CSI Series Finale: How Did It End?

CSI Series Finale Kellie Freeze
Gil Grissom (William Petersen), Catherine Willows (Marg Helgenberger) and Sara Seidl (Jorja Fox) are on the case in the CSI series finale, "Immortality, Parts 1 & 2" Photo: Sonja Flemming/CBS ©2015 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

I feel like we need a little Boyz II Men for this one…

It’s the end of an era. After 15 seasons, we bid adieu to CSI: Crime Scene Investigation. I’ve loved this show since the first season, when science found its place in the forefront of crime work. Geeks like me got to cheer, “Yay Science!” every time the scientific method caught the bad guy. Let’s see how it ended. I’m not going to give you every single plot point in the 2-hour episode. But here are a few highlights.

CSI Series Finale
Ted Danson and Jorja Fox revel in the series finale drama-rama.
Photo: Sonja Flemming/CBS ©2015 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

To start, a man blows himself up in the Tangiers. That’s the hotel previously owned by longtime Vegas gangster, Sam Braun, and now it’s owned by his daughter, former CSI Catherine Willows. Willows happened to be in LA for an official FBI matter, so she was in Sin City in two shakes of a lambs tale.

CSI Series Finale
Return of our favorites! Paul Guilfoyle and Marg Helgenberger
Photo: Sonja Flemming/CBS ©2015 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

And guess who works in the Tangiers, seemingly as the head of security? The former Captain of the LVPD, Jim Brass! When actor Paul Guilfoyle left CSI at the end of Season 14, we all knew it was coming, but it was without any fanfare, leaving me to always wonder, “Whatever happened to Jim Brass?”

Suddenly, we’re transported to San Diego and I think we’re going to run into CSI long-timer Nick Stokes (George Eads). But no! It’s a red herring; actually it’s a bloody-handed Gil Grissom, who’s now a member of a Sea Shepherd-type ocean-animal conservation group. Gil’s trying to stop the illegal slaughter of sharks for their fins. Shark fin soup isn’t okay, but Gil get’s arrested for trespassing by random San Diego agents. I keep expecting Nicky to ride in on a Three’s Company bicycle and save the day. But no dice. Who did Eads piss off not to get invited to be a part of the big gig? Not even a walk-on role? Harsh.

The casino bomber had a key to Lady Heather’s red room (remember her? The dominatrix/former madam/sex therapist/real psychiatrist with a PhD?) I guess you can reinvent yourself anyway you want in Las Vegas. The bomber’s Muslim wife says he had a gambling problem and was a client of Dr. Kessler, (Which is Lady Heather’s professional name). So it wasn’t terrorism, but what was it?

A quick call to the now-arrested Gil and he’s on his way to Vegas to help on the case.

Back in Vegas, a teacher goes coo-coo and almost explodes herself in the middle of a grade-school performance of a play about butterflies. It looked way better than the plays at my kids’ grade school, so maybe we’ll see it on Broadway next season. Thankfully, the woman doesn’t blow herself up while surrounded by kiddies, which is good, because when kids become collateral damage, I’m out. I’m a mom and I need to be able to sleep at night. But the wackadoo teacher does eventually blow herself up after saying, “This is for Lady Heather,” along with a bomb-tech, who took waaay to long to clip that final wire. We never talk about the bomb guy again, so I guess we’re left to assume that he was blown to smithereens, even with the impressive bomb outfit he was wearing. I didn’t see The Hurt Locker, so I don’t know how much damage those EOD bomb disposal suits can take. And, if they had time to set up a command center with tents and such, why didn’t they send in the bomb robot? Plot hole.

CSI Series FinaleAt some point in the episode, another woman blows herself up, this time, it’s a Lady Heather doppleganger outside of the mistresses’ house. When the lookalike’s car explodes, Brass catches on fire, but once he’s extinguished by a fast-acting Sara, he stands there like a total bad-ass, proving once again that the former captain’s cajones are made of … well, brass.

Gil’s in Vegas, sees his ex-wife Sara (#Awkward), and runs into a chipper redhead who flummoxes him to no end. Gil acts like an old, confused man.

CSI Series Finale
Doug Hutchison plays bad guys so well. 
The Green Mile Image © 1999 Warner Brohters

The gang gathers some glossy 8×10 headshots of Lady Heather’s clientele, after some dramatic X-ing out of the women and dead patients, we’re left with 5 male suspects. For a psychiatrist who lives in an awesome house, she sure has a suspiciously light caseload of perhaps 15 patients. One of them is the guy who played the skeevy guard in The Green Mile and married a teenager in real life, so my Spidey senses are tingling that we need not look any further. But the folks at CSI can’t hear me stage-whispering to them, so they let everyone go, even though the probable murderer boasts to being Lady Heather’s first client ever, which seems trivial, but perhaps important in that classic CSI-way that seemingly throw-away plot points come back to be the keys to the case.

