"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 started 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.
The sixth season of the show doesn't have a major stunt to open the season like the fifth season opener, but the season does make a return to Rio and introduce a new threat to Horatio: the mother (Elizabeth Berkley) of a troubled son (Evan Ellingson) that he never knew he had. The idea of Horatio facing a threat from his past has some potential, but the misstep here is in the casting: I have to wonder about the decision of Berkley, who is not exactly intimidating in theory, and the results aren't much better - she's just not convincing in the role. Ellingson is moderately irritating at first, but gets a little better as the season goes on.
A return to Rio for the two-part "Ambush"/"All In" also disappoints, as Caine being extradited to Brazil for the events of the fifth season opener results in all of a few minutes worth of time that really doesn't go anywhere besides one kind of absurd action sequence. While the thread of Horatio's new son doesn't work as well as the creators likely hoped, there are still rather engaging episodes in this season, such as "Down to the Wire" (Horatio faces off against a shady private investigator, played well by Tom Sizemore), "Deep Freeze" (the team cannot investigate a case because the victim wished to be cryogenically frozen), "Miami Confidential" (the CSI's investigate a case involving a young woman who had a meth lab in her apartment) and "Sunblock" (a crime occured during a total eclipse, and evidence at the scene points in an unexpected direction). Overall, while there are some compelling episodes this season, there are others that start to become a little too ridiculous, even for a show that's about over-the-top style and stories. Hopefully, the next season will see the show be a little more grounded and toned down, as it was earlier on in the run.
122. 6- 1 24 Sep 07 Dangerous Son
123. 6- 2 1 Oct 07 Cyber-lebrity
124. 6- 3 8 Oct 07 Inside Out
125. 6- 4 15 Oct 07 Bang, Bang, Your Debt
126. 6- 5 22 Oct 07 Deep Freeze
127. 6- 6 29 Oct 07 Sunblock
128. 6- 7 5 Nov 07 Chain Reaction
129. 6- 8 12 Nov 07 Permanent Vacation
130. 6- 9 19 Nov 07 Stand Your Ground
131. 6-10 26 Nov 07 CSI: My Nanny
132. 6-11 10 Dec 07 Guerillas In The Mist
133. 6-12 17 Dec 07 Miami Confidential
134. 6-13 14 Jan 08 Raising Caine
135. 6-14 24 Mar 08 You May Now Kill the Bride
136. 6-15 31 Mar 08 Ambush
137. 6-16 1 Apr 08 All In
138. 6-17 21 Apr 08 To Kill A Predator
139. 6-18 28 Apr 08 Tunnel Vision
140. 6-19 5 May 08 Rock and a Hard Place
141. 6-20 12 May 08 Down to the Wire
142. 6-21 19 May 08 Going Ballistic
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: "Permanent Vacation" offers commentary by Eagle Egilsson, Barry O'Brien and Krystal Houghton, while "Raising Caine" offers commentary by Elizabeth Berkley and Rex Linn. The sixth and final disc offers a series of additional featurettes: "Analyzing Season 6", "The Real Women of the MDPD", "Four-Sight: Directing CSI Miami" and "Playing Dead".
Final Thoughts: The 6th season of "CSI Miami" does have a few highlight episodes, but this is a more uneven season when compared with some of the earlier few seasons. I still continue to like the cast (who continue to offer good performances), but the quality of the writing has declined. Still, fans will enjoy this latest box set, which offers very good audio/video quality, as well as a nice set of supplemental features. Recommended.