Catherine Willows (Marg Helgenberger) is a night supervisor and CSI Level 3 on the hit television show "CSI." She resides in Clark County, Nevada, near Las Vegas. Her closest friend and colleague is Gil Grissom (William Petersen), who recently retired from the lab. Catherine is also friends with another member of the team, Nick Stokes (George Eads), who she calls "Nickie." Her other colleagues include Captain Jim Brass (Paul Guilfoyle), Chief Medical Examiner Al Robbins (Robert David Hall), and CSI Level 3 Greg Sanders (Eric Szmanda).
Catherine's single mother, Lily Flynn (Anita Gillette), made a living as a showgirl and waitress. The small family moved often and instead of graduating from high school, Catherine dropped out to become an exotic dancer. A regular at the dance club where she worked, a detective, later encouraged her to go back to school to improve her life. Catherine decided to continue her education and eventually earned a degree in Medical Science. She later discovers that an old family friend, a casino boss and somewhat shady character is her biological father. Soon after she accepts the real identity of her father, he is shot and dies in her arms.
Catherine had a rocky relationship with her ex-husband Eddie Willows (Timothy Carhart). In the episode "Lady Heather's Box, " he was murdered but a killer was never charged due to insufficient evidence. This was difficult for Catherine to accept as she solves crimes for a living. Her relationship with her daughter (Madison McReynolds/Kay Panabaker) worsened after Eddie's death. Working the night shift, Catherine did not get to spend a lot of time with her daughter.
Catherine has faced a lot of heartache in her time on "CSI." She not only lost her father and her ex-husband but a close colleague as well. Warrick Brown (Gary Dourdan) and Catherine had a very close relationship. When he was killed by a mole in the LVPD at the end of season 8/beginning of season 9, Catherine took it very hard. Soon after Warrick's death, her mentor and confidant, Grissom, retires from the lab leaving her to succeed him as supervisor of the night shift.
Fans love the character of Catherine Willows. Bravo rated her at number 82 out of 100 of the Greatest TV Characters. Marg? ??Helgenberger's role as Catherine Willows has been so popular that she's received two Emmy nominations and two Golden Globe nominations for her portrayal of the character.
"I love this job. I mean... we're just a bunch of kids getting paid to work on puzzles. Sometimes there's a piece missing. Sometimes we solve it in one night."
"Stick with it out. At least until you solve your first case. And if after that, you don't feel like King Kong on cocaine. Then you can quit. But, if you stay, with my hand to God, you will never regret it."
"So you slept through the whole thing and woke up next to a dead body? "
"Yes! Actually, senior year I took Rocks for Jocks, I dated the TA."