CSI: Crime Scene Investigation

Season 5 Episode 9

Mea Culpa

Aired Sunday 10:00 PM Nov 25, 2004 on CBS
out of 10
User Rating
319 votes

By TV.com Users

Episode Summary

Grissom is confronted with new evidence while on the stand of a murder trial of a restaurant owner.

The new evidence in the murder trial requires the reopening of the case and Eckley initiates an inquiry into Grissom and his team. The results of the inquiry lead to dramatic changes of the CSI team and the series. Sarah and Greg investigate the death of a John Doe killed by a modified semi automatic weapon, which goes off accidentally in the lab.


Who was the Episode MVP ?

  • A case is reopened because of a unseen print and Grissom is questioned about his leadership

    A case that was supposed to be solved 5 years ago is reopened because of a print that has appeared from no where and later proves that the defendant was innocent and that it was his son.This leaves Ecklie unhappy and starts to question the CSI's about Grissom's leadership and of course say he is good at being supervisor.When Ecklie questions Grissom with Sofia he demotes Sofia and splits the team up with Catherine becoming a supervisor for Nick and Warrick.Grissom will become a supervisor for Sara,Sofia and Greg.I can't believe Eckley has done this but its probably because he knows Grissom is better than him.moreless
  • Stupid Ecklie and hating the fact that Grissom is in fact better than he is at being a CSI.

    I love this episode. Well I didn't like the fact that the team ended up as swing and night shift but I did like the plot of the episode. Grissom screws up, it is as simple as that. They have to blame someone for it so they chose Grissom and his team as the scapegoat. At least because Grissom messed up first time they got a second chance to look at the evidence and find who actually did the killing.

    Ecklie is far from my favorite character after this episode. He wanted to destroy Grissom but he didn't succeed. *Insert evil laugh here.* I don't think that the evil Spork should be transferred to nights but again Ecklie was taking revenge on the evil Spork for saying it wasn't Grissom's fault. At least the evil Spork said it wasn't Grissom fault...

  • Finally i got why Sophia Curtis was Demoted.

    This was a great episode,as always. I have always liked Sophias character for Grissom. She's smart, beautiful, and with humor. In this episode she is investigating Gil's development in a recently re-opened case. She has to report to Ecklie the way Griss managed the case. At the end she says Gil didn't do anything wrong. Of course Ecklie was expecting the oposite and felt his right hand betrayed him, so she got assigned to the "Graveyard shift".

    The way the new evidence appear and the new turn in this case was really cool. For a change the team have to reconsider their origial posotion for a new fingerprint found in an old evidence. Of course, they had to prove the way that fingerprit appeared. Even this was a great episode, i have to say i see the end comming.moreless
  • New evidence

    So grissom is on the stand at trial when he notices something that he didnt notice befor Uh oh. It was a print and he coul tell just from looking at it that it wasnt the suspect that they had in jail. So they have to re open the case an after going through all of the evidence they find out that the killer was the guy that is on stands son. This episode was pretty good and i liked how they showed what the csi's do when they are confronted with new evidence that they didnt know was there befor.moreless
  • It deserves a near perfect score because of the stunner it gives the audience. The story is kind of superfluous in many ways.

    A new fingerprint gives Grissom pause on the stand. He hadn't seen it before, because it hadn't been there, so he recuses himself.

    He follows total protocol, but everyone's favourite baddie, Ecklie, decides he could bring the lab into disrepute - by examining evidence??? I wish they'd write a storyline that put Ecklie in a bad light, a la Nick and his one night stand. Boy would he need these guys then.

    Ecklie manages to wrong foot and ambush the rest of the team into revealing a few of Grissom's shortcomings - nothing professionally damaging, but enough for him to decide to break up the team - great for the series in some ways but boy do you want to take at this guy's kneecaps with a bat. Again, the actor playing Ecklie is magnificent - he really makes you hate him, not that it's hard. And to top it all Catherine gets the swing shift instead of the day job - and he even effectively demotes his own team member, Sofia, because he doesn't get his own way. The guy is scum in a bucket!

