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CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (also known as CSI: Las Vegas) is an American crime drama television series, which premiered on CBS on October 6, 2000. The show was created by Anthony E. Zuiker and produced by Jerry Bruckheimer. It is filmed primarily at Universal Studios in Universal City, Californiamarker.

The series follows Las Vegas criminologists as they use physical evidence to solve grisly murders in this unusually graphic (and hugely popular) drama, which has inspired a host of other cop-show 'procedurals.' An immediate ratings smash for CBS, the series mixes deduction, gritty subject matter and popular characters. The network quickly capitalized on its megahit with spin-offs CSI: Miami and CSI: NY.

The tenth season of CSI premiered on September 24, 2009 at 9 pm EST.



CSI: Crime Scene Investigation is produced by Jerry Bruckheimer Television and CBS Productions, which became CBS Paramount Television in the fall of 2006. Formerly a co-production with the now-defunct Alliance Atlantis Communicationsmarker, that company's interest in the series is now owned by investment firm GS Capital Partners, an affiliate of Goldman Sachs. CBS Paramount acquired AAC's international distribution rights to the program. The show currently airs Thursdays at 9PM ET/PT on CBS.

The series has been heavily criticized—almost since its debut—by police and district attorneys, who feel CSI portrays an inaccurate image of how police solve crimes, and by the Parents Television Council, who note the level and gratuitousness of graphic violence, images and sexual content seen on the show. Nevertheless, CSI became the most-watched show on American television by 2002. The success of the show encouraged CBS to produce a franchise, starting in May 2002 with the spin-off CSI: Miami and then again in 2004 with CSI: NY.

The series is now in syndication and reruns are currently broadcast in the US on the Spike and TV Land cable networks.

As of the fall of 2008, CSI commands an average cost of $262,600 for a 30-second commercial, according to an Advertising Age survey of media-buying firms.

Conception and development

During the 1990s, Anthony Zuiker caught producer Jerry Bruckheimer's attention after writing his first movie script. Bruckheimer wanted an idea for a television series. Zuiker did not have one, but his wife told him about a Discovery Channel show she liked about forensic detectives who used DNA and other evidence to solve cold cases (The New Detectives). Zuiker started spending time with real-life LVMPD crime investigators and was convinced that there was a series in the concept. Bruckheimer agreed and arranged a meeting with the head of Touchstone Pictures. 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 that they decided to include it in their 2000 schedule immediately, airing on Fridays after The Fugitive. Initially it was thought that CSI would benefit from The Fugitive, which was expected to be a hit, but by the end of the year 2000 CSI had a much larger audience.

Filming locations

CSI was initially shot at Rye Canyon, a corporate campus owned by Lockheed Corporations situated in the Valenciamarker area of Santa Clarita, Californiamarker. Other shows such as The Unit and Mighty Morphin Power Rangers have also been shot there.

After the eleventh episode, filming shifted to the Santa Clarita Studios and only second unit photography, such as the shots of the Las Vegas streets are done on location in Las Vegas, Nevadamarker. Occasionally, when required, the cast will also shoot on location in Las Vegas, although more often the locations will be substituted by California locations. Santa Clarita was originally chosen for its similarity to the outskirts of Las Vegas. Some of the California locations include the Verdugo Hills High School, UCLAmarker's Royce Hallmarker, the Pasadena City Hallmarker and the California State University. While shooting is filmed primarily at Universal Studios in Universal City, California, Santa Clarita's surroundings have proven so versatile that CSI still shoots some of its outdoor scenes there.


Stylistically, the show has drawn favorable comparisons to Quincy and The X-Files. The show's gadgets and occasional usage of yet-to-be-invented technology have moved the show nominally into the genre of science fiction and garnered it a 2004 Saturn Award nomination for best network television series. The series also occasionally steps into the realm of fantasy, such as a 2006 episode, "Toe Tags" which is told from the point of view of several corpses in the CSI lab who reanimate and discuss their deaths with each other.

The series is known for its unusual camera angles, percussive editing techniques, hi-tech gadgets, detailed technical discussion, and graphic portrayal of bullet trajectories, blood spray patterns, organ damage, methods of evidence recovery (e.g. fingerprints from the inside of latex gloves), and crime reconstructions. This technique of shooting extreme close-ups, normally with explanatory commentary from one of the characters is referred to in the media as the "CSI shot".Many episodes feature lengthy scenes in which experiments, tests, or other technical work is portrayed in detail, usually with minimal sounds effects and accompanying music—a technique reminiscent of Mission: Impossible. Often the lighting, composition, and mise-en-scene elements are heavily influenced by avant-garde film


There was an instrumental theme song in the first season, which has been replaced in syndication.CSI's theme song is Who Are You, written by Pete Townshend with vocals by Roger Daltrey, both of The Who, as the title track of their 1978 album. The show's spinoffs also use The Who songs as their theme songs: Won't Get Fooled Again for CSI: Miami and Baba O'Riley for CSI: NY, both recorded by The Who in 1971 for their album Who's Next. This was parodied in an episode of Two and a Half Men, where a CSI parody used Squeeze Box as its theme. The Who's Roger Daltrey made a special appearance in a 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.

