CSI: Crime Scene Investigation co-producer Christopher Barbour most recently penned the Season Thirteen premiere “Karma to Burn” and is behind tomorrow night’s episode, “Strip Maul.” Here below, Barbour talks to Shane Saunders about his twelfth writing credit on the series, coming full-circle on the show and how a detective’s daughter resurfaces for the first time in seven seasons.
CSI Files: Nice little play on words this week. What can you share about the genesis of “Strip Maul”?
Christopher Barbour: The genesis of the episode was we thought since “CSI On Fire” deals with Finlay [Elisabeth Shue] going back to Seattle, we wanted to return to Vegas and make an episode that is very Vegas-centric. Given the situation in the LVPD, the CSIs have been called in to backup some patrol units on the Strip. Hi-jinks ensue when some events conspire for the CSIs to be drawn into an intriguing six degrees of separation for a particular murder.
CSI Files: What’s the crime of the week? How is the six degrees of separation connected to the crime?
Barbour: There is a young man who is found shot in a car and it’s a bit of a chaos theory in terms of the connections between all of the people we know in a very unique way. Part of the case leads to some personal information for Brass [Paul Guilfoyle] regarding his daughter [Ellie, Teal Redman].
CSI Files: And Teal Redman is back as Ellie Brass for the first time since “Way to Go.”
Barbour: [Laughs.] She’s actually not in the episode. That was put in [the press release]; there’s a picture of her that appears in the episode. A significant portion of the case becomes personal for Brass in terms of some information on where Ellie is right now.
CSI Files: Is Ellie still alive?
Barbour: Ellie is still alive.
CSI Files: Did you guys consider having in the episode? Might we see her resurface later this season?
Barbour: That is still an option. That’s a place where, when we plan out a season, there’s some elements that we set the groundwork for. It lays the foundation for long-term character arcs, that’s what the episode serves as.
CSI Files: This is your first episode where you’ve gone to Vegas for location filming on an episode. I’ve seen behind-the-scenes videos on the DVD sets and the environment seems like complete chaos. How was the experience for you?
Barbour: It’s a physically challenging thing to produce anything in Vegas, mainly because of crowd control. Now back in the day when the show started, I was actually on the other side of the rope line, if you will. I was living in Vegas when the show premiered and so it was very gratifying for me to come full circle and to come back to a place where I was a fan watching a show and go, “Oh my god, they’re shooting here.”
CSI Files: Morgan (Elisabeth Harnois) and Ecklie (Marc Vann) share some more poignant scenes this week.
Barbour: This is the first time we’ve seen Ecklie since “Code Blue Plate Special” and to touch base with that, there’s some developments for his job; an offer that is presented to him. He is still feeling the emotional psychological affects from being shot. We see the continuing evolution where they are now and how she is there really to support her father. It’s still a difficult time for him.