Sela Ward’s addition to CSI: New York as former FBI agent Jo Danville forced the writers to start from scratch on the new season, but it also provided a new perspective during the show’s seventh year. (Spoilers after the jump!)
When Melina Kanakaredes (Stella Bonasera) decided to leave the crime drama, the writers had to scrap six scripts and start over. They didn’t have much time to develop Jo as a character before filming started, but everything seems to be working out. “You definitely want more time to develop a character, but Sela has helped to bring so much to it in the first episode,” Veasey told TV Guide. “But it did revive us a little bit. It’s fun to create a new character that stays with us week after week.”
Ward’s character is a divorced mother who moved from Virginia to the Big Apple to be close to her college-aged son. Jo is very different than her New York counterparts. “She’s a little gentler, slower. The South doesn’t move as fast as New York City, and we’re not trying to change her,” Veasey explained. “She’s a little messy. She thinks about the people first. She understands the science, but she’s also a very clever assumption-maker.”
“Jo’s bringing a new approach to the work,” said leading man Gary Sinise (Mac Taylor). “She’s coming from the FBI and she has worked on a lot of psychological cases. It’s fun to see what they’re doing with her character in terms of the kind of mind games she plays, not only with the perpetrators that she goes to interrogate, but with her own peers.”
Ward’s addition to the cast gives the show a chance to reintroduce the fans to characters they’ve known for six years. “Once you get to add a new character, the fun of that is to let that person learn who our people are,” Veasey said. “That reintroduces them to audiences or those people who may not have watched the show.”
In addition to reintroducing the characters, different members of the team will get focus in early episodes of season seven. Mac will face off with guest stars Edward James Olmos and John Larroquette. Resident lab rat Adam Ross (AJ Buckley) will get out of the crime lab. The team will encounter Danny Messer’s (Carmine Giovinazzo) former partner. An episode that deals with a haunting in Central Park will feature Dr Sheldon Hawkes (Hill Harper). “We really landed on our characters having some personal pull in the crime story this season,” Veasey revealed. “Whether they know the person or not, the character leads us through it rather than the events of the crime.”
The original interview is from TVGuide.com. Thanks to perlnoir from TalkCSI for the link.