The original CSI team: Jorja Fox, George Eads, William Petersen, Gary Dourdan, Marg Helgenberger, and Paul Guilfoyle.

Photo: CBS via Getty Images.

By Nate Millado

It doesn't take a forensic scientist to know why CSI: Crime Scene Investigation mattered. The evidence is all there. CSI was the world's most popular show for six years at the Monte-Carlo Television Festival, the series was nominated for 40 Emmys (and won the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Ensemble), and it essentially reinvented the procedural, spawning four spin-offs and counting! So how much of a CSI fanatic are you? Take our quiz and find out!

Get all 10 correct: Congrats, you're a CSI Level III.
Get 8 right: You're CSI Level II.
Get 6 right: You're CSI Level I.
Get 5 or fewer right: Better luck next time, CSI Trainee!

Stream episodes of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation on Paramount+! And catch the series premiere of CSI: Vegas on Wednesday, Oct. 6, 10–11 p.m. ET/PT on CBS.

SUBSCRIBE NOW: Enjoy 4 Digital Plus 2 Print/Digital Issues Of Watch Per Year — For Free!

#1: Gil Grissom is a forensic entomologist. What does he study?

William Petersen as Gil Grissom looking at evidence

William Petersen as Gil Grissom on CSI.

Photo: Sonja Flemming/CBS.

A) Insects
B) Reptiles
C) Blood
D) Monkeys

*Keep reading for the answer to #1.

#2: According to Grissom, the only thing that can't lie is...

\u200bGrissom constructs a miniature of his office

Grissom (William Petersen) uses an evening at home to construct a miniature of his office.

Photo: Michael Desmond/CBS.

(Answer to #1: A. Entomology is the study of insects.)

A) The body
B) The science
C) The evidence
D) The dead

*Keep reading for the answer to #2.

#3: What was Willows' occupation before joining the CSI team?

Marg Helgenberger as Willows in the lab

Willows (Marg Helgenberger) and the CSI team are called in to investigate the murder of a girl found strangled to death in a press box at a local high school.

Photo: Robert Voets/CBS.

(Answer to #2: C. In the pilot episode, Grissom tells Warrick, played by Gary Dourdan: "Forget about making a hundred, forget about the victim, forget about the suspect, and focus on the only thing that can't lie: the evidence.")

A) Cabaret singer
B) Stripper
C) Blackjack dealer
D) UNLV professor

*Keep reading for the answer to #3.

#4: Which former Cheers star joined CSI in Season 12?

\u200bThe cast of Cheers

The cast of Cheers.

Photo: NBCU Photo Bank/Getty Images.

(Answer to #3: B. "The character was introduced in the pilot script as Catherine Willows, CSI-3, single mother, ex-stripper," Marg Helgenberger told CBS This Morning. "Some of the female producers thought about changing that backstory once we got picked up and put on the air, and I said, 'No, no, no, this is a woman who, that journey she took is much different than most people who go into law-enforcement, and I thought it really informed the character and the story. So I'm glad I stood up for my stripper-dom!")

A) Kelsey Grammer
B) Woody Harrelson
C) Ted Danson
D) Rhea Perlman

*Keep reading for the answer to #4.

#5: Which Oscar-nominated director—and CSI fan—directed the episode "Grave Danger"?

George Eads as Nick Stokes examining an evidence bag

George Eads as Nick Stokes on CSI.

Photo: Robert Voets/CBS

(Answer to #4: C. Sam Malone himself joined the cast of CSI! Ted Danson played D.B. Russell.)

A) Ron Howard
B) Quentin Tarantino
C) Clint Eastwood
D) David Fincher

*Keep reading for the answer to #5.

#6: What is the name of The Who hit that serves as the original CSI theme song?

\u200bThe intro to CSI

The intro to CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.

Photo: YouTube

(Answer to #5: B. Quentin Tarantino directed the Season 5 finale.)

A) "Who Are You?"
B) "Won't Get Fooled Again"
C) "Baba O'Riley"
C) "I Can See For Miles"

*Keep reading for the answer to #6.

#7: What's the name of the dominatrix entwined with Grissom for much of the series' run?

