CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (also known as CSI: Las Vegas) is a police procedural forensics crime drama television series that ran on CBS on October 6, 2000 to September 27, 2015, for a total of fifteen seasons and 337 original episodes (including TV movie "Immortality"). is a popular, Emmy Award-winning CBS television series that trails the investigations of a team of Las Vegas forensic scientists as they unveil the circumstances behind mysterious and unusual deaths and crimes committed. The show has spawned two spinoffs, each enjoying their own success. The first spin-off, which debuted in September 2002, is set in Miami (CSI: Miami), the show's second is set in New York City (CSI: NY) debuted in September 2004, and the third (CSI: Cyber) debuted in March 2015. CSI is produced in partnership with the Canadian media company Alliance Atlantis. The series concluded its run with a two-part series finale (aired as season 16, episodes 1 and 2), that aired on September 27, 2015, and starred Ted Danson, Marg Helgenberger, and William Petersen.

What CSI is about?

Main Cast of CSI

The show follows the cases of the Crime Scene Investigation division of the Las Vegas Police Department, usually referred to by officers as the "Las Vegas Crime Lab". Anthony E. Zuiker chose to set the series in Las Vegas because—as mentioned in the pilot episode—that city's crime lab is the second most active in the United States, after the FBI lab in Quantico, Virginia.[1] The division solves crimes almost entirely through the means of forensic evidence, which may or may not come to the conclusion of a murder or accidental death. Keeping in theme with the setting, investigations often lead to taboo subjects, such as sexual deviations. The bizarre conclusions of these cases often force one to question morals and beliefs and possibly human nature in general.


Stylistically, the show has drawn favorable comparisons to Quincy and The X-Files. The show's gadgets and occasional usage of yet-to-be-invented technology have moved the show nominally into the genre of science fiction and garnered it a Saturn Award nomination for best network television series. The series also occasionally lapses into the realm of fantasy, such as a 2006 episode, Toe Tags which is told from the point of view of several corpses in the CSI lab who reanimate and discuss their deaths with each other.

The series is known for its unusual camera angles, percussive editing techniques, hi-tech gadgets, detailed technical discussion, and graphic portrayal of bullet trajectories, blood spray patterns, organ damage, methods of evidence recovery (e.g. fingerprint's from the inside of latex gloves), and crime reconstructions. This technique of shooting extreme close-ups, normally with explanatory commentary from one of the characters is referred to in the media as the "CSI shot". Many episodes feature lengthy scenes in which experiments, tests, or other technical work is portrayed in detail, usually with minimal sounds effects and accompanying music — a technique reminiscent of Mission Impossible. Often the lighting, composition, and mise-en-scene elements are heavily influenced byavant-garde film.

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Although violence plays an important role in the series, in terms of the investigators' actual conduct, the series is actually less violent (but more sexual) than its immediate spin-off, CSI: Miami in that the Las Vegas investigators rarely use deadly force. In fact, Gil Grissom, supervisor of the crime lab, has expressed distaste for carrying a firearm, and Warrick Brown and Nick Stokes are hinted at as having barely passable firearms expertise. Although most episodes cover the solving of two (usually unrelated) cases, a few episodes focus on a single case. In general, the crime is solved, but in some cases, they fail (which makes the story more realistic).

Opening Theme

The season 8 cast of CSI, after the departure of Jorja Fox.

The opening credits feature clips for every main cast from previous seasons. Since the start, CSI's theme song has been "Who Are You", written by Pete Townshend with vocals by lead singer Roger Daltrey of The Who. Daltrey made a special appearance in a season seven episode, "Living Legend".


CSI Las Vegas Season 1 Original Intro Opening Theme Song

Original Opening Titles (season 1)


CSI Las Vegas Season 10 Intro Opening Theme Song

Opening Titles (season 10)


CSI Opening Season 14



The series can be split into three distinct eras: the first, starring William Petersen and Marg Helgenberger, the second starring Laurence Fishburne and Helgenberger, and the third starring Ted Danson and Elisabeth Shue. Helgenberger briefly starred alongside Danson, while Petersen, Helgenberger and Danson all starred in the shows sixteenth season. No actor has appeared as a regular in every season of the show, though Fox, Szmanda, Hall, and Berman have all featured in some capacity throughout. Petersen, Helgenberger, and Szmanda are the only actors to appear in both the first and final episodes of the series.

