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Gentle, Gentle
WriterAnn Donahue
DirectorDanny Cannon
Original AirdateApril 12, 2001
Previous Episode: $35K O.B.O.
Next Episode: Sounds of Silence

Gentle, Gentle is the nineteenth episode in season one of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.


Grissom's team investigates the kidnapping of the infant child of a rich family. However, when the evidence shows that the family is hiding something, the case takes a darker turn.


Gwen Anderson wakes up in the early hours of the morning. She goes to her baby son's room to find he is missing and the window is wide open with a ladder leaning against it. She also finds a note in the crib saying that the kidnapper will call with instructions in six hours. 

Grissom arrives at the scene and the mother and her husband Steve are waiting for him with the ransom note. Grissom is interested in the open soda bottle on the kitchen counter. The father informs him he opened it when he called 911. Grissom requests an unopened soda bottle, a piece of Zack's (the baby) clothing and blood samples from the entire family. Grissom tells Sara to examine the ransom note and to take the Anderson's computer printer with her to the lab. He also gives Nick the opened and unopened soda bottles and tells him to open the bottle at 72 °F. Sara finds out the note does not match the Andersons' printer, so Grissom tells her to get a warrant for all the printers at Mr. Anderson's office.

The scent dogs start barking and Grissom and Warrick run to meet them. They find Zack's body carefully placed under a statue at the golf course. The autopsy reveals that Zack died due to asphyxiation. Grissom thinks it is possible maybe his abductor accidentally smothered him, but Dr. Robbins believes the crime was too violent to have been accidental; his sternum was cracked. Grissom and Catherine talk to the Andersons, explaining why they cannot release the body and that the way Zack's body was treated is not consistent with a stranger having abducted him. Grissom and Catherine find a pair of nylons with green stains, an empty bag that once contained a baby blanket and a roll of rubbish bags, at the Andersons' house.

Nick tells Grissom, at the lab, that the soda bottle was opened at 11:30 pm (which is not consistent with the time when 911 was called). A set of prints on the ransom note is matched to Needra Fenway, Steve Anderson's secretary; her printer also matches the ransom note.

Fenway says she was having an affair with Steve, but that she ended it. Grissom says her hair was found in the crib and Catherine tells her that getting rid of Zachary would have been an easy way to end Steve and Gwen's marriage. Dr. Kane (psychologist) informs Grissom that mothers sometimes kill their children in order to avenge their husbands' affairs.

Zack's time of death is placed at around 9pm and Dr. Robbins discovers the fiber that was in his throat is Metaradim, a fire retardant. Grissom finds an oven mitt at the Andersons' house that matches the fiber. Catherine and Warrick replay the 911 call. They hear a distressed Gwen and then Catherine suggests checking if Tyler (the older son) has a cell phone.

At a meeting between Grissom and Catherine and the Andersons' lawyers, the CSIs are granted three questions for each family member. Grissom points out that a ransom price was not listed on the note, and asks if it is because they could not put a price on their own son. Gwen quickly confesses to the crime and says her husband and older son were only lying to protect her. She tells them she accidentally smothered Zack with a pot holder, when he would not stop crying.

When Warrick hears that Gwen and Steve have been arrested he is very surprised, because on a 911 recording from Tyler's cell phone you can hear him shout "What did you do, Robbie?" (Robbie is the middle son). Tyler tells Gil and Brass what happened. His parents were out. He was on the phone with his girlfriend, and when he turned around he saw Zack dead and his three-year-old brother Robbie standing over him with a pot holder in his hand. He called 911, but then got disconnected. When his parents returned home they found him performing CPR- the wrong way; instead of using two fingers on Zack's chest, Tyler was using his palms, which is what cracked his sternum.  Steve tells Grissom they did not tell the truth, because they did not want Robbie to have to live with the fact that he had killed his baby brother. As he is three, Robbie can not be held liable for his brother's death, and it is unlikely he will have any memories of it later in life, Gwen is released to be with her family and to face questions from the press.


Main Cast

Guest Cast

  • Eric Szmanda as Greg Sanders
  • Robert David Hall as Dr. Al Robbins
  • Eric Stonestreet as Ronnie Litre
  • Terry Bozeman as Attorney Brad Lewis
  • Paula Francis as News Anchor
  • Lisa Darr as Gwen Anderson
  • Brian McNamara as Steven Anderson
  • Reginald VelJohnson as Dr. Philip Kane
  • Jesse Littlejohn as Tyler Anderson
  • Natalie Zea as Needra Fenway
  • Wayne Thomas Yorke as CSI Tech
  • Kevin Will as Male Parent
  • Stewart Skelton as FBI Agent
  • Maureen Muldoon as Reporter Lynda Darby
  • Tyler DeFrance as Robbie Anderson
  • Jim Jenkins as Media Person
  • Kathrin Middleton as Female Parent #2
  • Susan Grace as Female Parent #1


  • When Grissom pulls the blanket out from under the cabinet, there is a roll of paper towels attached to the door which change position in between shots.

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