The CSI Opening Theme

Plot Outline:

CSI: Crime Scene Investigation premiered on CBS on October 6, 2000. This is the team of investigators who, after a single glance at a corpse, notice that one of its shoes is tied differently from the other, which turns out to be the key to finding the killer; who find as much detail in the blood splattered on the wall as they do in the smudged fingerprints on the knife handle; who deduce that the bystander near the scene of the crime was no bystander at all. Get caught up in the world of the Crime Scene Investigators of Las Vegas, an eclectic ensemble of forensic heroes who work day and night, in the penthouse suites of glamorous hotels and in seedy back alleys far from the lights, solving crimes in ways that no other cops could.

Gil Grissom, the senior forensics officer, heads the team of investigators at the Criminalistics Bureau in Las Vegas. On the team are Catherine Willows, a single parent who has to juggle a job she loves with being a parent; Capt. Jim Brass, who is tough on everyone,
and Warrick Brown and Nick Stokes, who are in a head-to-head competition to solve their 100th crime. By relentlessly analyzing every detail at the scene of the crime, no matter how seemingly irrelevant or grotesque in nature, these sleuths from the Las Vegas police department's Criminalistics Bureau have science and experience on their side to solve the case.

What's so interesting about this show?

There's no doubt that the science and solution of crimes is a big draw for audiences. Interestingly enough, the series draws in a large female audience according to CTV-TV (according to series creator Anthony Zuiker "Women are the reason we're on the air."). Fascinating stories, interesting characters, and cutting-edge cinematography make for an intriguing hour of entertainment. Many viewers of CSI also watch real-life forensic shows on cable. Each episode normally contains an A story (the major one) and a B story. On occasion, one major story comprises the entire hour.

How much does it cost to film an episode?

During the first season, this series reportedly cost $1.5 million per episode to make. However, this is not the most expensive show on network television. Before CBS cancelled it, Nash Bridges costs exceeded $2 million an episode. CSI's producers will recoup their initial investment as the series was sold into syndication to TNN for a record $1.5 million per episode. TNN will begin airing CSI once a week starting in late 2002, with a restriction of not airing the series during primetime.

What is a CSI?

A CSI is a Crime Scene Investigator. They can also be called ET (evidence technician), FI (forensic investigator), CST (crime scene technician), CO (criminalists officer), SOCO (scenes of crime officer), and more. The job of the CSI is to identify, document and collect physical evidence at a crime scene, and to ensure that its integrity remains intact. In Las Vegas, they are actually called Crime Scene Analysts (CSA).
    CSIs need to be well educated in various aspects of evidence collection and analysis. Many specialize in certain fields (i.e., Grissom does bugs, Catherine does blood-splatter analysis). CSI attend autopsies and testify in court.
    Salaries range from approximately $20,000-$50,000, which is dependent upon training, education and experience levels, as well as geographical location.
    Education varies. It is generally best to obtain the education before being hired as a CSI, as this increases your chances of being hired. Once hired, the emloyer usually offers training. Degree requirements are different with each hiring agency.
    Do CSIs always carry guns? Some do, and some don't.

Forensics For Dummies CSI: Crime Scene Investigation - Seasons 1-10 CSI: Crime Scene Investigation - Seasons 1-10 Investigating CSI: An Unauthorized Look Inside the Crime Labs of Las Vegas, Miami and New York (Smart Pop series)

How do they do that incredible photography on the show?

CSI is shot on Super 35mm film, but is telecined to HD (high definition) for post production work. This allows the creators to give the show a more cinematic appearance. They're able to color correct from the tape without having to use the negative. Visual enhancements are done that turn a scene grainy when going to a flashback, or infuse vibrant colors when panning Vegas' brilliant neon lights. Viewers may also recognize the fascinating in-wound shots from the movie The Three Kings, where the effect was first introduced.

How accurate is CSI?

It's pretty accurate, but as with all television, dramatic license is taken. On an episode of CSI, Grissom can drop off samples with Greg the lab technician and get a DNA profile back within hours or days of his request. In reality, CSI labs are underfunded, understaffed, and have nowhere near the lab equipment this CSI lab possesses. If you read the news, you'll see that DNA and other tests can take weeks to months to process due to backlog. A real forensic expert might cringe at what he sees, for it is rare for the investigators to question/interrogate witnesses, which is something Grissom does quite frequently. If you're a stickler for reality, check out the lexicon section under each episode. Any nitpicks on inaccuracies will be listed there. You can also tune into any of the forensic shows on A&E or the Discovery Channel.
      The set dresser researched forensic labs in both Las Vegas and Los Angeles, studying the facilities and taking photos to assemble a credible set. Many of the props were bought off the internet, where a lot of modern technology is easily for sale. The body parts seen in jars of 'formaldehyde' (colored water) are actually rubber props.
      Criminalist Elizabeth Devine, a 15-year veteran with the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, is an expert in forensic biology and crime scene reconstruction, and is CSI's technical advisor. She views all scripts before they're completed, making suggestions in regards to how true forensic experts would in situations. On the set, she'll even assist in setting up the crime scene.


