Rick Eid joined CSI: Crime Scene Investigation this season as a co-executive producer. No stranger to the crime genre, Eid has devoted much of his writing career to series such as Dark Blue, The Forgotten, and the Law & Order franchise. This week’s installment, “In Vino Veritas,” marks his second writing credit on CSI and the writer was tasked with writing a portion of one of this season’s biggest television events: a crossover with spinoff CSI: NY. For the first time in the franchise’s history CSI and NY will have a direct crossover which starts February 6 with the Vegas chapter and concludes February 9 in New York. Shane Saunders caught up with Eid to discuss the crossover decision making process.
CSI Files: When did talks for the crossover begin, and what was the genesis of the CSI installment?
Rick Eid: Talks were early in the season; I think people knew there was going to be a crossover, so they started talking about it. The genesis on the crossover side, I know everybody likes the idea of Gary Sinise‘s [CSI: NY‘s Mac Taylor] girlfriend [Christine Whitney, Megan Dodds) going missing in Vegas and Ted [Danson, DB Russell] trying to help Gary track down the missing girlfriend. The trick was finding a story that serviced that and then feed in to the CSI: NY episode.
CSI Files: Was there any concern that a kidnapping storyline would feel too similar or too soon to the “Karma to Burn” episode from earlier this season?
Eid: We talked about it and just tried to make sure that the episode was distinct from that. I don’t think we were concerned. It was more of a mystery story because in Russell’s situation, you knew that the baby was gone; here, it’s more like you don’t know what is going on. The hope is that it was a little more noir mystery than straight on kidnapping.
CSI Files: What’s the collaborating process like when you’re working on a crossover? There’s a lot of scheduling logistics that need to be worked out. For you as a writer, how did you approach the episode and what was the process like working with the New York team?
Eid: We just stayed in touch with the writers. It’s easier on our end: we come up with the idea for our episode and we serve them up a set of facts and they take it and run it up on their end. It’s probably harder for them because they inherit from our story. There wasn’t a ton of collaborating on the story side, it was more just keeping them in the loop and they would come back and go, “Can you tweak it this way, because we want to do something else on our end.” Once the story took form, they would give input and I would try to make some adjustments that would help them on their side. And once the script was written the character collaboration, because obviously they know Gary’s voice a lot better than we do we would listen to advice, and vice versa when Ted was in their episode.
CSI Files: Russell is the only character to visit NY. Was there ever a plan to have someone go with him?
Eid: It was always just going to be one cast member to go over.
CSI Files: Were you a fan of the show prior to joining this season?
CSI Files: When you’re writing episodes do you tend to gravitate more towards the forensics or the personal?
Eid: I tend to lean more towards the personal. I try to find the human emotional story and then find interesting forensics to service that story. I always think character and personal first.