The series follows Las Vegas criminalists (identified as "Crime Scene Investigators") working for the Las Vegas Police Department (LVPD) (instead of the actual title of "Crime Scene Analysts" and "Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department" (LVMPD)) as they use physical evidence to solve grisly murders in this unusually graphic drama, which has inspired a host of other cop-show "procedurals". The series mixes deduction, gritty subject matter and character-driven drama. The network later added spin-offs CSI: Miami and CSI: NY, which have both been cancelled after ten and nine season respectively.
CSI has been recognized as the most popular dramatic series internationally by the Festival de Télévision de Monte-Carlo, which has awarded it the "International Television Audience Award (Best Television Drama Series)" three times. CSI's worldwide audience was estimated to be over 73.8 million viewers in 2009. In 2012, CSI was named the most watched show in the world for the fifth time.