‘CSI: Cyber’ Is Going To Be The Greatest Show In The History Of Television

Couple facts about CBS’s brand new CSI spin-off CSI: Cyber: One, it stars Patricia Arquette as Special Agent Avery Ryan, the cyberpsychologist in charge of the FBI’s Cyber Crime Division, a unit “at the forefront of solving illegal activities that start in the mind, live online, and play out in the real world.” And two, it appears to be — on paper, at least — the single greatest show in the history of television.

Don’t believe me? Well, first of all, I would direct your attention to the commercial at the top of this post, which features police vehicles crashing through walls and lines of dialogue like, “It takes a hacker to catch a hacker,” and “You work dark alleys… I work the dark net.” More importantly, look at the cast. LOOK AT IT. And look at the descriptions of the characters, which I have taken verbatim from the casting announcements:

  • James Van Der Beek will play “self-proclaimed action junkie” Elijah Mundo, “an expert in battlefield forensics,” who is also “a savant when it comes to weaponry, vehicles and bombs” and “will often put himself at risk to seek permanent justice.”
  • Shad Moss (aka Bow Wow) will play Brody “Baby Face” Nelson, a teenage “savant with cyber intrusions,” who was ordered to work with Ryan by a judge to avoid prison and whose personal dilemma will be “working for the feds while trying to keep his fingertips out of the Deep Web, where he was groomed to be one of the most prolific hackers in the world.”
  • Luke Perry will play Nick Dalton, a futurist who joined the private sector after “a classified falling out” with the cyber unit, and who “will hold many secrets to Avery’s backstory.”

Find me one thing about any of this that isn’t perfect. James Van Der Beek is essentially Vin Diesel’s character in xXx crossed with Tackleberry from Police Academy, Bow Wow is a wayward #teen hacking his way to freedom, everyone is a savant at their respective specialty, and Luke Perry is a mysterious futurist. Also, PERMANENT JUSTICE. I have been thinking about that phrase pretty much non-stop since I was introduced to it in the casting announcement last August. As I said at the time, “What does that even mean? How is it not the title of a Steven Seagal movie? How is it not the title of EVERY Steven Seagal movie?” All I can think about is Van Der Beek jumping out of a plane with a backpack full of bombs and shouting at Bow Wow about schematics, like this is Extreme 24 and Bow Wow is Chloe. Bow Wow is Chloe. Everything about this is incredible.

And that’s just the famous people. The show also stars Charley Koontz (Fat Neil from Community) as a workaholic “social introvert and a tech genius with a quick wit and self-deprecating honesty,” and Hayley Kiyoko as “Raven,” a rookie “expert in social media, cyber trends, and international relations” whose special skill is “youth culture.” Spoiler alert: Raven has “a dark secret!” That the team “won’t even know!” “Until it’s too late!” It’s like this entire show was created by putting low-budget action movies and local news segments about the internet in a blender and pressing “Purée,” and no, that is not a complaint. Not even a little.

But somehow, against all odds, the show about action-junkie Dawson and hacker Bow Wow savanting around the world to solve cyber crimes gets even better. This is the title and summary of the first episode:

“Kidnapping 2.0”: Special Agent Avery and her team of cyber analysts investigate a case involving hacked baby monitors.

Baby monitors! Someone’s hacking baby monitors! To kidnap babies! Hackers stealing babies! That is the first episode!

As much as I love this (so, so much), I do worry, though. I mean, where does one even go from there? How do you move forward from hackers stealing babies? What, is episode two going to be about someone hacking into an amusement park’s computer system to cause a roller coaster crash?

“CMND:/Crash”: Ryan and the team look into a roller coaster crash that seems to have been caused by illegal access to the ride’s internal computer.

Yes. YES. Stolen babies and roller coaster crashes in the first two hours. It’s like a Nancy Grace fever dream. I hope it runs for 300 episodes. Or at least five episodes because the fifth episode is titled — I swear to God — “URL, Interrupted.” Just give them an Emmy right now. I don’t care what it’s for. I know there are a bunch of extra ones sitting around somewhere. Put them all in a box and mail them to the CSI: Cyber set. I think the people involved in the show have clearly earned them.