1,664 Pages

Crate 'n Burial
WriterAnn Donahue
DirectorDanny Cannon
Original AirdateOctober 20, 2000
Previous Episode: Cool Change
Next Episode: Pledging Mr. Johnson

Crate 'n Burial is the third episode in season one of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.


Grissom, Nick and Sara find out that all is not what it seems when the wife of a rich man is abducted and buried alive in the desert. Meanwhile Catherine and Warrick investigate a hit and run that led to the death of a little girl in which a man and his grandson are the suspects, both of them seemingly covering for each other.


Laura Garris has been kidnapped and buried alive. At the Garris' residence, Brass attempts to discourage Laura's husband, Jack, from paying the ransom, while Grissom and Nick analyze the tape-recorded message for evidence. Noticing a gap of silence and a low-frequency buzzing sound, they speculate that Laura is buried in the desert near power lines. Sara does a walk-through of the house and sees numerous signs of struggle. When Grissom joins her, he notices dirt on the bedroom carpet and a halothane-soaked handkerchief lying on the ground outside.

An analysis of the dirt from the Garris' home reveals traces of gold and cyanide, a combination commonly found at gold mines. Grissom and Sara search the desert with an infrared camera and spot the glowing image of a thrashing body underground. They frantically dig until they unearth Laura.

Unable to discourage Jack Garris from paying the ransom, Brass tails him to the drop site. When a young man retrieves the bag containing the money, the police move in.

When Grissom interviews Laura Garris at the hospital, she says she remembers being grabbed from behind in the hallway of her home and having something clamped over her mouth, but she cannot remember anything about her assailant. Grissom asks her for a DNA sample to compare to the duct tape used to silence her, and to the truck belonging to the man caught at the ransom drop-off site, Chip Rundle, Jack Garris' personal trainer. Brass tells Rundle that his fingerprints were found on Laura Garris' makeshift coffin. Rundle explains that he helped Jack move crates. Brass releases Rundle but recorded the interrogation to use as a vocal comparison to the ransom message.

The AV lab matches Rundle's voice with the voice on the ransom message. After finding strands of hair in the front passenger seat of Rundle's truck, Sara asks Grissom to help her reconstruct Laura's abduction. She notes that the fibers from the sheepskin seat covers were found on the back of Laura's sleeves, which could only have happened if Laura were sitting in an upright position like a normal passenger. A blood test confirms that Laura never ingested the halothane. The CSIs realize that Laura was an accomplice in her own "abduction".

Laura persistently denies any relationship with Rundle. Sara says they staged the kidnapping as part of a plan to run away together with a lump of Jack's fortune. Nick plays a cleaned-up version of the ransom recording for Jack; on it, Laura is heard telling Chip to "Hurry up!" As Laura is arrested, her angry husband asks Grissom why she didn't just give Rundle up. "Self-preservation," Grissom explains. "If she rats on him, she rats on herself".

Catherine and Warrick are assigned to the case of the disturbing hit-and-run of a young girl, Renda Harris. The only evidence they find, however, is a common car-paint scrape on the girl's scooter, so they return to the lab. In autopsy, Doctor Williams shows them a partial license plate number made visible on a bruise imprinted on the body of the girl.

A hit on the partial license plate number brings Catherine and Warrick to the home of Mr. Charles Moore, a courteous seventy-three-year-old. He claims his car was stolen but a search of the house reveals the car to be in the garage. Mr. Moore confesses that he was behind the wheel, that he spotted Renda in the middle of the road but accidentally stepped on the accelerator instead of the brake.

Catherine and Warrick examine Moore's car and they notice the driver's seat is pushed too close for his height and that the car stereo has been set to a hip-hop station and is on full blast. They ask Mr. Moore if anyone else drives his car, to which Mr. Moore replies: "I was driving yesterday." Catherine tells Mr. Moore that he didn't fully answer the question, just as his grandson, James, enters. James tries to explain what happened, but Mr. Moore quickly explains that after hitting Renda he'd banged his head and James drove him home; neither Catherine nor Warrick believe his story.

Catherine takes a closer look at Charles Moore's car and finds a small piece of tooth lodged in the steering wheel; the tooth belongs to James. Mr. Moore confesses that he had been talking on the phone with James while James was driving, which lead to the accidental hit. Mr. Moore made James cover up the incident to save his grandson's future. Catherine and Warrick reluctantly take James into custody. An understanding and sympathetic Warrick accompanies James and offers advice before he's taken into custody. Warrick also writes his cell number on James' hand and tells him to contact him just in case trouble arises.


Main Cast

Guest Cast

  • Judith Scott as Dr. Jenna Williams
  • Madison McReynolds as Lindsey Willows
  • John Beasley as Charles Moore
  • Erich Anderson as Jack Garris
  • Jolene Blalock as Laura Garris (kidnap victim)
  • Hamilton von Watts as Chip Rundle
  • Sam Jones III as James Moore
  • John Livingston as THD Audio Tech
  • Deborah Landis as Anne Vickers
  • N/A as Renda Harris (victim)

Episode Title

  • Crate and Burial, make reference to Laura Garris kidnapping, which led her buried alive inside a crate or coffin.

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