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Burden of Proof
WriterAnn Donahue
DirectorKenneth Fink
Original AirdateFebruary 7, 2002
Previous Episode: The Finger
Next Episode: Primum Non Nocere

Burden of Proof is the fifteenth episode in season two of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation


When the body of a photographer is dumped at the Body Farm, Grissom finds out the man was shot to death, but there aren't any bullet fragments in his body. The case gets even more complicated when the CSIs discover the 12-year-old daughter of the photographer's girlfriend was the victim of sexual abuse.


Mike Kimble, a photographer is found in a Body Farm by Grissom. He seems to have died 6 hours previously and Doc Robbins can't find any bullet fragments in him, so they are forced to examine the tissue more closely. They find an implant in his rib and discover the tissue in Mike's body is cow tissue. Doc Robbins suggests more cross-contamination. Mike's house has been set on fire and Warrick and Nick discover the point of origin is in the bedroom and that the flames went downwards towards the accelerant. They find blood on the carpet and realise the fire is a cover up. 

Catherine and Brass go to the house of Jane, Mike's fiance and meet Jane's ex-husband Russ who is clear of gunpowder residue. Jane says her kids loved Mike. At Mike's house the only room that seems to have survived the fire is full of photos and the CSI's find pictures of Jodie, Jane's daughter posing in bathing suits and naked. They immediately ask if Mike was sexually abusing her, but she refuses to talk, saying she loved Mike. Nick and Warrick find that in one of the photos, a thumb is in the shot, which Nick says is strange for a professional photographer. 

Sara seems upset by Grissom's insensitivity when he asks her to clear up some ground beef, saying that he should know she's a vegetarian by now. Grissom merely shrugs and tells her to get Nick to clean it up before going to talk to Russ. Russ says he always thought Mike was 'touchy-feely' with Jody and lets them examine his handgun. Warrick tells Sara the accelerant in the fire was nail polish remover, suggesting a woman started the fire. Catherine sees that Jody has a burn on her wrist, but she says it is from a curling iron. 

Grissom realises the bullet may have melted inside Mike, which may explain why they can't find it. Nick and Catherine search Jane's house and find a nightdress of Jody's with semen on it. Brass confronts Jane- she cancelled her wedding with Mike 5 days ago and he thinks she knew Mike was abusing her daughter. Jane denies this and later Greg tells the CSI's that the semen on Jody's nightgown is not Mike's or her fathers, but is actually from her brother Jake.  Jake denies doing anything to his sister, but Brass doesn't believe him. Nick talks to him alone and discovered that he had a wet dream and used the first thing in the laundry hamper to clean up- but was too embarrassed to admit it. He also says that it was Jody who seemed obsessed with Mike. 

Grissom discovers the bullet that killed Mike was made of frozen beef which is why it melted and all they found was cow tissue.Brass questions Russ and finds out that although his gun was clean, his reloader had beef in it. Russ says he 'knew' Mike was abusing Jody and confronted him, before killing him. He says he wants to make a formal statement confessing to both the murder and the arson, but Grissom says he didn't do the arson. Brass replies that he wants to protect his daughter and that Jody has been through enough, but Grissom doesn't agree. 

Sara meanwhile requests leave of absence of 6 months to 1 year, saying she is considering working for the FBI and saying Grissom does not respect her. He doesn't understand why the 'hamburger thing' has upset her so much but she threatens to quit if he doesn't sign the leave form. He says the lab needs her but she just says 'Great' and leaves. 

Russ is given bail- as Catherine says no jury would convict a father of killing his daughter's abuser. She also finds Jody was telling the truth about the curling iron burn, although Grissom finds the accelerant in her gym locker. Warrick discovers the naked photos were taken on a boat, which belongs to Russ.

The CSI's discover that it was Russ who was sexually abusing his daughter and his semen along with her vaginal fluid in his sleeping bag proves it. He also killed Mike as he was trying to help Jody. Russ tries to get his lawyer to make him a deal, but as he abused a minor under 14, in the state of Nevada he recieves a mandatory life sentence.

Catherine tells Grissom he needs to take responsibility for his team and get his head out of his microscope and at the end of the episode, she watches as he orders a plant for Sara with a card that says 'From Grissom'. 


Main Cast

Guest Cast

  • Eric Szmanda as Greg Sanders
  • Robert David Hall as Dr. Al Robbins
  • David Berman as David Phillips
  • Terry Bozeman as Attorney Brad Lewis
  • Janet Gunn as Jane Bradley
  • Sara Paxton as Jody Bradley
  • Dan Byrd as Jake Bradley
  • Nancy Valen as Neighbor
  • Monnae Michaell as Doctor
  • Jason Beghe as Russ Bradley
  • Patrick Thomas O'Brien as Edward Cormier
  • John Rosenfeld as Child Advocate
  • David Sobel as Mike Kimble
  • Candice Cook as Nevada State Trooper (uncredited)
  • Roger Hamilton as Dog Trainer (uncredited)

Featured Music

  • I'm Just A Kid by Simple Plan.


  • Despite that Gil Grissom had been with Sara Sidle for a year, he didn't notice that Sara had become a vegetarian.

See Also

CSI:Las Vegas Season 2
BurkedChaos TheoryOverloadBully for YouScuba Doobie-DooAlter BoysCagedSlaves of Las VegasAnd Then There Were NoneEllieOrgan GrinderYou've Got MaleIdentity CrisisThe FingerBurden of ProofPrimum Non NocereFelonious MonkChasing The BusStalkerCats in the CradleAnatomy of a LyeCross JurisdictionsThe Hunger Artist