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Friday, November 23, 2012

CSI: Miami

In keeping with the spirit of the last few weeks, this week's version of the Friday spotlight on television will once again feature a CBS dramatic series that was recently canceled.

I swear to you, I don't usually plan theme days or theme weeks unless I put a lot of thought behind them. In this case, I just got lucky, I suppose.

To kick off today's look back on television of the past, why don't we begin by talking about one of the most successful shows of the last few years?

By now, I'm sure that most of you have seen at least one full episode of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation. The show debuted in 2000, and is currently airing it's thirteenth season! The show, whose original stars included William Petersen, Marg Helgenberger, George Eads, Gary Dourdan, Jorja Fox, and Paul Guilfoyle was a revolutionary one for its time. At the time, there really wasn't any show quite like it (CBS' last attempt at a show that dealt with murder investigations prior to CSI was “Murder...She Wrote”, which ended in 1996). The show displayed a rather sobering look at what the investigation process was like at crime scenes.

Granted, the way that the show did this was by showing graphic flashbacks of bugs eating away at the flesh of deceased humans, violent images of people getting murdered, and grotesque autopsy scenes...but hey, nobody ever said that fighting crime was filled with glitz and glamour, right? At least the show didn't try to sugarcoat anything. In fact, the show was responsible for causing a surge in enrollment to various college courses in forensics and crime scene investigations during the early to mid-2000s.

The show became so popular that it spawned not one, but two spin-offs!

Now, the original CSI is set in Las Vegas, Nevada, where the crime scenes were illuminated with the lights of Fremont Street. In 2004, another spin-off, CSI: New York, debuted on CBS, and is currently in season nine.

And then there's the third spin-off, which unfortunately is no longer on the air, but managed to run a grand total of ten seasons overall.

And this spin-off took place in one of the hottest spots in the entire United States.

Yes, we're going to be taking a look at the now defunct CBS series, CSI: Miami. The show ran from September 23, 2002 until April 8, 2012, and was created by Anthony Zuiker, Carol Mendelsohn, and Ann Donahue.

With the exception of the setting, CSI: Miami was almost exactly like the original series. In fact, many might not know this, but the show CSI: Miami actually began as an episode of the original CSI series.

Towards the end of CSI's second season, the episode “Cross Jurisdictions” aired on May 9, 2002. In that episode, a former chief of police from Las Vegas is murdered, and his wife and young daughter are abducted. The same day, a dead body is found inside of a trunk of a car with the former police chief's hat, leaving Gil Grissom (Petersen) and his team to suspect that the two murders are related.

At the same time, a police report from Miami is brought forth, stating that they believe they have located the young girl who was kidnapped in Las Vegas. Catherine Willows (Helgenberger) and Warrick Brown (Dourdan) fly to Miami to track down this lead so that they can hopefully locate the girl and bring her back home. And it is here that the CSI: Las Vegas team meets up with the team from CSI: Miami.

Okay, from left to right...

Khandi Alexander as Dr. Alexx Woods – Medical Examiner
Rory Cochrane as Tim Speedle – Trace Evidence and Impressions Expert
David Caruso as Horatio Caine – Head of the Miami-Dade Crime Lab
Emily Procter as Calleigh Duquesne – Ballistics Expert
Adam Rodriguez as Eric Delko – Fingerprints and Drug Identification Expert

The two teams seem to work well together, and both of them have definite similarities with how they work as individual teams. There is one major difference that sets the CSI: Las Vegas team apart from the CSI: Miami team, and that is the fact that the Miami team tends to hypothesize theories about what could have happened, while the Vegas team relied solely on evidence that was gathered.

Now, I won't spoil the ending of the episode in case you might not have seen it, but with Catherine and Warrick working with the Miami team while the rest of Grissom's team did what they could in Las Vegas, the girl was found and returned safely, and the real criminal was caught and prosecuted.

And beginning that September, Horatio, Calleigh, Delko, Speedle, and Alexx ended up getting their own series. They were initially joined by Megan Donner (Kim Delaney), but she left the series after only a few episodes.

