|CSI: Crime Scene Investigation|
|Created by||Anthony E. Zuiker|
|Opening theme||"Who Are You"|
by The Who
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||15|
|No. of episodes||337|
|Running time||40-64 minutes|
|Picture format||1080i (HDTV)|
|Audio format||Dolby Digital 5.1|
|Original release||October 6, 2000 -|
September 27, 2015
|Followed by||CSI: Vegas|
CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, also referred to as CSI and CSI: Las Vegas, is an American procedural forensics crime drama television series which ran on CBS from October 6, 2000, to September 27, 2015, spanning 15 seasons. The series starred William Petersen, Marg Helgenberger, George Eads, Ted Danson, Laurence Fishburne, Elisabeth Shue and Jorja Fox and was the first in the CSI franchise. The series concluded with a feature-length finale, "Immortality". A sequel, CSI: Vegas, will premiere in 2021.
Mixing deduction and character-driven drama, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation follows a team of crime-scene investigators, employed by the Las Vegas Police Department, as they use physical evidence to solve murders.
The team is originally led by Gil Grissom (Petersen), a socially awkward forensic entomologist and career criminalist who is promoted to CSI supervisor following the death of a trainee investigator. Grissom's second-in-command, Catherine Willows (Marg Helgenberger), is a single mother with a cop's instinct. Born and raised in Las Vegas, Catherine was a stripper before being recruited into law enforcement and trained as a blood-spatter specialist.
Following Grissom's departure during the ninth season of the series, Catherine is promoted to supervisor. After overseeing the training of new investigator Raymond Langston (Fishburne), Willows is replaced by D.B. Russell (Danson), and recruited to the FBI shortly thereafter. Russell is a family man, a keen forensic botanist, and a veteran of the Seattle Crime Lab.
In the series' 12th season, Russell is reunited with his former partner Julie Finlay (Elisabeth Shue), who, like Catherine, is a blood-spatter expert with an extensive knowledge of criminal psychology. With the rest of the team, they work to tackle Las Vegas's growing crime rate and are on the job 24/7, scouring the scene, collecting the evidence, and finding the missing pieces that will solve the mystery.
During the 1990s, Anthony Zuiker caught producer Jerry Bruckheimer's attention after writing his first movie script. Zuiker was convinced that a series was in the concept; Bruckheimer agreed and began developing the series with Touchstone Pictures. The studio's head at the time liked the spec script and presented it to ABC, NBC, and Fox executives, who decided to pass.
The head of drama development at CBS saw potential in the script, and the network had a pay-or-play contract with actor William Petersen, who said he wanted to do the CSI pilot. The network's executives liked the pilot so much, they decided to include it in their 2000 schedule immediately, airing on Fridays after The Fugitive.
After CBS picked up the show, the Disney-owned Touchstone decided to pull out of the project, as they didn't want to spend so much money producing a show for another network (ABC is also owned by Disney). Instead of the intended effect of making CBS cancel the show (since it no longer had a producer), Bruckheimer was able to convince Alliance Atlantis to step in as a producer, saving the show and adding CBS as another producer.
Initially, CSI was thought to benefit from The Fugitive (a remake of the 1960s series), which was expected to be a hit, but by the end of 2000, CSI had a much larger audience. The show began on Friday at 9:00 following The Fugitive, premiering on October 6, 2000, with an impressive 5.4 in the 18-49 demo and 17 million viewers. The show hovered around that mark for the next 10 episodes. The final Friday episode, "I-15 Murders" aired on January 12, 2001. The show moved to Thursday at 9:00 following Survivor on February 1, 2001, episode "Fahrenheit 932" and remained in that time slot until Season 11.
CSI: Crime Scene Investigation was produced by Jerry Bruckheimer Television and CBS Productions, which became CBS Paramount Television in the fall of 2006 and CBS Television Studios three years later. Formerly a co-production with the now-defunct Alliance Atlantis Communications, that company's interest was later bought by the investment firm GS Capital Partners, an affiliate of Goldman Sachs. CBS acquired AAC's international distribution rights to the program, though the non-US DVD distribution rights did not change (for example, Momentum Pictures continues to own UK DVD rights). The series is currently in syndication, and reruns are broadcast in the U.S. on Oxygen, Syfy, and the USA Network on cable, with Court TV Mystery holding the broadcast syndication rights. The show has aired in reruns on the USA Network since January 14, 2011. The CSI catalog has been exclusive to the whole NBC Universal portfolio since September 2014, after several years with Viacom Media Networks' Spike and TV Land.