Throughout the series, music plays an important role; artists like The Wallflowers, John Mayer, Method Man, and Akon (with Obie Trice) have performed onscreen in the episodes "The Accused is Entitled", "Built To Kill, Part 1", and "Poppin' Tags", respectively. The Wallflowers' "Everybody out of the Water" can be found on the CSI soundtrack CD. Mogwai is often heard during scenes showing forensic tests in progress (see Style, above) as are Radiohead and Cocteau Twins, but several other artists have lent their music to CSI including Rammstein—used heavily in Lady Heather's story arc. Sigur Rós can be heard playing in the background in Season 2 episode "Slaves of Las Vegas", The Turtles in "Grave Danger", and Marilyn Manson in Suckers. Industrial rock band Nine Inch Nails have also been featured multiple times throughout the three series'. In the Season 9 episode "For Warrick", The Martin Brothers' "Stoopit" is heard from the club when Grissom discovers Warrick's body and their "Dirtybird Records" label mate Claude Vonstroke's "Chimps" is played from the club while Grissom, Catherine and Nick attempt to recreate the crime scene.


The series follows Las Vegas criminologists as they use scientific methods to solve grisly murders in this unusually graphic (and hugely popular) drama, which inspired a host of other cop-show 'procedurals.' An immediate ratings smash for CBS, the series adroitly mixes painstaking deduction, gritty subject matter and intriguing characters. The network quickly capitalized on its megahit with spin-offs CSI: Miami and CSI: NY.


Season Night Shift Supervisor Night Shift Assistant Supervisor Crime Scene Investigator (CSI) Technician Medical Examiner Asst. Medical Examiner Homicide Detective Captain Homicide Senior Detective
1 Dr. Gilbert "Gil" Grissom

(William Petersen)
Catherine Willows

(Marg Helgenberger)
Warrick Brown

(Gary Dourdan)
Nicholas "Nick" Stokes

(George Eads)
Vacant Vacant Sara Sidle - Grissom

(Jorja Fox)

