Season 1
Number 1
Writer Anthony E. Zuiker
Director Danny Cannon
Original Airdate October 6, 2000
Next Episode: Cool Change

Pilot is the first episode in Season One of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.

Synopsis []

When a man is found dead in a bathtub, an apparent case of suicide by a self-inflicted bullet wound to the chest, Gil Grissom suspects a homicide. Nick investigates the case of a man who was picked up by a hooker, drugged and robbed. Warrick and Catherine Willows take on the case of a man who has been shot to death after breaking into the house where he was staying.


In a Las Vegas home, a gun is loaded by an unknown figure. As the figure walks down a corridor of the home, the recorded voiceover of a man named Royce Harmon identifies himself and his address of residence, then states his intent to kill himself. He goes on to profess his love for his mother and sister and apologize for the trauma of his impending actions. The figure then turns the corner, and a single gunshot is heard.

An undetermined span of time later, the house is surrounded by officers of the Las Vegas Police Department, led by Sgt. Ray O'Riley. They are soon joined by the head of the LVPD Crime Lab, Captain Jim Brass and his graveyard supervisor, Dr. Gil Grissom. The two CSIs find Royce Harmon dead in his bathtub, the victim of an apparently self-inflicted gunshot wound. Grissom estimates Harmon has been dead for seven days by the maturity of the insects near the body. He then finds a microcassette recorder in Harmon's hand, upon which he presumes is the victim's suicide note.

Later, at the home of Harmon's mother Paige, she and her daughter Gina listen to the recording, the same one recorded earlier. As Grissom offers his condolences to the bereaved, Paige confirms from the crime scene photo that the victim is her son, but the voice on the recording is someone else entirely.

New hire Holly Gribbs arrives at the lab and then heads into the building to meet with Grissom, to whom she is assigned. To her surprise, the first thing Grissom asks is for a pint of her blood despite Holly stating that she hasn't clocked in yet.

Elsewhere in the lab, CSIs Nick Stokes and Warrick Brown have each reached the penultimate case closure in their goal of clearing one hundred cases; the first one to clear a hundred cases will be promoted to the rank of CSI Level 3. Warrick proposes a wager on their success, but Nick, commenting on Warrick's penchant for gambling, instead asks his friend's pick for an upcoming football game.

Back in Grissom's office, Holly is given the layout of the job by her new supervisor, but suddenly begins feeling faint. Grissom offers her a grasshopper, presuming a blood sugar crash, causing the new CSI to blanch. As Brass hands out the day's assignments to his team, he asks the room the location of absent CSI Catherine Willows, who at that moment is arriving at work, taking a moment to say goodbye to her daughter Lindsey before she's driven back home by Catherine's sister.

Meanwhile, Holly meets with Brass for the first time, with Grissom sitting in. Brass holds nothing back in informing Holly that neither her honors education nor her mother's position as a lieutenant in the traffic division will garner her any special treatment. He dismisses the visibly upset Holly, then reminds Grissom of an upcoming autopsy he's scheduled to attend. Brass further suggests Grissom take Holly along, feeling every new hire should work an autopsy her first night.

At a home in Summerlin, Catherine and Warrick arrive at their assigned crime scene, wherein the man of the house shot and killed an intruder. The man says the intruder was a drunkard friend of his wife's name Jimmy, whom she allowed to stay with them. After Jimmy's drunken behavior grew too much for the man, he finally threw Jimmy out. Jimmy angrily forced his way back in the house, forcing the man to shoot him. Catherine immediately notices two inconsistencies, the odd tying of Jimmy's shoe and a bandage on the man's pinkie toe.

At the LVPD morgue, coroner Dr. Klausbach has Royce Harmon on the table as Grissom and Holly arrive to observe. Klausbach and Grissom determine from the body position that the shot could not have been self-inflicted, signifying the death as a criminal homicide. As Klausbach begins to incise the body, the smell gets to Holly, forcing her to flee for the nearest restroom. Unfortunately for Holly, Klausbach directs her to a cadaver storage area instead, a surprise rite of passage engineered by Brass. The door locks behind Holly, unknowingly trapping her inside as she proceeds to throw up, her hands visibly shaking at witnessing the intense scene. Grissom then comments to Klausbach that Brass instructed that she remain locked in for eight hours. Grissom lets her out later that night, yelling to the corpses admonishingly as a friendly gesture to Holly.

Nick arrives at his assignment, a hotel room in which a married man named Laverty was robbed by a woman who seduced him into a one-night stand. Nick notices discoloration on Laverty's lips, suggesting that he may have been sedated by something the woman covered herself with during foreplay.

