It’s often difficult for a show to survive the loss of its lead characters. 13 seasons in CSI has lost its male lead twice (William Petersen and then Laurence Fishburne) as well as its female lead (Marg Helgenberg). That’s not too surprising for a show that’s been going this long, but it is surprising that with Ted Danson and Elisabeth Shue it feels as if things have been given a bit of a second wind, and that the going-through-the-motions of the previous few seasons has been replaced by a bit of a revitalisation.
Now that Danson’s D.B. Russell and Shue’s Julie Finlay have bedded in, it feels more like the show it used to be in the early days, although with a sharper, more modern visual style. It’s probably why it’s managed to outlive both of its children, CSI: Miami and CSI: New York (although it will be joined by CSI: Cyber this autumn, starring Patricia Arquette). It’s managed to reinvent itself enough while keeping enough of its core mentality and characters to still work.
Season 13 gives us 22 more episodes, ranging from a killing at a rave to the discovery of a mass gravesite in the desert outside Las Vegas. As so often with detective shows, there are a few too many cases with a personal connection to the CSI team. Indeed by the end of the season you’d be forgiven for thinking that the best way to get murdered is to be somehow connected to a crime scene investigator. Whether it’s someone Nick Stokes (George Eads) knows being killed, or a body found on the grave of former CSI Warwick Brown, they are investigating a close to home a little too often.
That’s particularly true at the beginning and end of the season. In the first episode D.B. Russell is chasing down his kidnapped granddaughter while CSI head honcho Ecklie is fighting for his life. In the final episode Detective Brass’ (Paul Guilfoye) daughter may be in the sights of a serial killer. All this personal connection is a bit daft, but it is entertaining.
There’s also time for a crossover with CSI: New York, which starts off with Gary Sinise’s Mac Taylor heading to Vegas, before D.B. Russell follow Mac back to New York for an episode of that show. Although this is a box set of the Vegas set CSI, you’ll be pleased to hear you get both episodes of the crossover, so you’re not left hanging.
Overall Verdict: Although there may be a few too many cases that are connected to the investigators, 13 seasons in CSI is still a very entertaining show that’s managed to refresh itself with the major cast changes over the last few seasons.
Reviewer: Tim Isaac