The Two Mrs. Grissoms
Mrs Grissoms
Season 11
Number 13
Writer Christopher Barbour,
Treena Hancock,
Melissa R. Byer
Director Steven Felder
Original Airdate February 3, 2011
Previous Episode: A Kiss Before Frying
Next Episode: All That Cremains

The Two Mrs. Grissoms is the thirteenth episode in Season Eleven of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.


The death of a prominent professor in the deaf community is connected to a feud between two deaf graduate students competing over a grant, and the investigation creates tension between Sara and Grissom's mother.


Victim: Eric Lambert (deceased)

On the case: entire team

Sara attends a gala at a college for deaf students, where a grant for $500,000 will be awarded. She meets up with Grissom's deaf mother and her company: Julia Holden, a deaf professor, who is the head of the department of deaf cultural studies. While she was on the phone with Grissom earlier, Sara caught Julia having sex with someone and leaving the room shortly thereafter.

As Sara leaves the event, she hears an explosion and sees a car engulfed in flames at the bottom of a hill. Julia is standing next to the car trying to rescue the driver, Dr. Eric Lambert, another professor. Eric, who Sara met earlier, is in charge of giving out the grant. Sara runs down the hill and ushers Julia away from the car as Dr. Lambert's body is engulfed in the flames.

Langston and Nick arrive at the scene and offer to process the vehicle, while Sara speaks to Julia. Because the gala was an open bar event and Dr. Lambert had been seen with a drink in his hand, the CSIs wonder if they're looking at a drunk driving accident. With the help of an interpreter, Julia says that she was working in her office when she felt the vibration of the explosion. She ran to the car, saw it was Dr. Lambert, and tried to save him; however, she was too late.

The following morning, Langston and Sara look over the burned-out car and figure that it exploded with the help of a ruptured gas tank and a spark. Sara notes that the witnesses heard an explosion, but the hill would've absorbed the shockwaves. The explosion had to have happened somewhere else. Sure enough, Langston and Nick find evidence of an explosion in a parking lot at the top of the hill—along with pieces of a denotator. Combined with the fact that there are no skid marks, they figure that the car exploded before entering its downfall. Dr. Lambert's accident was no accident; someone planted a bomb in his car.

Doc Robbins tells Catherine that Dr. Lambert showed no signs of smoke inhalation, meaning he was dead before the car caught fire. Meanwhile, Greg renders a 3-D simulation of the bomb, analyzing the interpolated shockwaves produced and comparing them with the witnesses' positions. He finds that every statement can be verified except for one—Julia's, as she was in the Humanities building, which was blocked from the shockwaves by the dormitories. She seems to have lied to Sara in her earlier statement.

Nick and Sara search Julia's office for bomb-making materials, but come up empty. They're interrupted by Julia and Mrs. Grissom, who are upset by the invasion of privacy. Grissom's mother refuses to talk to her daughter-in-law and has Nick tell her what's going on. After the two women leave, Sara finds a transcript from Julia's voice mail in the garbage—it's from Dr. Lambert, and it says that the relationship between the two has to end.

When interrogated, Julia again denies killing Dr. Lambert, but claims that there's a conflict of interest: as it turns out, she's Grissom's ex-girlfriend, which Julia thought was Sara's motive against her. Sara, however, had no knowledge of Julia before and later tells Catherine that she got played. Catherine keeps Sara on the case despite Brass wanting her off due to conflict of interest.

Meanwhile, Langston and Nick examine the bomb, which was attached to the underside of the car by an industrial-strength magnet. No timer has been found yet, leading the CSIs to guess that the killer was at the gala and planted the bomb when the car was left unattended. They send the detonator parts to Trace for analysis, where Hodges finds nitrates on the bomb fragments consistent with smokeless gunpowder. Greg finds a directional component from the bomb's casing with a serial number on it, which belongs to a Shake Alert device designed for deaf. The alert came from a batch installed at the college.

