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CSI: Crime Scene Investigation - Season 9 Finale

CSI, Laurence Fishburne

Review by Lizzie Guilfoyle

THE season finale of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, Season 9, was disappointing to say the least. An episode entitled All In, it once again focused very much on Ray Langston, the physician turned CSI, who is played so sensitively by Laurence Fishburne.

As always, his performance was faultless but sadly he was let down by a lack-lustre storyline involving a cache of missing chips from a casino that had long since closed. Certainly not what we’ve come to expect from CSI – remember For Gedda, Living Doll and Grave Danger.

And much as I like Langston’s character, I think we’ve already established that he’s a decent guy – conscientious, caring and good-natured – so it hardly seems fair to sideline well-established characters in favour of a relative newcomer, however important he (or she) might be to the series continuing success. Catherine (Marg Helgenberger), for example, has never really been given the chance to shine since taking over from Grissom as Head of Department.

However, there might be an excuse for Nick’s fleeting appearance. According to reports, George Eads, whose portrayal of the young CSI has made him one of the show’s most popular characters, sustained a back injury last December and has been struggling with the role ever since. Accordingly and because the lab no longer has a ‘bug man’, Nick was dispatched to an entomology conference in Hawaii – an oblique reference to Grissom who, I have to say, is still sorely missed.

That said, Fishburne excelled as a man torn between his desire to save lives (he was, as he has a habit of reminding us, a doctor first) and his duty as a CSI. For having risked his own life to help an injured man, he was faced with a kill-or-be-killed situation. And although the instinct to survive proved greater, his subsequent pain was almost palpable. And great actor that he is, it was conveyed without a single word.

We’re also given a tantalizing glimpse into his background when he receives a box containing a medal of honour and a photograph of a soldier with the name John Langston inscribed on the back, from a Gloria Parkes. Nothing more, but to reveal too much too soon just isn’t CSI‘s style.

There’s also an element of friction between Langston and fellow newcomer Riley Adams (Lauren Lee Smith) who, despite being his junior in years, is very much aware of her seniority as a CSI. It makes for some great moments though, sadly, I haven’t yet warmed to Adams who comes across as aloof and not yet quite one of the team. But maybe there’s a reason and that too will be revealed in time.

All In is not entirely bad but as a season finale it leaves much to be desired. Like the series’ 200th epidode, Mascara, which likewise focused on Langston, it was totally unworthy of CSI.

Read our review of Mascara