We have reached the end of an era my friends. After 15 seasons, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation bid its fans a final farewell. These days, there aren’t many shows that get 15 seasons, but few are as fantastic as this one. Since its premiere in October 2000, CSI has been entertaining and influencing audiences all over the globe. This is the most popular of the CSI franchises, and rightly so. It has far superior acting, writing, and directing than those that came after it. How can you not like a show that made “petechial hemorrhaging due to asphyxiation” a regular part the lexicon? Lawyers have even complained about something called the “CSI Effect.” This is where juries expect the forensic science in real life, to match what they’ve seen on the CBS series. This show is so good that it survived several cast members leaving and new ones hopping on board. But no matter how many changes occurred, CSI managed to maintain its excellence. CSI: Crime Scene Investigation will forever be one of my all-time favorite shows. I will miss that neon laden lab, and the familiar characters that seemed like old friends. CSI set the police procedural bar high, and everything that follows it will have some very big shoes to fill.
CSI: The Finale is a delightful ending to what was one of the most consistently good shows on television. The 85 minute movie is a heartfelt goodbye to fans who have loved and been devoted to the series since its inception.
Things open with a bang…literally. A man walks into a casino, strapped with explosives, killing himself, and several bystanders. When the team looks over the footage, it appears he has some listening device attached to his ear, and is doing this against his will. If that incident weren’t odd enough, it happens again, this time at an elementary school. The CSI team thinks they may have a serial perpetrator on their hands; someone who is convincing otherwise normal individuals to wear exploding vests, and kill themselves and anyone else unlucky enough to be in the vicinity.
It just so happens the casino from the first bombing, is owned by former Vegas CSI investigator Catherine Willows (Marg Helgenberger, Mr. Brooks), who now works for the FBI. And the key suspect in these bombings, is a good friend of Gil Grissom (William Peterson Manhunter), a former supervisor at the Vegas crime lab. Catherine and Grissom return to help with the case, and fall right back into a job that both had previously devoted their lives to.
Grissom’s old muse Lady Heather Kessler (Melinda Clarke, The O.C.), a former dominatrix, turned sex therapist (seems like a lateral move), is the main suspect. Could she be sending lambs to the slaughter as a way of getting revenge for the death of her daughter and granddaughter? It’s possible, but as Gil Grissom was known to say, “Follow the evidence.” And that is exactly what they do; these bad ass investigators, following the evidence, find their way to the disturbing reasons behind these bombings. I’m not going to tell you who “done” it, you’ll just have to watch and find out for yourselves.
Grissom has an ulterior motive for returning to Vegas; and her name is Sara Sidle (Jorja Fox, Memento), who still works in the crime lab. There was a time when Sara and Grissom were a thang, and that led to them eventually marrying. But their unusual coupling ended badly, and Sara tries to gird her loins in preparation of Grissom’s return. It’s been years since the two have seen each other, but they continue to have an immense amount of respect for one another; and it’s easy to see that there are still fireworks between the two.
What CSI: The Finale does best is highlight the relationships of the people from the Vegas crime lab, current as well as former members. These relationships were always the show’s strong suit. It is wonderful to see the old guard together one last time, and watch them work alongside the next generation. Maybe, just maybe, there’s a window left open for a return visit to the Vegas Crime Lab sometime in the foreseeable future.
This is a good movie, with the usual CSI surprises, and misdirection, but it isn’t up to the standards we have grown accustomed to seeing from the series. That could be because 85 minutes isn’t enough time to wrap up a show that spans a decade and a half. Don’t get me wrong, this is a fine ending to a great show, but it’s patent and predictable storyline is the opposite of what the series offered on a whole. However, the reunion of the OG cast for one final case is worth giving CSI: The Finale, every minute of your time.
CSI: The Finale is a wonderful standard def 1.33:1 presentation, that does a great job of emphasizing the bright neon colors against the backdrop of the dark nights, and dim crime lab where the characters work. The Dolby 5.1 audio is crystal clear and easy to hear. Extras include two featurettes; “Case Closed: CSI Signs Off,” and “The Finale Cast Says Goodbye.” This is one of those shows that is highly re-watchable, and will more than likely gain a whole new audience in syndication and on Netflix.
CSI: The Finale may not be as good as episodes from the original series, but it brings the story of these devoted Crime Scene Investigators full circle, and gives us fans a chance to say our final goodbyes.
The evidence says…Not Guilty.
CSI: The Finale (DVD)
2015, Paramount, 85 minutes, NR (2015)
VIDEO: 1.33:1 AUDIO: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English), Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (Spanish)
SUBTITLES: English (SDH)
EXTRAS: Commentary, Featurettes, Deleted Scenes ACCOMPLICES: IMDB