As a native Nevadan, I've been ambivalent about CSI. Sure, it's neat that a major show is set in my eternally-belittled home state... but CSI is set in Vegas, which kinda sucks. See, I'm from Reno, and there's little love lost between the northern and southern Nevada: we don't care much for uppity yahoos from Vegas, and the feeling's largely mutual. 'Ceptin they probably don't call us anything as polite as "uppity yahoos." And it seems to rain a lot on CSI, which seems wrong.
So I was kinda psyched last night when CSI set off for Jackpot, Nevada for a sorta Halloweeny episode with Jeff Combs. "Where's that?" asks Marg Helgenberger. "Due north," I mutter at the TV, "'bout an hour past Wells on old 93, just this side of Idaho." And there goes William Petersen, off to see a man about a head he got in the mail. Is he aware it's a nine or ten hour drive from Vegas? Are the writers aware of that? Doesn't seem like it: Nevada ain't a small state, and that trip is the long axis. And when he gets to Jackpot, it's utterly wrong. The real Jackpot is tiny, and was a highway stop until it officially incorporated around 1960; it largely ekes by on gaming and recreation traffic from Idaho. Jackpot is high desert -- it's sheep and horse and cow and cowboy country. Last time I was through, a lot of it was unmanaged Federal land and open range. It's hills, valleys, rocks, cheet grass, sage, and scrub -- rough and tumble and breathtaking in its own way -- not spruce, pine, and white fir. Sure, you might find a small site with aspen and pine (like the site where this week's body was partly buried) but it's gonna be at like 8,000 feet or higher, in a "desert island" in the mountains with a spring feeding it, and it ain't gonna be in body-dragging distance of a well-maintained road. CSI's Jackpot had fir and spruce trees all over town and surrounding roads. The intrepid Mr. Petersen twice drives past a reservoir, but the nearest reservoirs are in Idaho and they aren't on major thoroughfares: I don't recall access being paved. There are lawns and big deciduous trees, which, except for a country club or a casino, don't really exist in Jackpot. CSI might be in southern California, but it sure as heck ain't in northeastern Nevada - oh, hey, wait! Didn't I see that reservoir on the news last week? Something about wildfires? Why, yes! That's Big Bear Lake, and, I think, the town of Fawnskin, California! You uppity Vegas yoinks.
Sigh. A note to CSI writer/producer Naren Shankar: nothing personal, but next time you get a chance for a location shoot and want to pull some ode-to-Deliverance town out of thin air, make it a fictional town, OK?