The CSI Miami co-executive producers discuss the big CSI crossover kicking off in Miami tonight, a deadly situation for three CSIs and what brings Eric Delko back–on the opposite side of his former colleagues. Spoilers inside!
CSI: Miami‘s eighth season has been one of many changes for the show, with the departure of Adam Rodriguez (Eric Delko) from regular rotation and the addition of several new characters, including Jesse Cardoza (Eddie Cibrian), a CSI who worked with Horatio years ago. Co-Executive Producers Marc Dube and Barry O’Brien share some insight about the cast changes this season, what fans can expect to see in the Miami episode of the three show crossover and the status of Calleigh (Emily Procter) and Delko’s complicated relationship.
CSI Files: The big CSI crossover is set to kick off in Miami this week. What can you tell us about the Miami installment?
Barry O’Brien: The first installment of the crossover begins in Miami, Monday at ten. It’s a compelling story with noir elements — we open on a young girl, seemingly terrified, behind the wheel of her car, fleeing the city of Miami. Her tires have worn down to the rims, sparks are flying, which give evidence to her desperation. Meanwhile, the girl’s mother makes a frantic plea to Horatio Caine (David Caruso)– find her daughter. She’s missing. Our CSIs embark on what begins as a search for a missing person. Unfortunately, when they find body parts strewn off the side of the freeway, their search turns to a murder investigation. Our CSIs find parts to a second body that connects us to a missing girl in Las Vegas. Calleigh Duquesne (Emily Procter) reaches out to the Las Vegas CSI’s. As a result, Dr. Raymond Langston, played by the legendary Laurence Fishburne, flies to Miami to join the investigation. Dr. Langston and Horatio work side by side to solve both murders. In the course of their investigation, Horatio and Dr. Langston uncover a deadly conspiracy involving the Zeta Gang and long haul truckers. That story continues as we follow a young girl, kidnapped and forced into the back of an eighteen wheeler, bound for New York.
CSI Files: How will Horatio and Ray Langston get along?
O’Brien: The relationship between Horatio and Dr. Langston mirrors the relationship between David Caruso and Laurence Fishburne. These two legendary, iconic actors are truly friends. Theirs is a friendship based on a shared history as actors and the mutual respect afforded performers at the very top of their games. Watching them work together was a lot like watching professional athletes. There was a camaraderie and electricity between them like nothing I have ever seen.
CSI Files: The big news this season in CSI: Miami seems to be all the cast changes! How is everyone adjusting? What’s the biggest challenge going into the eighth season of the show with the departure of one regular and the addition of three more?
O’Brien: The cast has certainly gone through some changes. We all feel it. Actors, writers, crew. After eight seasons, the show functions as a true family. We saw the fabric of that family transition a bit this year. Adam Rodriguez left to pursue other career options. Eddie Cibrian, Omar Benson Miller and Christian Clemenson came in to fill the void. That shows you the power of Adam. It took three people to try and fill his slot. The happy truth is, Adam isn’t gone. He’ll be back for a ton of episodes this season and, hopefully, will rejoin the family full time. So, we have the amazing benefit of Eddie, Omar and Christian and have Adam as well! Eddie Cibrian as Jesse Cardoza is an exciting addition to the show. He has a mysterious back story that we’ll be exploring in upcoming episodes. Omar is a great talent from the feature world who gives us both solid comedy elements as well as a sense of authenticity to his role. And, the Emmy-winning Christian Clemenson as ME Tom Loman… he’s a gem!
CSI Files: Was the introduction of Jesse Cardoza planned before Adam Rodriguez decided to leave the show?
O’Brien: Adam’s departure took us all by surprise. Thankfully, Eddie was available and immediately gave us all a sense of confidence that, yeah, we’d be okay. With Adam’s return… you won’t believe the electricity between these two actors once they’re playing opposite one another. Stay tuned!
CSI Files: Jesse mentioned a mysterious woman in “In Plane Sight” but told Calleigh “it’s not what you think.” Can you tease anything about this woman’s identity? Will we get to meet her at some point?
O’Brien: Jesse did, in fact, mention a mysterious woman from his past. The subject came up between both Walter and Natalia (Eva La Rue). The most I’m able to tease at this point is — it’s a mysterious woman from Jesse’s past. Trust me when I tell you, the mystery will unfold in a surprising and compelling way. And soon! And, yes, the audience will definitely be meeting her!
CSI Files: Are there sparks flying between Jesse and Natalia? Is there a possible romance there?
O’Brien: Jesse and Natalia are great in scenes together, aren’t they? Sparks… well, let’s just say they push each other’s buttons. Natalia is on to the fact that Jesse may be hiding something. And, she’s determined to find out what that something may be. Natalia Boa Vista has a bit of a mysterious past herself. I think that enables her to see some of the damage behind Jesse’s stoic demeanor. Suffice to say, all is not what it seems with either Jesse or Natalia. When the truth comes out, new vulnerability will be revealed for both characters. And, that’s the stuff of great drama.
