CSI: Cyber “Legacy” Review (Season 2 Episode 18)

CSI Cyber cast

On the season- and quite possibly the series- finale of “CSI: Cyber,” a 13-year-old hacker managed to infiltrate the government’s most highly-classified files in the biggest breach ever, in “Legacy”- but was his intent to test the boundaries of their security system, or was it to make a copy to sell to the highest bidder on the black market? Or, to put it in the show’s assumed jargon- was he a black hat or a white hat?

Perhaps knowing their days could be numbered, the show hedged its bets by wrapping up as many disparate plotlines as possible, despite having had plenty of time to do so in a timelier manner over the course of the season, rather than at the expense of their forward momentum.

For instance, the business with Raven (Hayley Kiyoko) and Avery (Patricia Arquette) butting heads when Raven’s hearing to determine whether she was ready to leave was blocked by Avery, in what I felt was an uncalled for move, saying that she thought Raven wasn’t ready to part ways with the Cyber Division just yet.

The plotline would have been that much more effective had the two continued to be at odds with one another for a while, before eventually resolving the matter. Instead, it was as if the matter never happened, until any number of episodes later, when the matter was finally revisited- but only after, somewhat ironically, Raven was let go when the government decided to discontinue the program!

CSI Cyber 6

Had this matter been dealt with over the course of the season, even if only in a brief mention or through obvious signs of tension between Raven and Avery, it would have been that much more effective, but instead, it was glossed over to such an extent, I practically forgot it happened, until the matter was brought up again in this final episode.

This is precisely why I think the show’s days are numbered, as it would go a long way towards explaining why they shoved so much into this season finale, and in a way that slighted almost all of the storylines concerned. Well, that, and the fact that CBS burned through several weeks’ worth of episodes in a matter of weeks, coupled with their cutting the season down from the intended 22 episodes to 18.

As such, the shortened season sort of forced “CSI: Cyber” to wrap things up in such a way as to be as satisfying as it could be in such a short amount of time, and I will say, to its credit, that it essentially pulled it off, but it’s a damn shame it took potential cancellation to force them to get there.

Even more ironic, some of the better episodes of the show were buried in those final few weeks, notably the excellent “Python’s Revenge,” a much more satisfying resolution to an ongoing plot, which while also a bit more prolonged than it should have been, in terms of the amount of time since the last installment of the storyline, was nonetheless, handled in expert fashion, without rushing things, which is more than one can say for the finale.

CSI Cyber

Honestly, I think fans knew it was coming (and I really do think they’re out there, even if some of them were “hate-watching” it by that point) when the show wryly-titled its first episode back after two extended hiatuses in a row “The Walking Dead,” which could double as both an acknowledgment of one of the show’s fiercest Sunday night competitors- which also came back after an extended hiatus that same night- and an acceptance of the show’s own impending doom.

It’s too bad, because when the show was solid, it was effective in the way the most entertaining “CSI” classic episodes can be when they’re in the zone, i.e. the “Slender Man”-inspired “Red Crone,” the nail-biter “404: Flight Not Found,” the nifty reverse-engineered “Fit-and-Run,” and the “Bling Ring”-inspired fame-whoring-gone-horribly-wrong “Flash Squad.” All were entertaining in a “ripped-from-the-headlines”-sort of way that shows like this can often excel at, if they’re done right.

Unfortunately, as was the case with the last seasons of “CSI” proper and “CSI: New York,” all too many episodes of the show were simply forgettable at best, and ludicrous, mock-inducing fodder for the haters at worst. The sad thing is, there was the bones of a solid show here, thanks in no small part to a winning ensemble of actors that the show rarely seemed to know what to do with.

For evidence, look no further than tonight’s episode where, in a fake-out not nearly as clever or believable as the show thought it was, Avery reminisced about D.B. (Ted Danson) and his time with the unit, and all she- and the show- could come up with were shots of him meditating at his desk and she and him racing cockroaches!

