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C.S.I.: Crime Scene Investigation Review

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by AVForums Jan 1, 2006

    So, Grissom and his team start a fifth year, but before we get stuck into this season, a brief synopsis for the uninitiated.

    C.S.I stands for Crime Scene Investigations which essentially describes exactly what they do - investigate crime scenes, via forensic science. The team consists of Gil Grissom, the leader, who has a keen mind but better interpersonal skills with bugs then humans, Catherine Willows, an ex-Vegas dancer who has troubled relationships and essentially gives the show some heart, Warwick Brown is a promising C.S.I who has had a history of gambling problems, Nick Stokes, another promising C.S.I. who is a little flash and a ladies man, Sara Sidel, the quite cold person who wants to be the best but has an obvious crush on Grissom and Greg Sanders, the lab tech who's quite a wild card and brings a degree of humour to the proceedings.

    Now you know the team, and as stated, this is its fifth season not to mention the other 2 spin-off's, what the deal. Well, pretty much business as usual actually. With added spice - it seems that the writers have added more sexual connotations this season that in previous ones. We've moved beyond the bordello from Season 1 to wife-swapping parties and paedophiles in this one. Other than that, the formula for the show the same as usual and is actually quite simple when you want to write a synopsis - one or more murders occur, the team splits into groups and investigates the crimes and usually by the end of the episode, they've solved the crime completely. Yeah - that's the show in one easy sentence and yes, we know that that is far from true in the real world, but then when did TV ground itself in reality? Even those god-awful reality shows appear to be heavily played up for the cameras (and if they aren't, the participants should be first against the wall when the revolution comes!). Anyway - back to CSI. Without spoiling the episodes, we have everything as usual, from deaths of hookers to ....well deaths of others - it's all very death/murder oriented. But is the show any good? Well, for me I ignore the science, largely because it's never quite correct (at least in the UK way of doing things) and unbelievably fast, but I do quite like the dynamic of the shows characters, not to mention, that compared to a vast majority of TV shows, it is quite intelligently written.

    However, there are a couple of major changes this season and I'm not sure everyone would think they are for the good of the show. For starters, Greg is now an aspiring CSI as opposed to DNA lab tech, which does inject it with a little fresh blood in some ways, but in others one can't help but feel he just suited the lab situation a lot better, character wise. Second major shake up is half way through the season, they break up the team. Now, while it threatens some tension between Willows and Grissom (when he interjects himself on her case), it's never really allowed to play out. On one side, people may hate the fact that the team is splintered across shifts, on the other side, while it stops it being the same old show for the fifth year, there was so much possible scope that could have occurred, yet didn't. Third major shake up, well sort of, is the presence of a guest director in the shape of Quentin Tarantino. Oh dear. I don't think it works in the grand scheme of things, sorry. Don't get me wrong, the story is fine but there are just too many Tarantino-isms for my liking. From the discussion about The Dukes of Hazzard board game, the Roy Rogers certificate, another person buried in the ground ala Kill Bill 2 (and recently seen in Alias Season 4 - who said originality was dead?) and the black & white sequence during an autopsy scene due to blood spurting ala Kill Bill 1, it's entertaining but not exactly gripping. However, when all is said and done, it's an entertaining enough season but I hope they can figure something out that makes the show progress rather than formulaic - a perfect example is the story arc from seasons 1 & 2, where a murderer that eluded them in one story in S1, appeared again in S2 and finished the storyline. As I eluded to in my review of season 4, we definitely need a shot of originality or something to save the show from feeling too much like we've seen it all already, although this is still enjoyable, but only just.


    Disk 1 - Viva Las Vegas - Down The Drain - Harvest - Crow's Feet

    Disk 2 - Swap Meet - What's Eating Gilbert Grissom - Formalities - Ch-Ch-Changes

    Disk 3 - Mea Culpa - No Humans Involved - Who Shot Sherlock? - Snakes

    Disk 4 - Nesting Dolls - Unbearable - King Baby - Big Middle

    Disk 5 - Compulsion - Spark of Life - 4 x 4 - Hollywood Brass

    Disk 6 - Committed - Weeping Willows - Ices

    Disk 7 - Grave Danger Volume 1 - Grave Danger Volume 2