CSI: Crime Scene Investigation staged a reunion of sorts this season with the addition of Alimi Ballard, one of the stars from executive producer Don McGill‘s show Numb3rs. After making an appearance as Officer Crawford earlier this season, Ballard is back in the next two installments as a newly promoted detective. To preview his return and share how the new collaboration with McGill came up, Ballard caught up with Shane Saunders via email to discuss his latest blessing.
CSI Files: Most people aren’t aware that you’ve been on CSI prior to this recent upgrade to recurring. You played a music producer back in Season Three. How did the role of Officer Crawford come about?
Alimi Ballard: The role of Officer Crawford came about from an email I sent to Don McGill. A few months back I got the strong desire to do some Dynamic Television. I immediately reached out to Don and said, “Hey, I really wanna do some Great TV Don. Ya got some room for me over there?” It turned out pretty good I think. 🙂
CSI Files: You have a professional relationship with executive producer Don McGill that dates back many years. Did you guys toss around different ideas for the new role you’d be playing?
Ballard: First off Don is truly an awesome guy. Detective Crawford is totally his creation. I didn’t want to know anything until I read the script. Because there’s such trust on my side, I didn’t ask many questions. Kinda wanted to be surprised with what he’d create.
CSI Files: At the time of “Strip Maul,” your first episode this season, it seemed as if the episode was just a one-shot, but as they say “In Vegas, anything can happen.” Was it always intended to become a recurring gig?
Ballard: Honestly, I can’t speak for Don McGill or CSI, but I sure hoped it would be. Hahahahaaha…:)
CSI Files: Your first scene with George Eads (Nick Stokes) got a lot of discussion online as to the character’s future on the show. We talked about this recently at the CSI holiday party, but was there some subtext to that scene? Nick is a character that’s always been career and promotion driven, and hearing about Crawford’s good fortune seems like something that might motivate him to pursue new career avenues.
Ballard: The way I saw it, it was like one friend ( Nick Stokes) being sincerely excited for a another friend ( Detective Crawford ) finally stepping up and spreading his wings a bit. I really enjoyed filming that scene with George. Was one of my first scenes with him and he made me feel supa-dupa comfortable. That’s kinda cool.
CSI Files: You’re back in “Exile,” and then again in the following episode, “Forget Me Not.” Has Crawford changed at all in his new job?
Ballard: My wife thinks Crawford muuuuuuuuuch better lookin a suit. 😉 Cool points at the casa.
CSI Files: You’ve played your fair share of detectives and law enforcement officials before; how do you keep these roles interesting and fresh for you as an actor?
Ballard: Honestly Shane, PASSION.. PASSION.. PASSION.. After all these years I still LOVE what I do. Feel blessed to be able to do it. Also….good writing helps a LOT. One of the reasons I reached out to Don McGill. 🙂
CSI Files: With Captain Brass (Paul Guilfoyle) not in “Forget Me Not,” you find yourself as the detective on a case that involves Sara Sidle (Jorja Fox). Since the two characters don’t have a deep connection and long understanding of each other at this point in the series, unlike Brass and Sara, is there some conflict between the two of you? Sara does find herself in some serious trouble in the installment.
Ballard: The scenes I filmed with Sara in “Forget Me Not” are some of my favorites, Shane. There’s nothing like some good old fashion TENSION to get the grease poppin’. I cannot wait to see how they put it all together.
CSI Files: What does the future hold for Crawford? You have two episodes coming up, but is there anything beyond Episode Fifteen?
Ballard: YO NO HABLO INGLES SENOR. Yo no hablo…:)