Review: CSI: Miami 5.1

CSI Miami in Rio

In the US: Mondays, 10pm (ET/PT), CBS

In the UK: It’s everywhere. It’ll probably be beamed inside your eyelids by the end of next year.

Characters re-cast: 0

Major characters gotten rid of: 0

Major new characters: 0

Format change percentage: 10%

New hair styles: 0

They really pushed the boat out on this one. For a show that doesn’t even get as far as Miami for its regular filming, you have to at least admire their willingness to ship some of the cast and crew out to Rio de Janeiro for this opening episode.

But oh my, was it ever stupid, even by CSI: Miami standards.

First of all, let’s reassure long-time fans. No one dies and there are no big format changes, although Natalia Boa Vista is now a trainee CSI rather than just a DNA technician. For some reason, that means Ryan Wolfe decides to get a bit arsey with her. No real explanation given. Hmm. Cally (Emily Procter) gets to be boss in Horatio’s absence and she seems to blossom after finally being chance to do something interesting (and not have Caruso around).

As for the Brazilian plot strand, which saw Delko and Caine chasing after a gang member who killed Delko’s sister/Caine’s wife, I just found myself staring in disbelief at the screen the whole time. David Caruso now stands completely perpendicular to anyone he’s talking to, and then bends himself into a set-square shape, before looking at them through his now highly weird perspective. Why doesn’t anyone ask “Why are you standing like that?”? He also appears to have the ability to turn himself invisible now. In a variant on the standard “lorry passing between him and bad guy” routine, a lorry passes somewhere near the two parties, not between them, yet still the bad guy loses sight of him. Astonishing.

Forensic science has also firmly entered the realm of science fiction, with drug dealers walking around Rio de Janeiro picking up only a solitary leaf fragment from the streets on their boot; Caine is then able to take a picture of the boot with his camera phone, beam it to Miami where it’s analysed at the cellular level and told that it only occurs in rain forests. WTF? How many mega-pixels and what kind of lens does that thing have?

No trip to Brazil would be complete without a quick drop-in on Horatio’s brother, nephew and unconsummated crush, Yelina Salas (Sofia Milos). Almost exactly what you expect would happen ends up happening, so you can also expect another story arc later down the line.

Csimiamiinrio-1To make sure everyone knows the producers stumped up for the cash for the flight to Rio, there are standard name-checks: Horatio wandering around the statue of Christ the Redeemer (why? Can he spot the bad guys from up on the mountain?); mention of the rainforest in the middle of Rio (which is somehow now small enough that Horatio can find the bad guys in an instant once he knows they’re there); talk of the favellas, with helpful explanatory dialogue (“I think they’re in the favellas, Eric” “Ah, the favellas. The shanty towns built on the sides of the hills…”); and so on.

I get the feeling that something was edited out, because events took place without any rational explanations whatsoever at times. People would turn up in places for no reason whatsoever, doing really strange things. Was everyone on drugs, or was it just Delko?

Nevertheless, despite being immensely stupid, this episode actually drew in 17 million viewers on Monday. Amazing. If you’re already in the Miami mindset, you’ll keep watching; if you’re not, rest assured it hasn’t got any better.


  • Rob Buckley

    I’m Rob Buckley, a journalist who writes for UK media magazines that most people have never heard of although you might have heard me on the podcast Lockdown Land or Radio 5 Live’s Saturday Edition or Afternoon Edition. I’ve edited Dreamwatch, Sprocket and Cambridge Film Festival Daily; been technical editor for TV producers magazine Televisual; reviewed films for the short-lived newspaper Cambridge Insider; written features for the even shorter-lived newspaper Soho Independent; and was regularly sarcastic about television on the blink-and-you-missed-it “web site for urban hedonists” The Tribe. Since going freelance, I've contributed to the likes of Broadcast, Total Content + Media, Action TV, Off The Telly, Action Network, TV Scoop and The Custard TV.

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