YMMV / CSI

  • Acceptable Targets: Any relatively harmless modern subculture that seems scary or dangerous to the general public or the target audience. See the Internet Backdraft example below.
    • Gamers and gaming in "Hitting for the Cycle". For the love of all that is holy...
    • Subverted in, of all places, the episode that dealt with actual circus freaks. The freaks are the most sympathetic characters in the episode, are not portrayed as pathetic or as people to be looked down on, and the killer turns out to be by far the most "normal" out of all the suspects.
    • In at least three different instances, sex offenders were "outed" to their neighbors (and thus had their lives ruined by the CSIs) despite fact that in all three cases, the people involved had a) served their jail time and were now leading clean, unoffensive lives b) were only tangentally involved in the cases, if even that, and c) police investigators aren't supposed to give out information on suspects to the general public anyway regardless of what that information is, as doing so until a conviction occurs is a serious civil rights violation.
  • And There Was Much Rejoicing: Justin Bieber's character's death brought some real life rejoicing.
    • When Grissom returned in a guest spot in Season 11, and the rumours that he'll be back in Season 12 for Catherine's exit. Although he didn't return, the PTBs feared it would take too much focus off Catherine.
    • He DID return for the two-hour series finale in 2015.
  • And You Thought It Would Fail: ABC turned the series down with the excuse of it being, "Too confusing for the average viewer". Of course, it became a smash hit for CBS and the start of the Forensic Drama genre. note 
  • Anvilicious: The episode centered around internet bullying, though possibly a case where this needs to be brought to the public eye but it does get a bit egregious when Nick basically tries to say anyone who ever looked at the mocking videos, even if they did nothing about it or thought it was in bad taste, deserved to be put to the court system.
  • Base-Breaking Character:
    • Sara is either one of the most compelling and woobieish characters on the show, or just plain crass and annoying.
    • Ray Langston...either he was a great character or Creator's Pet and really overused and given too much to do for a CSI 1.
  • Big Lipped Alligator Moment: Sqweegel, a serial murderer out to avenge unpunished crimes... while wearing a rubber gimp suit, walking in a four-limbed hunch, and practically spitting his lines out. Despite hints he would return after escaping the cops he was never spoken of again.
  • Creator's Pet: Ray Langston. Many fans either dislike him or thinks he's So Okay, It's Average, yet in his run he had three season finales, the 200th episode and two season long serial killer arcs dedicated to him and his problems.
  • Critical Research Failure: "Fur and Loathing" makes some gross exaggerations, misinterpretations and otherwise wrong turns in the Furry Fandom.
  • The CSI Effect: Title of the season 15 premier: the killer(s) taunt the CSIs (especially DB, who worked the original case this one is apparently copying from) by leaving their virtually clue-free crime scenes pre-CSI'd: strings that are somehow made of the "real" killer's previous unrecovered victims' body parts indicating blood spatter, labels on everything, and a recorder of the same brand the CSIs use with someone's scrambled voice reciting an accurate and professional description of the crime scene. Another scene is a perfectly staged mass grave dig site it's fake: the bodies came from somewhere else and were already on examination tables.
  • Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy: Being that the show is set in "Sin City," the victims and killers are frequently just as evil as the other. For example, the secondary crime in the very first episode featured a man who killed his slovenly, drug-addicted cousin who'd been mooching off him for three years. Can you truly say anyone's in the right in a situation like that?
  • Ensemble Darkhorse: Greg and Hodges in earlier seasons; when they were promoted to main characters the other lab rats got the same treatment, with Archie and Mandy in particular being well loved by the fans.
  • Esoteric Happy Ending: "Ch-ch-ch-changes," the 100th episode, becomes this once the viewer remembers that the villains had an adorable little daughter who knew nothing of her parents' misdeeds and is now completely alone in the world, since even her nanny ( who was also her surrogate mom since her mother is transgender and can't have children) was arrested for helping the couple cover up their crimes.
