There isn’t a truer tag line in all of television than “C.S.I.: Crime Scene Investigation,” “There is always a clue.” Between 20-30 million viewers every week watch the crime scene drama religiously. Myself included. I am a “C.S.I..” junkie. And not just for the original show on Thursday nights (Vegas cast – my personal favorite) but also for “Miami,” and “N.Y.” (the other 2 successful stepchildren). Thursday night’s installment has been the #1 rated television show since practically the first show in 2000.
The brain child of Anthony E. Zuiker, (Executive producers: Carol Mendelsohn, Ann Donahue and Jerry Bruckheimer) the franchise has blossomed into a multi million dollar dynasty not only in syndication but DVD release revenue. Interestingly enough, colleges all across the country have seen a 100% upswing in enrollment for forensic classes and Criminal Justice courses.
Everybody wants to be a C.S.I. In one interview a Criminal Justice professor joked, “Before the show I had eight students in my class. Now there’s a waiting list of over 300.” Not bad for a little television show that proved, ‘it could.’ On many occasions the re-runs spike the same numbers as the first run debuts. It was one of the few shows that even when the TV season ends, the shows replay throughout the off season to the same staggering Nielsen ratings. A hit is a hit, no matter how many times you’ve watched it.
‘C.S.I.” isn’t your run of the mill successful TV series. There are many things that set these shows apart from the norm. For one thing, they’re intelligent. Good solid stories, great casts that work like a well oiled machine (though “N.Y.” did undergo an overhaul at the beginning of the season, as did Miami – by losing a cast regular). The ‘Vegas’ installment stars veteran actor William Petersen (Manhunter, To Live And Die In L.A.) Marg Helgenberger (China Beach, Erin Brockovich) in lead roles: “Miami,” has TV vet David Caruso (NYPD Blue, King Of New York): “N.Y.” wrangled Academy Award winner Gary Sinise (Forrest Gump) and Melina Kanakaredes (TV’s “Providence,”)
Sure, they can be bloody, sure, they can be gory, but murder is a serious business. In this forum, it’s not out of context or done for shock value. To the credit of the writers and producers, a lot of the show and set up is done practically and researched by experts; forensic and law enforcement alike. The show is so good, the Vegas installment boasted a guest writer and director for its season finale a year ago: movie violence guru – Quentin Tarantino.
And what a finale it was. Watched by over 29 million viewers, the highest ranked show all year. This two hour beauty is on “CSI – Crime Scene Investigation: The Complete Fifth Season.” What you will find on the subsequent DVD sets are, audio commentary, behind the scene’s footage, and all the usual ‘goodies’ that make buying DVD’s so much fun.
All the awards won by ‘C.S.I.’ and their actors are well deserved and are sure to continue as the series’ evolves. If you’ve missed any of the fun, all the seasons can be found on Paramount DVD’s. There is no sign of the series slowing down as the new TV season now comes into focus. The staggering season finales regarding all three shows have fans, CSI websites, and water cooler discussions buzzing. I have my own take, but a good writer always keeps those to themselves.
I’m not a ‘plot spoiler.’ I do have some insight to the new season (I may not be a ‘plot spoiler’ but I’ve read some). This season on Vegas as well as Miami should be sizzling, and I don’t mean from the temperature outside. NY as well will have its own plot twists and turns. One thing is for sure, Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday nights are in for a shake up. Things won’t remain the same. Bring it on! I’m ready to roll.