Regular Cast 1 - 8; Guest Cast 9; Recurring 10
Greg Sanders

(Eric Szmanda)
Vacant Dr. Al Robbins

(Robert David Hall)
David Phillips

(David Berman)
Captain James "Jim" Brass

(Paul Guilfoyle)
3 David Hodges

(Wallace Langham)
5 Greg Sanders

(Eric Szmanda)
Vacant Sofia Curtis

(Louise Lombard)
6 Wendy Simms

(Liz Vassey)
8 Various
9 Vacant Riley Adams

(Lauren Lee Smith)
Catherine Willows

(Marg Helgenberger)
Vacant Dr. Raymond "Ray" Langston

(Laurence Fishburne)
10 Nicholas "Nick" Stokes

(George Eads)
Vacant Vacant

Main characters

  • CSI Level 2: Dr. Raymond "Ray" Langston (Laurence Fishburne) comes into contact with the CSI team in the course of a murder investigation and joins the Las Vegas Crime Lab as a Level-1 CSI. Langston is a medical doctor who used to work in a hospital. A co-worker murdered 27 patients, and all the evidence showed up before him, but he never put the evidence together. In the episode "The Grave Shift," his first day on the job was most troubling for him. In the episode "No Way Out," he was held hostage in the aftermath of a shootout in a neighborhood. In the episode "Mascara," one of Ray's former students was murdered, and in the end of "All In," Langston has to shoot and kill a murderer in self defense, the first time he takes a life in the line of duty. Ray graduated to CSI 2 in the tenth season opener and was explained that he spent his time off taking every class and seminar he could to really become the CSI that Gil Grissom saw in him. Ray also revealed in the tenth season that he was raised in Korea and his father, a soldier and a veteran of the Korean War, was a violent man, often getting into brawls off the battlefield and this is something which disturbs Langston considerably. Also in the tenth season, Ray travels to Miami and New York, involving a case that crosses over into three CSI shows for the first time.
  • CSI Level 3 Night Shift Supervisor: Catherine Willows (Marg Helgenberger) is in command of the night shift Las Vegas CSI unit. This character is loosely based on real life CSI Yolanda McCleary. She was promoted with the resignation of Gil Grissom in the episode, "One to Go." Catherine was raised by her single mother, a cocktail waitress and showgirl. Catherine failed to excel to her full potential in school, despite her intelligence and sharp mind. Catherine left school and began work as an exotic dancer in order to support her boyfriend's career. She became interested in crime solving when she befriended a regular at the dance club, who encouraged her to return to school. She attended West Las Vegas University where she graduated with a degree in Medical Science. Catherine joined the CSI team as a lab technician, after which she worked her way up to the role of supervisor under Gil Grissom. Catherine has one daughter, Lindsey Willows (Kay Panabaker), and had a stormy relationship with ex-husband Eddie Willows (Timothy Carhart) until his murder in episode, "Lady Heather's Box." The relationship with her father, Sam Braun (Scott Wilson), also occasionally created conflicts in cases. In the episode, "Built to Kill," Braun is shot and dies in Catherine's arms.
  • CSI Level 3 Night Shift Assistant Supervisor: Nicholas "Nick" Stokes (George Eads) is second in command of the night shift Las Vegas CSI unit. He was promoted in episode "Family Affair," by Catherine Willows. Nick is an easygoing and friendly former college baseball player and fraternity member from Dallas, Texasmarker, with a degree in criminal justice from Texas A&M Universitymarker and speaks fluent Spanish. Nick has shown to be an emotional person through the series: He nearly cried when being held at gunpoint in the episode "Who Are You?." In the episode "Gum Drops," he got very emotional searching for a missing little girl who was thought to be dead. In the episode "Grave Danger," he broke down and was on the verge of committing suicide when buried alive in a glass coffin and broke down once again in the episode "Turn, Turn, Turn," when discussing the death of the victim with Dr. Ray Langston, and how he should have seen the danger signs over the year and done something to prevent it. He was also stalked in the episode "Stalker," when a repairman named Nigel Crane (Doug Hutchison) thought that Nick was his friend. Because of being molested at a young age, his character is portrayed as more empathic than his co-workers, which has drawn several rebukes from others.
  • CSI Level 3: Greg Sanders (Eric Szmanda) was formerly the lab's DNA technician. Greg entered field training in the episode "Who Shot Sherlock?," and he became a full-fledged CSI. He has an encyclopedic knowledge of DNA and trace analysis. In the episode "Play with Fire" he was involved in a lab explosion, which he survived and in the episode "Fannysmackin'," Greg is brutally beaten by a gang of youths while rescuing a victim. Greg is also an Eagle Scout. He also wrote a book about the history of Las Vegas, and often becomes intrigued with cases that date back to "old Las Vegas" when it was run by the mob. Greg is promoted to CSI level 3 in the episode "19 Down." Executive producer, Naren Shankar, says that in the tenth season, Greg will get to gripe about his role on the team when Sara (Jorja Fox) comes to visit. Shankar says his complaining will pay off and he'll get a new job.[33649]
  • Chief Medical Examiner: Dr. Albert "Al" Robbins (Robert David Hall) is the head county coroner of the Las Vegas Police Department. Robbins' first appearance was in the episode "Who Are You?" and became a series regular from season three onwards. He is married with three children. Robbins was close friends with CSI, Gil Grissom, and since Grissom's departure, Robbins has been shown to be developing a similar sort of friendship with new CSI, Ray Langston, and he is also close friends with David Phillips, the assistant coroner. He has two prosthetic legs, and it has been implied that he lost them in an accident while trying to dig up a floor at a crime scene; this disability is drawn from actor Robert David Hall himself, who lost his legs in a road traffic accident.
  • Trace Technician: David Hodges (Wallace Langham) is a lab technician who transferred to the Las Vegas crime lab from Los Angeles. Hodges' appearances provide some comic relief, though most of the team finds him obnoxious and irritating. Hodges' first appearance was in the episode "Recipe for Murder," and he became a regular cast member starting with the episode "Dead Doll." He has a crush on fellow lab technician Wendy Simms. He once got all the other lab techs to collaborate and try to solve The Miniature Killer case, discovering a key clue. It is also noted that Hodges has an uncanny sense of smell, and is able to identify many key chemical compounds by their scent alone, such as cyanide, which to those who possess the gene like Hodges does, smells like bitter almonds, but Hodge's sense of smell for this chemical, however, is more acute than that of the average person. While at a sci-fi convention in the episode "A Space Oddity," Hodges and Wendy had to solve the murder of one of the stars.
  • DNA Technician: Wendy Simms (Liz Vassey) worked in San Francisco, California for a time before moving to Las Vegas to take the DNA tech position in "Secrets and Flies." In the episode "Lab Rats," she helps David Hodges investigate the case of The Miniature Killer. The two characters have an ongoing rivalry which obscures a strong mutual attraction. Hodges complains that Simms tries to take over everything and thinks she's "too cool" for the lab. Simms insults Hodges by calling him "freakboy" and "loser" but appreciates his investigative thoroughness. Wendy is apparently something of a klutz and has a reputation for being clumsy around work. Wendy and Dr. Robbins have a big disagreement over tainted blood evidence in the episode "Let It Bleed." Wendy also had a role in an independent horror flick playing a girl who is cut in half by a guy with a chainsaw. Hodges feels the mutual attraction to her as well but fears the effect on his work that a relationship would produce, since he finds her distracting enough as it is. Actress Liz Vassey is added to main cast in the tenth season premiere.
  • Assistant Medical Examiner: David Phillips (David Berman) (nicknamed "Super Dave") is the assistant coroner to Chief Medical Examiner Al Robbins. He received his self ascribed nickname after saving the life of a victim during an autopsy. Due to his line of work, he is not fazed by much. Though earlier in the series, the main characters tease him about his supposed lack of social experience. David marries at some point early in the seventh season. He reveals his wife enjoys hearing all the grotesque details of his job in the episode "Leapin' Lizards." During the eighth season, signs show his wife is attempting to change his look. In the ninth season, David performs his first solo autopsy, indicating his advancement in the lab hierarchy. Actor David Berman is added to the main cast in the tenth season premiere.
  • LVPD Homicide Detective: Captain James "Jim" Brass (Paul Guilfoyle) was the head of the Las Vegas CSI, who is originally from New Jersey. He was moved back to the police homicide division in the episode, "Cool Change" and remains captain in the homicide division and works with the CSI team. His daughter, Ellie (Nicki Aycox), has problems in season two, who is a drug addict and a prostitute in Los Angeles. It was discovered in the episode, "Ellie," that he is not Ellie's biological father. In the episode "Bang Bang," Brass was shot twice by Willy Cutler (Currie Graham), after convincing him to release his female hostage (Kandiss Edmundson). At the end of the episode, "Built To Kill," Brass is seen in a tattoo parlor, having the date of his shooting (May 11, 2006) tattooed just below the bullet scar. Brass has never been accused of being a "soft cop" and has shown regard for the rules throughout the years. In the episode "Who and What," after the FBI's Jack Malone slams a suspect's head on the table, Brass rushes in and pulls him off, saying "If you want to rendition him to Gitmo, be my guest. But in this house, we play by the rules." In the episode "You Kill Me," after David Hodges creates a fictional story in which Brass uses his night stick on Bobby Dawson (Gerald McCullouch), Wendy Simms comments "Captain Brass isn't the type of cop that smacks suspects around."

