Thursday, 19 August 2010

CSI: Miami

I'm intrigued by CSI: Miami (2002 - ). I'm not pretending to be any kind of expert on it, but I've seen episodes here and there, and also of the other two versions, CSI: Las Vegas (2000 - ) and CSI: NY (2004 - ). Why intrigued? Because it's so breathtakingly effortless. There's no acting, there's no writing and there's no direction. It's got the most elementary story possible, and the various mysteries the teams have to solve are neither clever nor mysterious. There's no thought involved on the part of the crew members, all they have to do is spray, scratch, look in the microscope, run the DNA found on the crime scene on the computer and there's your suspect. And with so little effort from the makers of the series, there's no effort involved on the part of the audience either. No complexities and no anxieties.

At first I thought that the main appeal for its large audience, well, the only appeal, was the scientific approach. That what the audience wanted to see, and which the makers knew that the audience wanted to see and so provided, was the technical wizardry involved. That this was the very essence of a "cinema of attractions". And that is probably a large part of its broader appeal. But after doing some research, and looking at online CSI-forums, I've realised that a large group of people do have an emotional investment in the show, and its characters. They argue about them, the root for them and they pity them. So for them this show is something it could never be for me, the casual observers. It's like a family member, which you go and visit frequently.

What I've also noticed in the series is a rather harsh and conservative attitude to the criminals. This is not a TV-series of forgiveness and repentance. Here the criminals all deserve to die, and are not showing any remorse (and apparently no suspect in this world of CSI has any rights, or needs to be told that they have a right to remain silent and such legal niceties). This almost biblical morality stands in contrast with the very modern and very scientific approach to the actual solving of the crimes. The crew members quotes Newton, calculate with elaborate mathematical equations and use the latest technological equipment. It's a far cry from the poor policemen in The Wire (2002 - 2008) who makes do with just typewriters.

For me though, the greatest appeal, perhaps the only appeal, of CSI: Miami is the visual style. It's all glass and transparency, fluctuating lights and fancy camera movements. It's close to intoxicating, especially all the glass and see-through materials.

But what does it all mean?

1 comment:

  1. No idea what it means. It does not really intrigue me. Although I must confess I became hooked on NCIS. Perhaps because my former in-laws used to watch this during Sunday meal (yes, sitting in the sofa infront of the tv, but you would never suspect them of doing this if you meet them). Conversation was mainly concentrated to the commersial breaks and mainly concerning the commercials...