  • The Firefly Effect: Character example. Sofia Curtis, played by Louise Lombard. She was hardly developed, and only really had one episode focus on her (the episode "A Bullet Runs Through It"), but it seems the writers got bored with her. This resulted in Louise Lombard quitting the series, and moving back to England.
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • An episode about a very troubled person shooting up the LVPD (3 dead including the gunman, a teenager; additionally the person who manipulated him into shooting was arrested, at least a dozen wounded) airs the same day a very troubled person shoots up an army base (4 dead including the gunman, over a dozen wounded).
    • "The Accused Is Entitled," which had an Expy of Johnny Depp being accused of murdering two women he had a one-night stand with and the cast being exasperated by the fact that his being a wealthy celebrity enables him to hire the best lawyers, scientists, etc. to help get him off. More than a decade later the real Depp would be accused of wife-beating, which along with other contemporary scandals related to Bill Cosby and Woody Allen among others has prompted serious discussion on the propensity of celebrities to get away with crimes.
  • Ho Yay: Nick and Greg. In fact, such a pairing has a large following, especially due to the subtext that occurs in their interactions.
  • Internet Backdraft: Never mention the episode "Fur and Loathing" to Furry Fandom.
  • Just Here for Godzilla: Many people tuned in to see the season 11 episode "Targets of Obsession" just to watch Justin Bieber's character get shot to death.
  • Memetic Mutation: Grissom literally Growing the Beard. It's arguably second to Chuck Norris.
  • Mind Screw: The episode "Blood Drops" from season 1. The father sexually abused his own daughter, which caused her to give birth at thirteen. Now, without even knowing that he even abused his daughter's daughter, this is hard to understand. He sexually abused his own daughter, who gave birth to a daughter, making him the father of both daughters, with the first daughter as both a daughter and a mother to the same father, so he's actually a father and grandfather to his own daughters. Yeah, it was as hard to understand as it was to watch.
  • Misaimed Marketing: The kids' science sets, even though the age range is tweens and teens, probably counts. Also the Club CSI chapter books.
  • Padding: The video games REALLY make you work to match fingerprints, DNA, and chemical samples.
  • Retroactive Recognition: A lot of secondary guest stars eventually found fame after their appearance on CSI. Rainn Wilson and John Krasinski both had guest spots before their own hit show, with Wilson having a memorable bit in one of the more popular episodes ("The Strip Strangler") as a possible suspect. And CSI NY 's Carmine Giovinazzo was a guest star on here before becoming a regular on the spinoff series. But, Word of God says the guest appearance wasn't an influence in casting him. A.J. Buckley, also from CSI NY, appeared on this show before becoming a regular on the spinoff.
    • Norm was the killer (sort of) in "Dog Eat Dog." The best example, however, is Eric Stonestreet as Ronnie Litra, the lab's questioned documents expert, who disappeared without explanation around the middle of Season 4... and is now quite famous as Cameron Tucker.
  • The Scrappy: Kevin, "Hitting for the Cycle". How on earth did he get hired? He bites the dust at the end of the episode.
  • Seasonal Rot: While not bad in its later years, the show received a lot more press, ratings, and critical acclaim in its first few seasons (even earning a few Emmy nominations). One could make a case with show growing stale as early as Seasons 6/7, but it was likely Grissom's departure in Season 9 that really accelerated things.
  • Uncanny Valley: Somewhat discussed in "Lab Rats". See its quote under All Psychology Is Freudian on the main page.
  • The Woobie: All of the main cast have their moments, but Nick, Greg and arguably Sara get hit with it the most.
    • Heather in the Grand Finale. Having already lost her daughter to a crazed Neo-Nazi, she loses her little granddaughter to a random accident, shuts down both her therapy practice and her fetish club out of grief, is framed for multiple murders by a crazed stalker, and finally, at the very end, lets the man she loves go. One legitimately worries that she has nothing left in her life at all, especially since she's attempted suicide before.
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/YMMV/CSI