Crime Scene Investigation
Season 3 - Part 1

Starring: William Petersen, Marg Helgenberger, Gary Dourdan, George Eads and Jorja Fox
Momentum Pictures
RRP 39.99
Certificate: 15
Available 05 April 2004

C.S.I. is an acclaimed, edgy, fast-paced drama series about a passionate team of forensic investigators who work the graveyard shift at the Las Vegas Criminalistics Bureau. Their job - to find the missing pieces at the scene that will help to solve the crime and vindicate those who often cannot speak for themselves - the victims. Between the hidden clues and the buried motives lies the trail to the truth because people lie... but the evidence never does...

I'm still unsure whether or not I would rather have these episodes in season box sets, rather than the format that Momentum have used so far. Splitting the seasons in half does nicely break up the release so there is something to look forward to. But, on the other hand, just as you are starting to get into the swing of the episodes it is very frustrating that you then have to wait to see the rest of the season.

There are some great episodes in this collection. My three favourites have to be A Little Murder, Abra Cadaver and The Execution of Catherine Willows - all of which, coincidentally, follow each other - although they have no connection.

Little Murder begins when a popular dwarf is found hanging during the annual little people's convention. His average-sized fiancé is insistent that he didn't commit suicide, and as the CSI team starts to unravel the truth, she is looking increasingly like a suspect in her husband's staged murder.

This episode tackles prejudices within minority groups. There are two distinct categories of little people - those whose body portions remain the same as average sized people, only smaller, and those who have limbs that aren't in proportion to the rest of their body. Also, ignorant observations are tackled. Dwarfs are not "midgets", as Grissom points out.

Abra Cadaver opens with a woman who volunteers to be part of a magic show disappearing - for real. CSI start to look into whether the strange magician may be a murderer.

This episode is a lot of fun - as well as a little creepy. The actor who plays the magician is well cast, and gives a very creepy performance. And, just like his magic show, nothing is as it seems.

The Execution of Catherine Willows sees a serial killer, who Catherine helped put on death row, receiving a stay of execution on a new evidence appeal. This forces Catherine to re-examine her feelings and the case against him.

Another cracking episode which wrestles with Catherine's feelings about being responsible for putting someone on death row. The opening sequence, while a little dramatic, is quite scary. The death row inmate is actually injected with the lethal substance that will kill him and the stay of execution means that his heart has to be restarted. Also the ending remains unresolved. There are still a lot of questions left unanswered.

Where would CSI be without its sense of humour? As usual it's spot on. Ranging from the social comment (while looking for a knife in a park in Blood Lust, the CSI investigators find a gun, to which Grissom remarks: "What is happening to our parks?") to the corny (while removing a severed arm from a meat grinder in Recipe for Murder, Grissom says: "I'm going to need a hand").

This is a first rate series, and it is almost impossible to fault. However, I'm going to have a few moans in this review. That's not to say that I didn't enjoy this collection - I loved it. It's just that there are a few things that I took issue with.

I really wish that the writers would give a little background story to some of the other characters other than Grissom. While his hereditary hearing problem helps to flesh out his character, what about the other members of the team? Don't they have lives as well?

Also, I was really rather dismayed with the extras on this collection. Why on earth is there a featurette on the first disc that gives away the climactic events of the last episode? But wait, not from this collection, but of the next box set to be released. Not only that, but it gives away some more of the surprises that await us in the next collection. Wouldn't it have made more sense to include this extra on the next box set?

The only other extra (apart from the audio commentaries on some of the episodes) is a CSI tour of the police office - which is interesting. This takes us on a behind the scenes tour of the police office set.

On a lighter note... what is going on with Catherine's hair in this season. The last four episodes see her hair changing from straight, to frizzy, back to straight and then back to being frizzy again. It could be that she feels like a change and can't decide how she likes her hair... but I'm betting these episodes have been placed in the wrong order.

Despite my anal ramblings, I loved this collection.

Pete Boomer

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