After the success of the Las Vegas version of CSI, with its strict formulaic style, it must have looked like a franchise waiting to happen. That's the cynical view of this cloned offshoot. Fans of the original are going to bitch about failed movie star and ex-NYPD Blue frontman David Caruso because he's not William Peterson and has the charisma of a locked drawer.

For the uninitiated, this is nonsense. The Miami version is more real, better written and with a team - exception Emily Procter - that does not resemble the luvvie by-product of Beautiful People Inc. Horatio Caine (Caruso), head of crime scene investigation at MiamiPD, with its state-of-the-art labatories and extensive autopsy room, is a cop who has adapted to the role of sleuth, looking for clues wherever he moves. He is a loner, like Gil Grissom, but in a different way. Grissom is an all-knowing clever clogs, who has answers for everything. Horatio has a vunerability that is far more sympathetic and Caruso's thoughtful, introspective performance becomes increasingly vital to the series.

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The whodunits are intriguing and, at times, controversial. Horatio's ability to question everything, even his own assumptions, adds to the interest. "The trouble with the obvious," he says, "is that it makes you overlook the evidence."

His team (Emily Procter, Adam Rodriguez, Khandi Alexander, Rory Cochrane and Kim Delaney) is effective and efficient and has a sense of humour, which he lacks, the only passenger being Procter, who looks out of place, as if she's dropped in from a fashion shoot. Although you don't know her speciality, almost everything she does feels phoney, although after Delaney leaves for personal/emotional reasons, she is given more to do, not that it makes any difference.

The tendency to run two investigations concurrently dilutes tension and takes pressure off the lead story. Also, the flashback technique, prevalent in CSI, in which snapshots of the murder are glimpsed throughout the episode, so that the audience is given privileged insights into the crime, can be annoying.

Despite being shackled to a tried-and-true formula, CSI: Miami is very much its own show and what matters as much as content is that the regulars become friends, so that when Delaney leaves it's as sad for you as it is for Horatio.

Reviewed on: 20 Sep 2004
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CSI: Miami - 1.1 packshot
A new technical team hunt killers in Miami.
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Director: Daniel Attias, Scott Brazil, Joe Chappelle, Charles Correll, Tucker Gates, Karen Gaviola, Artie Mandelberg, Peter Markle, Richard Pearce, Deran Sarafian, Bryan Spicer, Jeannot Szwarc, Greg Yaitanes

Writer: David Black, Brian L Davidson, Elizabeth Devine, Ann Donahue, Marc Dube, Jonathan Glassner, Eddie Guerra, Mark Israel, Steven Maeda, Laurie McCarthy, Corey D Miller, Ildy Modrovich, Sunil Nayar, Gwendolyn Parker, Laurence Walsh, Matt Witten

Starring: David Caruso, Emily Procter, Adam Rodriguez, Khandi Alexander, Rory Cochrane, Kim Delaney, Wanda de Jesus

Year: 2002

Runtime: 496 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: US


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CSI: Miami - 1.2