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Customer Review

15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Killers, crocodiles and DNA, February 1, 2007
This review is from: CSI: Miami: Season 3 (DVD)
I am a great fan of CSI and while I love all both the original and the NY franchise, CSI MIAMI is my favorite of the shows. I like the Horatio CAINE character and am a huge fan of actor David CARUSO. CSI MIAMI also has the great advantage of unusual diverse locations (the ocean, the Everglades, marinas, etc) which are great backdrops for exciting crime stories, while on the other hand in Vegas there is just desert and neon-lights and New York has been the setting of too many movies and series to be "fresh". Besides, CSI MIAMI stars stunningly beautiful Southern Belle Emily PROCTER :)

I finished the DVD box of season three a couple of days ago. It is great stuff that will appeal to all fans of the series. What I found particularly fascinating with season three is the effort and expenditure that went into it - you know, the episodes are more like condensed feature films for cinematic release. You have a plane crash (episode MONEY PLANE), a yacht ramming a bridge (LOST SON), a tsunami (CRIME WAVE), attacks with rocket propelled grenades (PIRATED), huge explosions (10-7, among others) etc Really awesome! Okay, nitpickers will argue that the computer generated tidal wave in CRIME WAVE was not up to Hollywood blockbuster standard, but hey, it is a TV show! I have seen far worse computer effects.

Season three managed to add more human depth to the characters and their development. There is the death of Speedle in the first episode (very touching, indeed), his replacement by ambitious cop Ryan WOLFE and the evolving rivalry between WOLFE and DELKO, Calleigh's father is still unable to quit the booze (detailed in the unfortunately rather weak episode UNDER THE INFLUENCE) and Horatio learns that his brother is still alive (more on that in the last episode of the series). Personally I miss the Speedle character and I think Ryan WOLFE is a weak replacement. With all due respect to the fans of the character and actor Jonathan TOGO, but I find this over-ambitious and eager guy more than annoying!

Most of the episodes are great storywise, although there are some exceptions. For instance, the aforementioned episode UNDER THE INFLUENCE was quite predictable - from the moment it was established that Calleigh's father was involved in a car accident when driving drunk, I knew that the guy he run over was already dead long before the car hit him. Other more unremarkable episodes are MURDER IN A FLASH and ADDICTION.

PIRATED is my favorite season three episode. The plot concerns weapon smuggling with a fishing boat, high sea piracy and political radicals, who use RPGs to terrorize Latino immigrants (while a subplot in the episode revolves around cannibalism among sailors adrift the ocean in their life raft). Plot and forensics are top notch, e.g. when residue from the exhaust fumes of a bazooka is found in the nose of a culprit it puts him on the crime scene. However I have issues with the ideology this particular episode promotes - it goes out of its way to promote multi-culturalism, a point which is re-iterated in some dialogues towards the end of the episode again and again. That said, PIRATED is great.

Other great episodes are CRIME WAVE (although the heist plot - taking adavantage of a tsunami to rob a bank - is a bit too elaborated and complicated to be fully believeable) and SEX AND TAXES (concerning the violent deaths of not one but two revenue service agents). SEX AND TAXES also featured a forensic accountant finding essential clues to the crimes (being an accountant - albeit not a forensic one - myself, I simply love this episode).

It needs to be pointed out that even weaker episodes usually have their merits like freak causes of death (for instance by paint ball gun in the HELL NIGHT episode or decapitation by shutter [ADDICTION]). I really admire the imagination of the script writers, when they come up with stuff like the aforementioned (or a drive-by shooting by boat in PRO PER.) And suffice to say that the forensic stuff is hugely educational, well made and simply great!

There is a host of extra features on disc 7. These include:

* CSI MIAMI DEEP BLUE SEA - a very interesting featurette about underwater film shooting both in the ocean and in a fishtank.

* Two making ofs (CSI MIAMI DELIVERING THE GOODS and VISUALIZING SEASON 3). You have the usual interviews with the actors, where they elaborate on their respective characters, but also hugely interesting stuff about the stuntwork in the series and memorable look inside the shooting of the vault scenes when the tsunami wave hits the bank in the CRIME WAVE episode.

* An excellent 8 part featurette hosted by the series` consultant ( a real life coroner), which is an ultra fast paced crash course in forensic medicine ranging from autopsy proceedures to various causes of death (gun shot wound, blunt force trauma, asphyxation), illustrated with snippets from various episodes. Very interesting!

* A brief documentary on the locations. While I knew that much of the series is actually shot in California I was not aware of the large extent. A location scout is being interviewed commenting on the difficulties finding convincing stand in locations. It is also depicted how sometimes CGI effects are used for greater authenticity (e.g. to remove hills in the background, as Miami is completly flat)

Despite some shortcomings a clear recommendation! Buy it now if you have not already done so!
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