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PARAMOUNT HOME VIDEO

MOVIE INFO

Creator:
Anthony Zuiker
Cast:
William Petersen, Marg Helgenberger, Gary Dourdan, George Eads, Jorja Fox, Eric Szmanda, Robert David Hall, Paul Guilfoyle
Writing Credits:
Various

Tagline:
Follow the evidence ... Again and again.

Synopsis:
This amazing DVD collection contains all 23 original Season Two episodes of the People's Choice Award winner for Favorite Television Dramatic Series. Including many brand-new, never-before-seen featurettes and audio commentaries, CSI: The Complete Second Season is worth investigating further.

MPAA:
Rated NR

DVD DETAILS
Presentation:
Widescreen 1.78:1/16x9
Audio:
English Dolby Digital 5.1
English Dolby Stereo
Spanish Dolby Stereo
Subtitles:
None
Not Closed-captioned

Runtime: 1005 min.
Price: $79.95
Release Date: 9/2/2003

Bonus:
Behind-the-Scenes Featurettes:
• Makeup, Music & Special Effects
• CSI-Shooting Locations
• The CSI Tour
• Tools of the Trade
• The Making of A Hit
Audio Commentaries:
• Episode 201 "Burked"
• Episode 206 "Alter Boys"
• Episode 210 "Ellie"


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EQUIPMENT
TV - Mitsubishi CS-32310 32"; Subwoofer - JBL PB12; DVD Player - Toshiba SD-4700; Receiver - Sony STR-DE845; Center - Polk Audio CS175i; Front Channels - Polk Audio; Rear Channels - Polk Audio.

RELATED REVIEWS


CSI: The Complete Second Season (2001)

Reviewed by David Williams (September 8, 2003)

If you need a much more in-depth and thorough introduction to the series, as well as its characters, check out my review of CSI: Season One that I wrote for DVDMG a few months back. It does a pretty good job of setting the stage for the show, as well as its characters … at least in my opinion … and I see no need to rehash the same material here.

However, for those of you already familiar with the show, you’ll recall that the inaugural season of the series ended with CSI leader, Gil Grissom (William Petersen), narrowly escaping the wiles of a serial killer, with the help from co-worker and friend, Catherine Willows (Marg Helgenberger). Starting the second season, the rest of the crew from the first season remained intact as well – along with the senior-ranking and seasoned Grissom and his top criminologist Catherine, also returning are Warrick Brown (Gary Dourdan), Nick Stokes (George Eads), Sara Sidle (Jorja Fox), Captain Jim Brass (Paul Guilfoyle), Greg Sanders (Eric Szmanda), and Dr. David Robbins (Robert David Hall) – and thankfully, the show saw no major changes in style, plot, or execution. In fact, it had become so popular in such a short amount of time that it spawned a spin-off – the inferior and lackluster CSI: Miami, starring David Caruso.

With Paramount’s DVD release, so begins another season of intelligently entertaining TV and the studio has given us a front row seat with their spectacular DVD set. Let’s tag along with the CSI team on their second season escapades …

- DISC ONE -

Burked (Original Air Date: September 27, 2001)
Audio Commentary with Carol Mendelsohn, Anthony Zuiker, and Danny Cannon

The sophomore season of the hit show opens with the death of a big shot Las Vegas casino exec Tony Braun (Richard Ethan Courtney). Found dead by his gardener, it originally looked like he had OD’d on heroin because it was found in his system. However, after further investigation, the team learns that the victim was bound with duct tape before he died. Grissom (William Petersen) comes to the conclusion that the victim was forced to ingest huge amounts of drugs before he died.

Chaos Theory (Original Air Date: October 4, 2001)
The team investigates the death of a young coed who was preparing to move back home from college. She disappears without a trace from her dorm room, with all of her belongings left intact. The team feels that the “Chaos Theory” – where seemingly insignificant events culminate in calamity – may hold the answer.

Overload (Original Air Date: October 11, 2001)
A construction worker falls 12 stories to his death and everyone feels that suicide and/or electrocution was the cause of death. However, Grissom feels strongly that the man was murdered. Working on another case, Nick (George Eads) and Catherine (Marg Helgenberger) investigate the death of an epileptic teen who is found dead in his therapists house while undergoing a an unconventional treatment.

Bully For You (Original Air Date: October 18, 2001)
An arrogant high school football star is shot dead in a restroom at school. The evidence points to a teen whom the athlete bullied. In a separate case, Sara (Jorja Fox) and Nick (George Eads) have to piece together clues working with a badly decomposed body that has been stuffed in a bag.

