The Sara Sidle Scene On CSI That Went Too Far

Of the many long-running crime procedural dramas, "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation" stands out for its focus on the world of forensics. The CBS series follows a team of forensic investigators in Las Vegas as they meticulously scour crime scenes, collect evidence, and work tirelessly to solve cases.

One of the reasons the show was so popular during its initial run was the enticing relationship between Sara Sidle (Jorja Fox) and Gil Grissom (William Petersen), collectively known as "GSR" by fans (via CBS Watch magazine). The on-again, off-again couple's dynamic was explored across several seasons and was recently revisited in the sequel series, "CSI: Vegas," which has been renewed for a second season.

Because Gil and Sara are positioned as the closest thing to protagonists within the series, with their personal lives given as much screentime as their professional lives, it's no surprise they've become fan-favorite characters over the years. However, as viewers have become more invested, it's easy to forget that some of their respective scenes, especially Sara's, haven't aged very well. Whether it's for reasons of morality, questionable storylines, or unrealistic scientific processes, it's interesting to get a modern perspective on old "CSI" scenes. But there's one Sara scene in particular that stands out as particularly notable for all of the wrong reasons.

The CSI Season 4 finale pushed Sara over the edge

The "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation" Season 4 finale, "Bloodlines" (via IMDb), is a fairly standard episode of the forensics procedural drama. It expands on personal storylines, chronicles the investigation into a gut-wrenching case, and ends with a shocking revelation about the crime the team has been investigating. However, "Bloodlines" also exposes audiences to the extent of Sara Sidle's problem with alcohol.

Fans of "CSI" know about Sara's devastating childhood and the trauma she carries from those formative years. As such, the introduction of her using alcohol to cope early in Season 4 comes with mixed emotions, as it's both easy to understand but hard to accept Sara's decision in a desperate attempt to keep her personal demons at bay. Things come to an explosive head in "Bloodlines" when a case goes awry, and it forces her to grapple with how often her line of work fails victims of sexual violence. 

Sara's drinking escalates, and the episode ends with her being pulled over for a DUI. Gil Grissom gets a call from the officer who pulls her over, and he comes to the rescue. As he learns about her excessive drinking, the two share a sweet moment as he says he'll bring her home, and she is free to go despite her blood alcohol content being over the legal limit.

While the episode offers a realistic and grim look at the flawed legal system, it also unintentionally highlights the reality that those working within this system don't have to adhere to the rules they regularly enforce. Of course, this isn't the scene's intention — it was to reveal Sidle's increasingly tumultuous relationship with alcohol to Grissom to progress her storyline in Season 5.

If you or anyone you know is struggling with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).