Discussion’s been a little light recently and anticipation levels for the new season are at their very lowest whilst we all wait with dread to find out what the writers are going to screw up this year. So let’s reminisce over the better days the show has seen (or also towards points where the show was even worse). Simply put, how would you rank the finales the show has spurned out over the last thirteen years and write a little something as to why you’ve put it there? Here’s a short summary of each finale (to refresh those Ray Langston moments you tried so hard to forget :lol : Season 1: The Strip Strangler The CSIs investigate a serial killer who’s been strangling their victims. Grissom gets hot-tempered with the FBI, Sara becomes bait, Catherine saves Grissom from being bludgeoned to death and the team have a lovely meal at Frank’s to finish things off. Season 2: The Hunger Artist A disfigured fashion model is found lying dead in a shopping kart. The team explore the glamour mag world and the homeless community. Grissom starts to lose his hearing. Season 3: Inside the Box Team Science investigates a bank robbery. Detective Lockwood gets killed (R.I.P.), Catherine finds out who’s her daddy and Sam Braun gets away with it. Meanwhile, Grissom goes into surgery to fix his hearing problems. Season 4: Bloodlines A casino worker is raped and identifies her attacker but the DNA doesn’t agree. Turns out it’s due to a rare genetic condition shared between the killer and his siblings. Sara gets a little tipsy and ends up on the wrong side of the law much to Grissom’s concern. Season 5: Grave Danger Do I really need to? Okay. Nick experiences life underground and gets a bit closer to nature. Grissom almost gets blown up. Then the entire team almost get blown up. Quentin Tarantino adds a bit of his spice to the show. The team are brought back together. Season 6: Way to Go A civil war re-enactor is found decapitated by a train whilst another man eats, drinks, drugs and ****s himself to death. Brass faces near death but pulls through (yay!), Ellie has a chance to make up with Jim but runs off (boo!), and the cat is finally out of the bag. Season 7: Living Doll The miniature killer is revealed, out on a personal vendetta against a member of the CSI team. The team find out more about the elusive killer. Sara gets kidnapped and left in the desert. Grissom lets slip to the rest of the team about his relationship with a colleague. Season 8: For Gedda The notorious, well-renowned mobster Lou Gedda is found dead, unfortunately Warrick is found with the body accused of murdering him with no recollection of the events. The team work together to identify what went down, hoping to clear his name. The good news, Warrick is found innocent, the bad news, looks like the LVPD are somewhat involved. The team have a nice chinwag at the end. Warrick leaves the bar and is shot by the undersheriff (R.I.P. ). Season 9: All In Greed leads to murder and destroys the lives of five people when two of them discover a stash of old casino chips worth $1,000 each on the collectible market. Also, Super-Ray shoots a guy. Season 10: Meat Jekyll Super-Ray talks to Nate Haskell seeking help to catch the mysterious Dr Jekyll. Brass and Catherine feud over the decision to take Haskell to PD. The team determine the identity of Dr Jekyll who has a tantrum and shoots Nick (eek). Nick then shoots and kills Dr Jekyll (hooray) and everything is good again. Oh and then Haskell stabs Super-Ray. Season 11: In a Dark, Dark House Super-Ray kills Haskell in the house he grew up in. Brass goes OOC to cover up some evidence. Then the team goes OOC to spin the evidence (neutral viewpoint be damned) except Sara who has some doubts. Super-Ray is then brought into IAB to determine whether the killing was murder or self-defence. Season 12: Homecoming The LVPD comes under scrutiny when a friend of the sheriff becomes involved in a grisly triple-murder. Finn’s history is revealed. Undersheriff McKeen rears his ugly head again. Cliffhangers galore ensure: Russell’s granddaughter is kidnapped, Finn finds herself in a tricky situation, Ecklie gets shot, the police department are put under investigation and Nick throws in the towel. Season 13: Skin in the Game The CSIs explore a series of prostitute murders relating to Dante’s Inferno. Ozzy Osborne turns up for some shameless self-promotion. Brass’ ex arrives in town, terrified for the safety of their daughter, Ellie. Morgan goes undercover, seduces some weirdo and gets kidnapped in an SUV. It’s then revealed the same people also have Ellie. My order changes from time to time depending on my mood and how recently I last saw the episode but here are the ones I consider great episodes as well: Inside the Box (Season 3) – not only my favourite finale, but my favourite episode overall. I love all the little moments which come with it from the team eating Chinese in the break room, to Doc Robbins personally delivering the bullet which killed Lockwood to the lab and Greg dealing with the aftermath of the lab explosion. It’s a Catherine episode through and through and I love the scenes between her and Sam Braun (a favourite recurring character of mine) but there’s a great sense of team unity throughout. The final scene is also classic Gil & Cath. A+ The Strip Strangler (Season 1) – like Season 3’s, this one doesn’t try to go too over the top and all big guns like a lot of later finales do. The scene with the team at the diner at the end is an instant classic and something the writers should strive to achieve in all episodes. The case also is compelling, realistic and there are lots of great sub-elements like Grissom’s feud with the FBI and Nick’s encounter with the reporter. A Bloodlines (Season 4) – another example of keeping it simple, keeping it low-key and not making it too personal. One of my favourite cases throughout the series, dark, unconventional and completely unpredictable. It’s definitely one of the most sinister episodes the show has ever produced! The DUI side-plot isn’t a favourite of mine but it nicely sets up Sara’s breakdown mid-Season 5. A Grave Danger (Season 5) – There’s no doubt that this is a fantastic two hours of television, but what stops it getting the top spot is that it doesn’t feel like two hours of CSI. Big guns, guest director, CSI in peril, I see the episode as the transition from the science aspects in to the personal aspect of the show and sadly it’s