Crime dramas have a history of doing well on television, but nothing has ever had the kind of success of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation. When the show first came out, it was groundbreaking. It captured the attention of the American public and changed the face of American prime time crime dramas. Spawning two spin-offs, CSI: New York and CSI: Miami and several similar shows on various networks, the effect of CSI on prime time crime dramas is unmistakable.
CSI follows the mysterious (and sometimes wacky) cases of the Crime Scene Investigation unit in Las Vegas. The key aspects of CSI are the fascinating forensic and logical deduction techniques that the team uses to track down killers. It's the traditional whodunit concept, but with a high-tech twist.
Season nine opens with Warrick Brown's (Gary Dourdan) funeral. Sara (Jorja Fox) returns to the team, and she and Grissom (William Peterson) have several awkward moments before Sara realizes that she can not remain in Vegas. Over the next few episodes, Grissom's mood takes a depressive downturn — is it because of Sara's leaving, Warrick's death, or the change he finds in Lady Heather? Grissom eventually leaves to find Sara, leaving behind more questions than answers.
Enter Laurence Fishburne as Dr. Ray Langston.
The most polarizing occurrence in season nine is the departure of Grissom and the introduction of his replacement, Ray Langston. While Fishburne is still a great actor, it's nearly impossible to appease long-time fans of CSI with a Grissom replacement. Some fans accepted the change, while others thought Grissom's leaving should have signaled the end of the show's television run. While Fishburne's character Ray isn't bad, he just isn't as intriguing as Grissom. And, honestly, after Grissom's departure in episode 10, it became increasingly more difficult to watch the show. Soon after Grissom leaves and Ray comes in, the entire feel of CSI seems to change.