- DISC TWO -

Scuba Doobie-Doo (Original Air Date: October 25, 2001)
Grissom has a hard time believing that the former occupant of a blood-splattered apartment has a good justification for just how it got that way. He claims that his missing girlfriend is off visiting her parents although the girl’s parents claim not to have seen her in weeks. Problem is, Grissom can’t produce a body. In another case, Catherine and Nick are forced to deal with a death of a scuba diver that looks like it came right out of an urban legend. When a dead scuba diver is found 30 feet above ground at Lake Mead - lodged between two charred tree branches - Nick feels that a firefighting helicopter scooped him up and placed him there. However, Catherine has a hard time buying that theory.

Alter Boys (Original Air Date: November 1, 2001)
Audio Commentary with Ann Donahue and Danny Cannon

Grissom and other members of the team seem to have an easy case on their hands, as a suspect is caught burying a body that has been shot three times. However, Grissom isn’t convinced that the suspect is the killer – even with a ton of evidence to the contrary. In another case, Catherine and Warrick (Gary Dourdan) investigate the seemingly routine death of a woman in a health club locker room.

Caged (Original Air Date: November 8, 2001)
A book restorer for a historical society is found dead in a cage used to protect rare books and CSI teammates, Grissom and Nick, suspect murder. They receive some unusual and unexpected help from the woman’s autistic assistant. Elsewhere, Catherine and Sara investigate the death of a woman whose SUV was struck by a train. However, the accident starts looking more and more like road rage to the investigators.

Salves of Las Vegas (Original Air Date: November 15, 2001)
A young woman’s nude body is discovered in a playground sandbox covered with marks that lead the CSI team to believe she was into sadomasochistic activities. The investigation leads Grissom and Catherine into the underground world of Las Vegas fetish clubs. Warrick and Sara investigate the death of a check-cashing business owner outside of his store.

- DISC THREE -

And Then There Were None (Original Air Date: November 22, 2001)
Grissom, Warrick, and Nick look into the shooting deaths of five guards during a casino robbery. At the same time, Catherine and Sara investigate the shooting death of a man gunned down at a remote convenience store. As the individual investigations go deeper, it begins to look as if the two crimes are connected.

Ellie (Original Air Date: December 6, 2001)
Audio Commentary with Anthony Zuiker and Gary Dourdan

Grissom is required to be out of town for a speaking engagement and Catherine is scheduled to be in Reno and that leaves Warrick to head up the CSI unit in their absence. Warrick and the team are investigating the murder of a con man (John Fugelsang) outside of a casino and an unusual primary suspect emerges - Ellie Brass (Nicki Aycox), the malicious and defiant daughter of former CSI head, Jim Brass (Paul Guilfoyle) – when it’s learned that the dead man and Ellie were supposed to fly to Baja together. Sara investigates a counterfeiting ring.

Organ Grinder (Original Air Date: December 13, 2001)
The CSI team suspects murder when a wealthy real estate executive, Bob Fairmont (Spencer Garrett), is found dead in a hotel elevator. Many assume he died of natural causes, but Grissom determines that someone placed clothes on the corpse after he was already dead. Suspicions are aroused when it’s learned that Fairmont’s organs have all been removed and donated – before the body even had a chance to get cold.

You’ve Got Male (Original Air Date: December 20, 2001)
The bodies of two girls are found stuffed in culvert pipes along a rural highway construction site and as Grissom and Sara investigate, they find that the girls were sisters and one was involved in a relationship with a paroled convict. Catherine and Nick examine the circumstances surrounding the death of a deer hunter who seems to have been the victim of a hunting accident.

- DISC FOUR -

Identity Crisis (Original Air Date: January 17, 2002)
CSI’s old serial killer adversary, Paul Millander (Matt O'Toole), reappears and claims a third victim and as always, a tape recorded message is found nearby. As with his other murders, the victim is found lying in a bathtub with a single gunshot wound through the chest – recreating the murder scene of Millander’s father. The previous victims have all shared the same birthday – August 17th – the same day Millander’s father was killed – and the victims were all born in descending years starting with 1959. If Millander follows his current pattern, his fourth victim will more than likely have been born on August 17, 1956 … Grissom’s birthday.

The Finger (Original Air Date: January 31, 2002)
Catherine is ordered by a kidnapper to accompany a man (Tom Irwin) who’s supposed to deliver a million dollar ransom to a pre-determined location or the man’s mistress will be killed. However, something else is at play and there’s more to this case than initially meets the eye …

Burden of Proof (Original Air Date: February 7, 2002)
Grissom and the crew investigate the murder of a Las Vegas photographer whose body has been dumped at a nearby “body farm” – a place that the CSI team routinely uses to study corpses and cadavers. As the investigation continues, it’s discovered that the man was shot to death – even though there are no bullet fragments to be found. However, things become more difficult when Grissom’s methods and leadership are questioned by members of his own team.