CSI was originally shot at Rye Canyon, a corporate campus owned by Lockheed Martin situated in the Valencia area of Santa Clarita, California, due to the Santa Clarita Valley's strong similarity to the outskirts of Las Vegas; after episode 11, filming shifted to the nearby Santa Clarita Studios. Occasionally, the cast still shot on location in Las Vegas (the season-four DVD set revealed that the episode "Suckers" was mostly shot during December 2003 in Las Vegas, where they filmed a Gothic club scene on location for rent, and in January 2004, some scenes were filmed at Caesars Palace), although primarily Las Vegas was used solely for second unit photography such as exterior shots of streets. Other California locations include Verdugo Hills High School, UCLA's Royce Hall, Pasadena City Hall, and California State University, Los Angeles. After season five, CSI episodes were primarily filmed at Universal Studios Hollywood in Universal City, California, but since Santa Clarita's surroundings had proven so versatile, CSI continued to shoot some outdoor scenes there.
CSI's theme song was, since the last episode of season one, "Who Are You," written by Pete Townshend with vocals by lead singer Roger Daltrey of The Who. Daltrey made a special appearance in the season-seven episode "Living Legend," which also contained many musical references such as the words "Who's next" on a dry-erase board in the episode's opening sequence. In certain countries, to avoid music licensing fees, a unique theme was used, instead.
Throughout the series, music played an important role; artists such as Ozzy Osbourne, The Wallflowers, John Mayer, and Akon (with Obie Trice) performed onscreen in the episodes "Skin in the Game," "The Accused Is Entitled," "Built To Kill, Part 1," and "Poppin' Tags," respectively. Mogwai was often heard during scenes showing forensic tests in progress, as were Radiohead and Cocteau Twins, but several other artists lent their music to CSI, including Rammstein and Linkin Park—used heavily in Lady Heather's story arc. Sigur Rós can be heard playing in the background in the episode "Slaves of Las Vegas," The Turtles in "Grave Danger," and Marilyn Manson in "Suckers." A cover of the Tears for Fears song "Mad World," arranged by Michael Andrews and featuring vocals by Gary Jules, was used in the pilot episode and during three episodes of season six ("Room Service," "Killer," and "Way to Go"). Industrial rock band Nine Inch Nails was also featured multiple times throughout the three series. One episode started with The Velvet Underground's excited rendition of "Sweet Jane" and ended with the downbeat version of Cowboy Junkies' revision of the song. Character David Hodges' good luck has, on occasion, been accompanied by Electric Light Orchestra's "Mr. Blue Sky." This song was first used in the season-seven episode "Lab Rats," and last used during season ten's "Field Mice."
During the course of the series, 335 episodes of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation aired, including two specials.
|Season||Episodes||Originally aired||Season ranking||Viewers|
|First aired||Last aired|
|1||23||October 6, 2000||May 17, 2001||10||20.8|
|2||23||September 27, 2001||May 16, 2002||2||23.7|
|3||23||September 26, 2002||May 15, 2003||1||26.12|
|4||23||September 25, 2003||May 20, 2004||2||25.27|
|5||25||September 23, 2004||May 19, 2005||2||26.26|
|6||24||September 22, 2005||May 18, 2006||3||24.86|
|7||24||September 21, 2006||May 17, 2007||4||20.34|
|8||17||September 27, 2007||May 15, 2008||9||16.62|
|9||24||October 9, 2008||May 14, 2009||4||18.52|
|10||23||September 24, 2009||May 20, 2010||12||14.92|
|11||22||September 23, 2010||May 12, 2011||12||13.52|
|12||22||September 21, 2011||May 9, 2012||21||12.49|
|13||22||September 26, 2012||May 15, 2013||23||11.63|
|14||22||September 25, 2013||May 7, 2014||18||11.86|
|15||18||September 28, 2014||February 15, 2015||34||11.19|
|Finale||2||September 27, 2015||N/A||N/A|
From CSI, CBS produced a franchise starting in 2002 with a spin-off entitled CSI: Miami. Set in Miami, Florida, and starring David Caruso and Emily Procter, Miami later launched CSI: NY in 2004. Starring Gary Sinise, Sela Ward, and Melina Kanakaredes, NY was set in New York City and was based upon the idea that "Everything Is Connected." In 2015, a fourth CSI series, CSI: Cyber, starring Patricia Arquette and Ted Danson, was created. It focuses on the FBI's Cyber Crime Division. The CSI series exists within the same fictional "universe" as fellow CBS police dramas Without a Trace and Cold Case. A number of comic books, video games, and novels based on the series have been made.