Actors/Actress Character Seasons
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 Finale
William Petersen Gil Grissom Main Guest
Marg Helgenberger Catherine Willows Main Guest Guest
Ted Danson D.B. Russell Main
Elisabeth Shue Julie Finlay Main
Laurence Fishburne Raymond Langston Main
Jorja Fox Sara Sidle Main Recur. Main
Gary Dourdan Warrick Brown Main
George Eads Nick Stokes Main
Eric Szmanda Greg Sanders Recur. Main
Robert David Hall Al Robbins Recur. Main
Louise Lombard Sofia Curtis Recur. Main Guest Guest
Wallace Langham David Hodges Recur. Main
Lauren Lee Smith Riley Adams Main
Liz Vassey Wendy Simms Recur. Main Guest
David Berman David Phillips Recur. Main
Elisabeth Harnois Morgan Brody Guest Main
Jon Wellner Henry Andrews Recur. Main
Paul Guilfoyle Jim Brass Main Guest

Regular Cast


CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, along with CBS' hit franchise Survivor, was instrumental in CBS instantly becoming a major competitor on Thursday nights, as well as becoming the most-watched network on U.S. television. It was announced on that CBS was going to move CSI (from Fridays) and Survivor (from Wednesdays) to Thursday nights starting in February 2001 to challenge NBC's long-standing and popular lineup, which included the hit shows, Friends and Will & Grace. As a result, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation was the most-watched program on television for the 2002–2003 TV season[2] and has been the most-watched scripted show for five consecutive seasons, from the 2002–2003 season through the 2006–2007 season.

  • Ranked first in the June 2005 Nielsen Ratings with an average viewership of 16 million a night, the show serves as the backbone of CBS' leading Thursday lineup.
  • The 2004–2005 season finale, directed by Quentin Tarantino and entitled "Grave Danger", was watched by over 35 million viewers on May 19 2005, twice that of the nearest competition.[3].

CSI: The Experience

The exhibit, CSI: The Experience, immerses guests in hands-on science while leading them through the challenge of solving a crime mystery. The hands-on exhibit brings to life fundamental scientific principles, numerous scientific disciplines, and the most advanced technology and techniques used today by crime scene investigators and forensic scientists. Through hands-on activities featuring real equipment and multimedia presentations, guests will sample the following science fields and understand the significance of each in cracking crimes.

Chicago’s Museum of Science opened an exhibit in CSI's honor on May 25, 2007 called: "CSI: The Experience".[4]

MGM Grand Las Vegas also opened a permanent exhibit called "CSI:The Experience" on September 12, 2009.[5]


  • CSI has often been criticized for the level and gratuitousness of graphic violence, images, and sexual content. The CSI series (along with its spinoff shows) have pushed the boundary of what is considered acceptable viewing for primetime network television.[6] The series had numerous episodes on sexual fetishism and other forms of sexual pleasure; see especially the recurring character of Lady Heather, a professional dominatrix. CSI has been ranked as among the worst prime-time shows for family viewing by the Parents Television Council nearly every season since its debut.[7][8][9][10], this series being ranked the worst show for family prime-time viewing after the 2002-03 season.[11] The PTC has also targeted certain CSI episodes for its weekly "Worst TV Show of the Week" feature.[12] [13] [14] [15] [16] In addition, the episode "King Baby" aired in February 2005, which the PTC named the most offensive TV show of the week, also led the PTC to start a campaign to file complaints with the FCC with the episode[17]; to date, nearly 13,000 PTC members complained to the FCC about the episode.[18]
  • Another criticism of the show is the depiction of police procedure, which is decidedly lacking in realism.[19] For instance, the show's characters not only investigate crime scenes (as their real-world counterparts would), but they also solve cases, which falls under the responsibility of detectives, not CSI personnel. However, some Detectives are also registered CSIs, although this is exceedingly rare in actual life.
  • Police and District Attorneys in particular dislike the show as it gives members of the public an inaccurate perception of how police solve crimes. District Attorneys state that the conviction rate in cases with little physical evidence has decreased, largely due to the influence of CSI on jury members.[20] For more information, see the article CSI Effect.
  • The LGBT community has criticized the show for its negative representation of LGBT characters.[21] However, as the majority of the non-regular characters in the show are - by the show's very nature - criminals or suspects, it is only natural that all of the aforementioned guest characters are portrayed in a less than positive light. Furthermore, the fifth season episode "Ch-Ch-Changes" was received positively by the transgender community in particular.[22] Furthermore, the season 5 episode "Iced" featured one of very few openly gay characters that was not a victim or criminal, as the victim's neighbour.[23]


