So itâs over. With remarkably little fanfare, one of the mainstays of US detective drama has gone off air. CSI: Miami may never have been the brightest in its class and its long been the most preposterous branch of an already preposterous franchise, but letâs raise a glass to its passing.
Who wants the hard-drinking, corrupt malcontents of The Wire picking over their corpses when they could have a gaggle of the most beautiful people on TV? For all its brutality, CSI: Miami has always been escapism. No one in this city of glass and light ever had to forge a requisition slip to get their hands on a UV lamp.
The whizz bang visuals cover up that what the CSIs are doing often isnât very complicated. Do you really need a smart surface table to pull out the numbers and text messages from a murdered teenagerâs phone when you could just flick through her contacts book? On that basis, Iâm willing to believe Mitt Romney was right when he said thereâs significant wastage on a state level.
But it all serves a purpose. When CSI was first developed, the idea was you should be able to follow the story even with the sound down. Hence the micro-flashbacks, CGI cutaways and constant close-ups. At no point in a CSI episode should you have to engage your brain. Some have dismissed it as televisual popcorn: but a lot of people like popcorn and it can be very tasty.
That fantasy does have it dark side. Miami is 70% Hispanic, but the protagonists are predominantly Caucasians. What are you saying if one of the signifiers of your escapist worldview is a conspicuous absence of non-whites? As more second and third generation immigrants reach voting age, Hispanics are going to play an ever larger role in American society. Future shows will have to recognise that or theyâll appear as outdated as the all-white suburban sitcoms of the 1950s.
Horatio Cane, on the other hand, has remained throughout the worldâs most ginger man. Heâd be a nightmare to work with, of course: the sort of guy who wanders around the office throwing off snappy lines from bad cop dramas and big business movies of the 1980s. âI want you off the caseâ? âYou know what we have to do, Mr Wolfâ?, etc.
Maybe Miami PD really is just a crumbling district house on the quay and these past 10 series have been Horatioâs deluded, Singing Detective-style fantasies. Itâd explain the lack of Hispanics: he envies them their luscious, dark hair. You may have gone for a drink at the end of this final episode, Lieutenant Cane, but a greater reckoning awaits you. Out there in the Bay, maybe someoneâs noticed your pouting, self-righteous hypocrisy. After all, Dexterâs not been cancelled.