I love CSI and have been an avid fan from day one. I think it brought a fresh look to the procedural crime dramas that have long ago become just a little stale and predictable. The problem is that the series has gone the Dick Wolf route of branching out so that the final product might be a little diluted. Unlike the Law & Order franchise, each version of CSI has attempted to take on a unique look and style to reflect the location without giving up those elements which are the tradition of the series. CSI: Miami is by far the inferior of these three shows. In trying to create a slick glitzy Miami feel, the show has gone the way of style over substance. While the oversaturated colors and bright locations might make for a more visually stunning series, it tends here to overshadow the meat and potatoes of CSI, the stories. I get the impression that the show wants badly to recreate the Miami Vice accomplishment of trend setting fashion and style. Those days are long gone, and CSI has an entirely contrary mission that is weakened weekly by this overboard attempt to look good. The show is also beginning to adopt the 24 style of multi frames for no other reason than they think it looks cool. The show doesn’t respect the audience enough to believe they will buy into the series without all of these high tech distractions. It’s a shame, really, because I had higher hopes for this version of CSI, as I happen to live in Florida. Unfortunately most of CSI: Miami is shot in L.A. with the exception of a few overused establishing shots. Let me tell you, L.A. doesn’t look anything like Miami. Perhaps the show should consider dropping all of the fake glitz and move to location where they can take advantage of the city in a far more realistic way.
CSI: Miami didn’t suffer much from the strike last year. They had a good number of episodes ready before the strike and were back in production just 5 days after it ended. The result is that, unlike many television dramas from last year, CSI:Miami delivered a full season of episodes before the year was out. 21 episodes might be a couple shy, but it is considered a full season by today’s network standards. The series also concentrated far more on the characters this time out. Caruso gets even more work this year, and a son to deal with, along with an ex-lover who gets into a lot of trouble. Is it me, or are Caine’s women often on the wrong side of the law or getting gunned down by the bad guys? Is this some kind of Greek tragedy figure here? Wolf (Togo) begins the season on the outs as a result of the last season’s events. For a while he works as a bodyguard, gun range instructor, and expert witness, the latter of which jeopardizes his relationships on the CSI team. He finally works himself back into the good graces of the force and back on the CSI team. Calleigh (Procter) finally gets a boyfriend, but the relationship is complicated by feelings for Delko (Rodriguez). Delko’s having problems of his own as he finds out he has some brain damage from his last season injuries. His brain damage carries one of the show’s best episodes. Natalie doesn’t have the same up and down year as the previous one, but she becomes a full piece packin’ member of the team this year as one of the show’s most unlikely and unlikable characters. In Bang Bang You’re Debt, Delko thinks he is seeing Speedle during an investigation. The apparition appears to be guiding him toward clues in the case. He becomes obsessed with the idea his friend is still alive. Rory Cochrane returns to the show for the excellent episode. The season ends with the shooting of Caine, leading to one heck of a cliffhanger for next season.
Each episode of CSI Miami is presented in a 1.78:1 aspect ratio. There isn’t anything at all to complain about in the transfer. Colors are bright and vibrant, always jumping from the screen in wonderful detail. Sharpness is tight, perhaps too tight. The overall look leads to a bit too much of a sterile feel. Like the plethora of models who strut their stuff on the show this year, there isn’t a blemish to be found. Black levels are rock solid. Flesh tones are a bit too bright, but this is apparently an intended effect.
The Dolby Digital 5.1 track is as sharp as the picture. All of the dialog comes through just fine. The musical montage moments always sport a dynamic range of sound from lows to highs; there is excellent production value all the way around.
The episodes are spread out over a collection of 6 single-sided discs. This time the extras are pretty much found on disc 6.
Four Site – Directing CSI:Miami: Four of the more prolific directors on the show are relative newcomers who also work in other aspects of the show’s production. This 17 minute feature looks at: Gina Lamar, Sam “the Energizer bunny” Hill, Eagle Egilsson, and Matt Earl Beesley. Each talks about their own perspective to directing the show. You get cast members giving you some anecdotes about each as well.
Playing Dead: We’ve seen this before on CSI sets. This is another short feature on the prepping of the actors as dead bodies on the show.
The Real Women Of MDPD: This is another of what is becoming a common theme on CSI sets that look at real officers in these various police departments. Emily Procter serves as host to this 17 minute tribute and look at women serving in the Miami Dade Police Department. The areas that are explored include Marine Patrol, Divers, and Survival Trainers. Did you know that the number one reason for amputation in the United States is incorrectly thrown punches? So watch this feature and let’s try and hang on to those thumbs, America.
Analyzing Season 6: The cast mostly talk about their favorite episodes and moments in this 13 minute retrospective of the season. It’s a little surprising to see David Caruso participate. He usually avoids doing these DVD feature pieces.
Commentary Tracks: There are a few commentary tracks throughout the set. Most are your typical love fests, but there is some insight to be gained.
I still love CSI and have a bit of a soft spot for this one, but it continues to be the hardest one to watch. The glitzy style and multiple frames are just getting worse with each year. I’m afraid the day is coming when I might have to scratch this one from my must see list. Caruso is so one dimensional that I get him confused with a character from the Simpsons. Check that. I think even cartoon characters have more dimension than David Caruso. I guess, if the discs keep coming, I’ll keep watching. That’s the life of a review writer. “Honestly, I just wanted to get out of the obituary business.”