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Reviewed by Jason Thompson
o be honest, this was my first excursion into the world of “CSI: NY.” I had watched the original series from time to time and enjoyed some of it, but sort of got tired of the whole Las Vegas setting. The less said about “CSI: Miami” the better. Yes, it has everything to do with David Caruso. The man is just not a good actor, but at least he’s keeping it to the small screen again instead of trying to torture everyone in theatres across the world. But “CSI: NY” is gritty and has a great ensemble cast led by the always admirable Gary Sinese as Head Investigator Detective 1st Grade Mac Taylor. Sinese has always been a bankable actor, and his work here is thoroughly enjoyable and doesn’t often veer into the cheesy or overwrought territory.
The rest of the cast is nothing to sneeze at either, but fans already know this by now. At any rate, Carmine Giovinazzo as “Danny Messer” and Anna Belknap as “Lindsay Monroe” are worth singling out as well. Their on-screen chemistry is palpable, and in general the characters are instantly likeable with both actors bringing great depth to their roles. Honestly, I haven’t enjoyed a cop drama this much since “Law and Order: Criminal Intent.” But where that show is all about the psychological shakedowns and interviewing the suspects with pen and paper, the “CSI” series has always been about the gadgetry and technology used to gather and examine the evidence.
In this third series of “CSI: NY” there are plenty of season-long story arcs to work through. The greatest of these involves Mac Taylor discovering that a fellow officer had kept some cocaine for himself during a big drug bust. Taylor then orders detective Donald Flack (Eddie Cahill) to hand over his notebook regarding the bust, because Flack headed the bust. Flack is torn over what to do but ultimately surrenders the notebook to Mac, who in turn arrests the officer. After this occurs, all of those officer’s cases are turned over, allowing a serial killer played by Joey Lawrence (!) to go free and start up his killing again. Of course, Taylor is hot on Lawrence’s trail and manages to corner him, but not before being set up in a suicide that looks like Taylor committed murder himself.
Other big moments include detective Stella Bonasera (Melina Kanakaredes) accidentally cutting herself on a piece of glass at a murder scene that is covered in the blood of a victim who is HIV positive. Naturally, Bonasera goes through the expected anxiety and soul searching while waiting for her tests results to come in. In addition to this, Mac Taylor’s ex-wife’s son Reed Garrett (Kyle Gallner), who she had given up for adoption years before, reappears in Mac’s life wanting to know about his mother. This creates a new relationship for Taylor, who reaches out to Garrett and automatically considers family, even though there are no blood ties.
And in the big bad guy story arc department, there is Edward Furlong playing the part of Shane Casey, a bit of a wacko who goes on a killing spree to avenge his brother’s incarceration. Casey puts clues to his murders in cleverly designed t-shirts that the CSI crew decode one after another in an attempt to discover who the killer is. Once they apprehend Casey, he manages to escape and further his mayhem in a later episode, before his ultimate apprehension at the hands of Danny. Furlong’s performance is both poignant and demented, but he’s not the only big name to make special appearances in this season. Along with the aforementioned Joey Lawrence, both Nelly Furtado and John McEnroe also appear in separate episodes. Even illusionist Criss Angel gets an episode of his own in which he plays a murdering illusionist. Go figure.
If you have never checked out a “CSI” series before, then do give this one a shot. At times, it often reminded me of some of the best episodes of “The X-Files” with its creepiness, gore and dark humor interlaced with the investigations. As stated earlier, this cast is rock-solid and a treat to watch in every episode. Sinese himself produced a majority of these episodes, and does a fine job of it. This is a rare instance where an entire season just clicks without a hitch. I wasn’t bored once while making my way through this set, and fans of cop dramas should find a lot to like here as well.
Special Features: Apart from commentaries on four of the episodes here, fans are also treated to four featurettes. These include “Breaking the Killer Code,” “The Suicide Girls Rock CSI: NY,” “The Making of ‘Silent Night’,” and “Hill Harper Explores The Body Farm.” Of special note is that last extra features actor Harper trekking off to the University of Tennessee to explore “The Body Farm,” a literal scientific “dumping ground” of sorts where actual bodies have been donated in order to further forensic studied for real life detectives. Yes, you get to see these cadavers up close and personal, so those who are squeamish about real corpses may want to hide their eyes. In all, these four featurettes are both entertaining and informative and are a welcome addition to the already stellar set. Fans should definitely enjoy this greatly.