Interview: Elizabeth Devine

CSI: Crime Scene Investigation has a new addition to its writing staff this year but she is no stranger to the flagship series. Elizabeth Devine is back in the writers’ room working on season twelve of the show that introduced her to the world of writing. After leaving the original CSI in 2004, Devine headed to CSI: Miami where she spent numerous seasons developing stories for the sun-kissed series, and even penning the 2005 CSI: Miami/CSI: New York crossover “Manhattan Manhunt.” After leaving her full-time duties at Miami in 2007, Devine returned once more to CSI in its tenth season to work on the episode “Lost & Found” with Corinne Marrinan. Devine, a former Los Angeles County criminalist, is on staff this season working as a consulting-producer. Taking time out of her very busy schedule, Devine granted CSI Files’ Shane Saunders an interview about her return to the series.

CSI Files: You’re returning to CSI this season. How did the opportunity come up and what made you decide to return to the mother-ship series opposed to CSI: Miami where you spent several seasons working?

Elizabeth Devine: I left Miami to try my hat at development and wrote two pilot scripts: one for CBS with Anthony Zuiker attached as EP, which was a fantastic experience working on a non-CSI project with Anthony and his team. The other was for A&E which is still in the mix. Working on Miami was a great experience and I learned a lot. It is great to come back to the Las Vegas show where I started.

CSI Files: Have you been staying up-to-date with the show since you left?

Devine: I have been playing catch-up a bit on CSI episodes. It was hard to keep up with the Las Vegas show when I was immersed in CSI: Miami land. But I’m nearly caught up.

CSI Files: In years past you worked on some really great Catherine-heavy episodes, such as “The Execution Of Catherine Willows” and “After the Show.” As rumors continue to swirl that this will possibly be her final season solving mysteries, how do you envision her sendoff?

Devine: I am not authorized to reveal our ideas for a Catherine sendoff but I can tell you that the fans will love it and it will be very satisfying.

CSI Files: As a former criminalist yourself, is it emotionally difficult to figure out ways to kill people on TV?

Devine: It is not difficult emotionally to figure out ways to kill people every week mostly because nobody really dies. What is difficult is coming up with ideas after twelve seasons!

CSI Files: I’ve always been interested in the fact that your first episode you wrote went by the pen name “Tish McCarthy.” Was there a specific reason you didn’t use “Elizabeth Devine” for “Blood Drops”?

Devine: My first writing credit on CSI was listed as Tish McCarthy primarily because the episode was based on an actual case of mine that had just happened and hadn’t been to court yet. Although it was changed for TV, I didn’t want to interfere with any aspect of putting away a murderer of a whole family by having my name pop up in a crime scene that might seem familiar. I chose Tish McCarthy because Tish was my nickname when I was a child and McCarthy is a family name.

CSI Files: I think it’s fair to say you and creator Anthony E. Zuiker have a close friendship. How is it to reunite with him on a show that brought you both into the world of writing?

Devine: I am very fortunate to be back here with [executive-producer] Carol Mendelsohn at CSI and look forward to working again with Anthony although as you know from the above he and I worked together last year on a pilot project. My sides still hurt from the laughter. He is an amazing story teller.

CSI Files: With the writers back at work for over a month now, has a general consensus been made on what the direction of this season will be? Can you give CSI Files visitors a brief tease?

Devine: The rest of the info about season twelve is a well-guarded secret, but we have big plans for some great episodes. Sorry I can’t reveal anything [more] to CSI Files’ readers. I just got back here… I can’t blow it!


Shane Saunders is a freelance writer and reviewer. His work can be seen on EDGE Network and ShaneSSaunders.com.

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Rachel Trongo

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