Desktop backgrounds (wallpapers): wallpaper 1, wallpaper 2, wallpaper 3
wallpaper 4, wallpaper 5, wallpaper 6, wallpaper 7, wallpaper 8, wallpaper 9

Crime Scene: Inside the World of the Real CSIs Crime Scene Investigation, Second Edition FBI Handbook of Crime Scene Forensics An Introduction to Crime Scene Investigation


Forensic Anthropology

Forensic Anthropology is the science of physical anthropology when applied to the legal process. Often times authorities are faced with badly decomposed corpses, unidentified remains, or merely skeletons. Using scientific techniques developed in anthropology, forensic anthropologists may work in conjunction with forensic odontologists, pathologists, and homicide investigators to determine the age, sex, stature and more from human remains. Prime examples of the application of this science is to identify victims of wartime massacres. A good example of its use in CSI is when Gil had the facial features of a deceased woman constructed from skeletal remains in the episode "Who Are You".

Forensic Art

Forensic Art A good example of forensic art in CSI is when Grissom had the facial features of a deceased woman constructed from skeletal remains in the episode "Who Are You".

Karen Taylor's Forensic Art Site - Great site for forensic art, plus a CSI special section on the episode "Snuff."

Forensic Entomology

Forensic Entomology is the use of insects and other athropods that are found at decomposing remains to aid criminal and civil investigations. This field can be dividied into three general areas: medicolegal, urban, and stored product pests. Medicolegal focuses on criminal investigations and the carrion feeding insects found on human remains. (For instance, when Gil employed forensic entomology when he found the insect on the corpse in the Pilot episode of CSI. The urban aspect focuses on insects that affect man and his environment, and those insects can feed on both living and dead humans. More often than not, the urban aspect is involved in civil proceedings and not criminal investigations. The stored product aspect involves food contamination, in which the criminalogist may serve as an expert witness in both criminal and civil proceedings. - Insects in Legal Investigation - An excellent site for this branch of forensic science. Highly recommended!
Forensic Medicine / Science

Forensic medicine is the application of the science of medical and paramedical specialties (i.e., dental, chemical, psychological, biological, and mechanical techniques) in determining the cause(s) of an individual's death, injury or disease. For example, forensics is applied from murder to child abuse. - General forensics site from Canada. Good selection of material.
Dojes Inc. - Lab supplies for forensics; great way to see what the guys use.   
Forensics & Other Evidence Links
Forensic Odonotology

Forensic Odontology is the application of the science of dentistry and paradental knowledge to help solve criminal and and civil matters.

Forensic Palynology

Forensic Palynology uses pollen and spores to help solve crimes. Many pollens and spores are specific to regions, even states, and can also help determine where items - such as food, merchandise, vehicles - have come from.

Forensic Photography

Forensic Photography is the utilization of photographic techniques to capture the crime scene in photographs. You just can't drag along your instamatic, y'know....

Forensic Photography for the Crime Scene Technician - How to... - Lots of links to forensic photograhy sites!
Forensic Psychology/Psychiatry

Forensic Psychology/Psychiatry is the application of the science of psychology/psychiatry with legal issues, which can cover trauma, serial killers, stalking, false memories, etc.

David Willshire's Forensic Psychology & Psychiatry Links - Lots of links.

Forensic Toxicology

Forensic Chemistry and Toxicology generally involves the detection and identification of poisons or toxins exhibiting adverse physiological effects. Laboratory methods entail 1- physical tests, 2- crystal tests, 3- chemical spot tests, 4- spectrophotometric tests, 5- chromatographic tests.

The World Wide Web Virtual Library: Forensic Toxicology


The act of deliberating set a fire, whether for profit or revenge.

The Fire & Arson Investigations Website - C.I.S. - Contains photos, reports and more. You'll never leave your coffee maker unattended again!


One of the most popular aspects of forensics, at least on TV shows: the study of guns and bullets in relation to crimes. - Everything you wanted to know about this field.
Blood Spatter

When people are violently killed, their blood usually tends to spatter the environment (walls, floors, etc.). How that occurs can determine the angle of impact, the item used, etc. Also called blood spatter.