Former main characters

  • CSI Level 2: Riley Adams (Lauren Lee Smith) was a former St. Louis police officer who became a CSI. She made her debut in "Art Imitates Life and came in as a second-level CSI to the understaffed Las Vegas unit, a few weeks after the death of Warrick Brown. In episode, "No Way Out," she and fellow CSI Ray Langston were held hostage in the aftermath of a shootout in a neighborhood, but Riley was successfully able to disarm the suspect. Actress Lauren Lee Smith will not be back for the tenth season of CSI, said executive producer Naren Shankar, on July 27, 2009 and says the decision to let Smith and her character go was "an issue of how we were feeling the ensemble was working."
  • CSI Level 3 Night Shift Supervisor: Dr. Gilbert "Gil" Grissom (William Petersen) was the night shift team supervisor for the Las Vegas CSI unit, and a forensic entomologist with a degree in biology from UCLAmarker. He is known for being a very thorough and methodical scientist, as well as a bit of a quirky introvert. It was revealed in the episode "Way To Go" that he has been in a relationship with fellow CSI Sara Sidle. He successfully proposed marriage to her in the episode, "The Case of the Cross-Dressing Carp." The Grissom character is loosely based on real life criminalist Daniel Holstein. Actor William Petersen was originally reported to have renewed his contract for the show's ninth season, but the Associated Press reported on July 15, 2008, that Petersen was leaving the show as a regular in the ninth season's tenth episode in order to pursue more stage acting opportunities. He will return for guest spots during the show's run, as needed. In his final scene as a regular in “One to Go,” he is shown meeting his fiancée, Sara Sidle, in the rain forest of Costa Rica and they kiss. It was revealed in, "Family Affair," that Grissom and Sara are now married.
  • CSI Level 3: Warrick Brown (Gary Dourdan) was an audio-video analyst. Warrick was a Las Vegas native and chemistry major from UNLVmarker. A major facet of Warrick's character portrayed in the show is that he was a recovering gambling addict, his recovery hindered by the fact that he worked in Las Vegas. New CSI Holly Gribbs was killed at a scene in the episode, "Pilot," while Warrick was out laying a bet. He almost lost his job for not being with her at the time. Grissom's friendship and support had helped him a great deal in overcoming his addiction, but his compulsion was one of the reasons used by Conrad Ecklie to investigate and then split up the team in season five. Warrick was married in season six, but divorced by season eight. Warrick's character did not return for the ninth season, since actor Gary Dourdan and CBS could not come to terms on a contract. In the episode "For Gedda," Warrick Brown was shot and left to die; it was confirmed in the season nine premiere, "For Warrick," that Dourdan's character was killed off by the gun shot of the Undersheriff Jeff McKeen. In the opening moments of the premiere, Warrick dies in Gil Grissom's arms and it was also revealed that he had a son.
  • CSI Level 3: Sara Sidle (Jorja Fox) was a materials and element analyst. She was physics major at Harvard Universitymarker, and previously worked for the San Francisco coroner and crime lab. She replaced Holly Gribbs after helping investigate her death. She is devoted to her job and will go to almost any lengths to make sure that justice is served. She is often socially awkward, but brilliant at her work. Sara also has emotional difficulties when dealing with abuse cases in her job. Sara accepted a marriage proposal from co-worker Gil Grissom in "The Case of the Cross-Dressing Carp." A few episodes later, in, "Goodbye and Good Luck," Sara leaves the team following a difficult case. She leaves Grissom a note, stating that she had to go face the ghosts of her past, something that she could not do in Las Vegas. She made guest appearances in season nine episodes 901, 902, and 905, and she meets Gil Grissom in episode 910 in the Costa Rican jungle. Actress Jorja Fox returned as Sara for the tenth season premiere and was scheduled to return for five more episodes; executive producer Carol Mendolsohn has since reported that the length of Fox's stay remains unknown, but it will definitely be more than the five episodes she was originally scheduled for.[33650] It was revealed in "Family Affair" that Grissom and Sara are now married.
  • LVPD Homicide Detective: Sofia Curtis (Louise Lombard) was a CSI who became part of Grissom's team after the mid–season five split, decided by the Assistant Director of the crime lab, Conrad Ecklie. She soon considered resignation, upset at the fact that she had been demoted from acting day shift supervisor. In the sixth season, Sofia makes a career shift from CSI to detective. Sofia was a recurring character in the fifth season, and became a main character in the seventh season. Actress Louise Lombard made her final appearance in the episode "Dead Doll," as a special guest star.

