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Was This The Worst Crime Ever Committed On CSI?

None of the shows in the "CSI" franchise could ever be accused of truly offering restraint when it came to investigating truly grisly, awful crimes. The first series and spinoffs like "CSI: Miami" attracted controversy and even protests when they originally aired for featuring a lot of gore as well as outright disturbing situations on primetime television every week. "CSI" even featured a recurring dominatrix character named Lady Heather, as if the producers were daring viewers to be offended.

Yet the often violent, lurid crimes depicted on the show also made it one of the defining TV series of the millennium, to the extent that at one point "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation" was the most-watched drama in the world, as noted by Mystery Tribune. The show's writers, therefore, had to constantly escalate things every season and think of even worse situations for the team to investigate.

Nevertheless, it's a Season 4 episode that might have featured the most truly heinous deed in the history of the series. Here's what might have been the worst crime perpetrated on "CSI."

In a Season 4 episode, two parents commit an unthinkable act

"Feeling The Heat" is named for the heatwave that affects each case in the episode, one that claims the life of infant Joshua when he's left alone in a very hot car by his father, Paul Winston (Arye Gross). The incident appears to have been one of simple, if monstrous negligence, but the team soon discovers that the truth is far, far worse.

As it turns out, Paul and his wife, Vickie (Stacy Edwards), had a previous son, Howard, who'd also died young of Tay-Sachs disease. When Joshua showed similar symptoms, the Winstons panicked and, not wanting to see another son suffer, left him to die in a kind of "mercy killing."

However, Catherine (Marg Helgenberger) finds out that Joshua was actually exposed to pesticides, which can have an effect similar to Tay-Sachs disease. The murder would have been awful anyway but in the end, the Winstons killed their healthy son for nothing, devastating them.

The episode definitely struck a chord with "CSI" fans. Redditor u/Professional_Act6030 commented that "I have 2 children under 2 now and I ended up crying while I watched it. I just can't imagine." Another user, u/mc8755, meanwhile, named it one of the best episodes of the series, indicating how highly the episode ranks with viewers.

You can currently watch "Feeling The Heat" and other episodes of "CSI" on Hulu.