Happy 200th Birthday CSI, and what better way to celebrate than a spot of Mexican Wrestling Lucha Libre, well why not? Honestly when I first heard the title and basic plot of the 200th episode special “Mascara,” I had strong images of Jack Black in tights and a mask, trying to explain to Brass how his DNA arrived at the crime scene, this was then followed swiftly by him jumping a shark. But, as we all know well enough by now, we can’t count on our first blush; if the evidence changes, so must the theory.
It wasn’t a raging gun battle down the Las Vegas strip, with the team chasing a whole gang of serial killers, who can only be stopped when they discover a new way to manipulate DNA or retrieve fingerprints from a dog‘s mouth. No, it was back to basics, with believable science and a good solid plot, with some memorable performances from our happy regulars and guest stars, especially when Lawrence Fishbourne lets Ray loose and pins a suspect to the table, followed by some LVPD window smashing.
The story was expertly handcrafted by two of the head poncho’s down at CSI headquarters, screenwriters Naren Shanker (A Bullet Runs Through it Part 2, Lab Rats) and Dustin Lee Abraham (For Gedda, Fannysmackin). The script was brought to the screen in a gritty but fresh and stinging style, with a strong focus on the characters insights. A gift we graciously receive from the award-winning director, William Freidkin.
“Who?” William Freidkin. Come on! Billy Peterson’s best bud who brought us The Exorcist, the film where the girls head goes all the way around… you with me? Good! Friedkin was also a guest director for the Season 8 episode “Cockroaches,” where for Brown it was the beginning of the end.
It was nice to see Brass leading the charge, Paul Guilfoyle is a stand up actor and lately I thought they had him on to much of a shorter leash. Alongside was Langston, who I’ve quite happily accepted into the Crime Lab Gang. Trainee Langston has been forced in our faces by taking majority of the screen time in the last few episodes. I believe their attitude towards us is, “like it, or lump” because Dr Ray is here to stay, and for $14 million would you be going anywhere?
I have a whole new appreciation for Riley after “No Way Out” because any lady who takes pistol-whipping like that deserves hats off. I truly am looking forward to seeing Adams’ character in depth, and Lauren Lee Smith is a talented individual. I’m pretty sure she will soon become a favorite, and give the girl a break; it can’t be easy following in the footsteps of Jorja Fox. I’m pretty sure Fox was so loved that some of the fans where near padlocking her to the set – not that I wouldn’t donate a chain or two to that cause, as I am a die hard Sara Sidle fan and I miss her terribly, but we have to eventually move on guys….
One problem I see that’s glaringly obvious is: where is the Greg we all know and love? The humor, the flirting, the smile and the HAIR! I know that Mr. Sanders has grown up dramatically since the death of Warrick and I understand that Sanders is now a level 3 and Eric Szmanda is playing him as more serious role, but remember all work and no play, makes Greg a dull boy! So lets see a spike or two back in the hair.
Catherine, the rock of the crew, Mrs. Dependable was there to play the needed supervisor role, it would seem maybe Marg’s cutting back on her filming a bit, as she hasn’t been a prominent character for a few episodes now. I’m hoping it’s just temporary and that they’re scaling back the regulars to give the audience time to adjust to the newbies.
Alongside our beloved team, there were some great guest appearances. Aimee Deshayes (who if you were paying attention appeared in the episode “19 Down” in Langston’s class) offered a creditable portrayal of a chipper college girl with high aims who got in over her head, although I have to admit her relationship with Ray made me a tad uncomfortable. The baddie of the day was brilliantly cast with Carlos Carrasco. His disturbing performance haunted me for several hours afterwards. If you think back to the days when Sandra Bullock was driving buses, you will remember Carlos as Ortis from Speed.
So let’s address some season rumors, shall we? Wendy Simms (Liz Vassey) will apparently be following in the footsteps of the great Greggo and becoming a CSI. I’m up for that. Let’s see what Liz can do when given more of an open range. We might get a new lab rat that Hodges can sneer at and irritate. There is one thing I have to stop: all this flirting between Miss Simms and Level 1 Langston. This has to stop right now! Shut it down!
Do you see CSI reaching its 300th birthday and if so, will any of the original cast be left? Will you be saying to your children and grandchildren when CSI reaches 400: “You know I’ve got Season 1 on DVD” and they will most likely laugh as at that point there will probably be nothing to play DVD’s on!
That’s it for the moment, but here is some recommended viewing:
To Live and Die in LA (1987):
Rent this classic! A bad boy cop drama starring a trim William Peterson directed by William Freidkin. A excellent example of Freidkin’s down to earth, bold style. We see Peterson as a rough federal agent who will stop at nothing to catch a counterfeiter who killed his partner, and I mean nothing. This film contains one of the best car chases of movie history. Also, note a young William Dafoe (Spiderman).
CSI: Season 6, Episodes 7 and 8 – A Bullet Runs Through It Parts 1 & 2:
Two of the all time greatest episodes of CSI, on the opposite end of the scale to Mascara. Watching these two will show, in spectacular fashion, the range ability of CSI. There are car chases, shootouts and old Bobby from Ballistics defiantly maxes out on overtime. Part 2, written by Naren Shanker, shows how quickly the good guys can be the bad guys. There are some great performances from Paul Guilfoyle and Louise Lombard in these ones.
-Abi Kirk, BuddyTV Guest Blogger
(Image Courtesy of CBS)