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Nightmare Fuel / CSI

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As a Moments subpage, all spoilers are unmarked. You have been warned.

Original series

  • CSI, original flavor, doesn't shy away from gruesome cadavers or their stages of decomposition. However, there are those who take the cake.
    • Liquid Man, a homeless man stuffed into a duffel bag and killed, turned into so much soup by advanced decomposition and the Nevada heat. The bag sloshed when moved, and the man's remains weren't so much cleaned off the coroner's table as flushed down with a hose.
    • And if that wasn't enough, a later season gave us the Amazing Bloat. You might never look at hot baths the same way.
      • The rotting juice from that man leaked through the ceiling and filled the entire house, and his decomposing, moldy body had a brain that looked more like green jello than anything else.
    • Another victim was left for three days after being stabbed before the police got to the house. The guy was bloated almost beyond recognition and had to be POPPED in order to keep him from bursting inside the van.
  • The short, disquieting conversation Grissom and Sara have when they find the mother's body in "Blood Drops". It's even creepier because seconds earlier we were given a shot of blood running down her hand and pattering hollowly onto the floor, the only sound.
    Sara: Her soul is still in this room.
    Grissom: There's something else here too.
  • Whenever any of the guys cuts a corpse's finger off, removes the bone and put the finger on their own hand, similar to a glove, to get the print!
  • An elderly woman is locked inside a closet during a home robbery where she eventually dies of dehydration, because the thieves assumed that someone would come by for a visit and free her. As if that wasn't bad enough, we get a sequence where Grissom imagines her scrabbling desperately at the door until she collapses and the lightbulb in the closet burning out, plunging her into darkness.
  • What about the episode where the first bit of the victim we find is just a head? A very mangled head at that. And if that wasn't bad enough, we find that the victim died from being buried up to their neck and letting wild dogs kill him...
  • There have been a lot of freaks and psychopaths on the CSI series over the years, but the guy from the season 4 episode "After The Show" has to be one of the creepiest. From the haunting, echoing music played on the cold open and the way he obsessively stares at the victim on TV in the dark, his weird obsession with eyes, the way he stares at Catherine and tries to manipulate her, and his final Villainous Breakdown... yikes.
  • Las Vegas Season 5 Episode 8 "Ch-Ch-Changes"... the discovery of the second body. Full stop.
    • Then there's the video the first victim took of the crime scene. She didn't have anything else to record it with, so she inadvertently taped over her own bridal shower. So, footage of warm and glowing festivities suddenly cuts to shaky footage of a storage locker that looks more like an abattoir and the first victim sobbing at the sheer horror of such a thing, and then back again.
  • Two Words: KING. BABY.
  • "4x4", with the bodybuilder who had that black goo behind or in his eyeballs.
  • Part one and two of "Grave Danger" where Nick is buried alive in a glass box with only a gun and a tape recorder telling him he's going to die there. And then the air begins to run out and he has to shoot the light with his only bullet to get more time with the fan on. And then some ants start to eat him alive. And then it turns out there are explosives under the box and he must wait to be rescued.
    • One scene in the second part involves Nick hallucinating that he died within the box, and watches Robbins dissect him laughing all the while. And it's all from Nick's point of view.
  • "Hollywood Brass" has the best friend of Brass's daughter, Ellie, in a meetup with a "client", leading to her going missing. Days later, her weighed-down body is found on the shore of a lake, floating due to significant gas buildup (which the show proceeds to show as a time-lapse of her body putrefying and bloating up). Then Ellie is made to look at the body in order to confirm that it's her best friend.
  • The entirety of Committed. Creepiest Bottle Episode ever.
  • The sixth season opener, with two bodies left to melt in the trunk of a car. And Greg having to grope inside the contents looking for the drain plug... and getting a mouthful of the liquefied corpse juice for his troubles.
  • "Pirates of the Third Reich", especially the surgically conjoined twins scene. Just...*shudder*.
  • The Miniature Killer is far and away the creepiest thing the series has produced thus far.
    • Really, any of the serials and their methods on the show range from unnerving (Paul Melander, The Strip Strangler, The Blue Paint Killer) to sick (Dr. Jekyll, Gordon Daimer, Nate Haskell) to just plain weird (The Mannekiller, The Miniature Killer). And that's just the original CSI.
  • "Toe Tags". A good portion of the episode involves the dead bodies talking to one another. That alone is creepy, but then they show the back of one of the victim's heads while she's talking, showing a jagged hole and a gaping cavity where her brain once was. Ugh.
  • "Sweet Jane" gives us Doctor Dave, a truly terrifying dentist who is a Nice Guy until the characters discover that he has been killing young women and leaving them as Jane Does for decades. Even when he knows that he's been caught, he's more disappointed that he was caught, and refuses to name his victims, leaving them as Jane Does forever.
  • The final part of the sitcom episode. It's all very kooky and staged until the two murderers implicitly reveal that any one who drank from a bottle of vodka laced with anti-coagulant will die in the same manner as the victims of that episode. Cut to one of the sitcom actors shaving, nicking his throat with the blade which causes blood to pour down his neck.
  • Try that young girl who jumped off the roof in a bikini. Turns out, her hypnotist was responsible for not only indirectly murdering her, but also a series of bank robberies as well. But dear, sweet God, the girl's legs HAD. NO. BONES. They were liquefied upon landing! And seeing all those people in the bus screaming as the girl hits the roof...
  • "19 Down" (aka the episode where Laurence Fishburne debuts). Specifically, the freak of the week, who looked like Noah Bennent/HRG from Heroes as a serial killer. The way he described what he did to his victims in front of a whole class (albeit via a live feed, not in person) must have rather traumatized the students.
    • Then there's the opening of the same episode, which gives us a nice time-lapse (with cuts) of a body stuffed into a plastic bag bloating, putrefying, and essentially melting.