Nick and Sara examine the dorms, where they find a Shake Alert device with a different casing than the other ones they found. The dorm belongs to Michael Porter, Julia's T.A. He declines knowledge of the replaced device and is angered that another student, Sean Wyatt, was a finalist for the grant over him. He recalls seeing a tense argument between Sean and Dr. Lambert a few days ago; though he doesn't know what the argument was about, he did see Dr. Lambert say something like, "If you don't fix this, I will." Nick and Sara search Sean's room and find evidence of nitrates. They theorize that Sean killed Dr. Lambert over being turned down for the $500,000 grant; with him dead, Julia would've been the one to award the grant, giving Sean a better chance at winning.

Exiting the premises, Nick and Sara exchange thoughts, with Sara being both suspicious over Julia and uptight about Grissom and his mother for not telling her about Julia. She meets up with Mrs. Grissom to ask about her, only to be scolded for being apart from her husband. After Sara levels with Mrs. Grissom, she says that Julia was lately mismanaging her duties with late paperwork and general inattention.

Hodges finds that the nitrates from Sean's room are more consistent with fertilizer, which is confirmed by the presence of dead plants in the room. However, he also found out from the sheets collected that Julia was having sex with Sean. Sara suspects that the foul play was based on a student-teacher relationship, which would be a scandal for the school and would end Julia's career.

Brass interrogates Sean, who confesses to the relationship, but denies the bombing. He admits that Dr. Lambert found out about the relationship and demanded that Sean withdraw his application for the grant. When asked about the night of the gala, Sean says that he went back to his dorm before Dr. Lambert left and that he was with Julia until 11:00 PM—just before the explosion.

In Julia's office, Michael places a package on her desk. Much to her annoyance, she's drawn out from her office by Langston and Sara to be called in for interrogation. When she goes back into her office to call her lawyer, the package explodes. Julia is wounded, but this outcome is much better than what would've happened had she remained at her desk. Investigating the office, Nick finds that the bomb was rigged by a resistor that only releases the electric current after a preset time amount, which would've given Michael time to get away before the bomb went off.

Michael is brought in for questioning, and Sara finds pictures of Sean and Julia on his laptop depicting possible murder motive. Sara tells him that he has the skills to have made the bombs, as his major is Electrical Engineering. Furthermore, the resistor from the bomb has been traced back to a batch that he ordered for his research. Michael replies that he's being framed and that there's something very strange about Sean, but he doesn't know what it is.

Sara checks in on Julia in the hospital and sees her having a conversation with Sean. As she already knows some sign language, she notices a sign that is unknown to her. She visits Mrs. Grissom, who tells her that it's a sign that belongs to the Québec dialect of English sign language; however, Sean is from England. When Mrs. Grissom questions whether Sara's marriage with her son is genuine if they barely see each other, Sara angrily ends the conversation and leaves.

In the lab, Greg and Nick reassemble the bomb from Julia's office, which used the same smokeless gunpowder as the bomb in Dr. Lambert's car. Nick finds that the resistor was rigged for a suspiciously short time of ten minutes after arming and that the bomber used a remote to arm it. Therefore, whoever wanted to blow up Julia had to make sure the bomb was in her office before they set the timer. Nick also finds that the detonator was rigged with a device that emits a beeping sound, which means the bomber had to hear it.

Sara recalls Michael being suspicious about Sean, who she and Catherine give a "lie detector test" to. However, they reveal that they weren't testing him for the reactions over the images shown on the computer in front of him, but, rather, to measure his brain's activity when exposed to sounds. A series of clicking sounds were played during the test, which Sean's brain reacted to. After he clearly shows brain activity when Catherine or Sara say something, they find out that Sean isn't really deaf. The CSIs hypothesize that Dr. Lambert found out about the lie, which would be motive for murder. It's also discovered that Sean is actually a Canadian citizen from Montreal, not an English citizen. Hence, the Québecian dialect, which makes him the primary suspect.