    The CSI storyline really takes a second place to the characters' own stories. It's nowhere near the best actual full on investigative story, but I don't think it's meant to be.

    Cleverly plotted for character development, and maybe necessary to shake up the show a bit.moreless
John Lacy

John Lacy

ATF Special Agent John Calder

Guest Star

Nana Visitor

Nana Visitor

Mrs. Garbett Katz

Guest Star

Bobby Hosea

Bobby Hosea

Rick Reeba

Guest Star

Palmer Davis

Palmer Davis

Margaret Finn

Recurring Role

David Berman

David Berman

David Phillips

Recurring Role

Gerald McCullouch

Gerald McCullouch

Bobby Dawson

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (2)

    • "Mea Culpa" is a Latin phrase meaning "My Fault".

    • In this episode, Ecklie splits up the CSI team. Grissom is to remain in charge of the graveyard shift and is in charge of Sara, Greg, and Sofia Curtis, and Catherine is promoted to head of the swing shift and in charge of Nick and Warrick.

  • QUOTES (16)

    • Nick: Keith, what we'd really like to go ahead and do is get a set of your fingerprints, if we could. Okay?
      Keith Garbett: Why? You know, I'm sorry, but I don't exactly trust you guys. You destroyed my family. You let my dad rot in jail for five years, and now you're coming after me? No way. Forget it. (he slams the door in their faces)
      Brass (to Nick): I thought that went well.

    • Sofia: This is, uh, confidential. I don't have an office, so ...
      Catherine: The inquiry into Grissom.
      Sofia: Just reviewing all documentation. Case identifiers, analysts' initials ...
      Catherine:: Your responsibility is to confirm that all conclusions drawn are supported by the data. They are.
      Sofia: Excuse me?
      Catherine: I worked on this case. The conclusions, they are supported. I assume that's what you're finding?
      Sofia: Catherine ... I appreciate your interest, but I think it's prudent to reserve my findings for the Assistant Director.
      Catherine: Right.

    • Jeffery Sinclair: Grissom, Judge Witherspoon wants me in her chambers first thing in the morning.
      Ecklie: She's going to demand a full update, Gil.
      Grissom: I can't explain the appearance of the print on the matchbook. That's what I'm trying to figure out.
      Ecklie: You're making the lab look bad.
      Jeffery Sinclair: Word has it you've reopened the entire case. An unexamined hair and an unidentified print on the murder weapon? Grissom, did we make a mistake and arrest the wrong guy?
      Grissom: I don't know.

    • Warrick (after walking into DNA lab hearing Avril Lavigne playing): You're listening to music.
      Mia: It was Greg's suggestion.
      Warrick: No, it's good. Well, maybe not your music taste, but we'll work on that.

    • Jeffery Sinclair (after Grissom finds a new print on the matchbook): You know, when the defense hears about this, they are going to call every other piece of evidence into question. I don't need to tell you what that means.
      Grissom: I've given them reasonable doubt.

    • Catherine: Are you doing all this for the sake of the lab or to indict Grissom?
      Ecklie: Catherine, there a number of talented CSIs, like yourself, who have put in to be supervisors. I just want to make sure the right people are in the right place.
      Catherine: About my request, I really would like to supervise days.
      Ecklie: Right. You're a single mother. Better hours. And I bet you could use the extra cash.
      Catherine: No, this promotion isn't about money.
      Ecklie: Must be nice to be independently wealthy.
      Catherine: We're done here, right?
      Ecklie: Yeah.

    • Ecklie: Sara. You got a minute?
      Sara: I guess.
      Ecklie: Flitz's compound. I'm sure you're not polishing your jewelry in the lab. That would be unauthorized.
      Sara: What can I do for you?
      Ecklie: Ah. As you know, it's my job to review everyone's file. I just want to make sure you finished up with your PEAP Counselor.
      Sara: That's none of your business, Ecklie.
      Ecklie: Well, not only is it my business, but I plan to speak with your supervisor.
      Sara: About what?
      Ecklie: You have updated him, right?
      Sara: Yeah, yeah, we've had an abbreviated conversation. I'm doing fine. Completed my required number of sessions months ago.
      Ecklie: Huh. Grissom failed to note that conversation in your file. Um... but I'll take care of it. All right.
      Sara: Thanks.

