Twenty-one years after the initial launch of the groundbreaking “CSI” series and six years after the series finale, your favorite crime scene investigators from Las Vegas are back. CBS recently announced the premiere of “CSI: Vegas,” a continuation of the original, featuring William Petersen as Gil Grissom, Jorja Fox as Sara Sidle, Wallace Langham as David Hodges, and more. It will air on Oct. 6, 2021. 

Related: Everything You Need to Know About “CSI”

At BuddyTV, we’re here to get you up to date by refreshing your memory with what happened during the last season and what to expect from the upcoming season. Let this article serve as your guide to everything “CSI” in 2021. 

What Happened Last Season?

“CSI” stands for “Crime Scene Investigation.” The crime drama follows a team of investigators who work for the Las Vegas Police Department and use physical evidence to solve murders. As one of the biggest shows in TV history, CSI ranks in the top 10 most-watched, with 337 episodes airing between 2000 and 2015. It also spawned multiple spin-offs, including “CSI: Miami,” “CSI: NY,” and “CSI: Cyber.”

Related: Guide to “NCIS” in 2021: Seasons 18 & 19

The last season of the original CSI series was a while ago. It wrapped up with season 15 in 2015, followed by a two-part movie finale that same year. Long-time fans assumed that was the end for the highly rated, long-running procedural drama. As it turns out, they were delighted to know they were wrong. 

Below is a recap of what transpired over the 18 episodes and the two-part movie finale in season 15 to get you back up to speed. 

Season Overview

A key theme of season 15 was the hunt for the Gig Harbor Killer, a psychotic serial murderer serving as an arch-nemesis for both D.B. Russell and Julie Finlay. The killings begin in Seattle, with both Russell and Finlay on the case in episode one. 

In addition to the Gig Harbor Killer storyline, the CSI team also investigates a copycat killer, kidnappings, a potentially deadly virus outbreak that lands Sara Sidle and Greg Sanders in quarantine, the death of a high school chemistry teacher, a mass shooting at a forensics conference (with Morgan Brody, Sidle, and Finlay in the crossfire), a killing at a posh rehab facility, an alley stabbing connected to a kinky rubber doll underworld, a murdered prisoner, an ex-con buried alive in the desert, a dead body in the car of a former serial killer, a murdered superhero, and a murder victim covered in chrome paint.

Sidle reopens a cold case from 10 years ago of a family murder/suicide case after the surviving daughter’s recovered memories suggest her father wasn’t the culprit.  During the hunt for the Gig Harbor Killer, Russell decides to use his daughter as bait. In a final showdown with the killer, a team member is kidnapped and seriously injured, and motives are finally revealed. 

During the two-part series finale, “Immortality,” many former team members return to work together on a bombing case, including Catherine Willows and Gil Grissom. Grissom is revealed to have been working to preserve sharks in international waters until he’s arrested for trespassing at the Port of San Diego. Russell offers Sidle the opportunity to supervise the bombing investigation, which she gladly takes while vying for the position of crime lab director. 

Key Moments (Spoiler Alert)

The following are just a few key happenings from season 15 you might want to know moving forward:

  • Nick Stokes, a series regular from the beginning, leaves Las Vegas for a position as the director of the San Diego PD crime lab.
  • The Gig Harbor Killer turns out to have an accomplice: his twin brother. 
  • Julie Finlay doesn’t recover from her injuries and is revealed as deceased during the finale, “Immortality.”
  • Gil Grissom and Sara Sidle reconnect at the end of “Immortality” and are seen sailing together from the San Diego port.
  • Sidle ultimately rejects the position of director after it’s offered to her, and Catherine Willows assumes the role instead.