Sara once again interrogates Julia, who is stunned when shown Sean's true identity. It's revealed that Sean's transcripts were forged using paper with the college's watermark, which means he had help from the inside. Julia says that she met Sean after he became a student and was his thesis advisor. She admits that she did see Sean signing something wrong, but was blinded so much by her love towards him after decades of her life dedicated solely to her career, that she accepted his half-hearted answer of the signs being a "secret term of endearment" nobody else could understand. Julia adds that she walked in on Sean one day and found him using another e-mail account that was in French; when she suspected a woman, he told her it was an old friend of his. Though she doesn't know who Sean was writing to, she does remember the e-mail address he was using.

Investigating the mailbox, Langston discovers that the e-mails were basically a blueprint for the entire grant scam, starting with getting accepted to the school. Sean's scholarship was just a fraud to exploit the college, but he later became worried that Dr. Lambert may have found out about his hearing capability. Langston also uncovers Sean's partner in crime—Dennis Palmer, the official sign language translator of the school.

Dennis is brought in for questioning. After Brass reveals his keycard's log places him at Julia's bombing and receipts were found that showed he bought the parts of the bomb, he confesses that he became tired that the college, while having high funds for the disabled students and staff, severely underpaid him. The original plan was only about Sean gaining tuitions, but they got greedy and applied for the $500,000 grant.

Simultaneously interrogated by Nick, Sean reveals that he originally seduced Julia to acquire her trust and support, but he actually fell in love with her. Dr. Lambert found out he never attended Cambridge University and offered an ultimatum—withdraw the grant application and leave the college or else the police would get involved. He had to go, and Dennis orchestrated the bombing to look like an accident. The second bombing was carried out in order to frame Michael for both attacks and take the heat off of Sean. However, Dennis insisted that Julia wouldn't get hurt, something he clearly lied about to appease Sean. Both men are arrested for their roles in the fraud and the bombings.

Later, after both men are arrested, Sara holds Julia's hands in hers, as the two finally set aside their differences. The episode ends with Sara and Grissom having a video chat with each other, with Mrs. Grissom joining them. Grissom notes that she never visited the office when he was working there, and Mrs. Grissom gives Sara some African violets as a peace offering before the conversation turns sexual. The three promise to each other that they'll meet soon.


Main Cast[]

Guest Cast[]

  • Archie Kao as Archie Johnson
  • William Petersen as Gil Grissom
  • Marlee Matlin as Professor Julia Holden
  • Phyllis Frelich as Mrs. Betty Grissom
  • Tyrone Giordano as Michael Bowman
  • Sean McGowan as Sean Wyatt
  • Anthony Natale as Dr. Eric Lambert
  • Matthew Jeager as Dennis Palmer
  • Larena Patrick as Ashley Belham

Episode Title[]

  • The title refers to Grissom's mother, who is a key character in the case and still bears her late husband's name, and to Sara, being the wife of Gil and therefore being the "other" Mrs. Grissom, although she kept her surname.


  • {Possible goof) During the episode, Michael's last name is said to be Porter. However, on IMDb, his last name is listed as Bowman.


  • William Petersen made a special guest as Gil Grissom in this episode.
  • When Dr. Lambert's charred body is pulled out of the vehicle, Langston says that it reminds him of his first case, in which he wore a tie to the crime scene. This occurred in the Season Nine episode The Grave Shift.
  • Lost in thought, Sara stares at a blue marble, which Grissom gave her as a gift. He gave the same one to Nick, which was revealed in the Season 11 episode House of Hoarders.
  • Upon finding out that the bomb used smokeless gunpowder, Nick notes that the last time the team saw something like this, it was in the bombs at the police funeral. This occurred in the Season 11 premiere Shock Waves.


  • Marlee Matlin played Professor Julia Holden. Matlin is an award-winning deaf actress, and is the only deaf performer to have won an Academy Award. She also appeared in the CSI: NY episode Silent Night, playing the mother of her slain daughter.

See Also[]

CSI:Las Vegas Season 11
Shock WavesPool SharkBlood MoonSqweegelHouse of HoardersCold BloodedBump and GrindFrackedWild Life418/427Man UpA Kiss Before FryingThe Two Mrs. GrissomsAll That CremainsTargets of ObsessionTurn On, Tune In, Drop DeadThe ListHitting for the CycleUnleashedFather of the BrideCello and GoodbyeIn a Dark, Dark House