CSI: Crime Scene Investigation

Last updated
CSI: Crime Scene Investigation
Created by Anthony E. Zuiker
Opening theme"Who Are You" by The Who
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons15 + Finale
No. of episodes337 (list of episodes)
Executive producer(s)
Running time40–64 minutes
Production company(s)
Original network CBS
Picture format 480i (SDTV),
1080i (HDTV)
Audio format Dolby Digital 5.1
Original releaseOctober 6, 2000 (2000-10-06) 
September 27, 2015 (2015-09-27)
Related shows
External links

CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, also referred to as CSI and CSI: Las Vegas, is a procedural forensics crime drama television series which ran on CBS from October 6, 2000, to September 27, 2015, spanning 15 seasons. The series starred William Petersen, Marg Helgenberger, George Eads, Ted Danson, Laurence Fishburne, Elisabeth Shue, and Jorja Fox and was the first in the CSI franchise. The series concluded with a feature-length finale titled "Immortality".

CBS is an American English language commercial broadcast television and radio network that is a flagship property of CBS Corporation. The company is headquartered at the CBS Building in New York City with major production facilities and operations in New York City and Los Angeles.

William Petersen American actor

William Louis Petersen is an American actor and producer. He is best known for his role as Gil Grissom in the CBS drama series CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (2000–2015), for which he won a Screen Actors Guild Award and was nominated for a Golden Globe Award; he was further nominated for three Primetime Emmy Awards as a producer of the show. He also starred in the films To Live and Die in L.A. (1985), Manhunter (1986), Young Guns II (1990), Fear (1996), The Contender (2000), Detachment (2011), and Seeking a Friend for the End of the World (2012).

Marg Helgenberger American actress

Mary Marg Helgenberger is an American actress. She began her career in the early 1980s and first came to attention for playing the role of Siobhan Ryan on the daytime soap opera Ryan's Hope from 1982 to 1986. She is best known for her roles as Catherine Willows in the CBS police procedural drama CSI: Crime Scene Investigation and the subsequent TV movie Immortality (2015) and as K.C. Koloski in the ABC drama China Beach (1988–91), which earned her the 1990 Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series.


Plot summary

Mixing deduction and character-driven drama, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation follows a team of crime-scene investigators, employed by the Las Vegas Police Department, as they use physical evidence to solve murders. The team is originally led by Gil Grissom (Petersen), a socially awkward forensic entomologist and career criminalist who is promoted to CSI supervisor following the death of a trainee investigator. Grissom's second-in-command, Catherine Willows (Marg Helgenberger), is a single mother with a cop's instinct. Born and raised in Las Vegas, Catherine was a stripper before being recruited into law enforcement and training as a blood-spatter specialist. Following Grissom's departure during the ninth season of the series, Catherine is promoted to supervisor. After overseeing the training of new investigator Raymond Langston (Fishburne), Willows is replaced by D.B. Russell (Danson), and recruited to the FBI shortly thereafter. Russell is a family man, a keen forensic botanist, and a veteran of the Seattle Crime Lab. In the series' 12th season, Russell is reunited with his former partner Julie Finlay (Elisabeth Shue), who, like Catherine, is a blood-spatter expert with an extensive knowledge of criminal psychology. With the rest of the team, they work to tackle Las Vegas's growing crime rate and are on the job 24/7, scouring the scene, collecting the evidence, and finding the missing pieces that will solve the mystery.

Gil Grissom Fictional character on American television series CSI: Crime Scene Investigation

Gilbert Arthur Grissom, Ph.D. is a fictional character on the CBS crime drama CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, portrayed by William Petersen. Grissom is a forensic entomologist and, for the series' first nine seasons, a CSI Level III Supervisor employed by the Las Vegas Police Department. He appeared in 198 episodes, and was replaced by Laurence Fishburne and, later, Ted Danson.

Catherine Willows Fictional character on American television series CSI: Crime Scene Investigation

Director Catherine Willows is a fictional character, portrayed by Marg Helgenberger, from the CBS crime drama CSI: Crime Scene Investigation. Helgenberger made her franchise debut in CSI: Crime Scene Investigation's first season episode "Pilot". Helgenberger received several award nominations for her portrayal of Catherine, including two Primetime Emmy Award nominations and two Golden Globe Award nominations.

Raymond Langston Fictional character on American television series CSI: Crime Scene Investigation

Dr. Raymond Langston is a fictional character on the CBS crime drama CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, portrayed by Laurence Fishburne. He joined the show in season 9, after the departure of Gil Grissom, played by William Petersen. His last name is taken from Fishburne's son, Langston who was in turn, named after the great African American writer Langston Hughes.


Concept and development

During the 1990s, Anthony Zuiker caught producer Jerry Bruckheimer's attention after writing his first movie script. Zuiker was convinced that a series was in the concept; Bruckheimer agreed and began developing the series with Touchstone Pictures. [1] The studio's head at the time liked the spec script and presented it to ABC, NBC, and Fox executives, who decided to pass. The head of drama development at CBS saw potential in the script, and the network had a pay-or-play contract with actor William Petersen, who said he wanted to do the CSI pilot. The network's executives liked the pilot so much, they decided to include it in their 2000 schedule immediately, airing on Fridays after The Fugitive . After CBS picked up the show, the Disney-owned Touchstone decided to pull out of the project, since they didn't want to spend so much money producing a show for another network (ABC is also owned by Disney). [1] Instead of the intended effect of making CBS cancel the show (since it no longer had a producer), Bruckheimer was able to convince Alliance Atlantis to step in as a producer, saving the show and adding CBS as another producer. [1] Initially, CSI was thought to benefit from The Fugitive (a remake of the 1960s series), which was expected to be a hit, but by the end of 2000, CSI had a much larger audience. [2]

Jerry Bruckheimer American film and television producer

Jerome Leon Bruckheimer is an American film and television producer. He has been active in the genres of action, drama, fantasy and science fiction. His best known television series are CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, CSI: Miami, CSI: NY, Without a Trace, Cold Case, and the U.S. version of The Amazing Race. At one point, three of his TV series ranked among the top 10 in the U.S. ratings—a unique feat in television.

