Is possible to maintain a sense of normalcy after you've been through so much over the course of many years? That's part of the premise of the ninth, and rumored to be final, season of CBS' long running "CSI: NY," which had a group of New York's finest learning how to cope with their job related stress.
"CSI: NY" followed Detective Mac Taylor (Gary Sinise) who spent a great deal of his time devoted to solving various crimes as a crime scene investigator, which left little time for a personal life. He was married once, but his wife died in 9/11 and he had little time to date anyone seriously. His personal life did take a turn for the better when he ran into his old friend Christine Whitney (Megan Dodds) who he took a chance with and chose to let her in. While he had Christine's support at home, Mac could count on seasoned investigator Josephine "Jo" Danville (Sela Ward) to keep him in line when he got too obsessed with his cases. She wasn't the only one who keeping an eye on Mac too. There was coroner Dr. Sid Hammerback (Robert Joy) and Detective Don Flack (Eddie Cahill) who had differing perspectives on human behavior. One focused on the science, while the other focused on human behavior. Mac also had married CSIs Lindsey Monroe Messer (Anna Belknap) and Danny Messer (Carmine Giovinazzo) who were getting ready for another baby. Another sign of changing times was that resident single guys Dr. Sheldon Hawkes (Hill Harper) and Adam Ross (A.J. Buckley) were learning how to evolve in order to move onto the next phase in life. Will Mac and his team be able to keep their personal lives separate from their work?
In terms of question, the show's season finale seemed to answer most of them just in case if the show doesn't get renewed for another season, which it hasn't been as of yet. The show's fate was also thrown a little extra uncertainty when it was recently confirmed that Harper will be leaving the show after this season for a role on "Covert Affairs." Okay, most procedural shows can learn to survive if a major player leaves the show, but "CSI" has never fully been the same since original star William Petersen left the show years ago. In terms of overall plots, "CSI: NY" tried to place a careful balance between the characters' personal lives as well as their professional ones to keep viewers invested no matter what happened. Unfortunately, the weekly murder cases seemed to focus more on shock value that the episodes often ignored the fact that the killers were glaringly obvious very early into each episode. The show's extended examination into the characters' personal lives seemed like a last ditch effort to keep things going when the procedural storylines started to falter. If the show gets renewed for a tenth season, the writers will definitely have to find a way to surprise viewers through the cases and not just the human interest stories. Only time will tell if that gets to happen.
As for breakout stars, Sinise and Ward led the pack as their characters continued to learn how to keep their personal and professional lives in check. They had a comfortable rapport that allowed viewers some moments of levity when the show's subject matter got a little too dark. Sinise was given an opportunity this season to go beyond the crime lab and be able to become part of the human race. He had a decent chemistry with Dodds that allowed Sinise to crack a smile every once in a while. The crossover storyline where Mac had to rescue a kidnapped Christine allowed Sinise to play hero in a way that he never had before because there were very high personal stakes involved. Ward, on the other hand, got to play mediator and keep things going whenever the show's pacing started to lag at times. It's a shame that she hasn't had many storylines of her own, except for the one where she met the man who had a unique connection to her deceased sister. Hopefully, she'll get a story or case of her own if the show gets renewed for another season. Another honorable mention was Buckley's often quirky Adam who was usually used for comic relierf than genuine human interest stories. Buckley had the opportunity to explore his character's complicated past with his father who had Alzheimer's Disease. He expressed his character's anger and heartache that he would never be able to have a healthy relationship with his father. Buckley tried to maintain Adam's comedic timing, but he was forced to give into his pain and express things that he often hid from view. Now, that's something viewers should see more of, and not less, on these routine law and science shows to keep people tuning in each week.
"CSI: NY" aired its season finale on February 22nd at 9:00 PM on CBS. The show hasn't been renewed for a tenth season as of yet.
Verdict: A finale that might be the sign of a possible cancellation, since it's fate is currently up in the air at the moment.
TV Score: 3 out of 5 stars
1 Star (Mediocre)
2 Stars (Averagely Entertaining)
3 Stars (Decent Enough to Pass Muster)
4 Stars (Near Perfect)
5 Stars (Gold Standard)