300th Ep: 'CSI: Crime Scene Investigation' & Return of Marg Helgenberger Disappoints

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Wednesday evening CBS celebrated the 300th episode of the long-running series, 'CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.' Debuting in 2000, the show is now in its 14th season, something the network deserves to take pride in considering how hard it is to hold viewers these days. Originally, William Petersen, who is still credited as an executive producer on the crime drama, was at the helm as bug-loving Gil Grissom. Grissom still gets mentioned and is occasionally heard vocally, but it is now former 'Cheers' star Ted Danson who runs the ace forensics crew.

Called Frame by Frame, the landmark episode revolved around a young woman named Darcy Blaine (Bethany Joy Lenz) who was apparently killed 14 years ago, her murder unsolved though the team members who were around back then are certain who the culprit was. After a similar event happens again, the crew gets another crack at the supposed villain (Jason Priestley who did quite well in this role).

Much ado was made out of the fact that Marg Helgenberger was returning to the show as Catherine Willows, who now works for the Feds. Indeed, the redhead was seen in several flashback moments dealing with the crime. At the time, Catherine was in charge of the team because Grissom was away at a conference. It really is a shame that no one can convince Petersen to do a guest shot. He has been announced as doing one at least twice over the years, but all he has ever done is a short voice bit via a phone call to onscreen wife Sara (Jorja Fox).

One of the ironies of this episode is that in the end, there wasn't a murder, at least not all those years ago. The crack team ends up having to do a re-think and that makes for a bit of intrigue. However, for me, the hype over Helgenberger's return had me expecting more of a reunion. Instead, all we had were the flashbacks. The problem with that is that having actors go back over a decade can fill in gaps in plot, but let's face it, none of them really looked like they do now when the series began. That can be off-putting, especially when trying to make characters who were not prominent or even really in the cast then big players in the action. It is a bit of messing with history, and that rarely appeals to me.

Worse, I had expected Catherine to show up and somehow be a part of the crime solving action, so I ended up being very disappointed that all we saw were a few flashback scenes where she acted more like Catherine at the end of her tenure than the woman we first met in the debut episode of the show.

What I did like was the all-too-brief montage and look at the original cast that was done at the very end of the show. It was the only glimpse of George Eads, for example, who was not part of the 300th episode. Gary Dourdan also received a nice closeup during the remembrance.

This celebration was decent, but it could have been and should have been so much more than it actually was.

'CSI' 300th Episode: Marg Helgenberger Returns To Solve A Cold Case (EXCLUSIVE VIDEO)
 
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