"CSI" remains one of the biggest hits that CBS has had in ages, so it's understandable that the popular mystery/drama has spawned not one, but two spin offs - the first of which takes place in the very mystery-friendly Miami. The show focuses on lead detective Horatio Caine (David Caruso, finally making his comeback), who solves - with his forensics crew - some of Miami's toughest cases. They go through blood stain evidence, ballistics and every other possible detail relating to the case. Helping Caine are Calleigh Dusquene (Emily Procter), investigator Tim Speedle (Rory Cochrane), recovery expert Eric Delko (Adam Rodriguez) and coroner Alexx Woods (Khandi Alexander, also nice to see getting consistent work again - I was a big fan of "Newsradio".)
The show often spends the hour going through one distinct, standalone crime. Although the focus often hovers around the Caruso character, the supporting players do good work, and occasionally get their chance to shine in some of the episodes. Although Caruso has gotten some criticism for his performance, I actually think it's a superb effort from the actor, as he gives the performance a welcome slow-boil edge. The visuals are as slick as the series the show has spun-off from - a series of experienced cinematographers bring the sort of golden-hued look that producer Jerry Bruckheimer's feature films often sport. The elaborate trick shots that get the viewer into the middle of the evidence also are present here and once again, impress in their technical skill.
The fifth season of the series starts off with a "field trip" for the investigators, as the CSI's head off to Rio in, um, "Rio". The episode opens with Caine at the grave of wife Marisol, who is also the sister of Eric. Riaz, the criminal who killed Marisol, has been taken back to Brazil, where the authorities will not cooperate. Horatio also finds out that his brother, Raymond, is in Brazil, but Horatio may be too late. While some aspects of this episode strain believability and the episode is not one of the show's most exciting, it does provide strong performances from Caruso and Rodriguez, as well as some gorgeous scenery during the scenes filmed in Rio.
Some of the season's highlights include: "Death Pool 100" (a celebrity is found dead, but it's soon discovered that the celeb is part of a "death pool" that is being gambled on), "Death Eminent" (a local politican who endorsed eminent domain is found dead in an empty house), "Going, Going, Gone" (a woman auctioned off is found dead, and the investigation finds that she was trying to uncover information about the host of the auction), "No Man's Land" (a truck carrying seized weapons is sabotaged and the weapons end up back on the streets - Caine thinks an old enemy is behind it), "Man Down" (the conclusion of "No Man's Land") and "Rush" (a celeb is murdered in rehab.)
98. 5- 1 18 Sep 06 Rio
99. 5- 2 25 Sep 06 Going Under
100. 5- 3 2 Oct 06 Death Pool 100
101. 5- 4 9 Oct 06 If Looks Could Kill
102. 5- 5 16 Oct 06 Death Eminent
103. 5- 6 23 Oct 06 Curse Of The Coffin
104. 5- 7 6 Nov 06 High Octane
105. 5- 8 13 Nov 06 Darkroom
106. 5- 9 20 Nov 06 Going, Going, Gone
107. 5-10 27 Nov 06 Come As You Are
108. 5-11 11 Dec 06 Backstabbers
109. 5-12 8 Jan 07 Internal Affairs
110. 5-13 22 Jan 07 Throwing Heat
111. 5-14 5 Feb 07 No Man's Land
112. 5-15 12 Feb 07 Man Down
113. 5-16 19 Feb 07 Broken Home
114. 5-17 26 Feb 07 A Grizzly Murder
115. 5-18 19 Mar 07 Triple Threat
116. 5-19 9 Apr 07 Bloodline
117. 5-20 16 Apr 07 Rush
118. 5-21 23 Apr 07 Just Murdered
119. 5-22 30 Apr 07 Burned
120. 5-23 7 May 07 Kill Switch
121. 5-24 14 May 07 Born To Kill
VIDEO:"CSI: Miami" is presented by Paramount in 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen. The picture quality is very good - in my opinion, the image remained as excellent as the prior season presentations. Sharpness and detail remained fantastic throughout, as the level of definition remained very pleasing. Fine object detail was often apparent, and there was often nice depth to the image.
The presentations largely seemed flawless. Some light shimmering occured a couple of times, but I didn't notice any instances of edge enhancement, pixelation or print/element flaws. Colors remained bright and vibrant, with nice saturation and no smearing. Flesh tones remained accurate, while black level remained solid. Overall, this is superlative work.
SOUND: "CSI: Miami" is presented by Paramount in Dolby Digital 5.1. The show's audio is pretty good for a television program. Surrounds aren't put into terribly aggressive use, but the rear speakers do come in during many episodes to deliver some nicely placed sound effects. Audio quality remained superb, as sound effects and dialogue remained crisp and seemed well-recorded. The opening Who track also has a dynamic, full quality and kicks off the episodes strongly.
EXTRAS: Commentaries are included on:
"Rio": Sam Hill, Sunil Nayar, Brian O'Neill
"Death Pool 100": Sam Hill, Adam Rodriguez, Carey Meyer
"Death Eminent": Jonathan Togo, Corey Miller and Larry Detweiler
"Darkroom": Eva La Rue and John Haynes
"Man Down": Karen Gaviola and Gonzalo Menendez
5 of the 6 discs in the set also offer featurettes: "Rio Grand: CSI Miami Goes to Rio", "If Looks Could Kill: Special FX Make-up", "Turning up the Heat: The Look of CSI Miami", "Dressing the Part" and "The Real MDPD With Jonathan Togo".
Final Thoughts: "CSI: Miami"'s ensemble cast continues to offer excellent performanes and the clever, often fast-paced mysteries remain compelling. Paramount's DVD set once again provides superb audio/video quality and a solid selection of supplemental features. Recommended.