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'CSI: Cyber' will take crime fighting to the 'dark net'

'CSI: Cyber' will take crime fighting to the 'dark net'

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Have you ever experienced the dark web? The scary, mysterious part of the internet where criminals reign anonymously and money moves around without a trace. "That's where our new CSIs are going to be looking for criminals," says Jerry Bruckheimer, executive producer of CSI and summer blockbusters like Pirates of the Caribbean. Apparently, the normal human only ever uses four percent of the web. The remaining 96 percent is the "dark net," a spooky place that'll be where CSI will have its fictional FBI cybercrime chief hunting out criminals in CSI: Cyber later this year.

"Believe it or not, the world only uses this top four percent [of the internet]."The series stars Patricia Arquette as the FBI's cyber chief, and it's said that she'll be solving "high-octane crimes that start in the mind, live online, and play out in the real world." That'll involve her throwing out lingo like "chat-bot," "machine learning," and "artificial intelligence" and confusing those around her while she tracks down criminals that only she seems to understand. Arquette's character is also apparently able to tell when a person is lying, which will be useful should her encounters ever go IRL.

It's an idea very much based in modern fears, and — given CSI's sensibilities — it'll likely plays to the exaggerations that often accompany them. Descriptions of the show are limited so far, but they explain that it'll focus on the ability for "faceless criminals" to commit global crimes with the "touch of a button." CBS has already given a sneak preview of the show too, testing a pilot episode inside the standard CSI series. The episode, discussed in the video above, involved tracking down a person who had co-opted a woman's face to be a digital model in a sex chat room.

"I work down here. In the 96 percent. In the deep web."

To their credit, the CSI producers seem to feel that the series is simply a natural extension of CSI itself, focusing on new types of crime and new crimes that weren't around when CSI began. "The world has changed in the 14 years that the series has been on the air," Bruckheimer says. "There are all kinds of new criminals and all kinds of new crimes out there." One actor suggests that the original CSI helped viewers understand how forensics and DNA help solve real crimes, and that CSI: Cyber could do that with digital evidence for more modern ones.

It still looks and sounds over the top, of course. But with cyber threats being listed as the United States' top danger last year, there's no doubt Cyber will have plenty of material and a broader curiosity to work with.