The previous season of CSI was a bit manic, Warrick and Grissom both departed the team, Langston and Riley joined and it seemed like a lot of sudden change for a show that had been relatively unchanging for so long. Season ten however felt like everything settled down again. Riley disappeared into the sunset and I barely noticed. Sara returned every now and again and slotted in to her old place in the team flawlessly. The only real change was some long term recurring characters getting well earned promotions to regular status, when I saw Super Dave the assistant coroner in the opening credits I gave a little cheer.
It feels like everyone has finally accepted that Grissom is gone. It’s not that he’s never mentioned, he’s frequently acknowledged and referenced, but as a part of the family that’s moved on, not as a lingering ghostly presence. Catherine seems to take charge more actively, and in promoting Nick to her deputy she puts her stamp on it as her team. Nick steps up and takes responsibility nicely, telling Greg off when he acts out, or trying to mentor Langstom. The team dynamics work very nicely with everyone stepping up a rung, even the previously somewhat self-righteous Sara takes on a more nurturing role. The collection of characters felt like a team again.
Langstrom is a really interesting character, worthy of Laurence Fishburne’s talents. He’s extremely knowledgeable, and smart enough to acknowledge his inexperience as a CSI and is eager to learn from his younger colleagues. He is also self-aware enough to know that he has a potentially violent temper and consciously tries to minimise it. His obsession with the Dr Jeckyll case through the season offered an interesting structure to gradually reveal more about his history and his potential to fall into obsessions. The serial killer as a whole worked well, not particularly overplayed, but with some entertainingly creative puzzle pieces, which didn’t fall into CSI:NY’s trap of being too clever until the final episode.
The other cases through the year were the usual reliable mix of heavy and dramatic all the way down to the weird and comedic. I love the lab rats being given more to do, both in Field Mice which had them pretending to be CSIs to Appendicitement where a boys night out turns into a chaotic and hilarious adventure.
CSI is rarely a show I get excited about, but it seldom disappoints me and this season was really satisfying from start to finish. The character moments were small, but charming – little expressions of appreciation, consideration or irritation. I enjoyed this season, and I’m glad to see that after 229 episodes, I’m still interested about what they’ll do next.