CSI: Crime Scene Investigation

Season 7 Episode 16

Monster In the Box

Aired Sunday 10:00 PM Feb 15, 2007 on CBS



  • Trivia

    • Goof: At the end of the episode, Grissom states that the Miniature Killer has murdered five people, but they have actually only killed four people so far - Izzy Delancy, Penny Garden, Raymundo Suarez and Officer Kamen, in this episode. Barbara Tallman was suffocated by her brother.

    • The miniature paper is dated February 17, 2007. Catherine states that it is dated "the day after tomorrow"; making the current day February 15, 2007, which is the date of the original airing.

    • Hodges has a cat named Kobayashi Maru, or little Kobe and Mr. K, as he also calls him.

  • Quotes

    • Sara: We re-ran the video footage several times to get a head count. Assuming that they're all Dell foster kids, there's 13 of them.
      Grissom: At this birthday party?
      Sara: Yeah. Lionel only remembered first names and only a few of those. Getting the DHS records is going to be tough. Judges hate giving them out, unless we can demonstrate pressing need. Even then, they're spotty and a lot of foster kids change their names when they age out.
      Grissom: Ernie Dell confessed and killed himself to protect someone he loved. And that someone has murdered 5 people. Eenie-meenie-miney-mo. Catch a monster by the toe.

    • Catherine: Hey! How'd it go with the sheriff?
      Grissom : Media's all over him. Which means he's all over the undersheriff, who's all over Ecklie, who's blaming me for not going public with the Izzy Delancy miniature like he told me to.

    • Greg: Hey, Sara, check this out. I was digging through Mannleigh Chicken's employee health insurance records ...
      Sara: 45 million Americans without health coverage, and a chicken slaughterhouse provides medical benefits?

    • Nick: You know, this timer was geared to run for weeks. It could have easily been put in place a month ago.
      Grissom: That's why the killer felt safe enough to send me the miniature. He never intended to be at the scene. There was no danger of being caught.

    • Sara: The 'Miniature Killer' murdered three people over a period of roughly six months. Ernie Dell was either directly or indirectly related to all of them.
      Warrick: What's with the bloody dolls?
      Sara: We're not sure. There's a different perspective of that same image in all of the miniatures. We're thinking it could be some kind of signature.
      Nick: Remember the Blue Paint killers? Maybe Ernie Dell had a partner. Like an apprentice, an accomplice, something like that.
      Warrick: Or a disciple.
      Sara: You guys make models when you were kids?
      Nick: Tanks and airplanes.
      Warrick: Classic cars.
      Sara: These miniatures are obsessively precise, half-inch scale models of the crime scenes. They probably took weeks of focused effort to create. I don't think the killer's into team sports.

    • Sofia: That's four stiffs associated with you, Lionel. Five, if you count Ernie.
      Lionel: I don't.
      Sara: You know, you keep saying that you hated your dad, but I'm not buying it.
      Sofia: Maybe Ernie didn't know you were a killer. Police start poking around, asking him questions, showing him pictures and he sees these. (motions to the pictures of the miniature crime scenes) He knows exactly what his little boy has become.
      Sara: To the rest of the world a monster, but to him just a little boy knocking over his birthday cake.
      Sofia: So he confesses to crimes you committed, shoots himself in the head. It's a dead end for us.
      Sara: And a new start for you.

    • Grissom: Methods change. Killers evolve. (Catherine looks at him) What?
      Catherine: Keppler said something like that once. He did come down on the right side.

    • Warrick: Maybe we're just lookin' at a copycat.
      Sara: Miniatures were never released to the press, no photos, nothing. You can't copy what you can't see.
      Nick: Well, other people had access to those files. Maybe it was a cop, or somebody in the lab. It's been known to happen.
      Warrick: Yeah. So, Ernie Dell takes the rap for three murders and then eats a .38, why?
      Sara: I think he was trying to protect someone. Someone that he cared a lot about.

    • Grissom: When I was gone did anybody work a scene like this?
      Catherine: No, at least not on our shift. I'll check with days and swing and see if anybody caught a case that matches this.
      Grissom: Nevermind.
      Catherine: Why not?
      Grissom: Take a look at the early edition. (hands her the magnifying glass, she looks at the mini paper and the date reads 'Saturday, February 17, 2007')
      Catherine: It's dated the day after tomorrow.
      Grissom: This murder hasn't happened yet.

    • Grissom: Catherine, lay out room, now!
      Catherine (enters): Gil, where's the fire? (Catherine sees the miniature crime scene and looks confused)
      Grissom: It's been sitting in my office for the last 4 weeks.
      Catherine: But we caught the miniature serial killer, he confessed.
      Grissom: Yeah, and I watched him blow his brains out. But, I think the package was post marked after he killed himself.
      Catherine: Maybe he arranged to have it sent post-mortem.
      Grissom: The three other murders, the miniature was left at the scene. This one was addressed to me.
      Catherine: So now it's personal.

