C.S.I: Crime Scene Investigation: Season Two cast: William Petersen, Marg Helgenberger, Gary Dourdan, Jorja Fox, and Paul Guilfoyle created by Anthony E. Zuiker PART ONE 500 minutes approx (18) 2002 Momentum DVD digi-pack Region 2 retail Also available to buy on video RATING: 7/10 PART TWO 460 minutes approx (15) 2002 Momentum DVD digi-pack Region 2 retail Also available to buy on video [released 6 October] RATING: 8/10 reviewed by Donald Morefield [See our earlier reviews of C.S.I. Season One – Part One and Part Two for series’ intro -Ed]

Suicide or murder; missing person or a kidnapping case; poisoning or just an allergic reaction; road rage or car trouble; torture or sadomasochism; ransom drop or clever theft; bus crash or mass slaughter? How about a liquefied corpse in a sports’ bag, a dead scuba diver found up a tree, a drowning in the desert, the psychotherapy of “re-birthing,” or armed robbers in drag? Whatever your taste in mystery or thriller, human drama or moral dilemma, C.S.I. has a grim little story for you. Its tales about a crime lab’s nightshift in Las Vegas cover all kinds of odd and offbeat offences, from mysterious hit ‘n’ run tragedy, and students’ practical jokes gone awry, to suspicious deaths with too many suspects, and bizarre serial killer attacks.
However, this season, there are nagging faults with developments in the show’s typical formula of strictly discipline-related explanations used by Grissom (William Petersen) and his teammates. Rather too much of the scientific dialogue seems written for the characters to inform or educate (well okay, and enlighten, too) viewers about the minutiae of state-of-the-art forensics, and this can often detract from the admirable sense of drama which the show so obviously strives for. Surely, this is not how real life crime scene investigators are likely to converse with each other, except in a classroom? I remain doubtful that this approach to TV scripting is anything more than sheer pedantry on the part of the writers.
Problems aside, C.S.I. is certainly one of the better cop shows on TV right now. Chaos Theory is one of the more intriguing and memorable episodes, in which a female college student apparently disappears, making detectives suspect that a married professor she was having an affair with has killed her before his wife discovers the truth. The final explanation turns out to be something far less mundane, but reveals how a series of unlikely coincidences may have unforeseeable results. The following story, Overload, explores another twist of fate as a teenage boy dies in suspicious circumstances while being treated by a woman psychiatrist. Caged is a classic ‘locked-room’ mystery, in which an autistic librarian with a photographic memory is the only possible witness to events that led to a book restorer’s death. The Slaves Of Las Vegas starts with a corpse found in a playground sandbox, and leads Grissom to investigate the seedy underworld of SM parlours and BD torture chambers, where he finds not all of the participants are who or what they seem…
Identity Crisis sees the return of serial killer Paul Millander, a fugitive from justice since first season episodes like Anonymous. When Grissom finally catches up with the one that got away, he finds the villain has the power of the law on his side. Burden Of Proof starts with a macabre scene at the ‘Body Farm’, a place where forensic specialists can dump corpses of people who have left their body to science, in order to study exactly how human tissue decays under various specific conditions and circumstances – but a murder investigation is launched when cops find they have one too many dead folks involved in their controlled experiments! Chasing The Bus sees the full CSI crew called out to work on a road accident case that killed nine people, but was the horrific bus wreck caused by sabotage?
Marg Helgenberger and Gary Dourdan previously appeared together on screen in the TV movie Keys (1997), so their pursuit of a kidnapping to Florida (which introduces the cast of spinoff show CSI: Miami) for Cross-Jurisdictions must have been a field trip down memory lane. Season finale The Hunger Artist has a personal medical appointment for Grissom with test results that will inevitably affect his life and work.
The DVD release for Season Two has the usual aspect ratio 16:9 (enhanced for widescreen TV), and disc extras for Part One include a cast and crew featurette (37 minutes), behind-the-scenes expo looking at special effects, makeup effects, and the music of C.S.I., a tour of the main lab set with forensic advisor and real life criminologist Liz Devine as our guide, audio commentaries on three episodes Burked, Alter Boys and Ellie, trailers, and a rock video for theme song Who Are You? by British rock legends, The Who. Part Two extras are: C.S.I. Tour, plus a package of featurettes on Shooting Locations, Making Of A Hit, and Tools Of The Trade. There’s also a trailer for season three, and DVD-ROM material Recovered Evidence.