September 30, 2002 12:00 PM

CBS (Mondays, 10 p.m. ET)

Show of the Week

As a spinoff from TV’s highest-rated drama, the Las Vegas-set CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, this new series is widely seen as a likely hit. The taut and stylish pilot, airing Sept. 23, only serves to confirm that prospect.

I say this even though I didn’t buy the exposition establishing that Horatio (David Caruso) supplanted Megan (Kim Delaney) as head of the Miami-Dade police forensics unit while she took extra time off to mourn her late husband. Caruso and Delaney skillfully convey the tension between their characters, regardless of its origin. Besides, you’ll forget quibbles about the back story when the team locks onto the case of a corporate plane that crashed in the Everglades, raising questions of foul play and cooked books. The evidence analysis piques our curiosity, and Caruso shows he hasn’t lost the quiet intensity viewers discovered nine years ago on NYPD Blue. This time he should stick with the program.

Bottom Line: Fine in the sunshine

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