CSI Cyber: Season 1, Episode 1 (s01e01 for those who know).
Well, here we go. The long, long, long awaited start of the new CSI Cyber. This show came with a lot of promise and one insanely long build up time, so the all important first episode will likely make or break this series. So I am going to write my opinions on the fly, as I enjoy the first episode, called Kidnapping 2.0.
First 6 minutes, and we are drowning in CSI cliches and bad setups. Agent Ryan comes off as sort of a blond Horatio Caine, in charge and seemingly with a rather superior air over her flock. A weakness already exposed (soda) and a first minute disagreement with the boss about assigning a case. Toss in a first day newbie with a problem, and you have pretty much every initial piece from all three of the CSI series so far! Trifecta!
15 minutes in and the case gets interesting. I have to laugh that they only found malware on one machine, that makes them the most perfect net citizens around! I also notice a question about DNA that causes some stress for the mother, which suggests to me that Daddy likely isn’t the Daddy, if you know what I mean. Nicely played potential plot twist that gives us something to gnaw away at the back of our minds for a while. And yup, ding on 15 minutes, we have the fact: Daddy isn’t the daddy, and all the late night phone calls are likely to the baby daddy. Oh boy. Was that plot device a little too simple? Yes it was, because finding a baby at the marine shop has lead to a possible extortion case instead. Nicely played!
Oh, and welcome back the fake social media site Friend Agenda. Thumbs down to CBS for registering the domain and then not putting anything on it. Talk about a missed chance in the social media world!
Quickly track down the two baby selling losers, add in a sniper, eliminate the two baby selling lowlifes, and kill off the sniper in a wonderful application of the video gaming activity the officer was doing at the start of the show. 23 minutes, and we have come almost full circle, except for where baby Caleb is and who the other baby is. Good job so far in this episode in keeping things clean and neat and not too technical. Cue the “burner phone”, find the memory card, and discover that this was an online international baby auction. Oh boy! Way to toss the technology back into the game!
It took them about 25 minutes to really get there, but the “cyber” part of the deal is the baby cam. Not really surprising, but it offers up some very interesting possiblities at this point in the game. The CSI people have shut down the cams (I am guessing remote update to null them, a technology turn that doesn’t make a ton of sense), and now the kidnapper / baby auctioneer is threatening little Caleb unless the cameras are turned back on. A nice side bite here too is that the Natal Cam company technician looked very nervous, plus potentially of arab decent. In a very subtle way, when combined with the kidnapper’s voice, to suggest complicity rather than just a hack. The third act of this one should be interesting, cue SWAT team.
So the third act sort of plays out in two parts, the big raid on the bad guys and then chasing down the babies in cars driven by flunkies only in it for the fee. Nice touch of letting Agent Ruan save the baby’s life after ending up under water. Also, a nice use of action that was sometimes lacking in the CSI Vegas series, a nice takedown similar to the kitty episode plus a short but decent car chase. A winner! Cue the thankful mother…. But, wait… 6 or 7 minutes left, is there another twist to be had? No such luck, it looks like we need to spend some time backfilling stories to justify the characters. This week, it looks like it’s the newbie criminal hacker who will get “exposed”.
So back to the “office hub” for a little wrap up time, and then a little one on one “why did you choose me?” deal. I never like this sort of stuff, it’s way too artificial and tries to fast forward character development so it doesn’t overhang the future episodes. It does suggest that the play between the new guy and the experienced guy will be interesting and potentially much of the focus. So far everyone (except the social media girl) seems to have a distinct job: leader, commando, techies, boss… the social media girl seems a little bit, well, lost in this episode. Perhaps she will shine later, or potentially disappear. Remember, the nature of the first few episodes of any series is to test out the characters and see how resonates and who doesn’t.
Cue “I can see for Miles….” the Who continues to be the common thread and perhaps a little familiarity for fans not too sure about this new CSI variant.