“Sun. Sand. Killer nightlife.”
This is David Caruso’s show. The loss of Caruso’s Horatio Caine would be a blow CSI: Miami could not recover from.
Lieutenant Horatio Caine (David Caruso, Black Point) and the members of the Miami Dade Police Department’s Crime Lab use forensics and good old-fashioned detective work to put killers behind bars and bring all manner of criminals to justice. Before I get started I want to throw a warning out that some of the episodes are not presented on the discs in the order they were meant to be seen, but luckily the menus contain the episode numbers so it’s just a matter of paying attention.
If you re-read our verdicts, you’ll see that there is not a lot of love for CSI: Miami. The feeling is that the original is the best and the spin-offs are really the cast-offs, and while pretty to look at offer little substance. I’m not agreeing with the entirety of that statement. CSI: Crime Scene Investigation lost me back when the whole Sara/Grissom relationship (if that’s what you want to call it) came to light and I haven’t watched it since. And CSI: NY lost me a few seasons ago as well. CSI: Miami is the only one I watch with any regularity.
There are two things CSI: Miami: The Ninth Season did well which kept me coming back to play catch up. Wisely learning from the casting debacles suffered by the other members of the CSI family over the past couple of years CSI: Miami: The Ninth Season does not greet the loss of a cast member with a new person to whom everyone else must become acclimated. Instead when one of the CSIs dies, they bring back character Eric Delko, for better or worse. Another wise move is the elimination of the goofy open. For a long time CSI: Miami would open with someone delivering a one-liner while standing over a dead body. What was intended to be a serious trademark of the show instead became the subject of intense ridicule, as did Horatio’s Shatner-esque pauses and removal/application of his sunglasses. Now we just get to the crime solving without any of the cutesy moves which once defined the show.
That’s the good news. However, an overwhelming majority of this season’s episodes are stand-alones, which is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, if you missed an eppy chances are you could wait until it was rebroadcast without missing something crucial to the season. On the other hand, it relegated the show to catch-as-catch-can television as opposed to appointment viewing.
This sort of formulaic “case of the week” format also deprives the actors from sinking their teeth into their roles and really showing us any growth. It’s not entirely their fault, however, as the writers fail to give the season a compelling arc to bring the team together and highlight each member. I would have liked to see the events of the season opener resonate throughout the rest of the season because the near and actual loss of life which occurred affected every character. Instead what we’re offered are hints of seasons past as the team walks a moral gray area in terms of interrogation techniques and cover-ups amongst the members in a season where the emphasis is on amping up the action and changing the visuals at the expense of character development.
Overall, it’s a show to watch in the background while you’re doing something else, and I hope that the iconic tenth season of the show will really turn the heat up for everyone involved. This ninth season was good, but not good enough for it to be a standout of the genre by any means.
It’s amazing (and somewhat sad) that due to the long-running nature of the show there’s now an entire generation of humans who believe “Won’t Get Fooled Again” by The Who is only the CSI: Miami theme song. That being said, the Dolby track does its job and then some when it comes to not only that iconic Daltrey scream but also all the gunshots, explosions, and contemporary pop hits which litter up the landscape of the CSI: Miami universe. And of course the amber-orange palette which the show is known for shines so very well with this presentation. There is only a bit of grain and it’s most apparent during outdoor shots, especially B-roll of the ocean. Otherwise the look is beautiful and the colors are defined enough so that the trademark palette never makes the flesh tones look as though they were fake baked. But that’s par for the course for all the CSI shows. They may lack substance but they’re mighty pretty to look at.
The special features include a few featurettes, some deleted scenes and commentaries. The deleted scenes are beneficial for showing just how much extra tuning goes into the video before it’s finally broadcast, as the scenes shown are rough cuts, often with title cards explaining what would have been there. The featurettes include a behind-the-scenes of the episode star Adam Rodriguez wrote and directed; a look at the series’ 200th episode, “Happy Birthday”; a look back at the season in relation to the other seasons and an in-depth look at the finale. The commentaries are (mostly) free of talk of the weather on a particular day of shooting and instead are filled with little factoids about the shoots themselves, for example when things were inserted digitally versus a practical effect.
I will say the season finale is one of the better episodes of the series. There are genuine stakes and after watching it I honestly wondered if I had witnessed the end of an era and a shakeup I wasn’t sure the show could survive.
Unless you missed a lot of episodes or are a die-hard fan of “Ginger” Caruso allow me to ease your conscience and let you off the hook, as far as making a purchase of CSI: Miami: The Ninth Season.