CSI: Crime Scene Investigation TV Poster Image

CSI: Crime Scene Investigation

(i)

 

Science prevails in mature, long-running crime procedural.
Parents recommendPopular with kids

What parents need to know

Positive messages

While every episode of the show is about law enforcement officials using science and creativity to solve crimes and stop criminals, the series' relentlessly dark, violent tone overshadows positive take-aways. Repeated focus on violence against women.

Positive role models

Although the main characters are strong and smart, they're also flawed -- as well as not very deeply developed. Female characters are just as integral (and important) to the drama as men.

Violence

Very bloody and gruesome. Lots of graphic inside-the-body shots. Many dead bodies. Occasional episodes feature the CSI crew in peril.

Sex

Varies from episode to episode; some installments have focused on sadomasochism, infantilism, etc. Some romance between characters, though very little explicit sexual content.

Language

Occasional swearing -- "ass," "bitch," etc.

Consumerism

Product placement occurs subtly, mostly with cars and technology.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Relatively minor alcohol use by main characters. Drugs often play a role in crimes.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this popular crime show features strong doses of graphic violence, as well as lots of blood, drug content, and sexual situations. Although the series' focus is on solving crimes and seeking justice, the violence is sometimes gratuitous, including a notable emphasis on murdered women. Character development is much less important than depicting the crimes; as a consequence, the show lacks a certain emotional resonance. Plots focusing on unusual lifestyles are treated with respect.

What's the story?

Set against the flashy backdrop of Las Vegas, CSI: CRIME SCENE INVESTIGATION follows a smart, good-looking crime lab crew as they use science and technology to solve the city's most gruesome crimes. Most episodes begin shortly before a victim is found dead, giving viewers a hint of what happened before the crime lab gets involved. Then the steel-stomached investigators arrive: Brainy, bug-obsessed Gil Grissom (William Petersen) is the original head of the team; former exotic dancer and single mother Catherine Willows (Marg Helgenberger) began the series as a supervisor and took over as boss when Grissom retired; and Warrick Brown (Gary Dourdan), Nick Stokes (George Eads), and Sara Sidle (Jorja Fox), Greg Sanders (Eric Szmanda) round out the rest of the cast. Rubber gloves, cotton swabs, fingerprint lifters, and keen senses play key roles in the initial evidence collection. Back at the lab, the crew tries to reconstruct the crime scene, testing theories against the evidence until the truth is revealed.

Is it any good?

QUALITY

Regularly staking out the top spot in the Nielsen ratings, CSI has had a broader affect on the real world. Universities across the country have seen an increase in enrollment in forensic science programs, and lawyers are finding that jurors are more familiar with DNA evidence and other forensic processes. This documented phenomenon is called "the CSI effect." People love the show because of its voyeuristic appeal; plus, no matter how bizarre the crime, the CSI team can always solve it, offering a satisfying conclusion each week.

The show's success has resulted in two CBS offshoots to date (as well as numerous imitators on other networks): CSI: Miami and CSI: NY. While both of these shows have strong followings, neither rises to the level of the original in casting, characterization, or complexity.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about why the show repeatedly focuses on abuse against vulnerable people. Is this a reflection of reality?

  • How do kids feel when they see gory images, even in the context of scientific discovery?

  • What fascinates kids about the methods the investigators use to solve the crimes? Do you think the show's use of technology is realistic?

TV details

Cast:Gary Dourdan, Marg Helgenberger, William L. Petersen
Network:CBS
Genre:Drama
TV rating:TV-14
Available on:DVD, Streaming

This review of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation was written by

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Great handpicked alternatives

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What parents and kids say

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Teen, 16 years old Written byluke3854 November 8, 2009

13+

I love this show, but for younger kids no. Really is Crime scene investigation so theres going to be drugs death ect.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Teen, 14 years old Written bytoplax23 January 3, 2010

great crime show, middle school and up

I love this show! this is definitely a top crime show. but every episode does have violence that maybe iffy for kids 11-. there can be some sexual content but is generally not that bad. this can definitely scare kids 9-. but the detectives are good role models showing crime doesnt pay.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Great role models
Kid, 11 years old November 25, 2009

grusome 14 up

very good
What other families should know
Too much violence

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