Crime Scene Investigation
Season 5 - Part 1

Starring: William Petersen, Marg Helgenberger, Gary Dourdan, George Eads and Jorja Fox
Momentum Pictures
RRP 39.99
Certificate: 15
Available 24 April 2006

C.S.I. is an acclaimed, edgy, fast-paced drama series about a passionate team of forensic investigators who work the graveyard shift at the Las Vegas Criminalistics Bureau. Their job - to find the missing pieces at the scene that will help to solve the crime and vindicate those who often cannot speak for themselves - the victims. Between the hidden clues and the buried motives lies the trail to the truth because people lie... but the evidence never does...

Season Five of CSI sees a serious shift in the group dynamics of the show. Firstly Greg (Eric Szmanda) has put in for a transfer so that he can work in the field, and towards the end of this collection the CSI team gets broken up - although to be honest that doesn't really seem to make that much of a difference. Gill and Sara end up working together, while Catherine is promoted and has Warrick and Nick working under her and the two groups still interact.

Highlights in this collection include:

Viva Las Vegas, in which an alien is found buried in the desert just outside Area 51. But, once in the CSI lab, it soon becomes apparent that this alien is very much of this earth.

Swap Meet, sees Sara and Greg investigating a swingers' party when one of the revellers is found dead in a fountain. This episode also sees a world first - a swingers party where everyone looks like a model. But, oddly enough, it's the b-plot that is actually the most entertaining. Nick and Warrick tackle the gruesome murder of a mini-mall owner who meets the wrong end of a table saw. This episode also sees the injection of some much needed comedy in the form of Marty the cleanup guy. Not only does he come in and clear up the mess once the CSI have finished, but he also runs a number of other profitable businesses that he manages to try to push onto people whose houses he is tidying up. Not only that, but he also has the front to drum up business for his cousin - who is a funeral arranger.

What's Eating Gilbert Grissom, in which we revisit an old case. The "blue paint killer" seems to be active again. But how can a man who was executed for his crimes carry on his killing spree? This episode also has some clever art work - the suspect does a number of drawings including a great Mad magazine style fold-in drawing at the conclusion to this episode.

Ch-Ch-Changes: A brutally murdered woman is found alongside the highway, having been sexually mutilated with her throat slit. The investigation shows she was in fact a transsexual, leading the team into a world where no one is who he - or she - seems. It was a shame that there was no audio commentary for this episode as it would have been great to hear what problems the production had.

Mea Culpa: When a technicality brings Grissom back to court to testify in what he though was an open-and-shut case from five years ago, he discovers new evidence - a fingerprint he may have overlooked which doesn't match the defendant. This triggers a new investigation, indicting Grissom's work on the case, and giving Ecklie a chance to nail him. This episode sees the start of the split up for the CSI team. Due to Grissom's questionable work on the original evidence an innocent man may have been wrongfully imprisoned.

But by far my favourite episode in this collection was Who Shot Sherlock. Greg's in the hot seat for his "final" proficiency test when a Sherlock Holmes aficionado's apparent suicide starts to look more like murder. This episode is incredibly well written and acted with a number of clever twists.

Sci-fi fans will be pleased to learn that there are plenty of guest stars that they will instantly recognise. These include Tony Amendola and Alexis Cruz (Stargate: SG-1); Summer Glau (Firefly/Serenity); Nana Visitor (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine); Reiko Aylesworth, Xander Berkley and D.B. Woodside (24); Nicholas Lea (X-Files); and French Stewart (Third Rock from the Sun)

Extras include The Research of CSI: Maintaining the Accuracy (11 mins featurette that interviews the show's advisers); CSI Procedures on the Scene and in the Lab (19 mins); and a number of audio commentaries on various episodes. The audio commentary on Who Shot Sherlock is worth listening to and gives us a number of interesting facts - including the reason why the character who plays Sherlock Holmes is called Dennis Kingsley. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's, who wrote the original Sherlock Holmes stories, two sons were called Dennis and Kingsley.

Yet another cracking CSI collection.

Nick Smithson

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