In 2006, the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History developed a traveling museum exhibit, CSI: The Experience. On May 25, 2007, Chicago's Museum of Science and Industry was the first museum to host the exhibit, and the exhibit's opening featured stars from the TV series. Also a supporting website designed for the benefit of people who cannot visit the exhibit was developed, designed by Rice University's Center for Technology in Teaching and Learning and Left Brain Media. CSI: The Experience also has an interactive attraction at the MGM Grand Las Vegas in Las Vegas, and the Mall of America in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
On February 10, 2020, CBS announced that a limited series revival of CSI was in the works at CBS. Filming was said to possibly begin in late 2020, with William Petersen and Jorja Fox reprising their roles. In February 2021, it was announced that Matt Lauria, Paula Newsome and Mel Rodriguez have joined the cast and the event series is near a series order. On March 31, 2021, it was announced that Mandeep Dhillon had joined the cast, also Wallace Langham reprising his role, along with a series order. In May 2021, it was announced that Jamie McShane had joined the cast in recurring role, and also Paul Guilfoyle reprising his role.
During its 15 years in production, CSI secured an estimated world audience of over 73.8 million viewers (in 2009), commanded, as of the fall of 2008, an average cost of $262,600 for a 30-second commercial, and reached milestone episodes including the 100th ("Ch-Ch-Changes"), the 200th ("Mascara") and the 300th ("Frame by Frame"). CSI spawned three spin-off series, a book series, several video games, and an exhibit at Chicago's Museum of Science and Industry. At the time of its cancellation, CSI was the seventh-longest-running scripted U.S. primetime TV series overall and had been recognized as the most popular dramatic series internationally by the Festival de Télévision de Monte-Carlo, which awarded the series the International Television Audience Award (Best Television Drama Series) three times. CSI became the second-most watched show on American television by 2002, finally taking the top position for the 2002-2003 season. It was later named the most watched show in the world for the sixth time in 2016, making it the most watched show for more years than any other show.
Critical reception to the show has been positive, with an IMDB score of 7.8/10, while early reviews showed a mixed to favorable review of the opening season. The Hollywood Reporter noted of the pilot "...the charismatic William Petersen and the exquisite Marg Helgenberger, lend credibility to the portrayals that might be indistinct in lesser hands. There's also a compelling, pulsating edge at the outset of CSI that commands instant attention, thanks in part to dynamic work from director Danny Cannon." Entertainment Weekly gave the opening two seasons "B+" and "A-" ratings, respectively, noting: "The reason for CSI's success is that it combines a few time-tested TV elements in a fresh way. Each episode presents a murder case and a group of lovable heroes armed with cool, high-tech gadgets who do the sleuthing and wrap things up in an hour." The show has won six Primetime Emmy awards (out of 39 nominations) and four People's Choice awards (out of six nominations) and was nominated for six Golden Globe Awards, among other awards.
According to TV media critic Liv Hausken, crime drama T.V. shows like CSI normalizes surveillance. "The absence of any critical distance to technology on CSI involves a lack of reflection on the security of information (that is, the constant risk of losing sensitive data) and the potential use and misuse of information. This can be contrasted with a whole range of crime series that may rely heavily on surveillance technologies but nevertheless allow critical reflection as part of the plot as such (showing misinterpretation of data or misuse of surveillance techniques)...This trust in technologies on CSI is important for understanding the status of surveillance in this fictional universe. It is also an indicator of the show's presentation of power, a third component for consideration in this discussion about how CSI lends a certain normalization of surveillance to everyday life...The series ignores the fact that everyone is a cultural being, that each person sees something as something, that they understand things from particular perspectives in everyday life as well as in science."
