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Sara Sidle is a main character on CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (commonly referred to as "CSI: Las Vegas" in the wake of spinoffs such as CSI: Miami and CSI: New York. She has appeared on the show since the second episode of the first season and is portrayed by actress Jorja Fox.

Background

Sara had a rocky childhood while growing up in California; her father abused her mother until her mother, no longer able to cope, stabbed him. Sara was placed in foster care while her mother was placed in psychiatric care. Sara moved from one foster home to another and felt uncomfortable at school because she was constantly being moved. She was also intellectually gifted and was moved ahead several grades. She began studying advanced physics at Harvard University while still a teenager and started working at a California crime lab not long after graduating. It was during her early career that she met Gil Grissom, who would later recruit her to work at the Las Vegas crime lab.

There is a good deal of speculation, and it's been hinted at but not explicitly confirmed, that Sara and Grissom had some kind of romantic relationship during this time. In the episode "Invisible Evidence," Sara approaches Grissom -- her supervisor -- about a promotion for which she'd just applied and said that she needed to know that "anything that happened between us won't be a factor."

Sara moved to Las Vegas at Grissom's invitation after the unfortunate events that take place in the series's pilot episode. Warrick Brown had been accompanying Holly Gribbs, a rookie CSI on her first day on the job, to a crime scene. Warrick left to place a bet on behalf of one of Las Vegas's judges (he's uber corrupt, this one), leaving Holly alone to dust for fingerprints at the crime scene. The suspect returns and Holly is shot and killed. Grissom does not believe that Warrick intended any harm and chooses to bring in someone he knows to conduct the investigation.

At first, Sara's involvement irks some of the other CSIs, particularly Warrick and Catherine Willows. Warrick doesn't take well to her repeated questions about why he left the scene and snaps at her, at which point she tells him that Holly Gribbs died on the operating table a few minutes beforehand.

After heading up the investigation into Warrick's conduct, Sara becomes a member of the crime lab.

Her family background causes a number of problems within her work. While she is generally regarded as a hard-working and devoted CSI -- to the point of being a workaholic -- she is often criticized for becoming emotionally attached to victims and letting her family history taint her perspective. She is unable to deal with cases involving domestic abuse in an objective manner and has, on occasion, lashed out at suspects in said cases. This sort of behaviour earned her an unpaid suspension when she lashed out at Catherine after disagreeing with her handling of a domestic abuse case. It was after this incident that she first revealed her family history to Grissom, who had been charged with the task of deciding whether or not further disciplinary action should be taken.

Despite the incident, Sara was not fired. It appeared as though the lab took greater care in assigning Sara's cases given her family situation from this point on.

Her background also allowed her to connect with certain witnesses, particularly those who had been in the foster care system as children.

Character development

Sara's emotional problems and resulting workaholism have been mentioned numerous times throughout the series. Her lack of a life is hinted at very early on, as Grissom tells her she needs to get out more. In an episode dealing with a murder victim who didn't have much of a traditional social life but used the internet to reach out to people, numerous parallels were drawn between Sara and the victim -- both did their shopping from catalogues, ate mostly takeout, and so on. This episode is notable for its ending, which sees Sara throw out her catalogues and takeout menus, call someone on the phone and ask whether that person wants to go out. While it's never explicitly revealed, it's widely thought that she called Grissom. More on that later.

At other points during the series, Sara is dating a medic with whom she's worked at several crime scenes. The relationship ends when she discovers that he's cheating on her.

As mentioned, her tendency to become emotionally attached to victims -- particularly female victims of domestic abuse -- has caused some tension with her colleagues. Grissom, as her supervisor, has warned her repeatedly about forming emotional bonds with people because it isn't her job to save them and her feelings will lead her to become distracted from her work. She has also become noticeably frustrated when the police have to let domestic abuse suspects go due to a lack of evidence. It was a scenario such as this one that led to her infamous public fight with Catherine, thus getting her suspended.

Due to how many times she's been told not to get emotionally attached to victims, she becomes offended when Grissom becomes emotionally attached to a murdered infant in one episode. She reminds him that he's told her that no victim is any more special than another; he responds that a baby taken from his own bedroom and found dead in a nearby park is special.

She is generally portrayed as an amiable member of the team; unless she's upset about something, she appears to get along with everyone and has a sense of humour. She, like the other CSIs, engages in well-intended teasing of DNA tech-turned investigator Greg Sanders, who is believed to have a crush on her. She is usually at her most snarky around trace technician David Hodges, who seems to have that effect on people.

As the series progresses, Sara is thought to become somewhat more emotionally stable. Once she explains the reasons behind her sensitivity to domestic abuse cases in season five, she seems to become less inclined to freak out over them. Of course, part of the reason behind her increased stability may be...

Romance with Grissom

... the fact that she's sleeping with her boss. We know that Grissom and Sara have had some kind of thang in the past, as she alludes to it while asking whether that will have any effect on her application for a promotion. When it began is up for debate, with many fans speculating that she was a student in one of his seminars when it started. There have been subtle and less-subtle hints throughout the entire series, including a variety of statements that seem to suggest something more than a professional relationship ("When did you become interested in beauty, anyway?" "When I met you"). People also seemed to be picking up on this, such as when Sara demonstrated some obscure knowledge about entemology, leading other characters to question when she became an insect expert (that's Grissom's thing). When she responded that he gave her a textbook on the subject for Christmas one year, the other characters pointed out that he'd never gotten them anything.

