Marg Helgenberger

played Catherine Willows in CSI: Crime Scene Investigation

Catherine’s birthplace and upbringing is uncertain. Early seasons have her birthplace as Montana while more recent seasons have her as being born and raised in Las Vegas. At sixteen she left for Seattle with her musician boyfriend. After she found him cheating she returned to her parents home only to find she wasn’t allowed to return. She made her way to Las Vegas where she began working as an Exotic Dancer. It was here that she met Jimmy Tadero, her mentor. He noticed something about her and encouraged her to become a CSI.

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 general 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.

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 dayshift 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.

Catherine shares a good relationship with most of her coworkers. Her friendships with Gil Grissom and Warrick Brown seem to be deeper than the rest. Her relationship with Grissom has a long history. The share meals together and confide deeply personal information with each other. 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 both of these men.


Catherine’s specialty is Blood Splatter Analysis. She has a B.S. in Medical Technology from UNLV. She was recently promoted to Swing Shift Supervisor. In the past year she returned to the Graveshift. 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 this case (she turned it down). The next opportunity came four years later. She requested the promotion only to find out her supervisor 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.