by Linda Aksomitis

I’d love to be a CSI — Crime Scene Investigator: uncover clues, track criminals, solve crimes. However, I don’t feel like taking any more classes, and I’m pretty sure there aren’t many job openings in Qu’Appelle, or that I could be a virtual CSI, even if I did.  So, on a recent girlfriends’ getaway I decided to do the next best thing  and signed us all up for the CSI Experience in Las Vegas!

About CSI, the Television Show

Gil Grissom's desk at CSI: The Experience in Las Vegas - photo by Janine Morris

Gil Grissom’s desk at CSI: The Experience in Las Vegas – photo by Janine Morris

CSI: Crime Scene Investigation or CSI: Las Vegas, as it’s also known, began changing the world of television crime shows when it hit the screen on October 6, 2000. Created by CBS, it was a huge ratings smash from inception and didn’t take long until the show had a huge following. By 2002, CSI was the most watched show in America.

The show came from a suggestion by creator, Anthony Zuiker’s wife that she enjoyed a Discovery channel show about how detectives used DNA to solve crimes. Zuiker spent some time on the job with Las Vegas CSIs, then convinced that it could spawn an interesting series, pitched the idea to Jerry Bruckheimer. The rest, as they say, is history.

While the show is based on the real-life work of crime scene investigators, it doesn’t always stick to current technology. Including some only-dreamed-about technology won the series a 2004 Saturn Award from the Academy of Science Fiction. A fantasy episode or two, such as the one where corpses in the lab talked to one another, has also kept both writers and fans on the creative edge.

About CSI, The Experience

CSI: The Experience, opened at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas on September 13, 2009, just in time for my November visit. The MGM Grand is on the south end of the strip — and a stop on the monorail. The Experience lets participants be CSI detectives and solve a crime using various forensic tools.

MGM Hotel on the Las Vegas strip - Home of CSI: The Experience

MGM Hotel on the Las Vegas strip – Home of CSI: The Experience

Can You Solve the Crime as a CSI?

Four of us on our girlfriends’ getaway, all CSI enthusiasts, signed up to do The Experience together — and, of course, to see which team of two would be the first to solve the crime!

Girlfriends Getaway group and our CSI Supervisor

Girlfriends Getaway group and our CSI Supervisor

Unlike our t.v. counterparts, who have to take whatever crime scene they’re assigned, we got to pick. So, after thoroughly examining our three options, we went with Crime Scene #2, Who Got Served?

CSI: The Experience crime scene #2 – Penny, the murdered waitress.

CSI: The Experience crime scene #2 – Penny, the murdered waitress.

The first stop through the entrance was the crime scene. We stood around staring at one another and our clipboards, trying to decide where to start. What exactly were we supposed to note? The contents of the purse? The torn photo? The cell phone? This was harder than it seemed on t.v.

Giving it our best shots, we discussed every detail, just like Nick and Catherine would. But, we wondered, had we noticed everything?

We Use the Crime Lab!

We had as long as we needed to work through the crime lab, which was a good thing! You can see us below in action as we work through the seven areas needed to solve the crime: Information Technology, Latent Prints, Toxicology/Drug Testing, Forensic Entomology, Forensic Biology, DNA Identification and Forensic Pathology/Autopsy.

Penny in Toxicology Lab at CSI: The Experience in Las Vegas

Penny in the Toxicology Lab – photo by Janine Morris

Neilia in Autopsy watching Dr. Robbins, Coroner, on video - photo by Linda Aksomitis

Neilia in Autopsy watching Dr. Robbins, Coroner, on video – photo by Linda Aksomitis

Linda matching DNA – photo by Neilia Sherman

Linda matching DNA – photo by Neilia Sherman

Janine in Etymology in CSI: The Experience in Las Vegas

Janine in Etymology in CSI: The Experience in Las Vegas – photo by Linda Aksomitis

Penny at the computer at CSI: The Experience in Las Vegas

Penny bringing the clues together using the computer – photo by Linda Aksomitis

Solving the Crime!

Did we solve the crime? Yes! Which team won? Well, it was pretty much a tie.

However, while we all identified the criminal, none of us quite figured out how to email ourselves the certificate, so it’s just the generic sample below. I guess we should have just purchased one each!

CSI: The Experience Diploma - from MGM Grand in Las Vegas

CSI: The Experience Diploma – from MGM Grand in Las Vegas

Now that I’ve got my diploma (even if I didn’t get it printed), I’m even better at solving the crimes each week on CSI!


Information about CSI: The Experience

For more information, or to purchase your tickets online, visit — http://www.mgmgrand.com/entertainment/csi-the-experience.aspx


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