CSI was often criticized for its level and explicitness of graphic violence, images, and sexual content. The CSI series and its spin-off shows have been accused of pushing the boundary of what is considered acceptable viewing for primetime network television. The series had numerous episodes centered on sexual fetishism and other forms of sexual pleasure (notably the recurring character of Lady Heather, a professional dominatrix). CSI was ranked among the worst primetime shows by the Parents Television Council from its second through sixth seasons, being ranked the worst show for family prime-time viewing after the 2002-2003 and 2005-2006 seasons. The PTC also targeted certain CSI episodes for its weekly "Worst TV Show of the Week" feature. In addition, the episode "King Baby" that 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 Federal Communications Commission about the episode. The PTC also asked Clorox to pull their advertisements from CSI and CSI: Miami because of the graphically violent content on those programs.
A grassroots campaign started on August 2007, upon rumors of Jorja Fox leaving the show, organized by the online forum Your Tax Dollars At Work. Many of its 19,000 members donated to the cause, collecting over $8,000 for gifts and stunts targeted at CBS executives and CSI's producers and writers. The stunts included a wedding cake delivery to Carol Mendelsohn, 192 chocolate-covered insects with the message "CSI Without Sara Bugs Us" to Naren Shankar, and a plane flying several times over the Universal Studios of Los Angeles with a "Follow the evidence keep Jorja Fox on CSI" banner. Other protests included mailing the show's producers a dollar, to save Fox's contract "one dollar at a time." By October 16, 2007, according to the site's tally, more than 20,000 letters with money or flyers had been mailed to the Universal Studios and to CBS headquarters in New York from 49 different countries since the campaign started on September 29, 2007. Fox and Mendelsohn chose to donate the money to Court Appointed Special Advocate, a national association that supports and promotes court-appointed advocates for abused or neglected children.
On September 27, 2007, after CSI's season eight premiered, a miniature model of character Gil Grissom's office (which he was seen building during season seven) was put up on eBay. The auction ended October 7, with the prop being sold for $15,600; CBS donated the proceeds to the National Court Appointed Special Advocate Association.
Real-life crime scene investigators and forensic scientists warn that popular television shows like CSI (often specifically citing CSI) do not give a realistic picture of the work, wildly distorting the nature of crime scene investigators' work, and exaggerating the ease, speed, effectiveness, drama, glamour, influence, scope, and comfort level of their jobs, which they describe as far more mundane, tedious, limited, and boring, and very commonly failing to solve a crime.
Another criticism of the show is the depiction of police procedure, which some consider to be decidedly lacking in realism. For instance, the show's characters not only investigate ("process") crime scenes, but they also conduct raids, engage in suspect pursuit and arrest, interrogate suspects, and solve cases, all of which falls under the responsibility of uniformed officers and detectives, not CSI personnel. Although "some" detectives are also registered CSIs, this is exceedingly rare in real life. It is considered an inappropriate and improbable practice to allow CSI personnel to be involved in detective work, as it would compromise the impartiality of scientific evidence and would be impracticably time-consuming. Additionally, it is inappropriate for the CSIs who process a crime scene to be involved in the examination and testing of any evidence collected from that scene. CSI shares this characteristic with the similar British drama series Silent Witness.
However, not all law enforcement agencies have been as critical; many real CSI investigators have responded positively to the show's influence and enjoy their new reputation. In the UK, scenes of crime officers now commonly refer to themselves as CSIs. Some constabularies, such as those in Norfolk, have even gone so far as to change the name of their crime scene unit to "CSI". CSI recruitment and training programs have also seen an increase in applicants as a result of the show, with a wider range of people now interested in something previously regarded as a scientific backwater.
