There’s no doubt why CSI is making a comeback after seeing the CSI: Vegas trailer. CBS dropped the first look at the CSI revival this week, and it pops off the screen as much as the original television series did.
The trailer sets up the premise for the new crime drama: the Las Vegas Crime Lab is under the proverbial microscope after accusations of corruption. With past cases now potentially overturned, that’s a perfect reason to bring back old favorites like Gil Grissom (William Peterson, who also serves as an executive producer) and Sara Sidle (Jorja Fox) as they team up with the current employees.
Scenes include new lab director Maxine Roby (Chicago Med and NCIS alum Paula Newsome, deservedly now front and center in a franchise show) trying to save both her job and her lab’s reputation. There’s also a glimpse of the returning Jim Brass (Paul Guilfoyle, in a recurring role).
Ultimately, what’s going to satisfy fans is having a real reason to bring back the original CSI. After CBS tried to sort of update the franchise with CSI: Cyber, it felt like the franchise had served its purpose. But CSI: Vegas has smartly jumped on the theme of increased scrutiny around law enforcement, making it timely as well as tense, and with the advances in technology in the last decade-plus, there’s lots of original science to cover, too.
The biggest question will be how the writers balance the fan service of bringing back old favorites with starting a new ensemble. CSI: Vegas was first thought of as a limited series and then CBS decided to expand it into a full first season—clearly the hope is to revive interest and re-launch the franchise. But audiences will be furious if the existing characters are just there to pass the baton to the new ones, and if the new characters aren’t given enough to do, they’re not going to interest people enough to keep watching once the cameos end.
With cast members like Newsome and the underrated Matt Lauria (The Chicago Code, Kingdom) on hand, there’s reason to be excited, though. This doesn’t feel like just another TV revival where a network brings back existing IP and then focuses so much on the nostalgia factor that there’s not enough effort put into the cast or characters. These actors can bring the same kind of spark that Peterson, Fox, Marg Helgenberger and others brought to CSI: Crime Scene Investigation. While they’re not going to be those people, they have the same ability to make the show feel like less of a procedural by making their characters interesting.
TV veteran Jason Tracey (Burn Notice, Elementary, Cold Case) is at the helm of the revival so there’s no shortage of experience behind the camera either. As long as the series can keep itself balanced, there’s no reason it can’t be another runaway hit.
Brittany Frederick has worked 20 years as a professional journalist, reaching millions of readers worldwide with thousands of articles. Her one goal is to meet Jonathan Groff, but she’s sung with Adam Levine and gone 200 MPH with Mario Andretti. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow her on Twitter @tvbrittanyf.