Review: CSI: Crime Scene Investigation — Hello, Ted Danson

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CSI Files reviews the first two episodes of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation‘s new season, offering thoughts on the year ahead; read Rachel Trongo’s take later in the week.

Towards the end of last week I woke up to the sound of a doorbell. I was in a particularly melancholy mood and was pretty eager to get back to sleep, but I was intrigued as to who–or what–could possibly be waiting for me. Gently tucked under the doormat was a little envelope and just down the driveway a FedEx delivery man giving me a thumbs-up gesture, acknowledging that I had seen what was there. It was only a matter of seconds before I ripped open the envelope and discovered that the first two episodes of CSI‘s twelfth season, a press release for the first episode “73 Seconds,” and a letter from Executive Producers Carol Mendelsohn & Don McGill made up the contents. My mood changed. For longtime viewers who have wished for the days of “classic” CSI (two case episodes, intriguing mysteries, engaging character moments) to make a comeback, season twelve is sure to please. At least judging by what the first two episodes have to offer.

Ted Danson joins as the new graveyard supervisor and the transition from former supervisor Catherine Willows to DB Russell is done rather seamlessly. It appears he’s been the acting supervisor for at least a month (probably longer) and is enjoying the Las Vegas location as his new home (his former place of employment was in Seattle, and I think it’s fair to say there won’t be a need for heavy raincoats in Sin City…). We’re introduced to him through the eyes of Nick Stokes (George Eads) as he returns from a three week training seminar and has absolutely no clue as to who the guy is. This makes for an interesting connection between Nick and viewers tuning in: who is he? what is his agenda? It seems like we’ll be discovering from Nick’s point-of-view as the season progresses.

Returning to a format from the early days, “73 Seconds” features two cases completely unrelated to each other. There’s a real since of unity from the start. For the past several seasons CSI has spent a considerable amount of time chasing serial killers (Dr Jekyll),and playing cat and mouse with Langston and Nate Haskell. The first episodes of the season truly feel more like an ensemble piece–something the show was known for during the Gil Grissom era. Sara (Jorja Fox) and Greg (Eric Szmanda) eventually break off and work a slightly lighter in mood B-case, but the A-case in the premiere does start off as a nice team effort which fans will surely enjoy.

Marg Helgenberger is given plenty of material to chew on. The first two episodes provide moments where Catherine gets to showoff her feisty side, and they’re quite enjoyable to watch. Catherine’s not too thrilled about being demoted after a relatively short reign as supervisor, but she’s determined to be just as hardworking as she’s always been. There’s a nice chemistry between Helgenberger and Danson, and it plays very well onscreen.

Each character is given great material to work with in the premiere; Doc Robbins and Captain Brass exchange tidbits about Langston’s new life in Baltimore, David Phillips (with the “assistance” of Hodges) performs a fun autopsy, Morgan Brody (Elisabeth Harnois) takes a meeting with under-sheriff dad Conrad Ecklie (Marc Vann), and more light is shed on Greg’s family. The second episode, “Tell-Tale Hearts,” goes back to a one-case episode that is just as intriguing. New writers Gavin Harris and Joe Pokaski penned the first two installments of the season and if these episodes are any indication of what lies ahead, I have a feeling it can only be good.

Mendelsohn and McGill’s letter started off, “Welcome to Season 12 of CSI. Thanks for going along on the ride all these years.” With the addition of Danson and a new creative spark CSI‘s ride will go on much, much longer.

 

The twelfth season of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation premieres tomorrow night, September 21 at 10pm.

 

Shane Saunders is a freelance writer and reviewer. His work can be seen on EDGE Network and ShaneSSaunders.com.

Shane Saunders
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