The "CSI effect" is a reference to the alleged phenomenon of CSI raising crime victims' and jury members' real-world expectations of forensic science, especially crime scene investigation and DNA testing. This is said to have changed the way that many trials are presented today, in that prosecutors are pressured to deliver more forensic evidence in court. Victims and their families are coming to expect instant answers from showcased techniques such as DNA analysis and fingerprinting, when actual forensic processing often takes days or weeks, with no guarantee of revealing a "smoking gun" for the prosecution's case. District attorneys state that the conviction rate has decreased in cases with little physical evidence, largely due to the influence on jury members of CSI. Some police and district attorneys have criticized the show for giving the public an inaccurate perception of how police solve crimes.
In 2006, the evidence cited in support of the supposed effect was mainly anecdotes from law enforcement personnel and prosecutors, and allegedly little empirical examination had been done on the effect, and the one study published by then suggested that the phenomenon might be an urban myth. However, more recent research suggests that these modern TV shows do have an influence on public perceptions and expectations, and on juror behavior. One researcher has suggested screening jurors for the level of influence that such TV programs has had.
|DVD name||Episodes||Release date||Special Features|
|CSI: Complete Season 1||23||March 25, 2003||
|CSI: Complete Season 2||23||September 2, 2003||
|CSI: Complete Season 3||23||March 30, 2004||
|CSI: Complete Season 4||23||October 12, 2004||
|CSI: Complete Season 5||25||November 29, 2005||
|CSI: Complete Season 6||24||November 14, 2006||
|CSI: Complete Season 7||24||November 20, 2007||
|CSI: Complete Season 8||17||October 14, 2008||
|CSI: Complete Season 9||24||September 1, 2009||
|CSI: Complete Season 10||23||September 28, 2010||
|CSI: Complete Season 11||22||September 27, 2011||
|CSI: Complete Season 12||22||September 26, 2012||
|CSI: Complete Season 13||22||September 17, 2013||
|CSI: Complete Season 14||22||September 16, 2014||
|CSI: The Final Season||18||September 15, 2015||
|CSI: The Finale||1||December 15, 2015||
|CSI: The Complete Series||337 + Finale||November 21, 2017||
The U.S. box sets are released by CBS DVD (distributed by Paramount), while the Canadian box sets are released by Alliance Atlantis (distributed by Universal Studios). The first season DVD release differs from all subsequent seasons in that it is available only in 1.33:1 or 4:3 full frame, rather than the subsequent aspect ratio of 1.78:1 or 16:9 widescreen, which is the HDTV standard aspect ratio.
The first season is also the only DVD release of the series not to feature Dolby Digital 5.1 surround audio, instead offering Dolby Digital stereo sound.
The Blu-ray Disc release of season one is 7.1 DTS sound and 1.78:1 widescreen.
Regions 2 and 4 releases followed a pattern whereby each season was progressively released in two parts (each of 11 or 12 episodes [except for Season 8, in which part 1 contained 8 episodes and the Without a Trace crossover and part 2 contained the remaining 9 episodes] with special features split up) before finally being sold as a single box set.
|DVD Name||Release dates|
|CSI: Crime Scene Investigation Season 1||March 1, 2010*|
|CSI: Crime Scene Investigation Season 2||March 1, 2010*|
|CSI: Crime Scene Investigation Season 3||March 1, 2010*|
|CSI: Crime Scene Investigation Seasons 1-3||August 23, 2004|
|CSI: Crime Scene Investigation Season 4||March 1, 2010*|
|CSI: Crime Scene Investigation Seasons 1-4||December 12, 2005|
|CSI: Crime Scene Investigation Season 5||March 1, 2010*|
|CSI: Crime Scene Investigation Seasons 1-5||October 2, 2006|
|CSI: Crime Scene Investigation "Grave Danger" - Tarantino Episodes||October 10, 2005|
|CSI: Crime Scene Investigation Season 6||March 1, 2010*|
|CSI: Crime Scene Investigation Season 7||March 1, 2010*|
|CSI: Crime Scene Investigation Season 8||March 1, 2010*|
|CSI: Crime Scene Investigation Seasons 1-8||October 26, 2009|
|CSI: Crime Scene Investigation Season 9||March 1, 2010|
|CSI: Crime Scene Investigation Season 10||February 7, 2011|
|CSI: Crime Scene Investigation Season 11||April 30, 2012|
|CSI: Crime Scene Investigation Season 12||July 1, 2013|
|CSI: Crime Scene Investigation Season 13||June 9, 2014|
|CSI: Crime Scene Investigation Season 14||June 8, 2015|
|CSI: Crime Scene Investigation Season 15||April 21, 2016|
|CSI: Crime Scene Investigation The Finale||May 19, 2016|
|CSI: Crime Scene Investigation Seasons 1-5||October 31, 2016|
|CSI: Crime Scene Investigation Seasons 6-10||October 31, 2016|
|CSI: Crime Scene Investigation Seasons 11-15||October 31, 2016|
* = Re-released in slimline full-season packaging. Seasons 1-8 were released in two parts between 2003 and 2009.
