I think perhaps it is destiny for me to review as many different crime dramas as possible. If you’re familiar with my reviews then you know that Law & Order: Criminal Intent is my favorite, but NCIS is making a strong case to be my number one. CSI and SVU have also introduced themselves to me by way of my reviews, and I’ll admit that they are good as well, but not top caliber just yet. But take a little bit of everything I like about crime dramas and add one of the coolest actors ever in Gary Sinise, and you just may have hit the winning combination to move up my favorites ladder.
Playing off the other forensics teams of CSI and the other one down in Miami, we now have one in the high skyline of New York City. Detective Mac Taylor (Sinise) is leading his team to solve crimes from every little detail and bring criminals to justice. Traveling the streets of Manhattan is a dangerous enough voyage by itself, but throwing in the task of tracking down drug lords, robbers, and most of all murderers makes things all that more difficult and the city even more daunting. Along with Mac’s team of his right-hand woman Stella, Lindsay, Hawkes, Danny, Adam, and Dr. Peyton Driscoll; the CSI squad of New York does some hardcore investigations and deal with some very unique cases.
There aren’t a lot of carry-over storylines from episode to episode except for the relationships each team member has with one another. Danny and Lindsay, who he calls “Montana,” are now an item dealing with all the issues that come along with a cop couple in the same precinct. Mac has fallen for Dr. Driscoll and her cute little British accent. But other then that, each episode brings about a new case, and sometimes two, that they need to solve with a lot of work and figuring out some detailed information. Each case is rather unique and can be anything from a spooky old house like in “Boo;” all the way up to finding a dead woman and a dead shark on a beach at the same time. Weird I know, but they find a damn good way of making them interesting.
Danny is close to being my favorite character and that isn’t just because we share the same first name. He is a smaller guy that has a no-nonsense attitude about him you wouldn’t expect to find in someone of his stature. Stella and everyone else just are kind of there with their own personalities, but never quite set themselves apart from the rest of the cast like Danny and one other person does, Mac. Gary Sinise has always been a hard-nosed actor that can kill you with his stare and frighten the hell out of you with his stone-cold voice. If you’re not going to throw him into the role of a serial killer then it’s only appropriate to make take charge cop.
CSI: NY has a weird “something” about it that makes me like it even more then I do the original CSI or even the one set in Miami. It is hard to place my finger on it, but maybe it is the setting and location. New York just always has a big-time feel about it that brings about a brooding and darker tone along with it. The episodes seem to go down a more serious route and a lot of the humor is left out which keeps things serious and focused. Criminal Intent remains my number one by a slim margin because of my man-crush on Detective Robert Goren. But CSI: NY has taken over the top spot from NCIS because of how much more of a mysterious aura it brings with it.
Can You Hear Me Now?: The fourth season begins with Mac searching for a vigilante who threatens to kill a famous musician. The case is set in motion when blood is found on the crown of the Statue of Liberty.
The Deep: After a body is found in New York Harbor, Mac uncovers a plot to assassinate a diplomat and the location of a hidden treasure.
You Only Die Once: Mac and Stella investigate a series of robberies targeting some of Manhattan’s wealthiest citizens, and the key to cracking the case is a mysterious sports car that is rigged like one seen in James Bond movies. Also, Mac receives phone calls from an unidentified caller who may be targeting him.
Time’s Up: Mac investigates the possibility of time travel when a dying man confesses to a murder 24 hours before it takes place. Singer Will Dailey guest stars as himself.
Down The Rabbit Hole: Mac enters a computer-generated virtual world to track down a woman’s killer. The victim looked like a popular avatar come to life, and the jealous murderer wants to assume her faux identity.
Boo: The CSI team encounters eerie events when they investigate a mass murder at the infamous Amityville Horror house on Long Island.
Commuted Sentences: A man is stabbed to death in Madison Square Park and a woman is fatally shot outside a museum, and the investigations reveal the two victims were sexual predators who were acquitted by the courts.
Buzzkill: Mac investigates when a supermodel is found dead in a giant martini glass on a Times Square billboard.
One Wedding And A Funeral: A groom is murdered on his wedding day and his body is wrapped like a present; and Stella finds a box of bloody puzzle pieces on her car, a discovery that causes Mac to fly to Chicago to solve the mystery.
The Thing About Heroes: Mac closes in on the “333” stalker who is pursuing him and learns the significance of the numbers; a CSI is taken hostage.
Child’s Play: It’s no laughing matter when a murder victim is discovered with traces of disappearing ink and an exploding cigar. The investigation leads the CSI team to a notorious prank seller known as Laughing Larry. Meanwhile, Danny probes a case that involves a boy from his neighborhood.
Happily Never After: A much-despised hotel owner is discovered dead beneath an ice sculpture; and a woman is accidentally hit and killed by a school bus while walking down a highway in her nightgown.
