Eye For Film >> Movies >> CSI: Season 3, Part 1 (2003) Film Review
The third season of CSI contains, arguably, some of the best episodes to date, involving Gil Grissom (William Peterson) and his "gang of geeks". With the character profiles set up in the previous two series, the overall story arc is engaging and unforced, with hints of backstory scattered like the murder clues the team are investigating.
Sticking to the tried and tested formula of an 'A' story and a subsidiary 'B' story for many of the episodes, there is enough variation on this theme to stop it feeling repetitious. Featuring everything from cannabalism and execution to court drama, the plots are inventive and engaging, but it is the characters which make this series a cut above the rest.
The basic team of investigators: Gil, Catherine Willows (Marg Helgenberger), Sara Sidle (Jorja Fox), Nick Stokes (George Eads) and Warrick Brown (Gary Dourdan) feel more and more like a family-style unit, with Cath and Gil taking on the parental role, while Nick and Warrick spar like siblings and Sara views proceedings with the kind of aloofness usually reserved for older sisters.
There is also a greater sense of "specialisation," with Warrick suddenly proving an expert on boxing and Nick revealing a knowledge of birds. The subsidiary characters, too, are being developed nicely, with Greg (Eric Szmanda) becoming more than the comic relief he was in Seasons 1 and 2 and Capt. Brass (Paul Gilfoyle) given a fuller backstory, plus his own office. Even coroner Dr Robbins (Robert David Hall) receives a larger role, with some of the funniest moments involving him and Grissom.
The episodes themselves rarely put a foot wrong, with The Execution Of Catherine Willows, The Accused Is Entitled and Snuff standing out from a pretty high class crowd. The production values are top notch, with the use of light sources, gels and filters a credit to the director of photography.
Some of the larger story arcs have their pay off in the latter part of the season, including Gil's gradual descent into deafness, Catherine's ex-husband sub plot and Sara's disastrous love life.
I note that a boxset of the entire season will soon be available in the US on Region 1 DVD. It's just a shame that on this side of the Atlantic we have to get our series piecemeal.Reviewed on: 29 Mar 2004