If you’ve seen my DVD collection, you know I am a big fan of CSI. (The original, not the knock-offs. Don’t get me started on Miami…) I know that procedural forensic dramas are on their way out, but I still tune in every week to see what’s happening in the Las Vegas crime lab.
A lot of my love for and loyalty to the show has to do with the fact that it gave me one of my favorite couples of all time, Grissom and Sara.
Grissom was a brilliant, quirky entomologist who got stuck leading the grave shift at the busiest crime lab in the country. Sara was his former student who he brought in to investigate one of his CSI’s. The reason that she never went back home…well…that was a matter of debate for years.
The wonderful (and, admittedly, frustrating) thing about this relationship is that it always took a backseat to the crime of the day. But it was still there, from day one. The actors knew it and the fans who paid attention knew it, too. Some of the signs were subtle…a touch here, a look there. Some were right in your face.
Sara: Since when are you interested in beauty?
Grissom: Since I met you.
There was a lot that stood in the way of their happily ever after, not the least of which was the fact that he was almost twenty years older and her boss. In fact, it sometimes seemed like he was doing everything in his power to discourage Sara’s affections, but she never gave up on him, not even when he broke her heart.
Sara: Do you want to have dinner with me?
Sara: Why not? Let’s–let’s have dinner. Let’s see what happens.
Grissom: Sara… I don’t know what to do about this.
Sara: I do. You know, by the time you figure it out…it really could be too late.
Of course, Sara didn’t know that he was afraid of going deaf via a genetic condition, although she eventually realized he was terrified of losing her to a younger man. Neither of them could have imagined how prophetic her words would turn out to be. It took five years, attempts on both their parts to date other people, a lab explosion, a hostage attempt by a crazed rapist, a suspension without pay and the murder of a woman who looked exactly like Sara for Grissom to finally realize that maybe being with her was worth the risk to his career.
The brilliant thing about the story was that the other characters on the show remained blissfully clueless about the romance happening right under their noses. Only the audience knew for certain, as we were treated to a lot of playful banter and innuendo. It was like a delicious secret that we shared with them.
Grissom: To me, sex without love is pointless. It makes you sad.
Sara: Well, I’m pretty sure I don’t make you sad.
Grissom: No, you make me happy.
Everything changed on the day that a lunatic murderer, who was fixated on punishing Grissom for the death of her father, kidnapped Sara and left her to die in the desert. In Grissom’s panic, the secret sort of spilled out.
Grissom: This girl holds me responsible for the death of Ernie Dell. I took away the only person she ever loved, so she’s going do the same thing to me.
The team eventually found Sara, but the damage was done. While their teammates were able to accept it, the higher-ups at the lab definitely had a problem with the relationship.
Ecklie: You and your supervisor were in direct violation of lab policies…
Ecklie: Are in direct violation of lab policies, which states that members of the same forensic team may not engage in a romantic relationship. So, when did you and Supervisor Grissom begin your relationship?
Sara: Well, we’ve always had a relationship.
Ecklie: I mean…when did you become intimate?
Sara: Two years ago. I think it was a Sunday.
Forced to go to another shift, away from her team, Sara started to burn out in the wake of her desert ordeal. Eventually, her terrible childhood and her lack of faith in the justice system led her to leave Las Vegas only weeks after Grissom proposed. all she left behind was a letter to say goodbye.
Sara: I have no idea where I’m going, but I know I have to do this. If I don’t, I’m afraid I’ll self destruct, and worse, you’ll be there to see it happen. Be safe. Know that I tried very hard to stay. Know that you are my one and only.
Although they kept in contact, the separation weighed heavily on Grissom and after the death of another member of his team…his family, he decided it was time to follow her. He tracked Sara to Costa Rica where they were reunited and eventually married.
After a couple of years away, Sara returned to Vegas. She and Grissom are still happily married and see each other often (off-screen, as he travels the world, digging up ancient graves), but theirs is the kind of love that is so strong that they don’t need to be together every single day. Conventionality is boring and this is one love story that has never been conventional.
This is also a story that isn’t finished yet. As CSI heads into its 13th season, the show’s writers have stated that Grissom and Sara’s relationship will be featured more this year. Dare we hope for Grissom himself to make an appearance? I’m not holding my breath, but I will cross my fingers. And I know for a fact that I won’t be the only fan doing so.