See List of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation episodes

DVD Releases

DVD Name Ep # Release Date
The Complete First Season 23 March 25, 2003
The Complete Second Season 23 September 2, 2003
The Complete Third Season 23 March 30, 2004
The Complete Fourth Season 23 October 14, 2004
The Complete Fifth Season 24 November 29, 2005
The Complete Sixth Season 24 November 14, 2006
The Complete Seven Season 24 November 20, 2007
The Complete Eighth Season 17 October 14, 2008
The Complete Ninth Season 24 September 1, 2009
The Tenth Season 23 September 28, 2010
The Eleventh Season 22 September 27, 2011
The Twelfth Season 22 September 25, 2012
The Thirteeth Season 22 September 17, 2013
The Fourteenth Season 22 September 16, 2014
The Final Season 16 September 15, 2015
CSI: The Finale (TV movie) 2 December 15, 2015
The Complete Series 337 November 21, 2017

U.S. Broadcasting History

  • First Run: October 6, 2000 – September 27, 2015 -- Friday and Thursday 9:00pm/8:00pm central (Season 1); Thursday's 10:00pm/9:00pm central (Season 2-11); Wednesday's 10:00pm/9:00pm central (season 12-14); Sunday's 10:00pm/9:00pm central (season 15) and Sunday's 7:00pm on CBS (TV movie and finale).
  • Repeats: "CSI" was rerun on USA Network in 2011 replaced from JAG. It is also airs on Syfy since 2014, also they aired the reruns from Oxygen Network of the show.

Awards and nominations



  • Outstanding Cinematography For A Single-camera Series - 2006
  • Outstanding Sound Editing For A Series - 2003
  • Outstanding Makeup For A Series (Non-Prosthetic) - 2002



  • Outstanding Drama Series -2002, 2003,2004
  • Outstanding Directing For A Drama Series - 2005: Quentin Tarantino-
  • Outstanding Lead Actress In A Drama Series - 2003: Marg Helgenberger
  • Outstanding Lead Actress In A Drama Series – 2001
  • Outstanding Makeup For A Series (Non-Prosthetic) – 2003, 2004, 2005
  • Outstanding Makeup For A Series (Prosthetic) - 2002, 2003
  • Outstanding Sound Editing For A Series -2001, 2002, 2005, 2006
  • Outstanding Cinematography For A Single-Camera Series - 2002
  • Outstanding Art Direction For A Single-Camera Series – 2001, 2004
  • Outstanding Single-Camera Picture Editing For A Series - 2001
  • Outstanding Single-camera Sound Mixing For A Series – 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006-


  • Had the most main cast members leave the series, with a total of 11 (although Jorja Fox later returned as a main cast member).
  • This was the penultimate CSI series to end.
  • This was the only CSI to lose both of it's original lead actors (William Petersen in One to Go, Marg Helgenberger in Willows in the Wind).
  • This was the only CSI series to lose one or more replacement lead actors (Laurence Fishburne in "A Dark, Dark House" and Elisabeth Shue in "The End Game")
  • William Petersen, Marg Helgenberger, Paul Guilfoyle, and Eric Szmanda are the only actors to appear in both the Pilot and the finale, though no actor appeared as a regular in both.
  • Jorja Fox is the only series regular to leave and return as a series regular.

See also


External links