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CSI: New York - Season 1

CSI: New York

Review by Lizzie Guilfoyle

CSI: New York is the third CSI franchise and was first introduced to viewers in the penultimate episode of Season Two of CSI: Miami. And as you might expect, although locations differ, the format remains very much intact.

So to re-cap – CSI delves into the fascinating world of forensic science, in the process, sparing viewers none of the harsh and gruesome reality of sudden and brutal death.

That test results and the like are delivered somewhat faster than in reality, doesn’t much matter. After all, our intrepid band of CSIs have little under an hour to solve one or maybe even two, highly convoluted cases.

Which brings me to the CSIs themselves. Here we have a different band though with a leader who has all the hallmarks of his Las Vegas and Miami counterparts – a quiet determination to succeed, the ability to lead and, perhaps most importantly, compassion.

In the role – Detective Mack ‘Mac’ Taylor – and ideally suited to the part, is Gary Sinise whom film buffs will remember from hit movies such as Apollo 13 and Forrest Gump, both with Tom Hanks. He also appeared alongside John Malkovich in Of Mice and Men and True West.

Under his supervisory eye are Detective Stella Bonasera (Melina Kanakaredes) who, strong-willed as she is, inevitably clashes with her boss; Danny Messer (Carmine Giovinazzo) and Aiden Burn (Vanessa Ferlito), the two junior but highly efficient members of the team.

And no CSI would, of course, be complete without a coroner or a plain clothes detective and New York has Dr Sheldon Hawkes (Hill Harper) and Detective Donald ‘Don’ Flack Jr (Eddie Cahill). All are good to look at and thereby, go some small way in counterbalancing the customary helpings of blood and gore.

As yet, we know very little about the CSIs, except that Mac’s wife, Claire, died in the World Trade Centre attacks of September 11, 2001. With the day’s terrible events still fresh in all our minds, its inclusion was inevitable. However, it’s presented in such a way that it’s neither mawkish nor gratuitous – simply a sad fact of life.

We also learn that Mac is originally from Chicago; Aiden from Brooklyn; and that Stella is a foster child. But nothing more. A clever ploy, for by putting business before pleasure, it avoids the slippery slope into soapdom.

While researching the series, I came across a number of interesting facts. For example, did you know that Stella’s name was borrowed from two other characters – Stella Kowalski (from A Streetcar Named Desire) and Amerigo Bonasera (from The Godfather)?

And scenes for an episode entitled Rain were filmed during a real police terrorist response drill in New York City. Moreover, Kanakaredes and the producers were actually caught in a rain storm near Central Park.

Also of interest, one of the paintings that Danny looks at in an episode entitled Tri-Borough was painted by Giovinazzo himself.

The whole is fittingly interspersed with scenes of New York that we all know and love. The rest, I imagine, is for the most part, filmed in a studio many miles away. Not a criticism as such, for CSI: New York has acquitted itself admirably and is a welcome addition to the franchise – unless, of course, you’re squeamish…..