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Case Number 12630

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CSI: NY: The Third Season

Paramount // 2004 // 1019 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Kent Dixon (Retired) // December 19th, 2007

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All Rise...

Appellate Judge Kent Dixon would like to be a Crime Scene Investigator, if it weren't for all the science stuff.

Editor's Note

Our reviews of CSI: NY: The Second Season (published April 25th, 2007), CSI: NY: The Fourth Season (published November 12th, 2008), CSI: NY: The First Season (published November 30th, 2005), CSI: NY: The Eighth Season (published November 17th, 2012), CSI: NY: The Fifth Season (published October 26th, 2009), CSI: NY: The Final Season (published June 24th, 2013), CSI: NY: The Seventh Season (published October 20th, 2011), and CSI: NY: The Sixth Season (published December 1st, 2010) are also available.

The Charge

Gunman: That's a cute toy you got there.
Detective Don Flack (Eddie Cahill): Why don't you come out here and I'll show you how to use it.

Dr. Sid Hammerback (Robert Joy): (to Mac and Sheldon) The rawness of the flesh indicates she was alive during the beheading, but I bet she didn't feel a thing. Her blood alcohol level was 0.26…blotto. The highest I've ever registered was 0.23, but that was in celebration of my first divorce, and I fell down a flight of stairs, didn't feel a thing.

Flack: Do you think Houdini knew the impact he would have on the mafia lingo?
Dr. Sheldon Hawkes (Hill Harper): I'm sorry?
Flack: It's like, when they whack somebody they say "we made them do a Houdini." Do you think that would make him proud?
Hawkes: Are we actually having this conversation?
Flack: Oh I'm sorry, can you explain the difference between DNA and RNA? Is that better? 'Cause that's a scintillating conversation right there.

Opening Statement

The Big Apple sleuths are back for CSI: New York: The Complete Third Season with new prints to dust, bodies to bag, and bad guys to bust. As Mac Taylor (Gary Sinise) and the gang work to keep good old Gotham safe, can they also deliver enough new material and unique plotlines to justify an ongoing third incarnation of the CSI franchise?

Facts of the Case

Led by Detective Mac Taylor (Gary Sinise), the New York Crime Lab team hits the streets for another year, with fellow Detectives Stella Bonasera (Melina Kanakaredes), Danny Messer (Carmine Giovinazzo), Don Flack (Eddie Cahill), Lindsay Monroe (Anna Belknap) and Dr. Sheldon Hawkes (Hill Harper) contributing nicely to resolving some of most exciting cases they've encountered so far.

All 24 episodes of the show's third season are now available to fans with the release of CSI: New York: The Complete Third Season:

• "People with Money"
• "Not What It Looks Like"
• "Love Run Cold"
• "Hung Out to Dry"
• "Oedipus Hex"
• "Open and Shut"
• "Murder Sings the Blues"
• "Consequences"
• "And Here's to You, Mrs. Azrael"
• "Sweet 16"
• "Raising Shane"
• "Silent Night"
• "Obsession"
• "The Lying Game"
• "Some Buried Bones"
• "Heart of Glass"
• "The Ride In"
• "Sleight Out of Hand"
• "A Daze of Wine and Roaches"
• "What Schemes May Come"
• "Past Imperfect"
• "Cold Reveal"
• "Comes Around"
• "Snow Day"

The Evidence

Aside from the Law & Order franchise, CSI is the only TV program currently on the air in multiple incarnations. Now well into its fourth season, CSI: New York continues to gain momentum and remains on my "must watch" list every week. The slick production values and musical style help the show stand out from most other primetime drama series on the air right now, while also nicely differentiating CSI: NY from the rest of the CSI family.

As I've said in past reviews and on my podcast show "View from the Couch," I am what most people would call a completist. I read books, see films and watch TV shows in order, and even when one entry in a series is weak or even downright brutal, I will still read or watch it to say I have experienced all there was to offer. I wanted to like CSI: Miami, I really did! I can lay all the blame, and my loathing of the show, at the feet of David Caruso. I'm sure he's a very nice man in real life, but I haven't been able to push through Caruso's bizarre acting style to enjoy what I'm sure remains to be a well written show with high production values like its sister shows CSI and CSI: New York. The strangest part is that if you see him in earlier roles in First Blood and An Officer and a Gentleman he actually seemed…well…normal!

The core cast of CSI: New York is anchored by one of my favorite actors, Gary Sinise, in the role of Detective Mac Taylor. Taylor serves not only as the straight man and anchor for his team, but unlike CSI: Miami, where it really feels like the "David Caruso show," CSI: New York is all about the team. CSI: NY delivers a solid core cast who deliver solid performances on their own, shining even more when working as a unit.

All the CSI shows have, if I may coin a new term here, a "forensimentary" look and feel to them, using the camera to give viewers a unique view of the case. Especially during reenactments and autopsies, the camera often provides an inside scoop, telling part of the story and finding the clues the team needs to solve any given case, even going so far as entering the bodies of the victims. This unique touch is one of the elements that makes CSI, in any of its incarnations, one of the most unique-looking series on TV.

