You have to wonder whether Melina Kanakaredes pissed somebody off in CSI land. After six years playing the female lead character of Det. Stella Bonasera in CSI: New York, she decided to leave the show. However, the fact she’s no longer in the series at the beginning of Season 7 isn’t even mentioned. None of the characters finds it odd or even comments on it. In fact it’s like she was never there.
Presumably the idea is to treat things as business as usual, but it does feel like a bit of a snub after audiences have gotten to know her over the years. The show just powers through this departure, with Kanakarades’ replacement, Sela Ward’s ex-FBI agent Jo Danville, not in her job more than five minutes before she finds a dead body on the floor of the Crime Lab. There’s little time for an introduction, with Ward picking up immediately where Kanakarades left off. From there we’re back into the world of Big Apple murder, with all manner of dead bodies showing up and Det. Mac Taylor (Gary Sinise) and co. using science to sort it out.
Although it’s probably the least heralded of the three CSI shows, the New York set series has been the most consistent, never quite reaching the highs either Vegas or Miami have occasionally managed, but never falling into the resting-on-laurels doldrums those shows (particularly Miami) have suffered from at times. Sinise is a great anchor for the series and he’s surrounded by a very good cast. Indeed, the team is probably the strongest (and the best looking) of the CSI shows, from the slightly nerdy Sheldon and the streetwise Danny, to the enthusiastic Lindsay and entertaining lab tech Adam. While in an ideal world Sela Ward would go back to House and be Hugh Laurie’s ex-wife again, she’s a good addition as Jo Danville, bringing a touch of humour and added humanity to the show.
Season 7 sees a few notable guest appearances, such as Edward James Olmos and Peter Fonda (who looks worryingly like someone has ironed his face), while John Laroquette gets a three-episode story arc as a police chief with secrets to hide. Largely though the 22 episodes are a series of entertaining mysteries. Whether it’s someone found dead in a department store window or a sniper taking our New Yorkers, the CSIs are always there to delve into crimes that always turn out to be far too complicated for their own good. Admittedly it can get a little too reliant on coincidence at times, but the show has pulled itself back from the OTT murders and situations it flirted with a couple of seasons ago.
It’s a shame it’s never quite found the success of its sister shows as CSI: NY is very good and overall is probably my favourite of the franchise, with Season 7 being another strong entry.
Overall Verdict: Despite the abrupt departure of Melina Kanakarades, it’s undoubtedly the case that if you liked CSI: NY before, you’ll like it now. It’s fun, easy to watch and you gotta love Gary Sinise!
Reviewer: Tim Isaac