Review by Lizzie Guilfoyle
WHEN CSI: Crime Scene Investigation first hit
TV screens five years ago, it took the 'cop show' concept to a
new dimension. No longer was it simply a case of finding 'whodunit'
but proving it as well. And that's where forensic science came
in. Consequently, it made for some riveting, if at times, gory
In fact, so successful was CSI that it spawned not
one, but two spin-off series - CSI: New York which is
currently showing on terrestial TV for the first time, and CSI:
Miami. And it's Series One of the latter that now joins
its predecessor on DVD.
Comparisons with the original are, of course, inevitable so,
just how does it stand up to investigation?
Not surprisingly, the format is the same - yet how could it be
otherwise? So, it's all still here - the graphic depictions of
injuries and the physiological processes that lead to death; step
by step guides on how to perform autopsies; as well as the meticulous
hunt for and the examination of clues.
In a nutshell, CSI: Miami dissects crime much as the
coroner dissects its victims and with the same panache as we've
become accustomed to.
But what of the location and team of investigators - both completely
Well, if it's picture postcard Miami you're expecting, think
again. True, there's the odd shot of what holiday companies would
have us see but, for the most part, it's the seamy side of the
Sunshine State that takes centre stage - prostitution, drug abuse,
adult entertainment and, of course, murder.
And so to the investigators themselves.
Heading the team is Horatio Caine, played by NYPD Blues'
David Caruso. I'll admit, I've never been a fan of Caruso's but,
in spite of myself, I warmed to him through his character's compassion
for the bereaved. In the harsh, analytical world of forensic science,
it's like a ray of sunshine on a winter's day.
The rest of the team are exactly as you'd expect from CSI
- hard working, respectful and glamorous. Yet strangely,
we learn very little about them - Caine had a younger brother,
an undercover cop, killed in the line of duty (Bunk and
Dispo Day); Delko's father is Russian, his mother Cuban
(Slaughterhouse); and Calleigh has a tattoo (Forced
Maybe, though, that's part of the appeal. Rather like the Mona
Lisa's smile, it leaves us curious.
However, fans of NYPD Blues' Kim Delaney (Megan Donner),
will be disappointed that her character leaves after only ten
episodes (in A Horrible Mind) - a departure not explained
until Camp Fear.
A final word, storylines remain strong throughout and some draw
upon actual events for inspiration. For example, Episode One is
based on a jet airline crash, in the Everglades , on May 11, 1996.
The verdict then: CSI: Miami is no cheap imitation.
It very quickly assumes its own identity but without ever losing
sight of its objective - to entertain in the highest standard