Sara Sidle is a main character on CSI: Crime Scene
Investigation (commonly referred to as "CSI: Las Vegas" in the wake of
spinoffs such as CSI: Miami and CSI: New York. She has appeared on
the show since the second episode of the first season and is portrayed
by actress Jorja Fox.
Sara had a rocky
childhood while growing up in California; her father abused her
mother until her mother, no longer able to cope, stabbed him. Sara was
placed in foster care while her mother was placed in psychiatric
care. Sara moved from one foster home to another and felt uncomfortable
at school because she was constantly being moved. She was also
intellectually gifted and was moved ahead several grades. She began
studying advanced physics at Harvard University while still a
teenager and started working at a California crime lab not long after
graduating. It was during her early career that she met Gil Grissom,
who would later recruit her to work at the Las Vegas crime lab.
is a good deal of speculation, and it's been hinted at but not
explicitly confirmed, that Sara and Grissom had some kind of romantic
relationship during this time. In the episode "Invisible Evidence,"
Sara approaches Grissom -- her supervisor -- about a promotion for
which she'd just applied and said that she needed to know that
"anything that happened between us won't be a factor."
to Las Vegas at Grissom's invitation after the unfortunate events that
take place in the series's pilot episode. Warrick Brown had been
accompanying Holly Gribbs, a rookie CSI on her first day on the job, to
a crime scene. Warrick left to place a bet on behalf of one of Las
Vegas's judges (he's uber corrupt, this one), leaving Holly alone to
dust for fingerprints at the crime scene. The suspect returns and
Holly is shot and killed. Grissom does not believe that Warrick
intended any harm and chooses to bring in someone he knows to conduct
At first, Sara's involvement irks some of the
other CSIs, particularly Warrick and Catherine Willows. Warrick
doesn't take well to her repeated questions about why he left the scene
and snaps at her, at which point she tells him that Holly Gribbs died
on the operating table a few minutes beforehand.
After heading up the investigation into Warrick's conduct, Sara becomes a member of the crime lab.
family background causes a number of problems within her work. While
she is generally regarded as a hard-working and devoted CSI -- to the
point of being a workaholic -- she is often criticized for becoming
emotionally attached to victims and letting her family history taint
her perspective. She is unable to deal with cases involving domestic
abuse in an objective manner and has, on occasion, lashed out at
suspects in said cases. This sort of behaviour earned her an unpaid
suspension when she lashed out at Catherine after disagreeing with her
handling of a domestic abuse case. It was after this incident that she
first revealed her family history to Grissom, who had been charged with
the task of deciding whether or not further disciplinary action should
Despite the incident, Sara was not fired. It appeared
as though the lab took greater care in assigning Sara's cases given her
family situation from this point on.
Her background also allowed
her to connect with certain witnesses, particularly those who had been
in the foster care system as children.
emotional problems and resulting workaholism have been mentioned
numerous times throughout the series. Her lack of a life is hinted at
very early on, as Grissom tells her she needs to get out more. In an
episode dealing with a murder victim who didn't have much of a
traditional social life but used the internet to reach out to people,
numerous parallels were drawn between Sara and the victim -- both did
their shopping from catalogues, ate mostly takeout, and so on. This
episode is notable for its ending, which sees Sara throw out her
catalogues and takeout menus, call someone on the phone and ask whether
that person wants to go out. While it's never explicitly revealed, it's
widely thought that she called Grissom. More on that later.
other points during the series, Sara is dating a medic with whom
she's worked at several crime scenes. The relationship ends when she
discovers that he's cheating on her.
As mentioned, her tendency
to become emotionally attached to victims -- particularly female
victims of domestic abuse -- has caused some tension with her
colleagues. Grissom, as her supervisor, has warned her repeatedly about
forming emotional bonds with people because it isn't her job to save
them and her feelings will lead her to become distracted from her work.
She has also become noticeably frustrated when the police have to let
domestic abuse suspects go due to a lack of evidence. It was a scenario
such as this one that led to her infamous public fight with Catherine,
thus getting her suspended.
Due to how many times she's been told
not to get emotionally attached to victims, she becomes offended when
Grissom becomes emotionally attached to a murdered infant in one
episode. She reminds him that he's told her that no victim is any more
special than another; he responds that a baby taken from his own
bedroom and found dead in a nearby park is special.
is generally portrayed as an amiable member of the team; unless she's
upset about something, she appears to get along with everyone and has a
sense of humour. She, like the other CSIs, engages in well-intended
teasing of DNA tech-turned investigator Greg Sanders, who is
believed to have a crush on her. She is usually at her most snarky
around trace technician David Hodges, who seems to have that effect
As the series progresses, Sara is thought to become
somewhat more emotionally stable. Once she explains the reasons behind
her sensitivity to domestic abuse cases in season five, she seems to
become less inclined to freak out over them. Of course, part of the
reason behind her increased stability may be...
Romance with Grissom
... the fact that she's sleeping with her boss. We know that Grissom and Sara have had some kind of thang
in the past, as she alludes to it while asking whether that will have
any effect on her application for a promotion. When it began is up for
debate, with many fans speculating that she was a student in one of his
seminars when it started. There have been subtle and less-subtle hints
throughout the entire series, including a variety of statements that
seem to suggest something more than a professional relationship ("When
did you become interested in beauty, anyway?" "When I met you").
