sam.

Catherine meets with Sam, who is unhappy that his Human Resources department processed someone with a criminal record. She tells him that Larry Whiting was involved in the bank robbery, but the name doesn't ring any bells with Sam. Catherine doesn't believe this and retells the story from her youth of Sam coming up with an excuse that he was too tired to drive when he was, in actuality, sleeping with Catherine's mother. She reminds Sam that one of his cocktail waitresses was murdered a year before. When combined with Larry Whiting's criminal past, things aren't looking good for Sam's business. Sam replies that he has a great Public Relations department that can bury any bit of bad press.

Warrick and Brass go to Larry's apartment, where they find his valet uniform and work card. Warrick also finds a liqueur cup filled with money, as well as two $5,000 money bands from the Rampart Casino.

In the ballistics lab, Bobby Dawson shows Grissom that the bullet that killed Det. Lockwood and the bullet Nick retrieved from the police car are the same caliber (.308) and likely came from the same gun—an M1A. The M1A is a "long gun" and Bobby points out that long guns are only registered to the original purchaser and the serial numbers are not recorded. Since the gun is impossible to trace, the team is at a dead end forensically. However, Bobby speculates that someone able to take out Det. Lockwood and a speeding police car has to have a lot of training. They guess that the shooter is/was in the military.

In the bank, Nick sets up a dummy with Det. Lockwood's jacket, complete with bullet entry wound.. He fits the dummy with a laser and lines it up with the bullet hole in the window. Outside, he does the same thing with the hood of the police car. The lasers line up with a window in an office building across the street from the bank. Nick heads across the street and is able to locate the window from where the shots were fired. While the window sill tests negative for gunshot residue, the top of a nearby chair tests positive. The shooter used the top of the chair to steady the gun while firing.

Back in the bank vault, Sara has reconstructed the layout of the safe deposit boxes. She tells Catherine and Grissom that the outer boxes in the explosion suffered the most damage. The point was to preserve the sanctity of the middle box—box 729. This is the only box that is missing from the blast and it's the box the robbers were after. Grissom notes that they still don't know what was inside that box.

Catherine and Grissom are in the bank waiting for the bank manager to arrive. She begins speaking to Grissom, but he can barely hear her. She seems to know something is up and asks him if he can hear her, but the bank manager arrives before Grissom is able to answer. They tell the bank manager they're interested in finding out about box 729 and provide a court order when asked to do so. The bank manager calls up the information and finds that the box belongs to Benny Murdock, a name Catherine recognizes.

Catherine pays Sam another visit, this time with Grissom in tow. Sam tells them that Benny Murdock worked his way up from doorman to casino host in just one year; six months after that, he was a big gun at the Tangiers. Benny then became Sam's right-hand man when the Rampart opened. Sam reveals that Benny died a few weeks ago from a brain aneurysm. When Catherine asks Sam if Larry Whiting knew Benny, he replies that everybody knew Benny. He even tells Catherine that Benny directed the high-end whales Catherine's way when she used to be a dancer. She replies that that was Old Vegas and mentions that she heard Benny and Sam had a falling out six months ago. Sam gets paged, interrupting the conversation. While Sam is away, Grissom notices a photo of the opening of the Rampart. Sam returns and refuses to answer any questions about Benny, but says he and Benny made peace before he died. He ends the conversation after being told someone was cheating at one of the blackjack tables downstairs.

In the lab, Catherine asks Greg if he knows what "off the record" means; Greg says that he does. Meanwhile, Grissom visits Doc Robbins for a second opinion on his ear. After seeing how far along Grissom's problem is, he recommends that he schedule surgery as soon as possible.

In the break room, everyone is seated around the table sharing Chinese food. Greg informs the group that he ran DNA on the eyelash found in the camouflage cream, but got no results. When Catherine asks Grissom what he thinks, Grissom says that they're giving the robbers too much credit—they're bank robbers, not expert evidence concealers. He asks anyone if they know how a fortune cookie is made. Nick gives the answer and Grissom exits the room with fortune cookie in hand to take a closer look at the evidence.

