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The Ultimate Nick Stokes Episode Of CSI

When "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation" first aired in 2000, the hit CBS show was an instant sensation. Almost single-handedly re-invigorating the network police procedural, the show ran for 15 years before its relaunch in 2021, and spawned a franchise of spinoffs including "CSI: Miami," "CSI: New York," "CSI: Cyber," and "CSI: Vegas." Audiences love the show's fresh take on the genre with its crime scene simulations, high-tech investigative practices, and fascinating forensic details. And, while the grisly murders and often-disturbing perps were also a big piece of the show's success, it's the characters and the team dynamics that keep viewers hooked. 

Resident hair and fiber analysis expert Nick Stokes (George Eads) was a core member of the CSI team from the show's inception through Season 15. When original night shift supervisor Gil Grissom (William Petersen) left the team and Catherine Willows (Marg Helgenberger) was promoted to replace him, Stokes became assistant supervisor, ultimately leaving the team in Season 15 when he took the job of crime lab director for the San Diego police department. Nick was an empathetic and sensitive member of the team, often showing a caring attitude toward victims of crimes, including children and even animals; in the Season 13 episode "Play Dead," he adopted a German Shepherd named Sam after its owner was murdered. Nick's tendency to get emotionally involved sometimes put him at odds with his fellow CSI teammates. 

With fifteen years of service under his belt, audiences have seen Nick go through plenty of trials and tribulations. But one story, in particular, placed him in the position of victim and put both him and viewers through a nerve-shredding ordeal.

Grave Danger put Nick through a terrifying ordeal

The two-part Season 5 finale "Grave Danger" saw Nick trapped in a terrifying situation, with the rest of the CSI crew in a desperate high-tension race to try and save him. Regularly making "best of 'CSI'" lists, "Grave Danger Parts I and II" have the distinction of being directed and co-written by Hollywood big-hitter Quentin Tarantino, as well as featuring legendary actor Tony Curtis. 

While investigating a murder scene, Nick is surprised from behind and knocked out. When he wakes up, he finds himself buried in a glass coffin with a gun, some glow sticks, and a tape recorder. The tape plays a creepy message informing Nick that "you're going to die here" and offers him the option of ending things quickly by using the gun on himself. Back at the lab, the team receives an anonymous courier package containing a flash drive with a ransom note and a link to a live video feed of Nick. With a terrified Nick's air supply running down, Grissom scrambles to make the million-dollar ransom payment, but the trail goes cold when the kidnapper detonates a suicide vest without revealing Nick's location. Inside the coffin, Nick goes through a range of emotions from pure panic to despair, even momentarily holding the gun to his head. The "CSI" team uses all of their investigative skills to race against the clock, finally rescuing Nick at the last moment. 

Playing on a universal fear of being buried alive, along with Nick's characteristic tendency to get emotionally impacted by the cases he works on, "Grave Danger" is a harrowing ordeal for the character and the audience. For fans of Nick, it's a nerve-wracking "CSI" episode and one in which George Eads had to demonstrate a range of heightened emotions under difficult physical conditions, making it one of the most memorable Nick stories across his entire "CSI" tenure.