csi vegas

The DNA-helix-inspired spiral staircase that is a feature of the CSI: Vegas set.

Phot credit: CBS Broadcasting Inc.

By Maria Neuman

With the latest incarnation of the CSI series, the forever-favorite forensics drama seems to have come full circle, with classic cadaver-sleuthing characters (Gil Grissom, Sara Sidle, and David Hodges) joining a new crew (Maxine Roby, Allie Rajan, and Josh Folsom) and returning to the place where it all started—Sin City. The updated CSI: Vegas opens a new chapter for the Crime Lab, and it needed a new look to match because even morgues deserve a makeover every now and again.

“The design brief was to develop the next generation, cutting-edge forensics laboratory in Las Vegas,” says Alex Hajdu, who has also done production design on Magnum P.I. “The look is a building that had a history before becoming a crime lab.” This is evident in the sleek entry foyer with cast concrete walls, terrazzo floors, and a striking DNA helix-inspired spiral staircase.

“I looked at images and architectural drawings of similar buildings, like the 1950s Chase Bank in Palm Springs.” Naturally, Hajdu also perused the previous CSIs; the midcentury design pattern is the connecting thread through them.

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The Who's Pete Townshend performing live on stage.

Photo: Graham Wiltshire/Redferns/Getty Images.

By Nate Millado

When CSI creator Anthony E. Zuiker was searching for a theme song, CBS execs wanted a "rock anthem." So they called the legendary band The Who and showed them the main title sequence scored to "Who Are You," Zuiker revealed in an interview with the Television Academy Foundation. "[Pete] Townshend and [Roger] Daltrey liked it, signed off on it, and it became part of our lore," Zuiker recalls. "And once we did Miami and NY, it was a no-brainer to keep spinning off and doing the same songs from the same band."

CSI: Vegas comes full circle when it premieres Oct. 6 on CBS. Not only are OG cast members Gil Grissom (William Petersen) and Sara Sidle (Jorja Fox) returning, but so is the original theme song. (Joy Oladokun covers the iconic "Who Are You.) A look back at every CSI theme song by The Who!

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CSI: Crime Scene Investigation Theme — "Who Are You"

CSI: Miami Theme — "Won't Get Fooled Again"

CSI: NY Theme — "Baba O'Riley"

CSI: Cyber Theme — "I Can See For Miles"

CSI: Vegas Theme — "Who Are You" (Cover)

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The stars of CSI: NY

Photo: Timothy White/CBS Photo Archive via Getty Images

By Nate Millado

CSI comes full circle this fall, returning to the city where it all started (Las Vegas) with some familiar faces, Gil Grissom and Sara Sidle. The procedural was a massive hit right out the gate and reinvigorated the crime drama with its cinematic look, fully fleshed-out ensemble, and impressive (for the time) effects. It's no wonder, then, that the mothership has spawned four spinoffs, including the highly anticipated CSI: Vegas. Here's a look back at two decades of CSI.

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CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (2000-2015)

Marg Helgenberger and William Petersen pose in front of a background of cracked glass

Marg Helgenberger and William Petersen in CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.

Photo: Andrew MacPherson/CBS Photo Archive/Getty Images

Original cast: William Petersen as Gil Grissom, Marg Helgenberger as Catherine Willows, Gary Dourdan as Warrick Brown, George Eads as Nick Stokes, Jorja Fox as Sara Sidle, and Paul Guilfoyle as Jim Brass

What it was about: The Las Vegas PD Criminalistics Division is the #2 crime lab in the U.S—and for good reason! The night-shift team, led by CSI director and entomologist Gil Grissom (Petersen), uses forensic techniques and cutting-edge technology to crack cases that have baffled just about every other crime lab. The rest of the CSI team includes ex-stripper-turned-CSI Catherine Willows (Helgenberger), Vegas native and recovering gambler Warrick Brown (Dourdan), workaholic Sara Sidle (Fox), and empathetic Texan Nick Stokes (Eads).

Stream episodes of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation on Paramount+.

CSI: Miami (2002-2012)

\u200bDavid Caruso as Horatio Caine standing in a field with his badge clipped to his belt

David Caruso starred as Horatio Caine in CSI: Miami, inspired by CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.

Photo: Robert Voets/CBS Photo Archive via Getty Images

Original cast: David Caruso as Horatio Caine, Kim Delaney as Megan Donner, Emily Procter as Calleigh Duquesne, Adam Rodriguez as Eric Delko, Rory Cochrane as Tim "Speed" Speedle, and Khandi Alexander as Alexx Woods

What it was about: We shift from the neon lights of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation to the sun, sand, and swamp of CSI: Miami. The Dade County crew still uses forensic science to catch their criminals, but they also happen to be cops with the power to arrest!

