Following on from July’s CSI: Crime Scene Investigation Series 2, Part 1, Eamonn McCusker has reviewed Momentum’s release of the second part of this wonderful series, which is released tomorrow, 6 October 2003. Whilst the breaking up of the series into two releases still galls, this is a hugely entertaining, as well as underrated, series and comes highly recommeded.
Following on from the release earlier this year of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation comes this release of Part 2 of the same season on 6th October 2003. For those of you new to CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, our review of Series 2, Part 1 notes the background to the series and the characters within it with this boxset offering the eleven episodes to complete the release of the entire season.
Given one of the problems with CSI is the series’ failure to develop ay of the characters, Series 2, Part 2 offers little but more of the same, although when a series is of this high a quality, who’s complaining. Indeed, whilst there is but the one moment that affects the life of any character, it’s such a pivotal moment that it is carried through Series 3 as well as into Series 4, which is currently being broadcast in the US and will be shown in the UK in January.
Listed below are brief synopses of all eleven episodes as included on this DVD release from Momentum Pictures:
Identity Crisis (42m16s): Grissom and the rest of the team are called to a crime scene in which the victim appears to have been a victim of serial killer, Paul Millander. When Grissom discovers that the only connection between this and previous victims was their date of birth, which he also shares, Grissom believes he may be next on Millander’s list. As Gil gets closer to discovering Millander’s identity, he realises that the capture of the killer may be slipping away from him.
The Finger (41m47s): When the CSI team bring in a man with $1million in cash in his car, there is little they can do when his lawyers arranges for his release. As Catherine accompanies him to his car, she is called on his mobile phone and is told to drive him into the desert to hand over the money to a gang responsible for kidnapping his mistress. However, when the woman’s body is found in a drain, the man’s wife becomes the prime suspect but nothing is as simple as it is first thought.
Burden Of Proof (42m35s): Grissom is brought out to a farm to investigate the discovery of the body of a local photographer, which was dumped in an area used by CSI training teams. Despite finding that the man appears to have been shot, there are no bullet fragments in his corpse.
Primum Non Nocere (42m25s): When an ice hockey player is found dead during a game with his throat cut, Grissom and Catherine are called to investigate. When they find that the crime would have occurred as all the other players on the pitch bundled on top of the victim, any one or all of those in the game could be responsible. Meanwhile, Nick and Warrick investigate the death of a saxophonist at a local club and the drugs deals that happen there, known to the club’s managers and a rising young soul singer with whom Warrick becomes involved.
Felonius Monk (40m30s): When four Buddhist monks are found murdered in a temple with each one shot once through the forehead and arranged in a star-pattern, Grissom is called to the crime scene to investigate whilst Catherine is called upon to reopen a closed-case involving the murder of her best friend.
Chasing The Bus (41m38s): When a bus from Los Angeles crashes in the mountains just outside of Las Vegas, Grissom calls the entire CSI team out to the investigation, including Greg. As the bus driver had reported the steering wheel shaking violently before the crash, the CSI team investigate the possibility that the accident was caused deliberately through the deliberate damage of mechanical components on the bus.
Stalker (42m33s): When a woman is found dead within her flat, the CSI team is called to investigate. Yet, when they find that she was discovered within a flat that was securely locked from the inside, they are initially confused as to how the crime was committed, something that is not helped by the arrival of a psychic who claims to have warned the woman of her murder. For Nick, however, the image of the woman brings someone else to mind and he feels the killer may be taking a personal interest in him.
Cats In The Cradle (42m43s): When an eighty-year-old woman, who lived alone but for her cats, is found to have been murdered with a stab wound to her chest, Grissom and Catherine investigate whether there was any dislike of her amongst her neighbours. Meanwhile, Sara and Nick investigate a car bomb that exploded as the driver of the car asked a mechanic to investigate strange noises in her vehicle…or so she tells CSI.
Anatomy Of A Lye (42m43s): When a body is found in the desert, the autopsy report says that it was death-by-drowning. Nick is called upon to investigate how this could have happened. Elsewhere, Grissom and Sara look into the discovery of a body buried in a park, which had been doused in lye before being buried. When they find that the death may have been caused by a hit-and-run, the case is complicated by finding the suspect is an up-and-coming lawyer who knows how to wriggle out of any criminal charges.
Cross-Jurisdictions (42m46s): Grissom’s team from Las Vegas are called to investigate the murder of the city’s former police chief and the disappearance of his wife and daughter. When a national search reports sightings of the girl in Miami, Grissom sends Warrick and Catherine to work alongside that city’s CSI team, who work under top CSI, Horatio Caine (David Caruso).