Touchstone Pictures American film production company

Touchstone Pictures is a dormant American film distribution label of Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures. Touchstone typically released films produced or distributed by Walt Disney Studios with more mature themes and darker tones that are targeted to adult audiences, than those released under the studio's main Walt Disney Pictures banner. As such, Touchstone was a pseudonym brand for the studio, and does not exist as a distinct business operation.

A spec script, also known as a speculative screenplay, is a non-commissioned and unsolicited screenplay. It is usually written by a screenwriter who hopes to have the script optioned and eventually purchased by a producer, production company, or studio.


CSI: Crime Scene Investigation was produced by Jerry Bruckheimer Television and CBS Productions, which became CBS Paramount Television in the fall of 2006 and CBS Television Studios three years later. Formerly a co-production with the now-defunct Alliance Atlantis Communications, that company's interest was later bought by the investment firm GS Capital Partners, an affiliate of Goldman Sachs. [3] CBS acquired AAC's international distribution rights to the program, though the non-US DVD distribution rights did not change (for example, Momentum Pictures continues to own UK DVD rights). The series is currently in syndication, and reruns are broadcast in the U.S. on Oxygen, Syfy and the USA Network on cable, with Ion Television holding the broadcast syndication rights. The show has aired in reruns on the USA Network since January 14, 2011. [4] The CSI catalog has been exclusive to the whole NBC Universal portfolio since September 2014, after several years with Viacom Media Networks' Spike and TV Land. [4]

CBS Productions was a production arm of the CBS television network, now a part of CBS Corporation, and re-formed in 1948 to produce shows in-house, instead of relying solely on outside productions. One of its first productions was Westinghouse Studio One, a drama anthology series.

CBS Television Studios American television production company

CBS Studios, Inc., doing business as CBS Television Studios (CTS) is an American television production company that was formed on January 17, 2006 by CBS Corporation as CBS Paramount Television, merging Paramount Television and CBS Productions. It is the television production arm of the CBS network, and, alongside Warner Bros. Television, it is also the television production arm of The CW.

Alliance Atlantis Communications Inc. was a Canadian media company that operated primarily as a specialty service operator in Canada. Alliance Atlantis also had offices in Halifax, Los Angeles, London, Dublin, Madrid, Barcelona, Shannon, and Sydney.

Filming locations

The Gas chromatogram-mass spectrometer formerly used as a prop in the show. HP 6890 Gas chromatogram-mass spectrometer used on CSI.jpg
The Gas chromatogram-mass spectrometer formerly used as a prop in the show.

CSI was shot at Rye Canyon, a corporate campus owned by Lockheed Martin situated in the Valencia area of Santa Clarita, California, [5] but after episode 11, filming shifted to the Santa Clarita Studios, originally chosen for its similarity to the outskirts of Las Vegas. Occasionally, the cast still shot on location in Las Vegas (the season-four DVD set revealed that the episode "Suckers" was mostly shot during December 2003 in Las Vegas, where they filmed a Gothic club scene on location for rent, and in January 2004, some scenes were filmed at Caesars Palace), although primarily Las Vegas was used solely for second unit photography such as exterior shots of streets. [6] Other California locations include Verdugo Hills High School, UCLA's Royce Hall, Pasadena City Hall, and California State University, Los Angeles. While shooting took place primarily at Universal Studios in Universal City, California, Santa Clarita's surroundings had proven so versatile, CSI still shot some outdoor scenes there. [7]

Lockheed Martin Corporation is an American global aerospace, defense, security and advanced technologies company with worldwide interests. It was formed by the merger of Lockheed Corporation with Martin Marietta in March 1995, and Loral Federal Systems in 1996. It is headquartered in North Bethesda, Maryland, in the Washington, DC, area. Lockheed Martin employs approximately 100,000 people worldwide as of December 2017.

Santa Clarita, California City in California

Santa Clarita, officially the City of Santa Clarita, is the third largest city in Los Angeles County, California, and the 23rd largest in the state of California. The city has annexed a number of unincorporated areas, contributing to the large population increase. It is located about 35 miles northwest of downtown Los Angeles, and occupies most of the Santa Clarita Valley. It is a notable example of a U.S. edge city or boomburb. Santa Clarita was ranked by Money magazine in 2006 as 18th of the top 100 places to live.

Caesars Palace casino hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada

Caesars Palace is a luxury hotel and casino in Paradise, Nevada, United States. The hotel is situated on the west side of the Las Vegas Strip between Bellagio and The Mirage. It is one of Las Vegas's largest and best known landmarks.


CSI's theme song was, since the last episode of season one, "Who Are You", written by Pete Townshend with vocals by lead singer Roger Daltrey of The Who. Daltrey made a special appearance in the season-seven episode "Living Legend", which also contained many musical references such as the words "Who's next" on a dry-erase board in the episode's opening sequence. In certain countries, to avoid music licensing fees, a unique theme was used, instead.

Who Are You (song) 1978 single by The Who

"Who Are You", composed by Pete Townshend, is the title track on The Who's 1978 album, Who Are You, the last album released by the group before Keith Moon's death in September 1978. It was released as a double-A sided single with the John Entwistle composition "Had Enough", also featured on the album. The song was one of the band's biggest hits in North America, peaking at number 7 in Canada and at number 14 in the US, and has become one of the band’s signature tunes at their live shows. The piano on the track is played by Rod Argent.

Pete Townshend English rock guitarist of The Who, vocalist, songwriter and author

Peter Dennis Blandford Townshend is an English multi-instrumentalist, singer and songwriter best known as the guitarist, backing and secondary lead vocalist, principal songwriter, co-founder and leader of the rock band the Who. His career with the Who spans over 50 years, during which time the band grew to be one of the most important and influential rock bands of the 20th century.

Roger Daltrey English lead vocalist of The Who

Roger Harry Daltrey is an English singer and actor. He is a founder member and lead singer of the rock band the Who. Daltrey is known for his powerful voice and energetic stage presence.