Melinda Clarke wearing red and black

Melinda Clarke guest-starred on CSI starting with the second season.

Photo: Credit: Sonja Flemming/CBS via Getty Images.

(Answer to #6: A. The answer is "Who Are You?" "Won't Get Fooled Again" was the theme for CSI: Miami. "Baba O'Riley" was the CSI: NY theme. "I Can See For Miles" opened CSI: Cyber.)

A) Lady Macbeth
B) Lady Whistledown
C) Lady Heather
D) Lady Luck

*Keep reading for the answer to #7.

#8: Which one of these is NOT true about Warrick (Gary Dourdan)?

\u200bGary Dourdan as Warrick Brown on CSI

Gary Dourdan as Warrick Brown on CSI.

Photo: Michael Yarish/CBS Photo Archive via Getty Images.

(Answer to #7: C. Lady Heather had her hooks in Grissom up until the series finale.)

A) He's the only Las Vegas native on the team.
B) He had a severe gambling problem.
C) He was romantically involved with Julie Finlay (Elisabeth Shue).
D) He was a prime murder suspect.

*Keep reading for the answer to #8.

#9: GSR—coined by fans for the Grissom-Sara Romance—is a nod to this oft-used CSI abbreviation.

Sara kissing Grissom on CSI

CSI fans loved the pairing of Sara Sidle (Jorja Fox) and Gil Grissom (William Petersen).

Photo: YouTube.

(Answer to #8: C. Julie Finlay did not join the CSI team until Season 12, while Warrick was murdered in the Season 8 finale.)

A) Grid search and recovery
B) Grand-scale robbery
C) Gene status regulation
D) Gun shot residue

*Keep reading for the answer to #9.

#10: What brought Willows and Grissom back to CSI for the series finale?

Marg Helgenberger and William Petersen return for the CSI series finale

The series finale of CSI.

Photo: Sonja Flemming/CBS via Getty Images.

(Answer to #9: D. Gun shot residue refers to the presence or absence of residue, indicating whether a gun was fired—and who was near the weapon when it was discharged.)

A) A serial killer targets Vegas showgirls.
B) A CSI team member is kidnapped.
C) A suicide bomber detonates his vest at a casino.
D) A CSI team member is buried alive.

*Keep reading for the answer to #10.

CSI: Vegas premieres Oct. 6 on CBS

(Answer to #10: C. Sara Sidle was once kidnapped by The Miniature Killer, Nick Stokes was buried alive and rescued, and plenty of serial killers have terrorized Sin City over the series' 15-season run. But it was a suicide bomber who detonated in one of WIllows' casinos that brought the gang back together.)

Stream episodes of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation on Paramount+! And catch the series premiere of CSI: Vegas on Wednesday, Oct. 6, 10–11 p.m. ET/PT on CBS.

SUBSCRIBE NOW: Enjoy 4 Digital Plus 2 Print/Digital Issues Of Watch Per Year — For Free!

Criminal Minds' Joe Mantegna, FBI's Missy Peregrym, and CSI: Miami's David Caruso

Photo credits: Darren Michaels/CBS via Getty Images; Michael Parmelee/2021 CBS Broadcasting Inc.; Ron P. Jaffe/CBS Photo Archive via Getty Images

By Nate Millado

Pop quiz: What's the difference between CSI and NCIS? True fans of CBS' hit procedurals would know! Here's your chance to test your acronym IQ.

Read more Show less
Photo Credit: Didier Baverel/SHOWTIME.


Rita (Dexter)

Julie Benz as Rita Bennet hold an infant and looks concerned in a scene from Dexter

Rita Bennett (Julie Benz), Dexter

Photo Credit: Showtime/Everett Collection.

Dexter comes home to find baby Harrison crying in a pool of blood—and Rita dead in the bathtub.

Stream all episodes of Dexter on the SHOWTIME and SHOWTIME ANYTIME® apps, as well as via SHOWTIME On Demand.

Philippa Georgiou (Star Trek: Discovery)

Michelle Yeoh as Captain Philippa Georgiou in Star Trek Discovery

Michelle Yeoh as Captain Philippa Georgiou in Star Trek: Discovery.

