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CSI Files

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David Rambo

By Kristine Huntley
Posted at October 28, 2008 - 10:25 PM GMT

The current season of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation will see many changes for the long-running crime drama. Following the departure of Sara Sidle (Jorja Fox) in season eight, the show's ninth season has already said goodbye to Warrick Brown, who was murdered by Undersheriff McKeen (Conor O'Farrell), and will soon see the exit of the head of the team, Gil Grissom (William Petersen). In their place, CSI will be introducing several fresh faces. Supervising Producer David Rambo took time to talk about the repercussions of all of these changes on the show with CSI Files' Kristine Huntley, as well as to preview the episode he's currently working on, which takes a look into Las Vegas' past.

CSI Files: The Vegas team--and the fans--are still reeling from the murder of Warrick Brown. Sara Sidle departed the show alive; how and why was the decision to kill Warrick off made?

David Rambo: We discussed several options for the character's departure. Warrick's troubled past, and his blurring of the lines between appropriate and inappropriate ways to investigate Lou Gedda made a murder for hire a logical--and daring--next step. Warrick's death gave us a chance to expose how our team would deal emotionally, as well as professionally, with the loss, and really ratchet up the investigation for them. It was not an easy decision, but turned out to be compelling and enormously moving for everyone at CSI.

CSI Files: Will the team continue to grapple with emotions from his death throughout the season?

Rambo: When it's dramatically appropriate, I think we'll see some of that. A loss like that is always bittersweet: something reminds you of the good times, and then you remember the guy is irretrievably gone.

CSI Files: Nick (George Eads) was arguably Warrick's best friend, but thus far we've seen little emotional reaction from him to Warrick's death (save, obviously, for the near-shooting of the Under-sheriff). Can we expect more of a reaction from him down the road?

Rambo: A cathartic breakdown just wouldn't be Nick Stokes. He's a leader, and finds the best therapy is showing up and doing your job to your best abilities. That said, he's not made of stone. And he does not forget his fallen friend.

CSI Files: Will Warrick's death factor into Grissom's departure later in the season?

Rambo: Each member of the team reacts to Warrick's death in their own way. More than that, I can't say.

CSI Files: How will Catherine (Marg Helgenberger) be affected by Grissom's departure?

Rambo: It's another loss, after Sara and Warrick. She will have feelings reflecting that, but she's a professional, and, like the rest of the team, pours herself into her work.

CSI Files: Can you give us any hints as to who will step into Grissom's shoes as the team supervisor once he departs?

Rambo: There may be a supervisor, but those shoes only belong to the man who walks out of the lab wearing them.

CSI Files: In what capacity will Lady Heather (Melinda Clark) return? Will sparks continue to fly between her and Grissom?

Rambo: Lady Heather is a mystery, and I'd like to keep it that way. I can tell you that every time she and Grissom are depicted, we learn something more about him that we couldn't have learned any other way. And he learns about himself. Melinda Clark is a wonderful actress; Billy always enjoys having her on the show.

CSI Files: Can you tell us a little about the new CSI, Riley Adams (Lauren Lee Smith)? How will she interact with the original members of the team?

Rambo: Riley's fun. She's new to Vegas, but not new to the kinks of human behavior. Frankly, the team's short-handed, so they're grateful for the help. It's not an immediately easy fit, but through just doing the work, she learns her role in the mix. She's smart, straightforward, and a great addition to the lab.

CSI Files: Laurence Fishburne's character, Dr. Langston, sounds very different from any other character on the team. How will he mesh with the rest of the group?

Rambo: It's safe to say that he's unlike any character Laurence Fishburne has ever played. Other than that, I'm dodging this question! You just have to watch to find out. I will tell you that as we watched his first day's footage, we all knew immediately what an exciting addition he is to our cast.

CSI Files: How will the character's much-reported on genetic profile affect him in his job and his personal interactions?

Rambo: That remains to be seen....

CSI Files: Can you tell us anything about the episode you're working on?

Rambo: It deals with ambition and celebrity in present day Las Vegas, but also opens a long-closed door on the segregated Vegas of the 1950s, a time when the town was referred to as "the Mississippi of the West." I spent almost two years researching this one, and made a trip to Las Vegas to spend a day with one of the first African-American showgirls in town. Several legendary actors appear in the episode, including Tippi Hedren, Robert Guillaume and Ralph Waite. The final scene was particularly rewarding to film: Grissom and Catherine take an after-shift walk down the Strip and talk about why he originally came to Las Vegas. It's an extended scene that almost feels like a two-character play.

CSI Files: What do the fans have to look forward to in general this season?

Rambo: The original members of the team have been through a lot together. They're opening up a bit more with one another. But crime in Vegas is rising. A bizarre and mystifying series of deaths suggests a long-ago captured serial killer is somehow back at his old game. It's all hands on deck--lab rats included--to tackle things.

Discuss this interviews at Talk CSI!

Find more episode info in the Episode Guide.

Kristine Huntley is a freelance writer and reviewer.

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