Judge David M. Gutierrez heard there were no secrets in Miami while watching this show. Unfortunately, he found there wasn't much substance either.
Our reviews of CSI: Miami: The Complete First Season (published September 13th, 2004), CSI: Miami: The Complete Third Season (published November 16th, 2005), CSI: Miami: The Complete Fourth Season (published April 25th, 2007), CSI: Miami: The Final Season (published December 16th, 2012), CSI: Miami: The Ninth Season (published October 13th, 2011), and CSI: Miami: The Seventh Season (published October 12th, 2009) are also available.
"There are no secrets in Miami."
Off the catwalk and onto the crime scene, the Miami-Dade Crime Scene Investigators have another go at some sleuthing, interrogating, and testing in CSI: Miami—The Complete Second Season. In its sophomore season, CSI: Miami does little more than scream "spin-off." I don't mean that in a good way.
Facts of the Case
Here's how the show works: First, someone dies—usually in a violent or horrific fashion. The CSI team is called in to investigate. If Caine's on the case, then there's a lot of standing at the crime scene with his hands on his hips accompanied by some headbobbing. If it's anyone else, it's lots of semi-witty asides and banter. Suspect one is wrangled, but that's usually a dead end. Suspect two's always the guy. Then we get a montage, accompanied by some techno-hip music I never hear anywhere else. The CSI guys come in and get the confession. All the while, the CSI team (or criminalists) keep their designer clothes clean and spotless.
The Miami contingent of the CSI team consists of the following: Horatio Caine (David Caruso, NYPD Blue), the going-with-his-gut leader; Callie Duquesne (Emily Procter, Body Shots), the firearms expert and resident sinewy blonde; Erik Delco (Adam Rodriguez, Brooklyn South), the diver; Timothy "Speed" Speedle (Rory Cochran, Dazed and Confused), the DNA guy; and Alexx Woods (Khandi Alexander, The Corner), the Medical Examiner who forms uncomfortable attachments to the victims, often referring to them as "honey" and "sweety."
I think Miami must have the most beautiful people on earth—and this is from a guy living in Los Angeles. Take any episode of CSI: Miami, and it's evident that only a few ugly men are allowed in the city, probably so I can make myself feel better when I'm watching it. I know the trappings of demographics, the need for that "youth appeal" advertisers seek; but my main problem with CSI: Miami is its manufactured nature. There's absolutely nothing special about this spin-off.
I think when creating a TV brand—as Dick Wolf has done well with Law & Order—the important thing to do is make each satellite show close enough to the original to stay consistent, yet make it its own show. I don't see that here. The only visible distinction here is that this CSI team carries guns. It's not enough.
Most of the characters lack any real identity or distinction. I know David Caruso's Horatio Caine (affectionately known to some as "H") is a strong leader. I know this only because of the repeated dramatic pauses he employs. He's got some family problems and he's got a thing for his incredibly beautiful sister-in-law. I know the Duquesne character has problems with her hard-drinking dad. This is as far as character development goes. I liken this to those old crime films in the '70s, where a character's main trait was suggested through his name (i.e. naming the demolitions guy "Sticks" or "Boomer"). The M.E.'s semi-necrophilia smacks of using a device in lieu of character development. I can understand her being touched by one or two murders, it's her fondness for all victims that borders on ridiculous.
Nothing serves as a stronger endorsement for my strong apathy toward this series than the episode "MIA/NYC Nonstop," the pilot for CSI: New York. In watching, I found little distinction between the NY and Miami teams, save for different accents and a different lighting palette. I won't mention the dumb luck/lame problem solving that wraps up this coastal team-up.
Special features include four featurettes spotlighting the visual aspects of the show, and commentaries for seven episodes. Many of the commentaries and featurettes mention how the show's characters and cast have evolved over its first year and what the second season had to do in order to raise the bar and distinguish itself from the original show.
If nothing else, this set sounds and looks beautiful. Presented in widescreen, the colors are always lush with no detectable problems with the picture. I wished every show I reviewed looked as good. The 5.1 Dolby Digital sound is a real treat for the ears. The producers of this set outdid themselves.
The Rebuttal Witnesses
You know what almost saves this series? Rory Cochran. His Speed is the guy who punches in, does his best, punches out and goes home. That's it. That's his life. I can appreciate that.
A couple of standout episodes are worth giving a look. "Hurricane Anthony" and "Slow Burn" employ fantastic CGI that help drive otherwise mediocre stories. "Money For Nothing" treats the viewer to an incredible opening twenty minutes, while "Hard Time" will elicit a gasp in its opening scene.
For those that like techno/trance and semi-pop music during montage scenes, this show's for you. From Oasis to Prince to the Lake Trouts, CSI: Miami keeps the science moving along with its soundtrack.
I love the nifty science gadgets the team uses to solve the crimes. Geeky science fans like myself will definitely fawn over the technological aspects of the series.
I noticed something throughout the commentaries and by watching all seven discs of this series—the show concerns itself too much with making itself different from CSI, and not enough with making CSI: Miami something worth watching.
The court likens CSI: Miami—The Complete Second Season to dating a supermodel from another country. She's pretty to look at, but after ten minutes she's got nothing to say.
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