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6 Degrees Entertainment

'CSI: NY - The Eighth Season'
(Gary Sinise, Hill Harper, Eddie Cahill, Carmine Giovinazzo, Anna Belknap, et al / 5-Disc DVD / NR / 2012 / Paramount Pictures)

Overview: CSI: NY, the third incarnation of the CSI: Crime Scene Investigation franchise and the spin-off of CSI: Miami, is a crime drama about forensic investigators who use high-tech science to follow the evidence and solve crimes in The Big Apple.

DVD Verdict: In truth, and to my mind, 'CSI New York' was always too heavy on the lab work. Not as police story-minded, less character driven, it still manages to soar in the TV ratings though.

Anyway, moving on to this 8th season and in the season opener 'Indelible,' our beloved leader the seemingly bulletproof Detective Mac Taylor (Gary Sinise) is absent from the CSI Lab, on a DNA ID project associated with the 9/11 attacks. Having taken his new job he is questioning the lab-only work every second (we see it in his eyes). Meanwhile, Jo Danville (Sela Ward) is now acting head of the CSI lab, and newly-promoted police sergeant Danny Messer (Carmine Giovinazzo) is working the streets as a uniformed cop. And yes, he too is questioning his move to uniform, albeit a step up the ladder!

But, as a few more epsiodes unfold - including a major one for Danny in 'Officer Involved,' where an off-duty night out for a friendly drink takes an unexpected turn when Danny and his rookie cops are caught up in a shooting - soon the CSI Lab crew all come back together, reuniting for the common good!

And even though I miss the beautiful and talented Melina Kanakaredes, who played alongside Mack so well each episode for so many years, Jo (Sela) has taken her chance and run with it in wonderful style. And luckily for ll concerned, the scripts remain tight and intelligent and the pacing of the show never misses a beat. So sure, this is television series at the highest level, save for all the frickin' indepth lab work scenes!

Any way, moving on and some of my favorite episodes here in season 8 include: 'Air Apparent,' where the CSIs investigate a recently paroled brother of a young basketball prodigy who is implicated in a murder; 'Crossroads,' where as the CSIs investigate the assassination of a judge, Jo comes face-to-face with a criminal from her past; 'Clean Sweep,' where a charred body turns into a hot mess for the CSIs when it appears a cage fighter has been murdered by his stalker; the wonderfully thought out 'Flash Pop,' where a lab tech is murdered in a case that has eerie similarities to a 1950's cold case and the CSIs get a glimpse into what goes on in the shadows of the lab (guest stars include Lee Majors, Spencer Grammer and Aaron Hill); and both 'Slainte,' where a wave of brutality threatens a small New York City community when a body is found dismembered and strategically left out on four street, and the season finale of 'Near Death,' where Mac is shot and he finds himself in limbo between life and death. And, as he fights for his life, it's up to his team to bring the shooter to justice. These are all Widescreen Presentations (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and come with the Special Features of:

Deleted Scenes
Gag Reel
The Magic 8 Featurette
A New York Halloween Featurette
Flash To The Past Featurette