Elsewhere, Grissom drops Holly off at a liquor scene, instructing her to work the scene and to call him if she finishes early. Back at the lab, Warrick and rookie lab tech Boe Wilson examine hair fibers from the home invasion and determine that the hairs were torn out at the root. Warrick then has an idea, and heads to Homicide to further investigate Jimmy's killer. At the liquor store, the owner is becoming agitated with Holly for her insistence that the store stay empty until she has finished working the scene. Warrick interviews the husband, who reveals that he and Jimmy fought prior to the shooting, causing Jimmy's shoes to come off. The husband then put Jimmy's shoes back on prior to calling 911, but insists to Warrick that, despite redressing Jimmy, the shooting was still in self-defense. At the liquor store, Holly calls in to Catherine, requesting backup, as the store's owner is now holding a gun on her.

Nick consults with lab tech Greg Sanders regarding the substance that put Laverty at his thief's mercy; however, Greg's chemical analysis reveals nothing beyond saliva and denture adhesive.

Catherine arrives at the liquor store and forces the woman at gunpoint to drop her weapon. When the owner demands to know when the police are going to clean her store, Catherine retorts that they've no stake in catching the perpetrator if the store owner doesn't care, and she and Holly leave with the owner's gun.

Warrick finds Grissom simulating the blood spatter from the strike of a golf club against a person's forehead in connection with a country club murder. Warrick admits to Grissom his uncertainty regarding his murder case, to which Grissom responds, with some help from a reference from "The Exorcist," that Warrick should concentrate on the piece of evidence that stands out among all else: Jimmy's shoe. Warrick checks the shoe out of the evidence room and finds a toenail fragment inside.

In the fingerprint lab, print analyst Charlotte Meridian is working on the prints found on the tape recorder from the Royce Harmon murder scene for Grissom. The presence of latex flakes cause the two to surmise that Harmon's killer wore gloves with artificial fingerprints. Charlotte flirts with Grissom as she runs the prints for identification, recalling a past date wherein she was turned off by Grissom's playing Pink Floyd's "Dark Side of the Moon" to set the mood.

At a nearby diner, Holly confides with Catherine that her mother pushed her to become a CSI to fulfill her mother's dream of doing so, since her position in the traffic division would prevent her from becoming one herself. Catherine encourages Holly not to give up on the job and plays up the job's positive aspects, but her pep talk is interrupted by a radio call.

In Brass' office, Warrick asks Brass to call Judge Cohen for a warrant based on the toenail he found, but Brass refuses, deeming Warrick's evidence insufficient. The conversation between the two grows increasingly hostile until interrupted by a call from Grissom, who says they've identified a suspect in the Royce Harmon case. Warrick is livid when Brass agrees to call Cohen for Grissom's case and storms out of Brass' office.

Nick responds to an auto crash, wherein the driver, a young woman named Kristy Hopkins, claims she passed out and doesn't remember doing so. Nick inspects the inside of her mouth, and asks the responding officer to take her to the hospital to get checked out.

Outside Judge Cohen's home, Warrick sits in his car, summoning up the courage to speak to the judge. As he finally gets out of his car, LVPD officer Arvington arrives and puts his gun on Warrick, refusing to listen to him even as he identifies himself as a CSI. Judge Cohen emerges from his home and orders Arvington to stand down, confirming Warrick's identity. After Arvington leaves, Warrick personally requests the warrant Brass vetoed. Cohen agrees to give him the warrant and square things with Brass, provided he places a bet on the football game Warrick and Nick discussed earlier.

The suspect identified by Grissom in the Harmon case, Paul Millander, sits in Interrogation being grilled by O'Riley, who eventually yields the room to Grissom at his request. Grissom asks Millander about the latex found on the recorder and if Millander works with latex. Millander takes O'Riley and Grissom to his shop, where he makes horror props. One of the props Millander makes is severed hands, which uses his own hand for the mold. Grissom concludes that Millander is not the killer and that the prints lifted are now meaningless, since anyone could have used one of Millander's prosthetics to throw off a forensic investigation.

At the hospital where Nick sent Kristy Hopkins to be examined, Nick responds to a page from Dr. Leever, one of the emergency room doctors, and learns that a number of "trick rolls" (robberies performed by prostitutes) he has seen in ER all had similarities: mysteriously being rendered unconscious and discolored nipples. He then finds Kristy and determines the sedative she put on her nipples to knock out Laverty was absorbed through her skin and affected her as well. Nick compels Kristy to return Laverty's belongings and identify the sedative she and her fellow hookers are using, prompting Kristy to hand over a bottle of eyedrops. At the lab, Greg identifies the substance in the bottle as a motion sickness medication called scopolamine, which causes unconsciousness with a single drop. At Paige Harmon's home, Grissom informs her that her son's death was not a suicide and promises her the killer will be caught.

