The CSI: NY cast is back to work this week as production for the upcoming eighth season starts up. Taking time out of his busy filming schedule AJ Buckley, who plays geeky lab tech Adam Ross, spoke with CSI Files’ Shane Saunders about the odds of season eight being the series’ last, details surrounding the upcoming season premiere, and… actors from Twilight guest starring. Spoilers inside!
CSI Files: You just started back at work for the new season on Wednesday! How did you spend your hiatus?
AJ Buckley: This break was a lot different than most breaks were, you know I was acting and doing stuff in front of the camera. This break I spent a lot of time sort of doing stuff that had to deal with behind the camera. I’m one of the partners of a magazine that’s based in Louisiana, Scene Magazine, and I was dealing with that. Trying to put a couple projects together and I was doing a web series that I was producing with L.A. Entertainment, so it was interesting. It was just a lot of stuff that was behind the camera. I have a project that I want to film right now that I want to direct. So… it’s not so much changing gears, but trying to open up more doors for myself. I’m really enjoying this part of the business.
CSI Files: For a while it seemed like you would have an especially long hiatus, since there was a possibility CSI: NY would not be returning this fall.
Buckley: Yeah, it was a little scary there. Look, when any show gets this far along I think every season after that is a gift. We’ve been fortunate enough to say that we’ve been part of the CSI franchise for such a long time and to have seven seasons— let alone, eight—is such a rarity. The biggest thing that would have been a bummer is the ability of not having the proper closure and being able to say goodbye, so if this is the last season, and I think a lot of people sort of feel this may be the last season, I mean, you just never know. It would be great to get to ten seasons, but I think it’s a blessing either way. You can’t really be too bummed about it. I mean, of course you’d be sad because the people you’ve basically grown up with and spent so much time and shared so many memories with, that would be a real big bummer. But I think when it gets this far along, there’s nothing wrong with change.
CSI Files: When did you find out the show was coming back?
Buckley: I found out the show was picked up, but then I hadn’t heard if I was coming back, you never know. You find out the show is [picked up] and go, “yay, the show is coming back!” and then you’re waiting for your agent or manager or lawyer to call you and saying you got your official pick up letter.
I was actually up in Canada just before Game Five, the Boston/Vancouver Canuck game and I think I was heading to the game when I found out.
CSI Files: “Exit Strategy” planted some interesting little seeds for the upcoming season: Mac contemplating leaving the lab and Danny being promoted to sergeant. Where do you see things going with Adam this season?
Buckley: I don’t know. I mean last year for me I don’t think really a lot happened. I got that one episode at the beginning [“Unfriendly Chat”], but it was a really quiet season for Adam. He kind of just came in and gave information; nothing really happened. It wasn’t per se my favorite season for the character because there just wasn’t a hell of a lot going on, but I’m hoping this year—if it is the curtain call—that something crazy happens. We’ve touched upon his past—the stuff with his dad, the stuff with him growing up, and all these sort of bullying issues that he had growing up—but never really got into that. I think out of all the characters other than Sela’s new character, there’s a lot they can do with Adam. There really hasn’t been a lot going on with him, so I’m kind of hoping there’s some exploration with the demons in his closet.
CSI Files: You’re currently filming the season premiere; can you share a bit of what you’ve been working on?
Buckley: All I can tell you is that I got choked up reading the script. Zach [Reiter] and John [Dove] wrote this and it’s the most truthful dialogue that I think I’ve read for all the characters. It deals with New York and some 9/11 stuff and every character had really great moments in this. And I think each episode if there’s a moment that you can sort of hang your hat on, then you’re like, “okay, that was cool.” There’s a couple moments in that I felt that for Adam, and just stuff that goes on with Mac in this episode. When I finished the script I was like, “wow, this is a really special episode.” I really think people around the world are gonna relate to this because what happened on 9/11 affected everybody in the world. This is gonna be an episode that I think will go down for sure in the books as one of the best episodes. One of the most powerful, emotionally charged episodes.
CSI Files: Would you compare the tone of the episode as similar to episodes from the first two seasons?
Buckley: Yeah, it definitely brings it full circle. I definitely think there’s a real full circle in that timeframe. The people that have been with the show for that long are maybe going to have that feeling, the fans that have been watching for that long. New fans I think will fall deeper in love with the show. I think on so many levels people are going to be affected by this. Whether they’re a fan of CSI: NY or not they’ll feel something for this.
CSI Files: Now, there’s some speculation on the Web that Gary Sinise will be back for only a few episodes. Do you know if he’s planning on leaving this season?
Buckley: I have no idea. Let’s keep ‘em guessing. [laughs]
CSI Files: Do you know how many episodes you’re filming this season?
Buckley: We’re picked up for eighteen. We’ll be done filming February 6th, which is gonna be pretty crazy when it’s done. Usually it starts and we go until the end of April, but this year we’ll be done three days before my birthday. I wonder if I’ll get a gift still from CBS since they always give awesome gifts. I think I’m getting shafted. [laughs] They give the best birthday gifts.
CSI Files: You’re probably just hoping the season gets extended to nineteen episodes just so you can get your birthday gift!
Buckley: [laughs] C’mon! Honestly, this has been one of the best experiences of my life. I’ve learned so much on so many different levels. Just the opportunity that Pam Veasey gave me and she’s really kind of stood behind me and given this character and myself so much opportunity to have a moment and get excited about my career. The show has been a big stepping stone in my career, it’s been an incredible journey and I’m forever grateful to everyone at CSI.
CSI Files: On the other CSI shows there’s multiple lab techs put into rotation, but with CSI: NY—with the exception of past techies such as Kendall Novak and Haylenn Bacall—it seems Adam is doing most of the work!