Notable guest stars


There were twenty-three episodes in the first season, including the two part pilot episode written by Anthony Zuiker, the series' creator. There were twenty-three episodes each of the three following (Seasons two to four). There were twenty-five episodes in Season five and twenty-four in Seasons six and seven. There were only 17 episodes in Season 8, due to the WGA strike. The total number of aired episodes to date is 206. There have also been crossover episodes with its CSI sister shows, CSI: Miami and CSI: NY.

The 200th episode of CSI aired on April 2, 2009.


  • "Cross Jurisdictions", an episode of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation and the pilot of CSI: Miami.

  • A two-part crossover episode with Without a Trace aired on November 8, 2007. The first episode was on CSI with the second part on Without a Trace.

  • On May 8, 2008, the episode "Two And a Half Deaths", written by Two and a Half Men writers Chuck Lorre and Lee Aronsohn, was aired. The episode focused on the death of a sitcom star of a show based on Roseanne, which Lorre wrote some of the episodes. A number of writers of CSI wrote an episode for Two and a Half Men, "Fish In A Drawer", where Charlie's house is investigated following the death of Charlie's stepfather. George Eads (Nick Stokes) was the only actor to appear on both CSI and Two and a Half Men, but portraying different characters. The stars of Two and a Half Men also appeared in part of the CSI episode. They can be seen outside of the dressing trailer, dressed in tuxedos; all three appear to be smoking, but they do not talk.


For the 2001 season CBS decided to move CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, along with the hit franchise Survivor, to Thursday night, ending NBC's long dominance of these television hours, because even though they had a long-standing and popular Must See TV lineup (such as Friends and Will & Grace) they could not compete with CSI's numbers per week. CBS became the most-watched network on American television, with CSI being the most-watched program on television for the 2002–2003 TV season, and the most-watched scripted show for five consecutive seasons, from the 2002–2003 season through the 2006–2007 season.

The 2004–2005 season finale, directed by Quentin Tarantino and entitled "Grave Danger", was watched by over 35 million viewers on May 19, 2005, twice that of the nearest competition.

Reception of the show is good with ratings making it the number one show on the CBS network several times in its history, although it has been criticized for its inaccurate portrayal of how police investigations are performed and for its often extremely violent depictions of the crime. CSI has been nominated numerous times for industry awards and has won nine awards during its history. The program has spawned several media projects including an exhibit at Chicagomarker's Museum of Science and Industrymarker, a series of books, several video games, and two additional TV shows. It has reached milestone episodes, such as the 100th, "Ch-Ch-Changes", the 150th, "Living Legend", which starred Roger Daltrey from The Who and the 200th, "Mascara", airing on April 2, 2009.

Public reaction

CSI's popularity has led to the creation of websites, online discussion forums and a large amount of fan-made art.

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 CASA Association.

A grassroots campaign started on August 2007, upon rumors of Jorja Fox leaving the show, organized by the online forum Your Tax Dollars At Work. Many of its nineteen thousand members donated to the cause, collecting over $8,000 for gifts and stunts targeted at CBS executives and CSI's producers and writers. Some of 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 Angelesmarker with a "Follow the evidence keep Jorja Fox on CSI" banner. Other protests included mailing the show's producers a dollar, so as 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 Yorkmarker from forty-nine different countries since the campaign started on September 29, 2007. Fox and Mendelsohn chose to donate the money to CASA, a national association that supports and promotes court-appointed advocates for abused or neglected children.

Criticism for violent and sexual themes

CSI has often been criticized for the 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 (see especially the recurring character of Lady Heather, a professional dominatrix). CSI has been ranked as among the worst prime-time shows for family viewing by the Parents Television Council nearly every season since its second, being ranked the worst show for family prime-time viewing after the 2002–2003 and 2005–2006 seasons. The PTC has also targeted certain CSI episodes for its weekly "Worst TV Show of the Week" feature. In addition, the episode "King Baby" aired in February 2005, which the PTC named the most offensive TV show of the week, also led the PTC to start a campaign to file complaints with the FCC with the episode; to date, nearly 13,000 PTC members complained to the Federal Communications Commission about the episode. The PTC has also asked Clorox to pull their advertisements from CSI and CSI: Miami because of the graphically violent content on those programs.

Law enforcement reaction

Another criticism of the show is the depiction of police procedure, which some consider to be decidedly lacking in realism. For instance, the show's characters not only investigate crime scenes ("process", as their real-world counterparts do), but they also conduct raids, engage in suspect pursuit and arrest, interrogate suspects, and solve cases, 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 let CSI personnel to be involved in detective work as it would compromise the impartiality of scientific evidence and would be impracticably time-consuming. CSI shares this characteristic with similar Britishmarker drama series, Silent Witness.

