What’s Worth Watching: CSI: Cyber Says Justice Is Only a Click Away

CSI Cyber
Monty Brinton/CBS
CSI Cyber

CSI: Cyber, “Kidnapping 2.0,” Wednesday, March 4, 10/9c, CBS

It’s about time a CSI team (or any of CBS’s other alphabet-soup crime squads) was led by a character of the female persuasion. And what auspicious timing for Medium‘s Patricia Arquette to plan her return to TV, barely a week after adding an Oscar to her many awards for her acclaimed role in Boyhood. As FBI Special Agent Avery Ryan, a character based on an actual cyber-psychologist, Arquette tackles “any crime involving electronic devices,” she helpfully explains to her boss (Peter MacNicol), and by extension to an audience already conditioned to be suspicious of abuses perpetrated on the “dark net.”

For the franchise that made high-tech crime-solving look cool when it premiered 15 seasons ago, the sleek if formulaic CSI: Cyber represents CSI achieving its virtual apotheosis as it takes us inside the Internet the way the original show (and its two geographically oriented spinoffs) took us inside arteries and bones to reveal whodunit. The first case is more than a little unsettling, as an infant’s abduction exposes an international ring of illegal online baby trafficking, using seemingly harmless baby monitors as a window to the merchandise. Besides Arquette, the most recognizable member of the team is James Van Der Beek, stripped of the irony that marked his recent sitcom appearances, as lantern-jawed action hero Elijah Mundo. How he keeps a straight face as he announces himself at every crime scene may be CSI: Cyber‘s greatest mystery.