CSI Miami: Complete Season 1 (DVD)
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As Lt. Horatio Caine (David Caruso) notes in episode 4 ("Just One Kiss"), "The evidence, as always, will speak for itself." In other words, CSI: Miami follows the same super-successful formula as CSI: Crime Scene Investigation. Fortunately, this instantly popular spin-off established its own unique identity from the start. Like CSI, the Dade County criminalists of CSI: Miami solve murders using forensic science. Unlike the Vegas crew, however, they're cops with the power to arrest, their coroner (Alexx Woods) talks to dead people, and almost everybody speaks Spanish. Sometimes their crime scene is a swamp, sometimes a resort hotel. Either way, the skies are always sunny, the 'gators always biting. Real-life Florida resident Caruso is joined by Khandi Alexander (NewsRadio) as Woods, Emily Procter (The West Wing) as ballistics expert Calleigh Duquesne, Adam Rodriguez (Roswell) as underwater recovery expert Eric Delko, and featured player Rory Cochrane as Tim "Speed" Speedle. Cochrane (Dazed and Confused) wouldn't become a full-fledged cast member until the 12th episode ("Entrance Wound"). Meanwhile, Kim Delaney (Caruso's former NYPD Blue cast mate) wouldn't join until the first ("Golden Parachute"), but left after the 10th ("A Horrible Mind"), reportedly due to a lack of chemistry with Caruso.
Just as CSI has made the most of its location with stories about showgirls and casino owners, so has CSI: Miami exploited its surroundings for all they're worth. Pilot episode "Cross-Jurisdictions" (a crossover with CSI), for instance, was loosely based on the murder of Miami-based designer Gianni Versace. Other notable episodes include "Camp Fear" with Joan of Arcadia's Amber Tamblyn as a detention camp cadet and "Dead Woman Walking" with Karen Sillas (Under Suspicion) as a victim of radiation poisoning. --Kathleen C. Fennessy
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