    • Ecklie: In my capacity as Assistant Director, I'm now privy to personnel files. Um... you've done outstanding work over the years, Warrick. Truly. I see commendations from detectives and D.A.'s... I also see you have a gambling problem.
      Warrick: I had a gambling problem. ... What's your point?
      Ecklie: Well, it appears Supervisor Grissom counseled you appropriately.
      Warrick: That's correct.
      Ecklie: So... He gave you access to departmental resources to help you deal with the problem?
      Warrick: No... he helped me, uh... by being a friend.
      Ecklie: Good. You've been a big help. Thanks.

    • Hodges: Ecklie was so pissed when I told him about these hairs.
      Catherine: You told Ecklie?
      Hodges: Yeah. He's a friend. I sent him a card for his promotion. The guy was very touched by my thoughtfulness.
      Catherine: Oh, we all are.
      Hodges: Oh.

    • (Looking through evidence on the case Grissom reopened)
      Nick: Catherine do you remember why you were late to the crime scene? Eddie had a gig and you couldn't find a baby sitter.
      Catherine: Well, actually I kinda made that up. Eddie did have a gig. It ended early and he and I.... Well, let's just say not all my memories of him are bad ones. (Nick laughs, and Catherine turns to Warrick now) Which reminds me... you, at the time, were going out with that assistant manager from the Flamingo.
      Warrick: Oh, Susan.
      Catherine: Boy, did she have it bad for you. She kept calling while we were working the scene. You had to shut your phone off.
      Warrick: Yeah, well, now she's VP at food services, I get free steak and eggs every morning.
      Nick: Free steak and eggs means she didn't know about the flight attendant.
      Warrick (smiles): Does everyone know my business around here? (Nick laughs)

    • Ecklie: If I understand you correctly, the latent fingerprint on the matchbook ... continued to process itself after you were finished.
      Grissom: Theoretically, yes.
      Ecklie: As I know you are aware, I've asked Sofia to review your handling of the Max Larson homicide. (to Sofia) Did Supervisor Grissom violate any procedures in mishandling the evidence?
      Sofia (looks towards Grissom then at Ecklie): I don't believe he mishandled anything. He followed laboratory protocol, and when he saw that the evidence didn't correspond to his records, he notified the D.A. and recused himself from case review.
      Ecklie: Are you saying that, uh, his handling of the discovery of new evidence while on the stand is within our protocols?
      Sofia (carefully): As it applies to this case, yes.
      Ecklie: In the, uh ... in the process of investigating this case, your ability to supervise has come into question.
      Grissom: Isn't that a little beyond the scope of this inquiry?
      Sofia: Again, we have no evidence that Grissom violated any protocols or proce ...
      Ecklie (interrupts): Thank you for your input.
      Grissom: (tired): Okay, Conrad, what do you got? Let's hear it.
      Ecklie: Well, taken individually, there's nothing specific that warrants disciplinary action. However, my investigation has led me to question the effectiveness of your team and your ability to lead it. (beat) I'm breaking you guys up.
      Grissom: Excuse me?
      Ecklie: I've already spoken with the Director. Staff assignments are under my purview. Effective immediately, Catherine Willows will be promoted to Swing Shift Supervisor...
      Grissom: Wait a minute, Catherine applied for days.
      Ecklie: I do what's best for the lab. I've decided to move the Swing Shift Supervisor to days ...
      Sofia: I've been the Acting Supervisor of days for the past month -- I believe I've proven myself capable.
      Ecklie: Warrick Brown and Nick Stokes will report to Catherine. Greg Sanders, pending his proficiency, Sara Sidle and Sofia will report to you.
      Sofia: You're demoting me.
      Ecklie: I think you and Grissom suit each other.
      Grissom: Why are you doing this?
      Ecklie: There's been a chronic lack of supervision on the graveyard shift. Your people have been covering for you, Gil. For your shortcomings. Before your mismanagement jeopardizes this lab, I'm rectifying the situation. (Grissom shakes his head and scoffs) My decision is final.

