Case Number 14969


Paramount // 2004 // 885 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Kent Dixon (Retired) // November 12th, 2008

The Charge

Det. Stella Bonasera (Melina Kanakaredes): "That's it? No butler?"
Det. Don Flack (Eddie Cahill):" No."
Bonasera: "Too bad. I thought we could wrap this one up quick."
Flack: "What?"
Bonasera: "Mansion like this, it's always the butler. Didn't you ever play Clue?"
Flack: "I was a Monopoly guy."

Danny Messer (Carmine Giovinazzo): (looking at evidence from a murder case) I can't wrap my head around it, Mac. You get up, you go to work, see the people that you know, you talk, you laugh. You're living your life, then suddenly, boom. It's just over. Just like that, and you never even saw it coming.

Opening Statement

With the central characters and relationships now well established, CSI: New York continues to proudly carry the torch for the franchise through a solid fourth season that includes some notable multi-episode arcs.

Facts of the Case

Backed by a team of competent cops and sleuthful scientists, Mac Taylor (Gary Sinise) investigates bizarre crimes and busts bad guys to protect the citizens of the Big Apple. No matter what you've done, and how confident you are that you'll get away with it, the evidence doesn't lie!

All 21 episodes of the show's fourth season are included in this release, spread over six discs as follows:

Disc One
"Can You Hear Me Now?"
"The Deep"
"You Only Die Once"
"Time's Up"

Disc Two
"Down the Rabbit Hole"
"Commuted Sentences"

Disc Three
"One Wedding and a Funeral"
"The Thing About Heroes"
"Child's Play"

Disc Four
"Happily Ever After"
"All in the Family"
"Playing With Matches"
"DOA for a Day"

Disc Five
"Right Next Door"
"Like Water for Murder"

Disc Six
"Personal Foul"

The Evidence

You'd think that a franchise with a relatively similar formula, repeated from episode to episode, and over three weekly series, would run out of steam and likely sooner than later. But whether it's due to the skill of each show's writing staff, CSI franchise creator Anthony E. Zuiker, the solid ensemble casts and production teams behind each incarnation, or a combination of all these elements, CSI keeps going strong from week to week. And with the original series now in its ninth season, CSI: Miami in its seventh season, and CSI: New York in its fifth, fan or not, it's hard not to be impressed with this kind of staying power, especially in today's often fickle and fleeting TV arena. I've ranted before about my dislike for CSI: Miami and David Caruso's bizarre approach to his character, so I won't go into that again here. I gave the show almost two seasons, but haven't been back since. It's a shame because it's easy to see the same attention to detail and high production values in CSI: Miami as in CSI and CSI: New York.

In my review of CSI: New York: The Third Season, I coined the term "forensimentary" to describe the unique look and feel viewers are treated to as CSI characters explore crime scenes, analyze evidence and examine victims. The physical and CG effects in these sequences never cease to impress me and are part of what keeps me coming back to two out of three of the franchise's incarnations. Without giving anything away, I recently watched a season five episode of CSI: New York that included a sequence where Sheldon Hawkes (Hill Harper) and Mac examine a complete virtual representation of a victim's body, to avoid exposing themselves to high levels of radiation. This is geek-amped, tricked-out science at its best!

To their credit, the core cast of CSI: New York really hit the ground running in their first season and with some small tweaks along the way (like Sheldon Hawkes leaving the lab to hit the streets), have developed into a solid team that deliver strong performances from week to week. And with strong actors to deliver their scripts, the writers were able to explore some interesting relationships and story lines during season four.

Possible spoilers

Despite their numerous differences, Hawkes and Messer developed a strong friendship over the course of the season. Starting out as one-upmanship and friendly rivalry, they came to respect and value each other's unique skills and experience. Haunted by a mystery from his past, Mac seems to have a stalker tailing him from London to New York and reappearing in an ongoing story woven throughout the season. After failing at love with nearly fatal consequences, Stella finally finds love from an unexpected suitor...or does she? Speaking of relationships, Messer and colleague Lindsay Monroe (Ana Belknap) finally find romance together, but with the intensity of their lives, how long can it last? And as if all of that's not enough, a taxi cab killer brings the city to a fearful standstill, with no one knowing where or when he'll strike next.

End Spoilers

Each of the franchise's three incarnations have a unique feeling, partly due to their locales, but also due to the color filters used in each show: green and white for CSI, yellow and gold for Miami and grey and blue for New York. The unique CSI: New York color scheme is faithfully reproduced here, with a crisp and clean video presentation that will delight any fan. Part of the appeal of CSI: New York, at least for me, is the rave-style funky music that anchors much of the show. The audio presentation is consistent with previous releases of the series, delivering a nice blend of music, voice tracks and surround effects that will give your speakers a decent workout.

Unlike the Third Season release, which included commentary tracks on three episodes, The Fourth Season only provides a commentary for the "Down the Rabbit Hole" episode on disc two. As that episode explores the world of the Internet-based computer game "Second Life," show creator Anthony E. Zuiker's commentary relates pretty specifically to that topic, which may bore listeners who aren't interested in the game.

The set also includes four featurettes, beginning with "Art Attack," which introduces viewers to artist Clemente Bornicelli, whose work is featured in the episode "Right Next Door." The "Cutting to the Core: Season 4 In The Big Apple" featurette delivers a short but sweet summary of the season, including some of the main highlights and plot lines. "Art Imitates Second Life" takes viewers on an insider's tour of the Internet-based game "Second Life," talking to the game's developers while also providing an overview of "Down the Rabbit Hole," the episode that features the game. The "Dante's Infernal Episode" featurette rounds out the extras with a close look at the season's Halloween episode directed by Joe Dante, as both Dante and the core actors share their thoughts and feelings about one of the season's most unique episodes.

The Rebuttal Witnesses

It seems we're seeing a trend toward declining extra features on these releases and when Paramount is asking fans to dish out between $45 and $55 for a set like this, it's...well...almost criminal! Let's have more commentaries that include the core actors, featurettes with bloopers and flubs...come on Paramount, let's bump up the value here.

Closing Statement

To put it simply, CSI: New York is an excellent show that consistently delivers some of the best drama on TV today week after week. For fans of the show, aside from the warning that the extras are a bit on the slim side, CSI: New York: The Fourth Season is an easily recommended purchase.

The Verdict

CSI: New York is dismissed to continue busting the bad guys...New York style!

Review content copyright © 2008 Kent Dixon; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2016 HipClick Designs LLC

Scales of Justice
Video: 95
Audio: 95
Extras: 70
Acting: 90
Story: 100
Judgment: 90

Perp Profile
Studio: Paramount
Video Formats:
* 2.35:1 Anamorphic

Audio Formats:
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (Spanish)

* None

Running Time: 885 Minutes
Release Year: 2004
MPAA Rating: Not Rated

Distinguishing Marks
* Episode Commentary on "Down the Rabbit Hole"
* "Art Imitates Second Life"
* "Dante's Infernal Episode"
* "Cutting to the Core: Season 4 In The Big Apple"

* IMDb

* Official Site