Keppler's impact on CSI
A lot can said about the addition of Liev Schreiber to the cast of CSI. A lot of good things if you ask me. For a while now, I've been very anti CSI. It's just been so ho-hum and to be frank, boring. Michael Keppler's four week stint in the Vegas crime lab has reignited my interest in the show though.
It's funny how it took the addition and subsequent homicide of a brand new character for me to realize that but I'm being completely honest when I say that the past few weeks were some of the best stuff CSI has had in a while. Now here's what I mean when I refer to Keppler's impact because there was one other obvious thing missing from those four episodes and it didn't bother me all that much.
Save for maybe around fifteen minutes total, there was no Grissom.
That's pretty damn important if you ask me. Grissom left to go on sabbatical and the world kept moving. He was gone, the team was different, and you know what? It was good.
We've all heard about William Petersen's desire to possibly leave the show and this mini-lapse definitely gave us a taste of what that would be like. Was it so bad? Here's the way I look at. In Fall '08, CSI will be entering its eighth season and for the most part, it has the same line-up that's been in place since day one: Gil and Catherine up top, followed by Nick, Warrick, and Sara. There have been upgrades. Giving Greg a more prominent role was key, as was bringing Sofia on as a counterpart to Brass. Sure, there's been a rotating cast of other detectives but that's the same across the board with all three CSI shows.
Characters have been killed, replaced, and fired in the New York and Miami versions... so why not in Vegas? Already this season, we've seen some very creative and fresh storylines. Going up against Grey's Anatomy will force any show to start changing the formula, but Keppler's brief appearance made one thing clear: it can work with different characters running the show. Am I saying that Gil should be killed off? Of course not. I love the guy... but the show doesn't die with him. Nor would it die if Catherine left or if Warrick quit. Am I once again advocating the death of Nick Stokes? Sure, but it doesn't necessarily have to be him either.
If done right, there's no reason that CSI can't work the way Law and Order does. The show is established. We know what it's all about. Knowing that, does it really matter who's delivering the story to us? Obviously the death of someone important such of Gil or Catherine would destroy the good feelings many fans have for this show, but if the right people replace them then there'll be plenty of news fans to take their place.
Keppler's stint was almost experimental if you think about it. Who knows how long ago Petersen requested some time away from the show. CBS could have done nothing while Gil was off giving college seminars about mosquitoes. However, the casting of Liev Schreiber proves that Anthony Zuiker and Co. are thinking about the future. We should be too.