Saturday, April 23, 2005

Hand Me That Telescopic Magnet!

A monkey could be a Crime Scene Investigator in New York. At least, that's the inevitable conclusion one reaches from watching even a single episode of 'CSI: New York'. (Or, as I like to call it, 'Oh, Gary'.)

This latest bloodless epigone of the addictively brilliant 'CSI: Crime Scene Investigation' has taken forensics geekery to such an extreme that its human characters are reduced to rather unwieldy frames for carrying the fingers that the actual investigators require to operate their on-switches. Crime in New York City is apparently now investigated entirely by a race of superintelligent software applications and devices such as you and I have never seen on dell.com.

A mounted cop (yes, one of the 3, no now make that 2, NYPD Mounties) is shot in the middle of Central Park by a sniper. Cop falls off and dies, horse bolts and is hit by a cab. CSI show up with a camera and a briefcase on a tripod, which opens casually to reveal a 3-D Reconstructo-Trajectorizing Perp-Spottron. The fingers take some pictures of the surrounding landscape and bam! the briefcase has recreated the cop on the horse, spun him around, shot him again, traced the trajectory of the bullet back and nailed the shooter to a specific window in a specific building somewhere outside the park. The thing pretty much gives the perp's name, disses his outfit, locates him hiding behind the sofa at his mom's, and offers to go collar him itself.

Meanwhile, the Great Bullet Hunt is on. Seems there's no bullet in the vic's body. We search the grass. We search the asphalt. We search the whole damn Park. Vainly do I shout at the screen, 'It's in the horse's neck, you fucking idiots!' Smart devices, stupid stupid CSIs.

We go back to our preposterously styley post-Gotham-industrial girdered Bat-cave to ponder. Some good old time later, glumfaced Gary Sinise is informed by the Grizzled Police Veterinarian (?!) that the bullet is, in a shock move, in the horse's neck. And if they want it back, the operation Just Might Kill The Horse.

After some amazingly unconvincing hostility between Gary and hatched-faced Melina Kanakaranathingy from 'Providence', Gary reluctantly orders the surgery, retrieves the bullet, ID's the murder weapon and El Perpo is laid low in a series of punishingly dull yet complex events. But not before Gary has, to no practical purpose I can fathom, fabricated a replica of the bullet using what appears to be a 3-D object photocopier. Just to make sure we're properly cowed, the Emma-Peelish Trace Lab Bint wanders up and exclaims flirtatiously, 'You've reconstructed the bullet?!' Presumably it bit a chunk out of the Object Fabrication line item in Gary's budget.

The shooter done, Gary stares mopily across at him in the interview room and delivers his homily: 'You shot a New York City police officer. He wasn’t just a cop. He was someone’s son. When you shot him through the back, you shot those people through the heart.'

I think we've all clocked by this point what Gary's blue about. He's hocked his fine cinematic acting cred for a steady check, and got himself stuck delivering reactionary mawkshite monologues as a barely-diverting sideline to the real stars of this show. Gary is the realistically humanlike skin on the cyborg that is CSI: New York, and every fold of his Droopy-Dawg eyes says he knows it.

Oh, I know you've been dying to know. The horse makes it.

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