Written with Temple A. Stark
“Like Hansel and Gretel, we just follow the crumbs all the way home”
— Catherine Willows – episode “And Then There Were None”
CSI, just another crime show? No, there’s one difference – I’ll make a point of turning on this one. For the eye candy. For the character interplay (actually, witty) and for one other reason shared by most other programs in this genre. As CSI: Miami star Adam Ridriguez said in the Feb. 11 USA Weekend, it’s to watch the crime being solved:
“Innately, everybody has a morbid curiosity,” he told USA Weekend. “And beyond that, it’s the same thing that’s made Sherlock Holmes popular — people tune in to solve the mystery … ”
People love a puzzle, and they are still one of America’s No. 1 past-times (as is murder).
More than Law and Order and many other run-of-the-mill shows – there’s a lot of back story to each character. And not all of it depressing. There are exceptions to this as we know virtually nothing about Horatio Caine.
In the original CSI Gil Grissom (William Petersen) keeps a tight ship and is admired by all his staff. With or without the beard, fans and work colleagues pay attention.
Not everyone likes each other, but professionalism always comes first. That’s reassuring when you’re dealing with a medical examiner’s lab, crime and bodies and their lonesome parts. For instance, in an 2002 episode (Cross-Jurisdictions) where the Las Vegas crew heads down to Miami’s South Beach to track a 7-year-old girl there’s frost in the sunny air. The charcters, in this case Gary Dourdan as Warrick Brown and Marg Helgenberger as Catherine Willows, get rubbed the wrong way by Lt. Caine but it doesn’t overpower the show, letting it ride as an undercurrent throughout. Of course, this was the introduction to Horatio, Eric Delko and Calleigh Duquesne in their CSI: Miami spin-off.
CSI: New York, puts together a new cast of characters on a busy night of TV. While I thought the producers lacked orginality in placing it in The Big Apple – (Don’t CSI: Topeka or CSI: Sitka have a nice ring) – it’s a worthy part of the triumvirate.
Gary Sinise, as Lt. Mac Taylor on CSI: NY burns on the screen and adds intensity to an already tension-filled show. Since its debut last November it has grown in popularity and hopefully will overtake CSI: Miami.
Putting Sinise in was a wise move. As an already established film actor, people will watch the show that much more easily. He has the acting chops to portray both someone who cares about his job and his team while unafraid to play the heavy if it gets the main suspect to confess. Teaming up with Melina Kanekaredes (viewers might remember her from Providence and Guiding Light) was perfect chemistry.
That being said, one person to watch is Carmine Giovanazzo, who plays Danny Messer. Why? He’s gorgeous, for one thing. For another, this New York native fits right into the gritty calvacade of elements which define the Big Apple as one of the most eclectic cities in the world.
It’s easy to point out the flaws of a show – for instance the slow motion shots and accompanying squelchs of bullets, knives and various other fatal instruments penetrating and destroying flesh. That’s the part I’ve never enjoyed because none of that really does anything but highlight the special effects department. And after the first few times, well, you know they can do it. It’s always red inside the body.
Each version of CSI has its own unique flair. If you don’t watch for the evidence collection, see it for the smartly written verbage of subtle references to current events. Such as the nod to the Westminster dog show on the episode “Recycling” in NY or the alligator run ins on Miami.
CSI and other television shows today have the ability to serve fans like no other time. Through character and episode guides on the WWW people drawn into the environment of a cast month and years after a show first airs can become intimately familar with all the undercurrents from Day 1.
And contests. Click away boys and girls. Stay alive.
Catherine Willows played by (Marg Helgenberger)
Gil Grissom (William Petersen)
Greg Sanders (Eric Szmanda)
Jim Brass (Paul Guilfoyle)
Nick Stokes (George Eads)
Sara Sidle (Jorja Fox)
Warrick Brown (Gary Dourdan)
Dr. Alexx Woods played by (Khandi Alexander)
Calleigh Duquesne (Emily Procter)
Eric Delko (Adam Rodriguez)
Lt. Horatio Caine (David Caruso)
Megan Donner (Kim Delaney)
Tim Speedle (Rory Cochrane)
Yelina Salas (Sofia Milos)
Det. Aiden Burn (Vanessa Ferlito)
Det. Danny Messer (Carmine Giovinazzo)
Det. Don Flack (Eddie Cahill)
Dr. Sheldon Hawkes (Hill Harper)
Lt. Mac Taylor (Gary Sinise)
Det. Stella Bonasera (Melina Kanakaredes)