The ‘CSI: NY’ showrunner and co-executive producer preview the final two episodes of the season, and Lenkov discusses his new fall show, ‘Hawaii 5-O.’ Spoilers inside!
Big changes are ahead for CSI: NY: the show is moving to Friday nights at 9pm in the fall, and showrunner Peter Lenkov, who has helmed the show for the last several seasons with Pam Veasey, is leaving to run Hawaii 5-O. Lenkov and Co-Executive Producer Zachary Reiter offer a glimpse into the final few episodes of the season, and Lenkov takes a look back at his tenure on the show in this exclusive CSI Files interview.
CSI Files: Can you preview the final two episodes of the season? What’s coming up as season six wraps up?
Zachary Reiter: The penultimate episode, written by Pam Veasey, is an homage to Alfred Hitchcock‘s Rear Window. Anyone who has lived in New York City, or even visited for that matter, has engaged in a bit of voyeurism. It’s inescapable. The window is a portal to the world around you and no matter how mundane the activity, it’s difficult to turn away. The modern equivalent might be Chat Roullete, an arena we intend to tackle next season. As you might expect, Mac (Gary Sinise) is confined to his apartment due to an injury and he succumbs to the allure of the panoply of windows next door. Inevitably he witnesses something suspicious and takes on the role of Jimmy Stewart to Peyton’s Grace Kelly.
The finale showcases the return of Shane Casey (Edward Furlong), a character near and dear to my twisted heart. He’s got unfinished business that dates back to season three and he’s out to exact revenge for something precious he believes was stolen from him. From the moment we met him it was clear Shane had an intricate and unorthodox way of expressing his anger and rage, to put it mildly, and he’s back to his old ways. Danny (Carmine Giovinazzo) and Lindsay (Anna Belknap) find themselves in a precarious situation culminating in a cliffhanger we hope the viewers will be talking about until we return in September. It should be a fun ride.
CSI Files: What was behind the decision to bring characters we haven’t seen in a few seasons, like Peyton Driscoll (Claire Forlani), Reed Garrett (Kyle Gallner) and Shane Casey back to CSI: NY?
Peter Lenkov: First and foremost, we wanted to honor the little universe we created by bringing back characters the audience enjoyed and us writers enjoyed writing for. There’s something about characters returning after some time has passed that make the whole experience feel more real don’t you think?
CSI Files: What brings Peyton back into Mac’s orbit?
Reiter: Well, first of all, the return of Peyton means the return of Claire Forlani. And any opportunity to continue working with her should be taken advantage of. Secondly, it’s not often that a character in the CSI franchise gets to have a love triangle. So when Mac got involved with Aubrey (Madchen Amick) and appeared to have a spark, a moment of genuine happiness, it was incumbent upon us as writers to muddy that up, even if for a brief moment. Claire plays an important role in what Mac witnesses from his window and their disparate opinions on what Mac actually saw make for some interesting scenes.
CSI Files: Mac has been seeing Aubrey Hunter. How will Peyton’s return affect their burgeoning relationship?
Reiter: To be completely honest, that remains to be seen. Gary and Madchen have great chemistry and it would be nice to see Mac begin to peel some of his protective layers if that relationship grows. If we’re fortunate enough to have Madchen and Claire back next season it would be equally nice to see Mac torn between two women who have been able to pierce his guarded exterior and make him believe in love again.
CSI Files: The big cliffhanger this season has been touted as involving the Messer family. Why is Shane targeting Danny?
Reiter: Shane’s motive for targeting Danny dates back to season three as I alluded to earlier. There is one thing above all that Shane values and when he believes, in his pathological mind, that that has been compromised he has to resort to extreme measures to make it right.
CSI Files: Why didn’t Danny report his badge missing after it was stolen? Or after he found out Shane was responsible?
Lenkov: First, according to our advisors, losing your badge isn’t that big a deal… but [it] winding up in the hands of a serial killer is. I think Danny wasn’t accepting it was Casey because he was behind bars. I think what he was doing during the time between was trying to find out who really stole it. I guess as writers we just didn’t want to play the obvious—Mac pissed at Danny for losing his tin.
CSI Files: What was behind the decision to bring Shane Casey back?
