10 Most Rewatchable ‘CSI’ Episodes, Ranked


From its premiere on CBS in 2000, CSI entertained audiences with its stories of brutal crimes and the team who solved them in Las Vegas. While most other crime shows at the time focused on detective work, CSI gave viewers a different perspective. It focused on the brilliant minds analyzing forensic evidence and using science to uncover who their suspect was. It ran for 15 seasons, coming to an end in 2015, but led to three spin-offs, as well as a revival, CSI: Las Vegas in 2021.

Some of the best episodes of any show are ones that can be enjoyed again and again, offering nearly endless entertainment for fans. In a procedural like CSI, rewatching an episode can mean seeing how the evidence comes together when you already know where it leads. And sometimes, the fun of rewatching an intense episode, like a season finale, comes in knowing how it all ends, as the peace of mind allows you to just enjoy the ride instead.

CSI: Crime Scene Investigation

Release Date
October 6, 2000

Anthony E. Zuiker


10 “Immortality”

2015 TV movie

Sara Sidle (Jorja Fox) Gil Grissom (William Petersen) CSI Immortality Sara hugging Grissom
Image via CBS

“Immortality” was CSI’s two-hour series finale, which saw the return of Gil Grissom (William Petersen), Catherine Willows (Marg Helgenberger), and Jim Brass (Paul Guilfoyle) as the team investigated suicide bombers threatening Las Vegas—as well as the return of Lady Heather (Melinda Clarke), who was the initial suspect behind the threats. Although Sara (Jorja Fox) was promoted to lab director, the series ended with her and Grissom choosing to be together, with Willows presumably taking over the role instead as her daughter joined the team.

Series finales can be bittersweet, as fans say goodbye to a beloved series and have high expectations about how it’ll end. Although “Immortality” wasn’t perfect, it was still a satisfying end to the series, with the return of not only beloved iconic characters but a notorious villain, too, plus plenty of callbacks to episodes past. It was also a nice sendoff for Sara and Grissom as they headed out to the next chapter of their lives.

9 “Scuba Doobie-Doo”

Season 2, Episode 5


In “Scuba Doobie-Doo,” the body of a scuba diver—including equipment like an oxygen tank—was found in a treetop in a burned-out forest after a fire. Meanwhile, Grissom, Sara and Warrick (Gary Dourdan) investigated after a tenant left his apartment spattered with blood—which turned out to be from his nose and was a way of getting back at his apartment manager—and his girlfriend went missing. And although he didn’t do anything wrong, a crime had indeed occurred in a neighboring apartment.

The case with the apartment was fairly standard—albeit after the twist of the blood-spattered apartment coming to nothing—but it did showcase the team’s skills. But the most interesting part of “Scuba Doobie-Doo” was the mystery of the scuba diver, initially thought to have been scooped up along with water from a nearby lake to put out the fire and based on an urban legend. The episode also featured some sweet moments between Sara and Grissom.

8 “Family Affair”

Season 10, Episode 1


In the Season 10 premiere, “Family Affair,” a young actress was killed in what at first seemed to be a typical drunk-driving accident, but the team became suspicious that something else had happened. At first, the main suspect was the other car’s driver, who was obsessed with the actress and stalking her, but the team soon realized he was just a cover. The episode culminated in a shootout in the lab.

“Family Affair” was a great episode with multiple twists and turns. One of the best parts of rewatching episodes of CSI is knowing how the case was solved but also getting to see the investigation play out as all the pieces come together. And an episode like this one, where each piece of evidence pointed in a different direction is one of the best examples of that.

7 “Frame by Frame”

Season 14, Episode 5


In “Frame by Frame,” a young woman was found bludgeoned to death in the home of a millionaire recluse and movie buff who had been the suspect of a murder 14 years prior—but he claimed he had never met her and was watching a movie in his soundproof screening room when she entered the house. During the investigation, the team found another woman bound and gagged in the house.

CSI recognized its milestone of 300 episodes with “Frame by Frame,” a great callback to one of the team’s earliest cases—and it was a memorable one—with flashbacks to the original case. Like some of CSI’s best cases, each piece of evidence only raised more questions, until the episode finally culminated in a surprising ending. But that’s exactly why rewatching it is so enjoyable, as it’s easy to follow each step of the investigation.

