The CSI Franchise Rises Again With CSI: Cyber

Patricia Arquette CSI Cyber

On Friday, CBS picked up CSI: Cyber, the newest installment in the long-lasting Crime Scene Investigation franchise. Unlike its predecessors, CSI: Cyber isn’t limited to solving crimes in just one region of the United States, instead it will take on the nefarious ‘under-world’ of the Internet. So that should be plenty terrifying to CBS’s technology-weary older skewing audience.

CSI: Cyber is the first new CSI spin-off in nearly a decade, New York debuted in 2004. And while all three series thrived for many years thereafter, the 2013-2014 TV season was the first TV season for CBS with only one hour of CSI on its primetime schedule following the cancellation of CSI: Miami in 2012 and CSI: New York in 2013.

The newest CSI will star Patricia Arquette (procedural fans may remember her from Medium) as Avery Ryan, a Special Agent at the FBI’s Cyber Crime Division in Quantico VA. CBS tested the waters a couple weeks ago when she first appeared in a backdoor pilot episode of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (“Kitty” 14×21) where she helped the team solve their mystery of the week.

Having caught the aforementioned episode, here’s my first impression of Agent Avery Ryan and the cyber world she works in:

  • Finally a female lead! And she’s snarky and confident.
  • But clearly she’s got some issues or secrets from her past because she actually goaded a suspect into cutting her. To be fair every TV doctor, agent, law officer has issues, that’s how every crime becomes personal.
  • If “I Can See For Miles” by The Who is CSI: Cyber’s theme song, I’m cool with that.
  • Basically it’s Lie to Me, but with Internet crimes and a woman.
  • I hope they re-work some of the CGI visual elements for the actual series because using the standard magic-school bus cam in cyberspace just looks like a cheesy-Tron knock-off.
  • Node is a silly name for suspects or perpetrators.
  • Internet crimes is an interesting and a less-tapped well for story lines, I mean it is kind of terrifying how much shady stuff really does exist online.
  • I’m sure there’s all sorts of real life stories to pull from, I mean in this episode alone they dealt with identity theft, sex sites, online privacy, and extortion.
  • Even though Quantico is her HQ, the lack of location in the title makes me think she’ll be doing a lot of traveling, so I wouldn’t be surprised if CBS is already planning crossover events with its many other procedurals.

Even though I still tune into CSI every week, I think that’s more out of character investment than an actual interest in crime-solving procedurals, so I’m not sure if CSI: Cyber is something I’ll actually want to watch on a regular basis. I’m certainly willing to give it a shot though. Rumor has it, the series will be marked for the mid-season.

Did you catch the backdoor pilot of CSI: Cyber? Do you think Internet crimes and Patricia Arquette can reinvigorate the CSI franchise?

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