DVD
Crime Scene Investigation
Season 4 - Part 2

Starring: William Petersen, Marg Helgenberger, Gary Dourdan, George Eads and Jorja Fox
Momentum Pictures
RRP 39.99
MP385D
Certificate: 15
Available 11 July 2005


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...

The second half of CSI's fourth season shows no sign of flagging. The storylines, effects and acting just seem to improve as time goes on.

This collections kicks off with one of the best episodes of the fourth season, Suckers. There are two main stories, or crimes if you like, and both are really well conceived. Firstly there is the murder of a woman who was a regular on the underground vampire clubs scene (where people who should know better pay to have fake fangs added to their own teeth and then go around pretending to be vampires) and then there is a casino robbery - where a well thought out series of events keep the CSI team busy as they uncover scam after scam. I did find it odd in this episode that no one thought of turning the electricity off when it appears that a cable has fallen into the casino's swimming pool and killed a guest. Surely that's the first thing that someone would have done. Also, was it me, or did the photofit that is produced in this episode look like the criminal was Barry Manilow?

Other interesting episodes include Getting Off (anyone who, like me, hates clowns will love this episode); if you want a gory episode then XX will be to your liking. This concerns the death of a female convict who is torn apart after it appears that she tried to escape her sentence by tying herself underneath the prison bus; thrill seekers may think twice about riding another roller coaster after watching Turn of the Screws. This follows the CSI team as they investigate a number of deaths after a roller coaster leaves the tracks; and No More Bets has an interesting plot about the ability to cheat a casino using electronic wizardry. This episode also stars Eddie Kaye Thomas (American Pie).

This collection also brings back two familiar characters who have failed to be brought to justice in earlier episodes. In Paper or Plastic, it's Grissom's nemesis officer Fromansky, and in No More Bets Sam Braun is yet again under the CSI team's watchful eye.

While the crimes in this collection are diverse and interesting, I was disappointed to see that the personal stories of the characters didn't get much of a look in. It would seem that Grissom's secret illness has vanished - well, the writers don't mention it at all. The only on going plot lines involve Catherine's new boyfriend (played by Nicholas Lea - better known as Alex Krycek in The X-Files), and one other member of the team has a secret - but I won't spoil that for you.

Besides Eddie Kaye Thomas and Nicholas Lea, the only other notable guest star is Xander Berkeley (George Mason in 24) who makes a brief appearance in Bad to the Bone.

Extras include several behind the scenes featurettes (one each covering pre-production, production and post-production) and an audio commentary on Bad to the Bone.

There was also a bit of an error in the subtitles in Early Rollout. Catherine introduces saying: "Catherine... Willows." However, the subtitles state: "Catherine... Well it's..." Whatever that's supposed to mean. It's not really that important, but does prove that I've watched every extra and episode in this collection. Do I get a gold star [No! - Ed]

Without a doubt one of the best CSI releases to date.

Nick Smithson

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£29.99 (Amazon.co.uk)
   
£31.99 (Blahdvd.com)
   
£39.99 (Moviemail-online.co.uk)

All prices correct at time of going to press.