Primum Non Nocere (Original Air Date: February 28, 2002)
After a violent fight on the ice at a local amateur hockey game, an unpopular player, Terry Rivers (David Andriole), is found dead at the bottom of the pile-up with his throat slashed. Grissom, Catherine, and Sara are called in to investigate while Warrick and Nick look into the apparent drug-related death of a saxophone player at a local casino. While on the case, Warrick finds himself taking quite an interest in a young singer, Lillie Ivers (Nicole Ari Parker), who worked with the dead sax player.

- DISC FIVE -

Felonious Monk (Original Air Date: March 7, 2002)
Grissom and some of the CSI crew are called in to investigate the murder of four monks who were shot at point blank range while praying/worshipping in their Buddhist temple. Catherine reopens a case in which her best friend was murdered and the man convicted of the crime claims that he’s innocent on a TV news program shortly before he dies.

Chasing the Bus (Original Air Date: March 28, 2002)
The entire CSI crew works feverishly on a deadly tour-bus accident that was carrying twenty-three passengers from Los Angeles to Las Vegas. Nine passengers were killed in the accident and as the bus driver lay dying, he offers up evidence that the bus became hard to control right before the accident - and to the members of CSI, it sounds a lot like sabotage. As the team investigates, it’s learned that a recent parolee was on the bus and has vanished from the scene.

Stalker (Original Air Date: April 4, 2002)
Jane Galloway (Brianna Lynn Brown) is murdered in her home by a stalker – even after she has taken all types of precautions to prevent it – including triple locks on all of her doors. When CSI arrives to investigate the crime and surveys the crime scene, Nick seems particularly disturbed, but isn’t sure why. It seems that the killer dyed the victim’s hair after killing her and then shoved her face in the toilet. However, what’s just as perplexing is that no one is quite sure how the killer could have entered Jane’s home in the first place.

Cats in the Cradle (Original Air Date: April 25, 2002)
Grissom and Catherine investigate the stabbing death of an old woman living in an old, run down house, surround by a multitude of cats while Nick and Sara work on a car bombing case that may have been committed only to cover up an earlier murder.

- DISC SIX -

Anatomy of a Lye (Original Air Date: May 2, 2002)
Grissom and Sara investigate a dead body found buried in a Las Vegas park and covered in lye. With a rapidly decomposing corpse, the team must work quickly in order to build a case. Meanwhile, Nik is working on the case of a dead hiker found in the desert who seemingly died from drowning.

Cross-Jurisdictions (Original Air Date: May 9, 2002)
In an episode that would serve as a spin-off for CSI: Miami, Grissom and his crew are found working on a high profile case that finds the city’s former chief of detectives murdered execution style in his own home. In addition to the murder, the chief’s wife and 7-year-old daughter are missing as well. Later on, the girl is spotted near Miami and Catherine and Warrick fly out to meet with Grissom’s counterpart in the city, Horatio Crane (David Caruso), who aids them in the investigation.

The Hunger Artist (Original Air Date: May 16, 2002)
The second season comes to a close with a highly unusual case that finds the decomposed body of a young woman stuffed unceremoniously into a shopping cart near a freeway underpass. It’s quite clear to the team that her face was deliberately disfigured and maimed and it looks as if she was shoved into a fan while still alive. The case becomes more confusing as the shopping cart’s contents leave perplexing clues – an expensive handbag, a collection of fashion magazines, and a leather day planner containing coded notes.

As I said in my season one review, if you consider yourself a fan of good television, thank your lucky stars that series creator Anthony Zuiker, executive producer Jerry Bruckheimer, CBS, and Paramount Home Video have heard your pleas and rewarded you with a superb follow-up to the first season of CSI. Show them your appreciation by picking this one up at your earliest convenience … you won’t be disappointed.


The DVD Grades: Picture A/ Audio A-/ Bonus B-

Paramount wisely decided that they would present the second season of CSI in the anamorphically enhanced widescreen aspect ratio of 1.78:1 that the series was shot in. A nice change from their fullframe presentation of season one, Paramount has wisely decided to bring the show to home viewers the way it was meant to be … anamorphic widescreen.

Being such a recent show, the image is tight and detailed, presenting a fine image across all of the season two episodes. The image was crisp and clean at all times, with only some occasional grain and shimmer noted to shake things up a bit. Everything from the desert sunshine to the neon glow of the Las Vegas strip to the stylized lighting of the sets and cool gadgets look great in Paramount’s DVD presentation and while colors look slightly washed out on occasion, the transfer seemed to be properly balanced and saturated the vast majority of the time. Black levels – which are pretty abundant in the series – are quite solid, without any breakup or murkiness detected. Shadow detail and delineation are spot on and allow for a very three-dimensional, film-like appearance.

