Sex, Lies and Larvae
Season 1
Number 10
Writer Josh Berman,
Ann Donahue
Director Thomas J. Wright
Original Airdate December 22, 2000
Previous Episode: Unfriendly Skies
Next Episode: I-15 Murders

Sex, Lies and Larvae is the tenth episode in Season One of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.


Grissom and Sara investigate the body of a woman found in the mountains and covered with insects. Meanwhile, Catherine and Warrick try to find out who stole a painting. Nick deals with a missing persons case when a woman's car is found at a bus station.


Victim: Kaye Shelton (deceased)

On the case: Gil Grissom, Sara Sidle, Jim Brass

While hiking through the mountains, a couple finds a dead body wrapped in a blanket and covered in insects. No weapon is found at the scene, and lack of alkali fluids in the dirt indicate that the woman was killed somewhere else and dumped. Grissom preserves some of the insects, noting that they're the first witnesses to the crime.

In autopsy, Doc Robbins informs Grissom and Sara that the victim was shot with a .38-caliber gun. The weapon was pressed against her scalp, suggesting an intimate killing. X-rays show multiple facial fractures, some of which are old; the victim was in a long-term abusive relationship. Grissom looks over the body and is surprised to find a muscid fly, noting that these are found only in urban areas.

Grissom explains to Sara that insects arrive at a dead body in a specific order. The time of death can be pinpointed based on the type and age of the insects present on the body. After this is discovered, he measures the maturity of the insects and counts backwards to the time of death—linear regression.

A hit in AFIS identifies the woman as Kaye Shelton, and neighbors claim they heard a gunshot at the Shelton's apartment five days ago. The "grieving" husband, Scott, is brought in for questioning. He claims that he was out of town last week and returned home to find his wife missing. This apparently happened more than once, so he decided not to contact the police. As for the gunshot heard by the neighbor, Scott smugly says that she probably confused it with her television. When confronted with Kaye's x-rays, Scott explains that his wife was "excitable," but he claims that he never laid a hand on her. However, there were three complaints filed against Scott for spousal abuse over the last two years. He willingly allows the CSIs to search his place, saying he has nothing to hide. Sara has been angrily eyeing him the whole time and has him in her crosshairs.

Grissom, Sara and Brass process the apartment and find several key pieces of evidence incriminating Scott. A green fiber, likely from the blanket, is found on the couch, and Sara later finds another fiber down the hallway leading to the garage. Scott owns a gun, which Brass notes has just been cleaned; however, there's one bullet missing from the holder. Kaye is even missing from photos Scott has on his mantle. As Sara makes her way down the hall, she smells bleach. Upon spraying the wall with luminol, she finds the presence of blood, and Scott claims that he doesn't know how it got there. Suddenly, Sara snaps and accuses Scott of killing his wife, pointing and yelling at him. After the two are separated, Sara tells Grissom that based on how Scott treated her, one can only imagine how he treated his wife.

Back at the lab, an incensed Sara demands to know how she can put Scott away for killing his wife. Brass says they must prove that Kaye has been dead for five days, and Grissom uses the insects as a timeline to show when she died. However, he finds that Kaye has been dead for only three days, and Scott is released from custody.

Grissom realizes that the blanket Kaye was wrapped in may have hindered insects from immediately colonizing her body, and he conducts an experiment to confirm his hypothesis—he wraps a dead pig tightly in a blanket and observes how quickly insects colonize it. He learns that, by factoring in the blanket, Kaye could indeed have been dead for five days. However, when he presents this finding to Sheriff Mobley, he's told that this evidence is too confusing for juries to understand and he must find another way to incriminate Scott.

Grissom and Sara return to the morgue and learn that a blue ring surrounds Kaye’s bullet hole. Trace analysis reveals that this blue substance is Teflon, and that it's also found in Scott’s bullets. They acknowledge that this is merely circumstantial evidence, but Sara notes that they can bury him with evidence, and that gun evidence will be easier for a jury to understand than forensic entomology. Brass places Scott under arrest for his wife's murder.

Victim: No victim; house robbery

On the case: Catherine Willows, Warrick Brown

Catherine and Warrick are sent to the home of Richard Ziegler, where a Paul Sorenson was last seen before going missing. When they arrive, they're disappointed to learn that Paul Sorenson was an artist from the early 1900s, and they have been sent to investigate a missing painting rather than a missing person. Richard recalls that he surprised the thief mid-heist the night before, causing him to run away, and that the alarm system was somehow disengaged. Catherine and Warrick quickly conclude that this was an inside job.