Throughout the series, music played an important role; artists such as Ozzy Osbourne, The Wallflowers, John Mayer, and Akon (with Obie Trice) performed onscreen in the episodes "Skin in the Game", "The Accused Is Entitled", "Built To Kill, Part 1", and "Poppin' Tags", respectively. Mogwai was often heard during scenes showing forensic tests in progress, as were Radiohead and Cocteau Twins, but several other artists lent their music to CSI, including Rammstein and Linkin Park used heavily in Lady Heather's story arc. Sigur Rós can be heard playing in the background in the episode "Slaves of Las Vegas", The Turtles in "Grave Danger", and Marilyn Manson in "Suckers". A cover of the Tears for Fears song "Mad World", arranged by Michael Andrews and featuring vocals by Gary Jules, was used in the pilot episode and during three episodes of season six ("Room Service", "Killer", and "Way to Go"). Industrial rock band Nine Inch Nails was also featured multiple times throughout the three series. One episode started with The Velvet Underground's excited rendition of "Sweet Jane" and ended with the downbeat version of Cowboy Junkies' revision of the song. Character David Hodges' good luck has, on occasion, been accompanied by Electric Light Orchestra's "Mr. Blue Sky". This song was first used in the season-seven episode "Lab Rats", and last used during season 10's "Field Mice".

Cast and characters

Grissom is a highly respected forensic entomologist with a doctoral degree in biology from the University of California. When testifying in court he is often addressed as "Doctor Grissom". He became a CSI around 1985 and departed the Las Vegas Crime Lab in 2009. After a short stint as a researcher, Grissom becomes a sea-life advocate, and reunites with his ex-wife Sara. The series ends with the two sailing off together from the Port of San Diego.
Catherine is a blood spatter analyst who joined the CSI team as a lab technician and worked her way up to assistant supervisor, later succeeding Grissom. After a stint as the graveyard shift CSI supervisor, Catherine is demoted following a departmental scandal, and leaves Las Vegas to join the FBI as a special agent. During the series finale, a recently returned Willows is granted the directorship of the crime lab when Sidle leaves Las Vegas.
Warrick is an audio-video analyst and a native of Las Vegas with a major in chemistry from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. A recovering gambling addict, Warrick is nonetheless skilled at his job. After being falsely accused, and acquitted, of murder, Brown is assassinated in his car by corrupt under-sheriff McKeen. He dies in Grissom's arms.
Stokes graduated from Texas A&M and joined the Dallas Police prior to moving to Las Vegas. He was promoted to CSI level III in the pilot episode of the series, and later became assistant night supervisor under Catherine Willows. Stokes was later demoted, and after remaining in Las Vegas a CSI III, he transfers to San Diego when he is granted the directorship of the SDPD Crime Lab.
Sara is a materials and element analyst who majored in physics at Harvard University. Sara transferred from San Francisco at the behest of Grissom, whom she later marries. After a turbulent relationship and a divorce, Sara is promoted to director of the Las Vegas Crime Lab, though she relinquishes this position to reunite with her ex-husband, Grissom. Catherine then succeeds her as lab director.
Greg is a DNA specialist who was educated in a private school for gifted students. Graduating Phi Beta Kappa from Stanford, Sanders joined the LVPD after a short stint with the SFPD. He later wrote a book about the history of Las Vegas. Greg believes in psychic powers, and is willing to sacrifice himself for what is right. Over the course of the series, Greg has several love interests. He expressed a romantic interest in fellow CSI Morgan Brody after meeting her in season 12.
Robbins is the head county coroner of the LVPD. He is married with three children and has prosthetic legs, having lost his own legs after being hit by a drunk driver as a teenager. Al rarely leaves the crime lab, instead performing autopsies and referring specimens for forensic analysis. He forms strong bonds with both Gil Grissom and Raymond Langston.
Brass was initially the CSI team's supervisor, until losing the position after Holly Gribbs, a rookie CSI under his command is murdered on her first day on the job. He is then given a position as a homicide detective; from then on, Brass serves as the legal muscle for the CSI team and the one who does most of the arresting and interrogating of suspects. Brass later retires from the force to focus on his daughter, and takes a job at Catherine's casino, The Eclipse, as head of security, as seen in "Immortality".
Sofia was a CSI who became assistant supervisor on graveyard, following a demotion from supervisor at the behest of Conrad Ecklie. She later makes a career switch to detective, working alongside Brass, and, rapidly rises through the ranks and becomes the LVPD's deputy chief. She develops a strong friendship with Grissom, much to the chagrin of Sara.
Hodges is a lab technician with a BA from Williams College; he previously worked in the LAPD crime lab, where his superiors felt he had an attitude problem. Hodges has an uncanny sense of smell, and is able to identify many key chemical compounds by their scent alone. Although shown to be a loner throughout the series, he forms a close bond with Morgan Brody.
Adams is a former St. Louis police officer and a nonconformist who joined law enforcement to rebel against her parents, who are psychiatrists. She fits in well with the team initially, though seems to stop following Grissom's departure. Unhappy with the new leadership of Willows, she departs Las Vegas, leaving a damning exit interview criticizing Catherine's leadership skills.
Langston comes into contact with the CSI team in the course of a murder investigation and joins the Las Vegas Crime Lab as a level I CSI. Working under the leadership of Willows, Langston worries about his genetic make-up and natural predisposition to crime. Langston murders serial killer Nate Haskell during a brutal fight, while rescuing his ex-wife, who had been kidnapped, tortured, and raped by Haskell. Captain Brass is the first police officer at the crime scene. After seeing the condition of Langston's ex-wife he ensures that Haskell's death is ruled as a justifiable homicide by self defense. Langston resigns to care for his traumatized ex-wife, leaving a devastated crime lab in his wake.
Simms worked in San Francisco before moving to Las Vegas to take the DNA tech position left vacant by Sanders. Hodges complains that she thinks she's "too cool" for the lab, as like Sanders, she expresses a desire to work in the field. She later becomes a crime-scene investigator in Portland to be closer to her sister. Simms had a brief relationship with Hodges.
David, known as "Super Dave", is the assistant coroner to Chief Medical Examiner Al Robbins. He received his self-styled nickname after saving the life of a victim during an autopsy. Though early in the series, his co-workers tease him about his supposed lack of social experience, he later marries and has a child. He is very close friends with his mentor, Robbins.
Russell is a skilled botanist and veteran crime scene investigator. Previously a crime lab director in Washington, Russell is hired to "clean house" in the wake of the Langston scandal. Russell becomes director of the Las Vegas Crime Lab, a position he holds until his departure following the events of "Immortality". He is married and has four children and a granddaughter. Sidle succeeds him as director.
Brody is a former member of LAPD SID and joins the Las Vegas PD CSI unit in the wake of the Nate Haskell scandal. She is the estranged daughter of Sheriff Conrad Ecklie, with whom she has a turbulent relationship. Brody is often seen partnered with Sanders, and she forms a strong friendship with Hodges, describing him as her "best friend". She is a skilled investigator.
Finlay, known as "Finn" or "Jules", is a blood-spatter specialist who worked for Russell in Seattle; Russell asks her to leave Seattle to join the Las Vegas CSI crew. Finlay is hired following the departure of Willows, and acts as a foil to D.B.'s laid-back management style. She is later attacked by the Gig Harbor killer and left in a car trunk. After a short time in a coma, she succumbs to her injuries. Russell states that she will remain with him wherever he goes.
Henry is the toxicology specialist of the Las Vegas Forensics Laboratory, who mainly deals with identifying toxic substances that have undergone human consumption. He later cross-trains as a DNA specialist, replacing Simms. Andrews has a strong bond with all the lab rats, though particularly Hodges, with whom he has had a love-hate relationship. However, the two were seen having a much better relationship in later seasons.


During the course of the series, 337 episodes of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation aired over 15 seasons.

SeasonEpisodesOriginally aired Nielsen ratings [8] [9]
First airedLast airedRankRating
1 23October 6, 2000 (2000-10-06)May 17, 2001 (2001-05-17)1111.6 [lower-alpha 1]
2 23September 27, 2001 (2001-09-27)May 16, 2002 (2002-05-16)214.5
3 23September 26, 2002 (2002-09-26)May 15, 2003 (2003-05-15)116.3
4 23September 25, 2003 (2003-09-25)May 20, 2004 (2004-05-20)115.9
5 25September 23, 2004 (2004-09-23)May 19, 2005 (2005-05-19)116.5
6 24September 22, 2005 (2005-09-22)May 18, 2006 (2006-05-18)315.6
7 24September 21, 2006 (2006-09-21)May 17, 2007 (2007-05-17)612.2
8 17September 27, 2007 (2007-09-27)May 15, 2008 (2008-05-15)710.6
9 24October 9, 2008 (2008-10-09)May 14, 2009 (2009-05-14)411.5
10 23September 24, 2009 (2009-09-24)May 20, 2010 (2010-05-20)109.7
11 22September 23, 2010 (2010-09-23)May 12, 2011 (2011-05-12)128.4 [lower-alpha 2]
12 22September 21, 2011 (2011-09-21)May 9, 2012 (2012-05-09)168.0 [lower-alpha 3]
13 22September 26, 2012 (2012-09-26)May 15, 2013 (2013-05-15)187.7 [lower-alpha 4]
14 22September 25, 2013 (2013-09-25)May 7, 2014 (2014-05-07)167.8
15 18September 28, 2014 (2014-09-28)February 15, 2015 (2015-02-15)287.2 [lower-alpha 5]
Finale 2September 27, 2015 (2015-09-27)N/AN/A
  1. Tied with Who Wants to Be a Millionaire — Thursday and The West Wing
  2. Tied with 60 Minutes
  3. Tied with Castle
  4. Tied with Grey's Anatomy , The Mentalist , Modern Family and Vegas
  5. Tied with Castle and CSI: Cyber



From CSI, CBS produced a franchise starting in 2002 with a spin-off entitled CSI: Miami . Set in Miami, Florida, and starring David Caruso and Emily Procter, Miami later launched CSI: NY in 2004. Starring Gary Sinise, Sela Ward, and Melina Kanakaredes, NY was set in New York City and was based upon the idea that "Everything is Connected". In 2015, a fourth CSI series, entitled CSI: Cyber , starring Patricia Arquette and Ted Danson, was created. It focuses on the FBI's elite Cyber Crime Division. The CSI series exists within the same fictional "universe" as fellow CBS police dramas Without a Trace and Cold Case . A number of comic books, video games, and novels based on the series have been made.

CSI: The Experience

In 2006, the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History developed a traveling museum exhibit called "CSI: The Experience". On May 25, 2007, Chicago's Museum of Science and Industry was the first museum to host the exhibit, and the exhibit's opening featured stars from the TV series. [10] Also a supporting website designed for the benefit of people who cannot visit the exhibit was developed, [11] designed by Rice University's Center for Technology in Teaching and Learning and Left Brain Media. [12] "CSI: The Experience" also has an interactive attraction at the MGM Grand Las Vegas in Las Vegas, and the Mall of America in Minneapolis, Minnesota. [13]


Critical and commercial reception

During its 15 years in production, CSI secured an estimated world audience of over 73.8 million viewers (in 2009), [14] commanded, as of the fall of 2008, an average cost of $262,600 for a 30-second commercial, [15] and reached milestone episodes including the 100th ("Ch-Ch-Changes"), the 200th ("Mascara") and the 300th ("Frame by Frame"). CSI spawned three spin-off series, a book series, several video games, and an exhibit at Chicago's Museum of Science and Industry. At the time of its cancellation, CSI was the seventh-longest-running scripted U.S. primetime TV series overall and had been recognized as the most popular dramatic series internationally by the Festival de Télévision de Monte-Carlo, which awarded the series the International Television Audience Award (Best Television Drama Series) three times. [14] [16] CSI became the second-most watched show on American television by 2002, [17] finally taking the top position for the 2002–2003 season. It was later named the most watched show in the world for the sixth time in 2016, making it the most watched show for more years than any other show. [18]

Critical reception to the show has been positive, with an IMDB score of 7.8/10, [19] while early reviews showed a mixed to favorable review of the opening season. The Hollywood Reporter noted of the pilot "...the charismatic William Petersen and the exquisite Marg Helgenberger, lend credibility to the portrayals that might be indistinct in lesser hands. There's also a compelling, pulsating edge at the outset of CSI that commands instant attention, thanks in part to dynamic work from director Danny Cannon.". [20] Entertainment Weekly gave the opening two seasons "B+" and "A-" ratings, respectively, noting: "The reason for CSI’s success is that it combines a few time-tested TV elements in a fresh way. Each episode presents a murder case and a group of lovable heroes armed with cool, high-tech gadgets who do the sleuthing and wrap things up in an hour." [21] [22] The show has won six Primetime Emmy awards (out of 39 nominations) and four People's Choice awards (out of six nominations) and was nominated for six Golden Globe Awards, among other awards.

According to T.V. media critic Liv Hausken, crime drama T.V. shows like CSI normalizes surveillance. "The absence of any critical distance to technology on CSI involves a lack of reflection on the security of information (that is, the constant risk of losing sensitive data) and the potential use and misuse of information. This can be contrasted with a whole range of crime series that may rely heavily on surveillance technologies but neverthe-less allow critical reflection as part of the plot as such (showing misinterpretationof data or misuse of surveillance techniques)...This trust in technologies on CSI is important for understanding the status of sur-veillance in this fictional universe. It is also an indicator of the show’s presentation ofpower, a third component for consideration in this discussion about how CSI lends a certain normalization of surveillance to everyday life...The series ignores the fact that everyone is a cultural being, that each person sees something as something, that they understand things from particular perspectives in everyday life as well as in science." [23]

Public reaction

CSI was often criticized for its level and explicitness of graphic violence, images, and sexual content. The CSI series and its spin-off shows have been accused of pushing the boundary of what is considered acceptable viewing for primetime network television. The series had numerous episodes on sexual fetishism and other forms of sexual pleasure (notably the recurring character of Lady Heather, a professional dominatrix). CSI was ranked among the worst primetime shows by the Parents Television Council from its second through sixth seasons, [24] [25] [26] [27] being ranked the worst show for family prime-time viewing after the 2002–2003 [28] and 2005–2006 [29] seasons. The PTC also targeted certain CSI episodes for its weekly "Worst TV Show of the Week" feature. [30] [31] [32] [33] [34] [35] In addition, the episode "King Baby" that aired in February 2005, which the PTC named the most offensive TV show of the week, [35] also led the PTC to start a campaign to file complaints with the FCC with the episode; [36] to date, nearly 13,000 PTC members complained to the Federal Communications Commission about the episode. [37] The PTC also asked Clorox to pull their advertisements from CSI and CSI: Miami because of the graphically violent content on those programs. [38]

A grassroots campaign started on August 2007, upon rumors of Jorja Fox leaving the show, [39] organized by the online forum Your Tax Dollars At Work. Many of its 19,000 members donated to the cause, collecting over $8,000 for gifts and stunts targeted at CBS executives and CSI's producers and writers. The stunts included a wedding cake delivery to Carol Mendelsohn, 192 chocolate-covered insects with the message "CSI Without Sara Bugs Us" to Naren Shankar, and a plane flying several times over the Universal Studios of Los Angeles with a "Follow the evidence keep Jorja Fox on CSI" banner. [40] [41] Other protests included mailing the show's producers a dollar, to save Fox's contract "one dollar at a time". By October 16, 2007, according to the site's tally, more than 20,000 letters with money or flyers had been mailed to the Universal Studios and to CBS headquarters in New York from 49 different countries since the campaign started on September 29, 2007. [42] [43] [44] Fox and Mendelsohn chose to donate the money to Court Appointed Special Advocate, a national association that supports and promotes court-appointed advocates for abused or neglected children. [45]

On September 27, 2007, after CSI's season eight premiered, a miniature model of character Gil Grissom's office (which he was seen building during season seven) was put up on eBay. The auction ended October 7, with the prop being sold for $15,600; CBS donated the proceeds to the National Court Appointed Special Advocate Association. [46]

Law enforcement reaction

Real-life crime scene investigators and forensic scientists warn that popular television shows like CSI (often specifically citing CSI) do not give a realistic picture of the work, wildly distorting the nature of crime-scene investigators' work, and exaggerating the ease, speed, effectiveness, drama, glamour, influence, scope, and comfort level of their jobs, which they describe as far more mundane, tedious, limited, and boring, and very commonly failing to solve a crime. [47] [48] [49] [50]

Another criticism of the show is the depiction of police procedure, which some [51] consider to be decidedly lacking in realism. [52] For instance, the show's characters not only investigate ("process") crime scenes, but they also conduct raids, engage in suspect pursuit and arrest, interrogate suspects, and solve cases, all of which falls under the responsibility of uniformed officers and detectives, not CSI personnel. Although 'some' detectives are also registered CSIs, this is exceedingly rare in actual life. It is considered an inappropriate and improbable practice to allow CSI personnel to be involved in detective work, as it would compromise the impartiality of scientific evidence and would be impracticably time-consuming. Additionally, it is inappropriate for the CSIs who process a crime scene to be involved in the examination and testing of any evidence collected from that scene. CSI shares this characteristic with similar British drama series Silent Witness .

However, not all law enforcement agencies have been as critical; many CSIs have responded positively to the show's influence and enjoy their new reputation. In the UK, scenes of crime officers now commonly refer to themselves as CSIs. Some constabularies, such as Norfolk, have even gone so far as to change the name of the unit to Crime Scene Investigation. [53] Also, recruitment and training programs have seen a massive increase in applicants, with a far wider range of people now interested in something previously regarded as a scientific backwater. [54]

CSI effect

The "CSI effect" is a reference to the alleged phenomenon of CSI raising crime victims' and jury members' real-world expectations of forensic science, especially crime-scene investigation and DNA testing. [55] This is said to have changed the way that many trials are presented today, in that prosecutors are pressured to deliver more forensic evidence in court. [56] Victims and their families are coming to expect instant answers from showcased techniques such as DNA analysis and fingerprinting, when actual forensic processing often takes days or weeks, with no guarantee of revealing a "smoking gun" for the prosecution's case. District attorneys state that the conviction rate has decreased in cases with little physical evidence, largely due to the influence on jury members of CSI. [57] Some police and district attorneys have criticized the show for giving the public an inaccurate perception of how police solve crimes.

In 2006, the evidence cited in support of the supposed effect was mainly anecdotes from law enforcement personnel and prosecutors, and allegedly little empirical examination had been done on the effect, and the one study published by then suggested that the phenomenon might be an urban myth. [58] However, more recent research suggests that these modern TV shows do have an influence on public perceptions and expectations, and on juror behavior. [59] [60] One researcher has suggested screening jurors for the level of influence that such TV programs has had. [60]


DVR ratings

The show ranked number three in DVR playback (3.07 million viewers), according to Nielsen prime DVR lift data from September 22 to November 23, 2008. [61]



DVD releases

Region 1

DVD nameEpisodesRelease dateSpecial Features
CSI: Complete Season 1 23March 25, 2003
  • Music Video: "Who Are You" by The Who
  • "CSI - People Lie... But the Evidence Never Does"
  • Character Profiles
CSI: Complete Season 2 September 2, 2003
  • Behind-the-Scenes Featurettes:
    • Makeup, Music & Special Effects
    • CSI-Shooting Locations
    • The CSI Tour
    • Tools of the Trade
    • The Making of a Hit
  • Audio Commentaries:
    • Episode 201: "Burked"
    • Episode 206: "Alter Boys"
    • Episode 210: "Ellie"
CSI: Complete Season 3 March 30, 2004
  • Behind-the-Scenes Featurettes:
    • The CSI Tour: Police Station
    • The CSI Shot: Making It Real
    • The Writers' Room - Interviews with the show's writers
    • CSI Moves Into Season 3
    • Crime Scene Field Kit
  • Audio Commentaries on 6 Episodes:
    • Episode 301: "Revenge is Best Served Cold"
    • Episode 302: "The Accused is Entitled"
    • Episode 307: "Fight Night"
    • Episode 308: "Snuff"
    • Episode 313: "Random Acts of Violence"
    • Episode 315: "Lady Heather's Box"
CSI: Complete Season 4 October 12, 2004
  • The Evolution of an Episode from Concept to Completion:
    • Script
    • Pre Production
    • Production
    • Post-Production
  • Audio Commentaries on 7 Episodes:
    • Episode 401: "Homebodies"
    • Episode 402: "Assume Nothing"
    • Episode 404: "Invisible Evidence"
    • Episode 405: "Feeling the Heat"
    • Episode 407: "Jackpot"
    • Episode 412: "Butterflied"
    • Episode 418: "Bad to the Bone"
CSI: Complete Season 5 25November 29, 2005
  • Behind-the-Scenes Featurettes:
    • CSI: Season 5 - A Post Mortem
    • The Research of CSI: Maintaining the Accuracy
    • CSI: Tarantino Style
    • CSI: Forensic Procedure On the Scene vs. On the Screen (8-Part Featurette)
  • Audio Commentaries on 9 Episodes:
    • Episode 501: "Viva Las Vegas"
    • Episode 502: "Down the Drain
    • Episode 507: "Formalities"
    • Episode 511: "Who Shot Sherlock?"
    • Episode 512: "Snakes"
    • Episode 518: "Spark of Life"
    • Episode 519: "4 x 4"
    • Episode 520: "Committed"
    • Episode 522: "Weeping Willows"
CSI: Complete Season 6 24November 14, 2006
  • Behind-the Scenes Featurettes:
    • The Science of Sound
    • Gadgets & Gizmos
    • Coroner Reports
    • Apparent Cause of Death
    • Season Six Trajectory
    • The New Title Sequence
  • Audio Commentaries on 6 Episodes:
    • Episode 601: "Shooting Stars"
    • Episode 605: "Gum Drops"
    • Episode 607: "A Bullet Runs Through It, Part 1"
    • Episode 608: "A Bullet Runs Through It, Part 2"
    • Episode 614: "Killer"
    • Episode 620: "Poppin' Tags"
CSI: Complete Season 7 November 20, 2007
  • Behind-the-Scenes Featurettes:
    • Inside "Built to Kill"
    • Miniature Murders
    • Who Are You? - Inside "Living Legend"
    • Las Vegas: The Real Crime Solvers
    • The Evolution of CSI: Season 7
    • Smoke and Mirrors: Directing Feature Television
  • Audio Commentaries on 7 Episodes:
    • Episode 702: "Built to Kill, Part 1"
    • Episode 704: "Fannysmackin'"
    • Episode 709: "Living Legend"
    • Episode 713: "Sweet Jane"
    • Episode 715: "Law of Gravity"
    • Episode 720: "Lab Rats"
    • Episode 724: "Living Doll"
CSI: Complete Season 8 17October 14, 2008
  • While the Cast's Away, The Rats Will Play
  • William Friedkin: A Different Take
  • So Long, Sara Sidle
  • What Happened in Vegas...
  • Shot in the Dark
  • TOD: A Bug's Life
  • Deleted Scene
  • Audio Commentaries on 2 Episodes:
    • Episode 808: "Cockroaches"
    • Episode 809: "You Kill Me"
  • Bonus Episode: "Where and Why" (Without a Trace) [lower-alpha 1]
CSI: Complete Season 9 24September 1, 2009
  • Crime Scene Initiation
  • CSI Mode
  • Rats in Space
  • From Zero to 200 in Nine Seasons
  • Good-bye Grissom
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Audio Commentary on 2 Episodes:
    • Episode 916: "Turn, Turn, Turn"
    • Episode 920: "A Space Oddity"
CSI: Complete Season 10 23September 28, 2010
  • CSI: The Experience
  • Frozen in Time: CSI's Season Opener
  • Leaving Las Vegas: Langston Heads East
  • Getting Lost
  • Lab Rats: The Saga Continues
  • Killer Tales: Season 10 of CSI
  • CSI: Miami Crossover Episode "Bone Voyage" [lower-alpha 2]
  • CSI: NY Crossover Episode "Hammer Down" [lower-alpha 2]
  • Audio Commentaries:
    • Episode 1009: "Appendicitement"
    • Episode 1014: "Unshockable"
CSI: Complete Season 11 22September 27, 2011
  • Getting Personal: Season 11 of CSI
  • Something Twisted This Way Comes
  • Las Vegas Headliners
  • Cold-Blooded Killers
  • Intelligent Design: Creating Aeron's Legion
  • An Underground Perspective
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Dita Von Teese Burlesque Performance
  • Audio Commentaries:
    • Episode 1106: "House of Hoarders"
    • Episode 1112: "A Kiss Before Frying"
CSI: Complete Season 12 September 26, 2012
  • A Crime a Dozen: Season 12 of CSI
  • Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas
  • A Farewell to Marg
  • Putting On a Freak Show
  • A Family Affair
  • Death, Trucks and Rock n' Roll
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Audio Commentaries
    • Episode 1211: "Ms. Willows Regrets"
    • Episode 1212: "Willows in the Wind"
CSI: Complete Season 13 September 17, 2013
  • Tennis, Anyone?
  • CSI: NY Crossover Episode "Seth and Apep" [lower-alpha 3]
  • A Tale of Two CSI's
  • Chapter 13
  • The Extended Family
  • Drawing Blood
  • Providing Food and Shelter
  • Observing the Sabbath
  • Black Sabbath - End of the Beginning Music Video
  • Anatomy of a TV Hit: CSI: Crime Scene Investigation
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Audio Commentaries
    • Episode 1303: "Wild Flowers"
    • Episode 1317: "Dead of the Class"
    • Episode 1320: "Fearless"
CSI: Complete Season 14 September 16, 2014
  • Back to Basics
  • Throwback 300th
  • Guess Who's Coming to Visit?
  • The Making of "Girls Gone Wild"
  • Taking a Byte Out of Crime
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Audio Commentaries
    • Episode 1413: "Boston Brakes"
    • Episode 1414: "De Los Muertos"
    • Episode 1421: "Kitty"
CSI: The Final Season 18September 15, 2015
  • Following the Evidence
  • Killer Crime Scenes
  • Girls Gone Gadgets
  • All Dolled Up
  • That's All, Stokes
  • Cool Cars
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Audio Commentaries
    • Episode 1505: "Girls Gone Wilder"
    • Episode 1506: "The Twin Paradox"
CSI: The Finale 1December 15, 2015
  • CSI: Crime Scene Investigation - Case Closed
  • CSI: SIGN OFFS - The Finale Cast Says Goodbye
  • Deleted and Extended Scenes
  • Audio Commentary by Series Creator Anthony E. Zuiker
CSI: The Complete Series 337 + FinaleNovember 21, 2017 [64]
  • 93-disc set includes 19 hours of special features
  1. "Where and Why" is the conclusion of a crossover that begins on "Who and What".
  2. 1 2 "Bone Voyage" and "Hammer Down" are parts one and two of a crossover that concludes on "The Lost Girls".
  3. "Seth and Apep" is the conclusion of a crossover that begins on "In Vino Veritas".

The U.S. box sets are released by CBS DVD (distributed by Paramount), while the Canadian box sets are released by Alliance Atlantis (distributed by Universal Studios). The first season DVD release differs from all subsequent seasons in that it is available only in 1.33:1 or 4:3 full frame, rather than the subsequent aspect ratio of 1.78:1 or 16:9 widescreen, which is the HDTV standard aspect ratio.

The first season is also the only DVD release of the series not to feature Dolby Digital 5.1 surround audio, instead offering Dolby Digital stereo sound.

The Blu-ray Disc release of season one is 7.1 DTS sound and 1.78:1 widescreen.

Regions 2

Regions 2 releases have followed a pattern whereby each season is progressively released in two parts (each of 11 or 12 episodes [except for Season 8, in which part 1 contained 8 episodes and the Without a Trace crossover and part 2 contained the remaining 9 episodes] with special features split up) before finally being sold as a single box set. After having been almost 12 months behind region 2 releases after the first four series, region 4 releases are speeding up, with distributors simply releasing season five as a complete box set.

Region 2
DVD NameRelease dates
CSI: Crime Scene Investigation Season 1March 1, 2010*
CSI: Crime Scene Investigation Season 2March 1, 2010*
CSI: Crime Scene Investigation Season 3March 1, 2010*
CSI: Crime Scene Investigation Seasons 1–3August 23, 2004
CSI: Crime Scene Investigation Season 4March 1, 2010*
CSI: Crime Scene Investigation Seasons 1–4December 12, 2005
CSI: Crime Scene Investigation Season 5March 1, 2010*
CSI: Crime Scene Investigation Seasons 1–5October 2, 2006
CSI: Crime Scene Investigation Grave Danger – Tarantino Episodes October 10, 2005
CSI: Crime Scene Investigation Season 6March 1, 2010*
CSI: Crime Scene Investigation Season 7March 1, 2010*
CSI: Crime Scene Investigation Season 8March 1, 2010*
CSI: Crime Scene Investigation Seasons 1–8October 26, 2009
CSI: Crime Scene Investigation Season 9March 1, 2010
CSI: Crime Scene Investigation Season 10February 7, 2011
CSI: Crime Scene Investigation Season 11April 30, 2012 [65]
CSI: Crime Scene Investigation Season 12July 1, 2013
CSI: Crime Scene Investigation Season 13June 9, 2014
CSI: Crime Scene Investigation Season 14June 8, 2015
CSI: Crime Scene Investigation Season 15April 21, 2016
CSI: Crime Scene Investigation The FinaleMay 19, 2016

* = Re-released in slimline full-season packaging. Seasons 1–8 were released in 2 parts between 2003 and 2009.


Blu-ray releases

CBS Home Entertainment (distributed by Paramount) released the first season on high-definition Blu-ray Disc on May 12, 2009. [66] Unlike its DVD counterpart CSI: Crime Scene Investigation#DVD releases, this release is in its original 16:9 widescreen format and feature 7.1 surround sound. Features on the Season 1 BR set are also in high definition.

