One reason I love CSI over other crime shows like Law and Order (although, I do love me some Law and Order) is because of the character interaction. It's just enough to keep us guessing, and subtle enough not to distract from the main plot of any one episode. What I really
love about CSI is the rare episode that really shows how the team can pull together in a crisis to help one of their own. Episodes like "Grave Danger," "Fannysmackin'," "Living Doll," "Dead Doll," "Built to Kill Part 2," and even "Playing With Fire" to an extent really show how the team cares for each other as friends, and I love that rare glimpse into the bonds between them.
But in working side by side for seven and a half years, in a job where one sees the darkest and ugliest that society has to offer, one has to wonder if these bonds go further than just friendship.
There have been three (and a half) instances in which romantic tension has been hinted at between two main characters on the show. And I will be addressing all three (and a half-- yes I will explain this) instances under subheadings to follow.
Gil Grissom and Sara Sidle
Sara and Grissom's only onscreen kiss. From "Goodbye and Good Luck."
The first and very obvious of these is what fans have called "GSR," or the relationship between Gil Grissom and Sara Sidle. The acronym, for those not in the "know," stands for, literally, Grissom-Sara Relationship, and is a play on the acronym for Gun Shot Residue which is used often in the show. This relationship is controversial for a few reasons. Some don't like it because they disapprove of the age gap. Some don't like it because they'd rather see Grissom or Sara paired off with someone else. And some just don't like it. Others applaud its courage and uniqueness from other TV-show couples, and some watch the show solely to get their dose of "Geek Love." But whatever your reason for liking or disliking it, one has to admit that it has made CSI a little bit more interesting, whether it made you smile and say "aw" or gag.
Possibly one of the LEAST conspicuous relationships in a television show, the audience wasn't even aware that a romantic relationship had even evolved out of the subtle flirtations and tension between the two until the season six finale. The rest of the lab
didn't find out about it until the season seven finale a whole year later. So one thing has to be said about Sara and Grissom: they definitely know how to keep a secret.
One of the appeals of the main relationship on CSI is the fact that it doesn't steal the spotlight away from anything. If anything, it's a side-story, and we never really know much about how Sara and Grissom interact outside of the lab or when they're alone, short of tiny glimpses of it, such as in "Way to Go" or "Ending Happy." And these glimpses, being so rare, are well-remembered by the audience. GSR keeps audiences always guessing, as opposed to other melodramatic shows such as Grey's Anatomy
or Desperate Housewives
. And it's the mystery that's part of its appeal.
There's something strangely sexy about a secret relationship. And I have to admit, when I personally found out they were together in the end of season six, I went back and watched the whole season for hints of it and definitely found more than a few. These hints continued on into season seven. The example that comes to mind takes place in "Built to Kill Part 2" in which Ecklie asks Sara's opinion on whether or not to release details of the miniature case to the public. Sara tells him that she agrees with Grissom, to which Ecklie replies, "Of course you do," in an exasperated manner before exiting. Grissom and Sara exchange questioning (and comical) looks until Sara shakes her head, silently saying, "Nah, he couldn't know," and they each smile.
These instances not only provide intrigue and comedy, but also excellent acting opportunities for William Petersen and Jorja Fox. When everything is in between the lines, body language becomes imperative, and these days, when too many things are written in the script because writers underestimate the mental capacity of their audiences to pick up on the little things, these opportunities don't come around a lot.
Catherine Willows and Warrick Brown
Catherine and Warrick, "Down the Drain"
In the fan world, this relationship has manny names. Brillows, YoBling, heck, I've even heard someone call it "Cathrick." As with most "ships," the names tend to be mushed together into one entity, like "Brangelina" or "Bennifer."
While Catherine and Warrick have never officially "hooked up" like Grissom and Sara, the writers have definitely alluded to a romantic possibility between them and the viewers have really picked up on it. It's for this reason that I consider it a "canon" relationship, or at the very least, an example of romance on CSI. There are several examples of the close bond between them, just a few being "Too Tough to Die," "A Little Murder," "Down the Drain," and "Time of Your Death." Catherine trusts Warrick with things she wouldn't necessarily trust others with ("A Little Murder") and shows an ounce of bitter disappointment when she learns of his marriage to Tina ("Time of Your Death.") Catherine often confides in Warrick, as well as jokes with him flirtatiously, which can be seen in "To Tough To Die" when she photographs him in an embarrassing position with a dummy.
Once again, the appeal of this relationship shares some of the same aspects of the Grissom/Sara story. First of all, it's subtle, just like all the relationships, which makes it mysterious and always leaves the audience wanting more. The romance is in the subtext more than the script itself and can be detected from the body language and tension between the characters more than their words. But what this relationship has that GSR no longer does is the perpetual anticipation of whether or not they will eventually get together. Catherine and Warrick have been flirting with each other nearly as long as Sara and Grissom have, but their characters are vastly different than the "geek lovers." We may never know, or the writers may toss us a bone and maybe we will see if/when Catherine and Warrick finally get over all their obstacles and become a real couple. Now that Warrick is no longer married, they have definitely opened the door again to the possibility, and Brillows fans everywhere rejoiced.
