Richard Catalani, a former criminalist, has worked in several different capacities on CSI: Crime Scene Investigation. Technical consultant, writer, and Co-Executive Producer, Catalani certainly stays busy. A co-writer on this season’s “Willows in the Wind,” Catalani took some time out of his schedule to answer some burning questions from the episode with CSI Files’ Shane Saunders.
CSI Files: From the very beginning we’ve seen the CSI team butt heads with the FBI, harking back to “The Strip Strangler.” Why did Catherine (Marg Helgenberger) suddenly feel like joining the bureau was the right thing to do when there’s been some history of conflict between the two agencies?
Richard Catalani: The popular attitude is that the FBI are the bad guys. They come in and throw their federal weight around and take over our cases. I have tried to dispel that myth but, in this case the idea of the bullying feds just works better. I have personally never had a problem with the FBI. I did cases for them just like any other agency. CIA too. Simply put, it works better for this story.
CSI Files: If I’m correct Catherine will be joining the Las Vegas FBI office? That is where McQuaid (Grant Show) and Pratt (Matt Lauria) came from?
Catalani: The deal when working for the feds is that they have to cover the entire country, so they move every 18-24 months. They never stay in one place for long. It takes a very long time, most of a career, to get to a location you might like. Yes, Vegas is where McQuaid and Pratt came from but it makes sense. We are in Vegas and they are from the Vegas field office.
CSI Files: Last season Catherine’s casino background made its way back into the fold. Did the writers ever consider the character following in her father’s footsteps?
Catalani: Yes, we considered having Catherine retire and follow in her father’s footsteps but in the end, her story line lent itself to having her continue in the law enforcement field.
CSI Files: How did the writers approach the farewell scene? Not everyone got an individual scene with Catherine, a complete contrast from “19 Down…” and “One to Go.” Was it a matter of making these episodes completely different from William Petersen‘s departure?
Catalani: We try to treat each character and actor as an individual. That said, you can imagine that, while we were trying to keep the number of people in a scene to a minimum, everyone wanted to be in that last scene.
CSI Files: Let’s talk about those gunshot wounds! You have an extensive background working in law enforcement, and I’m sure there’s some medical training that comes with the expertise. In real life is it plausible to go without seeking professional medical treatment? She lost a lot of blood!
Catalani: Regarding the GSW, yes I have seen my fair share of them. This is what is called a “John Wayne” wound. You might be old enough to remember that Wayne would get shot and wince but, ten minutes later, he was up and around with just a bloody bandage. What can I say??
CSI Files: You’re hard at work on your next episode. What can you tease about your upcoming installment?
Catalani: Mike Daley and I are writing 1219. While I can’t reveal much, I will say that we are making an effort to be a little lighter. A little more emotional and entertaining in these tough economic times. That is, as light and entertaining as death can be. It’s season 12!!
Shane Saunders is a freelance writer and reviewer. His work can be seen on EDGE Network and ShaneSSaunders.com. Twitter: @ShaneSSaunders.