It’s a wonder there are still new crimes to cover now that there are exactly 108 (a complicated lab test involving iodine was used to determine this number) variants of the CSI franchise.
On the other hand it’s a wonder that people are still prepared to commit crimes, no matter how intricate and convoluted, given that they are guaranteed to be caught by a combination of science and the intuition of incredibly photogenic police officers.
Despite this, CSI Miami, the brand’s first spin-off, returns for an eighth run of beautiful people, stunning sunsets, swooping aerial shots of the city’s skyline, crime and the mercurial quasi-autistic Horatio Crane tilting his head and removing his sunglasses to reveal a wonky squint that suggests a constant exasperation at the folly of human kind.
This show has always been formulaic, but with this new season the formula is showing real signs of creaking at the seams under the pressure wrought by trying not to retread old ground. So we have, in an episode entitled ‘Bad Seed’, the rather ludicrous notion that not only is the team expert in forensics but that they are also authorities on food borne diseases and public health emergencies, having seemingly only read a couple of Wikipedia articles. In fact this same episode doesn’t even involve a straightforward homicide but instead rather unsatisfactorily focuses on a case of negligent homicide, whilst ‘In Plane Sight’ finds the team taking on the role of forensic accountants.
There are better episodes here though. The opening episode ‘Out of Time’ flashes back to Detective Delko’s first case, intercut with scenes of him in a coma in the present and ‘Bolt Action’, perhaps the pick of the season, centres on an ingeniously constructed electrocution.
The CSI franchise is undeniably exhibiting signs of tiredness – it inevitably lacks the freshness and fizz it had at its inception when it conquered all before it – but there is still the odd thrill to be found in the anticipation of the next unforeseen twist.
Season 8 will not win over the unconverted, but fans will still find something to enjoy. However, it is difficult to quell that voice in your head that is saying maybe its time to retire the test tubes and the microscopes and head back out onto the mean streets to do some real police work.
Released on DVD on Monday 25th July 2011 by Momentum Pictures.
Watch a classic CSI: Miami clip…