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6 Degrees Entertainment

'C.S.I. - The Complete Ninth Season'
(Marg Helgenberger, George Eads, Paul Guilfoyle, Eric Szmanda, Robert David Hall, et al / 6-Disc DVD / NR / 2009 / CBS - Paramount)

Overview: CSI: Crime Scene Investigation is a fast-paced drama about a passionate team of forensic investigators trained to solve crimes the old-fashioned way – by examining the evidence. CSI: Crime Scene Investigation is on the case 24-7, scouring the scene, collecting irrefutable evidence and finding the missing pieces that will solve the mystery.

DVD Verdict: My God! Imagine the difficulty for Laurence Fishburne in having to follow in the footsteps of such a popular TV role of iconoclastic "Grissom"... who's unique approach to Crimes and his quirky love of insects made him almost irreplaceable. Okay, we all miss Warrick, Sara, and Gil........but let's get a grip and look at this series with a fresh perspective.

I think the writing on this show, as good as it was before, has gotten even better; and the plots have remained fresh, creative, and well constructed. The solving of the Cliffhanger from Season 8 of "Warrick Brown's" murderer was well scripted, with moving roles from all the cast members, especially of course, William Peterson. When a Crime genre show makes this kind of leap into fine dramatic acting, one can only applaud and start believing in Hollywood scriptwriters once again.

And "One to Go".......Peterson's last and final episode was superb. The last moments with him finding Jorja Fox's "Sara" in the jungle, was so well directed and acted; it will remain as one of finest romantic scenes in modern television. Now we all know why we miss "Gil."

But I think Laurence Fishburne is one of best actors in Hollywood today, and as inenvious a task as he had in replacing a beloved actor as this was, he is pulling it off with a quirkiness and intelligence that made William Peterson one of our favorites. His ending scene with George Eads ["Nick Stokes"] in "Turn Turn Turn" was some of the best acting I have seen in this complete series. Eads has matured in his role over the years, and his portrayal of complete frustration and dismay over losing a young teen girl to a tragic death was absolutely wonderful.

Perhaps the remaining actors upon the departure of Peterson, Fox, and Gary Dourdan will now have the freedom to expand their characters in a way that was previously not availed to them; time will only tell. But a veteran like Fishburne, with 2 Emmys and an Oscar Nomination under his belt, cannot be a bad addition to an already excellent cast. Like all things in life, and as Queen once sang, "The Show must go on."

This DVD set includes all 24 episodes of CSI's ninth season on six discs. The bonus features include audio commentary on episode 16, "Turn, Turn, Turn," and episode 20, "A Space Oddity," along with deleted scenes, a feature on Grissom's departure, a feature celebrating CSI's 200th episode, and a pair of features going behind the scenes of the events in season nine of CSI. [JB] This is a Widescreen Presentation (2.35:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.