Catherine arrives at her next call, a young girl named Laura Scott who was sexually assaulted. As Catherine gathers evidence, Laura gives Catherine her doll, asking her to take it home with her so the doll doesn't experience what happened to her.

Back at the lab, Brass angrily removes Warrick from his case for going over his head to Judge Cohen. Brass calls Grissom in and places Warrick on duty shadowing Holly for the next three weeks or until Nick solves his hundredth case, whichever occurs first. Warrick loses all cool and accuses Brass of being the reason for the high turnover in the lab, but Grissom pulls Warrick out of the office before anything more can be said. Outside, Grissom admonishes Warrick for sacrificing his objectivity, albeit much more gently than Brass. Warrick takes Grissom's words to heart and meets up with Holly. Warrick drives Holly to her next case at an apartment complex, and asks if she can handle things while he leaves briefly to run an errand. Holly affirms that she can handle it and that an officer is present for her safety, then Warrick drives off and Holly sets to work.

Grissom arrives at the Summerlin home, newly assigned to Warrick's former case and armed with a warrant for the husband's toenails. The husband says he trimmed his toenails and flushed the clippings, but Grissom manages to find a stray clipping on the bathroom floor regardless.

Catherine drives to her home and calls in a fifteen-minute break, during which she spends a few precious moments with Lindsey, obviously distressed by the Laura Scott case.

Back at the lab, Grissom and Boe match the clipping Grissom found to the nail fragment Warrick found in Jimmy's shoe. Warrick is placing Judge Cohen's football bet when he receives the call from Grissom that the Summerline murder case has been solved.

Back in Summerlin, the husband is led away after the truth is finally exposed: the husband allowed Jimmy to pound on the door until he could load his gun, then ordered his wife to open the door. The husband then shot Jimmy with no provocation of any kind, then staged the scene to make it look like Jimmy had broken in. As Grissom and Warrick observe the arrest, Grissom asks why Warrick isn't shadowing Holly, to which Warrick replies that Holly had things well in hand.

Back at the apartment complex, Holly is approached during her work by a young man named Jerrod Cooper. Jerrod asks Holly about the police car parked outside, to which Holly explains about the robbery she's investigating. Jerrod nods in assent but doesn't leave, and Holly is entirely unaware of the handgun in Jerrod's waistband.

Nick shows up at Laverty's hotel room, returning his belongings and advising the grateful man to stick with the craps table if he wants a Vegas thrill.

In the lab breakroom, the team is celebrating Nick's promotion to CSI Level 3. Warrick congratulates his friend before he can offer his condolences on the problems with his case. Catherine offers to treat the whole team to breakfast, but is interrupted by the arrival of Brass, who informs the team that Holly Gribbs was shot at her crime scene and is unlikely to survive. Brass assigns the case to the team and places Warrick on administrative leave pending an explanation as to why he left Holly alone.


Main Cast[]

Guest Cast[]

Major Events[]

  • It's revealed that both Nick and Warrick have solved 99 cases each. The next one to solve a case will be promoted to CSI Level 3.
  • Nick eventually gets promoted to CSI Level 3.
  • Brass informs the team that Holly has been shot and that she's in hospital with very little chance of her pulling through.





  • A pilot is a single episode produced of a series being considered for regular broadcast by a network, and is usually the first episode aired when the series begins its run on television. Many series, including CSI, eschewed assigning a title to the pilot episode and simply call it "Pilot."
  • This is the first episode of the flagship CSI series and the entire franchise altogether. The first appearances of many of the Season One principal characters occur here, with the sole exception of Sara Sidle.
  • Allan Rich makes his only appearance as medical examiner Gary Klausbach in this episode. He is replaced by Judith Scott as Jenna Williams in "Cool Change."
  • Stuntman and motion capture actor Jeremy Dunn made another uncredited appearance as a club dancer in the CSI: Miami Season One episode, "Ashes to Ashes."
  • The original script for this episode featured Catherine and Nick in a secret relationship. It was shot but not used because of technical issues and because it felt too early for the characters.[1]


  1. Flaherty, M. & Marrinan, C. (2004). CSI: Crime scene investigation companion. New York, NY: Pocket Books.

See Also[]

CSI:Las Vegas Season 1
PilotCool ChangeCrate 'n BurialPledging Mr. JohnsonFriends & LoversWho Are You?Blood DropsAnonymousUnfriendly SkiesSex, Lies and LarvaeI-15 MurdersFahrenheit 932BoomTo Halve and to HoldTable StakesToo Tough to DieFace Lift$35K O.B.O.Gentle, GentleSounds of SilenceJustice is ServedEvaluation DayStrip Strangler