Later, the perky redhead brings in Gil’s suitcase. Which we know isn’t Gil’s suitcase, so faster than you can say “bomb scare,” the CSI office is cleared and they roll in the bomb robot. (There it is!) Mr. Roboto determines the cheesy suitcase isn’t a bomb, but there is a body inside. A body from Lady Heather’s past. Take a look at the tense scene below…

Lady Heather is older, and I still want to slap her smug mug SOoooo hard, which is a testament to the sexy, complex and challenging character that actress Melinda Clarke has played intermittently throughout the series.

Sara still hates Lady Heather. Me too. I’m totally #TeamSara.

Gil sits outside, sketching a whale, because he’s moved on from bugs to sharks and whales. When Catherine comes out to chat, he explains, “Whales and sharks — metaphor for Vegas, if you think about it. Whales bring the money in, the sharks take it away. Whales are bigger in size and stature, but they’re the submissive. Sharks are smaller, but they’re by far the more dominant. I think someone’s out there playing the dominant, but he’s really the submissive.”

When Catherine asks Gil to take the perky redhead under his wing, he wonders, where did she come from? “My vagina.” Says Catherine. It’s her now-grown up daughter Lindsay, on her first days as a CSI, level 1.

CSI Series Finale
So long, CSI. You’ve changed the face of criminology forever.

D.B. wasn’t around much in this episode. Ted Danson was likely too busy looking working on his other gigs: Fargo and CSI: Cyber. His main plot note is as he’s packing up his office to leave to join Cyber, he packed a plaque commemorating Julie Findlay (Elisabeth Shue). At the end of Season15, she was in a coma, so I guess she died.

People were blowing themselves up all in the name of love for Lady Heather. But does the amore for the red room of pain also show a hatred for Gil?

CSI Series Finale
Gil Grissom (William Petersen), Catherine Willows (Marg Helgenberger) and Sara Seidl (Jorja Fox) are on the case in the CSI series finale, “Immortality, Parts 1 & 2”
Photo: Sonja Flemming/CBS ©2015 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Sara and Gil are divorced, but Sara still loves the bug-loving lug. And finally, we get to see Gil talk to some bugs, because it’s just not a Gil-centric episode if we don’t’ get to see him 1) Talk to bugs, 2) use the Latin name for a bug, 3) turn his head quizzically and look at something/ someone. Ding! Ding! Ding! Three for three! Bonus: Gil got to wear lots of goofy looking-hats in this episode. And, he seemingly trained bees in a matter of minutes, like the bug-whisperer he’s always been.

The bees tell Gil where the murder is (in a scary, yet technologically awesome, shack!). Lo and behold! It’s the Green Mile guy. Called it. He’s got a bomb vest, and he’s set up a bunch of bombs in a Las Vegas parking structure; requiring Catherine, Greg and Morgan to do some fancy wire-cutting. And even though she’s been on the show since Season 11, when she was in a L.A/Las Vegas crossover episode, Morgan’s hands still have the shakes. Once they’re not dead, Morgan and Greg hug and I hope for a moment that they’ll make out, because when has Greg ever gotten any action? He’s always been in friend zone.

Gil convinces the mad bomber/ murderer not to blow himself up, because he deduces that the bomb vest isn’t even activated. Murder man hates Gil because he blames Gil for Lady Heather leaving her role as a dom, and then stopping the boning of her therapy patients, and then stopping her psychiatry practice altogether. Guy really loves his Lady Heather time. Gil tells a story about a whale whose mate can’t hear his song, which makes no sense even though I think it’s supposed to be about the man’s unrequited love for LH, but is sad, nonetheless.

Catherine wants out of the FBI and wants to gank the Director’s job that Sara wants. What mom doesn’t want to be her daughter’s boss?

Gil wraps everything up with Lady Heather (I don’t care if she’s a doctor, she’ll always be a dominatrix to me) and he thanks her for making able to love someone like Sara. It’s sweet, but he’s also giving her some police procedural info, which makes me scratch my head: Why are they letting the consultant run the case?

But Sara gets the director’s position, and even takes photos with her new badge so that’ll be #Awkward due to Catherine’s conversation of about 20 seconds ago.

And for a few seconds, you think that the Sara and Gil ship has sailed, but with a gentle nudge from newbie Lindsay, Sara watches Lady Heather’s statement interview with Gil where he admits his love for Miss Sidle. Suddenly, Sara arrives at Gil’s San Diego boat dock in a taxi, because clearly Sara’s rather call a cab than ask her longtime pak Nick Stokes for a ride. (Another missed chance for George Eads to do something in this ep.). Gil is wearing yet-another hat, this time it’s one that he stole from Ernest Hemmingway. Sarah boards Gil’s ship and when they embrace, you know that it’ll be Gil + Sara forever. While they sail away from San Diego, I can’t help wonder why Sara brought only her small messenger bag with her, and I hope they didn’t run that picture of her shaking hands with the commish in the newspaper because she’s gone. I guess Catherine gets the job as CSI director by default. Because really, with Sara gone, it’s the inmates running the asylum with Morgan, Greg and Hodges (and now newbie Lindsay) left in the department.

