CSI: Crime Scene Investigation: The Seventh Season (2006)
|Genre(s): Crime / Drama / Mystery|
|Paramount || NR - 1045 minutes - $89.99 || November 20, 2007|
|Reviewer: Brian Oliver || Posted On: 2007-11-23|
Writer(s): Anthony Zuiker (creator)
Cast: William Petersen, Marg Helgenberger, Gary Dourdan, George Eads, Jorja Fox, Eric Szmanda, Robert David Hall, Paul Guilfoyle
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If anything, season seven of CBS’s veteran series, “CSI”, was the season of possibilities. As far as I know, it is the first time the series put in an on-going, season-long storyline, probably to combat their newest threat in “Grey’s Anatomy” which had moved from Sundays to Thursdays in the 2006-07 year.
What makes “CSI” a weekly viewing for me is that even with the whole ‘Miniature Killer’ storyline, I can watch every episode and it isn’t bogged down with dumb and overrated character development or relationship dynamics that one can’t help but groan at. However, this seventh season got dangerously close to doing all those things. It is but the saving grace of some solid mystery and a likable lead played by William Peterson that still leaves this as one of the best shows on TV right now.
Season seven has several things going on: 1) the CSI team meet their match in the form of a ruthless but brilliant serial killer known only as the ‘Miniature Killer’ (aka ‘MK’) for their propensity of leaving the miniature of the crime at the scene; 2) during a short sabbatical taken by Grissom, new and mysterious CSI member Keppler (Live Schreiber) fills in and 3) is a dumb B-story involving Greg and the killing of a thug as he tried to save an innocent victim. If one episode wasn’t enough, it seems they dragged this on far too long and it was quite off putting and honestly, unneeded. Although this series needs a little character development and Greg has been a part of the CSI field team for a couple of seasons now, why not put more focus on Grissom? Frankly, he’s the only one I care about.
** Warning: Minor Spoilers **
So now you have a basic and short roundup of the season, but back to why this was the season of possibilities as because between an excellent setup with the ‘MK’, the reveal at the end of the season (and subsequent cliffhanger) was... unsatisfying. Keeping spoilers at a minimum, all I will say is while indeed the killer someone we didn’t expect, it was also someone we hardly knew. The second part of these lost possibilities is the introduction of Keppler played by one of my favorite actors, Liev Schreiber. I knew he couldn’t be a permanent member of the “CSI” and though his story was interesting again, the way it ended just didn’t sit right, and not in a good way. I think taken in a different direction Keppler could’ve been a fascinating recurring character.
** End Spoilers **
Despite my complaints, “CSI: The Seventh Season” was still fine entertainment and for a show that has gone as long as it has, still is in top form. Much like its little brother (“CSI: NY”) and ugly cousin (“CSI: Miami”), I tune in for the murder and mayhem and not the needless filler some dramas today contain. All in all, it’s a solid 24 episodes of solid acting and writing.
Here is the episode breakdown (in order of original airdates):
02 – Built to Kill, Part 1
03 – Built to Kill, Part 2
01 – Toe Tags
04 – Fannysmackin’
05 – Double Cross
06 – Burn Out
07 – Post Mortem
08 – Happenstance
09 – Living Legend
10 – Loco Motives
11 – Leaving Las Vegas
13 – Sweet Jane
12 – Redrum
14 – Meet Market
15 – Law of Gravity
16 – Monster in a Box
17 – Fallen Idols
18 – Empty Eyes
19 – Big Shots
20 – Lab Rats
21 – Ending Happy
22 – Leapin’ Lizards
23 – The Good, the Bad and the Dominatrix
24 – Living Doll
As has been the custom for all “CSI” season sets, this one includes a well rounded selection of commentaries and featurettes.
First, the select episode commentary tracks are good though I imagine the general public might find them slow. Executive Producer/Co-Writer Naren Shankar and Co-Executive Producer/Co-Writer/Director Ken Fink provide commentary on ‘Built to Kill, Part 1’, ‘’Sweet Jane’ and the season finale, ‘Living Doll’; Director Richard Lewis and writer Dustin Abraham on ‘Fannysmackin’; Director Martha Coolidge and makeup effects artist Matthew Mungle on ‘Living Legend’; Exec Producer/Co-Writer Carol Mendelsohn, Co-Writer Richard Catalani & Director Richard Lewis give their thoughts on ‘Law of Gravity’; and finally the supporting cast chime in on ‘Lab Rats’. Included in this crowded commentary are Director/Co-Producer Brad Tanenbaum, Writer/Co-Producer Sarah Goldfinger and cast members Wallace Langham (Hodges), Jon Wellner (Henry Andrews), Liz Vassey (Wendy Simms), Sherri Rappaport (Mandy Webster) and Archie Kao (Archie Johnson). This latter track is fun though sometimes they talk over each other and it does take time to adjust to each of their voices to know who is who.
Inside “Built to Kill” (8:25) – The season opener gets examined as “CSI” collaborates with Cirque du Soleil in Las Vegas and utilizes their massive set as a backdrop to a murder. There are basically comments from both sides about working with each other and the grand old time they had.
Miniature Murders (13:12) – Interesting featurette takes a look at the models used in the miniature killings and the process of shooting various sizes. Some were made for use in the hands of the actors and others for shooting inside.
Who Are You? Inside “Living Legend” (14:08) – Another episode goes under the microscope, but for good reason. Roger Daltrey, lead singer for The Who, makes a guest appearance in the episode playing several roles. This goes through the process of scheduling him around his schedule as well as his makeup/disguise application.
Las Vegas: The Real Crime Solvers (17:50) – Much like the commentaries are common on all three “CSI” season sets, so is a tour of their real life counterparts. This one has Robert David Hall (Doc Robbins) taking the viewers on a tour and interviews the real Vegas CSIs. Watch this and you realize how sexed up this series makes the field look between the labs and what the real CSIs work entails.
The Evolution of CSI Season 7 (25:12) – This is a good recap of the season between the ‘MK’ and Keppler’s storyline as the cast and crew explain why this is a unique year and also trying to create a newer style as more shows try to copy them. If you’ve seen the season but want a quick overview, this might be a good primer.
Smoke & Mirrors: Directing Feature Television (15:55) – The directors’ get their due as the viewer gets to see how the series is put together behind the camera, trying to get quality style on a shorter timeframe.
.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.
“CSI” is presented in glorious anamorphic widescreen that fills the screen with vibrant colors in one scene to darker tones in the next. From what I could tell, this looks like a solid transfer from network TV with no obvious flaws.
The only audio option is a solid, though standard Dolby Digital 5.1 track. It’s fine for a TV show and also allows that great “Who Are You?” title song to come through your home theater very nicely and with a little depth.
Despite the season coming down on the disappointing side, I still can’t deny that it still had plenty of strong moments even in those storylines. Liev Schreiber’s guest starring role and the miniature killer stories were well done (overall) and with some more gruesome and intriguing crimes, “CSI” keeps chugging along with no signs of slowing down.