‘CSI: Vegas’: How Season 2 Will Remind Fans of the Original ‘CSI’ Series

by Alex Falls

Season two of CSI: Vegas is set to take a new approach from its first. We won’t see as many returns from the original series. However, the spinoff’s sophomore season is gearing up. Fans are expecting it to feel more like CSI that the first season of the Sin City spinoff.

Spinoff series have the tough task of trying to do something new while also feeling familiar to fans of the original. CSI: Vegas did a solid job of building fresh characters for fans to grow invested in. However, a condensed 10-episode run resulted in a lot of the available screen time going to existing fan-favorite characters, Gil Grisson and Sara Sidle. This helped CSI: Vegas feel closer to the original CSI as opposed to a cheap knockoff. But as a result, the approach of relying on returning characters detracted from the appeal of CSI: Vegas as an original show.

Gil and Sara are not returning for the second season of CSI: Vegas. But the spinoff has found another way to harken back to the original CSI. Season two brings Catherine Willows, played by Marg Helgenberger, back to the front after an extended absence from the original series. Not only that, but season two of Vegas will be extended up to at least 13 episodes. Up from the 10 episodes in season one. This increased screen time allows CSI: Vegas to be structured more like a classic season of TV.

More Time to Breathe for ‘CSI: Vegas’

Most seasons of the original CSI featured between 18 and 24 episodes. To pad out the run time, the storytelling employed a villain of the week approach. But the longer run of episodes allowed longer arcs to play out for individual characters. Sometimes, the bizarre villains on display in the original CSI could distract viewers from the lack of progression to the overarching plot. Some episodes could focus on building tension while the plot slowly advanced towards the season finale.

The format of the original CSI built off the most compelling aspects of serialized TV shows. CSI balanced its episodes between weekly villains while periodically refocusing on the season’s overarching plot. In contrast, the first season of CSI: Vegas felt rushed and unnatural because of its truncated 10-episode run. Villian-focused episodes felt like a waste of time while the long-running story threads involving Gil and Sara felt inadequate. There’s a longer run of episodes and less legacy to build upon. As such, season two of CSI: Vegas has a chance to match the pacing of the original CSI.

CSI: Vegas is primed to get back to the franchise’s roots. The revolving door of characters new and old provides the perfect opportunity for the Sin City spinoff to build something new. But most importantly, the new season needs to take full advantage of the extended run time to flesh out the stories fans want out of CSI.