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CSI, CSI:Miami, and CSI:NY
Posted to Teevee at 05:21 PM on Nov 1, 2004

A multitude of cool filters.

Miami is just brimming over with pretty people. Alexx (Khandi Alexander), Calleigh (Emily Procter), The Other Beefy Guy (Adam Rodriguez), and Caine's hot sister-in-law, Yelina (Sofia Milos). All purty, purty, purty. They all look like Calvin Klein models. Except for David Caruso, who plays bossman Horatio Caine. David Caruso weirds me out because he's doing some kind of twisted Shatner impression. While examining a compelling piece of evidence, just before commercial break: "And...by...the...looks...of...this...someone else...did too", but the "too" sounds like a question almost. And he does that in every scene. And then he hangs around the suspects at their parties or workplaces, badgering them, just like Columbo, even after the case is solved. He's cornered the "swaggering tough-guy" market.

All members of the crew are clean, snappy, eager professionals. They all have little or no trace of a personal life, except for the newly departed Speed (Rory Cochrane). I always got the impression that he was perpetually stumbing into the lab half an hour late, slightly hung over. He was clearly the slacker of the group, which is why I grew to sort of like him. Then they killed him off. Now, I can't find a good reason to watch the show. Not even Sofia Milos. Maybe Sofia will do a Las Vegas crossover episode and I'll get to appreciate her beauty again.

Miami itself is shot through an orange filter, so it looks extremely bright and hot and not very pretty. Certain scenes give me that hanging-around-in-the-sun-too-long-and-getting-dehydrated headache just by watching them.

The brightest, hottest city in the continental United States, Las Vegas, is barely lit at all on CSI. Or as I like to call it, Original Recipe. The crew, headed up by stone-cold fox William Petersen, walk into pitch-dark room after pitch-dark room. Nobody in Las Vegas pays his electric bill, apparently.

This group is comprised of a bunch of science geeks and oddballs. Petersen's character, Gil Grissom, is a bug freak. Catherine (Marg Helgenberger) is a single mom ex-stripper. Greg (Eric Szmanda) is your classic nerdy geek. In contrast to Caine's John Wayne wannabe, you have Grissom's shy loner. Grissom doesn't like people, which is a focus of quite a few conflicts. In fact, at one time or another, every one of the principal characters has had a conflict with another recurring character. They're all kind of flawed; not as spiffy as the folks in Miami, which makes them a lot more interesting. In fact, a lot of the focus on the characters' persoanl lives has emerged in the last couple of seasons. I wish they'd cut back on that a bit. They're dangerously close to writing in an inter-office romance. If I wanted that, I'd watch ER.

I do like that Original Recipe does a "funny" show every now and then. My personal favorite episode is one called "Fur and Loathing in Las Vegas". The X-Files did a similar thing; a yearly show produced seemingly just for fun.

Rounding out the boss-type trifecta is Gary Sinise. He's the sensitive one. His character lost his wife on 9/11. He, like Caine, has a female sidekick with long, dark hair. Honestly, this show reminds me of Without a Trace. It, too, takes place in New York City and is shot with a blue moody-and-dirty filter. I like Without a Trace a lot, so I kind of get my weekly moody-and-dirty fix there. For that reason, I haven't watched the New York franchise all that much. I do know that the medical examiner, Sheldon Hawkes, (Hill Harper) is one of the most interesting characters on any of the shows.


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