Why CSI: NY is growing on me…

Since Gil Grissom left CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, TV editor Alison Graham has taken CSI: NY to her heart

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Since the departure of Gil Grissom, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation has become, more often than not, a dull and turgid thing, which is a shame as it was once the most mighty of all police procedural dramas.

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Grissom was the beating heart of CSI, giving blood and life to his small team. Now he’s gone, they are quietly dying. I feel for Laurence Fishburne, who admittedly doesn’t directly replace Grissom – Grissom’s deputy, Catherine Willows, has taken over – but he was brought in to fill a Grissom-sized gap. He can’t, through no fault of his own, largely because his character, Dr Raymond Langston, is so poorly scripted and realised. And dull.

So, in my sorrow, I have a) taken solace in the endless CSI repeats of Grissom episodes on Five USA and b) transferred my affections to CSI: NY (Saturdays, Five). This has always been the Cinderella of the CSI franchise, right from its rocky birth.

CSI: NY took an entire series to find its feet. If you watch repeats of season one you’ll see it was very dark, washed-out, grimy, gritty and urban, which didn’t seem to go down well with anyone (though I always liked this lack of sheen as it fitted with the dark side of New York). It returned with a second series covered in a CSI gloss after producers, worried that it was too grim for audiences, ordered a rehash.

I pretty much lost faith in the shiny new CSI: NY but recently it’s burrowed its way back into my affections. I like the team – impassive, plastic boss Mac (Gary Sinise) I can pretty much take or leave because he’s a bit too right wing and a bit too keen to give us his views on the death penalty (he’s pro). But his satellites are a good bunch. From glamorous Stella to lab nerd Adam, they coalesce nicely in a way that the ridiculous CSI: Miami’s shimmering personnel simply don’t.

To me the ludicrous Horatio Caine’s staff members feel as if they’ve simply turned up out of nowhere, like well-dressed strangers at a bus stop. There’s no sense that they are part of a wider picture.

I don’t even mind that CSI: NY’s writers attempt to give their characters personal lives – widower Mac occasionally has a poised and glamorous lady love-interest that you just know won’t last more than a few episodes, and Danny and Lindsay are a proper item now that she’s pregnant with his baby.

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To judge by some of the halfwitted dribbling fury of a certain section of the show’s fans that greeted this particular move, you’d think that the sky was about to fall in. But it feels right. And it’s sweet.