What is the deal with CSI?

I used to be a huge fan of CSI. I was so into the show…probably giving the hour crime drama an embarressing amount of my thoughts during the day. I began watching in the third season, quickly catching up to all episodes. I’d have to choose my favorite of them all was the fifth. During the sixth, the show’s quality as well as my interest in it, began to decrease rapidly. Now the seventh has had both good and bad episodes, allowing it to teeter on a ledge by the ocean with a shark circling nearby. Whether the show moves towards regaining it’s charm and pace it had in earlier seasons or jumping over that shark to “It’s past it’s prime” territory we can only wait and see. I bet we will know by the end of this season.

Though the 5th season was really my favorite, I admit that was when it started to drop the ball. They began to introduce character backgrounds pretty heavy-handidly. We had Sara’s whole background of finding out her mother killed her father. Catherine’s saga was continued some more with exploring more of her relationship with her father and her mom had began seeing him on the side again. Brass tried to help his daughter out of a jam out in California and we saw how little he mattered to her.

But whether you approved of going into the background of these characters or not, the issues they dealt with dropped off. They have never been revisited. Are the viewers supposed to remember them? Will they be important later? Now in its seventh season we still don’t know and more plotlines have been dropped (Nick’s survival of being buried alive being the most notorious. )

The real bright spot of season five was the featured arc of Greg Sanders becoming a CSI. Honestly someone who has been with the cast since the pilot, Greg began to become more solid and substiantial once we got past the loud music and spicky hair. Greg was first trained by Gil Grissom-the man who is considered the superman of CSI forensics. However, Grissom’s training must have been limiting since Greg failed his first proficiency test; over something simple that made it look like the fault led to Greg’s lack of common sense instead of Grissom’s inability to properly speak to a creature that didn’t have six legs. From there it seemed his training was handed over to Sara who’s character is cynical in nature began to shine again like we first met her in S1. Their constant interaction was the one bright spot out of another shortcoming to S5, the team split. However, I think it taught each team member (even Ecklie) a little something and the team reuniting to find Nick for S5’s finale all that more dramatic and poignant.

The sixth season came and went; it started off promising it has become quite forgettable. The notable exception is with the excellent episode of Gum Drops that allowed the secondary characters a chance to shine without the leadership of either Grissom and Catherine. That episode was excellent and proved that maybe the show should begin to realize that what is dragging the show down is the same thing they insist make it so special, their stars: William Peterson and Marg Helgenberger.

Catherine started out as my favorite character on the show. She was smart with a quick dry wit but she had a few hangups, like diving into cases where she was too closely involved. I don’t mind characters having flaws, and her initial ones made her more sympathetic in my opinion. But as the years went by and Marg’s husband became the head of the SAG, her personal storyline has turned her into the self-centered heroine. I understand that Catherine has worked hard to get to this point in her life and I’m sure she loves her daughter very much…but it would be nice if they showed her putting Libby first. Or anyone else for that matter. William Peterson has become the ultimate in crime fighting, managing to play the roles of forensic scientist, psychologist, detective and priest to anyone BUT himself. WP’s comments to magazines and interviews of how he tries to keep a tight rein on his character and his actions but storylines that prove unpopular he blames it on the producers, writers and other CSI spinoffs presence. Basically that tells me all that the popularity of Grissom is through the hard work of Peterson himself while the failings/shortcomings of the show in general are the direct result from anyone else. (Keep in mind that Peterson is producer of the show, a title he says makes him very important). When William Peterson’s bullshit tells me he puts so much of himself into Gil Grissom, it’s hard for me to seperate Grissom from Peterson and wind up hating the character.

On CSI’s verizon, I see Liev Schreiber will be joining the cast, at least temporarily, to take over while Peterson goes on a hiatus (much needed I would say). I am really curious to see what he does with the role and where it takes the team but I fully admit I adore LS and would watch him in anything. I hope he kicks ass on the show nevertheless but my cynical talents lead me to believe once WP returns, any improvement will disappear and storylines will be dropped again. But hey! That wil be no doubt the producers fault and no direct result from WP interfering.

4 thoughts on “What is the deal with CSI?

  1. Well, you already know how much I agree with you. I imagine once LS leaves it will be like he’s never been there.

    Another problem with the show is that it has a cast of thousands. However, other shows with casts of similar sizes still manage to flesh out their characters (ER, Lost, Heroes); I can’t decide if it’s flawed writing or producing.

  2. I agree with some of your points – much of CSI’s sixth season was pretty forgettable (especialy in it’s first half) but I think the current seventh season has mostly been excellent and I do not mind the temporary addition of Liev Schreiber. And while Peterson being a producer can easily lead to ego problems, I don’t see what the big deal is, considering that his role of producer is limited, he has taken a notable break and there are rumours of Peterson leaving CSI permanently. Also you’ve missed a lot of CSI’s best moments if you never seen the first two seasons (also season five was a little formulaic..).

  3. Thanks for posting Ted!

    I have seen the first two seasons of CSI just not when they originally aired. Season 5, though still my favorite season, was not without problems such as the disappointment of the team split which had great potential in it’s conception but wound up limiting everyone too much.

    It’s not just producer though but executive producer which I believe gives a great deal of control on the show. I find it a bit too convenient for storylines with other characters get wrapped up as quickly as they began, but not Grissom’s.

    Lastly, I wrote this before Schreiber came aboard and was most disappointed in his role and his exit. As for Grissom’s absence, he was not absent at all as the show treated his sabbatical like he was going off to fight in Iraq rather than simply teach some classes for four weeks. I find it amusing that after all the turmoil others have gone through such as Nick (buried alive, stalker, gun held on him), Catherine (sexually and physically assaulted) and Greg (lab explosion, physically assaulted) it is Grissom who has the mental breakdown. Really? Grissom?

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