‘CSI’ Shares the Same Universe With These Popular Shows

by Megan Molseed
Photo: Erik Voake/CBS ©2021 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

CSI: Crime Scene Investigation first premiered on CBS in the fall of 2000. This, fans know, was just the beginning of a long-lasting franchise. The popular franchise would later go on to create a variety of spin-offs throughout the years, the latest of which hit the airwaves just last year.

The first spin-off to hit the airwaves in 2002 was the wildly popular CSI: Miami. Miami offered a unique spin to the original series, drawing in a fanbase of its own. Following Miami came CSI: NY and later, CSI: Cyber. Of course, most recently, the franchise premiered the newest spin-off, CSI: Vegas.

This is an expansive universe, for sure. However, along with the multiple offshoots of the original CSI, there are also a variety of other shows that reside within the same universe. That’s right, the CSI universe spans far beyond just the franchise, linking itself into a variety of other CBS shows.

As per Digital Spy, the first series to join the CSI universe is Without a Trace. CSI’s William Petersen’s Gil Grissom was featured in a season six episode of this CBS crime drama. Later, the CBS series Cold Case joined the CSI: NY universe – and ultimately the entire CSI world. This happens when Dammy Pino’s Scotty Valens guest-starred in a season three episode of CSI: NY.

How Far Does the CSI Universe Span?

So far, all of these connections make quite a bit of sense. Both Without a Trace and Cold Case have the same sort of aura about them that fans were used to seeing within the franchise. However, there is one more CBS series that connected itself to the popular investigation series. And, this one doesn’t quite fit the typical CSI “profile.”

The cast of the popular CBS sitcom Two and a Half Men once joined the CSI team in a special installment. In this episode hilariously titled Two and a Half Deaths, Two and a Half Men characters Charlie (Charlie Sheen), Alan (Jon Cryer), and Jake Harper (Angus T. Jones) all have cameos.

The concept of a shared universe across television shows – and film – is not a new one, for sure. It isn’t uncommon for a series – be it on television or film – with a strong fan following to expand their world, hoping to draw in larger audiences. The most prevalent example of a broad cinematic universe branching out into smaller, much more specific stories, can be found within the massively popular Marvel Universe film franchise. We all know the MCU universe follows the individual stories of some of our favorite superheroes and crime fighters with some amazing films. However, they all fit within one Marvel universe that tells a story much larger than each individual film.