Before the final two-hour TV movie concludes 15 seasons of “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation,” you’ll want to watch the full series from beginning to end.

The finale airs on 27 September 2015. You have over a month to prepare for a fond farewell to the cast. William Petersen (CSI Level 3 Supervisor Dr. Gilbert Grissom),  Marg Helgenberger (CSI Level 3 Asst. Supervisor Catherine Willows),  and Paul Guilfoyle (Detective Captain James Brass) will return. Petersen’s character left the show in 2009. Helgenberger’s character supposedly took a job with the FBI and left the show in 2011.  Guilfoyle’s character left the Las Vegas Police Department in 2014 in order to become a better father.

Fans may hope for a happy ending between Sara Sidle (Jorja Fox). Fox returned to the show after a two-season absence (when she still guested and then was a recurring character). The current lead character is botanist and SSI Level 3 Supervisor D.B. Russell (Ted Danson) whose character will move on to CSI: Cyber.

Other main characters during Season 15 were DNA specialist Greg Sanders (Eric Szmanda), former LAPD SID Morgan Brody (Elisabeth Harnois), chief medical examiner  Dr. Al Robbins (Robert David Hall), trace technician David Hodges (Wallace Langham), assistant medical examiner David Phillips (David Berman), DNA technician/toxicologist Henry Andrews (Jon Wellner), former CSI Level 3 assistant night supervisor Nick Stokes (George Eads) who is now head of a San Diego Crime Lab as of the end of season 15 and former assistant supervisor and blood spatter specialist Julie Finlay (Elisabeth Shue). At the end of season 15, Finlay who had been attacked by a serial killer was in a coma. Eads and Shue will not return for the TV movie.

If you’re short for time, then you’ll want to watch Seasons 1-9. You could skip the Laurence Fishburne years (Seasons 10-11) and jump back in with Season 12 where Ted Danson and Elisabeth Shue join the team.

HuluPlus only carries Seasons 1-14.

“CSI: Crime Scene Investigation” spawned three other series: “CSI: Miami” (2002-2012), “CSI: NY” (2004-2012) and the new “CSI:Cyber” (2014-present).

“CSI: Miami” is my least favorite.  Although “CSI: Miami” was supposed to take place in Florida, filming took place in California using Manhattan Beach, Redondo Beach and Long Beach to stand in for Miami-Dade County, Florida. Some location shots were used from Miami-Dade County, Miami Beach, Coconut Grove and Coral Gables.

David Caruso played Lt. Horatio Caine, head of the Miami-Dade Police Department Crime Lab and SCI Day-Shift Supervisor. Emily Procter was the assistant supervisor, Detective Callleigh Duquesne, Adam Rodriguez was Det. eric Delko (CSI Level 3), Sofia Milos was the robbery-homicide detective Yelina Salas, Jonathan Togo was Det. Ryan Wolfe (CSI Level 3), Rex Linn was Sgt. Frank Trip (robbery-homicide detective) and Eva LaRue was Natalia Boa Vista (CSI Level 2).

“CSI: Miami” was the first CSI series canceled and tended to be a little heavy on the paternalism and superior crime solving abilities of Caruso’s Lt. Horatio Caine. He was the sometimes preachy genius while the others were his support team. Caine is briefly married, but his wife is murdered. He is a former homicide detective and bomb squad officer. At one point, he fakes his death.

My favorite characters are the Southern belle ballistics specialist played by Emily Procter who eventually forms a relationship with my other favorite,  Adam Rodriguez’s Det. Eric Delko.

“CSI: NY” benefited greatly from the presence of Gary Sinise as Det. Mac Taylor, head of the NYPD Crime Lab and CSI Level 3 Supervisor who was originally from Chicago. Mac is a former Marine Major and while Mac is the lead, the series emphasized teamwork more. The tone of this series was more serious than the original “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.” There’s no razzle dazzle of Las Vegas. No show girls and no show business types. And since the weather isn’t always warm (like Las Vegas or Miami) and there are no pool or beach nearby either, you’ll see fewer men and women in bathing suits. The offices, labs and morgue all seem older, dingier and darker than “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.”

The cast also had strong female characters. Mac’s original assistant supervisor was Det. Stella Bonasera (Melina Kanakaredes) who was replaced by Det. Jo Danville (Sela Ward) Seasons 7-9). Danville has an adopted daughter, Ellie. Other main cast members included Carmine Giovinazzo as Det. Third Grade Danny Messer, Vanessa Ferlito as Det. Third Grade Aiden Burn, Anna Belknap as Det. Third Grade Lindsay Monroe Messer, Robert Joy as medical examiner Sid Hammerback, A.J. Buckley as lab tech Adam Ross, Hill Harper as CSI Dr. Sheldon Hawkes and Eddie Cahill as NYPD homicide Det. First Grade Don Flack. Lindsey Monroe doesn’t begin the show as Messer, but a romantic relationship forms between her and Danny Messer.

Like Mark Harmon’s character in “NCIS,” Mac’ character has an inner sadness. He had a wife but lost her in the World Trade Center attacks of Sept. 11.  He will eventually work through this to take a step toward another relationship.

 

 

 

 

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