CSI: Cyber – Kidnapping 2.0

Full disclosure: Over the years, I have watched each of the CSIs, but not regularly for a long, long time. When Patricia Arquette was announced for the backdoor pilot of CSI: Cyber last year, I was immediately intrigued because A: I’m a computer nerd (but not hacker-grade by any stretch) and B: Patricia Arquette.

The official first episode, “Kidnapping 2.0” kicked off the series run last week, and I have to say, I’m in. I liked it a lot. The cast has been fleshed out with James Van Der Beek, trying his hand at drama again,  Peter MacNicol (who I’ve missed since Numbers ended), Charley Koontz (Community), Shad Moss (aka Bow Wow), and Hayley Kiyoko (The Fosters).

With this series, CSI moves to the Federal playing ground. Arquette is Special Agent Avery Ryan, a forensic psychologist (now cyberpsychologist) who specializes in crimes related to technology. Last year’s backdoor episode got the mechanics of how she does what she does out of the way.

“Kidnapping 2.0” assumes you saw that and follows Ryan and her team on the first day in the unit of Moss’s character, Brody, a black hat hacker who she’s trying to turn for the good. She gives him the back story of how she came to run the unit — a hacker released her confidential patient files online and ruined her practice. She’s still hunting for him.

The case involves kidnapped infants with the common thread they all had the same webcam installed in their rooms, which, unbeknownst to their parents, had a design flaw that allowed them to be hacked. Suddenly their nurseries were the site of real-time, black market baby auctions.

Avery breaks down the how for us while each of her unit does their thing. Van Der Beek’s Elijah is former military and the muscle. Koontz’s Daniel and Kiyok’s Raven are straight-up hackers. MacNicol plays their boss and director, Simon.

The typical tech flourishes are there — a war room with big screens and lots of jargon thrown around. Thankfully not too much of “read the tiny cell phone text.” One neat switch up is that we move to virtual autopsies — no bodies here.

Arquette is solid as a matter-of-fact pro with a humanity that allows her to see beyond the tech to the criminal behind it. As with any procedural, I’ll take it week by week and see what the degree of torture porn is. I bailed on all of the others in the CSI oeuvre when they got way too dark and gory for me.

Arquette visited David Letterman last night and said she was excited to be the first female head of a CSI franchise. She has a point. After 15 years, it’s well past time, and as a newly-minted Academy Award winner, she’s a great choice to take on that challenge.

CSI: Cyber airs Wednesdays at 10 pm E/9 C on CBS in the US and 10 pm ET/PT on CTV in Canada.

Photo Courtesy of CBS

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