David Hodges and Wendy Simms
Wendy and Hodges, "Lab Rats"
The third relationship on CSI that has been addressed by the writers is that between Wendy Simms and David Hodges. Once again, this has many names among fans, and recently the term "Wedges" I think sticks in the heads of most people, but the relationship has also been called "Dandy." Just like with Catherine and Warrick, this is another instance where the two names are shoved together to make one new name. And just like with Catherine and Warrick, the combination of last names seems to be more accepted than the combination of first names.
Hodges and Wendy are much different from the other two canon romances on the show. For one, they mostly provide much needed comic relief. In the two episodes they have starred in so far ("Lab Rats" and "You Kill Me") they have established a wonderful rapport with each other, and the audience. Unlike the previous two relationships, the one shared between these two "Love Rats" is a love-hate relationship. Wendy makes her irritations with Hodges' known and Hodges continues to tease her. However, there have been a few instances in which the pair almost had "a moment." A specific example would be in "Lab Rats," when Wendy discovers that Hodges had lied to her.
: I can't believe that for half a second I actually thought that I might...
: You what?
What was she thinking? How was she going to finish that sentence? "I might actually like you?" Hodges/Wendy 'shippers sure like to think so. Another instance in which Wendy and Hodges almost
share a moment that gets ruined is in "You Kill Me," when Wendy discovers Hodges' board game and that he had described her character as "clumsy but buxom." It seems that one of Hodges' classic traits is to almost appear sweet and adorable to Wendy before doing something to seem like a total ass again. It's for this reason (and many, many others) that this is rapidly becoming a vastly liked relationship. With Sara gone, and with Catherine and Warrick in limbo, viewers hope that the writers will spice up the Hodges/Wendy relationship and give us something to pacify us.
The "Half" Relationships.
Ah, that pesky "half" relationship I mentioned earlier. Actually, it's not just one relationship, but several. Three, to be precise. Relationships that almost were, but never became anything.
The first of these would be the relationship between Nick Stokes and Catherine Willows. Now some of you may be saying "What? When did Nick and Catherine have a relationship?" The (unofficial) answer to that would be in the pilot. At least, in the original
pilot. Catherine and Nick had a steamy scene in the first ever episode of the series that later ended up on the cutting room floor. It was said that Marg and George had no chemistry and that the romantic story-line didn't work for them. But that didn't stop Catherine and Nick from have a few flirtatious moments in the series!
The second "half" relationship I'm thinking about is one that almost was between Sara Sidle and Greg Sanders. The first real evidence of anything between them can be seen in "Organ Grinder," when he asks Catherine's opinion on how Sara would react if he asked her out. Of course, in the series, this romance seems to be completely one-sided on Greg's part, and some may say that he has moved on since the early seasons, but fans of the 'ship would argue that he still holds a torch for her and one day, she will realize it. Actually, they may not be so far off. The episode "Fannysmackin'" really brought their relationship back for its fans when Sara holds his hand as he lies injured in the street and says, "I came here for you, Greg." While others may argue this was simply a friendship move on Sara's part, it's hard to deny what this obviously meant to Greg as we see him react to her words. Sara and Greg also have their moments in which something more than friendship may spark between them (one-sided or not) and some may even go so far as to say they are flirting, such as in "Gum Drops" or "4x4." Though Sara seems pretty enraptured with Grissom, whether or not Greg has given up on his feelings for her is, to the audience, still a mystery. After Sara leaves and everyone tries to comfort Grissom, he is uncharacteristically rude to his boss and the writers never explain why. Was it because he was bitter with Grissom for what happened with Sara or was he simply having a bad day?
The third almost-relationship is between Grissom and Lady Heather. Their deep friendship is undeniable, but fans have claimed that there's too much sexual tension for it to be simply a friendship. In "The Good, The Bad, and the Dominatrix," Sara is clearly at least slightly jealous of the intimate relationship Heather has with Grissom. In the same episode, Catherine even comments that she speculates Grissom has slept with Lady Heather at one point in time. We as the audience don't know if this is just Catherine's speculations, or if perhaps there is some truth to this statement. After all, in the world of CSI, anything is possible, right?
So there you have it! A little summary of all the canon relationships and almost relationships of our favorite CSIs. I know that there are numerous other ships that fans support, and good for you! But I just wanted to take a look into what the writers have given us for their views on the different pairings in CSI. Hope you enjoyed the article, and by all means start a "shipper war" in the comments by declaring which ship is better. I do not mind at all.