Review: CSI New York: Justified (2010/11, US)

Spoiler Note: This episode is from the most recent season and the plot is discussed below.

“Justified” is part of a story arc in the last series of CSI:NY rather than a strict two-parter. The body in question was discovered during a previous story, and then becomes one of the two cases in this episode and much more naturally intertwined as we discover the fallout from a third crime.

The show wastes no time in trying to wrong-foot the audience and continue the mystery that started in the previous episode. It’s almost sad then, that for all the excellent buildup and the great acting from Christian Kramme and Brad Beyer as the teen and adult versions of the same character and the from John Dove, that “Justified” ends up with a storyline closely resembling that of “Mommie Deadest” from the penultimate season of CSI: Miami.

The main difference other than the cast is the method of revelation of the culprits. Since the killing in the Miami season 8 show was brand new and the culprit is led off into the unknown at the end, half of the apprehension of the culprit forms the flashback element to “Justified”, and we see the same character verbally explaining his actions with the customary CSI flashbacks. The outcome for the characters forms part of the twist at the end; normally a CSI show will hand down a message or a judgement of some kind using its global reach to attempt to educate; it’s welcome that “Justified” has a bittersweet conclusion for both the characters in two directions, one happier but unresolved, the other having to face the general consequences.

The grittier style of the New York franchise makes “Justified” better than “Mommie Deadest” in my view even though the abuse element feels shoehorned as a necessary part of keeping it as a reveal near the end after two episodes. There’s room for both approaches and this epsiode doesn’t undo the good work of “Rush To Judgement” and other abuse-related CSI episodes. The studio has confirmed that neither of the spinoffs will be cancelled guaranteeing at least one more season each. We hope they can both maintain this standard, although avoiding predictability will remain a challenge.

– CBG

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