CSI: Vegas had some big shoes to fill since the spin-off started in 2021 because the original series was a fan-favorite and ran for 15 seasons.
CSI: Vegas Season 1 focused on establishing the team and ridding the team of the scandal that Hodges was accused of. They needed Grissom and Sara’s expertise to do that.
During CSI: Vegas Season 2, they brought Catherine (Marg Helgenberger) back to have another legacy character to entice long-time characters. Catherine interacted with more of the newer characters on a variety of cases, but she was gone for a few episodes at a time, which would disrupt the flow of her stories.
The season had its ups and downs as it struggled to find a mystery viewers cared about. Instead, the series excelled by featuring character-centric storylines or episodes that expanded on each character’s personality and family.
Our report card examines some of its more important qualities and ways the series can improve in CSI: Season 3.
Best Storyline – The Search for Grace
Watching two powerhouses, Marg Helgenberger and Sherri Saum, team up made this storyline even better.
Having Catherine return to CSI to search for her missing protégé was interesting, to begin with. However, when she suspected Grace was murdered due to foul play at the Eclipse, the stakes went up.
While Catherine hunted for clues, Sherri played the part of her ex-worker Jodi beautifully. She pretended Catherine could trust her to feed her Intel when she ran an art scam out of the casino, and Grace stumbled across it.
Jodi had to shut Grace up, and while Catherine knew the truth, it hurt knowing the truth. The best part about this storyline was that Catherine decided to stay at CSI and bring justice to more families instead of returning to the casino.
Worst Storyline-The Josh, Allie, and Serena Love Triangle
The love triangle made Josh look dumb. When CSI: Vegas Season 1 ended, it looked like Allie and Josh may have had a chance, but when Season 2 began, Josh seemed oblivious to Allie’s feelings and never told her he was dating Serena.
He expected things to stay the same between them even though he was dating Serena, and that wasn’t fair to either woman.
Even after Allie tried to keep their relationship more professional, Josh still confided in her about his family, things he never told Serena. This made things awkward again. These three would be better as friends without mixing romance.
CSI: Vegas Season 2 Episode 4 – Koala
The character-centric episodes, especially those Anthony Zuiker wrote, stood out the most.
This particular installment excelled because it explored Catherine’s rich history and even brought back her daughter Lindsey. Their estrangement came to a head, and we learned that Catherine disapproved of Lindsey’s career as a social media personality because of her past as a stripper. Therefore, Lindsey had been ghosting her mother.
Since Catherine couldn’t control her daughter and Max was out of commission, Catherine led the investigation on a quadruple homicide and had Penny assist her. Catherine and Penny made a fascinating pairing, and Penny found the critical clue — a crocheted koala — linking the killer to the surviving infant.
Marg Helgenberger gave a layered performance as Catherine talked the biological mother down from exacting revenge on her sister, who had stolen her first baby. She showed off her mothering skills, and you can sense hope for her and Lindsey as well.
CSI: Vegas Season 2 Episode 17 – The Promise
After Paula Newsome saw “Koala,” she asked Anthony Zuiker to write her a centric. Both she and Regina Taylor deserved all the awards for their emotional work in “The Promise.”
Finding bones from a young Jane Doe washed up from Lake Mead affected Max since she was a mom. This case was fascinating since they had to use facial reconstruction to even try and identify the victim.
Since it was a 40-year-old case, it never got proper attention before, and Max had to convince the girl’s mother, Raquel, that things were done differently on her team. It was emotionally exhausting for both women to re-open wounds of the past.
This episode was the most emotional of the season and demonstrated the depths of love mothers will go through for their children.
Weirdest Case – CSI: Vegas Season 2 Episode 7 – Burned
There have been some bizarre cases on CSI: Vegas Season 2, but Bigfoot committing murder takes the cake.
What made this case even odd was that the victim was an unscrupulous real-estate developer named Painter, and the suspects were two people living with cancer caused by asbestos.
It was sad because Painter’s son and Carlo’s son Michael paid for their fathers’ foolish mistakes.
Best Character Development – Josh Folsom
During CSI: Vegas Season 2, the series fleshed out Josh’s backstory by introducing his estranged mother and his old friend Trey. Josh’s sense of loyalty and duty was tested in CSI: Vegas Season 2 Episode 18 when he had to choose between covering Trey’s crime and his job.
