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CSI Case Study

Rob Miller | Friday December 14, 2012

Categories: GCSE, Eduqas (WJEC) GCSE, WJEC GCSE Media Studies, Hot Entries, Television, American Quality Television (AQT), Television Crime Drama

Currently in its thirteenth season CSI remains the most watched television programme globally for over five years. CSI premiered on the American network CBS in 2000 and has multiple scheduling in the UK on channels such as C5 (normally at 9pm), Sky Living, CBS Drama and 5 USA. The Police Procedural/Forensic Crime Drama hybrid (see Genre below) has received significant critical and commercial success and has a mass target audience.

Success spawned the development of a franchise and CSI is now available in three formats reflecting three iconic American cities – CSI (the original series set in Las Vegas), CSI: Miami (2002 – present) and CSI: New York (2004 – present). The construct and approach of all three crime dramas is formulaic reflecting the house style of the programme including high production values, filmic representations and an ensemble cast. The high ratings have proved prestigious for broadcasters like C5 as it has attracted significant advertising revenue.

CSI was first developed for CBS by Writer and Producer Anthony E. Zuiker and iconic Hollywood Film Producer Jerry Bruckheimer (Top Gun, Con Air, Armageddon, Bad Boys, Black Hawk Down, Pearl Harbour) as well as TV Crime Drama Cold Case and more recently Chase. Bruckheimer brings to CSI an expertise in encoding high production value filmic representations which has been a key to the success of the CSI franchise. The format of the programme has been much cloned, not just by his own crime drama, Cold Case but also by the commercially successful NCIS which even makes clear intertextual references to the CSI acronym in its title but offering its own USP (all stories are tenuously connected to the navy).

In addition to the role of Jerry Bruckheimer CSI is filmed on location e.g. in the Nevada desert but also at Universal Studios in California where the famous sets of the CSI Crime Lab are showing the investigators at work. The show realises an audience of 74 million...


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