1,666 Pages

WriterJosh Berman
DirectorRichard J. Lewis
Original AirdateOctober 11, 2001
Previous Episode: Chaos Theory
Next Episode: Bully for You

Overload is the third episode in season two of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.


When a construction worker takes a fall from the twelfth story at a construction site, Grissom is convinced the victim is electrocuted. But as the Sheriff and a lot of others have no trouble believing it's a suicide and the evidence doesn't immediately support his theory, he has to go through a lot of trouble to prove murder. Meanwhile Nick and Catherine look into the death of a teenage boy who apparently suffered an epileptic seizure during a therapy session.


At night, at a construction site, a car comes in; the foreman tells the driver that he's late. As the driver begins to explain that he got stuck in traffic, a body falls from above, landing on the hood of his car. Grissom arrives, and the Sheriff tells him that the dead man is Roger Valenti, and that he was unhappy and committed suicide by jumping from a girder; he wants to know why Grissom's there. Grissom asks the Sheriff why the deceased would come to work on the day that he decided to end his life?

At the constructions site, the Sheriff, the foreman, Bob Harris and Grissom take the elevator up to the work station that Valenti was at. Grissom comments that the construction on the new prison has to be completed soon because of the exploding prison population. At Valenti's work station, Grissom looks down and notes that Valenti would have hit the ground in under five seconds; he notices a drill hanging over the edge of the building that Valenti was using before he went over the side. The foreman says that Valenti was the only one up there; Grissom examines the drill and comments that it has shorted out, and asks the foreman if Valenti jumped before or after he got the shock of his life? The foreman explains that safety precautions say that there wouldn't have been any shock, and therefore no electrocution. Grissom examines the plug for the drill and notes that the third prong has been snapped off, and comments that it didn't do that to itself. He notices some cutters by a toolbox and asks if everyone is so careless. He then sets up a box to steam the cutters for prints, saying that they may have been used to cut the prong off the drill plug.

O'Riley takes Catherine and Nick to the house where the body of Dylan Buckley is; he tells her that Dylan was 14 years old, and the house belongs to his psychiatrist, Dr. Leigh Sapien. Nick asks Dr. Sapien why Dylan was seeing her, and she claims privilege, but Nick tells her that privilege doesn't last beyond the death of the patient. Nick also asks why she was seeing Dylan so late, since he died at 10 p.m. She says that she's there for her patients when they need her, and Dylan had had a fight with his mother and needed to talk; she adds that he was epileptic and had been diagnosed as such at age three; she tells them that he had a seizure and hit his head, she had tried to help him but failed, and so called 9-1-1. Nick notes some tan fibers on Dylan's body and then some of the same on her white sweater and takes a sample of both.

In the morgue, Dr. Robbins tells Grissom that Valenti's ear bones are the only ones not broken in his body. Grissom asks about the entry and exit points for the electricity, but Dr. Robbins tells him that there's no evidence of that. He tells Grissom that the body contradicts the crime scene and the evidence; Grissom insists that Valenti was electrocuted, no matter what the evidence says.

At the lab, Sara tells Grissom that she doesn't know what they're looking for, since the body tells them that there was no crime; she can't understand why Grissom isn't listening to the evidence. He tells her that sometimes you have to break the rules, comparing it to deaths in the 18th century, when doctors thought that the people were dying for no reason, but that was because they didn't know about germs. He opens up the drill and finds that the wires have been crossed, meaning that someone tampered with it. Sara comments that the rubber soles on Valenti's boots would have protected him. Grissom comments that while that's true, metal is a conductor; he examines the bottom of Valenti's work boot and finds a nail in the sole.

Warrick runs a palm print taken from the cutters; he tells Sara that he's running the print because the prison construction is a union job and so all the workers will be in the system. Warrick then tells her that Bobby Dawson is taking odds on the case: 2 to 1 that Grissom is wrong, 5 to 1 that he'll be suspended for having the prison construction shut down, and 10 to 1 that Grissom will be fired. Grissom comes in just as Warrick gets a hit on the print; he tells Grissom that it belongs to Robert Harris, a former employee, and asks if that means anything to him; Grissom tells him that it does, especially if anyone has bet against him.

