Adam Rodriguez

By Kristine Huntley
Posted at April 2, 2007 - 6:44 AM GMT

Adam Rodriguez may have faced the greatest challenge of any actor on a CSI show this season: having to totally alter his character, Eric Delko, after the hotshot young CSI was shot in the head. Rodriguez took time out of his busy schedule filming the final episodes of Miami's fifth season to tell CSI Files' Kristine Huntley about how Delko has been affected by the shooting, Delko's upcoming flirtation with co-worker and good friend Calleigh Duquesne (Emily Procter) and why he's just a bit disappointed with how the storyline has played out.

CSI Files: How did you find out Delko was going to get shot in the head?

Adam Rodriguez: I was walking by Ann Donahue and just casually she was like, "You're going to get shot in the head, but don't worry, you're not going to die. It's going to be something really great for your character." I will say I thought we were going to get a chance to see it play out further than we did. I was a little disappointed with how quickly he recovered. I had ideas, but others decided that it would be best to get Delko back in the saddle right away.

CSI Files: So you were surprised by how quickly Delko was back in the job?

Rodriguez: I'll be honest, I thought it was very soon for him to [be back at work after] having sustained that kind of injury . They did address that issue by saying it had been a couple of weeks, but I thought it was a little bit soon. They should have shown a little bit of the recovery process before going back to the job. I think it would have made the obstacles a little more believable and they would have had a little more weight behind them if the audience had a chance to go through the recovery process with him. But I can't argue with the people who make the show a success every week. As an actor, it was a little frustrating not to have the chance to go through that with the character.

CSI Files: Do you think we'll see Delko continue to struggle with his injury and how it affects him on the job?

Rodriguez: Yeah, I think it's going to be something that he's going to have to continue to deal with. Somewhere further down the line it could become a bigger problem than t is now. That bullet that's lodged in his head could become a crisis at any time. It makes things interesting and leaves room for an obstacle at some point down the road.

Delko is not the same. He's a little slow, he's made a few mistakes that he wouldn't have before. He's conscious of the fact that he's different but he has to mask that because the job is so dependent on detail. He can't let himself be vulnerable or people will question whether he can do his job.

CSI Files: Ryan (Jonathan Togo) has definitely been the first to point out when Delko makes a mistake, but he's also been very patient with Delko. Given their past rivalry, how do you think this will affect their relationship?

Rodriguez: The past really has a lot to do with it. As a character, Wolfe is one of those guys that might act [first] and think later. He doesn't do these things to hurt Delko. He may not mean some of the things he says to be hurtful. Without a doubt, [Ryan calling Delko out on his mistakes] has helped keep up the tension between the two characters. It hasn't lessened.

CSI Files: Do you enjoy playing the rivalry between the two characters?

Rodriguez: It makes things interesting. At some point I think we either have to decide to totally hate each other or move past it. I guess sometimes that's just the reality that at work there are people you don't necessarily hate, but you don't love them either. I love the back and forth, but there are moments when I feel like this is getting old. We've been doing it for three seasons now, but it's very real.

CSI Files: Do you think it will end with them totally hating each other or moving past it?

Rodriguez: For the peace of the lab and everyone involved, us getting along is probably the best way to go. But it would be interesting they decided to go with the hate thing between us. They've touched on it before, when he spilled the beans about the rolling papers Delko got for his sister, Marisol, when she was sick with cancer. I was super furious with this guy for opening his mouth about something he could have kept to himself. There was another time when I felt like the character would have wanted to physically get into it [with Ryan]. But then we have moments, like when he got the nail in his eye.

I think that no matter what, the characters are like family. We all have brothers and sisters we don't necessarily get along with, but no matter what, if somebody goes against your brother or your sister, you support them. We may not like each other, but we have a mutual respect for each other. That said, it would be interesting to have a really big blow up between them.

CSI Files: We've heard rumors of a burgeoning romance between Calleigh and Delko. Can you shed any light on that?

Rodriguez: I think this is something that has been brewing for a long time. I don't know how far the show is going to take it. Sometimes we get close with something and then it [fizzles]. I don't know how far we're going to go with Calleigh and Delko. We definitely show the building it up through the next episodes. I think it's cool. It's really realistic when it comes to working this job, working a lot of hours and spending the time we do with each other. It's inevitable that romance happens, like the fling with Natalia's character [last season] and the love triangle with Togo's character.

[Calleigh and Delko] will start to acknowledge [their feelings] and maybe even fall for each other. I'm excited about it. After doing a show for five years, any sort of new avenue is exciting. I hope they take it there, to an extreme place and really gives us a chance to explore it, but who knows where they're going to take it.

CSI Files: Do you think Delko's fling with Natalia Boa Vista (Eva La Rue) from last season will have any impact on these developments?

Rodriguez: Again, I think that's going to be another big part of how this whole thing with Calleigh and Delko plays out. It will give Natalia's character something interesting to play with, if Calleigh and Delko go down that road.

