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CSI Special: Tarantino's Grave Danger reviewed



Review: Lizzie Guilfoyle

The Season Five finale of Channel Five's ever-popular crime series, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, certainly lived up to expectation. In a story written and directed by cinema's Quentin Tarantino, it saw Nick (George Eads) taken hostage, imprisoned in a glass coffin (complete with webcam) and buried at a secret location. So, what for the 'grave-yard shift' (and never was a name more apt) started out as just another night, soon became a race against time to rescue a friend and colleague from almost certain death.

Played out over two episodes, it shamelessly exploited one of man's worst fears - being buried alive. Nick's realization of and reaction to his plight was both chilling and piteous to watch. And the overwhelming sense of claustrophobia, along with the deteriorating conditions of his confinement as Grissom and Co followed one false lead after another, was played out almost to the end.

As for motive, it wasn't money as at first appeared but love - a father's love for a daughter convicted (by CSI evidence) and humiliated by her experience in a penal institution. Love and hate, always so intricately linked, were taken to extremes, with John Saxon's father making the ultimate sacrifice which, in turn, stretched Grissom's ingenuity to the limit. Yet strangely it was with the daughter, not the CSIs, that the story ended - in this respect, somewhat ambiguously I felt.

But it was good to see the team working together again; the frictions of past episodes set aside in a common objective. And if Grissom's power of leadership was ever in doubt, here was proof to the contrary. As he himself said in the concluding minutes, "I want my team back". So do we Grissom. So do we....

As always, the cast members were totally convincing but particular credit must go to Eads for his portrayal of a man confronted by his worst nightmare - especially as, given the circumstances, the role required few words and limited action. Gary Dourdan (Warrick) also deserves a mention for his sensitive interpretation of a man haunted by the knowledge that, but for the toss of a coin, the roles would most certainly have been reversed.

There were, of course, lighter moments - most notably the banter between two members of an intimate foursome that included Catherine's father, Sam Braun. Nevertheless, a surprise cameo appearance by two of Hollywood's 'golden oldies' could well have been missed without reference to 'The Vikings'.

On the negative side, however, Nick's hallucinatory post-mortem failed in its attempt to amuse, coming across instead, as ghoulish and unnecessary - more a time-filler or an over indulgence of Tarantino's lust for the macabre. In fact, the whole was stamped with the Tarantino hallmark - even the temporarily shelved case in which two young women (twins as it turned out) were shot in the head at point-blank range.

It was, to say the least, a harrowing 100 minutes worth of TV drama; undeniably entertaining but possibly not one destined for repeat viewing.

CSI: Season 5 finale - A Tarantino devotee writes

CSI Season 4 - review

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