It’s just been announced that CSI, once the most popular TV show in the world, will be coming to end with a two-hour TV movie due to air in the US this autumn. However, those following the show on DVD still have more crime scene shenanigans to look forward to, as Season 14 is now coming to DVD, and Season 15 is still to arrive (and that’s not to mention the TV movie).
By now it’s unlikely that you won’t know what you’re getting with CSI. Set in Las Vegas, the series follows the city’s crime scene investigators as they use forensics and science to track down the bad guys. While original leads William Petersen and Marg Helgenberger are gone (although Helgenberger has a cameo in Episode 5 of Season 14), they’ve been replaced by the extremely capable Ted Danson and Elisabeth Shue, alongside series stalwarts George Eads, Eric Szmanda and Jorja Fox.
Season 14 features 22 episodes, ranging from cannibalism on a reality TV cooking show to a killer who appears to be playing a very deadly form of chess, as well as series of murders with links to Kiss frontman Gene Simmons. As mentioned, Marg Helgenberger’s Catherine Willows reappears in Episode 5 – the 300th instalment – where the team look into a 15-year-old rape and murder that Catherine once investigated. It’s a welcome return although her appearance is brief (due to the fact she was making another show, Intelligence, at the time). The final episodes meanwhile tend to find extra time for Paul Guilfoye’s Captain Brass, as he leaves the show in the final instalment.
Although CSI isn’t the brilliant and fresh crime procedural it once was (the early claims that they tried to make each episode a mini-movie wasn’t hyperbole), it’s still a dependable and entertaining show. Indeed, it’s the best Season for a couple of years, relying more strongly on the crimes and investigations, rather than a somewhat tedious and unbelievable tendency to make nearly everything relate to the characters outside the lab. That was always a mistake, as in the world of CSI the interest has always been in how the characters relate to their job and the crimes they investigate, rather than their general lives.
Danson and Shue have great chemistry together (indeed Danson is better with Shue than he was with Marg Helgenberger) and help anchor things, while the others main cast, many of whom have been with the show since the beginning and as dependable as ever.
Overall Verdict: While it’s no longer as brilliant as it once was, there aren’t many shows that are still this watchable and dependable after 14 seasons, but CSI has still got what it takes.
Reviewer: Tim Isaac