On CSI

IQ, EQ, and SQ

By Dr. Katherine Ramsland

When CSI: Crime Scene Investigation spun off from Las Vegas to Miami and then to New york City, the writers took pains to make the programs distinct. The character of each city assisted that process, but among the calculated approaches was the creation of different temperaments for the three crime lab supervisors. Thus, Gil Grissom, Horatio Caine, and Mac Taylor, as early as their first appearances, demonstrate diverse methods of team leadership and, possibly without intent on the part of their creators, also represent different aspects of the human experience: head, heart, and spirit. (these characters may yet evolve, so this analysis centers on their most persistent features thus far.) For centuries philosophers have debated over which of these should lead life’s dance, and if only Plato, Kant, and descartes had watched CSI, they might have spared themselves the trouble. The answer is clear.

Each supervisor has a specific philosophy that influences his work. Grissom (the head) adopts a mental stance, eschewing emotion to analyze crime scenes with logic, esoteric knowledge, and the scientific method; Caine (the heart) builds on this approach by not only analyzing crimes but also allowing empathy for victims to be his driving force; while Taylor (the spirit) not only thinks and cares but also enlarges his personal perspective by recognizing the part that crime investigators play in a complex universe. That is, we can imagine the three CSI leads as operating within expanding circles of light, with Grissom’s the most constricted in focus: Grissom’s sense of  …

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