In the evidence room, Grissom dumps out all of the evidence and takes apart one of the remote devices. He dusts the inside of the device for prints and is able to uncover one. Jacqui Franco runs the print and it comes back to Robert Rubio, who has a non-gaming work card on file. Robert is the head of security at the Rampart Casino. Grissom has her run Robert's name through the military database and reveal an address.

The police break down the door to Robert's home, but don't find him inside. An officer tells Brass that the house is empty, but there's something burning in the backyard. Catherine, Grissom and Brass head to the backyard, where they find a black coat in the barbecue along with safe deposit box 729. Catherine pries the box open to reveal nothing inside except a piece of purple fabric, which is thought to be silk. There are also some spots in the box that test positive for blood. Brass gets off the phone and tells Catherine and Grissom that Robert Rubio used to be a security expert in the military and was hired by Sam Braun to beef up security at the casino. Brass notes that all evidence seems to be leading to Sam and the Rampart.

In the desert, Sam emerges from his car with a briefcase in his hand. Another car comes up, and four people emerge from it, one of whom is Robert Rubio. We are then introduced to a cut scene, where all three of the four men have been shot dead, with Sam nowhere to be found. Catherine and Grissom meet Brass at the scene. Grissom notes that the victims were shot with a high-powered rifle at close range. All three victims were shot in different parts of the body—the face/neck, the chest, and the back. Furthermore, each victim was carrying a gun that they never got a chance to fire. Grissom notices that there's no car to be found, leading him to question how they got there. Catherine guesses that the killer drove the victims to the desert, shot them, and drove away. She sees evidence of camouflage cream on one of the victims, while Grissom spots a bloodstained rainbow scarf caught in a nearby bush. They recognize the scarf from the safe deposit box and now definitively know the victims are the bank robbers. One guy is still on the loose—Robert Rubio.

In the lab, Bobby Dawson excitedly stops Grissom and tells him that the bullets used to kill the bank robbers were fired from the same rifle used to kill Det. Lockwood; they're 30-caliber rounds, something not often used in crimes. However, Grissom's hearing is giving out and he ends up walking away from Bobby, seemingly ignoring him and leaving him confused. Grissom visits Greg, who tells him that the blood flecks found in the safe deposit box got one hit—Vivian Verona, a cocktail waitress who was killed on the top floor of Pike's Gambling Hall two years ago. Greg hands him the report and Grissom notes that there were multiple puncture wounds of different depths on Vivian's body, possibly meaning two different knives were used. The murder weapon was never found, but Greg believes the other blood donor in the safe deposit box could belong to the killer. Grissom sees that Greg's hands are shaking, which they've been doing since the lab explosion. Greg says it's not affecting his work and Grissom assures him they'll stop shaking eventually.

Grissom is looking at a blown up photo of Vivian wearing the rainbow scarf. She's celebrating receiving a $50,000 tip, and Sam is seen in the photo with a few other people. Grissom then looks at the crime scene photo and sees that Vivian is no longer wearing the scarf. Warrick enters with the scarf in the evidence bag, and Grissom has him open the bag and cut off an identical piece of fabric to replicate the blood pattern. Grissom watches Warrick cut the evidence bag open with scissors and comes to a realization. He has Warrick hand him the scissors and takes an apple from Nick, who has just entered the room. He sticks the scissors in the apple and sees that there are two puncture wounds of different depths. Grissom comes to the conclusion that the scissors were wrapped in the scarf.

Warrick runs a reconstruction of the blood stain on the computer; it's clear it's in the shape of a pair of scissors. Nick notes that they don't look like an ordinary pair of scissors, as the blades are almost double the size of the handles. Catherine and Sara enter, and Sara says that Vivian Verona worked for Sam Braun. She was murdered the night before Pike's Gambling Hall was to be imploded; it seems someone wanted her to disappear in the rubble. The thought is that Sam hired his own clean-up crew to carry out the job. Sara tells them that the case went cold quickly, as there were no suspects or motives. Grissom has Warrick enhance the blade area on the computer and sees some letters inscribed on it. When the photo is flipped around, it's clear "RAMPART" is inscribed on the scissors.

A frustrated Catherine tells Grissom that Sam isn't returning any of her phone calls. When she offers to drive them to meet Sam and get to the bottom of everything, Grissom says he's not going. He shocks her by saying that he's going in for surgery for his hearing, and tells her to take care of the case.