Harris explains that because he's the project manager, his prints would be on a lot of the tools; the Sheriff tells Grissom that he wants the investigation to go away and the construction site to reopen. Brass calls Grissom aside and tells him that Valenti had demanded overtime pay and threatened a walk-out, then adds that Harris was the Best Man at the Sheriff's wedding. Grissom returns to the Sheriff and Mr. Harris and tells them that Brass wanted to talk to him about their bowling league; he then tells them that someone tampered with the drill and asks Mr. Harris about union activities on the site. The Sheriff accuses him of fishing and says that Grissom is done and they're moving on.

In the lab, Nick goes over Dylan's clothing and finds tan fibers on his underwear. Dr. Robbins talks to Mrs. Buckley; Nick comes out and explains to her that it's protocol for the crime lab to be involved in a death of this sort. She tells him that Dylan was fine; they had pizza, then she dropped him off at Dr. Sapien's place. She begins crying, saying that her husband died three years ago, and now her son was gone too. Back in the morgue, Dr. Robbins tells Nick that the cause of death was cerebral injuries, consistent with a Grand Mal seizure, but then points out bruising on Dylan's torso and says that it could be from being held down during his seizure, but also notes that he found tan fibers on Dylan's body. Dr. Robbins comments that it could be as simple an answer as the fact that he wasn't wearing anything except his underwear while he was having his seizure, but then he wonders what kind of therapy Dr. Sapien was practising?

As Grissom goes in to the lab, a man approaches him and says that he has information on Valenti; he tells Grissom that he was the union rep before Valenti and the walk-out was his idea, but when Mr. Harris threatened his family, he quit and Valenti took over.

Greg tells Catherine and Nick that the tan fibers that were on Dylan and his clothing are angora.

Dr. Robbins locks up the morgue; Grissom arrives and wants to see Valenti's body, but Dr. Robbins tells him that it was released six hours ago, but lets Grissom go through his notes. Grissom notes that there was an elevated concentration of iron in Valenti's blood, and that his skin looked jaundiced. In the lunch room, Grissom asks Sara, Greg and Warrick what they're doing; they ask him for a new case, but he tells them that there is no new case, and tells Sara to process the nail from Valenti's boot, and to prove or disprove the use of metal cutters to sever the prong from the drill plug, and tells Warrick to come with him.

Grissom and Warrick go to funeral home; Randy Gesek, the funeral director immediately asks if he needs to get a lawyer (reference to his previous appearances in Justice Is Served and Friends & Lovers), and Grissom asks to see Valenti's testicles. Mr. Gesek objects, saying that if he lets Grissom then he'll have to let everyone, then asks for a favor, telling Grissom that he's starting up a crime scene clean up business and would like some referrals; Grissom says he'll see what he can do. He looks at Valenti's testicles and notes that they're atrophied; Warrick says that if Valenti was ingesting trace amounts of iron for a long time, he probably didn't know it. Grissom asks Gesek for one pint of blood, to go.

At the lab, Sara gets a partial thumb print from the nail in the boot, and also finds that the cutters were not used to cut the prong on the electric drill. She tells this to Warrick who tells her that Grissom is doing something with Valenti's blood.

O'Riley tells Nick and Catherine that they're lucky to get a limited warrant for Dr. Sapien's house, and also tells them that the doctor was suspended for having sex with a minor patient; Nick calls that a joke, and Catherine comments that maybe this time she'll lose her licence.

Grissom cuts up wires; Warrick brings in the pint of blood. Grissom explains that iron is conductive, so to find out if there's enough iron in Valenti's blood to conduct electricity, he hooks it up via the wires to a light bulb, which begins to glow.

Dr. Sapien asks Nick and Catherine what angora has to do with anything, and tells them that she doesn't appreciate being treated like a suspect. Nick merely tells her to wait outside, telling her that Dylan was just a boy who trusted her, and she abused that trust. Catherine comes in with a tan blanket that she found in the closet. Nick asks Dr. Sapien if this is the blanket that she put on the floor while she had sex with Dylan against his will, and then when he resisted, she held him down, violently. She tells him that she's never crossed the line with a patient; Nick brings up her prior conviction and suspension. Dr. Sapien tells him that that was supposed to have been expunged, and the male in question was 17, and she was a resident. She tells them again that Dylan was an epileptic and hit his head during a seizure, adding that if they don't like it, they can leave. Outside the house, Catherine asks Nick what's going on, and he tells her that he's just on the case.

