Jesse Cardoza worked at the MDPD/Crime Lab seven years before the show began. He moved to Los Angeles, where he was involved in a six month investigation of a Japanese group called the Mosakery. He returned for the show's 8th season.
Upon his return, he formed a good friendship with co-worker Walter. They even play basketball together on their time-off.
Jesse cares about the people he encounters in his line of work. When he deals with a man who lost everything he and his family had, Jesse made some calls and got the man and his family a home and a job. When asked about it, he denied any involvement.
He goes to great lengths to protect those from his past cases. He went as far as to pay $10 000 to go to a charity event in order to watch over woman, who he is later seen sitting outside her home. When Natalia asks about his personal life, he makes a date with her to talk about it. He later stands her up, in order to observe the woman he is following.
In the episode "Show Stopper", he reveals to Calleigh that he was working on a case where a woman's throat was cut so bad she was nearly decapitated. The suspect was the victim's husband. The defense turned the trial into an indictment of the investigation, and the suspect then fled to Miami. Jesse followed him to protect the woman the suspect now lives with. It is implied that the woman is the same one he was following earlier in the season. He also reveals that the suspect killed his wife, Tracey.
The episode "In the Wind" visits a case from fifteen years earlier. It was Jesses first homicide. The case involved a discrepancy in a witness statement causing the death of a doctor on death row for the murder of his wife and daughter, as well as the attempted murder of his son to be postponed. The CSIs must revisit the case to find out why the woman suddenly changed her story from the testimony. The DA at the time corroborated the witness, and Jesse was told what to write in the report. They proved the woman really did see what she said she saw. Jesses career was saved by the wind.
In "L.A.", Tone, the man acquitted of his wifes murder in Los Angeles is now a suspect in another womans death in Miami. Jesse accidentally taped the murder after putting a listening device in Tonys house in order to protect Tonys girlfriend Anna. This is the woman he has been following since his return to Miami.
While working in L.A., Jesse was accused of evidence tampering after a cufflink disappeared from the crime scene. He was accused of being a dirty cop, and went from top cop to zero. To prove Jesses innocence, Horatio and Eric go to Los Angeles. There, they prove that Jesses boss was the one who took the evidence, and got Tony acquitted, and ultimately, got Tracey, Jesses wife, killed. After a public apology from the LAPD, Tony went to prison for his crimes and Jesses name was finally cleared his name.
In the episode "Fallen" Jesse Cardoza dies at the beginning, after the lab is exposed to gases.