This past week has been bleak for my favourite television franchise.
After 16 years, the CSI storyline has come to a close, with the announcement that CSI: Cyber would not be returning for a third season this fall.
As some readers may recall, the original CSI is hands down my favourite show that aired on television. The crime drama had made for many a well-spent night, curled up on the couch and watching the forensic team for the Las Vegas Police Department put together what had happened and solve the crime.
How many times have I cheered when Gil Grissom did an experiment with bugs? How many times did I watch with glee when Catherine Willows outwitted the suspect every time? Or how about when Greg Sanders first expressed his desire to be in time field? I can’t tell you how much I cried when Warrick Brown died. Who could forget that two-part epic, by Quentin Tarantino, that saw Nick Stokes kidnapped and buried alive, with the team racing to find him?
CSI: Crime Scene Investigation had a good run. Not many shows can claim a 15-season run, an international following, games, books, three spin-offs, Golden Globes and Emmys. But it was a bitter pill to swallow when the show did end.
I had first got into CSI when I was about 15. By then, the show had been running for five years, and it was my older sister who was the fan. I forget what shows I was into then, but when CSI had first came out, I was still a little too young to be watching someone’s blood splatter (at least according to my parents). But my sister had the season DVDs, and we started watching them one day, and I became hooked. As I began devouring episode after episode, my sister told me it was still on TV, and I remember thinking, There’s more?!?
Throughout the show’s life, the characters breathed life. Yes, they had their own issues and storylines along with the whodunit theme of the show, but it never distracted from the crime they were solving.
And yes, there were some low points in the show. One example was seasons 10 and 11, when the characters seemed to get carried away and kind of forget that they were on the side of the law and ran wild all over the place as they hunted down serial killers and the like.
Thankfully, the writers quickly realized their mistake and reined it in for season 12, even showing that the characters had suffered consequences for their actions in the previous season, when the crime lab hierarchy got restructured and demotions/pink slips/resignations were handed out like candy.
And yes, the two-hour series finale movie turned out to be a disappointment, with (spoilers ahead) Grissom and Sarah Sidle – who gave up everything she worked hard for – literally riding away into the sunset together (after Grissom divorced her a couple of seasons ago), Willows quitting her FBI job to return to the lab to work alongside her daughter, Jim Brass as a casino security guard of all things and there seems to be no wrap of for the storylines of Sanders, Morgan Brody or David Hodges!
It is just so much easier to pretend that the film is not part of the original series – they really should have done that 16th season, it would have at least fleshed out the story so it had more substance to it.
And the first spin-off, CSI: Miami did not live up to its predecessor’s standards. I mean, when you have a show with at least one alligator/shark related death each season, half of your murders gang related, characters getting shot in the head and appearing picture-perfect the very next episode and every woman the team encounters is either a complete tragic damsel in distress who needs rescuing or a cold-hearted murderer, you have a problem.
But it can be quite entertaining at times, such as when you and your friends do impressions of Horatio Caine’s one-liners before the opening credits.
The second spin-off, CSI: New York, tended to strike a more serious tone in the franchise, as it often involved mobsters, and crimes with cultural, ethnic and power undertones and employed criminal profiling. Plus, New York-set series tend to be more hardened than television series set in other locations. However, it was still very enjoyable, and although its characters are not quite as quirky as those in the original CSI, they also do not distract from the crime of the episode.
Finally, CSI: Cyber was the final spin-off of the series, and took it in another division. Set in the FBI’s Cyber Crime division, the team consists of FBI special agents, ‘white hat’ hackers and convicted ‘black hat’ hackers who solve crimes that originate online.
Cancelled after only two seasons, I personally feel that the show did not have enough time to take off, considering the success of it’s predecessors, but we should have seen the end coming when they rushed to wrap up each storyline in the last episode – albeit giving each character a somewhat cheesy happy ending.
While I can go back and re-watch each episode any time I want, it is still the closing of a chapter in television history.
After 16 years and 797 episodes, there will be no more new shows in the franchise. But I guess all good things come to an end.
Farewell CSI; you have been good to me until the very end. I continue to enjoy you during the evening, curled up on the couch to re-watch an old favourite, knowing that even though I forgot a camera battery at work, at least I didn’t end up like that poor chap in the duffel bag.