CSI Files: It has to be asked! Calleigh or Natalia?

Rodriguez: I don't know! Tough question. Two beautiful women, both hard working. I may just have to move to Utah! That's me being the best politician I can be, which might not be a very good one. They're both beautiful, both have got their own thing going on.

CSI Files: Do you think Ryan will have any feelings about Delko possibly starting a romance with Calleigh?

Rodriguez: A lot of people are going to have something to say [if Calleigh and Delko get romantic]. Hortatio will have things to say about it, because it might complicate things in the lab. Ryan's character will have things to say about it. I think it's going to be really interesting.

I think it would be cool if we have to keep it under wraps for a while, a kind of clandestine love affair, a secret to be revealed at some point. We might get more mileage out of it being a secret. Or, in true CSI: Miami fashion we could leave it, just let it build until we have no choice but to act on it. I really never have any idea what's going to happen. But I've been really lucky that last two seasons with what they've done with my character.

CSI Files: Speaking of last season, how did you feel about Marisol's relationship with Horatio (David Caruso and her death?

Rodriguez: I thought it was something that happened a little abruptly, with my sister and the cancer and her and Horatio and then going to Rio. I gotta love these things--the audience always sticks with us and somehow we make it believable. The show always gets people to suspend belief somehow.

I thought the storyline happened a little abruptly, but I love that it happened. I thought it was great to see [Delko and Horatio] lose a person that we both love. It set up an alliance between Horatio and Delko--although, I always felt those two had a connection because in a lot of ways we're the same guy--it solidified a bond between them. They made a pact, went down to Rio to make sure this guy [responsible for Marisol's death] wasn't living anymore. It was really dark, though they were justified in killing him, it was a grey area between right and wrong. As far as the whole thing with Horatio and my sister, I thought it was great and we had fun doing it. Alana de la Garza was great.

CSI Files: Getting back to this season, do you think we'll see Delko return to his old self?

Rodriguez: I think that he will get back to his old self eventually. That's been my experience with head trauma cases. I've had some friends that have dealt with serious head trauma and they were quite themselves for some time and I wondered if they would ever be themselves again. But time makes a huge difference, and the brain has a way of repairing itself, of relearning things. So I think he could get pretty close to being the person he was.

CSI Files: Your portrayal of Delko has been noticeably different since the shooting. Delko is so different than he used to be!

Rodriguez: Thank you. There's a lot of stuff I built into the character [after the shooting] and I wanted to take it further. People I know who've had head trauma often lose their sense of taste and their sense of smell. There were little tics I built in that maybe would have been too much. He still would have been able to function, to do his job, but I wanted to show a little more the damage. But again, the people who put the show together decided it wasn't a direction they wanted to take him down.

CSI Files: Earlier this season, Delko tangled with a dishonest couple and the wife ended up suing him despite the fact that he helped her (in "Throwing Heat"). Will we see that storyline come up again?

Rodriguez: Yes, you definitely are. That does not go away. It might even go beyond what I know of it. You'll be seeing something sooner rather than later.

CSI Files: Any hints of what might be coming up in future episodes?

Rodriguez: The woman collecting money from me shows back up and she hasn't changed. You'll be seeing a lot of dealing with the issues we talked about, getting back into the saddle and doing the job, dealing with issues of not being myself will be a continuing thing for Delko. Hopefully the audience will support him as he makes his way through this.

CSI Files: Delko has quite a lot of fans out there. You've got several avenues for them to keep up with you with three different websites!

Rodriguez: I have an official Yahoo Group, an official website, and a MySpace for the fans , where I sign on and I'll post things sometimes, like voice messages. MySpace is incredible--I'm probably the last person in the world to get on the thing. I think it's a great way for people to stay in contact. A friend of mine helped me put the page together. Fans should definitely check it out and say hey! It's nice to hear things from people, and it's just a good way to keep in touch with fans. I've done Q&A thngs there. I honestly couldn't do it without [the people who run the sites], so I have to say a huge thanks to Sara, Holly and Paul.

CSI Files: What are your plans for hiatus?

Rodriguez: I'm hoping to be busy working. I've got a few irons in the fire; hopefully in the next two to three weeks I'll have an answer to that question!

CSI Files: Any funny stories from the CSI: Miami set?

Rodriguez: Funny stuff happens every day. Lately we've been having good laughs with Calleigh and Delko having a budding love affair. When you work with somebody for five years, you become great friends and develop a great working relationship. And then suddenly a love affair gets thrown in there! With the romance with Natalia, she was relatively new to the show, so it wasn't weird, but to have this story with Calleigh's character after all of these years... To go there with someone you don't know is no big deal, but when you've become friends [it's different]. The only thing I can think to compare it to is to doing karaoke in front of your friends versus doing it in front of complete strangers!

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Find more episode info in the Episode Guide.

Kristine Huntley is a freelance writer and reviewer.