The cities of North Las Vegas and Henderson, and other surrounding townships and counties, will not allow Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department or companies contracted for work under them to come into their jurisdictions, unless the crime occurred on a border of the cities and/or townships. Furthermore, CSIs contracted to LVMPD don't travel to other counties, such as Nye County, or Pahrump, or any other places in Nevada, due to each county having different laws in regards to what is considered law enforcement within that particular county.

Some police and district attorneys have criticized the show for giving members of the public an inaccurate perception of how police solve crimes. Victims and their families are coming to expect instant answers from showcased techniques such as DNA analysis and fingerprinting, when in real life processing such evidence can take days or even weeks. District attorneys state that the conviction rate in cases with little physical evidence has decreased, largely due to the influence of CSI on jury members.

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, Scene Of Crime Officers (SOCO) 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. 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.


The LGBT (Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) issues community has criticized the show for its negative representation of LGBT characters. Despite the general overall displeasure, the fifth season episode "Ch-Ch-Changes" was received positively by transgenders in particular. Furthermore, the season 5 episode "Iced" featured one of a very few openly gay characters on the show who were not victims or criminals, as the victim's neighbor.


Like NBC's Law & Order franchise, CBS went on to produce their own franchise starting in September 2002 with the spin-off CSI: Miami, set in Miami, Floridamarker. Another spin-off debuted September 2004 with CSI: NY, set in New York City. Also, a number of comic books, video games and novels based on the series have been made. The series was found to be in the same "universe" as fellow CBS police-drama Without a Trace during a crossover episodes airing in early November 2007. It is also within the same universe with Cold Case because of the series' crossover with CSI: NY. William Petersen confirmed that a CSI movie is in the works that will star Gil Grissom.

CSI effect

The "CSI effect" (sometimes referred to as the "CSI syndrome") is a reference to the phenomenon of popular television shows such as the CSI franchise, Law & Order, Silent Witness, Crossing Jordan and Waking the Dead raising crime victims' and jury members' real-world expectations of forensic science, especially crime scene investigation and DNA testing. This is said to have changed the way many trials are presented today, in that prosecutors are pressured to deliver more forensic evidence in court.

The CSI effect can also be related to the younger generation watching the show. The alluring and captivating techniques that the investigators use to find evidence and capture the criminal seem to be a distant reality of what real investigating entails. There are the same concepts of going out into the field, collecting all the evidence, going back to the lab, identifying different objects, collecting fingerprints, talking to suspects, but CSI tends to paint a very different picture of how things play out in actual life. For one, there isn't the option of having a camera zoom in on a hair particle, embedded in a carpet covered in blood. Real crime scene investigators have to extensively search a crime scene which takes time. Things don't go as smoothly and quickly as they do on the show. The younger generation watching this show may grow up with the fascination and intent on becoming a crime scene investigator. They watch the show and see how they find a fingerprint bring it back to the lab and within a commercial they have found and apprehended the suspect. There is this illusion the show creates that seems will disappoint a generation of kids wanting to pursue this profession. All the technology shown in the show is not what real CSIs use. Although a fiction show all the techniques they use seem to add a feeling of "good thing they have that machine otherwise they'd be back at square one." It takes real CSIs a lot of time to fit all the pieces together that the television show does seamlessly in an hour showing. It all ties back to the expectation that the show translates into the real world.

CSI: The Experience

Chicago's Museum of Science and Industry opened an exhibit in CSI's honor on May 25, 2007 called: "CSI: The Experience". There is also a supporting Web site designed for the benefit of people who cannot visit the exhibit at CSI: The Experience Web Adventure, designed by Rice University's Center for Technology in Teaching & Learning.


American ratings

Seasonal rankings (based on average total viewers per episode) of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation on CBS.

Note: U.S. network television seasons generally start in late September and end in late May, which coincides with the completion of the May sweeps.

Season Timeslot (EDT) Season Premiere Season Finale TV Season Rank Viewers

(in millions)
1 Friday 9:00 pm/8c (from October 6, 2000 – January 12, 2001)

Thursday 9:00 pm/8c (from February 1, 2001)
2000–2001 #10 17.80
2 Thursday 9:00 pm/8c 2001–2002 #2 23.69
3 Thursday 9:00 pm/8c May 15, 2003 2002–2003 #1 26.20
4 Thursday 9:00 pm/8c May 20, 2004 2003–2004 #1 25.27
5 Thursday 9:00 pm/8c May 19, 2005 2004–2005 #2 26.26
6 Thursday 9:00 pm/8c May 18, 2006 2005–2006 #3 24.86
7 Thursday 9:00 pm/8c May 17, 2007 2006–2007 #5 20.00
8 Thursday 9:00 pm/8c May 15, 2008 2007–2008 #5 19.53

9 Thursday 9:00 pm/8c May 14, 2009 2008–2009 #4 19.03
10 Thursday 9:00 pm/8c Spring 2010 2009–2010 #7 16.55 (to date)

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.

