CSI: Crime Scene Investigation
Grave Danger (Tarantino Episodes)

Starring: William Petersen, Marg Helgenberger, Gary Dourdan, George Eads and Jorja Fox
Momentum Pictures
RRP: 15.99
Certificate: 15
Available 10 October 2005

Working the night shift at CSI Las Vegas's crime lab, Warrick and Nick are up for the same assignments. With a single coin toss, Nick loses and goes to investigate a report of entrails found in an alley. It is here that Nick vanishes, kidnapped by a madman demanding a ransom. Nick is entombed in a clear coffin with nothing but a tape-recorder, 12 hours of air, glow sticks and his loaded service revolver. In a live web feed to his team-mates, who can see and hear but not communicate with him, panic starts to take over. From here it's a frantic race against time to save Nick before his air runs out. It will take all of the CSI's skills, methods and cunning to save their colleague. Can they rise to this challenge or will this be the one case they cannot crack?...

Grave Danger is a two-part episode written and directed by Quentin Tarantino. And boy, what a fantastic roller-coaster ride you're in for. This time CSI is checking all the evidence at a crime scene in order to save one of their own. And if the cliff-hanging ending to part one doesn't have you shouting at the TV in disbelief, then you are probably already dead.

To be honest this episode really rests with one actor. It looks like George Eads (Nick) has it easy this episode. All he has to do is spend the whole time in a box. But if the audience don't believe that he is really buried alive then the race to save him would have appeared rather dull and pointless. Thankfully Eads pulls out all the stops and really goes for it. His reaction, on realising what has happened to him, is scarily believable. He stops just short of over acting and his scenes are incredibly powerful.

No doubt fans will moan that some of the characters didn't get to do much (especially Sara), but to be honest that's how CSI episodes go. Some episodes see the odd character being pretty much ignored, and the next week they are centre stage.

Extras are a little disappointing. All we get are the original CSI: Crime Scene Investigation and CSI: Miami pilots. While these are pretty entertaining, it would have been a lot better if there had been some form of extra on the Grave Danger episodes. I suppose that these are being stored up for the season five release of CSI, but it would have made sense to have had at least a 'behind the scenes' documentary - you can't tell me they didn't make one for broadcast on American TV.

On the downside, there are questions as to whether Tarantino is a huge CSI fan or not. Does he know the characters at all? There are plenty of moments where the main cast act strangely out of character. Grissom, in particular doesn't seem like the Grissom we've come to know and love over the past five seasons. While this is no doubt Tarantino stamping his own unique personality on the episodes, how many other writers/directors would have been allowed to bend the rules like Tarantino does? Thankfully, the end result is still close enough for you to identify with the characters.

Even with that slight quibble, this is still one of the best CSI episodes I've seen. However, if you are a true CSI fan then you might like to wait until it's released as part of the second season five (or 5.2 as it will no doubt be called) box set... Oh, what the hell! It's only £16. Go and buy it! You won't be disappointed.

Nick Smithson

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