Richard tells Catherine that only five people have access to the house: he, his wife, his two sons, and his daughter. Warrick dusts the area around the missing painting and finds an ear print on the wall. The CSIs take ear prints from the family members and discover that the print on the wall matches Jason, the younger son. His father refuses to press charges, and Jason reveals that the painting is in the trunk of his car.

Having solved their case, Catherine and Warrick return to the lab with the painting, but Catherine feels that the case was resolved too quickly and that they missed something. Warrick’s pager beeps and he leaves the lab; Catherine, knowing that he is scheduled to testify in court, wishes him well.

Catherine suspects that the recovered painting may be a forgery, so she takes it to an art appraiser who confirms that the painting is not the original Sorenson. The thought is that Jason stole the original painting and replaced it with a forgery; this might explain why he confessed to the crime so quickly. A search of his dorm room reveals that he swapped out every painting in his father's gallery and replaced them without his noticing. Jason admits that he got a few friends to help him out with his scheme, which would have gone unnoticed if he hadn't accidentally alerted his father the other night. He admonishes his father for admiring a bunch of forged artwork instead of paying attention to his children. Richard recognizes Jason's cry for attention and chooses to press charges against him.

Victim: Sheryl Applegate (missing)

On the case: Nick Stokes

Nick arrives at a bus station to investigate a missing person. Sheryl Applegate was headed to Los Angeles, but she never arrived; her car was later found at the bus station. Nick inspects the car and finds a lock of red hair in the back. A seemingly mundane missing persons case just became more interesting.

Back at the lab, Nick vacuums the back of the car, but he finds no other hair. Additionally, someone scrubbed the carpet clean, leaving no evidence behind. When Nick sprays phenothaline on the carpet, he finds the presence of blood.

A credit card charge leads Nick and Det. Secula to the Four Aces Motel, where they find Sheryl handcuffed to a bed and wearing lingerie. She's been cheating on her husband with another man, who was detained trying to flee the scene. Sheryl explains that the hair and blood in her car are from a hurt dog she rescued the week before, and that she was not abducted. Nick tells Sheryl that the only thing they'll relay to her husband is that she's okay—Sheryl will have to fill in the blanks.

Ecklie tells Grissom that Warrick skipped out on his court date, choosing to gamble during that time instead. Grissom asks Sara to investigate these claims, and she later gives Grissom casino surveillance footage showing Warrick entering the Monaco.


Main Cast[]

Guest Cast[]

  • Robert David Hall as Dr. Al Robbins
  • Marc Vann as Conrad Ecklie
  • David Berman as David Phillips
  • Glenn Morshower as Sheriff Brian Mobley
  • John Getz as Richard Zeigler
  • Mark Moses as Scott Shelton
  • Jennifer Sommerfield as Secula
  • Blake Lindsley as Jessica Lovett
  • Lisa Arturo as Sheryl Applegate
  • Todd Sible as Jason Ziegler
  • Jason Padgett as Troy Ziegler
  • John Bastien as Hiking boy
  • Alex Rice as Angie
  • Will Potter as Michael
  • Jennifer Toffel as Liza Zeigler
  • Nicole Brunner as Daughter
  • Susan Santiago as Kimberly Cassano
  • Jodi Lyn Brockton as Kaye Shelton (uncredited)

Episode Title[]

  • Sex, Lies, and Larvae may refer to the 1989 Steven Soderbergh film, "Sex, Lies, and Videotape" about a man who records women discussing their personal lives and sexuality.


  • Sara incorrectly attributes Grissom's shovel story to "Sun[g] Tzu", when the actual work he was referring to, the Washing Away of Wrongs, was written by Song Ci. Sun Tzu lived around 1800 years earlier than 1235.
  • On the case solving scoreboard behind Brass, there is a Joe next to Catherine's name. However, the night shift has no CSIs called Joe.


  • Sara Sidle becomes a vegetarian after spending a night watching a pig decompose with Grissom.


  • The case of Kaye Shelton is based on a real case in A Fly for the Prosecution by forensic entomologist Lee Goff.[1] 
  • Mark Moses, who played Scott Shelton, also appeared in the Season 13 episode Risky Business Class. In that episode, he played Jeffrey Forsythe, a wealthy man responsible for a plane crash.


  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