When CSI: Crime Scene Investigation was released in the fall of 2000, it took little time before CBS realized they had a hit on their hands. It eventually ran for 15 seasons and spawned multiple spin-offs. Like many things in TV and film today, the series is receiving a second chance in the form of a sequel entitled CSI: Vegas. Even with the return of some of the major players from the original, how does this new version stand up?
It follows the familiar procedural formula with a few cases of the week. For the series premiere, an explosion at a local pawn shop is used to cover up a murder. The bigger case involves a hired killer being sent to Jim Brass. The man behind the assassination attempt is related to one of the retired captain’s old kidnapping cases where the suspect was never caught. Predictably, another victim is taken in present day and there’s a scramble to find her.
For fans of the original, CSI: Vegas utilizes its legacy characters smartly. Brass is the first one that we meet and its under a tense confrontation with the hitman. Because of him, Sara Sidle is introduced. Whether you are a longtime watcher or tuning in for the first time, she serves as a perfect guide into the updated world. Much like the audience, Sidle is new to this version of the crime lab and much has changed. There’s a new team and technology has advanced since the last time she was a CSI.
For a show that was mainly episodic in the past, it’s nice that the sequel begins with what seems to be an overarching story. I know the original’s series premiere was a two parter, but “Legacy” has a different feel with something more. Something that could span the entire season. It’s a compelling mystery that bridges the two different generations. The crime is in the present and the current team are on the clock to solve it but the potential impact could tarnish the reputations of the previous characters. It also leads to what I’m sure many were waiting for; the introduction of Gil Grissom.
With regards to the newbies of CSI: Vegas, there’s potential with the current team. Paulina Newsome plays Maxine Roby, the head of the crime lab. She has a brilliant mind but her long work hours has put a strain on the relationship with her grown son.
Her number two, Josh Folsom (Matt Laura), is very capable and seems to have a history with his colleague, Allie Rajan (Mandeep Dhillon) who specializes in obtaining DNA from dried out bodies. The member that stands out the most so far is quirky head medical examiner, Hugo Ramirez (Mel Rodriguez). He’s very amiable but a little awkward.
One thing that stays the same are the chic montages of gathering the evidence, preparing samples, and running the tests. They make science look so cool, which I love, but for someone who’s spent a good amount of time in the lab, it’s never as exciting. There are also the cool special effects and close ups during the dramatic crime reenactments. All key components of the original.
The series premiere is a comforting return of a fan favorite that does a good job bridging the old and new generations.
CSI: Vegas airs Wednesday nights on CBS.
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