Just about the time that I thought just about every possible variant on the TV cop/detective/crime solving show had been explored by the creative geniuses who provide our nightly broadcast television ration of pap, piddle and trivia –whoa – here came a show that tickled our Sherlock Holmesian/forensic knowledge fancy. Whoever would have thought that poking around with microscopes and spectrum analyzers and picking up little bits of fluff at a Los Vegas crime scene with a set of tweezers could be interesting? But yes, it was and has continued to be for going on eight seasons now and has given rise to a couple of variants set in New York and Miami. All three of the CSI iterations offer a distinct challenge to a viewer who possesses a decent ration of curiosity about puzzles and mysteries but a very, very low gross-out threshold. CSI season 7 mercifully let up a little on the really gross visualizations and focused a little more on the puzzles. Nothing I watched this season sent me gagging from the room, so either they let up or I have gotten a little more used to maggoty corpses.

Three of the special features in this collection focus specifically on episodes which made season 7 stand a little apart. The first is a ‘making of’ “Built to Kill” a two part episode set backstage at the astonishing Cirque d Soliel, another covers the definitive stunt-casting of all time; Roger Daltry playing five different guest parts in “Living Legend”. And a third extra feature focused on the hunt for the “miniature” killer, which continued intermittently all though the season. I found the “Miniature Murders” feature to be especially fascinating, as I had built many inch-to-a-foot scale model interiors and buildings. Having a series of perfectly replicated half-inch-to-a-foot murder scenes showing up within hours of a real, full-sized murder offered a puzzle to Grissom and his crew that lasted all season and set up the cliff-hanging final episode. Very obviously, it would have taken an artisan of miniatures days and weeks to build such a detailed replica, and the feature made it very clear what a challenge it was, even with the resources available to a television studio. Other extras include commentary tracks for seven episodes, and a tour of the real CSI-Las Vegas offices; which, astonishingly enough, are very much more cluttered and not nearly as plush-looking as the series sets.

CSI – 7th season is available November 27th from Amazon.com and through other retail outlets.

Sgt. Mom is a free-lance writer who lives in San Antonio and blogs at The Daily Brief. Her current book “To Truckee’s Trail” is available here. More about her books is at her website www.celiahayes.com

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