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CSI: Reality Check

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I love CSI. I’ve watched it ever since CSI: Criminal Investigation hit the airways. I think Jerry Bruckheimer is a genius. Mix murder with medicine and lab geeks and you have to create something special. Knowing there is an actual CSI working on the set helps me like the show even better.

Of course, after the original CSI, Bruckheimer et al. decided to branch out. Where else but sunny Miami, with its bikini-clad babes and buff guys strolling around South Beach between wild parties and a variety of murders. So, where else could they spin it off? Why, New York City, of course. The island of Manhattan is full of beautiful, rich people who get involved with drugs and guns and of course, murder.

But let’s face it, is it really real? I mean, does everyone who dies in New York City actually filthy dirty rich and drug addicts who party the night away and end up dead by morning’s light? My other beef with the NY series is that there are no specialists on the team. Stella and Mac seem to head up the CSI division and along with Danny, are actual cops. But they are gun specialists, DNA specialists, trace evidence specialists, well, you get the idea. It’s like General Hospital all over again. Back in the 1970s, Nurse Bobbi Spencer showed up wherever the camera was- she was an ER nurse, and OB nurse, an or nurse, etc. I went into nursing and was an ICU nurse. Period. The only time I went to other floors was if there was a cardiac arrest and I was assigned to “codes” that night. Made it easy to find my way to work each day.

But I digress. CSI: Miami is just as bad as its NY cousin. Lt. Caine is in charge and shows up at most scenes, then seems to be on his cell phone through the rest of the episode, if he isn’t promising children he’ll find their parents killers. At least there is a fire-arms expert, but in her absence, just about any other character will do. But no criticisms about Caine’s sunglasses. A fair haired, blue eyed man in South Florida always wears sunglasses, always. Trust me, I spent eleven years living in South Florida and it’s rare to find anyone without sunglasses.

My biggest question is why don’t these CSIs go into the “bad” neighborhoods? Does Harlem have their own CSI team? How about “Pork and Beans” in Miami? Where are these murder victims taken? At least in Las Vegas, the CSIs seem to go into seedier areas, which is a lot of Las Vegas off the strip. They deal with drugs and gangs and pole dancers. It seems like the scariest part of being a stripper is getting to your car at the end of your shift. Something always seems to happen to one of them in the parking lots of the clubs. So much for my dream of becoming an exotic dancer.

Want reality? Watch First 48 on A&E. Miami is often portrayed, considering it’s in the top five of most dangerous cities. They rarely have murders in Coconut Grove or Miami Beach. It’s in the projects and lower middle class neighborhoods that murders predominate. But that wouldn’t be glamorous enough for prime time viewers. We seem to need to see the rich and privileged in tight spots, whether as the victim or the perpetrator. On occasion, at least in Las Vegas, real people die for no apparent reason. I loved the “miniature murderer” series last season. I once had the idea of doing miniatures after one of our hospital secretaries showed me her work at them. Now I worry I’d be accused of being a serial killer. Oh, and speaking of serial killers, there seem to be a lot more of them passing through Las Vegas than Miami or New York. Maybe it’s easier to blend into the crowd on the Strip. But they always seem to turn up somewhere around Las Vegas.

And they go into the desert too. Now that’s dedication.

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