Interview: Marlee Matlin


CSI: Crime Scene Investigation scored big in the casting department earlier this year when Marlee Matlin appeared on the show for a guest appearance. Appearing in “The Two Mrs. Grissoms” as a former romantic partner to one of the show’s beloved characters, Gil Grissom, the Julia Holden actress had many memorable moments while working on the set. In an exclusive interview with CSI Files’ Shane Saunders, the Academy Award winner reflects upon her time on TV’s number one watched show.

CSI Files: You’re no stranger to the CSI franchise. Did your involvement with the CSI: NY episode [“Silent Night“] from a few years back help secure your role?

Marlee Matlin: I had expressed my admiration for Anthony Zuiker‘s shows through my agent and he in turn did the same. Just a few months later he created the storyline for me on CSI: NY. Though he didn’t actually work on that episode he came by to visit and said “let’s do it again!” Just a couple of years later, he asked his writers to create another storyline for me, this time on CSI, the original series. After I was done I said, let’s do a new series – CSI: Chicago!

CSI Files: What I find interesting about your character in “The Two Mrs. Grissoms” is that there’s never really been any mention about the character–or her involvement with Grissom (William Petersen)–in any of the past episodes. Did you create a specific backstory for Julia?

Matlin: Grissom had a back story that was mentioned several seasons prior in which he stated that he was the son of deaf parents. There was an episode featuring Deanne Bray [from] Sue Thomas, FBEye. When this story line came into play, we actually saw Grissom’s mother and me, playing his ex girlfriend. It all fit together nicely!

CSI Files: Did you speak with William Petersen at all about your involvement with the episode? For a character that is directly connected to Grissom, the two of you don’t share any scenes at all!

Matlin: We never had a chance to speak together and as far as I recall only met once, several years ago at an awards function. I think he’s a great actor and I’m sorry we didn’t have a chance to do any scenes together!

CSI Files: Your character obviously interacted with Sara Sidle the most. How did you and Jorja Fox spend your downtime while being on set?

Matlin: May I say, Jorja kicks ass! She was GREAT to work with. We hit it off immediately and we kept saying, “can we have more scenes together?” She loved learning the dirty signs from me… I’m bad, I know. I’d work with her again in a heartbeat.

CSI Files: You also got the chance to work with Phyllis Frelich, who originally played your character from Children of a Lesser God. Was this the first time the two of you had met?

Matlin: I have a great deal of admiration and respect for Phyllis. She created the role for which she won the Tony for Best Actress and I won an Academy Award for Best Actress. She is one talented woman and when we first worked together on my first telefilm Bridge to Silence, we just hit it off immediately. We’ve worked together a few times since, most recently on a Hallmark Hall of Fame movie called Sweet Nothing in My Ear on CBS. It was great to see her and many other deaf actors come together on this episode of CSI, thanks to Anthony and the rest of the CSI executive producing crew.

CSI Files: It’s no secret that you’re wanting to work with creator Anthony E. Zuiker on another CSI series, specifically one set in Chicago. Have the two of you discussed the possibility of actually making it happen?

Matlin: As I said I joked with Anthony about doing CSI: Chicago. But anyone who knows me [know] that my jokes are usually based half in truth. I’d love to do a procedural with Anthony; his ideas are so wonderful. We did talk at one time about me joining his Level 26 franchise but that didn’t pan out. I’m here Anthony! Let’s do it again!


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

Shane Saunders
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