The romance became official at the end of season six. The very last scene of the season finale sees Grissom half-inclined on a bed, clad in a kimono-like bathrobe, speaking in his usual philosophical manner about how he'd like to die. He'd like to know in advance, he says. He'd prefer to be diagnosed with cancer because, despite being a slow and agonizing way to go, it would give him a chance to see the rainforest one last time and re-read Moby Dick. But most of all, he continues as a woman visible only from the waist down in a pink bathrobe approaches the bed, it would give him a chance to properly say goodbye to those he loves. The woman kneels to his eye level -- it's Sara, OMG -- and says "I'm not ready to say goodbye." And scene

The couple spends much of season seven trying to make sure the interoffice romance stays a secret. Unfortunately, all their hard work comes crashing down in the season finale when Sara is kidnapped and trapped under a car, and in a fit of panic Grissom announces to the team that the person behind this is acting out of a desire for revenge: "I took away the only thing she ever loved -- and now she's doing the same thing to me." Cue the confused stares from colleagues!

Fans refer to the coupling as "Grissom-Sara Romance" because its acronym, "GSR," is commonly used in the show as an acronym for gunshot residue.

Recent developments

Sara Sidle is, as mentioned, trapped under a car. No, really. The season seven finale, "Living Doll," sees Sara kidnapped in an attempt to torture Grissom. The episode ends with a shot of Sara's hand clutching mud from under the car. Cliffhanger!

This was brought on by two factors: the producers wanted a satisfying conclusion to their miniature killer plotline, and rumours of Jorja Fox having trouble reaching a contract settlement with the network abounded. Will she be back for season eight? Only time will tell. My personal feeling is that this is naught but a ratings grab, especially since other CSI cast members are all zealously spreading the "No one knows whether she'll be back!" word.

Sara survived the ordeal, freeing herself from under the car and wandering around in the desert, reciting the multiplication tables in order to keep her wits about her, until she finally passed out from exhaustion. Nick Stokes and Sofia Curtis came across her during the massive rescue effort, but were unable to locate her pulse. Rescue teams eventually arrived on the scene and loaded her into an emergency helicopter, which Grissom boarded as well. The final scene of the season eight premiere involved Sara regaining consciousness in the helicopter, Grissom being the first thing she saw. Aww.

In subsequent episodes, the characters were shown coming to terms with the relationship. It was confirmed that some characters, including Greg Sanders, knew about the relationship (or claimed they did), while others such as Nick had no idea. Both Sara and Grissom were forced to speak to supervisor Conrad Ecklie about their relationship, each giving him different versions of events when he asked how long they'd been together. Sara claimed they'd first become intimate two years earlier, while Grissom said their relationship began nine years earlier.

Because of the lab's policy on employees being romantically involved with each other, Sara decided to work the swing shift. 

Departure

Jorja Fox announced her intention to leave CSI in the fall of 2007, and Sara Sidle was written off the show a few episodes into the eighth season. Throughout the first few episodes, particularly following her dramatic escape from her predicament, she began to muse aloud about wanting a change, and not wanting to spend her time thinking about death. In the episodes leading up to her departure, she begins to be even more emotionally distraught by cases involving seemingly random acts of violence.

Her last episode, Goodbye and Good Luck, aired on November 15, 2007. Throughout the episode, her growing pessimism is contrasted with the optimism of new CSI Ronnie Lake, particularly when they respond to a domestic abuse complaint and Ronnie desperately wants to help the woman involved. Sara, painfully aware of what these situations are like, tells her that there's nothing they can do -- "in a week, we'll be back for her body. Or his. Or both."

Sara, meanwhile, is investigating a case involving the gifted young girl and substantially less gifted teenage boy from The Unusual Suspect. Hannah, the child prodigy who played Sara for all she was worth, gets under her skin again. When the case goes horribly wrong (I don't want to spoil this one), Sara returns to the lab, kisses Grissom (for the first and only time on-camera) and walks to the locker room where she cuts her nametag off her forensics vest. In its place, she applies a piece of masking tape on which she writes "Good luck" and leaves it in Ronnie's locker.

She leaves, saying goodbye to Grissom in a letter she leaves for him at the front desk. In it, she explained that she's been living with metaphorical ghosts since her mother killed her father, that she can't be surrounded by death anymore and that she needs to leave. She doesn't know where she's going, but she can't stay in Las Vegas. She tells him that she loves him but if she stays in Las Vegas, she will break down and she doesn't want him to see it.

The episode's final scenes involve her being driven through Las Vegas in a taxi as she reads the letter in a voiceover. The final shot is of Grissom, who appears stunned.

Fox has not ruled out returning to CSI as a guest star, and has said she is very interested in the possibility. 

Fandom

In the ever-expanding world of fan fiction, Sara is commonly paired with LVPD officer Sophia Curtis. Fans appear to either love her relationship with Grissom or hate it.

Resources:
www.grissomsararomance.com (yes, there is such a thing!)
www.crimelab.nl/facts.php?season=99&episode=99&lname=Sidle&fname=Sara
csiwiki.cbs.com/tag/Sara+Sidle
www.buddytv.com/articles/csi/csis-gil-grissom-and-sara-sidl-5240.aspx

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