Zuiker Talks ‘Cyber Crimes’, ‘Level 26’ And A ‘CSI’ Movie

CSI creator Anthony Zuiker knows the CBS franchise still has juice left in it, but he’s also interested in expanding his crime solving horizons.

It’s been almost a year since Zuiker signed a first look deal with CBS, giving the network the first shot at picking up his latest ideas. “CBS is a great home,” Zuiker told Variety. “It was an honor to stay at the network that made me—so to speak. Dare To Pass is our new production company where we are developing new exciting shows for CBS on a ‘first look’ deal. This means we have to pitch CBS first and hopefully they don’t ‘pass.’ We are really focused on doing different, engaging television that is very character driven.”

As CSI Files previously reported, one of Zuiker’s ideas was for a series called Cyber Crimes. “CBS purchased the script, but did not choose to pick it up,” he shared. “I am currently deciding what to do with the script. I will most likely bring it to another network in January or do it for cable. It will definitely get on the air. I think it’s my best writing. CBS, I believe, is a bit top heavy this year in the crime [department], so they didn’t go forward. I’m, of course, disappointed. But that’s how it goes sometimes. I believe Cyber Crimes is the most relatable crime show in town.”

CBS might not be moving forward with Cyber Crimes, but the network is still home to the franchise that made Zuiker famous. CSI: Crime Scene Investigation is preparing to finish its tenth season, and the spinoff series CSI: Miami and CSI: New York are winding up their eighth and sixth seasons, respectively. Some might wonder if the addition of the spinoffs diluted the CSI brand after the introduction of the flagship series, but Zuiker disagrees. “[W]e figured if the audience wants more, we give them more,” he explained. “I think we played it perfect. Not too little. Not too much. And truth be told, we didn’t dilute ourselves. Our copycats did.”

The franchise isn’t running out of gory stories to tell, either. “[W]e’re going to keep killing people in as many ways as possible,” Zuiker said. “In fact, one of our t-shirts had every method of kill on it. We even wrote on the collar.” Despite the surplus of murder ideas, there are no plans to add to the franchise. “Three is enough—so to speak,” Zuiker continued. “There has been some talk about CSI:4, but I don’t think it’s going to happen. CSI: The Movie could be on the horizon at some point.” He added, “I hope there is a CSI movie. It’s up to bigger people than me, though. Perhaps you should write CBS and tell them to do it. I’m on board!”

When it comes to CSI on the small screen, sometimes the weather puts a damper on shooting plans. Despite the fact that it takes place in Las Vegas, which has an average of four inches of rainfall per year, CSI has included a number of rainstorms over the years. “I think it’s always raining in Las Vegas because we shoot the show in Los Angeles,” Zuiker said. “It’s always raining here. The one thing we always have to watch out for is having a ‘cover set’ to protect our forensics stories. For example, if we need to find specific ‘pollen’ in Central Park and it rains that day, the forensics might not be viable on film. This happened to us in season one of CSI: NY and it cost us $300,000 because the shoot was rained out and we had no cover set.”

Zuiker doesn’t have a favorite CSI character. However, “I am partial to Paul Millander,” he said, referring to the serial killer played by Matt O’Toole who made his first appearance in the CSI “Pilot”. And speaking of characters, Zuiker promised that CSI would explain why Sara Sidle (Jorja Fox) was willing to come back to work so soon after leaving her job. “All questions [regarding] Sara Sidle will be answered,” Zuiker said. “Stay tuned!”

Meanwhile, Zuiker is working on the follow-up to his first “digi-novel”, Level 26: Dark Origins. The new story, Dark Prophecy, will be released in October and is already available for pre-order on Amazon. Zuiker and his team are currently filming a one-hour short film for Dark Prophecy. “Book two is going to be about a tarot card killer that’s leaving tarot cards at crime scenes,” he revealed. “We are not going to deal with black Sqweegel in the new book. The second book, however, is awesome and we cast some great actors. Also, Dan Buran (Steve Dark) and Michael Ironside are coming back, too! And Sibby!” Fans of Level 26 can check out the official website for more information—including a special gift for the first 500 fans who pre-order Dark Prophecy.

Source: Variety

Rachel Trongo

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Rachel Trongo

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