Written by Senora Bicho
The bar for the Eighth Season of CSI was set very high as, in my opinion, Season Seven was its best to date. While I can’t say it was as good, it delivered some great episodes and certainly was enough to keep me as an avid viewer. Two million other viewers didn’t agree, however, and stopped watching.
The premiere of Season Seven introduced us to the Miniature Killer, a serial killer storyline that continued throughout the season. Season Eight starts off with her finally in custody as the team desperately tries to locate Sara Sidle (Jorja Fox). In an act of revenge aimed at Dr. Gil Grissom (William Petersen), the killer has pinned Sidle under a car. The team eventually finds her, but the whole ordeal proves to be the last straw for Sidle and she packs up and leaves town midseason. Before the start of Season Five, Fox was the source of some controversy and was actually fired from the show along with her co-star George Eads who plays Nick Stokes. Both were looking for more money but in the end they were both hired back for no additional money while their other co-stars received raises. This time it is said that Fox’s leaving was at her request as she no longer wanted to be committed to a weekly series. I was not sorry to see her go. I was never particularly fond of her and the show managed for the rest of the season just fine without her.
Season Eight offered a crossover with Without A Trace and that series’ episode is included in the DVD collection. The scenes with Petersen and Anthony LaPaglia, who plays FBI Agent Jack Malone on Without A Trace, are the best part of the episodes and I wish there would have been more. They both provide the foundations for their respective shows and excel in their roles. These characters are very different with vastly different jobs and watching these contrasts brings a new dimension to each show.
In addition to the 18 episodes, the DVD collection offers many special features. Season Seven introduced an episode focused on the lab techs; it was very successful so they did it again this season with “You Kill Me” “While the Cast’s Away the Rats Will Play” is a featurette about that episode. A commentary track with the writer and the lab techs is also included.
William Friedkin directed the episode “Cockroaches” and he is joined by the writer and Peterson for an audio commentary. Peterson and Friedkin worked together previously on the film Live and Die in L.A. and play off of each other nicely as they each give interesting insights. There is also a featurette on the episode entitled “William Fredkin: A Different Take”. This episode not only offers a feature film director but it is also the beginning of the downfall of Warrick Brown (Gary Dourdan), which concludes in dramatic fashion in the season finale.
“So Long, Sara Sidle” pays tribute to the actress and her character and includes interviews about her departure. “What Happened in Vegas” provides a synopsis of the season. “Shot in the Dark” focuses on the unique look of the show. “TOD: A Bug’s Life” illustrates the important role that entomology plays in the show.
All of the signature elements that make CSI stand out are present in Season Eight: a unique look, feel, and sound along with strong writing and acting. As the series continues, the characters get better developed. This season had a lot to offer and while it wasn’t as strong as Season Seven it was still much better than any other traditional crime drama on television.