When it comes to long-running TV series, American crime dramas seem to stand the test of time and if there’s one shining example it’s Crime Scene Investigation.
Created by Anthony E. Zuiker and produced by Jerry Bruckheimer, the series – about a team of a crime-solving forensic investigators based in Las Vegas – first appeared on TV screens back in 2000.
And now the show that spawned two rather popular spin-offs (following teams of forensic investigators in New York and Miami) is getting set to celebrate 15 years on air this October.
So why is everyone talking about it in the middle of March then?
Well, to kick off the celebrations in style CBS is launching new Patricia Arquette-fronted spin-off series CSI: Cyber with a global simulcast of the CSI episode that served as its pilot. “Kitty” will be simultaneously broadcast in more than 150 countries and smash Doctor Who’s Guinness World Record for the largest TV drama simulcast.
They’re calling it World CSI Day and yes, you can take part. Channel 5 will air the episode on 5USA at midnight.
Is CSI really that popular though?
Very much so. Back in 2009 it was estimated to have a worldwide audience of almost 74 million viewers across its three series strands and its list of audience and industry awards is extensive.
The original CSI – set in Las Vegas and now fronted by Ted Danson – has kept the viewers coming back for more for 15 seasons and made William Petersen’s Gil Grissom a household name in the USA.
In fact, the show’s influence on the viewers was deemed powerful enough to crossover into real-life investigations too: an increasing obsession with the importance and power of forensic evidence was labelled the ‘CSI Effect’.
And it inspired quite a few fans’ fancy dress costumes too.
Some familiar faces popped up before they were famous
Take Hawkeye himself, Jeremy Renner, for example. He made his CSI debut in 2001 playing a young man who was trying to clear his name in a murder investigation.
Before he was breaking hearts as Jim in The US Office, John Krasinski was Lyle Davis, another man being investigated for murder in the delightfully titled season five episode Who Shot Sherlock?
And a very young Dakota Fanning popped up in a season one episode playing one of two sisters whose entire family had been mysteriously murdered.
Famous faces have also jumped at the chance to make an appearance
Take a look back to 2009 and you might just spot Taylor Swift shaking it off in season nine’s Turn Turn Turn. The singer played a young girl who’d been found dead in a car park and donned a brown wig for the role.
Back in 2010/11 angelic Justin Bieber popped up in two season 11 episodes as a troubled teenager by the name of Jason McCann, who met a rather tragic end after causing a fair bit of mayhem.
And Saved By The Bell’s Elizabeth Berkley guest starred in a season three episode of the original series, before nabbing herself a recurring role as team leader Horatio Caine’s ex in CSI: Miami.
From Liev Schreiber to Joe Manganiello, Chad Michael Murray to Katey Sagal, John Mayer, Jon Cryer and even Charlie Sheen, the list goes on and on.
Speaking of Horatio Caine…
David Caruso’s character’s one liners and signature sunnies were probably the BEST thing about the Florida-based spin-off.
And of course we can’t forget those fabulous Who theme tunes
Catch the simulcast CSI episode ‘Kitty’ on 5USA tonight (March 4th) at midnight.