Tell-Tale Hearts
Tell Tale Hearts
Season 12
Number 2
Writer Larry M. Mitchell,
Joe Polaski
Director Brad Tanenbaum
Original Airdate September 28, 2011
Previous Episode: 73 Seconds
Next Episode: Bittersweet

Tell-Tale Hearts is the second episode in Season Twelve of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.


As the CSI's investigate a massacre in a sustainable living community, three people admit to committing the murders.


Victims: Calvin Chambliss, Susan Chambliss, Anita Chambliss, Fiona Chambliss (all deceased)

On the case: entire team

Cops are alerted when blood starts being sprayed from a sprinkler. Catherine and Russell are called to the scene and are informed that there are four dead bodies in the house, all members of the Chambliss family. The CSIs make their way through the house, eventually reaching the bedroom of eight-year-old Fiona. They see that she's been shot, but she's also been redressed and tucked into bed. Russell spots blood high up on a broken window, and the team follows the blood trail to a nearby house, where neighbor John Lee is arrested. He's wearing a bloody shirt and grasping Fiona's bloody nightgown. While being restrained, he cries out that "he loved her."

John's house contains a bedroom that's laid out exactly like Fiona's. It even has a dollhouse—complete with pictures of Fiona that John secretly took. Meanwhile, at the Chambliss house, Morgan finds footprints outside Fiona's bedroom window that indicate someone made a habit of hiding there. A tipped-over birdbath appears to be what broke the window. Inside, Nick spots a bloody towel bar in the bathroom where the mother was found dead in the shower. So far, the victims have been shot, stabbed, and beaten to death, leading Nick to question if they're looking for more than one perpetrator.

Russell goes through John's pantry and observes that he purchased a lot of junk food. His belief is that this is John's lifestyle—a boy trapped in a man's body. This also means that he's likely to be more passive than aggressive. When Sara says that John had been watching Fiona for years, Russell wonders why he would suddenly snap and kill four people. In interrogation, John proclaims his innocence, telling Catherine that he found Fiona dead. However, when his hand comes back positive for gunshot residue, he changes his story and admits to the quadruple homicide. The case seems wrapped up until a woman, Leslie Gitig, comes to the police station complaining that the police have arrested the wrong person—and that she's responsible for the murders.

Under interrogation, Leslie tells Brass and Ecklie that she was having an affair with Calvin Chambliss, the father. She freely admits that when she went to see Calvin and was denied entry into the house, she killed everyone inside. Brass and Ecklie believe Leslie is lying until she accurately states how each member of the family was killed.

In autopsy, Doc Robbins tells Catherine that the mother, Susan Chambliss, was beaten and stabbed with the towel bar 39 times; however, Calvin was only shot three times. A sexual assault on Fiona came back negative, which surprises Catherine. She wonders why John would escalate to murder but leave the object of his perversion untouched.

Back at the Chambliss house, Russell gathers the team for a "family meeting" to discuss the case. They originally believe the point of entry to be Fiona's bedroom window; however, the little girl's behavior is off. Evidence shows that she hid under the bed, but Russell believes that if someone broke into the girl's room, she would've run towards her family. Greg believes that Fiona's behavior is consistent with someone entering through the front door. They conclude that the grandmother, Anita, answered the door and was killed first. No bloody clothes or weapons have been found in John's house; combined with the fact that Fiona wasn't sexually assaulted, Russell believes that someone else killed the family.

Greg and Morgan process the shoe prints found at the scene, concluding that John was outside Fiona's window and in her room, but not in the rest of the house. Meanwhile, Leslie admits to dumping the gun she used in a water hazard at a golf course, something that's proven to be true. However, rifling characteristics prove that it wasn't the murder weapon. Russell questions her and concludes that, based on her legal background, she has contacts somewhere in the police department. She once again admits to murdering the Chambliss family, telling Russell that she stabbed Susan with a knife. Russell immediately knows that this is wrong, and Catherine tells him that Leslie has been calling law enforcement all over the country, meaning that she somehow got a look at the case file and the evidence.

Figuring that John may have seen something when he was stalking Fiona, Catherine and Russell question him. He recognizes Leslie from her photo and says that she drives a red BMW that would routinely park down the street from the Chambliss house. John adds that he can just tell that Leslie is an "awful woman."