U.K. ratings

CSI airs new episodes on UK terrestrial channel FIVE on Tuesday nights at 9:00 pm; viewership is usually around 4 million. Repeats are shown on Five USA throughout the week, with viewing figures around the 2 million mark. Episodes are also shown on the channel Living. CSI is generally top on the network rank. But these ratings on Five barely reach the 2 main U.K. channels, BBC 1 & ITV 1, when their ratings of number 1 are usually around 8-14 million viewers.

Awards and nominations


ASCAP Award:
  • Top TV Series – 2006

ASC Award:
  • Outstanding Achievement in Cinematography in Episodic TV Series – 2006
  • Outstanding Achievement in Cinematography in Episodic TV Series – 2005

  • Outstanding Sound Mixing For A Comedy Or Drama Series – 2007
  • Outstanding Cinematography For A Single-camera Series – 2006
  • Outstanding Sound Editing For A Series – 2003
  • Outstanding Makeup For A Series (Non-Prosthetic) – 2002

Saturn Award
  • Best Network Television Series – 2004

Screen Actors Guild Award
  • Outstanding Ensemble in a Drama Series – 2004


  • Outstanding Music Composition For A Series (Original Dramatic Score) – 2007
  • Outstanding Prosthetic Makeup For A Series, Miniseries Or Special – 2007
  • Outstanding Makeup For A Series (non-prosthetic) – 2007
  • Outstanding Cinematography For A Single-Camera Series – 2007
  • Outstanding Single-camera Sound Mixing For A Series – 2006
  • Outstanding Sound Editing For A Series – 2006
  • Outstanding Directing For A Drama Series – 2005: Quentin Tarantino
  • Outstanding Makeup For A Series (non-prosthetic) – 2005
  • Outstanding Single-camera Sound Mixing For A Series – 2005
  • Outstanding Sound Editing For A Series – 2005
  • Outstanding Cinematography For A Single-Camera Series – 2004
  • Outstanding Drama Series – 2004
  • Outstanding Makeup For A Series (Non-Prosthetic) – 2004
  • Outstanding Single-Camera Sound Mixing For A Series – 2004
  • Outstanding Drama Series – 2003
  • Outstanding Lead Actress In A Drama Series – 2003: Marg Helgenberger
  • Outstanding Makeup For A Series (Non-Prosthetic) – 2003
  • Outstanding Makeup For A Series (Prosthetic) – 2003
  • Outstanding Single-Camera Sound Mixing For A Series – 2003
  • Outstanding Cinematography For A Single-Camera Series – 2002
  • Outstanding Drama Series – 2002
  • Outstanding Makeup For A Series (Prosthetic) – 2002
  • Outstanding Single-Camera Sound Mixing For A Series – 2002
  • Outstanding Sound Editing For A Series – 2002
  • Outstanding Art Direction For A Single-Camera Series – 2001
  • Outstanding Lead Actress In A Drama Series – 2001: Marg Helgenberger
  • Outstanding Single-Camera Picture Editing For A Series – 2001
  • Outstanding Sound Editing For A Series – 2001

The series has also been nominated for multiple Golden Globes, Screen Actors Guild Award, Writers Guild of America Award, Directors Guild of America Award, and Producers Guild of America Award

DVD releases

Region 1 DVD releases

# DVD Name Episodes Release Date
1 The Complete First Season 23
2 The Complete Second Season
3 The Complete Third Season
4 The Complete Fourth Season
5 The Complete Fifth Season 25
6 The Complete Sixth Season 24
7 The Seventh Season
8 The Eighth Season 17
9 The Ninth Season 24

The US box sets are distributed by CBS Home Entertainment and Paramount Pictures, while the Canadian box sets are distributed by Alliance Atlantismarker. 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.

Region 2/4 DVD releases

Region 2 and 4 DVD releases have followed a pattern whereby each season is progressively released in two parts (each of 11 or 12 episodes [with the exception of 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 Name Release dates
Full season Part 1 Part 2
CSI: Crime Scene Investigation Season 1 December 8, 2003 July 1, 2002 October 7, 2002
CSI: Crime Scene Investigation Season 2 March 15, 2004 July 28, 2003 October 6, 2003
CSI: Crime Scene Investigation Season 3 July 26, 2004 April 5, 2004 July 5, 2004
CSI: Crime Scene Investigation Seasons 1–3 August 23, 2004
CSI: Crime Scene Investigation Season 4 November 21, 2005 May 9, 2005 July 11, 2005
CSI: Crime Scene Investigation Seasons 1–4 December 12, 2005
CSI: Crime Scene Investigation Season 5 June 26, 2006 April 24, 2006 June 14, 2006
CSI: Crime Scene Investigation Seasons 1–5 October 2, 2006
CSI: Crime Scene Investigation Grave Danger – Tarantino Episodes October 10, 2005
CSI: Crime Scene Investigation Season 6 June 4, 2007 February 26, 2007 June 4, 2007
CSI: Crime Scene Investigation Season 7 February 25, 2008 September 3, 2007 February 25, 2008
CSI: Crime Scene Investigation Season 8 February 16, 2009 September 22, 2008 February 16, 2009
CSI: Crime Scene Investigation Season 9 TBC March 25, 2010 July 2010

