September 30, 2000
PREMIERES October 6
STARRING: Jorja Fox, Marg Helgenberger, William Petersen, George Eads, Gary Dourdan, Paul Guilfoyle
PREMISE: It’s the evidence, stupid. This slick crime drama focuses on “crime scene investigation,” the specialty of the forensic team in the Las Vegas police department’s Criminalistics Bureau. By relentlessly analyzing every detail at the scene of the crime, no matter how seemingly irrelevant or grotesque in nature, these sleuths have science and experience on their side to solve the case.
THEY SAY: “It’s not so much who did it, but how was it done,” says series creator Anthony Zuiker, who describes C.S.I. as “Quincy on drugs.” As exec producer Carol Mendelsohn puts it, “They’re scientists with guns.” Jerry Bruckheimer, better known for action film spectaculars (Armageddon), says the show “takes you inside a world I’ve never seen before” — literally inside, as when the camera zooms into a cadaver’s chest or intensely magnifies a hair fiber. Zuiker calls these shots “C.S.I. close-ups, something new and fresh.”
WE SAY: If only the characters were as animated as the evidence. The detective work is often gripping, but the detectives are mired in cliché, including the always terrific Helgenberger (China Beach) as a conflicted single mom. Wasting actors like her and Petersen would be a crime. (Jorja Fox, last seen protecting the first daughter on The West Wing, joins C.S.I. in the second episode.) - Matt Roush