As CSI: Crime Scene Investigation‘s thirteenth season approaches the finish line, the flagship series will address–once and for all–Sara Sidle’s long-distance marriage complications to her husband Gil Grissom, Nick Stokes’ career crisis, Conrad Ecklie’s promotion dilemma, and more. CSI Files has the exclusive details on this season’s remaining episodes.
This season has put focus on Jorja Fox‘s Sara Sidle. Despite returning to the lab in Season Ten’s “Family Affair” after a relatively brief exit and marrying her former crime lab supervisor Gil Grissom (William Petersen), the long-distance arrangement for her marriage has taken a toll. “We are moving toward some understanding of where Sara is and where the strains are within the relationship,” a source close to the show tells CSI Files. “It won’t mean that Grissom will appear in the near future; it really is from Sara’s side at this point,” one source continues. Though nothing is in the cards for Grissom to appear this season, the status of the marriage will be addressed. “Those issues are going to come to a head, and we will see that in “Forget Me Not.” We will see how that strain has played out, and someone from Sara’s past takes advantage of that strain.”
So far in Season Thirteen Sara has faced off against a creepy stalker and reunited with a former flame, both of which have served as foreshadowing for upcoming events. In this week’s installment titled “Forget Me Not,” Sara is accused of murder and once again crosses paths with Adam Harrington‘s Ronald Basderic. “In “Code Blue Plate Special” we really responded to the actor and to the character,” another source continues. This go around, however, things become personal. “Basderic has had survelliance on Sara, and he knows how vulnerable she is,” they preview of Basderic’s return. “[Co-Executive Producer] Andrew Dettmann thought that would be an interesting way to come back and integrate the pressures on Sara; it would just come to a head with this person because he felt humiliated by her and had taken that obsession too far.” During CSI‘s run Sara has had her fair share of formidable foes–from the miniature killer to Hannah West–so what exactly makes the villains in Las Vegas target the CSI? “She gets under people’s skin,” a source answers. “Certain cases, as has always been true, Sara has been able to act very professionally but can at times with certain crimes or certain suspects, affect her. It’s interesting that that’s happened over the course of the show.”
Making matters worse for Sara this week is the introduction of Sara’s oft-mentioned mother Laura Sidle, played by Kay Lenz. When “The Two Mrs. Grissoms” was penned two seasons ago, the writers felt they were reaching a point where introducing the pivotal family member would make logical sense. “But in terms of bringing her back for this particular episode, it was about bringing everything to a head in one episode,” a source reveals. Viewers have been privy to some details on Sara’s mother, dating as far back as Season Three’s “One Hit Wonder.” Laura, a schizophrenic, killed Sara’s father and was institutionalized, leaving Sara to be placed into foster care. “We don’t get into too much detail about how that was adjudicated, but she’s not in prison,” going on to say “she’s in a position now where she does care. We see how it’s worked for Sara recently.” The happy-go-lucky reunion is short-lived, at least for now. “Basderic has communicated with Sara’s mother; that’s the reason she knows what’s happening with Sara. Sara is trying to compartmentalize that part of her life, and Basderic has told her what has happened to Sara.” Appearing in only two scenes in the episode, the writers were able to “start filling in the blanks,” however not completely. “We may see her again.”
Sara’s return to the lab three seasons ago has confused viewers for some time. She has a husband now, once suffered burnout from the cases she worked, and had worked on creating a new chapter in life. Why is she still working in Vegas? “She is drawn to this type of work, but we will address why she continues to be drawn back to the Vegas Crime Lab,” answers one source. “They’ve become her surrogate family. There have been ties with the new team that have been established; the old team had a difficult time trying to reach out to have their own families, and the team itself became closest to them,” they continue. This is where the creative process meets the reality of the business, also. “Billy Petersen isn’t on the show anymore, and it’s difficult to get him for an appearance because there are other things going on with his life,” they add. “With Jorja we love the character of Sara Sidle and we love Jorja Fox. The attempt to explain her situation is challenging in a way, but we are trying to address it.” And just because things with Sara’s life are brought to a head this week, that certainly doesn’t mean that the volcano of Sara is finished erupting. “It will come to a head in Episode Fifteen, but it will have repercussions all the way into the finale, and next season as well,” a source previews. “What happens in that episode is not just, ‘that’s what happened; we’re done.’ It will have implications going forward.” One theory floating around: the Grissom-Sara romance will come to an end, and Sara’s emotional burdens from it carry through into the season. C’mon, Gil–you have a keeper. Fix it!
And while Sara has taken center stage this season, fans of George Eads‘ Nick Stokes will finally get some answers as to his displeasure with recent events in the lab. His last major episode, “Play Dead,” introduced a new canine companion for the CSI (last seen in “Exile”), and will make more appearances during the remainder of the season (first up, Episode Eighteen’s “Sheltered”). Previewing of what’s ahead for the long-time employee of the lab, a source says “Nick has a big story in Episode Nineteen which we’re in production with right now and it’s called “Backfire.”” Continuing, “It’s a home invasion case that he and Russell bond over and are particularly invested in to solve. It’s a case he’s deeply involved in.” But what about what occurred in “Homecoming” and “Karma to Burn”? “We haven’t had the opportunity to fully address that and it’s something we’re going to do by the finale.” Of Nick’s attitude towards the victims he sees on a constant basis: “His investment in helping people is very powerful, which is seen in Episode Nineteen [written by Jack Gutowitz], and will carry through into the rest of the season.”
Just eight episodes remain in CSI‘s twenty-two episode thirteenth season. “We’re working on certain character arcs; there are small character pieces which will carry through,” one close source previews. Two stories currently on the writers’ plate being Hodges (Wallace Langham) and his Italian fiancee, and whether Conrad Ecklie (Marc Vann) will accept the promotion to sheriff or not. From a story point in “Strip Maul,” the writers also anticipate seeing Captain Brass’ (Paul Guilfoyle) daughter Ellie (played by Teal Redmann, last seen in “Way to Go”). “We will address the Ellie issue with Brass. We’re not a hundred percent sure yet, partly because we’re not sure how we will address it,” they explain. For DB Russell’s (Ted Danson) part, things are still shaky within his humble family abode. “The fallout from Russell’s granddaughter’s kidnapping will be felt again for Russell; we check in with his family again and see how they’re doing in the wake of that.” More of what’s to come: Detective Crawford (Alimi Ballard) is back in subsequent episodes and some of the lab rats will also probably make some appearances coming up. As for Vegas’ favorite sexy former professionals: “We have a desire to bring Lady Heather back, but that won’t be this year. And we love Marg Helgenberger, but there’s nothing planned for her coming back. We’re open to it, but not this season.”
“The last few episodes are standalone, and lead into a finale which is also standalone, although there will be some elements of the finale that will drive us into next season, which is similar to last year,” they start to close out. For those individual episodes, expect “The lab rats episode to center on David Phillips’ [David Berman] high school reunion; Episode 20 (written by Gavin Harris) is about finding bodies in a mud bath; Twenty-One (written by Dettmann) is titled “Fearless” and delves into the ghost hunting arena, and Twenty-Two (written by Don McGill and Christopher Barbour) is titled “Skin in the Game.” For the finale: “We may have a special guest star, but not someone who has been on the show before.”
Must be time to break out those theory books again…