Josh had to endure so much as a young child when his grandfather died of cancer, and his mom battled addiction, but he and his mother were close then.
Therefore, it made sense that he wanted to save his mother from her drug addiction as an adult, even though they had a complicated relationship, and that he suffered such guilt when she was murdered.
Josh’s installed sense of duty made him want vengeance for his mother’s death. Hopefully, his sense of morality stopped him from murdering his mom’s killer.
Character Who Deserved Better – Beau Finado
Beau was one of the best additions to CSI: Vegas Season 2. He’s quirky and often used his unique skill set to solve cases when no one could find a solution.
While Beau got along incredibly with everyone from Josh to Penny to Max, they haven’t given him a centric to delve into his character background and family.
The closest the series came to exploring Beau’s history was in CSI: Vegas Season 2 Episode 11, when he connected with a non-verbal boy who had been held hostage in a soundproof room. Beau became too emotionally involved because of his daughters and couldn’t work in the field for several cases after that.
Best Return – Catherine Willows
While CSI: Vegas Season 1 was more cohesive, Sara and Grissom’s returns focused more on proving Hodge’s innocence. Their investigations were off the books, whereas Catherine assisted Max in running investigations in Season 2.
Catherine had her story arcs, including searching for her protégé Grace and her troubled relationship with her daughter Lindsey.
However, she chose to stay on at CSI after the storyline with Grace was finished, and we saw her develop relationships with the newer CSIs, especially Penny. It was terrific to see Max and Catherine run the lab.
Fans were so excited when Greg returned to the CSI crime lab, thinking it would lead to a more extended stay. He only stayed for a few episodes to help Max while a co-worker was on leave.
While Greg got along famously with the new CSIs, we learned little about his life, except he wrote a book and wanted to be a professor.
This would have been the ideal opportunity to make Greg Max’s next supervisor as a lead-in for him to be the next legacy character for Season 3, and they missed it.
Best New Addition
While we haven’t found a beloved medical examiner like Dr. Al Robbins from the original CSI, Dr. Milton Hudson is a vast improvement over the brother-and-sister combo of Jack and Sonya.
Dr. Hudson welcomed questions and feedback from the CSIs and even helped Josh in CSI: Vegas Season 2 Episode 14 when Josh disproved that some mushrooms were not fatal. It was amusing seeing the two of them team up.
We were relieved that the series realized their mistake, and hopefully, Dr. Hudson returns as the medical examiner next season.
Best Performance – Paula Newsome
Paula Newsome carried this season. She did some heavy lifting From when Max was attacked in CSI: Vegas Season 2 Episode 3.
We knew Max Roby was fierce, but we saw more vulnerability during the season as she struggled with PTSD. It was powerful when she admitted to her son Bryan that she was afraid to fall asleep in CSI: Vegas Season 2 Episode 7.
Newsome’s emotional performance during “The Promise” was Emmy-worthy, as the actress poured her heart into every scene and showed her determination to get justice for Raquel and her grief when she died.
CSI: Vegas Season 2 was a mixed bag. It started stronger with the search for Grace and finished strong with the Josh-centric about his mom’s murder. The Silver Ink killer storyline dragged on too long, and many single-episode storylines were boring.
When the storylines focused more on the CSIs, they were more compelling. Max’s PTSD storyline was a common thread throughout the season, and hopefully, it’ll be picked up again. Balancing work and personal life seemed to be another theme that Max, Catherine, and Josh struggled with.
Since we don’t know if the series is bringing back a legacy character for Season, it’ll be interesting to see if the cast can manage without one. Only Max and Josh are developed enough to have interesting character arcs.
CSI: Vegas Season 3 Wishlist
While we’re a long way out from Season, these are some things we’d like to see next season.
Hopefully, the series will explore clearing Josh’s name. We never saw the murder, so he could have been framed. There is so much they could do with a mental health arc before he returns to being a CSI, and Matt Lauria would excel at it.
Max needs to continue therapy, too, and learn to balance work with her personal life. Hopefully, her family will return on a more regular basis.
It would also be great if Greg returned as the legacy character for CSI: Vegas Season 3. He had an excellent rapport with everyone, especially Penny.
Over to you, CSI: Vegas Fanatics. What were your favorite parts of CSI: Vegas Season 2?
What’s on your wishlist for Season 3? Who would you like to see return?
Laura Nowak is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.