The Hunger Artist (42m41s): When the body of an unidentified woman is found in an underpass, the CSI team are brought in to find out not only how she died but also her identity. When they discover that her murderer worked hard to make a woman who was attractive in life, horribly disfigured in death, CSI look at the possibility that the murderer was someone who bore a personal grudge towards the victim and, in particular, her beauty. Meanwhile, Grissom hears some news that may bear a great impact on his future ability to work in CSI.
It is the last two episodes that are probably the most interesting of the season and which certainly had the greatest impact. Those who are avid fans of the series will be aware of the final scenes of The Hunger Artist and the impact that it had, and continues to have, on the show. Whilst those who have yet to watch Series 2 will not want to know what happens, suffice to say this series does bear repeated at least one repeated viewing if only to see how subtly such a twist was introduced.
Otherwise, Cross-Jurisdictions featured the introduction of the CSI: Miami team, who were to get their own spin-off series, which began broadcasting alongside CSI: Crime Scene Investigations Series 3. There are those who rightly criticise CSI: Miami, mainly for the absurd posturing of Caruso and their appearance here may be considered by many to be one of the key moments when the CSI brand started to lose its way but, if nothing else, Cross-Jurisdictions does show the series moving beyond its roots in Las Vegas.
As with CSI: Crime Scene Investigation Series 2, Part 1, this is a terrific series and can count itself amongst the best television shows that the US currently has to offer. Whilst the broadcast of this series on Five has ensured it has kept a small but consistent following, it really is worth picking up and this DVD release is as good as it will ever be seen or heard.
This boxset of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation Series 2, Part 2 has been presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1, which is how it is meant to be seen and how Five broadcast it in the UK. Momentum have done a marvellous job of transferring the show onto DVD – the colours are rich, the picture is exceptionally clean and detailed and the contrast between scenes, switching from the bright sun of the desert to the darkness of the CSI labs from scene to scene, is handled without any noticeable problems.
Each episode is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1 and as with the earlier boxset, the sound mix is wonderful and a substantial improvement over the NICAM Stereo it is broadcast with. Whilst the surround sound effects are subtle, they are very effective and do a superb job of bringing the viewer closer to the action, which, surely, is the effect such a soundtrack should have.
CSI: Crime Scene Investigation Season Two, Part Two has been released with the following set of extras:
The CSI Tour (8m33s, 1.33:1 Non-Anamorphic, 2.0 Stereo): Production designer Richard Berg takes the viewer on a tour of a number of sets used in the series including, amongst others, Grissom’s office, the fingerprint lab, the DNA lab and the CSI team’s garage.
Shooting Locations (6m27s, 1.33:1 Non-Aamorphic, 2.0 Stereo): Paul Wilson, the location manager, describes the challenge of finding areas around Las Vegas and Los Angeles in which CSI: Crime Scene Investigation was filmed.
Making of a Hit (11m37s, 1.33:1 Non-Anamorphic, 2.0 Stereo): Featuring interviews with those responsible for the development of the CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, including Jerry Bruckheimer, Anthony Zuiker, Danny Cannon and Ann Donahue, this bonus feature looks the effort that was put into the creation of the show and the real-life people who inspired it.
Tools of the Trade (9m04s, 1.33:1 Non-Anamorphic, 2.0 Stereo): This bonus feature sees ex-CSI supervisor and Criminologist Elizabeth Devine, who is now the technical advisor on CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, walking the viewer through the technology as used in crime labs. This feature follows on from a similar feature on the CSI: Crime Scene Investigation boxset, which was also hosted by Elizabeth Devine.
Season Three Trailer (1m41s, 1.33:1 Non-Anamorphic, 2.0 Stereo): This is a brief trailer showing a number of highlights from Series 3 of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, which has already been broadcast once in the UK on Five and which is currently being repeated on that channel and on Living TV.
Recovered Evidence: This bonus feature allow the downloading of DVD ROM material from the CSI website, including desktop themes.
Video Game Trailer (1m03s, 1.78:1 Non-Anamorphic, 2.0 Stereo): A computer game version of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation is now available in the UK in which the player can work alongside Grissom and the rest of the cast on solving a crime and this trailer illustrates the basic gameplay, graphics and voice acting, provided by the original cast.
As I mentioned in my review of the earlier boxset for this series, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation is awfully shallow yet enormously entertaining yet the problem with the breaking up of the season into two parts continues with this release from Momentum. Whilst cost may be an issue, it would have been better to have released the entire season in one boxset but, that one complaint aside, this is great stuff indeed – not life-changing by any means but hugely enjoyable and, thanks to its being broadcast on Five, terribly overlooked. This boxset may be the time to solve that problem in the UK.
It’s the end, but the moment has been prepared for…
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