CSI Cyber 8

Yep, you read that right- racing cockroaches. I can only imagine what people just tuning into this show, thinking this might be the end, must have thought when they saw this bit of ridiculousness. Thankfully, it was indeed not the end for D.B. or that would have been one of the lamest send-offs ever, but still, the fact that they might have even thought it could be says a lot about where the show was at this point. Nowhere good, in other words.

Indeed, that leads me to the show’s worst crime against TV- wasting that cast. Here, they are, armed with a newly-minted Oscar winner (Arquette) and a multi-Emmy and Golden Globe winning actor (Danson) and that’s the best they could come up with? Ugh.

And don’t even get me started on the wasting of James “Don’t call me Dawson” Van Der Beek, hot off the hilarious, self-depreciating turn as a heightened version of himself on “Don’t Tell the B_ _ _ _ in Room 23.” Oh no, it’s Mundo! Honestly, he fared better in the viral sensation “Power/Rangers” in about 15 minutes than he did in the entirety of this series to date.

Ditto the younger cast, who I really liked across the board: Charley Koontz (Krumitz) had a huggable, amusing quality to him, especially when he tried to be “hip”; Shad “Bow Wow” Moss made the switch from rapper to actor with an affable, likable ease that helped him emerge relatively unscathed even in the face of the embarrassing gaffe that was his announcing the opening to the Grammys again and again (providing comedy fodder for everyone from James Corden to last weekend’s “SNL”); and Hayley Kiyoko was sexy, edgy and tough as nails. Too bad we didn’t see more of it on all fronts.

CSI Cyber 9

So, yeah, for what it was worth, this was a reasonably enjoyable episode, which did manage to give most of the cast moments to shine, notably Danson, who got to ride off into the Paris sunset with a still-luminous Kelly Preston, while Arquette had some nice moments with Brett Sexton, as her ex, Andrew, who left his would-be spouse, hottie Jessica (Stefanie Sherk) for Avery in the end. I suppose Van Der Beek did what he could with his thankless stalker chick (Molly Burnett) storyline as well.

Likewise, Brody (Moss) announced his graduation from Quantico as a full-fledged FBI agent near the end of the episode- maybe ABC will hire him for the next season on the hit “Quantico,” which was regularly stomping “CSI: Cyber” in the ratings. Krumitz got to be a hero for once when he jumped in a pool and saved the main protagonist of the episode, who had just been shot and was almost drowned afterwards; while Raven was hired on as an FBI consultant, as per Avery’s suggestion.

That was a lot of ground to cover for a season finale, and as aforementioned, it couldn’t help but come up short on some fronts, but it was reasonably serviceable as far as things go, given the circumstances. If it does indeed serve as the show’s send-off, I suppose it could be worse, but it also could have been better as well- which could be said for the show as a whole, for that matter.

So, would I like to see the show back for a third round next season? I wouldn’t say no to it. The show could be erratic, but it was watchable enough, and the thought of a CBS without a single “CSI” to its name is a sad thought indeed, but what are you going to do? I mean, the original debuted way back in 2000, which is a pretty damn good run, when you get down to it. Maybe not quite “Law & Order” good, but not too shabby.

CSI Cyber 2

I guess we’ll find out soon enough, though I suspect a lot will depend on how time-slot inheritor “Elementary” does on the same night. If it does well, I suspect CBS will go with that show instead- but I don’t see them doing both, as they both cost a pretty penny to produce. I’d wager that “Elementary” is slightly cheaper than “CSI: Cyber,” though, so chances are good they’ll go with that one instead, anyway. For the record, it IS far and away the better show, so I can’t say I’d disagree with that decision.

In the meantime, it was a reasonably fun ride while it lasted, so I can’t complain. How about you? Would you like to see the show return in the fall? Or should CBS leave well enough alone and just let the “CSI” franchise die in peace? It’s not as if they don’t have a dozen other crime procedurals already on, as it is. Let me know what you think down below in the comments section, as well as what you thought of the finale, and maybe I’ll see you in the fall!