In the lab, Grissom wires up a dill pickle and makes it glow using Valenti's blood; he comments that he's electrocuting it, and then has Sara and Warrick check it for burn marks; there are none. He notes that pickles are high in sodium, just like the human body, and that excess heat would normally cause burn marks, but not if there were no resistance, and that because of the excess iron in Valenti's blood, there would have been no burn marks on his body when he was electrocuted. Warrick comments that his death was murder; Greg comes in with the results from the thumb print from the nail.

Grissom tells the Sheriff that it wasn't Bob Harris's print on the nail. The Sheriff is angry that Grissom made a suspect out of an innocent man, and tells him that he'll have to make a public apology, adding that all actions have consequences, even Grissom's.

Grissom checks the computer files for Ian Wolf, the man whose thumb print was on the nail. Brass comes in and says that he'll check Wolf out, and that he was the former union representative on the construction site. He comments that he thinks that Grissom took a case that could have been either a suicide or an accident and wants to know why he spent so much time on it, then comments that he thinks Grissom needs the rush.

Nick checks the tan blanket square by square; Catherine tells him that Dr. Sapien lied because Dylan's blood levels were wrong, and then tells Nick that he's cutting her out of the case and doing things on his own and threatens to remove him from the case unless he tells her why he's doing this. Nick confesses that there are just some people that you're supposed to be able to trust, then says that when he was nine years old, a last-minute baby sitter molested him; all he remembers is sitting in his room and waiting for his mom to come home, and then tells Catherine that he's never told anyone this before. He adds that to him, this case is personal, and he's sorry for the way that he's acted.

Brass and Grissom interview Mr. Wolf who tells them that he's paid his dues, and the company plays hardball.

Greg tests the swabs from the tan blanket and finds that there were a lot of epithelials there including ones from Dylan, the doctor and someone else who shares a familial relationship with Dylan; Catherine comments that since Dylan's dad is dead, they must have come from his mother. Elsewhere in the lab, Grissom tells Sara to check Mr. Wolf's print against the partial that they got from the nail; she finds that it's a perfect match, and Grissom gets a warrant for Wolf's tool belt.

Dr. Robbins tells Nick and Catherine that same tan fibers were in Dylan's lungs; Catherine realizes that he must have been wrapped in the blanket. They talk to Mrs. Buckley and tell her that they know she was there, and want to know what they were doing. Mrs. Buckley tells them that she loved her son, and what they were doing was therapy; she'd tried everything and just couldn't get through to him. Dr. Sapien tells them that the therapy is called rebirthing and explains that it's a way for the child to rebond with the parent; Dylan was becoming more belligerent, but was willing to try the therapy; O'Riley points out that Dylan was only 14 years old, and really couldn't consent. The doctor explains that they wrapped him in the blanket to recreate the birth experience, and he was supposed to fight to get out, just the way that a baby being born does. Mrs. Buckley adds that during the process, Dylan couldn't breathe, and told them this, but the doctor assured her that this was just part of the process and that they shouldn't stop, so they held him down to make him fight to get out, and pushed on him, like a mother would during labor. When they unwrapped him, his eyes were closed, and Mrs. Buckley thought that he was pretending to be asleep, but then they realized that he wasn't breathing. Nick, in complete disgust, tells them, "So much for your therapy!" and leaves the room. Mrs. Buckley explains that this is why they tried to hide what happened; they knew people wouldn't understand.

Warrick tests the striations from the prong; Sara tells Grissom that Wolf stuck the nail in the boot and cut the prong, and that they were wrong and let Grissom down by quitting too soon. At the construction site, Grissom has Wolf arrested, telling him that they know he reversed the polarity in the drill, and cut the prong on the plug, killing Valenti. The Sheriff calls Grissom aside and admits that Grissom got the bad guy; Grissom points out that it happened just in time for his public apology. The Sheriff tells him that he won't be the goat this time, but he won't be the hero either, which is why they will continue to work together. Grissom walks away.


Main Cast

Guest Cast

Major Events

  • Nick reveals that he was sexually abused by a last minute babysitter when he was nine years old.


  • "Free" by VAST.

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