Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : September 28th 2015 Contents A27
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There was scant evidence suggest-
ing it would be a hit. CSI: Crime
Scene Investigation was a last-
minute pickup by CBS, plugged into
a Friday lineup whose widely fore-
cast surefire hit would be a reboot
of The Fugitive, not a quirky little
drama dwelling on hair fibers and
"I thought it was never going to
succeed," says Jorja Fox. At the time
she had a recurring role on The West
Wing as a Secret Service agent, "but
I thought, How fun would it be just
to take this ride for a little while! By
Christmas, I figured I would be back
on The West Wing."
"I figured there would be an audi-
ence for it," says William Petersen---
"among those people who do cross-
word puzzles. I never thought the
audience would also be everyone
who s NEVER done a crossword puz-
Though set in Las Vegas, CSI occu-
pies the world of forensic investigators
who solve criminal cases not in the
streets or an interrogation room, but
in the lab, where the truth reveals
itself in the evidence they probe.
Premiering in October 2000, CSI
was an out-of-nowhere smash. (The
Fugitive flopped.) But that was just
for starters. It would spawn two long-
running spin-offs, set in Miami and
New York, and recently gave birth to
a third, CSI: Cyber, which now will
survive it as the 15-season run of the
original CSI came to an end on Sun-
The two-hour farewell brings back
bygone stars including Marg Helgen-
berger (who played exotic-dancer-
turned-investigator Catherine Wil-
lows until departing three seasons
ago) and Petersen (who headlined for
eight-plus seasons as lab boss Gil
Petersen recalled that in 2000 he
was looking for a TV series, "but I
didn t want to play a lawyer, a cop
or a divorced dad. CSI was something
different, and while we didn t know
what it was going to be, we wanted
a chance to figure it out."
He got his chance and loved the
experience, he says, then moved on
in 2008 to pursue theater work. (Now
he is joining another series, WGN
America s Manhattan, for its second
season starting October 13.)
Being back on the CSI set for the
finale "was like no time had passed,"
he says. "It felt like yesterday."
"It was a delight to be back with
Billy," says Helgenberger. "We always
had great chemistry. He s a funny
guy, and I laugh at all his jokes."
But as the series marks the end,
some viewers thought they d never
see, the inevitable question arises:
Why was CSI so big, for so long?
Petersen observes that just weeks
after "CSI" premiered, a much-dis-
puted presidential election left many
Americans confused and disillusioned.
The terrorist attacks the following
September traumatsed millions.
This all cemented a period of what
Petersen calls "postmodern vague-
ness," with people doubting them-
selves and their world and wondering,
"What does it mean? What does it
matter? Where is the truth?"
"What our show did was give you
the truth," he declares. "You can be
confused about many things, but this
little piece of lint that we found on
the floor, you can count on that.
Granted, it was just one small truth
about one particular case, but it was
something you could touch and see
and trust in."
"The show had a new way of com-
ing at crime and murder and may-
hem," says Ted Danson, who joined
the series in Season 12 as DB Russell
and now is a star of the Cyber spin-
"Taking a scientific point of view
on a crime show was new back then,
and allowed viewers into the darker
side of life in a way that wasn t just
"On pretty much every show we
got the guy, thanks to irrefutable sci-
ence," says Helgenberger. "We made
science fun and interesting."
Even now, when science has fallen
into disfavor among many---people
for whom what you believe overrules
what science proves---CSI still cham-
pions the scientific method in the
face of its cultural assault.
As Grissom told his colleagues on
an early episode---forget personalities,
ambitions and assumptions.
"Concentrate on what cannot lie:
the evidence," he said. Ever since on
"CSI," hard evidence with its glorious
certitude paved the way to enlight-
The trip ends Sunday, "by offering
the fans who ve been loyal so long
with an opportunity to say goodbye
to the people they fell in love with at
the start," says Danson, who vows,
"It will be very satisfying."
"I still feel a little delirious," says
Fox, speaking only a couple of days
after wrapping the finale.
"Right now, I really feel maniacally
happy about it," she says, having spent
most of 15 seasons as forensics sci-
entist Sara Sidle.
"I feel like, wow, look at this amaz-
ing run we were able to have! And
now we ve gotten a chance to close
the book. That s a very comforting
CSI ends its
15-season run with
2-hour reunion finale
David Berman, from left, Marg Helgenberger, Jorja Fox, William Petersen and Ted Danson appear in a scene
from the two-hour series finale of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation. AP PHOTO
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