Buckley: I think Adam’s been in there for a long time and it seems he’s the man for the job. It would be great to see him get the hell out of the lab. He comes out every once in a while if something crazy happens, but I’d love to see him really kind of get away from this man-child in the lab to kind of actually step out into the world and have confidence and being able to handle situations as a man should.
CSI Files: Do you know if the writers plan on introducing any reoccurring lab technicians for Adam to interact with?
Buckley: I have not heard. Every girl that’s shown up either gets killed or they have to deal with me or something like that. [laughs] I haven’t heard, but it’s always fun to have new actors on the show. We’ve had some really great guest stars, so that’s been awesome.
CSI Files: Speaking of stars coming to the show, it seems Adam has fallen victim to a bit of hazing by his newest co-worker Jo Danville. What’s it like playing those moments with Sela Ward?
Buckley: She’s a sweetheart, man. I was a big fan of hers before and she’s just cool, man. She’s just a real Southern sweetheart. She brings a lot of laughter and a real breeze to the set. I hope we’ll become longtime friends after this; she’s just a really cool person. I think the writers did a good job of introducing her character. It could have gone horribly wrong, but I think she showed up and really hit this character out of the park. The writers did a good job of making the character interesting and all the motives of her character make sense.
CSI Files: Were you caught off-guard last summer when it was announced Sela was joining the show and Melina Kanakaraedes would not be returning?
Buckley: Yeah, I was a little caught off-guard. But again, at this point in the game and you’re this far along it shouldn’t really surprise you anymore. If it was like season three or four you’d be like, “huh?” It was sad to see Melina go but we got Sela out of it and it’s been awesome. Not that any of them are better than each other, but it’s just been a different take on a character. It’s been a fresh sort of start.
CSI Files: Talk CSI visitors continue to voice interest in Melina returning. Do you think that could ever come to fruition?
Buckley: She might come back because she misses the love from Adam, what?! [laughs] She wants Round Two. [laughs] I don’t know, I don’t know. It could be interesting. Again, if this is the last season I’m excited to see where these episodes go. I think it’s gonna ramp up everything and push the envelope a little more because we can.
CSI Files: You expressed a while back to former CSI Files writer Kristine Huntley the desire to possibly write or direct an episode of the show. Gary, Melina, and Carmine Giovinazzo have all stepped behind the camera; do you still have the itch to work on something behind the scenes?
Buckley: Yeah, man, I really want to direct. I got my DGA points and all that sort of stuff. I’ve directed before like The Ghostfacers for Warner Bros. and a couple other things. I would want to direct more than anything. It’d be amazing to get my feet wet in such a safe environment where I really feel like you’re working with your family and it’s a really supportive group there. I know Adam Rodriguez directed an episode of CSI: Miami, so when I saw that I thought there’s got to be an opportunity for me to direct. It’s not like I want to direct just to say I directed an episode. I really, truly want to go that way with my career. This is something that’s a real passion of mine—storytelling—and it would be amazing to get the opportunity. I would probably freak out, I’d be so excited.
CSI Files: You also have some other projects in development. What are you currently working on?
Buckley: I have a script right now that Anthony Burns, who is the writer-director of Skateland, he and I have partnered together on a project that is phenomenal. I’m so proud of this project and we’ve just gone out with it this week so hopefully in the next month or so we’ll get good news on it. So far the response on the script and the property has been through the roof.
CSI Files: One of your other big projects is Ghostfacers! Do you know if there are plans for you to film any more episodes of the web series or Supernatural?
Buckley: Man, I gotta tell you working on Supernatural and playing these characters is the best way to get a six-pack because you laugh all day. It’s just so not what you think because of Supernatural it’s so dark and scary, but man the group I’ve been working with Jared [Padalecki] and Jensen [Ackles] are truly the greatest cast and just cool guys. I would jump at the opportunity to go back to Vancouver and make more episodes with them.
CSI Files: Do fans come up to you and recognize you most for your role on CSI: NY or Supernatural?
Buckley: It’s down the middle, man. I think what’s been great is the fans that I have from Supernatural started watching CSI and then the fans I have from CSI started watching Supernatural. I think those two characters are for sure the ones I get noticed for.
CSI Files: Last season’s finale seemed like a great potential series finale. When NY does eventually end, what do you think the writers could possibly do to top “Exit Strategy”?
Buckley: There’s writing television episodics and then there’s writing CSI episodes. It’s completely different, because I have actually tried to sit down and it’s so hard. When our writers come up with these stories, they’re compelling and solving crime and the twists and turns they take week after week after week, I am blown away. They’re such a talented group of people. No doubt it will be topped. If the season is starting off the way that it is starting off, which I think is the best season opener and one of the best written scripts we’ve ever had on the show. This is the best start to a season we’ve ever had so I can only assume our season finale will be ridiculous.
CSI Files: One final question: can you give a tease about some of the guest stars for this season?
Buckley: Yeah, what’s his name from Twilight. Taylor.
CSI Files: Really?
Buckley: Oh, yeah, Taylor and the other guy, Edward. Yeah, there’s gonna be a Team Edward and Team Taylor and Team Adam and they’re gonna be in the lab with me. They’re new CSI techs. [laughs]
CSI Files: I have to admit I actually fell for that at first.
Buckley: [laughs] Yeah, a lot of Twilight cast is gonna be guest starring and we’re—[laughs]. That’ll get the fan girls going. Is it Team Jacob, I don’t even know. Edward and Jacob, whatever their names are, they are going to be in the lab for sure. [laughs]
Shane Saunders is a freelance writer and reviewer. His work can be seen on EDGE Network and ShaneSSaunders.com.