CSI: Crime Scene Investigation

Season 5 Episode 8


Aired Sunday 10:00 PM Nov 18, 2004 on CBS
out of 10
User Rating
351 votes

By TV.com Users

Episode Summary


A woman who was pulled over by police is found murdered two miles up the road from the stop. It's not long before Robbins determines that the woman is, genetically speaking, not a woman.

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  • The murder of a woman who turns out to have undergone gender reassignment surgery sparks one of the best, goriest and difficult to take episodes of the series. Brilliant stuff.

    Wendy is killed, her throat slit. Doc Robbins is no fool, however, and when he discovers a prostate instead of ovaries, it soon becomes obvious that Wendy's missing brother Walter is actually also on the same slab, Walter having had surgery to become a woman.

    From there we are transported into a very interesting, thought provoking and disturbing story about the difficulties and prejudices faced by transsexuals, all of which are mirrored to some degree by the reactions of different characters in the show.

    The acting is top notch, particularly the remarkable Lindsay Crouse, who could probably keep an audience's attention whilst reading out a recipe for muesli. She is great as a counsellor for those undergoing transition.

    However, when a body is discovered in a storage shed, obviously the victim of a botched illegal surgery, the story gets very nasty indeed. I was impressed with the way the writers pulled no punches at all here. The descriptions of toothpaste tubes and piano wire being used to form the new vagina are difficult to listen to (and see in some bits). It's heart rending to hear the lengths people will go to because they are so desperate.

    Also the descriptions of sexual acts and transference of certain body fluids are very graphic. Well done to the show for not side-stepping the issues and the horror of what is going on for some of these people.

    It's far from the easiest episode to watch, and probably not a family viewing hour either, but it's good, tight writing and covers a subject well, without being over politically correct.moreless
  • WOW!! This was such an episode

    I loved this episode, because it is exciting and because the acting is fabulous!! Kate Walsh was great, she gave an speech very credible and emotional...and the plot was super entertaining I never got bored, haha.

    I must say..one of the best episodes on CSI ever!! I just Loved it, and I think it was special.

    I think the Transexual operations are really good explained in this episode, and the information and "casualities" complete the history really good, this was an incredible job, and it's sad beacause this things happen every day, so I think the subject is very modern and actualized.moreless
  • Botched sex changes. Gross.

    This was one of the grossest CSI episodes I have ever seen. I wasn't nessisarily painful to watch, just horribly bloody and gorey. The part near the end with the operating table in the storage room was disgusting. It takes a lot to gross me out but this definately did. Not my favorite episode at all, too vomit inducing.
  • Too gross for me to even finish watching

    I'm not particularly squemish, but this is the first CSI where I actually had to turn off the TV halfway through, including the NY one where the guy got squashed between the containers. I switched off at the bit in the storage place, so I cant exactly rate it accurately, but it definitely isn't for the squeamish or faint hearted.
  • CSI team comes upon a murder of a woman, who is infact a man who has undergone a sex change. the brutality of the crime brings about a platform for talking about people who have or will undergo such a surgury and the raw issues surrounding such a decisiomoreless

    First, this is a disturbing episode that captured me and rivited me. It can be uncomfortable for some due to the sexual theme of transsexuals and transexuality, but what came up for me was the level of the bloody aftermath of violence that was depicted. I like it when a show can really shock me, and this one did just that.

    One touch that I picked up on was the theme of ambiguity that Grissom allows himself to be comfortable with. He never seems to judge the female transexual characters that he encounters, but sticks to the case. This reminds me of his encounters with Lady Heather and the exploration of his sexuality that was never really resolved but left ambigous.

    The "good doctor" causing harm in the persuit of her cause was played off well and with a susprising revelation of who the good doctor in fact was. Again, the episode gripped me, shocked me, and built up to a dramatic ending. This was a must see.moreless
Lindsay Crouse

Lindsay Crouse

Dr. Mona Lavelle

Guest Star

Kate Walsh

Kate Walsh


Guest Star

Don McManus

Don McManus

Francis Lavelle

Guest Star

Aisha Tyler

Aisha Tyler

Mia Dickerson

Recurring Role

Archie Kao

Archie Kao

Archie Johnson

Recurring Role

David Berman

David Berman

David Phillips

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (3)

    • Goof: As Nick and Warrick are assessing Wendy Garner's travel path and find that there are 14 minutes unaccounted for, the screen says "Wendy Jones' House". Her last name is Garner, her old last name was Clancy, and her fiancé's last name is Lanner, therefore it makes absolutely no sense to have "Jones" on the screen.

    • Goof: Greg isn't using gloves to recover prints from the cassette, same thing later with Archie while rewinding it with a pencil

    • Goof: Nick says Wendy lived at Sunshine Road when the map reads Sunshine Lane.

  • QUOTES (22)

    • Doc Robbins: Piano wires. They're used to mobilize the lower part of the abdominal skin and anchor the neo-vagina, so it can heal in place.
      Catherine: I can only imagine those cramps.
      Doc Robbins: The surgeon stuffs the portal with a cylinder wrapped in gauze to hold its shape while it heals, and sutures it.
      Catherine: And how long does milady have to wear a wire?
      Doc Robbins: Well, after five days, the vagina is un-sutured, and the wires are removed.

    • Grissom: Aborigines say they dance naked to make the gods happy.
      Catherine: The gods would be happy in Vegas.

    • Catherine: Well, one thing's for certain: Walter didn't kill Wendy.
      Warrick: No, it's more like Wendy killed Walter.

