J.D. Lafrance
CSI: NY: Season 1 DVD Review

CSI: NY: Season 1

February 5, 2006

Director: Rob Bailey, Norberto Barba, Danny Cannon, Duane Clark, Emilio Estevez, Tim Hunter, ,
Starring: Gary Sinise, Melina Kanakaredes, Carmine Giovinazzo, Vanessa Ferlito, Hill Harper, Eddie Cahill, ,

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DVD Review

J.D. Lafrance

CSI, Crime Scene Investigation is a popular American TV series that has swept across the world spawning many spin offs, video games, comics, novels and heaps of other merchandise, just like many other American shows such as Buffy, X-Files, 24 etc… So what gives CSI any weight? Produced by Jerry Bruckheimer (Bad Boys, Con Air, Pirates of the Caribbean), his movie magic comes to the TV screen with CSI having an edgy fast paced, ultra stylized aesthetic.

In this third conception of CSI, the stories have moved away from the razzle dazzle, high roller, Sunkist lifestyles of Las Vegas and Miami and placed in the much more dim and gritty location of New York. With a brand new cast and characters and a brand new darker (almost film-noir, in places) style, CSI: NY brings a more grown-up feeling to the franchise.

Gary Sinise is Detective Mac Taylor, an ex-marine, haunted by the September 11th terrorist attacks, in which his wife died, and leads the crime scene team into solving the secrets of New York’s busy streets. Using amazing attention to detail, scientific skill and the latest technology, CSI analyze the scene, examine the evidence, follow the clues and piece together what happened to solve the mysteries. There is no such thing as the perfect crime; there is always a trace of the truth left behind.

As with the other CSI incarnations NY follows the familiar structure of a crime is committed or a body is found and two members of the team are called in, as the other two investigate another crime somewhere else and the audience follow both stories to their conclusions. Where CSI: NY excels is its use of New York and new, fresh ideas with its new location. In Season One Part One, watch the team deal with a rape in Central Park, a horse-bound cop getting snipered, a Chinatown bank robbery, a group of wannabe amputees, alley rats eating evidence, torrential rain and every now and then Ground Zero gets a look in.

The biggest difference in the new series is that it’s less “Bruckheimer.” The familiar CSI traits are here, quick cuts, the flashbacks to what might have happened, the occasional graphic close up, but this time happening under a blue tint and some very sepia looking morgue and autopsy scenes. All of the actors come from excellent television backgrounds such as Friends, 24, NYPD, Shasta McNasty and Due South, and unfortunately we are never given much about our leading protagonist characters outside of the world of work, which makes their performances difficult to appreciate. Plots are solved in the same episode leaving no room for series spanning crimes or stories and making it demanding to have an emotional attachment to the detectives.

Special Features:

There are more commentaries than you might have imagined, usually by a producer and never by a cast member. These commentaries are a patchy mix of informative tidbits and just saying what’s happening on the screen. The best coming from the CSI: NY opener titled “Blink,” where a few of the new ideas are explained and a few thought processes are revealed in creating another new series.

A short feature called “The Science Behind the Scenes” which comes across as an attempt to rationalize some of the more unlikely methods of forensic science than to inform us of the real life developments in technology.

J.D. is a freelance writer who is currently doing research for a book on the films of Michael Mann. He likes reading anything written by Jack Kerouac, James Ellroy, J.D. Salinger, Harlan Ellison or Thomas Pynchon. J.D. is currently addicted to the T.V. series 24 and enjoys drinking a lot of Sprite. This is not a blatant plug for the beverage but if they ever decided to give him a lifetime supply he certainly wouldn’t turn them down.
view all DVD reviews by JD Lafrance


Rating: 72%



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