  • "Deep Fried and Minty Fresh" features a guy getting killed by having his head dunked in a deep-fat fryer. Of course, the Necro Cam shows it happen about three times. One sequence details the hot grease entering his trachea, burning it up and causing him to asphyxiate.
  • "Death and the Maiden" has a teenager making love with his girlfriend for the first time, only to be assaulted and sodomized by her psychotic brother as a Disproportionate Retribution, because he wanted her to remain a virgin forever. Like many victims of sexual assault, he can't even speak about the ordeal for fear of being shamed, and eventually rejected his girlfriend as he sees her brother's face whenever he looks at her.
  • "Lover's Lanes" shows a decapitated head being sent down a bowling ball conveyor system in full detail, and a bowler accidentally grabs the head before looking at it in horror.
  • "Appendicitement". Waugh. Being a twofer episode with Dr. Jekyll part of one case, the side plot featuring the restaurant is creepier.
    • After it's found out that the dead victim was killed in an accident, the gang are trying to scrape together a form of communication. During this, a cook's corpse is found in the walk-in fridge. Turns out it's a rubber dummy put in to prank tour attendees.
    • The ultimate example? Killer makes a bunch of people cannibals without their knowledge. Even worse, they're gleefully eating the owner! The camera shots showing the cooks unknowingly chopping up the body to be served and the depiction of the restaurant logo with the smiling victim doesn't help at all.
    • To top it all off, the owner suffered from Hepatitis B, so not only the killer chef made customers accidental cannibals, he also caused a Hepatitis B outbreak that forced the restaurant to close and him out of a job, leading to his accidental death trying to catch a raccoon.
  • Meet Dr Jekyll, your friendly unlicensed surgeon who orders a sophisticated device for brain surgery custom-made, then drugs the guy who made it, DRILLS HIS HEAD OPEN AND PUTS RADIOACTIVE SEEDS INTO HIS BRAIN, makes a wig out of his hair, puts it back, and leaves without a tip. He also specializes in putting an extra appendix in you while you're deeply asleep, and tying your guts into a bow tie through your bellybutton.
    • Don't forget inserting a device into a victim's artery that will cause it to gradually expand (resulting in increasingly excruciating pain) until it ruptures. Oh yeah, the guy he does this to? His own father.
  • "Sqweegel," from Season 11 Episode 4. Essentially an unholy combination of Gollum and a contortionist in a Gimp suit... uugggghhhh.
    • Yeah, it didn't help that he moved like a lizard and at the end said "I am no one..."
    • Even worse, Sqweegel is a crossover from the CSI creators book series "Level 26," so we're never going to get any resolution.
    • The season 1 finale of the 2021 revival reveals that Sqweegel is going to be season 2's main case in an incredibly unsettling final scene.
  • Rylan Gauss in "418/427". Incredibly creepy pedophile. At least he got offed by the end of the episode.
  • The sub-plot of the recent episode "Unleashed" was purely this. It involves a beautiful, pregnant teenage cheerleader named Maria, who was two weeks away from giving birth, commit suicide by hanging herself! First it involved a fight with her boyfriend that caused him to leave her. And before that, a viral video of her cheerleading tryouts got leaked as revenge because her boyfriend dumped his former girlfriend (who was the Homecoming Queen) for Maria, and when the bad cheerleaders got suspended, they made the video global and caused Maria to suffer a horrifying Humiliation Conga leading to thousands of hate messages from people she never knew! Between her father's death and her boyfriend dumping her, she felt lonely and hung herself. Plus, right after Nick and Robbins take her dead body out of the closet, they have to cut through her belly with a knife to save her unborn child. Absolutely brutal, especially if you've been a victim of cyber-bullying.
  • "Freaks and Geeks" has the CSI team digging up the stomach contents of a recently deceased Repulsive Ringmaster. Among the contents are undigested food, a watch, a paperclip, and a bitten off tit.
  • "Sheltered": While investigating the body of a murdered teenager in the desert, the team stumbles across a mysterious bunker where they're attacked by the man (played by Neal McDonough) living inside. The man turns out to be a complete ghost, with no identification of any kind on him or inside the bunker, even his fingerprints are gone. Things take a turn for the even creepier when they discover that one of the rooms in the bunker is that of a little girl, the closet is full of clothes not just for children but that of older women, some dating back decades, and they eventually find a teenage girl hiding inside the wall. Worse, the bed in the room shows traces of sexual activity, and the girl turns out to be his daughter! Thankfully, as horrifying as this seems, it turns out to be innocuous, if not a bit depressing. Ten years earlier, the man had been the prime suspect in the murder of his wife, despite being completely innocent, and the experience of being accused for several months while the real killer was never found unhinged him a bit, leading to him taking his daughter to the bunker, which had originally belonged to his grandfather, and living off the grid completely. The murder was committed by the father of another teenager who the girl had befriended while her father was outside the bunker doing odd jobs for money, neither her nor her father had anything to do with it. The episode ends with the father realizing that shutting his daughter away like he had hurt more than it helped and the two decide to rejoin the world.
  • "Last Supper" features contestants on a competitive cooking show accidentally eating human flesh, including an eyeball. The contest who ate the eyeball realized that it comes with a contact lens and spews it out, leaving the severed and cooked eyeball for the camera to see. The victim's arm had its flesh carved off, and his blood turned into caviar.
  • "Check In and Check Out" features a voyeuristic motel owner who not only installed hidden cameras in all of the rooms, but also laced an automatic air freshener in a bathroom with LSD, causing unsuspecting victims to go on deadly killing sprees. At least three people were murdered as a result, and David Hodges attacked Henry Andrews after being accidentally sprayed with LSD.
  • One episode featured a girl self-immolating herself out of guilt for being involved in a murder. Her scorched body is found by Grissom not far away from the original victim in a ditch. Her body is burnt to a crisp, virtually unrecognizable, and it's understandably assumed by Grissom that she's long since died, then she slowly opens her eyes and looks at him.
    Grissom: We need a paramedic!