|DVD Name||Release dates|
|CSI: Crime Scene Investigation - Complete Season One||November 8, 2006|
|CSI: Crime Scene Investigation - Complete Season Two||November 8, 2006|
|CSI: Crime Scene Investigation - Complete Season Three||July 26, 2006|
|CSI: Crime Scene Investigation - Complete Season Four||November 8, 2006|
|CSI: Crime Scene Investigation - Complete Season Five||January 24, 2007|
|CSI: Crime Scene Investigation - Complete Season Six||December 5, 2007|
|CSI: Crime Scene Investigation - Complete Season Seven||December 3, 2008|
|CSI: Crime Scene Investigation - Complete Season Eight||July 15, 2009|
|CSI: Crime Scene Investigation - Complete Season Nine||June 2, 2010|
|CSI: Crime Scene Investigation - Complete Season Ten||August 3, 2011|
|CSI: Crime Scene Investigation - Complete Season Eleven||June 6, 2012|
|CSI: Crime Scene Investigation - Complete Season Twelve||August 7, 2013|
|CSI: Crime Scene Investigation - Complete Season Thirteen||August 6, 2014|
|CSI: Crime Scene Investigation - Complete Season Fourteen||August 5, 2015|
|CSI: Crime Scene Investigation - Complete Season Fifteen||October 5, 2016|
|CSI: The Finale||November 9, 2016|
Season One is the only season in 4:3 with the remaining seasons in 16:9. All seasons including Season One are in Dolby Digital 5.1.
CBS Home Entertainment (distributed by Paramount) released the first season on high-definition Blu-ray Disc on May 12, 2009. Unlike its DVD counterpart CSI: Crime Scene Investigation#DVD releases, this release is in its original 16:9 widescreen format and feature 7.1 surround sound. Features on the Season 1 BR set are also in high definition.
Season 10 was released on November 18, 2011, in region B. Like the season 1 Blu-ray release, it features a 16:9 widescreen transfer, but it only has DTS-HD 5.1 sound.
Season 9 was released on September 1, 2009. Like the season 1 Blu-ray release, it features a 16:9 widescreen transfer with DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 surround sound. Extras include commentaries, featurettes and BD-Live functionality.
Season 8 was released on Blu-ray on May 29, 2009, in region B.
CSI has also been released as a series of mobile games. In Fall 2007, CBS teamed up with game developer Gameloft to bring CSI to mobile phones. The first of the series to be published was CSI: Miami. The game features actual cast members such as Alexx Woods and Calleigh Duquesne who are trying to solve a murder in South Beach with the player's assistance. The game is also available for download on various iPod devices.
In spring 2008, Gameloft and CBS released "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation - The Mobile Game" which is based on the original series in Las Vegas. This game introduces the unique ability to receive calls during the game to provide tips and clues about crime scenes and evidence. As for the storyline, the game developers collaborated with Anthony E. Zuiker (the series creator) to ensure that the plot and dialogue were aligned with the show's style.
CSI airs on the Nine Network and TVHits (formerly TV1) in Australia, on Channel 5 in United Kingdom, on CTV in Canada, on RecordTV in Brazil, on Italia 1 in Italy, on Prime in New Zealand, on RTÉ2 in Ireland, on TF1 in France, AXN in Asia and Latin America, Skai TV in Greece, on HOT Zone in Israel, on TV3 in Estonia and Latvia, on TVNorge in Norway and on Kanal 5 in Sweden and Denmark.
The use of forensic pathology in the investigation of crime has been the central theme of several other TV mystery-suspense dramas, including: