CSI Vegas (the first CSI from which all others spun), has had its ups and downs both behind the scenes and in front of the camera.
To be honest it's one of my favorite shows along with CSI: New York. In addition to that, Grissom was one of my favorite characters on television. I enjoyed his character because of his struggles, triumphs, and the nemesis that followed his long term story.
I have to admit,though sadly, that it started to look like the Grissom character was starting to get a little old and I'm not speaking in terms of years. It's not because of the excellent actor behind that character, but the writing. I'm sure I wasn't alone in having the feeling that Grissom was being drawn off to better pastures. I approve the current destiny for that character, I like where he ended up. I won't give it away, you'll have to go watch a re-run on your own or buy this season's DVD set when it comes out.
Enter Fishburne, someone who is beloved to millions of science fiction fans of both mild mannered and fanatic variety. It is difficult not to recall his character, Morpheus, from the Matrix films. In fact I recall him fondly as I glance over to the Matrix Ultimate Edition Bluray discs, one of the only Bluray sets I ever plan on owning (I'm not a Bluray or Sony enthusiast, but hey, they were a gift).
Lawrence Fishburn plays Dr Raymond Langston, a professor who aids Grissom in an investigation in two episodes before starring in The Grave Shift, the first episode in the series with him in the lead of this ensemble cast. This episode isn't a reboot of the series, but re-introduces us to a job that has been depicted in a fairly jaded manner on CSI over the last couple years. Langston is a newbie that finds himself repulsed by many things that would repulse the audience if we were in his position. He learns things most of the viewing public wouldn't necessarily know, and walks us through re-introductions to many of the other mainstay characters while initiating the early steps of friendship, light rivalry and finding his place in the pecking order; somewhere in the middle.
I enjoyed the trip, seeing the good Doctor start to connect with characters all us CSI watchers are so familiar. In fact I think we're perhaps a little too familliar with some of these characters and take many of them for granted as a result. This is an episode about Langston's first day at work, and it's written so the audience experiences that with him. I enjoyed it.
As for Lawrence Fishburn's performance, he didn't disappoint me. Langston isn't Morpheus. He's a little stiff, much like his character from the Matrix but he shows more concern, reacts much more openly to the people around him and comes with that 'new guy smell' as I like to call it. He makes a few strides of his own but still has a lot to learn as evidenced by a few of his mistakes. All that comes through Fishburn's performance plainly.
I can't reveal anything about this episode plot wise, but it's an impressive episode in an already solid, well established series. I highly recommend that you catch it on rerun if you missed it or watch it online if it's available in your area.
I like the new CSI and I'll be watching.