Having watched both CSI Las Vegas and CSI Miami since its start it’s obvious that not all the episodes or story arcs are great, but even in their 9th and 8th season respectively, there are still episodes that remind me of the brilliance of both shows, or rather how they do things differently – and it works.
CSI Las Vegas had some brilliant characters over the years, including Paul Millander or the season long loose arc of the miniature killer, (I think this needs rewriting, not sure of what you mean) yet thinking about the most memorable episodes, it’s not any to do with either of them. During the 7th season I didn’t see the plot or the characters go much further.
- Sara Cidle’s alcoholism and relationship with Gil Grissom were pretty much fully explored and in the case of the latter started getting unbelievable.
- Catherine’s background as dancer and mom with a rather unpleasant husband, later ex husband, then deceased were looked into as well as her struggles as a single mom with a more and more rebellious daughter. There was also a focus on Catherine’s novel ways of dealing with her problems.
- Warrick had been through a gambling addiction, twice, and his long road to redemption helping underprivileged kids.
- Nick not only had a stalker, but also a one night stand that went bad with his partner ending up dead and he was also trapped in a coffin with bugs for a considerable amount of time in a finale that I still believe to be more hype than anything. Or maybe I just don’t like Quentin Tarrantino.
- Gil Grissom, of course, had his relationship with Sara, his obsession with Lady Heather and was the target of several serial killers.
- Captain Brass had his problems with his daughter which I do still think could do with another episode on it.
- And last but not least Greg who has come a long way since his days as a labtech, including getting beaten up by a mob.
However, just as I was about to lose interest along came several episodes that saved the show for me:
S07E20 – Labrats:
The episode centers around the labtechs of the office who, at Hodges’ suggestion, attempt to solve the miniature murder case or rather use their ‘fresh eyes’ to discover a connection between the killings. They find one which eventually in a future episode is a clue for catching the killer.
The idea to use the background characters that are unsubstantial in most episodes and barely have more than half a minute screentime here and there is brilliant, especially considering that there’s a great chemistry between them.
S07E21 – Ending Happy:
There’s a dead guy in a whorehouse somewhere in the desert, a former boxer and, over the course of the episode, it is discovered that everyone confidentially tried killing him that night by bizarre methods ranging from a shell fish allergy to an arrow and there’s a quite surprising ending not to mention great characters.
S08E08 – You kill me:
Again the narrative takes a different approach as the entire episode is around a board game Hodges is creating called Lab Rats. Throughout the episode various CSI team members solve fictional murder cases, such as Wendy being killed by electricity and Archie having evidence explode. It also ties up some loose ends and strengthens the relationship between some cast members, such as Hodges and Grissom bonding or rather Hodges finally getting the recognition he’s been wanting from Grissom since day one.
Yet after those brilliant ones, the show yet again deteriorated for me, none of the following episodes particularly stood out and even though Warrick’s death was emotional and the serial killer in Grissom’s last episodes terrifying, they weren’t quite good enough and three weeks ago I finally hit the point where I realised that I didn’t like watching either CSI nor CSI Miami any more. Seeing that I’m a creature of habit, however, I still continued to download and watch the episodes since then and, again, I am very glad I did for along came this episode:
S09E16 – Turn, turn, turn:
The episode centers around Nick, a motel and a girl that died there. Narrated almost exclusively in flashbacks all of Nick’s cases in the past year are shown and how they are all connected to the one girl that is now dead. It’s interesting to see how she changes during the time and how most of the cases are small pieces of the puzzle that eventually led to her death.
Does that mean all the future episodes are going to be good? I doubt it, especially considering I don’t like Riley or Lawrence Fishburns’ character. As long as there are some brilliant episodes amongst several average ones, I don’t see myself ignoring CSI any time soon.
As for CSI Miami, I believe that warrants another post, sometime!