CSI: NY Season 9 Premiere Review “Reignited”

CSI: NY Season 9 Premiere Reignited (2)

Going into this season- its ninth after a close call with cancellation- the producers of “CSI:NY” announced more of an emphasis on the main cast as characters, instead of the often typically faceless types that frequent most shows of this ilk.

(Side note: Alas, the pricier “CSI: Miami” instead got clipped -I think my Hi-Def TV will miss it most.oh well, there’s still “Burn Notice” for its/my Miami-based fix.)

That new approach was readily evident from the opening scene of the aptly-titled “Reignited,” which took its sweet time getting reacquainted with our main cast. Of course, this being “CSI,” the minute we see a heretofore unforeseen friend of a main character, we know they’re either about to get clipped or accused of murder before the hour’s up.

Here, we had a firefighter pal of Mac’s, attending a NYPD vs. NYFD hockey game & betting dinner on the outcome. (It was fun seeing the other boys on the ice, and I had a bit of a moment where I wistfully recalled the awesomeness of “Rescue Me”- you are missed.)

The firefighters win the day, but I guess Mac’s pal will be having that last meal in the afterlife, because faster than you can say arson, he’s up in smoke and of course it was no accident. So naturally, it’s up to Mac & Co. to solve the case of the fallen firefighter.

Prime suspect number one is a recently paroled arsonist played by a near-unrecognizable Rob Morrow, late of “Numb3rs.” He looks like he’s auditioning for the Mark David Chapman story, but I suppose he’d take that as a compliment. Hey, it worked for Jared Leto.sort of. Whatever the case, Morrow does a good job of slinking into his thorny role. He may not be guilty of the crime at hand, but he definitely looks up to something, and judging by the preview of next week’s ep, we haven’t seen the last of him, so if he isn’t up to no good here, he will be in the near future.

Spoiler alert: The culprit did prove to be connected to his character, however, as it turned out to be a reporter who visited him in prison and was clearly obsessed with him. She was played by an effective Mageina Tovah, a long way from “Joan of Arcadia,” but not so far removed from a more recent stint on “American Horror Story.” She & Lauren Lapkus, late of “Are You There, Chelsea?” should totally play sisters in a future sitcom of some kind. (End of spoilerage.)

“Reignited” was a solid, if unspectacular episode and I did like the renewed emphasis on character. Just because there’s a formula to it doesn’t mean we can’t get to know the characters individually more, even after eight seasons. Besides, there are some solid actors here, and they are often underused- particularly Hill Harper, so good on “The Handler” (also with Anna Belknap, incidentally).

It was nice to see Mac (Gary Sinise) with a smile on his face for a change, not to mention a fine-looking girl (Megan Dodds, a carry-over from last season) on his arm.and lips. Get ’em, Lt. Dan! This being the kind of show it is, one can’t help but wonder how long that will last. Relationships on forensics/cop shows tend to be short-lived; save the notable exception of Danny (Carmine Giovinazzo) and Lindsay (Belknap), that is. As this may well be the last season, would it be so bad if Mac got to keep this one? I mean, the guy did lose his wife on 9/11, for God’s sake. I’m just sayin’.

The Morrow character was intriguing, and I’m happy to see “CSI: NY” hit the ground running with a multi-episode storyline right off the bat. The next ep preview did look better than this one, so it’s possible that they are just getting warmed up, if you’ll pardon the pun. If he ends up toasting Mac’s girl, though, don’t say I didn’t warn you.

What did you think about the show’s attempts to focus more on character? What did you think of Morrow’s performance? Any ideas for that Tovah-Lapkus sitcom? Let me know in the comments!