    • Grissom: Heracleitus once said: "It's in change that we find purpose".
      Warrick: Well, thanks to you and this job, I already found my purpose.

    • Nick: He kind of talked to all of us.
      Warrick: It was more like he ambushed all of us. Real sorry, Grissom.
      Grissom: There's no reason to be. Look, Ecklie doesn't have a scientific bone in his body. He starts with the answers he wants and then devises the questions to get them.
      Warrick: This sucks. This guy has been kissing ass all his life, he's trying to tell me -- he's trying to tell us what makes a good supervisor. What makes a good team?
      Grissom: Well, if a team gets used to doing things a certain way just because that's the way they've always done them, then they start to lose their effectiveness.
      Nick: Oh, come on. You don't really believe that.
      Grissom: No. I believe that the longer a team works together, the stronger they become. But I'm not in charge of the lab, nor would I want to be.
      Warrick: I always knew there'd come a time when we weren't, uh, working together anymore. I just didn't think it'd be under these circumstances.

    • Brass: Hey. We gotta talk. Ecklie's used his hot line to the Sheriff. The whole department knows about the inquiry.
      Grissom: There's nothing I can do about that.
      Brass: Yeah, well, I want to give you a heads-up, 'cause here's how it's gonna break down: In order to appear objective, Ecklie's gonna follow Sofia's recommendations. The problem is, she's Acting Supervisor of days, so she needs Ecklie to sign off to keep her gig.
      Grissom: And you think she'll say whatever Ecklie wants.
      Brass: Yeah. And this isn't just about the Garbett case. He's looking into your whole team. And your ability to lead them.
      Grissom: Poor Conrad.
      Brass: I hate to tell you, but when it comes to politics, he whips your ass. So watch your back; it's gonna get ugly.
      Grissom: Thanks.

    • Grissom: Sofia.
      Sofia (on seeing the stacks of Journal's of Forensic Science on his desk): You do know that the "Journal's" back issues are available on-line. The lab has a password.
      Grissom: When you read from a computer screen, you have to lean in. I like to lean back. Therefore, I prefer a hard copy.
      Sofia (picking up one of the "Journal's"): Is this what you're looking for?
      Grissom: May. Yes. Thank you. News travels so fast around here.
      Sofia: Ecklie travels fast.
      Grissom: Hmm.
      Sofia: Look, in case you're not up-to-date on your QA/QC memos, I've been the lab's Quality Control Officer for the past year.
      Grissom: Congratulations. That job requires a detail-oriented person.
      Sofia: Grissom, I've been assigned to your inquiry. I just wanted to give you the heads-up. I'll be impartial.
      Grissom: I'd expect nothing less. (Sofia turns and heads for the door) "Margaritaville"? (she stops and looks at Grissom) That is still the lab's password, right?

    • Ecklie: I've heard we have a problem.
      Grissom: The Middle East has a problem.
      Ecklie: You missed a fingerprint on a key piece of evidence.
      Grissom: I'm trying to keep an open mind.
      Ecklie: Then how do you explain it?
      Grissom: At the moment, I can't.
      Ecklie: Could someone have substituted a different matchbook?
      Grissom: Well, the evidence seal wasn't broken. The matchbook's appearance is consistent with the crime scene photos.
      Ecklie: Since your original testimony differs from the actual physical evidence, I thought I'd inform you I've opened a supervisory inquiry.
      Grissom: Well, that's good, Conrad. You know, I can't recall a lab director as expeditious as you.

  • NOTES (1)


    • Grissom: Heraclitus said that it's in change that we find purpose.

      Heraclitus was a 6th century BC (pre-Socratic) Greek philosopher who lived in Ephesus and is better known for his statement You could not step twice into the same river; for other waters are ever flowing on to you. Or in other words, No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it's not the same river and he's not the same man.