Next to showrunner and executive-producer Carol Mendelsohn, Dustin Lee Abraham is one of the few writers left on CSI: Crime Scene Investigation who have several seasons of work under their belt. The upcoming twelfth season, premiering September 21st, marks Abraham’s eighth season working for the show, that dates all the way back to season four’s “No More Bets.” Back at work and writing his first script of the season, Abraham gives a tease of what’s to come for the Las Vegas series with CSI Files’ Shane Saunders.
CSI Files: With the announcement of Laurence Fishburne (Dr Ray Langston) departing the show, is the plan still to introduce newcomer Morgan Brody (Elisabeth Harnois) to the team?
Dustin Lee Abraham: We already introduced her. She’s on the show now.
CSI Files: How is she integrated story wise with the team in Las Vegas?
Abraham: In a very realistic way. Carol wants stuff real. So our real techs/writers – Rich [Catalani] and Larry [Mitchell]. They break it down on how it would go down on how to introduce this type of character. There’s no Ta-da! Except maybe the fact she’s Eck’s daughter.
CSI Files: Have there been any discussions as to who is being brought in to replace Laurence, or does it seem more likely for someone already on the show to be promoted to ‘leading’ status?
Abraham: You can probably predict my response here but… No one can replace Fish, just like no one can replace Billy [Petersen, Gil Grissom]. Those are two of the best actors in the world. But we are looking for another person to join the team. They will definitely be a leader.
CSI Files: What’s the approach to season twelve at this point? Do you see yourselves introducing another season-long story arc, or is there more of a focus of ‘case-of-the-week’ stories?
Abraham: Carol wants case of the week this year, which is cool with me. I always look at CSI eps as their own separate little movies. Our eps look even better than most movies. Case of the week, we do that best. They will air forever. When you have long arcs, sometimes you have to repeat the arc, people get lost if you don’t, etc…
CSI Files: Last season ended with several of the show’s characters in limbo; with Brass [Paul Guilfoyle] covering up for Ray and Sara [Jorja Fox] in disagreement as to how things were being handled. Do you expect there to be a time-jump when the show resumes?
Abraham: Man… That’s a spoiler question there. I’d have to tell you about the premiere. I’d rather you just watch it.
CSI Files: Catherine [Marg Helgenberger] found love last season with Detective Vartann [Alex Carter], but like almost all relationships the couple had their share of ups and downs. Are the writers interested in pursuing that personal storyline of hers or is the relationship being put on the back burner for the time being?
Abraham: There could be a progression of that relationship. But there won’t be anything extra personal than what we’ve already done with her in the past. Again, we’re not going to change what we’ve been doing for twelve years. CSI is successful because of what it does. We start going all personal, our fans will turn to the shows that focus on that stuff. People want to see bad ass crime scenes when they watch CSI.
CSI Files: Some people believe season twelve could possibly be the show’s last. Do you believe that as well or do you feel the show has plenty of creative stories still left in it?
Abraham: With Carol, [Anthony] Zuiker, Don [McGill], etc… CSI could go on infinite. We can pump out murder mysteries 24/7.
Shane Saunders is a freelance writer and reviewer. His work can be seen on EDGE Network and ShaneSSaunders.com.