CSI: New York

Season 1 Part 2

Starring: Gary Sinise, Melina Kanaka Redes, Carmine Giovinazzo and Vanessa Ferlito
Momentum Pictures
RRP: 39.99
Certificate: 15
Available 27 March 2006

Set in the city that never sleeps, CSI: New York is the latest spin off from the hugely popular
CSI series. Following on from Vegas and Miami, this CSI has a distinct New York City flavour and style. Dealing with a city with a three hundred year history and eight million residents is a whole different ball game...

The second half of the first season of CSI: New York (CSI: NY) concludes what is a remarkably impressive first season. Infinitely better than the rather dull CSI: Miami, CSI: NY is at least of equal standing to the original CSI show, and in some areas it's even better. Arguably the one thing that CSI: NY does better than the original show is show a more light-hearted side to the characters. The constant banter between Danny Messer and Aiden Burn is amusing and Hill Harper, is wonderfully believable as Dr Sheldon Hawkes. Hawkes is a much under used character (although all the signs are that he will play a much bigger role in the future).

There is also tension bubbling under the surface. Danny's past threatens to catch up with him and the conflict between Danny and Mac is played at just the right level. Actually, the character of Danny (wonderfully played by Carmine Giovinazzo) is one of the CSI franchises most believable characters. He can be a pain in the neck one minute and a comedian the next. This is a much more fleshed out character than we normally get in US dramas.

This box set starts off on the right foot with Tanglewood. The investigation of a suburban kid found beaten to death in the snowy woods of Van Cortland Park leads the CSI: NY team to Tanglewood, home to a group of teenagers gangsters. On the other side of town, Danny and Aiden investigate a tangle of another sort when a woman from an Asian massage parlour is found dead in a mysterious hit and run.

Highlights of this collection include:

Blood, Sweat and Tears: When the body of a teenage boy is found crammed into a 2' x 2' x 2' box buried in the sand at Coney Island the evidence leads the CSI team to the City Circus. While this episode is easy to work out, there's still plenty of great scenes. And any CSI episode with an elephant in it has to be a winner.

Hush: This episode starts with a robbery on the driver of an 18-wheeler truck. But when the tuck is examined by the authorities, a quantity of blood is found oozing out from underneath the truck's load. When the container is lifted off the truck the squashed remains of half a man are discovered. Meanwhile elsewhere in the city a nude woman is discovered. Danny and Aiden follow the evidence, which leads them into Manhattan's seedy world of sexual fetishism. This episode also also has this series' worst crime - a terrible Irish accent that is second only to Dick Van Dyke's "Cock-er-knee" accent in Marry Poppins. Also I had a slight problem with this episode. The murderer attempts to run Mac down at the end of this episode. Now, Mac hadn't framed him or really suspected him until he gave himself away by trying to kill the detective.

On the Job: When an armed suspect is uncovered at a secured crime scene, Danny's routine investigation quickly becomes a foot pursuit into the subway of New York City. When the suspect opens fire at Danny, he fires back and kills the man. It soon becomes apparent that Danny didn't shoot his suspect, but an armed undercover cop who was also in the subway. When Danny's account of events don't fit with other eye witness accounts, or the evidence, his job is on the line. This episode adds to Mac and Danny's strained working relationship. Again Danny ignores Mac and ends up regretting it.

The Closer: When the investigation of a vehicular homicide victim collides with a Boston baseball fan found dead in a New York parking lot, Detective Stella Bonasera discovers both victims had one thing in common: New York's pro ball team. This is the second episode in this collection directed by Emilio Estevez (better known for starring in The Breakfast Club in the '80s). The b-plot to this episode stars Michael Clarke Duncan (of Sin City and The Green Mile fame) as Quinn Sullivan, a man imprisoned for a murder he claims he didn't commit. While behind bars, he rings Mac on a regular basis to ask him to re-examine the evidence that convicted him. Could it be that the Mac's original evidence, in this case, wrongly convicted an innocent man?

I also had a nit-pick for this episode. When the woman who is hit by a truck at the start of this episode is brought into the CSI lab we are told that her work colleagues filed a missing persons report when she didn't show up for work that day. Is that normal procedure in New York? Surely they would just have assumed she was too ill to come into work or had had an emergency. Even if she was just off ill, and rang in sick, the chance of a message being passed onto her boss immediately is pretty slim.

What You See is What You Get: When a casual breakfast turns into a shoot-out, Mac must put the pieces of the crime back together. He follows the evidence to a federal informant with a "get-out-of-jail-free" card. In order to bring him down, Mac and Stella must crack a counterfeit ring and render the informant useless to the feds. This episode also has something of a love interest for Mac.

Extras include audio commentary on Tanglewood; The World's Largest Crime Scene (9 min featurette on why the show is set in New York and what makes the city so different to other cities in America); The Cast Examine the Characters (15 min featurette); The Zoo Year (a 9.5 min featurette that looks at how the first season stories have featured a variety of animals; and a 9 min CSI: NY Set Tour.

To be fair, there are no duff episodes in this collection - just good and great ones. In all honesty this is on a par with the original CSI series. CSI: NY is leaps and bounds ahead of the one man show that is CSI: Miami and I'm looking forward to seeing how the characters grow in Season Two.

Amber Leigh

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