I for sure thought Season 7 was the end for CSI: NY. The ratings were questionable, the episodes were getting more workmanlike, and the final episode ('Exit Strategy') had the series finale vibe to it. So I was pleasantly surprised when CSI: NY was renewed for an 8th season.
Then when I found out that the season opener was going to feature the tenth anniversary of 9/11 as a primary theme, I began to look forward to the premiere. It goes without saying that 9/11 is likely the most powerful subject matter there is around nowadays. I was expecting this episode to be perhaps the most powerful hour of CSI: NY I had seen.
And the sad thing is it could've been, but this episode let me down. I'll explain.
Firstly, 9/11 material aside, there is a murder committed in this episode; not that anyone cared about it, mind you. But because it is 'CSI' and all, I feel the producers felt obligated to throw in some sort of crime. The truth is that this throwaway crime got in the way of the true message of this particular chapter; I personally did not care that some guy got shot in a club or that it was a robbery or that it was an inside job, and clearly the story writers didn't care either. It was just another crime in just another setting with just another motive.
Secondly comes the 9/11 material itself. Truth be told I would've preferred if the episode had skipped the crime aspect all together and simply given us an episode solely taking place on September 11, 2001. Instead, we get this unintentionally silly sequence of constant flashbacks all presented in the same manner. The first few instances with Mac are fine, but when other characters also start to flashback, the gimmick has lost it's uniqueness. Jo catches a glimpse of a garbage truck's exhaust which resembles smoke; cue the slow camera zoom and flashback. Flack catches a glimpse of Danny's badge; cue the slow camera zoom and once again flashback. It becomes a rinse, wash and repeat ordeal, and quite honestly, by the last time it happens, it is just plain silly. (And speaking of Flack's flashback: it is just plain ridiculous that Danny and Flack meet for the first time near ground zero on 9/11. I would have expected that if these two characters had met on THAT day of all days, we'd have heard about it by now. It feels like the writers just threw that in for a cheap shock.) The same goes for Lindsay and Adam's final dialogue scene. Their conversation, which features Adam confessing how he slept through 9/11 is a powerful one, but the scene that is intercut almost implies that Adam and Lindsay were preposterously right next to each other in the recovery lines. I understand that these characters share a television show, but not everything needs to happen in coincidence. These characters have had past lives, and to imply that they are ALL interconnected is absurd. I was half expecting Jo (in her flashback) to dial a wrong number and accidentally reach Mac or something.
There were some powerful scenes in this episode, however; the opening scene is very well done as is the scene in the NY precinct, where a worried Mac (played perfectly by Gary Sinise) attempts to hold a phone call with his wife, Claire. I personally think the most powerful moment in the episode was the sequence of seeing the shadow of the plane fly overhead Claire cutting with the reaction of the NY precinct watching the tragedy unfold on the news. The recreation there was disturbingly spot on.
And then there is the final scene. It breaks my heart to say that it is forced down the audience's throat. The Wall of Remembrance is something that does not need extra emphasis; the memorial itself is extremely touching and honorable. This episode, however, overemphasizes it in every aspect, slow motion and all. Rather than the emotion feeling genuine, it felt like the episode was begging for the audience to feel something, and it did not work for me.
I'm expecting a lot of thumbs down from you TV.com members, and hey, maybe I deserve it. But call me crazy, I was not impressed with this season opener.