The reality is, the original series likely can't last forever (or can it?!?), and the rumors of William Petersen's (Gil Grissom) pending departure have been circulating online since 2005. I'm likely not the only fan that thinks the show will have trouble keeping its head above water without Petersen at its core, nothing against the rest of the cast, but Petersen is definitely their bookish fearless leader. And should the foundations of the originator be shaken and the show ultimately goes off the air, CSI: NY and CSI: Miami will be left to carry the torch. For my money, although the quality of the writing is comparable in both shows, CSI: NY delivers a better ensemble cast than its southern sister overall, resulting in better chemistry and a more enjoyable show.

Aside from the core cast, two other aspects of CSI: NY contribute to the show in their own unique ways, adding to the uniqueness of the show: the show's music and The Big Apple. I've never been a big fan of hip-hop music, although I'm well aware the style has many artists and many fans. As a result, the hip-hop flavor of CSI: Miami's music has never appealed to me. Alternatively, the music style of CSI: NY is consistently techno/dance flavored, especially during the "we're working on stuff in the lab" sequences, and it really works. I have often looked online to see if I can find information on the music tracks used on specific episodes, and would definitely buy a CD with a compilation of music from the show. Speaking of music, and in step with the other incarnations of CSI, a famous song by The Who (in this case "Baba O'Reilly") serves as the show's intro theme, and the song received an amazing remix treatment that premiered with season four.

The funky look and feeling of the show are faithfully reproduced here, with the anamorphic presentation making it just that much better. The New York skyline looks great and Mac Taylor and his team, or the "Fashion Police" as I like to call them, look even better on DVD that when the show was originally broadcast. Part of the appeal of this show is its funky score and song selections, and the audio doesn't disappoint, remaining well-balanced and pleasantly immersive at all times.

Beyond the episodes themselves, the set includes detailed episode-specific commentary tracks with executive producers Pam Veasey and Peter Lenkov and director Duane Clark on "Not What It Looks Like," CSI: NY creator Anthony E. Zuiker and Missy Suicide (yes, she's a Suicide Girl) on "Oedipus Hex," Pam Veasy and actor Eddie Cahill on "Consequences," and Peter Lenkov and writer Sam Humphrey on "Silent Night." The set also includes four featurettes, beginning with "Breaking the Killer Code," which takes an in-depth look behind the episode titled "Hung out to Dry." This is one of the best episodes of the season and has an amazing and intricate plot, so I won't give anything away. Next up, "The Suicide Girls Rock CSI," begins with a viewer discretion warning and there's a reason for the warning. The featurette provides a crash course in who the Suicide Girls are and the role they played on the episode entitled "Oedipus Hex"—I'm still a bit scarred by the whole experience.

"The Making of "Silent Night," is exactly what it sounds, taking a behind the scenes look at the episode, including the role played by 2006 U.S. National Champion figure skater Sasha Cohen (Bratz). Rounding out the quartet is a featurette entitled "Hill Harper Explores the Body Farm." This featurette also begins with a viewer discretion warning, also for very good reasons. Viewers join actor Hill Harper (Sheldon Hawkes) as he is taken on a tour of the University of Tennessee Forensic Anthropology Center, nicknamed "the body farm" by author Patricia Cornwell. Established in 1982 as a center where forensic anthropology students and criminologists can study decay as it relates to human bodies, the site spans 1.6 acres and there are 172 bodies being studied at the site. Just when I thought the movie Se7en contained some of the most disturbing images I had ever seen, along came this little gem. And no, I'm not kidding, it really is that bad.

The set is also bundled with a playable demo version of the PC game CSI: Hard Evidence, a fun little game from game developer Ubisoft, that includes voice performances from the original CSI actors and allows players to search for evidence in mock crime scenes.

The Rebuttal Witnesses

The only real criticism I have for CSI: New York is that, as much as I love Sinise's portrayal of the team's leader Detective Mac Taylor, he's very soft spoken and really leads from the back of the pack. That approach to the central figure took some time to get used to, but it's growing on me more and more all the time. Another issue I have is with extras, or should I say the meager portion of them. It would be a nice gesture to offer fans a bigger helping of additional features when they have had to shell out more than $50 for the set.

Closing Statement

If you want your scientists easy on the eyes, your crime scenes hard on the stomach, and your stories consistently top-quality, CSI: New York: The Complete Third Season has what you need and so much more.

The Verdict

Mac, Lindsey, Stella, Messer, Flack, and Hawkes are all free to go. Like I could produce any evidence they couldn't dodge!

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Scales of Justice

Video: 95
Audio: 95
Extras: 85
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: 1019 Minutes
Release Year: 2004
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
• Crime
• Drama
• Television

Distinguishing Marks

• Episode Commentaries on "Not What It Looks Like," "Oedipus Hex," "Consequences," and "Silent Night"
• Breaking The Killer Code
• The Suicide Girls Rock CSI: NY
• The Making of "SIlent Night"
• Hill Harper Explores the Body Farm

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Review content copyright © 2007 Kent Dixon; Site design and review layout copyright © 2016 Verdict Partners LLC. All rights reserved.