CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (commonly referred to as CSI or CSI: Las Vegas) is a popular, Emmy Award-winning CBS television series that trails the investigations of a team of Las Vegas forensic scientists as they unveil the circumstances behind mysterious and unusual deaths and crimes committed. The show has spawned two spinoffs, each enjoying their own success. The first spin-off, which debuted in September 2002, is set in Miami (CSI: Miami) and the show's second is set in New York City (CSI: NY) debuted in September 2004. CSI is produced in partnership with the Canadian media company Alliance Atlantis. The series is running its 13th season.
The show follows the cases of the Crime Scene Investigation division of the Las Vegas Police Department, usually referred to by officers as the "Las Vegas Crime Lab". Anthony E. Zuiker chose to set the series in Las Vegas because—as mentioned in the pilot episode—that city's crime lab is the second most active in the United States, after the FBI lab in Quantico, Virginia. The division solves crimes almost entirely through the means of forensic evidence, which may or may not come to the conclusion of a murder or accidental death. Keeping in theme with the setting, investigations often lead to taboo subjects, such as sexual deviations. The bizarre conclusions of these cases often force one to question morals and beliefs and possibly human nature in general.
Stylistically, the show has drawn favorable comparisons to Quincy and The X-Files. The show's gadgets and occasional usage of yet-to-be-invented technology have moved the show nominally into the genre of science fiction and garnered it a Saturn Award nomination for best network television series. The series also occasionally lapses into the realm of fantasy, such as a 2006 episode, Toe Tags which is told from the point of view of several corpses in the CSI lab who reanimate and discuss their deaths with each other.
The series is known for its unusual camera angles, percussive editing techniques, hi-tech gadgets, detailed technical discussion, and graphic portrayal of bullet trajectories, blood spray patterns, organ damage, methods of evidence recovery (e.g. fingerprint's from the inside of latex gloves), and crime reconstructions. This technique of shooting extreme close-ups, normally with explanatory commentary from one of the characters is referred to in the media as the "CSI shot". Many episodes feature lengthy scenes in which experiments, tests, or other technical work is portrayed in detail, usually with minimal sounds effects and accompanying music — a technique reminiscent of Mission Impossible. Often the lighting, composition, and mise-en-scene elements are heavily influenced byavant-garde film.
Although violence plays an important role in the series, in terms of the investigators' actual conduct, the series is actually less violent (but more sexual) than its immediate spin-off, CSI: Miami in that the Las Vegas investigators rarely use deadly force. In fact, Gil Grissom, supervisor of the crime lab, has expressed distaste for carrying a firearm, and Warrick Brown and Nick Stokes are hinted at as having barely passable firearms expertise.
Although most episodes cover the solving of two (usually unrelated) cases, a few episodes focus on a single case. In general, the crime is solved, but in some cases, they fail (which makes the story more realistic).
The credits feature clips for every main cast from previous seasons. From the start, CSI's theme song has been "Who Are You", written by Pete Townshend with vocals by lead singer Roger Daltrey of The Who. Daltrey made a special appearance in a season seven episode, "Living Legend".
The Season 13 Cast (Credit Appearance), includes 6 CSI's, 2 Medical Examiners, 2 Technicians and a Detective:
- Ted Danson as CSI Supervisor D.B. Russell
- Elisabeth Shue as CSI Asst. Supervisor Julie "Finn" Finlay
- George Eads as CSI Nick Stokes
- Jorja Fox as CSI Sara Sidle-Grissom
- Eric Szmanda as CSI Greg Sanders
- Robert David Hall as Dr. Al Robbins
- Wallace Langham as Tech. David Hodges
- David Berman as Dr. David Phillips
- Elisabeth Harnois as CSI Morgan Brody
- Jon Wellner as Tech. Henry Andrews
- Paul Guilfoyle as Captain Jim Brass
- Louise Lombard (Sofia Curtis) became regular in Season 7 and departed in Season 8, and returned for a single guest appearance in Season 11.
- Gary Dourdan (Warrick Brown) the original lead, left in Season 9 premiere.
- William Petersen (Gil Grissom), the original lead, left in Season 9 episode ten.
