When CSI was officially cancelled by CBS last spring, it was a pretty big bummer that was softened almost immediately by the announcement that a 2-hour finale movie would come into play. Sweetening the deal was the fact that a lot of the show’s original players would be returning for the movie, which set up a bombing incident at a casino owned by Catherine Willows and got the gang back together through a series of clever ploys. Although wild and a bit overblown with familiar faces, the 2-hour finale nonetheless gave fans an ending they could take to the bank.
Not all series finales are set up to please the fans, but this one certainly was. After the bomb was set off in the casino, the team found evidence linking the bomb to Lady Heather, the dominatrix who flirted with Gil Grissom during six separate episodes earlier in the show’s run. The history with Lady Heather encourages the team to actually bring in Gil Grissom, who had gotten into some trouble with the local law enforcement while spending time on a boat.
Despite Lady Heather’s rivalry with Sara Sidle over the years, I don’t think anyone wanted her to be a true terrorist, and CSI obliges. It’s a frame job, and when the real terrorist shows up—he’s played by frequent baddie Doug Hutchinson—we know immediately where the episode is going. Regardless, it doesn’t matter, as this was an episode about bringing together the original team and sending them off in a way that pleased fans who showed up earlier in the show’s run as well as the fans who stuck around for the series over the long term.
Although Ted Danson and the new players—minus Elisabeth Shue and George Eads’ characters—are players in the new episode, it really is an episode that is about the original characters, many of whom left at some point but came back for the movie. Willows, Grissom and Sidle get the most screentime (there’s even a bees-oriented scene!). And when Lady Heather eventually does show up, she helps with the case but also helps the tension between Grissom and Sidle to subside.
Which leads us to the lovely final few minutes of the series, when Grissom tells the bomber that he understands bombs as much as he understands oceans, talking to the criminal about a whale and comparing the whale to the bomber’s ultimate love for Lady Heather. Catherine Willows decides to put her “hat in the ring” for a director’s position, and D.B. Russell packed up and got ready to go. While we got closure for many of the main characters, the best moment was when Sara decided to come with him on his boat to try a relationship again.
For a lot of shows, this happily-ever-after would not have worked, but after 15 seasons and numerous cast changeovers, going back to the beginning is exactly what CBS' CSI: Crime Scene Investigation needed and deserved.