I used to enjoy this series, but, with Season 7, the flaws which were hidden away in the series have come perilously close to eclipsing the enjoyment factor. Primary wondering: Who is the intended audience? The series used to have some level of intelligence about it, but is steadily sliding into the vast void of clichés.
** All women must be of the cookie cutter variety. Stiletto heels? For crime scenes? Come on! It appears one plastic surgeon was contracted for the whole series. Make-up (and tons of it!) and hair styles the same. Beaches and pools filled with hordes of the same few bodies, done a hundred times over. Older lead guy can only be in relationships with pitiful, and/or neurotic, anorexic youngsters. This pretty much demeans everyone -- audience, actors, writers, producers.
** Appearance of Woodwork Family. Yawn. When shows are losing their edge, all of a sudden the previously non-existent family appears out of the woodwork. The characters are written in the absence of creativity, rather than as a part of creativity, and are pure filler material. About as interesting as packaging, except they stay around a lot, lot longer. Very long.
** Bad guys are pure evil. Granted, this particular problem runs throughout almost all TV series having to do with crime, so can't put this on this series alone. But it would be great to see some bad guys elevated to actually being interesting enough to do something beside be evil comic book villains. Saris, the Russian mobster du jour, etc., are so one-dimensional and boring, the best to hope for is they die (without coming back from the dead) and the show moves on.
** One story per episode. The series used carry its weight, by having the different CSIs working on different crimes, creating an energetic and interesting interweave of plots and characters. Now it is one story per episode ... or a story with an ongoing pure evil bad guy sprinkled on top.
~~ I like the Horatio Caine persona. Gutsy David Caruso creates a wonderfully individualized character. But Caine is so Caine I believe one would need to like the weird character, with his sideways crabwalk and strange speech cadence, to enjoy the show. Even Caine had not much to go on this season. Too much of the prefab family, too little substance.
~~ Emily Procter is terrific on a bad day. And she has no bad days. Procter's Calleigh Duquesne is an excellently drawn character, pulled off with a surprising range of thought and emotions, with just the right touch of sly humor.
~~ I enjoy the other regular characters just fine, particularly Detective Tripp (Rex Linn). But another reviewer said it for me: Bring back Dr. Alexx Woods (Khandi Alexander)!