CSI: Crime Scene Investigation

“Not we but those who come after will make the legends of our time.”

J.R.R. Tolkien

Yes, Constant Reader, it’s “let’s-review-a-crappy-show-which-I-barely-remember” day! Because we all have fun with those.

No title again (I know I’ve seen it somewhere, but I really can’t be bothered to search through the whole series listings again), so a brief Plot Synopsis will have to do. As far as I remember, a homeless man goes on a spending spree at a casino and, against all the odds, wins a huge pile of money. He’s then found ‘orribly murdered on the streets of Las Vegas, and suspicion falls, naturally, upon the rather gangster-ish casino owner. But what does that seedy pawn shop around the corner have to do with the case?

Also, there is a Dying Message, just like in Sherlock. These always seem to crop up too often in Murder Mysteries; how many real murder victims do you think leave the name of their killer written in blood or whatever?

Not many, I’ll bet. They probably have more pressing things to think about than whether their murderer will go to prison. Like staying alive, for example.

Anyway. It was in this particular episode that I realised that no-one watches CSI for the characters, plot, or even just for the joy of working out the puzzle. No, CSI is popular because of the editing.

I’m serious. Those segments with all the people doing futuristic-looking experiments that can tell you the hair colour of the person who last saw the murder victim, or what make of car the killer drives, or the shape of the murder weapon? And the funky modern music in the background? There’s no mistaking that those segments are, for want of a better word, cool. They’re dynamic. They make you want to become a forensic investigator on the spot so that you can go and do the cool experiments. And they drive you on through this mindless, obvious TV programme that would otherwise go in the same godforsaken box as Murder, She Wrote or Heartbeat. The technology’s the thing that makes CSI watchable. Because, of course, we all want to believe that it is possible to tell the hair colour of a murderer. We want to know that the police know more about everything than anyone else, when probably the real truth is that they’re as clueless as everyone else. But CSI makes them look strong, and, apparently, we’re willing to sit through an hour of bad television for that comforting prospect.

The good news is that Sherlock does more or less the same thing (mind palace, anyone? or the trainers in The Great Game?) but with more intelligence and characters who we actually care about. So can I recommend that all the people who watch CSI immediately switch to Sherlock. Because you know you’re in trouble when you’re watching a TV show solely for the sake of the editing.

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