- Lauren Lee Smith (Riley Adams) left during Season 9 finale.
- Liz Vassey (Wendy Simms) departed at the end of the tenth season, and returned for a single guest appearance in Season 11.
- Marg Helgenberger (Catherine Willows), the original lead, departed in the 12th episode of the 12th season, "Willows in the Wind."
- Jorja Fox (Sara Sidle-Grissom) departed in Season 8, and returned for sporadic guest appearances throughout Seasons 9 and 10, before returning permanently starting with the Eleventh Season.
CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, along with CBS' hit franchise Survivor, was instrumental in CBS instantly becoming a major competitor on Thursday nights, as well as becoming the most-watched network on U.S. television. It was announced on that CBS was going to move CSI (from Fridays) and Survivor (from Wednesdays) to Thursday nights starting in February 2001 to challenge NBC's long-standing and popular lineup, which included the hit shows, Friends and Will & Grace. As a result, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation was the most-watched program on television for the 2002–2003 TV season and has been the most-watched scripted show for five consecutive seasons, from the 2002–2003 season through the 2006–2007 season.
- Ranked first in the June 2005 Nielsen Ratings with an average viewership of 16 million a night, the show serves as the backbone of CBS' leading Thursday lineup.
- The 2004–2005 season finale, directed by Quentin Tarantino and entitled "Grave Danger", was watched by over 35 million viewers on May 19 2005, twice that of the nearest competition..
CSI: The Experience
The exhibit, CSI: The Experience, immerses guests in hands-on science while leading them through the challenge of solving a crime mystery. The hands-on exhibit brings to life fundamental scientific principles, numerous scientific disciplines, and the most advanced technology and techniques used today by crime scene investigators and forensic scientists. Through hands-on activities featuring real equipment and multimedia presentations, guests will sample the following science fields and understand the significance of each in cracking crimes.
Chicago’s Museum of Science opened an exhibit in CSI's honor on May 25, 2007 called: "CSI: The Experience".
MGM Grand Las Vegas also opened a permanent exhibit called "CSI:The Experience" on September 12, 2009. 
- CSI has often been criticized for the level and gratuitousness of graphic violence, images, and sexual content. The CSI series (along with its spinoff shows) have pushed the boundary of what is considered acceptable viewing for primetime network television. The series had numerous episodes on sexual fetishism and other forms of sexual pleasure; see especially the recurring character of Lady Heather, a professional dominatrix. CSI has been ranked as among the worst prime-time shows for family viewing by the Parents Television Council nearly every season since its debut., this series being ranked the worst show for family prime-time viewing after the 2002-03 season. The PTC has also targeted certain CSI episodes for its weekly "Worst TV Show of the Week" feature.     In addition, the episode "King Baby" aired in February 2005, which the PTC named the most offensive TV show of the week, also led the PTC to start a campaign to file complaints with the FCC with the episode; to date, nearly 13,000 PTC members complained to the FCC about the episode.
- Another criticism of the show is the depiction of police procedure, which is decidedly lacking in realism. For instance, the show's characters not only investigate crime scenes (as their real-world counterparts would), but they also solve cases, which falls under the responsibility of detectives, not CSI personnel. However, some Detectives are also registered CSI's, although this is exceedingly rare in actual life.
- Police and District Attorneys in particular dislike the show as it gives members of the public an inaccurate perception of how police solve crimes. District Attorneys state that the conviction rate in cases with little physical evidence has decreased, largely due to the influence of CSI on jury members. For more information, see the article CSI Effect.
- The LGBT community has criticized the show for its negative representation of LGBT characters. However, as the majority of the non-regular characters in the show are - by the show's very nature - criminals or suspects, it is only natural that all of the aforementioned guest characters are portrayed in a less than positive light. Furthermore, the fifth season episode "Ch-Ch-Changes" was received positively by the transgender community in particular. Furthermore, the season 5 episode "Iced" featured one of very few openly gay characters that was not a victim or criminal, as the victim's neighbour.
U.S. television ratings
Seasonal rankings (based on average total viewers per episode) of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation on CBS.