Robert Rubio is arrested and walked down the hallway of the police station as all police officers look on. In interrogation, Brass tells him that the rifle found in the trunk of his car had bullets that matched the bullet pulled out of Det. Lockwood. Ballistics also matched the bullets to the three victims found in the desert. Brass tells Robert that he believes Sam hired him to work security at the Rampart because he needed a job done. He lets Robert know that he left a lot of evidence behind to connect himself to the murders. A flashback is shown of Robert shooting the three bank robbers in the desert with Sam picking up his briefcase and leaving the scene. Brass wants Robert to give Sam up or else he'll spend the rest of his life on death row. Robert chooses death row, saying he'll live longer this way.

Catherine visits Sam in his office at his casino and looks over framed photos of the openings of past casinos, complete with the scissors used to cut the ribbons. She asks where the scissors used in the Rampart's opening are, and Sam tells her he thinks they were sold at a silent auction. Catherine sees through the lie and asks for the truth, at which point Sam tells her that Benny Murdock killed Vivian after he caught her cheating on him with Sam. He went to visit Benny in the hospital when he was dying, and Benny revealed that he kept the scissors and used them to murder Vivian. Benny then put the scissors in a safe deposit box. When Catherine asks why Benny didn't get rid of the scissors or try to wash away the blood, Sam can't give her an answer.

Catherine sums up the case—to protect Benny after he was already dead, Sam hired Robert and three cronies to rob the bank and steal back the scissors. Sam explains that he has a legacy to uphold—if Benny went down for murder, he goes down, as well. He hired Robert to take care of things. Catherine tells Sam that they have the safe deposit box and couldn't identify one of the blood samples. Upon testing her DNA against the unknown blood sample, she discovered that they share seven alleles in common—she is his daughter. She guesses that, contrary to Sam's accounts of Vivian's murder, he killed Vivian and Benny covered for him. Sam strongly denies that he is capable of killing anyone, but Catherine tells him that science proves that he did.

Grissom is in the hospital getting prepped for surgery when Catherine surprises him by stopping by and wishing him luck. He thanks her for being there and Catherine tearfully gives him a hug.


Main Cast[]

Guest Cast[]

  • Scott Wilson as Sam Braun
  • Romy Rosemont as Jacqui Franco
  • Gerald McCullouch as Bobby Dawson
  • Jeffrey D. Sams as Cyrus Lockwood
  • David Berman as David Phillips
  • Michael Shamus Wiles as Rob Rubio
  • David Selburg as Benny Murdock
  • Emilio Rivera as Bank Robber #1
  • Christie Lynn Smith as Jimmy's Mother
  • Scott DeFoe as SWAT Leader
  • Tripp Law as Bank Robber #2
  • Jimmy 'Jax' Pinchak as Boy
  • Paul Joseph as Police Officer (uncredited)
  • Dennis Looney as SWAT Officer (uncredited)
  • Lonnie Paul as SWAT Officer #1 (uncredited)
  • Toni Wynne as Vivian Verona (uncredited)

Major Events[]

  • Catherine learns that Sam Braun is actually her biological father.
  • Grissom decides to undergo surgery in hopes of correcting his hearing problem.
  • This episode marks the final appearance of Jeffrey D. Sams as Detective Cyrus Lockwood. He was shot to death during a bank robbery, trying to protect a woman and her child.


  • Like Her by Ed O'Brien


  • Greg is still sporting a bandage on his face, the result of being involved in the lab explosion in the previous episode Play with Fire. Meanwhile, Catherine returns to work after her five-day suspension due to her being responsible for the explosion.

See Also[]

CSI:Las Vegas Season 3
Revenge is Best Served ColdThe Accused is EntitledLet the Seller BewareA Little MurderAbra-CadaverThe Execution of Catherine WillowsFight NightSnuffBlood LustHigh and LowRecipe for MurderGot Murder?Random Acts of ViolenceOne Hit WonderLady Heather's BoxLucky StrikeCrash & BurnPrecious MetalA Night at the MoviesLast LaughForeverPlay with FireInside the Box