It’s been CSI sweeps week in the US and we’ve been treated (?) to a Miami/NY crossover double-bill. I was both impressed and disappointed.
CSI: Miami was entirely predictable: all gloss, no logic, David Caruso strutting around like he owns the place, giving everyone else about three seconds of screen time. You’d have thought, given Republican-man’s perfect on-screen manners, he’d have let guest-star Gary Sinise get more than five minutes of screen time. But ‘Mac’ Taylor gets very little to do, most of it badly written, generic and designed to turn him into David Caruso’s sidekick for the episode. Other than Caruso, he only got to interact with Emily Proctor, making this a wasted opportunity.
CSI: NY was a different story though. This harked back to the early episodes of the show and even to the original CSI: Miami episode that acted as its pilot. It was gritty, bleak and once more, New York was grey and rain-swept. The stylings of Se7en were back and the show was the better for it. It’s been so dull of late, I didn’t even watch the last episode.
In contrast to the churlishness of Miami, NY was generous with the time and importance it gave its guest star, almost to the extent of excluding the regulars. Once again, Caruso was centre-stage with Stella and the others support to the Horatio Caine ego. Despite this, Caruso managed to fit into CSI: NY well, reminding you just how good he used to be in NYPD: Blue. It’s something the Miami producers have realised for some time: they’ve made sure that Caruso looks like his NYPD: Blue character in all the flashbacks to New York this year – quite an achievement after all this time – so that we get the hint that maybe Caine and John Kelly are one and the same.
Evil baddie of the the two-parter was Henry Darius. Serial killers may be so 1990s and exceedingly rare in real life, but they’ll always be good in TV shows when you need a ratings-winning body count. It was an excellent performance by James Badge Dale (who was the squeaky clean Chase in 24), although his motivation – I’m going to kill everyone because my dad wouldn’t admit to being my father – was somewhat short of the diagnostic criteria listed in the DSM IV.
I’ll tune into both next week, just to see if Miami gets any better and NY gets any worse.