On Wednesday night, CSI kicked off its 12th season in a new timeslot and with a new lead, so get out of your octopus tub and click through for my brief (although probably not 73 seconds-brief) review…
I haven’t been a weekly CSI viewer for a while now (strangely, the last episode I watched was “Man Up,” which also featured a guest star turn by Carrot Top), and “73 Seconds” probably won’t get me to put it back on my regular viewing schedule.
That said, I enjoyed the addition of Ted Danson and the way his D.B. Russell is already shaking up the Vegas Crime Lab dynamic. As I wrote in my recent Give Me My Remote piece about shows replacing their lead actors this season,
… [After original lead William Peterson departed,] as much as the loss of Grissom hurt, the lack of a strong replacement hurt even more. Once [Laurence] Fishburne arrived on the scene, CSI seemed to turn into the “Ray Langston Show,” devoting the majority of screen time to the brooding former pathologist, despite his rookie investigator status. Not only did the show lose sight of the rest of the ensemble, but it also became much darker and more serious, robbing the already dark show (it is, inherently, about crime and murder) of its lighter moments.
It seems like Danson has already infused a necessary dose of levity to the aging series, but what’s nice about it is that he’s not trying to be the office funny guy. He takes his job — both as a crime scene investigator and the night shift supervisor — very seriously, and wants to get his team to get back to being “scientists” rather than “social workers.” But the way Danson plays him gives Russell a real sincerity and warmth, where you can like him as a brand-new character even moments after he berates Nick for a late report.
Russell’s new leadership is also causing friction between Catherine and Nick, who have long been friends and close co-workers. They easily get emotionally attached to cases, but since that approach led Catherine to be demoted, she’s insisting on a “by the book” method now, and it will be interesting to see how the tensions ripple out to affect the rest of the lab.
The cases themselves were nothing special — the octopus sex stuff was very strange and really had no relation to the larger case, while Sara and Greg’s was very tangential and forgettable — but after eleven years, fresh ideas are probably hard to come by. At least now they have a more compelling lead and some new character dynamics to make up for the more boring procedural aspects.
Bits & Pieces
- Elisabeth Harnois also joined the cast full-time as Morgan Brody, Ecklie’s daughter. Greg obviously has a thing for her, but I don’t think her father would approve.
- Seriously, what was the octopus sex all about? And why did Hodges seem to know so much about it?
What did you think of the premiere of CSI? Did you like the addition of Danson/Russell? Are you missing Fishburne/Langston?