CSI: Crime Scene Investigation Executive Story Editor Tom Mularz talks about tonight’s episode “CSI Down” and previews his upcoming episode with CSI Files’ Shane Saunders.
CSI Files: Tonight’s episode put Morgan (Elisabeth Harnois) in jeopardy. Was there ever a question as to whether it was too soon to do an episode like this?
Tom Mularz: In my mind, I can’t speak for everybody else, but in my mind it was kind of a quick way to reveal somebody’s character. Having her up there in peril allowed us to kind of see how much Greg [Sanders, Eric Szmanda] cares about her as a colleague and see Russel [Ted Danson] as a coach figure in a real crisis where it wasn’t just a matter of solving a case. We kind of talked about at first in general the idea of one of our CSIs and Morgan felt like the natural one. It was kind of like an accelerated way to learn about the character.
CSI Files: Was it always intended to be a helicopter situation or was there a couple other ideas?
Mularz: No, the helicopter situation actually came first. One of our writers, Gavin Harris, lives near a hospital. He was watching a medevac copter landing one day and he brought up that idea and was working on the premiere so we were kind of running with it. So that came first and then we went, “Who is going to be the CSI in jeopardy?” and Morgan felt like the right one to put up there.
CSI Files: There was kind of a timeline given: Morgan left her mom when she was fourteen. When the series started Ecklie (Marc Vann) was prickly; does this explain Morgan left around the time the series premiered?
Mularz: I’m not sure how exactly we can pinpoint the timing but I think part of it definitely is when we saw Ecklie earlier he was a foil to our guys. I think he’s kind of grown and been given a wider array of emotions; he’s kind of more fleshed out. He’s a more sympathetic character. I guess you could say during the days that he was a foil that maybe he was that way in his home life also. The exact timeline is hard to say the way things played out but I like to think that maybe his family strife was a reason for his bad moods in the early seasons where he gave our CSIs a hard time.
CSI Files: Are the writers planning on introducing his ex-wife this season?
Mularz: Possibly. I haven’t heard of anything specific.
CSI Files: Greg displayed a bit of his emotional investment in Morgan tonight; is that going to continue?
Mularz: I’m not sure. I don’t think anybody really knows the answer to that. Carol Mendelsohn has a saying that’s true: The show kind of lets you know what it needs or what it wants.
CSI Files: When the season first began there were several moments that hinted at Catherine’s (Marg Helgenberger) departure. There hasn’t been too much focus these past few episodes, but will this be something that’s picked up?
Mularz: You’re going to see more of that, her future and her decisions are going to be mentioned in upcoming episodes; sometimes in subtle ways and sometimes in more practical ways where she may actually be faced with different possibilities for her future and have to make some decisions. You will see more of that coming up.
CSI Files: Your next episode is number eight; can you share a bit about it?
Mularz: Sure. The title is “Crime After Crime” and it involves—I don’t want to give away too much—some cases from the past coming back in interesting ways. They haven’t been on the show, but some of our characters have been involved, though. We sort of find their recollections of working on those cases.