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Too Tough to Die
WriterElizabeth Devine
DirectorRichard J. Lewis
Original AirdateMarch 1, 2001
Previous Episode: Table Stakes
Next Episode: Face Lift

Too Tough to Die is the sixteenth episode in season one of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.


Sara gets emotionally involved when she, Grissom, and Nick investigate the case of a woman who is abducted from a parking garage, raped, and left for dead. Meanwhile Catherine and Warrick take over a case from one of the day shift CSIs who has quit. The case involves a neighbor's dispute that led to murder. Not only has an important piece of evidence been lost, but the case goes to trial in four days.


A woman is carjacked and sexually assaulted; Sara goes to the hospital to collect an SAE kit and finds the woman in a coma with two bullets in her brain, and no ID. Unfortunately, the bullets can't be removed because there's a very high risk that Jane Doe might not survive the operation.

As she collects evidence from the woman’s body, Sara promises her that she will find out who did this. Grissom and Nick process the crime scene and find bullet casings and a belt loop. Sara intently searches the missing persons database for a match to her Jane Doe and identifies her as Pamela Adler. Grissom, concerned, warns Sara against getting too close to the victim and advises her to develop a hobby outside of law enforcement.

The bullet casings match a shooting in a gang neighborhood in North Vegas. Grissom and Nick allow scent dogs to smell the belt loop and let them search; the dogs lead them to Tony Thorpe, who is wearing a pair of jeans with a missing belt loop. Sara and Nick match the belt loop to Tony’s jeans. During questioning, Tony gloats that Pamela is not dead yet, and he is a juvenile, meaning the law is on his side. However, Brass assures him that if she dies within a year, he will be charged with murder.

Catherine and Warrick inherit an open murder case from a dayshift CSI who quit the day before. Roy McCall claims that Chuckie Hastings attacked him with a screwdriver, forcing McCall to shoot in self-defense. However, Mrs. Hastings claims that McCall shot her husband in the back. Catherine and Warrick learn that the previous CSI who worked this case lost the screwdriver before it could be processed, and realizing that, he left before he could be fired, citing burnout as his reason for quitting.

The coroner’s report confirms that Hastings was shot in the back, but McCall also has a scar that proves he was attacked with a screwdriver. Catherine and Warrick find unburned gunpowder on Hastings' shirt and realize that he was shot at close range. They reenact the fight using dummies and realize that McCall did indeed shoot once in self-defense but then shot Hastings again as he lay on the ground.

Catherine learns that Eddie took out a second mortgage on the house they own together. He visits the lab to see her and they get into a physical altercation, which Grissom breaks up. This convinces Catherine that she needs to finalize her divorce.

Sara visits Pamela in the hospital to tell her that they caught Tony, and meets Tom, Pamela’s husband. He tells her that Pamela is going to live, and that she will be moved to a facility; Sara promises to visit her and hastily leaves, holding back tears. She returns to the lab and during a talk with Grissom, cries over a system that rewards suspects when the victim is too tough to die, stating that Pamela Adler is going to be in a vegetative state for the rest of her life which her husband isn't even aware of and that her attacker, Thorpe is likely to get out in jail in four years. "I wish I were like you", she tells Grissom. "I wish I didn't feel anything".


Main Cast

Guest Cast

  • Robert David Hall as Dr. Al Robbins
  • Timothy Carhart as Eddie Willows
  • Madison McReynolds as Lindsey Willows
  • Geoffrey Rivas as Detective Sam Vega
  • Gerald McCullouch as Bobby Dawson
  • Mark Collver as Detective B. Evans
  • Palmer Davis as Attorney Margaret Finn
  • Katy Boyer as Laurianne Hastings
  • Ntare Guma Mbaho Mwine as Tom Adler
  • Aldis Hodge as Tony Thorpe
  • Andy Taylor as D.A. Sam Gentry
  • Michelle Anne Johnson as Pamela Adler
  • Gary Bristow as Chuck Hastings
  • Geoff Meed as Roy McCall
  • Netfa Perry as Shandra Thorpe
  • Larry Bagby as Hank Dudek
  • Edi Patterson as Rosalyn Dudek

Major Events

  • Detective Sam Vega is introduced for the first time.


  • The song that Sara is humming while going over missing person cases is "One Way or Another" by Blondie which has the lyrics "One way or another, I'm gonna find ya, I'm gonna get ya, get ya, get ya".  


  • In the opening scene, the character Pamela Adler, uses a remote access for her car but still uses her key to unlock her car door.
  • While examining a victim in a coma, Sara breathes on a piece of medical equipment to warm it up before using it. Doing this would transfer her own DNA onto the equipment, which would contaminate the test.

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