J. Slemko Forensic Consulting - Take a blood spatter tutorial.
BSCO Blood spatter Page - Contains terminology page, chart of bloodstain patterns, and more.

Cleaning Up the Scene

Although the gang on CSI are basically first on the scene, viewing sometimes gruesome visages, that's it. Someone else does the clean-up.

Crime Scene Investigation

A criminalist is a specialist who collects and examines physical evidence found at the scene of a crime. For more information on what a CSI is, go to the FAQ page.

Crime-Scene - Bookmark it for fun: crime scene response, evidence collection, photography, articles, training and employment, resources and links.   
Crimes and Clues: The Art and Science of Criminal Investigation - From fingerprints to pathology, check it out!


The most common technique known to the layman is DNA forensic analysis, in which scientists focus on certain genetic sequence called markers, which is particular to each person. DNA evidence, if preserved properly, can be used decades after the crime to incriminate - or clear - suspects.


Forensic science studies many facets of the crime scene: fingerprints, DNA, serology, firearms, drugs, and much more. Anything from a hair to a twig to a dead insect can yield important evidence to solve a case. - List of articles on evidence and forensics. Extensive.

Fingers. We all have and we all have prints, which many criminals leave behind at the scene of a crime. With the advent of computer science, it's becoming easier to match prints to perpetrators.

Complete Latent Print Examination - Excellent site for fingerprint information! Newsletters, books, forums, links and more.
Firearms / Explosives

Most murders (at least on TV) are committed with firearms. Learn more about how forensics determines the distance, the type of weapon used, and more. Criminals and, more often, terrorists, are overly fond of explosives.

Knots & Ligatures   

Many people are strangled, and forensics experts can determine what is used by the evidence left behind. Forensic Knot Specialists/Experts do exist.

Questioned Documents   

You've heard this department mentioned on CSI, in particular the episode "Gentle, Gentle." They handle basically anything that's written, whether by hand or machine.

Technical Terms:


Dead Body


Alternate Light Source
Equipment used to produce visible and invisible light at various wavelengths to enhance or visualize potential items of evidence (fluids, fingerprints, clothing fibers, etc.).

Chemical Enhancement
The use of chemicals that react with specific types of evidence (e.g., blood, semen, lead, fingerprints) in order to aid in the detection and/or documentation of evidence that may be difficult to see.

A generic term used to describe physical material/evidence discovered at crime scenes that may be compared with samples from persons, tools, and physical locations. Comparison samples maybe from either an unknown/questioned or a known source.

The unwanted transfer of material from another source to a piece of physical evidence.

The unwanted transfer of material between two or more sources of physical evidence.

Evidence Identifiers
Tape, labels, containers, and string tags used to identify the evidence, the person collecting the evidence, the date the evidence was gathered, basic criminal offense information, and a brief description of the pertinent evidence.

Impression Evidence
Objects or materials that have retained the characteristics of other objects that have been physically pressed against them..

Latent Print
A print impression not readily visible, made by contact of the hands or feet with a surface resulting in the transfer of materials from the skin to that surface.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
Articles such as disposable gloves, masks, and eye protection that are utilized to provide a barrier to keep biological or chemical hazards from contacting the skin, eyes, and mucous membranes and to avoid contamination of the crime scene.

Presumptive Test
A nonconfirmatory test used to screen for the presence of a substance.

Projectile Trajectory Analysis
The method for determining the path of a high-speed object through space (e.g., a bullet emanating from a firearm).

Trace Evidence
Physical evidence that results from the transfer of small quantities of materials (e.g., hair, textile fibers, paint chips, glass fragments, gunshot residue particles).

Transient Evidence
Evidence which by its very nature or the conditions at the scene will lose its evidentiary value if not preserved and protected (e.g., blood in the rain).

An initial assessment conducted by carefully walking through the scene to evaluate the situation, recognize potential evidence, and determine resources required. Also, a final survey conducted to ensure the scene has been effectively and completely processed.

Techniques of Crime Scene Investigation, Seventh Edition Crime Scene: From Fingerprints to DNA Testing - An Astonishing Inside Look at the Real World of C.S.I. The Encyclopedia of Crime Scene Investigation The Crime Scene: How Forensic Science Works


IMDB page
Episode Guide
CSI Guide


Gil Grissom
Catherine Willows
Warrick Brown
Nick Stokes
Sara Sidel
Captain Jim Brass
Kristy Hopkins
Eddie Willows
Lindsey Willows
The Sheriff
Jenna the Coroner
Eric Szmanda Greg Sanders
Marc Vann Conrad Eckley
Jodi Lyn Wilson Kaye Shelton
Sgt. O'Riley


People Lie...But The Evidence Never Lies

Back to TV Stuff Page