And since I bring that up, why don't I use this opportunity to have a little bit of a Q & A session, just so we can learn some more trivia about this CSI spinoff.

Q: Which two original cast members of CSI: Miami ended up staying on the entire ten season run?

A: That would be David Caruso and Emily Procter, who appeared in all ten seasons of the show. I suppose you could also add Adam Rodriguez to the list as he appeared in every season too, but he spent the middle of the series in a recurring role when he left to join the cast of ABC's “Ugly Betty”.

Q: How many main characters were killed off during the show's series run?

A: Two. Tim Speedle was shot to death during a robbery, and Jesse Cardoza (Eddie Cibrian) died of head trauma after being poisoned by halon gas in the eighth season finale and hitting his head.

Q: Why did Kim Delaney only last a few episodes before being written out?

A: The short answer is that she lacked chemistry with David Caruso. The initial backstory of Kim Delaney's character of Megan Donner was that she had just come back from being on leave after her husband's death. Her former job was the one that Horatio Caine had at the start of the series, and she was written out of the series explaining that she could no longer handle the job any more. She was temporarily replaced by Wanda DeJesus, and later by Yelina Salas (Sofia Milos), the former sister-in-law of Horatio Caine.

Q: What is the deal with Horatio Caine and those sunglasses?

Don't ask me the answer...I have no idea myself!

Q: What were some of the reasons why some of the characters left CSI: Miami?

Well, we already know the story behind Megan's, Tim's, and Jesse's departures. But did you know that Alexx, Delko, Yelina, and medical examiner Tara Price (Megalyn Echikunwoke) also left the series? Alexx left the series after trying to clear her son's name from a murder, and realizing that she needed to spend more time with the living rather than the dead. Eric Delko left the series after sustaining a gunshot wound and almost died. He left the team because he felt that life was too short. Yelina left the series several times, each for a different reason. And Tara ended up getting fired from the Miami-Dade Crime Lab after developing an addiction to Oxycodone, stealing a bottle from a deceased victim, and pinning the blame on Julia Winston (Elizabeth Berkley) who proceeded to hold everyone in the autopsy room hostage.

TRIVIA: Eric Delko would return to the series full-time, and Alexx Woods made a couple of guest appearances.

Q: How many times did CSI: Miami cross over to other programs?

A: Four. Besides the original crossover on CSI, there was a 2004 crossover with CSI: New York, another one in 2005 which saw CSI: New York team leader Mac Taylor (Gary Sinise) visit Miami to solve a case. And finally in 2008, CSI: Miami crossed over with both CSI and CSI: New York.

There were other characters added onto CSI: Miami as the show progressed. These included the following:

Natalia Boa Vista (Eva LaRue) is a DNA specialist who found herself involved in an abusive marriage, trying to help her sister get out of trouble, temporarily losing her hearing after a lab explosion, and was even outed as a mole for the FBI!

Ryan Wolfe (Jonathan Togo) was a former police officer who was hired as a lab technician on the spot shortly after Tim Speedle was killed. He was once fired from the job for not disclosing the fact that he was linked to a murder as a possible suspect, but was reinstated. He was also the only CSI who has ever been shot in the face with a nail gun! What a painful way to make a name, huh?

Frank Tripp (Rex Linn) accompanies the team on the majority of the crime scenes, offering his input and advice. Though he comes across as gruff and sarcastic with suspects, he is often good-natured with his fellow CSI's.

And Walter Simmons (Omar Miller) is a specialist in art theft and he specifically wanted to join Horatio's team, even leaving his post on the night shift to do it.

And, that's about all that I have to say about CSI: Miami. I figure with all the punches and shoving that will be taking place today on Black Friday, the TV show discussion seemed to fit the mood.

Oh, and one funny story I have to late neighbour HATED Horatio, and would call him a few choice words whenever she saw him.

I guess she was never a David Caruso fan.

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