Spun off from: CSI: Crime Scene Investigation. In Season 2, Episode 22 ("Cross Jurisdictions"), a lead on a kidnapped girl in Vegas sends Willows and Brown to Florida, where they meet their Miami counterpart, Horatio Caine (Caruso).

CSI: NY (2004-2013)

\u200bGary Sinise in a gray striped tie and shirt with Melina Kanakaredes in a brown sweater with shoulder cutouts

Gary Sinise and Melina Kanakaredes starred as Detectives Mac Taylor and Stella Bonasera in CSI: NY.

Photo: Art Streiber/CBS Photo Archive via Getty Images

Original cast: Gary Sinise as Mac Taylor, Melina Kanakaredes as Stella Bonasera, Carmine Giovinazzo as Danny Messer, Vanessa Ferlito as Aiden Burn, Hill Harper as Sheldon Hawkes, and Eddie Cahill as Don Flack

What it was about: This gritty installment of the franchise was set on the mean streets of New York. The NYC crime lab team was led by Detective Mac Taylor (Sinise), a former Marine and NYPD veteran who lost his wife on 9/11. Kanakaredes played his partner, Stella Bonasera, a savvy investigator who—being a true New Yorker—often speaks before she thinks.

Spun off from: CSI: Miami. In Season 2, Episode 23 ("MIA/NYC Nonstop"), Caine heads to the Big Apple to fulfill a promise to 16-year-old Laura Spellman, who discovered the bodies of her slain parents. The sunglass-toting CSI from Miami vows to find their killer and joins forces with Taylor (Sinise) and the CSI: NY team, who are investigating a murder that might be related.

CSI: Cyber (2015-2016)

Patricia Arquette on set in a navy suit with a laptop

Emmy and Oscar winner Patricia Arquette headlined CSI: Cyber.

Photo: Monty Brinton/CBS.

Original cast: Patricia Arquette as Avery Ryan, James Van Der Beek as Elijah Mundo, Peter MacNicol as Simon Sifter, Shad Moss as Brody Nelson, Charley Koontz as Daniel Krumitz, and Hayley Kiyoko as Raven Ramirez (Ted Danson reprised his CSI character of D.B. Russell in Season 2.)

What it was about: While previous agents in the CSI franchise tracked down criminals in dark alleyways, CSI: Cyber searched the dark web for anonymous criminals plotting illegal activities behind their keyboards. Inspired by real-life cyber psychologist Mary Aiken, Special Agent Avery Ryan (Patricia Arquette) heads the Cyber Crime Division of the FBI.

Spun off from: CSI: Crime Scene Investigation. In Season 14, Episode 21 ("Kitty"), the CSIs enlist the help of Avery Ryan from Washington, DC, to investigate the cyber-related murder of a prominent casino owner's wife.

CSI: Vegas (2021)

\u200bPaula Newsome and Jorja Fox peer intently at a computer screen in a scene from CSI Vegas

Paula Newsome as Maxine Roby and Jorja Fox as Sara Sidle on CSI: Vegas.

Photo: Sonja Flemming/CBS

Cast: William Peterson as Gil Grissom, Jorja Fox as Sara Sidle, Paula Newsome as Maxine Roby, Matt Lauria as Josh Folsom, Mandeep Dhillon as Allie Rajan, and Mel Rodriguez as Hugo Ramirez

What it's about: CSI opens a new chapter in the city where it all began—Las Vegas. Gil Grissom and Sara Sidle return to the crime lab to investigate a new threat that could potentially release thousands of convicted killers back onto the neon-lit streets of Sin City. They'll enlist a brilliant new team of investigators led by Maxine Roby to follow the evidence in order to preserve and serve justice, deploying the latest forensic techniques.

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Jorja Fox reprises her role as Sara Sidle alongside a new team of crime scene investigators led by Paula Newsome as Maxine Roby in CSI: Vegas.

Photo: Sonja Flemming/CBS

By Nate Millado

When CSI returns to Vegas on CBS, fans will welcome back old favorites, including Gil Grissom (William Petersen) and Sara Sidle (Jorja Fox). But you'll also see some newcomers, led by Maxine Roby (Paula Newsome). Get to know the new team of CSI: Vegas.

Watch CSI: Vegas on CBS and streaming on Paramount+.

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