TV review: CSI: Cyber, Channel 5
Patricia Arquette leads the cast in the latest spin off from the forensic franchise
In CSI: Cyber Patricia Arquette plays Avery Ryan, a psychologist turned federal agent, leading the fight against online crime and digital corruption. Basically if a felony takes place anywhere in the United Sates that involves some kind of technology Arquette and her team swing into action. James Van Der Beek is the hot shot FBI field agent while Shad Moss and Charley Koontz play two bickering computer geeks.
The opening double bill features the kidnapping of a baby (the high tech baby monitor is integral in the abduction hence Cyber division's involvement) swiftly followed by a hacker taking control of a roller coaster at a theme park, leading to multiple deaths and injuries.
In these first two episodes Arquette is too perfect. An infallible human lie-detector. There are reams of techno babble as internet terms (and perversions) are over explained for the mass audience. It's also the most jittery CSI yet, with obtrusive jump cut editing and CGI mock ups of computer systems in action; text floating towards the screen as characters swipe info and type furiously.
CSI (read our review of season 15) was once the biggest show on the planet spawning multiple spin-offs and rip offs (notably Criminal Minds, Bones, Cold Case and NCIS). It changed the entire public perception of forensic science. Then one by one each show folded leaving Cyber as the newest and only CSI standing.
Cyber is still finding its feet and rigidly sticks to the classic CSI formula with the premise and each case leading the narrative with character development coming in third. It almost avoids the heavy handed sentimentality that mired Miami but lacks the self-referential humour that made the original Vegas version so watchable. There's just enough for CSI junkies craving a fix of forensics action, but for everyone else it's an overly flashy police procedural populated by stock characters.
CSI: Cyber premieres on Channel 5, Tue 6 Oct, 10pm.