It’s hard to believe, but the original CSI (Crime Screen Investigation) series debuted 21 years ago on CBS. The show ran from October 6, 2000 and ended on September 27, 2015. During its run, it produced the spinoffs CSI: Miami, CSI: NY and CSI: Cyber which ended its run in 2016. Last night, CBS debuted what the network calls a sequel series to the original. CSI: Vegas is sort of a hybrid of the original show and a whole new one and it’s a good fit.
Like many other people, I was a rabid fan of the original show for most of its incredible 15-year run, but I sort of lost interest in it after William Petersen left the show at the end of season 9. The new show is shiny featuring those incredible camera shots and the familiar “Who Are You” theme song. The show features characters from the past working alongside new characters working in a new and improved lab.
The pilot episode begins with a nearly-blind man getting attacked in his apartment. That man turns out to be Jim Brass (Paul Guilfoyle) the former homicide detective captain. Feeling pretty secure in knowing that the attack wasn’t random and was more likely an act of revenge, he calls Sara Sidle (Jorja Fox, who hasn’t aged a day) for her help. Flying in to help an old friend, Sara is warmly welcomed by the current head of the Las Vegas Crime Lab, Maxine Roby (Paula Newsome) to work on the case. Much of the episode focuses on the new technology available in the lab since Sara left it behind
The show also introduces new characters Joshua Folsom (Matt Lauria), a lead investigator who is more nerdy than his good looks would tell you; Allie Rajan (Mandeep Dhillon), a level 2 CSI and an immigrant who was supposed to leave the unit after a short stint but loves her job too much; Chris Park (Jay Lee), another cocky CSI and Dr. Hugo Ramirez (Mel Rodriguez), the off-putting chief medical examiner who is also a painter in his spare time.
Surprisingly, the first episode is a little slow-moving, most likely due to introducing all of the characters and bringing viewers up to speed on some of the show’s history, but keep watching as it becomes more riveting. It appears that someone from the lab’s history is either being framed or is responsible for a new threat of exposing supposed crimes of the crime lab.
Yes, Gil Grissom (William Peterson) is back on the case, but you’ll have to be patient since he literally only speaks two lines in the first episode. And David Hodges (Wallace Langham) is also back for the ride. I won’t be surprised (and actually disappointed) if other former CSI characters don’t pop up to say hello during the show’s first season of 10 episodes.
If you’re a fan of the CSI, you’re going to love the new show. Jerry Bruckheimer and his crew are masters of making likable heroes that you want to care about and root for as well as villains that you hate. And there are a few in-between characters that are odd or difficult that you’ll warm up to in time. This is a skill that too many people in Hollywood overlook. They focus too much on making characters unique and different but struggle in finding a way to make viewers want to care for them. This is stupid. If we don’t care about them, we aren’t going to watch the show.
However, by the end of the first episode, the current CSI team will grow suspicious of the former team which should lead to some interesting conversations going forward.
As always, the cases in CSI: Vegas are intriguing and the science is amazing even if it is sped up for TV viewing. The show is best of two worlds: a new show and a reunion of an old show. Not only do we get a chance to get caught up with our old crime-fighting buddies, but we also get to revisit this world in a new way. The only downside with the pilot is that we don’t get to learn much about the characters, but then again, that’s a lot like real life during the first week of a job and just intriguing enough for me to look forward to next week’s episode.
Main Image: CBS
I write about pop culture, arts and entertainment in the greater Seattle area.