‘CSI’ Drew Inspiration from Real Life: Here’s How

by Lauren Boisvert
(Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic)

“CSI” has always been about following the evidence and proving the science. It models real life as much as possible, because, a real life event inspired the show. The inspiration for “CSI” came from a widely documented murder trial that swept the nation in the mid-1990s. One that we all are probably familiar with.

The O.J. Simpson case was heavily covered in the media; Simpson was acquitted of the 1995 murders of his wife Nicole Brown Simpson and friend Ronald Goldman. Because of the focus on forensic evidence in this case, the language and ideology of forensics was made popular.

Producer Johnathan Littman told Deadline in October 2021 that “there was a lot of cynicism” surrounding the justice system in the aftermath of the Simpson case. People felt that “the right lawyer” could do the trick.

“[If] you have the right science,” said Littman, “I don’t care who your lawyer is, the science will prove it if you are guilty.”

Then, “CSI” was born, constantly following the evidence and proving tough cases by science and a little common sense. The concept was so successful, that it spawned 3 other spin-offs, “Miami”, “New York”, and “Cyber”. Last year, the show was revived as “CSI: Vegas”, and it brought back old fans, while spawning new ones in the process. Original fans loved that Sara Sidle and Gil Grissom were back, and new fans were introduced to the whole deal: solving crimes based on forensic evidence. It’s a formula made in science heaven.

One Crime Scene Freaked Out ‘CSI’ Fans

While “CSI” did focus on the science and evidence, there were no shortages of terrifying and gruesome crime scenes. Like one from the season 2 episode “Stalker.”

When the team arrives on the scene, a dead woman is propped up against the toilet as if she’s throwing up. It’s quickly ascertained that she was posed. There’s also red hair dye all over the place. The whole scene is eerily familiar to Nick Stokes.

As it turns out, the woman had a stalker who was living in her attic. He called her all the time from her own phone, stole things from her, and she had no idea he was right above her. Later, Stokes gets an email; it’s a photo of his high school prom date, hunched over the toilet, sick. It looks exactly like the crime scene. Stokes realizes that someone is stalking him as well.

And he was right; the same guy who stalked and killed the woman had turned his sights on controlling Stokes. The stalker was either going to kill Stokes and become him, or kill himself. Doesn’t matter, because Stokes wrestled the gun away from him. Everything turned out okay, but the episode scared some fans half to death. Which is understandable; there was a guy living in people’s attics. That’s truly the stuff of nightmares.