Region 4

DVD Name Release dates
Full season Part 1 Part 2
CSI: Crime Scene Investigation Season 1 November 27, 2003 October 21, 2002 April 9, 2003
CSI: Crime Scene Investigation Season 2 October 28, 2004 October 27, 2003 March 30, 2004
CSI: Crime Scene Investigation Season 3 October 4, 2005 March 18, 2005 September 13, 2005
CSI: Crime Scene Investigation Season 4 November 8, 2006 May 12, 2006 August 17, 2006
CSI: Crime Scene Investigation Season 5 January 24, 2007 Not released Not released
CSI: Crime Scene Investigation Grave Danger – Tarantino Episodes June 6, 2007
CSI: Crime Scene Investigation Season 6 December 5, 2007 Not released Not released
CSI: Crime Scene Investigation Season 7 December 3, 2008 Not released Not released
CSI: Crime Scene Investigation Season 8 July 15, 2009 Not released Not released

Blu-ray Releases

CBS Home Entertainment (distributed by Paramount) released the first season on High Definition Blu-ray disc onMay 12, 2009.[33651]Unlike its DVD counterpart[33652], this release is in its original 16:9 widescreen format and feature 7.1 surround sound.

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.

Other Releases

The CSI franchise 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 Horatio Caine, Alexx Woods and Calleigh Duquesne who are trying to solve a murder in South Beach with the player's assistance. The game is also available for download on various iPod devices.

In spring 2008, Gameloft and CBS released "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation - The Mobile Game" which is based on the original series in Las Vegas, NV. 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.


  • True Stories of CSI: The Real Crimes Behind the Best Episodes of the Popular TV Show (published 08/09) – Katherine Ramsland follows the evidence and revisits some of the most absorbing episodes of the phenomenally popular C.S.I. television franchise, and explores the real-life crimes that inspired them. She also looks into the authenticity of the forensic investigations recreated for the dramatizations, and the painstaking real-life forensic process employed in every one of the actual cases—from notorious mass-murderer Richard Speck, to the massacre of Buddhist monks in an Arizona Temple, to a baffling case of apparent spontaneous combustion.

  • In September 2009, Tokyopop releashed a manga version of CSI written by Sekou Hamilton and drawn by Steven Cummings. It deals around five teenage kids working at the Las Vegas Crime Lab as interns as they try to solve a murder case of a student at their high school which leads to a shocking discovery. Grissom and Cathrine are seen now and then as well as some of the other CSI characters. In typical manga form the graphic novel is full of classic manga icons such as sweatdrops and anger marks though does not over-do it.

Video Games

Online sales

Country Store Available Season
Philippines iTunes Store 6, 7, 8 and 9 (after episode airs on TV)
United States Amazon Unbox 6, 7 and 8
United States Xbox Live 6 and 7 (approximately one week after airing—no longer offered)
United States NetFlix 7, 8 and 9 (streaming with Instant play for Netflix customers)
United Kingdom Demand Five 6, 7, 8 and 9 (immediately after airing)
Germany RTLnow 6, 7, 8 and 9 (one week before airing)

See also


  1. Through "Entertainment AB Funding LLC"
  2. "The CSI Shot: Making It Real", CSI: Crime Scene Investigation Season 3 DVD (bonus feature), Momentum Pictures, April 5, 2004.
  3. Zap2it/com
  4. CBS CSI Gil Grissom’s rare office replica TV prop Retrieved on 2007-10-22.
  5. "Is CSI On the Hunt for a New Jorja Fox?", Retrieved on 2007-11-06.
  6. Campaign Updates Retrieved on 2007-11-06.
  7. Flyover pictures and videos Retrieved on 2007-11-06.
  8. "CSI Boss Vows Jorja Fox is 'Coming Back'", TVguide. Retrieved on 2007-11-06.
  9. "'CSI' fan says losing Sara would be a crime". Retrieved on 2007-11-06.
  10. "'CSI' Fans Launch Save Jorja Fox Campaign", Retrieved on 2007-11-06.
  11. "Fans donate to charity", CSI Files. Retrieved on 2008-January 15.
  12. CSI Content Retrieved on 2007-November 28.
  13. Broadcast Indecency Campaign Retrieved on 2007-November 28.
  14. N. J. Schweitzer and Michael J. Saks The CSI Effect: Popular Fiction About Forensic Science Affects Public Expectations About Real Forensic Science. Jurimetrics, Spring 2007
  15. Donald E. Sheldon, Young S. Kim and Gregg Barak A Study of Juror Expectations and Demands Concerning Scientific Evidence: Does the 'CSI Effect' Exist? Vanderbilt Journal of Entertainment & Technology Law
  16. Retrieved on 2007-11-06.
  17. Retrieved on 2007-11-06.
  18. Retrieved on 2007-11-06.
  20. Buchanan, Levi. "IGN: CSI: Miami",IGN Entertainment. Retrieved October 13, 2008.
  21. "CBS and Gameloft Use Real Phone Calls to Unravel Clues and Solve Crimes in 'CSI: Crime Scene Investigation(TM) - The Mobile Game'", Thomson Reuters. Retrieved October 13, 2008.

External links

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