Jorja Fox is excited about the new season of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, premiering tonight on its new night and time. The Sara Sidle actress has nothing but high energy and enthusiasm just hours before the season premiere, and could not be more thrilled about the show’s twelfth season. CSI Files’ Shane Saunders caught up with Fox to talk about her presence on the show this season, working with new cast members, a fellow co-star’s pending departure, and much more in this exclusive interview.
CSI Files: First I just want to start with clarifying something. You’re back this season but working a reduced amount of episodes like last year, correct?
Jorja Fox: Yes.
CSI Files: And how many episodes do you think you will be in this season?
Fox: We’re talking somewhere between fifteen and seventeen. I did fifteen last year and I did fifteen the year before that. I’m really probably the laziest person in Hollywood so it’s a really good schedule for me; it allows me to get some rest [and] I have a couple of very little projects that I’ve been doting on since I took a sabbatical that I don’t want to drop the ball on. So they’ve been very generous in allowing me the time do that kind of stuff.
CSI Files: I’ve seen the first two episodes of the season and they’re really fantastic. What do you think of the scripts so far?
Fox: I think the scripts are spectacular; really spectacular stuff so far. Grosser than ever. You know every time I think that they can’t out-gross themselves anymore, they do. Melissa [Byer, Co-Executive Producer] and Treena [Hancock, Co-Executive Producer], watch out for those two. They have two of the darkest minds that I’ve ever met. [Laughs.] They’re really unassuming, sweet… like you would never in a million years think these two ladies were writing for CSI and writing some of our darkest stuff.
CSI Files: One of my favorite moments of the season so far is Sara teasing Morgan (Elisabeth Harnois) about her driving in episode two. The smirk you two exchange is worth a million bucks!
Fox: Aww, thank you. Well her character is really great and I think we’re gonna see a lot of cool one-liners coming out of Morgan. She’s rough in a really humorous way and sexy at the same time. The more I get to know her I’m like, “you’re a lot like your character!” [Laughs.]
CSI Files: Well Morgan also has a vibe going on that reminds me of a younger Sara.
Fox: That would be a compliment! Thank you.
CSI Files: They have a lot in common.
Fox: They do have a lot in common. It’s really fun to infuse some younger energy into the show. The tricky thing with Morgan is she’s really good at what she does. The easiest storyline for her is to go and have all the other characters teach Morgan what to do, and that would probably be the easiest thing to do. But Morgan is coming into CSI Vegas as a seasoned pro and it’s just really fun. The exchanges that you see in the next couple episodes, particularly with Eric Szmanda who plays Greg Sanders and Morgan, are priceless. Just off the page I was laughing out loud. One thing that I’ve learned from all these years is when I read an episode I might think it’s good, but it always ends up better once it’s shot. I’m looking forward to that.
CSI Files: What’s coming up for Sara as the season progresses?
Fox: Sara… she’s kind of like a rolling cart right now. I will say there are some exciting love trysts forming this season on the show. Sara’s completely clueless about those because she’s happily married and very much in love with her husband. I think one of the trickier parts for Sara is quietly making this long-distance relationship work. For me I’ve been so blessed; I’ve always had some sort of love interest on the show almost since the beginning. Now I’ve got this really amazing love interest who is far away, so that’s hard. I miss Billy [Petersen, Gil Grissom] and Sara misses Grissom. So she’s there primarily so far supporting the other storylines. Sara has a big arc in episode three where she goes head to head with some really nasty characters and that was a lot of fun for me to do.
CSI Files: One of the great things about CSI is how you guys always get great actors, and this year you’re getting to work with Ted Danson (DB Russell). How’s your experience so far working with him?
Fox: You know when he walks on a stage sometimes I swear I see feathers under his jacket. I’m convinced he’s an angel. And I’ll let you know more about that later in the season. He’s spectacular; he’s just a great guy. He’s really warm; he’s an actor’s actor. I think it’s normal for somebody like me to be nervous to work with Ted Danson and actually, the nerves that I thought were gonna happen never materialized. He really gets down in trenches and wants to rehearse lines and talk character. He really takes all that energy from where you can be nervous because you’re with him and pushes it onto the story. Next thing you know you’re working and not even thinking about the fact that you’re working with Ted Danson. I think that’s a very special unique talent for an actor to have; to make all the actors you’re working with comfortable. I’m really thrilled.
Honestly, I gotta say that I was absolutely heartbroken when Laurence [Fishburne, Dr Ray Langston] wasn’t coming back and it was a surprise to me. I loved working with Laurence and I miss him dearly, but the gift I guess was someone as cool as Ted Danson would show up. I’m really keeping my fingers crossed. I think fans will really enjoy this season.
CSI Files: You were very instrumental in bringing William back for an episode last season, and there’s a strong possibility he’s coming back to help Marg Helgenberger’s exit with Catherine [Willows]. Have you two discussed what might happen with your characters?
Fox: Not as of yet. It is something that we generally do to get together and talk about. I think everyone’s still really hoping that Marg is going to change her mind. [Laughs.] Everyone’s delaying getting prepared for that in the hopes she’ll postpone her departure.
CSI Files: Apparently Ted is attempting to talk Marg into staying. Do you think she might stick around a little longer?
Fox: I would be a fool to try and project what Marg Helgenberger might do on any given day; she’s a force of nature. If she does go I think it’s going to be a hundred people sobbing in plain view of each other on the stage when we say goodbye. I really can’t imagine doing the show without her, but at the same time because I walked in season eight because I was exhausted, maybe I sort of personally understand that it might be the time where she feels it’s time to take a break. I’m trying to support her, but I think once a day when I work with her I ask her to stay. Who knows what she’ll do. That’s part of the fun right now, too.
CSI Files: Every now and then there’s talk about meeting Sara’s mother. Is there someone you’d like to see play Laura Sidle?
Fox: Gosh, a whole bunch of people come to mind and probably a bunch of them are actually too young to be my mother. Susan Sarandon would be amazing. Mary Tyler Moore would be amazing. Let me think here… Kathy Bates would be amazing, but she’s pretty busy and has her own show now. That’s one other thing that’s so great is that there’s always something to look forward to. We’ve been talking about Sara’s mother since season four or five and so just knowing that this storyline is out there in the ethers may happen is something to look forward to. I would imagine the intensity of stuff between those two women would be pretty insane in an entertaining way.
CSI Files: You’ve said in the past how you’d like to write an episode of the show. Is that something you’re still chasing after?
Fox: Yeah, I’m still advocating for the musical actually. [Laughs.] That may be the episode that I do try to write because I think everyone in the writers’ room is definitely opposed to it, which I completely get. [Laughs.] So maybe I think I’ll write that episode and present it and then see if they think it’s awful. Which they probably will, but it’d be a great exercise for me.
CSI Files: It would make a great lab rats episode!
Fox: Yeah, indeed! Oh, I have ideas about this musical and I don’t know that I necessarily have great ideas, which is why I’m not a writer or necessarily a director, but a girl can dream.
CSI Files: Is there something in particular that fans should look forward to this season?
Fox: Well I think we’ll have at least one love affair which is always a lot of fun for us. The world that we live in in Las Vegas is so dark and so unforgiving sometimes and so difficult to sort of process, and I think that a love story could be a really cool thing to come out of that; it’ll be very well done. Then there’s the issue of Marg; I think that’s kind of the really big, big, big question mark. If she does decide to go we probably will develop that idea over several episodes. It will be deep that I know for sure.
Shane Saunders is a freelance writer and reviewer. His work can be seen on EDGE Network and ShaneSSaunders.com.