6 “For Gedda”

Season 8, Episode 17


A mobster who had a run-in with Warrick was found dead outside his club in “For Gedda,” with Warrick next to him covered in blood and holding a gun with no memory of what happened. It was ultimately revealed he was framed by a cop with ties to the crime boss, who shot him after the team cleared his name, and a private investigator Warrick had hired to investigate the mobster was also killed.

Although the CSI team often found themselves at the center of their cases, it was usually as a victim—but in “For Gedda,” one of their own was the suspect. It was a compelling episode with a high-stakes case that was personal for the whole team, and the scene of the team enjoying a meal together after solving it is one of the sweetest moments of the episode, which made its final moments that much more devastating.

5 “Living Doll”

Season 7, Episode 24


Season 7 of CSI featured the overarching case of the Miniature Killer, and finale “Living Doll” finale revealed the killer as lab cleaner Natalie Davis (Jessica Collins)—but not before she made Sara her next target and left a miniature of her for Grissom to find. As the team investigated the death of the killer’s latest victim, Sara went missing, and for the first time, Grissom told the team how he felt about her.

The plot of the Miniature Killer remains popular with fans, and its conclusion makes for a great rewatch. The CSI team had to race to save one of its own on more than one occasion, and in “Living Doll,” Sara was the one in danger. The team’s efforts to find her—and the killer—made for a fast-paced, action-packed episode, and although it ended on a cliffhanger, fans can still enjoy a rewatch knowing what happens next.

4 “Grave Danger”

Season 5, Episode 24


What appeared to be a normal case turned out to be a lure for Nick (George Eads), as he was abducted and held for ransom in two-part Season 5 finale “Grave Danger.” His captor buried him alive in a glass coffin, then rigged it so it would explode when Nick was removed. The team worked to find him and determine who could’ve taken him, as well as how to get him out. The episode was directed by Quentin Tarantino.

“Grave Danger” was an intense episode, and the interesting nature of the case, and the great performances from the cast, make it a great one to rewatch. Nick’s terror was palpable, and the team’s dedication to finding him made the episode even more compelling. Some of the episode’s best moments came during his rescue, from Warrick’s refusal to leave his side to Grissom’s confident command of the crime scene and his reassurances to Nick.

3 “Lab Rats”

Season 7, Episode 20


In “Lab Rats,” Hodges (Wallace Langham) convinced his fellow lab techs to help the CSI team with the case of the Miniature Killer while Grissom wasn’t in and the rest of the team was out working on other investigations—and without any of them knowing. The techs hoped a fresh set of eyes on the evidence would help uncover something the team had missed. Hodges realized that all four murders had bleach on the scene.

“Lab Rats” was a welcome departure from CSI’s typical format and characters, putting the lab techs at the center of the story with the main characters taking a much smaller role. It was a great way to spend some time with them and led to some funny moments like a joke that Hodges himself could have been the killer. But it also helped the team get one step closer to identifying the Miniature Killer.

2 “Viva Las Vegas”

Season 5, Episode 1


One chaotic night in Vegas led to four cases for the team to investigate. Grissom worked a nightclub shooting with Sanders, who found his replacement for the lab and only needed to pass his final proficiency test. Catherine investigated the case of an exotic dancer found dead in a hotel room, while Warrick took on the case of a man electrocuted in a bathtub. Last but not least, Sara and Nick were called when a supposed alien was found in a shallow grave close to Area 51.

Despite being set in Las Vegas, the cases on CSI usually didn’t involve the reputation of the city itself, instead focusing on cases typical of a crime procedural, but it took center stage in “Viva Las Vegas,” with just the kind of cases one might expect to find in Sin City. The four cases, all drastically different from one another, showed how CSI could be a fun show with a sense of humor despite its dark subject matter.

1 “Rashomama”

Season 6, Episode 21


A wealthy criminal-defense lawyer was murdered at her son’s wedding in “Rashomama” and was tied to the back of a car with beer cans. But the investigation was compromised after Nick’s truck was stolen with all of the evidence inside, forcing the team to retrace their steps and work from memory, as well as find new evidence. The episode was told through flashbacks from the perspective of each character as they shared what they remembered.

Plenty of other shows have played with perspective, and CSI did it to great results with “Rashomama.” The episode’s format was a great, entertaining way to dive into each character and show audiences the world from their perspective, down to the stylistic differences in each character’s flashback. It was also one of the more lighthearted episodes of the series, making it easy to rewatch, especially compared to some of the series’ darker, more disturbing episodes.

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NEXT: The 10 Best ‘CSI’ Characters, Ranked


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