Photo Credit: Jan Thijs/CBS.

Discovery boldly went where no other Star Trek series had gone before: offing its presumed lead in the second episode. We were just as devastated as Michael Burnham was to lose her mentor and commanding officer, stabbed by a Klingon—but were equally shocked for Michelle Yeoh's return as a villainous Emperor in a mirror universe.

Stream Star Trek: Discovery exclusively on CBS All Access.

Nicholas Brody (Homeland)

Damian Lewis stands in his prisoner uniform in front of the red rope noose moments before his end

Damian Lewis as Nicholas Brody in Homeland.

Photo Credit: Didier Baverel/SHOWTIME.

The turncoat Marine was found guilty of treason and publicly hanged in a Tehran square, as Carrie tearfully looked on.

Stream all episodes of Homeland on the SHOWTIME and SHOWTIME ANYTIME® apps, as well as via SHOWTIME On Demand.

The Mother (How I Met Your Mother)

Cristin Milioti on the set of How I Met Your Mother

Cristin Milioti as Tracy Mosby in hit sitcom How I Met Your Mother.

Photo Credit: Fox Television.

Ted spent nine seasons telling his kids (and viewers) how he met his soulmate, Tracy—only to learn in the series finale that she died of an undisclosed illness.

Warrick Brown (CSI)

Actor Gary Dourdan stares dramatically while wearing his characters official windbreaker

Gary Dourdan as Warrick Brown in CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.

Photo Credit: Monty Brinton/CBS.

Shot twice in his car by a mole in the Las Vegas PD, Warrick dies in Grissom's arms.

Stream full episodes of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation on CBS All Access.

Michael Cordero (Jane the Virgin)

A dramatic overhead view of Michael Cordero Jr played by Brett Dier as he lays dieing on the floor

Brett Dier as Michael Cordero ,Jr. in Jane the Virgin.

Photo Credit: YouTube.

After flip-flopping for years between Michael and Rafael, Jane finally chooses (and marries) her first love. Their happy-ever-after appeared short-lived, after Sin Rostro shoots the new groom. Michael survives...only to collapse from complications of his gunshot wound nine months later.

Caitlin Todd (NCIS)

Sasha Alexander as Caitlin Todd in a scene from NCIS

Sasha Alexander as Caitlin Todd in drama series NCIS.

Photo Credit: Ron P. Jaffe/CBS.

The special agent took a bullet to save Gibbs, but was spared thanks to her protective vest. Whew, close call! Moments later, a sniper shoots her in the head.

Stream full episodes of NCIS on CBS All Access.

Will Gardner (The Good Wife)

Josh Charles as Will Gardner sits with his hands folded and stares out

Josh Charles as Will Gardner drama series The Good Wife.

Photo Credit: Justin Stephens/CBS,

The beloved attorney is gunned down after his unhinged client opens fire in the courtroom, sending Alicia, Kalinda, Diane—and longtime fans—into a tailspin.

Stream full episodes of The Good Wife on CBS All Access.

Lt. Col. Blake (M*A*S*H)

Dramatic image of McLean Stevenson as Lieutenant Colonel Henry Blake in a scene from MASH

McLean Stevenson as Lt. Col. Henry Blake in M*A*S*H.

Photo Credit: CBS Photo Archive/Getty Images.

After Blake's homeward-bound plane was shot down, a dazed Radar walks into the operating room to break the news. "There were no survivors." The (offscreen) death was a network television first: no major character had ever been killed off before!

James "Ghost" St. Patrick (Power)

Omari Hardwick as Ghost stands over large pile of cash

Omari Hardwick as James "Ghost" St. Patrick in Power.

Photo Credit: Myles Aronowitz/Starz!/Everett Collection.

Pretty ballsy to whack your protagonist in the middle of the final season, but no one ever accused Power of being predictable. In the end, it was revealed that Ghost's son Tariq pulled the trigger.

Originally published in Watch Magazine, July-Aug 2020.

SEE MORE: Don't Miss The New Digital Issue Of Watch—Check It Out!

MOST POPULAR

By viewing our video content you are accepting the terms of our Video Services Policy.
© 2019 CBS Interactive. All rights reserved.

Follow us: