25 Days of Crime-mas Day 4: CSI remains a firm favorite

LAS VEGAS - DECEMBER 14: (L-R) Actors Paul Guilfoyle, Gary Dourdan, Marg Helgenberger, Jorja Fox and George Eads of CBS's CSI:Crime Scene Investigation arrive at a party thrown by Vanity Fair at the Bellagio Hotel to celebrate the show being number one in television on December 14, 2003 in Las Vegas. (Photo by Carlo Allegri/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS - DECEMBER 14: (L-R) Actors Paul Guilfoyle, Gary Dourdan, Marg Helgenberger, Jorja Fox and George Eads of CBS's CSI:Crime Scene Investigation arrive at a party thrown by Vanity Fair at the Bellagio Hotel to celebrate the show being number one in television on December 14, 2003 in Las Vegas. (Photo by Carlo Allegri/Getty Images) /

Day 4 of our Christmas countdown is focused on a crime drama from the past. It’s all about CSI, a show that remains a firm favorite to this day.

There have been many crime dramas over the years. Some will disappear in the black hole of forgotten shows. Others remain as some of the best productions ever. CSI is certainly the latter of the two, and it’s no wonder it is included on our 25 Days of Crime-mas countdown.

Why is it still such an important show? Why is it one that you should watch in your Christmas countdown? Here’s a look at everything that made CSI special, along with episode suggestions to watch.

More than 300 episodes and three spin-offs

More from TV Crime Dramas

The series began as one with a slight twist to all the other crime dramas out there. This didn’t just focus on a bunch of cops working some evidence and interviewing witnesses. We got a chance to see the investigative process through working the evidence. And there were plenty of ways that evidence would be worked.

We saw the breakdown of ballistics, the use of technology to help figure out the placement of a shooter, and even had a breakdown of the forensics. And we can’t forget about how important bugs are to helping to solve a case.

Each episode offered some personal development for the individual characters, but this was a show that stuck to the crime drama element as much as possible. It would become the framework for the likes of NCIS in the future.

CSI would lead to the development of three spin-offs, some more successful than others. CSI: Miami would come first, followed by CSI: New York and then CSI: Cyber. By the time Cyber came around, the interest in the series had wained, but a lot of that came from the fact that Gil Grissom was no longer the lead character on the parent series. He was the empathetic leader of the team who tried to remain one step ahead of everyone.

The original series also had the benefit of offering everything at night. The team was known as the graveyard shift, and they made sure you knew about that as much as possible.

The original series ran from Oct. 6, 2000 to Feb. 15, 2015. It would then fully wrap with a TV movie special on Sept. 27, 2015, bringing back as many former characters as possible.

One of the most notable aspects of all CSI shows was the use of a Who song in the credits. CSI started it all with “Who Are You?” and you know you have it stuck in your head right now.

The cast of CSI

It would certainly be impossible to name all the characters in one article. Each one deserves a highlight each because they all brought something different to the table. So, let’s start with how it all began.

We were introduced to the original team consisting of Gil (William Petersen), Catherine Willows (Marg Helgenberger), Warrick Brown (Gary Dourdan), NIck Stokes (George Eads), and Sara Sidle (Jorja Fox). While Gil had his bug knowledge, Catherine would be there for blood splatter analysis, Warrick would be the guy for video analysis, Sara would work with the elements, and Nick made a great cop.

we’d eventually get to know more of the team, with Dr. Al Robbis, the ME, becoming a major part of the series and Greg Sanders moving from DNA specialist to CSI team member. Greg made a point of accepting a pay cut for a job that he was going to love more. We also got to know Jim Brass, the former team supervisor-turned-homicide detective after a rookie lost her life the first day of the job.

Like with any team, people would leave for other careers. We’d lose some in the line of duty (and sometimes due to dirty cops), and there would be some who would join the team at later stages.

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What is the series about?

The breakdown of CSI and its spin-offs is very simple. All shows follow a procedural format, focusing on a murder investigation. It would be up to the teams to work the evidence and figure out who the murderer was.

Along the way, there would be various red herrings. They would offer viewers a chance to work the evidence along with the team and figure out who was actually behind the crime.

Which episodes you need to watch

Whether you’re watching or re-watching, there are certain episodes you’ll want to pay close attention to. A personal favorite of mine is the two-parter finale to Season 5. Titled “Grave Digger,” the two parts see Nick Stokes abducted and buried alive. There’s a camera that the team is sent a live feed to, with just a few hours to work the case and get their friend and colleague back. It’s an emotional rollercoaster ride and you’re not sure if it’s going to work out until the very end. This episode certainly shows off George Eads’ acting abilities.

Season 12’s episodes 11 and 12 are another two episodes to check out back to back. They form part of the leaving storyline for Catherine Willows.

During the Season 8 finale, we’re left with Warrick being shot in the head. The Season 9 premiere is one that you need to watch. Titled “For Warrick,” this is an episode that is full of emotion while the team works together to get justice for their fallen comrade.

Want an episode that will leave you fearing the minds of others? There are two that come to mind. The first is the Season 6 episode “The Unusual Suspect.” When a girl is being tried for murder, her 12-year-old sister confesses to the crime. Now the team has 72 hours before the jury will make a verdict to reexamine the evidence to figure out the truth of the case.

The other episode is “Dead Doll.” This is the eighth season premiere, although there are a few other episodes in Season 7 that will connect to The Miniature Killer. During the Season 7 finale, Sara had been abducted and left for dead. The premiere sees the team works the evidence, and we see a series of flashbacks of Natalie Davis (the Miniature Killer) as she abducts Sara and traps her.

Next. The full Crime-mas countdown schedule. dark

What did you think of CSI? Which crime dramas are you watching in the runup to Christmas? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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