Reiter: The decision to bring Shane Casey back had everything to do with the fans. I think he’s been one of the more dynamic, albeit insane, characters we’ve had on the show and it appeared that the fans really enjoyed watching him. He’s a fun character to write, and then when you add Edward Furlong’s charisma and unpredictability, Shane becomes that much more interesting to watch.
CSI Files: Why have Lindsay, Adam (A. J. Buckley) and Sid (Robert Joy) been missing from episodes this season? Will that trend continue into next season?
Reiter: There were contractual issues that precluded us from having Lindsay, Sid and Adam in every episode. Our hope, however, is to resolve that and to see much more of them in the upcoming season. Sid and Adam provide a great deal of humor and levity. I can understand if the fans missed them when they didn’t appear. I know the writers did.
CSI Files: What’s coming up for Stella (Melina Kankaredes) in the final episodes of the season?
Reiter: Stella remains the tough, shrewd, no-nonsense detective. She’s been through the ringer in the past and these final two episodes allow for others in the CSI family to find themselves in the line of fire. The beautiful thing about Stella is she’s exactly the kind of woman and detective you want on your side when trouble knocks on your door. But rest assured, there’s plenty more to learn about Stella in the future.
CSI Files: Stella and Adam had a hot hookup at the beginning of the season, but it’s pretty much been dropped. Why was that, and is there a chance it will be revisited?
Reiter: Never say never, right? Well…. I think never. I’m sure now that I’ve said that we’ll get them back together immediately. My gut is that it was a one-time thing. And it was an interesting choice I think to have them lean on each other in that way after a traumatic event in their lives. It didn’t need to become soap opera-y afterward with all sorts of awkwardness and feelings getting hurt. It just happened. And it’s kind of fun for them and the audience to know that bit of history between them that the others don’t know about.
CSI Files: We just learned in “Redemptio” that Dr. Hawkes (Hill Harper) had a sister. Are there any other skeletons in his closet?
Reiter: There are always skeletons.
CSI Files: Peter, “Redemptio” was your last episode for CSI: NY. What was your inspiration for the episode?
Lenkov: “Snow Day”. Ever since I wrote that episode I wanted to write an action episode for Hill. The little bit of action he did in “Snow Day” told me he was capable of so much more. Hill was super awesome in 619.
CSI Files: You’re leaving CSI: NY to head up Hawaii Five-O. Was it a difficult decision?
Lenkov: Hardest decision of my career. I love CSI:NY, the cast, the crew, the fans… I feel like I’m leaving home again. First time was Montreal for Los Angeles. Now it’s NY for Hawaii.
CSI Files: Looking back over the seasons you’ve been on the show, is there an episode or an arc you’re most proud of?
Lenkov: “Yarzheit” and Ed Asner‘s Emmy nomination. That episode was very personal for me. One I wanted to write for years. And best perk was Ed and I became friends and we have dinner now every few months.
CSI Files: Is there anything you didn’t get a chance to do that you wish you had?
Lenkov: Write more episodes. Thank the crew more often.
CSI Files: What do you think sets CSI: NY apart from the two elder CSI shows?
Lenkov: Character. I think we spend a lot of time developing our people. But you should know, I am a huge fan of the entire franchise, so I don’t have a favorite. Well, maybe NY edges them out…
CSI Files: You’re moving on to Hawaii Five-O. What drew you to that project?
Lenkov: It was my father’s favorite show.
CSI Files: What kinds of things can audiences expect from Hawaii Five-O?
Lenkov: The three “C’s” — Character, Crime & Comedy.
CSI Files: Do you have any hopes for what direction CSI: NY will go in from here on?
Lenkov: I do… and from what I’ve heard is happening… sounds like it’ll exceed my expectations. I’m excited to watch… Is it Fall yet?
CSI Files: Zach, have there been any discussions about season seven? In general, can you hint at what’s ahead?
Reiter: We’ve started breaking a few stories… nothing that I can hint at right now. It’s too early and I don’t want to promise anything that we ultimately don’t deliver. But as always we will be looking to explore more with each character while finding new and interesting ways to spin uniquely New York stories.
CSI Files: You’ll be taking over some of Peter’s duties next season. What direction are you hoping to take the show in?
Reiter: Make no mistake about it, there is only one showrunner here and that’s Pam Veasey. And she’s an amazing person to work for and with. As was Peter Lenkov who will be sorely missed as he heads off to run Hawaii Five-O. I’m looking forward to season seven and yet another great ride.