seen as the finale the writers feel they have to top, and none of its successors has even gotten close. The episode itself contains some absolutely fantastic acting, particularly from George Eads and William Petersen, it’s gripping, unpredictable and completely crazy (and completely flawed but I won’t go into plotholes ). As I said before, as an episode of television, it’s an A/A+ but as an episode of CSI, it’s getting an A- The Hunger Artist (Season 2) – Easily the most emotional of the thirteen episodes in this list, the scene with the homeless sister showing the victim her face on the billboard does a good job at trying to blast through my stone-cold heart. The episode is a great insight into the ruthless world of modelling, albeit with a slightly one-sided perspective. For me though, the case isn’t quite as compelling as the others above hence its respectable 5th place position. It’s one I could do with watching again though. A- Now we descend to the second-tier finales. Ranging from decent to merely mediocre but ultimately rewatchable. For Gedda (Season 8 ) – there are some great moments in this episode, notably the last scene at the diner and the team’s internal struggle with the possibility that Warrick had murdered somebody, however at times the pace drags on a bit and the mood feels particularly depressing throughout. Whilst the end of Warrick’s character was an ugly decision, I’m pleased he left the show innocent, clean (from his awful storyline earlier that season) and missed. That final scene, difficult to watch, was done pretty well. B+ Homecoming (Season 12) – a middling episode for me. The case and the LVPD corruption angle had great potential and I thought was pretty interesting. The DB family/Finn drama I could have done without. Bringing McKeen back was done pretty well, and I liked that Nick got to get a bit up in his face. The cliffhangers of Ecklie being shot and Nick’s quitting piqued my interest but sadly most of the intriguing parts of this story were abandoned in the second half. A messy episode, but I enjoyed it nonetheless. B Way to Go (Season 6) – without the Brass situation or the GSR reveal, the latter of which I don’t particularly care about, this would have been a pretty bog-standard episode. Both cases suffer from being rushed, underdeveloped and a bit boring to be honest. I think it would have been better if they ditched the B-case and expanded the A-case a little more. Grissom jumping about from the hospital to the crime scene felt a bit off as well. The Brass aspect is wonderful, even with the Ellie drama, and the scene where he wakes up seeing the team surrounding him is an absolute joy and saves this episode from going on the crap pile. B- Meat Jekyll (Season 10) – the ‘more bearable’ of the Langston finales. Minus Super-Ray undermining the rest of the team it’s not actually a terrible episode. The Brass/Catherine drama is interesting, Haskell still hasn’t been butchered by the writers and there are some fun scenes such as everyone visiting Nick in the hospital. The one thing which really drags this episode down, the pointless Super-Ray gets shanked by Haskell ending. Not only does it feel radically out of place and out of left-field, it makes Super-Ray look like a complete moron and just showed the writers feel like they need a cliffhanger to end the season. B- Skin in the Game (Season 13) – I’m still awaiting the premiere to truly determine my opinion but as a finale it leaves too many loose ends. The case was pretty dull, the Morgan undercover plot was unnecessary and ridiculous. Brass once again saves the finale from going on the crap pile (though if the premiere doesn’t tie things up neatly I’ll probably put it there). C+ Now we get to the crap pile, episodes I really didn’t like and ones I probably won’t watch ever again. Living Doll (Season 7) – often regarded as one of the show’s best episodes, I think Living Doll is a very poorly written finale and sours the Miniature Killer arc in numerous ways. Despite having an entire season to build up the MK, the writers try to cram in about 6 months of backstory into the opening thrity minutes. The immediate reveal of Natalie loses any form of suspense and I hate the way the arc essentially turns into a plot device to move GSR forward. Team interaction is minute, Nick, Warrick and Brass are very much sidelined, Greg gets about two lines and Sara herself only appears for a couple of moments. This story had tons of potential it ultimately falls apart as the motive to catch a malicious serial killer is shafted to the motive to capture Sara’s kidnapper. I also forgot to mention that I think it’s one of the most boring hours of television the show has ever done. C- All In (Season 9) – truth be told, I completely forgot what this episode was about and had to google a synopsis for it. I just remember it being horribly boring, unmemorable and with another stupid ending for the sole purpose of a cliffhanger. Do I need to watch this one again? Probably. Do I want to? No. D In a Dark, Dark House (Season 11) – I find with this show there are two types of bad episodes: Boring episodes and ridiculously over-the-top, implausible episodes. This episode introduces an even worse dimension (well, continues from the rest of the Haskell arc) which is completely ruining the integrity of your show and characters. Tainting Brass’ character by having him remove evidence: Unforgiveable. Having the team spinning the evidence in Ray’s favour: Unforgiveable. Super-Ray being allowed to roam freely, even looking into the case despite being under investigation from IAB: Unforgiveable. Is this the most boring episode of the series? No, it’s not even the most boring on the list. Is it the most implausible and over-the-top episode? No. But it’s one which essentially collects together 10 ½ years of the show’s core ethos and message, shreds it down, burns it, and then (pardon my French) takes a big steaming turd all over the ashes. F Doing this exercise has made me realise two things. This show is actually not very good at doing finales and that Greg is the only CSI has not had a significant role in any of the finales, despite being in all thirteen of them. So what are your thoughts? Do you agree with my ranking or is it completely different? I rambled on a bit but I don’t expect you have to as well but I’d be interested to hear your thoughts. P.S. I'm so sorry if you read every single word of that essay!