    • Grissom: I thought you'd want to know what happened to Wendy.
      Mimosa: I appreciate you telling me. Killed by someone in our own community. As if we don't have enough enemies. Her parents never understood her, but still I think they should know. What do I say?
      Grissom: Show them an oyster.
      Mimosa: I'm sorry?
      Grissom: There are two types of male oysters, and one of them can change genders at will. And before man crawled out of the muck, maybe he had the same option. Maybe originally we were supposed to be able to switch genders, and being born with just one sex... is a mutation.

    • Nick: I've never seen junkies shoot up in the face before.
      Woman: It's not smack, it's silicone. Gives you good cheek bones.
      Mercedes: The ones who can't buy silicone... shoot motor oil.
      Nick: Do they?
      Mercedes: Calm down, pretty boy. We're not the monsters. The real freaks are the suit-and-ties want to take a walk on the wild side, before sneaking back to the wife and kids. Want to go?
      Nick (shakes his head): Mm-mm.

    • Grissom: Mercedes, I presume? We're with the Las Vegas Crime Lab, and we're looking for somebody.
      Mercedes: Isn't this where you say my P.O. would be interested to know that I'm hustling, and you ask for a freebie?
      Grissom: I'm actually not interested in your ass, but the person we're looking for is a human butcher who might be.

    • Brass: Lepidro. What kind of name is that?
      Grissom: It's from Lepidoptera, meaning "butterfly." Walter Clancy started out a gender-dysmorphic caterpillar and turned into a bloody butterfly.
      Brass: Love hurts.

    • Grissom: This is confusing.
      Brass: She had her period?
      Grissom: Impossible. No uterus, no period.
      Brass: So a guy desperate to change his sex hooks up with a guy desperate not to have any.
      Grissom: A match made in heaven.
      Sara: I think we need to tell Mr. Laner the truth.
      Grissom: Are we sure he doesn't know?

    • Officer Mann: Clocked the Thunderbird doing ninety. I nail it. The skirt driving tells me she's being chased. And then she asks if she can show me some videos.
      Brass: How were they?
      Officer Mann: I didn't bite. She was working it.
      Brass: Rough duty.
      Officer Mann: Look, she gave me this lame story about the car being her brother's, and that she had lost her license, but she has his license, and yakety-yak. I just let her off with a warning.
      Brass: So you had speeding, driving without a license, possible stolen vehicle, and you let her off with a warning.
      Officer Mann: What are you implying?
      Brass: She got off pretty easy. How about you?
      Officer Mann: I resent that.

    • Doc Robbins: Genital wounds were more profound than I expected.
      Grissom: Profound how?
      Doc Robbins: Well, I was looking for ovaries and I found a prostate.
      Catherine: "She" was a "He"?
      Doc Robbins: "She" had genital reassignment surgery.
      Catherine: And what does that mean exactly?
      Doc Robbins: Exactly? Her testicles were removed and her penis was inverted, creating a vagina.
      Grissom: And, evidently, the killer kept subtracting.

    • Warrick: Wow. Mascara, tweezers... under-eye cream... neck-firming lotion. Girls. Pads ... one, two, three, four jars of depilatory cream?
      Sara: That's a lot of bikini wax. Some girls hate the nether-stubble.
      Warrick: Nether-stubble?

    • David (noticing the victims ring): That's a nice ring. It's at least four karats. (at Catherine's look) We've been shopping. (turning back to the body) Lots of surgical procedures here... artificial breasts, cheek implants... collagen lips... you'd be surprised how many women I get on this table with fake parts.
      Catherine: Plastic lasts longer.

    • Catherine: Women in convertibles are low-hanging fruit.
      Grissom: And it was a top-down night.

    • (Nick and Grissom step into the break room)
      Nick (excited): We know the name of the butcher.
      Catherine, Warrick and Sara (together): Benway. (Grissom looks at all of them)

    • Grissom: Did you see any transexuals when you danced?
      Catherine: Gil, only civilians confuse strippers and showgirls. You can't cheat the full monty.

    • Brass: Hey, I uh talked to the manager. All he said was the renter paid cash and the guy; he seemed pretty normal.
      Catherine: Normal people don't torture people in storage bins.

    • (Looking at a botched sex changing surgery in a storage room)
      Nick: Catherine? What do you think went on here?
      Catherine: Someone outsourced their health care to the wrong provider.

    • Nick: It takes ten minutes to drive from the clinic to Industrial road.
      Warrick: Yeah?
      Nick: Yeah, I had Greg run it.
      Warrick (chuckling): That's classic.

    • Dr. Lavalle: I have nothing more to say.
      Grissom: We need you to say "Ahhhh."

    • Grissom (quoting Peanuts): I like humanity; it's people I can't stand.

    • Greg: For the record, I really like having a penis.

    • Mia: You know, I once heard this story about this man who became a woman because he was obsessed with a lesbian... Who was really a man.

  • NOTES (7)


    • Dr. Lavalle: I don't recommend what you call 'passing' ...

      Dr. Lavalle is referring to a phenomenon that was common amongst light-skinned African Americans in America in the early 1900s. Some were so light-skinned they appeared white, and were able to 'pass' as such, enjoying the freedoms that came with being caucasian, as well as the significant pitfalls of being a negro. Nowadays, the term is similarly applicable for those doing the same thing by not telling others about their altered gender.

    • The name Dr. Benway was the name of a sadistic doctor in William S. Burrough's novel "Naked Lunch".

    • Episode Title: Ch-Ch-Changes

      The title of the episode is taken from the famous David Bowie hit, "Changes." Particularly applicable as Bowie's performing persona at the time of the song's production affected a certain androgyny.