Interview: Omar Benson Miller

Two episodes remain in CSI: Miami’s ninth season, and as always the show plans on closing the season with a bang. With the penultimate episode, “G.O.”, set to air tomorrow night, series star Omar Benson Miller, who plays art-theft specialist Walter Simmons, previews the final two episodes of the season, his growing friendship with Ryan Wolfe (Jonathan Togo), and more with CSI Files’ Shane Saunders.

CSI Files: As we head into these final two episodes of the season, are there any moments that shed more light as to who Walter Simmons is?

Omar Benson Miller: You know, not just particular moments for Walter, but I think that you guys are going to be surprised as to the fabric and texture of the team after these next two episodes. We get tested in a very new kind of way.

CSI Files: Interesting!

Omar Miller

Photo credit: Manfred Baumann

Miller: I can’t say too much because I don’t want to reveal a couple of the twists from the final two episodes, but you’re going to see the texture of character of everybody on the team.

CSI Files: We hear the season ends on a cliff-hanger and that a character’s life is put in grave danger. How does Walter fair at the end of the season?

Miller: See, now you’re trying to mine for information that I can’t give you!

There’s a very perilous ending at the end of this season and it is a cliff-hanger. There’s more than one CSI’s life that is in danger and I think that you guys are going to want stay tight to the TV to figure out what goes down. Put it like this: we’re all in duress at the end of the season.

CSI Files: Walter started off in an emotional state this season after the death of colleague and personal friend Jesse Cardoza (Eddie Cibrian). Has Walter moved past the grieving period?

Miller: I think we moved past the grieving and are back to work. In theory, what these kind of guys do is when you take on a job like this, you recognize what the potential dangers are. You hope it never becomes realized. But, you recognize there is a chance, so you can’t let it crumble your world. In this case I was closest to Jesse on the team and I was really happy that the show let me deal with him being killed and now it’s more continuing on in the way that any other CSI would want you to continue after they pass. He’s gone, but not forgotten.

CSI Files: What was that like as an actor to lose not only a character you interacted with on the show, but someone who in real life departed the series?

Miller: It’s different. It was really different. It was the first time that it happened to me; this is my first extended stay on a television series. So this thing was kind of difficult. I really liked working with Eddie Cibrian. I liked coming into work with him, we went to Laker games together, and all kinds of stuff. We actually built a rapport; I met his wife, his kids, his father. So not having him there every day is like losing a friend because he has to move on in his real life and do other work and continue to live. That bond is there but not the same as when you see somebody every day. It was tough, but it gave me a very quick lesson in the world of television. You have to be professional and move on.

CSI Files: There was a close bond between Jesse and Walter last season, and it seems like at this point in time Walter and Ryan now share a similar relationship. Would you agree that Ryan has stepped up as Walter’s new best buddy?

Miller: Oh, absolutely. And I don’t even think necessarily he steps up as it, because if you remember last season we had a lot of Three Amigos kind of moments going on where they would put Eddie, Togo, and myself together. Now it seems like there’s a lot of moments with Jonathan and I or Jonathan, Adam [Rodriguez, Eric Delko] and I. He’s a really funny dude and they like to take the comedy that he and I can take and bring together and the chemistry that we have and bring it to life on screen.

Some of my favorite moments when I watch the show are the moments between us and the suspects. Like this season [in “About Face”] when we interviewed the girl that we thought was the killer [who was] the victim’s ex-roommate and she was like, “look at me, do I look like a killer?” (laughs) And Wolfe and I look at each other and we’re like “you kind of do.” There’s a lot of nuances that he and I can bring to the table based on our personal relationship.

CSI Files: Viewers learned in “Hunting Ground” that Walter speaks some French! Was that something you learned specifically for the episode or do you happen to be bilingual in real life?

Omar Miller

Photo credit: Manfred Baumann

Miller: I actually speak a little French in real life. Little French, little Spanish, just enough to get by when I have to. “Oui Oui” or “Sí, gracias.” It was something that since Adam wrote and directed that episode, it was something that he wanted to incorporate and I really liked it to be honest with you. I feel like he gave the show another dynamic because in that scene he was speaking Spanish, I was speaking French, and the wonderful actor Jamie Hector who was playing opposite us was speaking Creole. We had really cool subtitles and it spiced up the show I felt like.


CSI Files: Those small character moments are always a wonderful highlight for a show that is primarily focused on investigating murders.

Miller: I agree, I agree. And you’re a CSI Files man, so I think you can attest to this is what people want to see. They definitely want to see the team work together and solve crimes, but I believe they also want to see us on a more individual level as well and get inside as to who we are as characters.

CSI Files: Adam Rodriguez sported multiple duties this season as both an actor, director, and writer. Have you ever considered working behind the camera on the show?

Miller: Yeah, I have actually, but I saw what it did to Adam and it was tough on him even thought it recharged him in a certain way. I have more aspirations to direct films and independent films, but if a spot opened up to direct an episode I wouldn’t shy away from it.

I thought it was great that Adam put a specific spin and a different look in his episode than in other episodes from the season. That episode really stood out to me.

CSI Files: Talk CSI users really took a liking to his episode.

Miller: I believe it. I thought David [Caruso, Horatio Caine] was great in that episode and I feel like he stepped it up and really supported Adam and really helped him out in a lot of ways when we were on set hoping to get the best possible product out there. Hopefully Adam gets to direct another episode or two [next] season.

CSI Files: Going into season nine there was some talk that Walter had a powerful secret that would be explored. I’m assuming that storyline has been put on hold for the time being.

Miller: It has. There’s been a lot of real life subplots that took place [this year] in the world of CSI: Miami. With Emily [Procter, Calleigh Duquesne] having her baby and Adam directing, all of this kind of stuff caused for shifts set to take place in the storyline because of scheduling and timing. I’m actually meeting up with one of the writers sooner or later so that we can hopefully expose that secret thing.

CSI Files: You’re currently on hiatus. Do you have any special plans for the summer?

Miller: Yeah, actually! I have a film [Gordon Glass] coming out that I directed and made with my family and friends that comes out July 12th in WalMart, Best Buy, iTunes, and NetFlix. So I’m really excited about that. Working on a couple of side projects, just some passion projects. As far as television shows go, now I’m doing feature shows.


Shane Saunders is a freelance writer and reviewer.

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