If the original “CSI” is the Marsha Brady of Jerry Bruckheimer’s CSI franchise, then “CSI:NY” isn’t even the Cindy Brady. It’s the mutant, non-gender specific Brady the family keeps locked in the basement and feeds rotting garbage to once a week, the one no wants to see because it reminds them of how something so sweet and good can become a horrible hideous genetic mutation.

“CSI:NY” is definitely the weakest of the three series and it’s starting to wear thin when the third spin-off in a TV series reaches higher than it’s third season. Granted, it’s rare that a TV show is successful enough to spawn so many spots on the dial on one network, but if you copy something long enough, it doesn’t appear as crisp and clear as the original.

When the first “CSI” became a monster explosive hit, CBS realized they had the goldmine they had been looking for since “M*A*S*H.” So they did what any self-respecting network would do — they ran with it and they didn’t bother to see where they were going. They expanded “CSI” into a full-fledged franchise that would make the Disney Corporation tell them to slow down. Then they spun it off — twice, once to Miami and again to New York.

They have some big talent behind “CSI:NY” starting with Gary Sinise, an accomplished stage and screen actor whose played in some of the biggest and most meaningful films in our time. To see him reduced to this spin-off of a spin-off is hard to watch and while he seems to be having fun, he also seems to be holding himself back when the camera starts recording.

The scripts make for some interesting cases that are just as good as the ones in the original series, but the dialogue is downright corny and can cause you to cringe until the muscles on your upper back cramp. Some of the lines, particularly the pun-friendly opening lines, made my upper back muscles want to jump out of my body leaving a bloody, deadly mess behind them, just so they could give the NY CSI team a case they couldn’t solve.

Some episodes stand out, particularly a case where the team has to figure out how a teenage girl who barely survived a drunken car crash was murdered in a heavily guarded hospital ICU. The rest of them are pretty predictable. The science behind the cases are interesting, but you can guess whodunit nine times out of 10 without having to figure out how Professor Plum did it in the billiard room with the candlestick.

As for the special features, who cares? A show has to be special in order for me to want to watch them. This is far from it.

Grade: D+


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