Morgan and Sara question how Fiona's parents could've been unaware that their daughter was being stalked, as they were always home. Fancy new cars in the garage pique their interest, as Calvin was unemployed and Susan was a stay-at-home mother. So, where did the money come from? Greg has the answer—he's found a bunch of baking soda and a rather accurate scale, indicating that Susan was in some way involved with drugs. The team finds the drugs hidden behind a fake electrical panel in Fiona's room, and prints on the cash and drugs are a match to Lonny Gallows, who has a prior for drug possession.

John tells Catherine and Russell that there were always strange men in Fiona's bedroom and identifies Lonny as being there frequently. Blue fibers on Calvin's body come back as denim fibers soaked in borate, which Hodges says is common in green construction. Sure enough, Lonny works in such a field. When the team goes to arrest Lonny, they find bloody boots and gloves in his truck. However, while being arrested, Lonny's father, Maurice, comes forward, identifies the bloody items as his, and confesses to killing the Chambliss family himself.

In interrogation, Maurice tells Nick and Brass that his son had gotten clean in rehab, and he tried to keep him clean by putting him on his construction crew, building green houses in the Chambliss' neighborhood. Lonny met Calvin while on the job, and Calvin got him hooked on drugs again. Maurice wants the drug charges dropped for his son before he dishes out the details of the murders.

Brass tells the team that due to Maurice's confession, Leslie is out of jail and John just made bail. Both Nick and Ecklie believe that Maurice is just covering for his son. Their only viable suspect, Lonny, is the only one who hasn't confessed. Russell notes that the three confessions were all identical. Each of those people had motive to do harm to someone in the Chambliss family—Maurice hated Calvin for getting his son into drugs again, Leslie hated Susan for taking Calvin away from her, and John wanted Fiona. With Leslie's legal background, she would know that three confessions would muddy the waters enough to create reasonable doubt. The team must now find what connects all three suspects.

Catherine finds out that John works for the company that repaired Leslie's car after a recent car accident. Nick recalls seeing damage to Maurice's truck, and the team sets out to prove that the two vehicles in question were involved. Catherine and Greg take a look at Leslie's car, and Greg sees left-side damage to it. They're alerted by gunshots in Leslie's townhouse. Upon entering, they see that Leslie has been shot twice, but is still alive.

Catherine finds John holding a gun and sobbing. He tells her that Leslie made him go to the Chambliss house that night and said that he could have Fiona; however, she didn't tell John that they had to kill her. Leslie gave John her gun, but he couldn't bring himself to do it. Instead, Leslie took back the gun and cold-heartedly shot Fiona herself. Not wanting to remember Fiona like that, John says he came back later, broke in, and redressed the girl. With Fiona now out of his life, John says he has nothing left and kills himself.

The team finds the real knife and gun at Leslie's place. With the evidence pointing towards Lonny, Russell tells Maurice to come clean, or else his son is going to get the death penalty. Russell gets Maurice to open up by placing the blame on Leslie, concluding that she saw how she could get both he and John involved. The belief is that she intentionally ran into Maurice's truck to force a meeting between the parties.

Maurice says he did everything he could to get Lonny to stay clean and it was working. Then, he met Calvin, and Maurice started losing his son again. Leslie swore to Maurice that Calvin would be the only one to die. However, she stabbed Anita when she entered the house. Knowing there was no going back, Maurice gave in and shot Calvin. Leslie would stab Susan, drag her into the bathroom, and beat her with the towel bar. Finally, Leslie would shoot Fiona when John couldn't go through with it.


Main Cast[]

Guest Cast[]

Episode Title[]

  • The title of the episode comes from an Edgar Allen Poe short story entitled "The Tell-Tale Heart."


  • Taking Control by Alberta Cross
  • Who? by The Sheepdogs


  • Russell mentions the movie Strangers on a Train, in which two strangers met and agreed to commit crimes for each other. This was also the premise for the Season Three episode A Night at the Movies.


See Also[]

CSI:Las Vegas Season 12
73 SecondsTell-Tale HeartsBittersweetMaid ManCSI DownFreaks & GeeksBrain DoeCrime After CrimeZipperedGenetic DisorderMs. Willows RegretsWillows in the WindTressed to KillSeeing RedStealing HomeCSI UnpluggedTrends with BenefitsMalice in WonderlandSplit DecisionsAltered StakesDune and GloomHomecoming