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played by: Marg Helgenberger
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|Born in Montana on March 26, 1963, Catherine Willows was raised by her single mother, Lily Flynn, a cocktail waitress and showgirl. Lily's unstable jobs caused them to drift up and down the west coast. Catherine never settled at school and failed to excel despite her razor-sharp mind. She left high school and found work as an exotic dancer to support her boyfriend's rock n' roll lifestyle. While dancing, she befriended a regular, Detective Tadero, who got her interested in crime solving and encouraged her to return to school. She graduated from West Las Vegas University in Medical Science, started as an assistant lab tech at LVPD, and worked her way up, under the tutelage of Gil Grissom, to a a CSI supervisor.|
Catherine was married to Eddie Willows for several years. It was during her relationship with Eddie that she developed a cocaine habit (which she kicked after leaving him). They have one daughter, Lindsey. Eddie was an off-strip band manager who didn’t have an actual job. Although it is never stated outright it is generally believed that he was abusive towards Catherine. She left him after coming home and finding him in their bed with another woman. Even after leaving him it took her some time to file for divorce. Eddie died several years ago after being shot in the stomach outside a recording studio. No one was ever charged with his murder because the evidence was inconclusive.
Not long after Eddie’s death Catherine found out her biological father was Sam Braun, a Vegas casino mogul. Unfortunately she found this out during a murder investigation. Several months later she received a check for $250,000 from him. Her father has been involved in two investigations since that time.
In the episode "Built to Kill Pt. 2", Catherine and her daughter are victimized due to a grudge against her casino mogul father, Sam Braun. She approaches Sam and asks if he has already had the man who attacked Catherine and Lindsey killed. He never answers because then, that same man approaches Sam from behind. Catherine watches over her father's shoulder as the man raises his gun, and, turning around due to a shout from Catherine, Sam is shot in the chest. He falls to the ground and dies in his daughter's arms.
Catherine’s relationship with her daughter has been strained recently. Between the demands of her job and Lindsey’s becoming a teenager this was inevitable. Catherine tried to ease the strain by applying for a position as day shift supervisor but was given swing shift instead which took her away from her daughter even more. Her mother now lives with her, helping to care for Lindsey adding even more strain to Catherine’s life. She does attempt to have a social life but she seems to have a problem choosing men who will treat her right.
She had a special bond with Holly Gribbs, the newly hired CSI in the Pilot episode, and was like a mother and a mentor to her. Catherine was deeply affected when Holly was shot and killed.
Catherine's delightful humor and amiable nature made her endearing even to the CSI Lab Techs, she is always seen goofing around with then Lab Tech Greg Sanders and with Jacqui Franco, the fingerprint tech.
Her friendships with Gil Grissom, Warrick Brown and Nick Stokes seem to be deeper than the rest. Her relationship with Grissom has a long history. They share meals together and confide deeply personal information with each other. Catherine has often made major sacrifices for Nick and have shared things with each other that they haven't told anyone else. Warrick is also there for her in times of trouble, willing to lend a shoulder to cry on when needed. She shares an incredible chemistry with each of these men.
|Catherine’s specialty is Blood Spatter Analysis. She has a B.S. in Medical Technology from UNLV. She was recently promoted to Swing Shift Supervisor. (5x09 Mea Culpa) In the past year she returned to the Graveshift. (6x01 Bodies in Motion) She is still a supervisor but her exact position has yet to be clarified. Catherine works from both scientific and intuitive perspectives. Her job puts her (as well as the other CSIs) in danger often. She has been attacked on a crime scene and she also been kidnapped. She has killed a man in the line of duty in order to save the life of Gil Grissom (unloading her gun into Syd Goggle in the process). |
Her first opportunity to be a supervisor occurred during the Syd Goggle case (she turned it down). The next opportunity came four years later. She requested the promotion only to find out her supervisor, Gil Grissom, had already sent in his recommendation that she be the one to fill the position. She returned to the Graveyard shift after a year and her current position is somewhat unclear other than she is still a supervisor of some sort.
She is a CSI-3, co-Supervisor of the CSI night shift, and specializes in blood spatter analysis.
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