Flaws with CSI were few and far between and the majority of the errors were relegated to run-of-the-mill flaws such as the aforementioned grain and shimmer. Print imperfections were rarely noted and when it was all said and done, CSI ended up being one fine transfer and a nice feather in Paramount’s cap. This is clearly one of the best TV-to-DVD transfers that has ever run through my player and Paramount deserves major kudos for presenting the series on DVD as well as they have here. Fans of the show – myself included – have every right to be thrilled.

Paramount has also upgraded the audio with their season two release, as CSI: The Complete Second Season gets a really nice Dolby Digital 5.1 mix that is quite aggressive considering the televised origins of the show.

The majority of the show is dialogue and being such, it is front, center, and easily understood. There was never any harshness or edginess detected and intelligibility was never called into question. The show also contains a very impressive soundtrack that runs throughout each of the episodes and John M. Keane’s appropriately creepy and suspenseful score comes through crystal clear, displaying excellent dynamics and fidelity. These are also the instances where the deepest and most powerful LFE is displayed as well.

The front surrounds get the majority of the action, with little in the way of bombastic effects or LFE usage. However, the track succeeds because of the nice ambient touches contained within it – the halls and labs sound appropriately hollow and we get some really nice “beeps” and “chirps” from all of the cool equipment the team uses so often. Separation is accurate across all of the channels and the effects that are included start and end from their proper place within the soundstage. Again, the most impressive sequences seem to be the “flashback” moments where we see members of the CSI team imagining the crime taking place or some type of damage taking place “inside” of the body – be it from a gunshot, electrocution, drowning, and the like.

Paramount has also included English and Spanish Stereo tracks to accompany their fine Dolby Digital 5.1 effort.

With more offerings than the first season set, but still lacking somewhat, Paramount has given CSI: The Complete Second Season three Audio Commentaries for the selected episodes that I mentioned during the episode breakdown portion of my review. The commentaries are a nice addition, it’s just that there aren’t quite enough of them and we don’t ever hear from very many of the actors working on the show. However, each of the commentaries is very well done and offer up some great anecdotes from the set, how well the cast and crew work together, the logistical challenges of pulling the show off week in and week out, how certain scenes were created, the constant challenge of making everything seem very realistic, and so on. However, with only three commentaries in the entire set, it’s not enough to completely pacify fans of the series like myself. I appreciate what is included and here’s hoping that Paramount adds more in future releases of the show.

On disc four we find the remainder of the extras, with the first being Makeup, Music, and Special Effects (9:53) and we get a quick, behind-the-scenes look at how a cadaver/corpse was created for the episode “Anatomy of a Lye”, with Emmy award winning special effects and make-up artist John Goodwin. We then move into the recording studio with John M. Keane as he works to compose some of the suspenseful and thematic music used in the show. He walks us through the processes he uses in order to write a score for the show and lets us in on how he sees his role, as well as the role of his music. (Very reminiscent of Mark Snow’s stuff for The X-Files.) The last portion of this supplement takes us to Stargate Films and we see how many of the CGI effects are created for the show. Interesting stuff, but ultimately too short to be totally engrossing.

Next up is CSI Shooting Locations (6:25) and here, we meet Paul Wilson, the location manager for the series. Wilson tells us that as the show has evolved, plots and their corresponding locations have become a bit more complex and it’s his job to scout them out and make sure they’ll work for what the show’s producers are looking for. We learn that California often doubles as Las Vegas in most instances (even for indoor casino shots many times) and that the cast and crew go to Las Vegas for a few days a year in order to get outdoor shots of the strip, Freemont Street, and the surrounding area. According to Wilson, The Venetian and The Palms are very “film friendly” and are very enjoyable casinos to shoot in.

The CSI Tour (8:33) follows and here, Richard Berg, the production designer for the show, takes us on a tour of the CSI set and points out many of the major props/pieces in each area. We stop in Grissom’s office, the fingerprint lab, the DNA lab, the ballistics lab, the garage, as well as the autopsy room. Berg is very detailed and thorough in pointing out certain aspects and intricacies in each room and this was a very interesting featurette – especially coming from Berg’s point of view.

Tools of the Trade is next and it gives us an “interactive” tour of the CSI lab and the equipment found in it. By choosing a specific lab (DNA, Ballistics, Fingerprinting) and clicking on a piece of equipment in that lab, we are given a nice explanation of what that particular gadget does and how it is used in real life CSI situations. Elizabeth Devine, the technical advisor for the show, gives us the information about the equipment and presents it in a way that anyone can follow and understand.

Lastly, we view The Making of a Hit (11:37) and as you might imagine, we get a quick and dirty supplement on what many of the principals involved in the show feel makes CSI so popular. It’s an interesting piece that gives us some good backstory on the series, but again, too short to be completely engaging.

Do I really need to restate the obvious? Buy this! It’s a CSI fans dream and a great way to revisit the second season. Bring on season three … but with some different packaging … please?!?

Viewer Film Ratings: 4.3846 Stars Number of Votes: 52
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