People also seemed to be picking up on this, such as when Sara
demonstrated some obscure knowledge about entemology, leading other
characters to question when she became an insect expert (that's
Grissom's thing). When she responded that he gave her a textbook on the
subject for Christmas one year, the other characters pointed out that
he'd never gotten them anything.
The romance became official at
the end of season six. The very last scene of the season finale sees
Grissom half-inclined on a bed, clad in a kimono-like bathrobe,
speaking in his usual philosophical manner about how he'd like to die. He'd like to know in advance, he says. He'd
prefer to be diagnosed with cancer because, despite being a slow and
agonizing way to go, it would give him a chance to see the rainforest
one last time and re-read Moby Dick. But most of all, he continues as
a woman visible only from the waist down in a pink bathrobe approaches
the bed, it would give him a chance to properly say goodbye to those he
loves. The woman kneels to his eye level -- it's Sara, OMG -- and
says "I'm not ready to say goodbye." And scene.
couple spends much of season seven trying to make sure the interoffice
romance stays a secret. Unfortunately, all their hard work comes
crashing down in the season finale when Sara is kidnapped and trapped
under a car, and in a fit of panic Grissom announces to the team that
the person behind this is acting out of a desire for
revenge: "I took away the only thing she ever loved -- and now she's
doing the same thing to me." Cue the confused stares from colleagues!
refer to the coupling as "Grissom-Sara Romance" because its acronym,
"GSR," is commonly used in the show as an acronym for gunshot residue.
Sidle is, as mentioned, trapped under a car. No, really. The season
seven finale, "Living Doll," sees Sara kidnapped in an attempt to
torture Grissom. The episode ends with a shot of Sara's hand clutching
mud from under the car. Cliffhanger!
This was brought on by two
factors: the producers wanted a satisfying conclusion to their
miniature killer plotline, and rumours of Jorja Fox having trouble
reaching a contract settlement with the network abounded. Will she be
back for season eight? Only time will tell. My personal
feeling is that this is naught but a ratings grab, especially since
other CSI cast members are all zealously spreading the "No one knows
whether she'll be back!" word.
Sara survived the ordeal, freeing herself from under the car and wandering around in the desert, reciting the multiplication tables in order to keep her wits about her, until she finally passed out from exhaustion. Nick Stokes and Sofia Curtis came across her during the massive rescue effort, but were unable to locate her pulse. Rescue teams eventually arrived on the scene and loaded her into an emergency helicopter, which Grissom boarded as well. The final scene of the season eight premiere involved Sara regaining consciousness in the helicopter, Grissom being the first thing she saw. Aww.
In subsequent episodes, the characters were shown coming to terms with the relationship. It was confirmed that some characters, including Greg Sanders, knew about the relationship (or claimed they did), while others such as Nick had no idea. Both Sara and Grissom were forced to speak to supervisor Conrad Ecklie about their relationship, each giving him different versions of events when he asked how long they'd been together. Sara claimed they'd first become intimate two years earlier, while Grissom said their relationship began nine years earlier.
Because of the lab's policy on employees being romantically involved with each other, Sara decided to work the swing shift.
Jorja Fox announced her intention to leave CSI in the fall of 2007, and Sara Sidle was written off the show a few episodes into the eighth season. Throughout the first few episodes, particularly following her dramatic escape from her predicament, she began to muse aloud about wanting a change, and not wanting to spend her time thinking about death. In the episodes leading up to her departure, she begins to be even more emotionally distraught by cases involving seemingly random acts of violence.
Her last episode, Goodbye and Good Luck, aired on November 15, 2007. Throughout the episode, her growing pessimism is contrasted with the optimism of new CSI Ronnie Lake, particularly when they respond to a domestic abuse complaint and Ronnie desperately wants to help the woman involved. Sara, painfully aware of what these situations are like, tells her that there's nothing they can do -- "in a week, we'll be back for her body. Or his. Or both."
Sara, meanwhile, is investigating a case involving the gifted young girl and substantially less gifted teenage boy from The Unusual Suspect. Hannah, the child prodigy who played Sara for all she was worth, gets under her skin again. When the case goes horribly wrong (I don't want to spoil this one), Sara returns to the lab, kisses Grissom (for the first and only time on-camera) and walks to the locker room where she cuts her nametag off her forensics vest. In its place, she applies a piece of masking tape on which she writes "Good luck" and leaves it in Ronnie's locker.
She leaves, saying goodbye to Grissom in a letter she leaves for him at the front desk. In it, she explained that she's been living with metaphorical ghosts since her mother killed her father, that she can't be surrounded by death anymore and that she needs to leave. She doesn't know where she's going, but she can't stay in Las Vegas. She tells him that she loves him but if she stays in Las Vegas, she will break down and she doesn't want him to see it.
The episode's final scenes involve her being driven through Las Vegas in a taxi as she reads the letter in a voiceover. The final shot is of Grissom, who appears stunned.
Fox has not ruled out returning to CSI as a guest star, and has said she is very interested in the possibility.
ever-expanding world of fan fiction, Sara is commonly paired with
LVPD officer Sophia Curtis. Fans appear to either love her
relationship with Grissom or hate it.
www.grissomsararomance.com (yes, there is such a thing!)