All In The Family: Mac investigates the murder of a woman outside of a flower shop and then probes the death of man discovered two buildings down from the first victim. The CSI team works to determine if the two killings are related.
Playing With Matches: A drowning victim is discovered in a self-cleaning public restroom and it quickly becomes apparent that the death was no accident.
DOA For A Day: Mac’s team searches an abandoned warehouse for one of the city’s most wanted criminals after receiving an anonymous tip.
Right Next Door: A fire breaks out in Stella’s apartment building and it is determined that it is arson, but she is on a mission to save everyone ahead of herself.
Like Water For Murder: The body of a top real-estate salesman washes up on the shore of Rockaway Beach, along with several dead sharks, leading the CSI team on a twisted path to follow the evidence.
Admissions: A prep-school guidance counselor who is serving as a chaperone for a dance is brutally beaten and murdered in a school lab. The investigation reveals the victim may have been involved with drugs and gambling. Meanwhile, Mac is pressured to find the so-called taxicab killer before he strikes again.
Personal Foul: The CSI team searches for the so-called cabbie killer after another one of his victims is discovered floating in a fountain. In another case, a hoops fan randomly selected from a drawing at an arena dies after sinking a basketball shot worth $1 million. The investigation reveals the victim was poisoned.
Taxi: A suspect who is thought to be the so-called cabbie killer turns up dead, but Mac isn’t convinced the case is solved, and he thinks that the real culprit may still be stalking the city’s streets.
Hostage: A bank robbery goes wrong and a manager is gunned down. The botched attempt and shooting prompt a nervous gunman to take hostages and to demand that a CSI be brought in to prove he is innocent.
Episode descriptions courtesy of The All Movie Guide.
The episodes are shown in 16:9 Anamorphic Widescreen format and this series looks absolutely beautiful. All colors are vibrant and bright while the darker scenes can be viewed without any visible problems at all.
The episodes are heard in Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound and they do a really good job of getting you more into the series. Not many television series make good use of the back speakers as much as CSI: NY does, but they do it well. All dialogue can be heard clearly along with mood music and some great sound effects from around the big city.
Audio Commentary – Only one episode has commentary and it is by creator Anthony E. Zuiker on “Down The Rabbit Hole.” Not a bad listen as he gives some behind the scenes information, but nothing much.
Art Imitates Second Life – Now an even deeper look into the episode of “Down The Rabbit Hole” in which the CSI team must jump into a virtual reality world to solve a crime. This fifteen minute and twenty-five second feature doe a good job of showing how characters interact, sell things to, and create brand new existences in Second Life.
Dante’s Infernal Episode – In a first time type event, the CSI team goes into full Halloween mode and deals with zombies, ghosts, and all things scary. Cast and crew talk about what it was like to head into the world of Amityville and look to bring paranormal stories to life. And what better way to get a horror feel for an episode then to have a master of the genre in Joe Dante direct it? This feature runs just over ten minutes.
Art Attack – This is a very cool look at the artwork that is displayed above the dead body in an episode where a woman crashes through an art gallery window. The artwork is quite beautiful and the artist explains it in great detail which shows a lot of work went into these pieces in a short amount of time. Quite a shame that this feature lasts only four minutes and twelve seconds.
Cutting To The Core: Season 4 In The Big Apple – New York is a truly iconic city and nothing stands out like the Statue Of Liberty. Thanks to an episode where a couple deaths occur at the top of the statue, some big sets needed to be built including her face, crown, and her torch. Very cool how it was all done. This feature also looks at some of the bigger moments in season four including Mac dealing with the “333” caller. That is one of the best storylines going and it makes for some great moments during the season. This is a really good feature that oddly runs thirteen minutes and thirty-three seconds (13:33). Coincidence?
I’m really loving this series, and along with watching this season on DVD for the review I also started watching a lot of the older episodes in a marathon that was recently on television. It appears as if I’ve been missing out on a great series that started out hot and has continued all the way up through four seasons. Gary Sinise just makes this show seem so incredibly real like not many other actors can do. He has a great supporting cast that consists of all likable characters and people you really begin to care about. No-one is wasted on screen just as not a single second is thrown in without actually meaning something important to the case/cases at hand. The special features are very good, but way too short to count for much. They provide good backstage information and really make you look a little harder at what you may see in each episode to come. CSI: NY is just awesome and one of those series that doesn’t feel like a weak spin-off, but a stand-alone show that holds it’s own. Man, I’ve got way too many shows to watch each week now. And here I thought my life was already too couch-potatoesque with all the reviews I do.
Paramount presents CSI:NY: The Fourth Season. Created by: Ann Donahue, Carol Mendelsohn, & Anthony E. Zuiker. Starring: Gary Sinise, Melina Kanakaredes, Carmine Giovinazzo, Hill Harper, Anna Belknap, Eddie Cahill, and more. Running time: 885 minutes on 6 discs. Rating: Not Rated. Released on DVD: September 23, 2008. Available at Amazon.