Cast Members With Leading Roles

Primary cast members from season 15 and the finale include:

  • Gil Grissom: Played by William Petersen, Grissom was originally the graveyard shift CSI supervisor. A highly respected forensic entomologist (the “bug man”), Grissom was a regular cast member from season one through nine and appeared in the finale. 
  • Catherine Willows: Played by Marg Helgenberger, Willows was also a former graveyard shift CSI assistant supervisor with expertise in blood spatter analysis. She was a regular in seasons one through 12 and then guest-starred in season 14 and the finale. 
  • Nick Stokes: Played by George Eads, Stokes is an assistant night supervisor. 
  • Sara Sidle: Played by Jorja Fox, Sidle is a CSI materials and elements analysis expert who’s promoted to director of the Las Vegas Crime Lab at the end of the finale. 
  • Greg Sanders: Played by Eric Szmanda, Sanders is a CSI DNA specialist with a background as a gifted kid who believes in psychic powers and has multiple love interests. 
  • Dr. Albert “Al” Robbins: Played by Robert David Hall, Al is the chief medical examiner and head of the county coroner of the LVPD. Married with three children, Al has prosthetic legs and rarely leaves the crime lab. 
  • Jim Brass: Played by Paul Guilfoyle, Brass is an LVPD homicide detective captain and serves as the legal muscle for the team. He was a regular from season one through 14 and appeared in the finale. 
  • David Hodges: Played by Wallace Langham, Hodges is a trace technician and a loner with an uncanny sense of smell. 
  • David “Super Dave” Phillips: Played by David Berman, Phillips is the assistant medical examiner with questionable social skills.
  • D.B. Russell: Played by Ted Danson, Russell is a skilled botanist and crime scene investigator. He is the graveyard shift CSI supervisor and director of the Las Vegas Crime Lab.
  • Morgan Brody: Played by Elisabeth Harnois, Brody is a CSI with a turbulent past. 
  • Julie “Finn” Finlay: Played by Elisabeth Shue, Finlay is the graveyard shift CSI assistant supervisor and a blood-spatter specialist. 
  • Henry Andrews: Played by Jon Wellner, Andrews is a DNA and toxicology technician.

What to Know About the Upcoming Season

The upcoming sequel “CSI: Vegas” serves as an epilogue to the original. Returning cast members include William Petersen, Jorja Fox, Wallace Langham, and Paul Guilfoyle. New cast members include Paula Newsome as Maxine Roby, head of the Vegas Crime Lab; Matt Lauria as Josh Folsom, a CSI Level III; Mel Rodriguez as Hugo Ramirez, head medical examiner; and Mandeep Dhillon as Allie Rajan, a CSI Level II. 

Newsome has appeared in a number of TV series in the past, including “Chicago Med” and “Barry.” Lauria is also a TV veteran, with roles on the series “Kingdom,” “Friday Night Lights,” and “Little Birds.” You may recognize Rodriguez from his role in “The Last Man on Earth” and Dhillon from her appearances in the series “After Life.”

When Will the Next Season of “CSI” Start?

“CSI: Vegas” is set to air at 10 p.m. Eastern Time (ET) on Wednesdays beginning Oct. 6, 2021. As of the time of this writing, the number of episodes for the season hasn’t been released. Although originally billed as an event series, it could become ongoing if well-received. 

What Things Could Happen During the Next Season?

CBS recently released a first look teaser showing Grissom and Sidle apparently back at work on a case, surrounded by new team members. In a promotional video, William Petersen mentions that the way we solved crimes 20 years ago when the original show aired is different from how crimes are solved now, hinting at new tools and techniques showing up in the lab. The video also mentions that the first episode ends on a cliffhanger.

While many cast members will be familiar, the story itself is new, opening with an existential threat that could bring down the Crime Lab. Brilliant new investigators are joined by former criminologists as they work together to prevent catastrophe.

Where to Watch the Next Season of “CSI”

The show will air on the CBS channel. If you use a cable provider, you can also watch on the CBS website after entering your login information. Those without cable can access the show via various streaming services, including YouTube TV, Hulu + Live TV, and fuboTV. If you can’t watch live, the show is available for streaming the next day on Paramount+ (formerly CBS All Access).

Seasons one through 15 can be watched now on Hulu, and seasons one, two, and 15 are available on Paramount+. You can also rent or buy the first 15 seasons on Amazon Prime Video to stream.

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Heather Reinblatt

Contributing Writer, BuddyTV