Season 10 was released on November 18, 2011, in region B. Like the season 1 Blu-ray release, it features a 16:9 widescreen transfer, but it only has DTS-HD 5.1 sound. [67]

Season 9 was released on September 1, 2009. Like the season 1 Blu-ray release, it features a 16:9 widescreen transfer with DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 surround sound. Extras include commentaries, featurettes and BD-Live functionality. [68]

Season 8 was released on Blu-ray on May 29, 2009, in region B. [69]

Other releases

CSI has also been released as a series of mobile games. In Fall 2007, CBS teamed up with game developer Gameloft to bring CSI to mobile phones. The first of the series to be published was CSI: Miami . The game features actual cast members such as Alexx Woods and Calleigh Duquesne who are trying to solve a murder in South Beach with the player's assistance. [70] The game is also available for download on various iPod devices. [71]

In spring 2008, Gameloft and CBS released "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation – The Mobile Game" which is based on the original series in Las Vegas. This game introduces the unique ability to receive calls during the game to provide tips and clues about crime scenes and evidence. As for the storyline, the game developers collaborated with Anthony E. Zuiker (the series creator) to ensure that the plot and dialogue were aligned with the show's style. [72]


Comic books

Video games

International broadcast

CSI airs on the Nine Network and TVHits (formerly TV1) in Australia, on Channel 5 in United Kingdom, on CTV in Canada, on Italia 1 in Italy, on Prime in New Zealand, on RTÉ2 in Ireland, on TF1 in France, AXN in Asia and Latin America, Skai TV in Greece, on HOT Zone in Israel, on TV3 in Estonia and Latvia and on Kanal 5 in Sweden and Denmark.

See also

The use of forensic pathology in the investigation of crime has been the central theme of several other TV mystery-suspense dramas, including:

Related Research Articles

<i>CSI: NY</i> television series (2004-2013)

CSI: NY is an American police procedural television series that ran on CBS from September 22, 2004, to February 22, 2013, for a total of nine seasons and 197 original episodes. The show follows the investigations of a team of NYPD forensic scientists and police officers identified as "Crime Scene Investigators" as they unveil the circumstances behind mysterious and unusual deaths, as well as other crimes. The series is an indirect spin-off from the veteran series CSI: Crime Scene Investigation and a direct spin-off from CSI: Miami, during an episode in which several of the CSI: NY characters made their first appearances. It is the third series in the CSI franchise.

Jorja Fox American actress

Jorja-An "Jorja" Fox is an American actress and producer. She first came to prominence with a recurring role in the NBC medical drama ER as Dr. Maggie Doyle from 1996 to 1999. This was followed by another critical success in the recurring role of Secret Service Agent Gina Toscano in the NBC political drama The West Wing in 2000. She played Sara Sidle in the CBS police procedural drama CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, both as a regular and recurring (2008–2010) cast member.

Sara Sidle Fictional character on American television series CSI: Crime Scene Investigation

Sara Sidle is a fictional character on the CBS crime drama CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, portrayed by actress Jorja Fox. Sidle is a forensic scientist and one of the core characters of the show, which revolves around a Crime Scene Investigation team in Clark County, Nevada, that investigates cases in and around Las Vegas. Fox appeared in both the first eight seasons and the final five seasons of the show as a series regular. She also recurred throughout the ninth and tenth seasons of the series and headlined Immortality alongside Ted Danson.

Lady Heather

Heather Kessler, also known as Lady Heather, is a fictional character on the CBS crime drama CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, portrayed by Melinda Clarke.

Nick Stokes Fictional character on American television series CSI: Crime Scene Investigation

Nicholas "Nick" Stokes is a fictional character from the CBS crime drama CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, portrayed by George Eads. He made his first screen appearance in the show's pilot, broadcast on October 6, 2000, and departed the series on February 15, 2015, in "The End Game". Eads is credited in 335 episodes of the series.

Warrick Brown Fictional character on American television series CSI: Crime Scene Investigation

Warrick Brown is a fictional character in the CBS crime drama CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, portrayed by Gary Dourdan. Warrick appeared in every episode until his death in the first episode of season nine, with the exceptions of "Caged" from season two, "After the Show" from season four, "Crow's Feet" and "Committed" from season five, and "The Chick Chop Flick Shop" from season eight.

"Pilot" is the first episode and the series premiere of the American crime drama CSI: Crime Scene Investigation. It first aired on October 6, 2000 on the CBS network in the United States. The premise of the show revolves around the crime scene investigators working for the Las Vegas Police Department. The pilot introduces the main characters of Gil Grissom, Catherine Willows, Nick Stokes, Warrick Brown and Jim Brass. The pilot was written by series creator Anthony E. Zuiker and directed by Danny Cannon.

<i>CSI: Crime Scene Investigation</i> (season 1) Season of American television series CSI: Crime Scene Investigation

The first season of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation premiered on CBS on October 6, 2000, and ended on May 17, 2001. The series stars William Petersen and Marg Helgenberger.

<i>CSI: Crime Scene Investigation</i> (season 2) Season of American television series CSI: Crime Scene Investigation

The second season of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation premiered on CBS on September 27, 2001 and ended May 16, 2002. The series stars William Petersen and Marg Helgenberger.

<i>CSI: Crime Scene Investigation</i> (season 5) Season of American television series CSI: Crime Scene Investigation

The fifth season of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation premiered on CBS on September 23, 2004 and ended May 19, 2005. The series stars William Petersen and Marg Helgenberger.

<i>CSI</i> (franchise) Franchise of American television series

CSI is a media franchise of American television programs created by Anthony E. Zuiker. The first three CSI series follow the work of forensic scientists as they unveil the circumstances behind mysterious deaths, while the fourth series, CSI: Cyber, emphasizes behavioral psychology and how it can be applied to cyber forensics.

CSI: The Experience is a traveling exhibition about crime lab forensic science and technology inspired by the television series CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.

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The eighth season of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation premiered on CBS on September 27, 2007 and ended May 15, 2008. The season stars William Petersen and Marg Helgenberger.

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Morgan Brody is a fictional character on the CBS crime drama CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, portrayed by Elisabeth Harnois. The character made her series debut during the season eleven episode "Cello and Goodbye", and departed the franchise in "Immortality", CSI's series finale.

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