CSI Files: Fans have noticed Natalia is around less than some of her co-workers. Is there a reason for this? Can we expect to see more of her in future episodes?
Marc Dube: We certainly have a larger cast to contend with this season. Which is a great thing. More story possibilities. However, as a result, we have to shuffle around some of our players on the field. By season’s end, we really make a conscious effort to be sure every character has faced some kind of personal or professional challenge. Natalia Boa Vista’s turn is certainly coming. She will be facing a personal setback in the workplace, which forces her to conceal a harsh truth from colleagues.
CSI Files: What’s on the horizon for Ryan Wolfe (Jonathan Togo)? He and Delko had a rocky start that ultimately resulted in a friendship; will Ryan and Jesse become friends as well?
Dube: Ryan and Jesse are forging a unique relationship. They’re definitely not afraid to bust on each other. Jesse was quick to point out that he was a member of CSI long before Wolfe showed up. And Wolfe is extremely curious about Jesse’s elusive background and is not afraid to put him on the spot about it. Jesse plays it off, but how long can he keeping the probing questions at bay?
CSI Files: What exactly is the status of Eric and Calleigh’s relationship? Are they still together, or is their relationship over?
O’Brien: The frayed ends and emotional unfinished business between Calleigh and Eric Delko will remain a driving force roiling just under the surface of season eight at CSI: Miami. As my daughter, Delaney, often asks me… will Calleigh and Eric ever get together? The answer is — I can’t say. But, that very question and the emotional power behind it, will inform every time these two characters are in a scene together. I can tell you this– I’m very confident you will not expect the surprising turns this subtextual story takes.
CSI Files: Delko left the lab, but we’ve heard he’ll be back on the show. What are the circumstances surrounding his return?
O’Brien: Delko makes a powerful return to the series in episode 811 when he becomes a forensic expert for the defense… opposing our CSIs in a pre-trial hearing in court over a shocking murder case. Delko finds himself head to head against both Horatio and Calleigh on the witness stand as he counters forensic evidence our team presents for the prosecution. When the judge in the case refuses to take the case to trial, Delko finds himself “monitoring” his old team as they go back to the scene to find more compelling evidence. As you can imagine, the dynamic between the characters is turned on its ear and tested as its CSI versus CSI. Delko and his old team ultimately join forces to find the real killer. And, the outcome is a shocker!
CSI Files: Will there be any emotional fallout for Calleigh over his departure?
O’Brien: As I mentioned, the fallout for Calleigh and Delko will continue and deepen in complexity as the season progresses. Just as Locard says… one always leaves evidence on another. So, it goes for Eric and Calleigh. They’ve left an indelible mark on each other and this is the year they confront that.
CSI Files: Miami has something of a revolving door for lab techs. Is Walter Simmons here to stay?
Dube: We love the guy. He sells the science and he makes us laugh. His interaction with the rest of the cast feels fresh. We’ve really enjoyed his involvement in the show and are looking forward to seeing how it evolves.
CSI Files: We’ve heard that there will be a showdown between pals Jesse and Walter in which Jesse is aiming his gun at Walter. Can you tease anything about that situation?
Dube: Yes, you will see Jesse and Walter take each other on in an episode entitled, “Count Me Out.” You’ll see their friendship, but also their rivalry, and how they respond to a split-second life threatening decision. A near death experience can bring out the best and worst in people. For these two, it’s fight or flight. Which do they choose?
CSI Files: Rumor has it that two CSIs are caught in an explosion in a future episode. Can you tell us which two CSIs?
Dube: There are plenty of plot spoilers out there. We’ll let them do the heavy lifting. Two of our people do get in harm’s way — and a third has little choice but to do the same. Will they survive? Can’t say. But one thing’s for sure. Things will not be the same for one of them as a result. How’s that for a cliffhanger?
CSI Files: “Bad Seed” featured a great moment with the team all gathered together to discuss the case at hand. Can we expect to see more of that?
Dube: We’re really pushing to do more of that this season. It’s difficult to achieve from a production standpoint. More set-ups for our crew, more syncing of schedules. But it really is great to see the whole gang in a scene together. It reinforces the TEAM aspect and lends a greater sense of urgency to the stories we’re telling. It gives us a real “all hands on deck” feel.
CSI Files: Is Horatio’s son Kyle (Evan Ellingson) still working in the morgue?
Dube: Kyle could be working in the morgue… In your imagination. Maybe he’s working the graveyard shift. Either way, we’re not featuring him this season. We’ve elected to pursue other story lines for Horatio. That’s not to say the winds won’t change. We enjoyed exploring that side of Lieutenant Caine. Never say never.
CSI Files: Fan favorite Stetler (David Lee Smith) has been around quite a bit to butt heads with Horatio. Will he be showing up again anytime soon?
Dube: Stetler is the guy that stirs the pot. If our CSIs get angry on the job or at each other, it’s quite often because Stetler has stepped on somebody’s toes, made bold accusations, or questioned CSI operating procedure. He’s a valuable tool. If we want to lob another obstacle in front of our CSI’s, he’s our man. You will, most certainly, see him again.