Note: Each U.S. network television season starts in late September and ends in late May, which coincides with the completion of May sweeps.
|Season||Timeslot||Season Premiere||Season Finale||TV Season||Ranking|| Viewers|
|1st|| Friday 9:00pm/8c|
(from October 6 2000 -January 12 2001)
(from February 1 2001)
|October 6 2000||May 17 2001||2000-2001||#10||17.80|
|2nd||Thursday 9:00pm/8c||September 27 2001||May 16 2002||2001-2002||#2||23.69|
|3rd||Thursday 9:00pm/8c||September 26 2002||May 15 2003||2002-2003||#1||26.20|
|4th||Thursday 9:00pm/8c||September 25 2003||May 20 2004||2003-2004||#2||25.27|
|5th||Thursday 9:00pm/8c||September 23 2004||May 19 2005||2004-2005||#2||26.26|
|6th||Thursday 9:00pm/8c||September 22 2005||May 18 2006||2005-2006||#3||24.86|
|7th||Thursday 9:00pm/8c||September 21 2006||May 17 2007||2006-2007||#4||20.51|
|8th||Thursday 9:00pm/8c||September 27 2007||May 15 2008||2007-2008||#9||18.06|
|9th||Thursday 9:00pm/8c||October 9, 2008||May 14, 2009||2008-2009||#4||19.03|
|10th||Thursday 9:00pm/8c||September 24, 2009||May 20, 2010||2009-2010||#8||15.82|
|11th||Thursday 9:00pm/8c||September 23, 2010||May 12, 2011||2010-2011||TBA||13.61 (to date)|
Awards and nominations
- Outstanding Cinematography For A Single-camera Series - 2006
- Outstanding Sound Editing For A Series - 2003
- Outstanding Makeup For A Series (Non-Prosthetic) - 2002
- Outstanding Drama Series -2002, 2003,2004
- Outstanding Directing For A Drama Series - 2005: Quentin Tarantino-
- Outstanding Lead Actress In A Drama Series - 2003: Marg Helgenberger
- Outstanding Lead Actress In A Drama Series – 2001
- Outstanding Makeup For A Series (Non-Prosthetic) – 2003, 2004, 2005
- Outstanding Makeup For A Series (Prosthetic) - 2002, 2003
- Outstanding Sound Editing For A Series -2001, 2002, 2005, 2006
- Outstanding Cinematography For A Single-Camera Series - 2002
- Outstanding Art Direction For A Single-Camera Series – 2001, 2004
- Outstanding Single-Camera Picture Editing For A Series - 2001
- Outstanding Single-camera Sound Mixing For A Series – 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006-
- ↑ http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0247082/trivia
- ↑ 
- ↑ New York Times, making it one of the most watched shows in history
- ↑ Stars Spend a Night at the Museum
- ↑ New CSI Exhibit at MGM Grand Las Vegas
- ↑ Pro-Family Group Outraged Over CSI "Toy"
- ↑ Top 10 Best and Worst Shows on Primetime Network TV 2001-2002
- ↑ Top 10 Best and Worst Shows on Primetime Network TV 2003-2004
- ↑ Top 10 Best and Worst Shows on Primetime Network TV 2004-2005
- ↑ Top 10 Best and Worst Shows on Primetime Network TV 2005-2006
- ↑ [http://www.parentstv.org/ptc/publications/reports/top10bestandworst/2003/main.asp Top 10 Best and Worst Shows on Primetime Network TV 2002-2003
- ↑ 
- ↑ 
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- ↑ 
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- ↑ 
- ↑ The Real CSI
- ↑ 'CSI effect' has juries wanting more evidence
- ↑ CSI Sensationalizes Transgender Lives
- ↑ CSI's Mixed Track Record on LGBT Characters
- ↑ CSI's Mixed Track Record on LGBT Characters
- ↑ [http://www.wndu.com/entertainment/052001/entertainment_7900.php CBS Wins Season
- ↑ CSI Replaces ER As Season Champ
- ↑ Viewership numbers of primetime programs during the 2003-04 television season
- ↑ Viewership numbers of primetime programs during the 2004-05 television season
- ↑ Viewership numbers of primetime programs during the 2005-06 television season