    • Sofia (about the dead officer): I was watching her die and I didn't even realize it.
      Grissom: Look, Sofia, there weren't any carbon monoxide sensors in the apartment so no one could have known. And in fact if I hadn't gone away we would have had another month to work with; you would have never been in that position.
      Sofia: But it doesn't make you feel any better either, does it? (Grissom shakes his head slightly. Long pause) You know the scene has been released, Ms. Tallman was pretty insistent. They offered to leave a uniform with her but she wasn't having it. (pause) So what are you looking for? The miniature's complete.
      Grissom: It's not perfect though. Officer Kamen was not the intended victim.
      Sofia: Well she was dressed like her, she died in the right position, so did the cat.
      Grissom: I'm still not sure it's perfect enough. (phone rings, Grissom answers) Grissom. Yeah. (pause) Okay. (puts phone down) Now it's perfect.

    • Hodges: Hey boss, where are we going out for breakfast?
      Grissom: You have a cat, don't you Hodges?
      Hodges: Mr. K, Kobayashi Maru. It's in reference...
      Grissom: Do you ever take him out of the house?
      Hodges: My little Kobe? No way. Vegas is coyote country.

    • Grissom: There's chlorine and bleach in the samples, why put bleach in vase water?
      Hodges: I knew you'd ask that. Well, I had this girlfriend who's a florist.
      Grissom: The one with the water retention problem.
      Hodges (looks really pleased): You remembered. Anyway, she said if you add a few drops of bleach to your water, it kills bacteria and gives your flower a nice, long life, but add too much the flowers die.

    • Brass: Look, I'm asking you as a professional, as a psychotherapist. Please, help me out here. Here. (laying out the photographs of the model rooms for Dr. Tallman to see) Tell me, what am I looking for?
      Barbara Tallman (looking at the photographs): Repetition. Attention to detail indicates Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Obvious anti-social personality.
      Brass: Hmm, 4 bodies, I'd call that anti-social.
      Barbara Tallman: Most murderers lack impulse control, inability to plan ahead but, this one's different.
      Brass: Different? How?
      Barbara Tallman: He conceives murder, visualizes it. Then he takes all that horror that he's imagined, he compresses it into these little rooms. These models literally indicate repressed rage, and when you start taking that apart, all that rage comes flying out, and you will have let the monster out of the box.

    • (phone rings)
      Grissom: Grissom.
      Doc Robbins: Yeah Gil, got a good idea on COD for your asphyxiated officer. Internal organ color nailed it on both autopsy, and necropsy as...
      Grissom: Carbon Monoxide poisoning.
      Doc Robbins: You know, no one likes when you do that. So, how did CO get into the room?
      Grissom: That I don't know.

    • Doc Robbins: Now what is wrong with this brain?
      Catherine: Other than the fact that it's out of it's skull?

    • Nick: The killer did plan every detail.
      Warrick: Except for us showin' up.

    • Catherine: Any clues on who the victim is?
      Grissom: No, I even went through her little purse.

    • David: I'm sorry.
      Sofia: Not as sorry as I am.

    • Grissom: Stop hovering, Hodges. You're in or you're out.
      Hodges: In.

    • Sara: What was your relationship with your father like?
      Lionel: Before or after he blew his brains out?
      Sara: Let's start with...before.
      Lionel: Have you ever stepped in a pile of crap, but you're wearing boots so you can't just scrape it up you dig it out with a stick, but even that doesn't work so you just end up tossing the boots in the trash?... It was kinda like that.
      Sara: And after?
      Lionel: Much better.

    • Dr. Tallman: I want you to know that you young men are refreshingly polite.
      Warrick: Thank you. (to Nick) Is she on something?

  • Notes

  • Allusions

    • The Tag Line for the earlier Season episode "Post Mortem" is spoken by Catherine in the opening scenes, while discussing Ernie Dell's suicide with Grissom.

    • Officer Kamen: I'm ready for my close up.

      This is a reference a famous line from the 1950 film Sunset Boulevard when Echoes Gloria Swanson says "All right, Mr. De Mille. I'm ready for my close-up"

    • Nick: You guys remember the blue paint killers?

      Nick is referring to the blue plaint killer from the Season 3 "The Execution of Catherine Willows" and the Season 5 episode "What's Eating Gilbert Grissom?" who lured his victims by painting railings with non-drying blue paint so they have to wash their hands at the nearby water fountain.

    • Ernie Dell's son, Lionel, is named after the company Lionel LLC and its predecessor Lionel Corp. Lionel has been producing equipment for model railroads since 1900.

    • Grissom: You have a cat, don't you Hodges?
      Hodges: Mr. K, Kobayashi Maru.

      Hodges' cat's name is a most likely a Star Trek reference to the starship Kobayashi Maru.

      Kobayashi Maru is also the name of the training program in which the ship is used. The program is called the "no win scenario", due to the fact that there is no way to win.

    • Grissom: Eeny, meeny, miny, moe. Catch a monster by the toe.

      This is an allusion to the counting rhyme, Eeny, meeny, miney, moe.