CSI Miami

See here.


  • "Where There's Smoke", the second ep of season 9. The first victim gets essentially boiled alive in an elevator because a mad arsonist rigged it up to catch fire after she was alone. Then, they show the charred corpse. The next victim gets something added to what he was eating that interacts with the other liquids and stomach acid to literally burn him to death from the inside.
  • Episode 17 of season 2. It starts off with a half-eaten corpse of a woman, who is still being devoured by beetles to the point she lacks a face. Oh, and we get some very pretty close ups of her. We're later shown a montage of her flesh being washed off, leaving nothing but a skeleton.
    • It was almost a relief to know that that's what happened to her — because the episode was entitled "Necrophilia Americana". The title alone gives enough disturbing mental images about the episode's subject. (It's actually the scientific name of the carrion-eating beetles in question.)
  • In a season 3 episode, a cheerleader and her lover get high on angel dust and out of jealousy towards another cheerleader flirting with her lover, goes on a psychotic out-of-body rage and attacks the cheerleader. When she finally comes out of her psychotic episode, she's in the middle of ''cannibalizing'' the cheerleader's remains. Her mouth covered in the girl's blood and her mouth still chewing the girl's human flesh. Her lover reacts to the scene by vomiting on the football field from what he saw. Very much In-Universe Squick.
    • Also the cheerleader suspect's And I Must Scream description of her being under the influence of angel dust.
  • People getting gassed to death by exhaust fumes in the back of a cab. Knowing that the Nazis did something very similar before switching to Zyklon B makes it worse.
    • Whoever wrote the last part of the episode where it appears that the much-loved Lindsay Monroe-not-yet-Messer is about to suffer the same fate deserves public castigation.
    • And so does whoever wrote the secondary plot of the episode "Heroes," wherein Det. Aiden Burn (dismissed early on season 2, after violating the chain of custody of the evidence in a serial rapist case) is brought Back for the Dead as a charred corpse, of all things — killed by the same rapist she was trying to apprehend. The imagery alone is enough to induce more than a few nightmares.
      • Until they reconstructed her face (which is creepy enough), they were treating her exactly the same as any other body, completely unaware of who she was. Hearing them talk about her in such a clinical way just emphasizes the horror when they look at the reconstruction and figure out it was her...
    • That poor guy whose lower jaw (and most of the face below the eyes for that matter) was blown off by an exploding cigar. And he wasn't even the intended target. The real target was a joke shop owner who had accidentally caused a death a few decades before.
  • "Blacklist (Featuring Grave Digger)" - episode 2 from season 6 - there's something about the murderer's raspy voice over the phone and on the GPS in the car that gives me chills.
  • In-universe for Mac in 'Seth and Apep', when he gets the package with the severed tongue. He can't stop the horrific scenarios in his mind about what they might've done to Christine. He's really relieved when he gets the phone call her kidnappers made her make and hears her voice.

2021 Revival

  • The pilot ends with a trail leading to a storage locker/lab that seems to show that for years, Hodges has been faking evidence in cases. Sara, of course, refuses to believe it but the D.A. wants Hodges arrested. The nightmare part is that this automatically places uncertainty in every case Hodges has ever had a hand in, which means the potential for hundreds, if not thousands, of guilty criminals (including some truly twisted murderers) being put back on the streets.

CSI Cyber

See here.