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CSI: Crime Scene Investigation Season 8, Part 2

CSI: Season 8, Part 2

Review by Lizzie Guilfoyle

IndieLondon Rating: 4 out of 5

WITH more than 89 million viewers across the globe, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation is the world’s most watched television drama. Which is perhaps not surprising considering it has taken the perennially popular cop show to a whole new dimension.

Even now, eight seasons in, it continues to deliver first class storylines in a format that remains virtually unchanged since its inception. But, as the saying goes, if it’s not broken, why mend it? Thus forensic science takes centre stage, while the private lives of the CSIs – Gil Grissom (William Petersen), Catherine Willows (Marg Helgenberger), Nick Stokes (George Eads), Warrick Brown(Gary Dourdan) and Greg Sanders (Eric Szmanda) – are of secondary consideration.

Yet it’s this very thing that keeps our interest alive, particularly as what little we know adds piquancy to hard-hitting storylines. In A Thousand Days on Earth, for example, Catherine – as a mother – is deeply affected by the death of a three-year-old girl.

It’s a moving episode in many ways, not least because of its heartbreaking conclusion, but it sees Catherine adopt an exceptionally hardline when pursuing a suspect who, as it turns out, is innocent – and not before ruining his life, which surely begs the question: did Catherine cross that fine line between what is acceptable and what isn’t?

Warrick, too, has been affected by his emotions – following his split from wife Tina, he’s been taking Zolpidem to help him sleep and Modafinil to help him stay alert. As a result, he’s become moody and prone to sudden outbursts of temper. And in Cockroaches, he finds himself framed for the murder of mobster Lou Gedda. Moreover, the evidence is such that even the diminutive and somewhat brusque Brass (Paul Guilfoyle) thinks he’s guilty!

But as we all know, Warrick’s days are numbered and it’s in the season finale, For Gedda, that his story concludes. Yet in true CSI style, all is not as it seems so the end, when it does come, is all the more shocking. Dourdan as the tortured Warrick has been nothing short of superb and his departure will leave a void that won’t be easy to fill.

Elsewhere and in the first episode following the writer’s strike, Grissom’s Divine Comedy, William Petersen’s dog Bruno makes his second appearance. While in The Theory of Everything, an episode filled with references to modern physics (all over my head too!), Grissom quotes Ian Fleming when connecting three deaths: “Once is happenstance, twice is coincidence and three times is enemy action.” And if that sounds familiar it’s because Auric Goldfinger said these words in the Bond novel Goldfinger.

You might also be interested to know that in Two and a Half Deaths, an unusually mediocre offering, the film studio that doubles as a crime scene is actually Universal Studios in Hollywood; and that the scene in which a bull rider is thrown and kicked in the face in the aptly entitled Bull is actual footage of Professional Bull Riders champion, Justin McBride, who miraculously suffered only concussion. Moreover, the ‘killer bull’ in this episode is none other than the McBride bull.

Apart from a few wobbles, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation is as good now as it’s ever been, although I can’t help wondering what the future holds. Petersen’s imminent departure following so close on the heels of both Dourdans and Jorja Fox’ could cause irreparable damage. Time alone will tell. In the meantime, enjoy it while it lasts….

Fishburne to replace Petersen

Certificate: 15
Running Time: 6hrs 14min
UK DVD Release: February 16, 2009