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CSI: Miami – Season 10 Premiere

By Pam Glazier · September 26, 2011

The original CSI is akin to a kooky family that somehow manages to keep it together despite the vast differences between relatives. CSI: New York shares a more personal connection between its characters; it’s a sort of “us against the world” single-parent family dynamic where each member trusts each other explicitly. Now, CSI: Miami has always been the inept cousin of the CSI franchise. There’s definitely a connection between the characters, but the dynamic is more “summer camp acquaintance” than true family bond. In the past this has been a forgivable offense because the crimes were interesting, the cars and scenery were flashy, the edited-in T&A beach shots were abundant, and Horatio Cane (David Caruso) had a way with sunglasses and bad dialog. But this season’s premiere episode did not meet expectations, and they were pretty low to begin with.

We open on Horatio and his Wife sitting down to lunch at a fancy restaurant. Problem is, she’s been dead for quite some time, so this must be a dream sequence. And it is. Horatio, who was somewhat seriously wounded, wakes up with just enough time to see some bad guy lock one of his CSIs in a trunk and send the car off a pier. Horatio dives in, saves the CSI, and an ambulance takes them to the hospital. But there’s no time for this, criminals are on the loose. The rest of the episode is Horatio and his team trying to stop the bad guy.

This might sound like a normal episode, but it was a weird premiere. Everything seemed rushed and in the middle of things. It’s as if they ran out of time during last season’s finale and continued it over into this season. Now, some shows do that successfully with cliffhangers, but this one fell flat. Even though they seemed to do an adequate job of wrapping last season’s storyline in this first episode of the new season, they didn’t lay any groundwork for what was to come. I see a bland episode two coming up, where they spend most of it ruminating on what just happened. Or they could try and jumpstart a new storyline, but it’ll feel sluggish because they’ll have to start from scratch on building a series of questions that they omitted here in this episode.

Granted, I haven’t watched this series with any sort of regularity in a couple of years. But that doesn’t change the fact that this particular episode was uninspired. There were a couple of good points to this episode, but they weren’t from the writers. David Caruso is getting better at emoting, which I thought would never happen. In this episode he ignores doctor’s orders and goes back on the job despite having a fresh gunshot wound to the torso. As the episode progresses, his pain and weakness escalate in a manner that is seriously believable. It was actually pretty impressive to watch. Another good moment was when Calleigh Duquesne (Emily Procter) tells a kid going into foster care who had asked her if he could stay with her instead that her job wouldn’t allow her to do that, even though she’d love to do it. The acting between her and the kid was flawless, and it was a really touching scene.

Now, I think I can give a slight fist-bump to the writers for that scene. But it was only a fleeting moment within a maelstrom of plot points that had to do with the action line. It’s like the storyline got out of control, and all the necessary set pieces of the script nudged out any real emotional through-line. Transformers 2 had the same problem. Luckily, this episode was nowhere near the atrocity of Transformers 2, but they share the same “nobody cares” aspects because there weren’t enough conflicts and stakes built into it. Of course, these might have been planted last season, so I am willing to give CSI: Miami the benefit of the doubt, at least a little bit.

And in all honesty, it’s not like this show is trying to rope in new viewers who haven’t heard of it. But still, I can’t fully bring myself to pawn off the inadequacies of this episode on the show runners simply playing to their base. So, my recommendation is that, unless you are for some reason already addicted to this show, skip it. It was bad in a bad way.