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Virginia Postrel

'CSI,' R.I.P.

"CSI" revolutionized the police procedural.
Where the magic happens.

Where the magic happens.

Photo by Vince Bucci/Getty Images

A landmark television drama is headed toward its conclusion -- and I don’t mean “Mad Men.” CBS has just announced that “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation” will end its 15-year run with a two-hour TV movie airing September 27. Original series stars William Petersen (Gil Grissom) and Marg Helgenberger (Catherine Willows) will return for the finale.

Set in the Las Vegas crime lab, “CSI” was such a successful mass-market show and spawned so many spin-offs that it’s easy to forget just how surprising and original the series was. Its look, setting, and central themes were all distinctive.