Check out the last 5 minutes of the CSI series finale below…

So yes, the CSI series finale was cheesy. But it was also great. But after 15 seasons, the fans deserve to have a finale that ends with everything tied up in a nice and neat little bow. CSI creator and executive producer Anthony E. Zuiker told me that he wrote this two-part episode as “a love letter to the fans,” which is fitting. This show enjoyed a loyal audience from beginning to end and has encouraged countless to pursue careers in criminology. And that may be the show’s most wonderful and lasting legacy. When we spoke, Anthony Zuiker revealed to me, “The greater value [of the show] was to raise awareness for forensic science and to have people go ahead and choose that as a career, which is obviously doing good and keeping the world safe. Think about Las Vegas Crime Lab; when I researched there in ’99, they had five applications. Now, they have over 20,000 applications per year.

A lot of people decided to do C.S.I. as a career based on the show. That’s the public service announcement that could probably never happen without the popularity of the other TV show. That’s how television transcends into our world. I think that was the biggest gift that happened with the show.”

CSI Series Finale
Members of the cast and creative team of CBS’s CSI: Crime Scene Investigation participate in a panel at the Paley Center for Media on Sept. 16, 2015.
Photo: Ron P. Jaffe/CBS ©2015 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved


  1. CSI finale-Very frustrated! Our market -Reno- only got 54 minutes and no second half. Whats up? Even On Demand did not show part 2.

  2. Re: “I can’t help wonder why Sara brought only her small messenger bag with her.”

    Same as Grissom only had his knapsack on when he went looking for Sara in the rainforest.

  3. Wish didn’t have to sit through the whole thing revolving LH this and LH that. Whose big idea to bring this freaky sideshow back, anyway? I really wish they could have brought back all our beloved lab rats for one more time. Instead, we got this Leather Heather. I don’t understand why Zuiker would also bring the old Grissom persona back. Loving Sara and allowing himself to be loved by her had made him a better man back then. What happened to the lessons he learned? The confession scene was just a pale imitation to what we saw in Butterflied. So, no. The tongue-tied Grissom just didn’t make sense at all. I’d rather to hear him explain why he set Sara adrift in FMN. Don’t tell me he knew nothing of what Sara had to go through with Basderic case. Where were Sofia Curtis? Detective Vartann? So many unanswered questions we just have to live with. Guess I’ll have to be happy for Grissom that his Sara had the courage to be with him.

  4. I’m glad to see someone feels the same way about LH as I do. What a pain in the behind she has been. I was in shock when Grissom thanked her for helping him open his heart so he could find his love for Sara. What the %^%$%. In the episodes she was in the fact that they had not seen each other for awhile was made plain, it isn’t as if they were talking every day as they seem to be now. Must say I did love watching her face as Grissom spoke of his love for Sara and how he would miss her the rest of his life. Take that you ^%^&%^ witch spelled with a “B”

    Speaking of missing something, I will miss this program so much. Over the years I’ve met a lot of new friends, friends from all over the world. Of course I can always pop a video into the computer to watch any episode I want as all of the years videos are sitting on a bookcase shelf in my living room. Really, I think CSI will be like “I love Lucy” or “M*A*S*H”, on any given day at any given hour CSI will be in reruns somewhere in the world.

    • LOL. I know it’s not fashionable to say so, but you go girl. I never imagine someone would come out and state the way about Leather Heather the way you did. I, for one, can’t never fully understand what went on between LH and Grissom. Grissom’s approach to LH was bizarre even by Grissom’s standard. Reminding people to show respect to LH. Coming readily to say LH couldn’t be the one behind the bombings. (Whatever happened to your ‘follow the evidence’ mantra, Grissom?) Having no problem pouring his heart out to this freaky character but getting tongue-tied around the woman he always maintained to be the only one he ever loved. No sure why Zuiker would present this Grissom in the finale. Unfortunately, Zuiker didn’t have enough time to fully explain the reason why Grissom would pull the s**tty stunt the way he did in FMN. Yes, CSI did not just failed the show characters, it failed its fans, also. They broke GSR up because they couldn’t come up with a plausible way to handle their long distance marriage while not having Grissom/Petersen on screen. Talking about lazy writing. Talking about lacking of creativity.

      It was also unnecessarily to pen the Sara-LH interrogation room scenes the way he did. The smack-down turned petty and didn’t do justice to either characters. But what bothers me the most is why Zuiker would have Grissom reverted back to his old self like what he was back in the early seasons? He clearly went through his personal transformation through fire and flames already. Why made him now what he once was?

      Petersen was really a remarkable actor. No doubt he would always be our Mr. CSI. His lonely whale song scene was one fine example. You really can’t help but feel for him when he watched Sara get her promotion. But Zuiker did one thing right. He brought Grissom and Sara together at the end. (Again, he could have handled it differently; but knowing the time restrains/constrains and all that, what else would be there for us?)

      Still think Zuiker missed the mother of all boats by not making Leather Heather the mastermind behind all the bombings. That would have made CSI go out with a bang!

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