Eddie Cahill

By Kristine Huntley
Posted at August 8, 2005 - 4:53 PM GMT

CSI: New York's second season has just begun filming, but Eddie Cahill (Don Flack) is already back into the swing of things. After playing the caustically funny, clever New York city detective for a season, Cahill is looking forward to exploring his character's roots and his witty sense of humor as well as the city the show is named after as it progresses into the second season. Cahill, who has racked up some high profile film (Miracle, Lords of Dogtown) and television (Friends, Glory Days) credits at only twenty-seven, took time to speak to CSI Files about the new season and why he's already enjoying the new feel of the show.

CSI Files: How's the new season going so far?

Eddie Cahill: So far, so good. So far, so great, actually. It's kicked off to a good start.

CSI Files: Are there any exciting storylines coming up for your character?

Cahill: I think it's premature to say that, at least from my character's standpoint. The most notable change is that there's been an incredible visual overhaul to the show in terms of wardrobe, in terms of lighting. They've scrapped the sets; they've built this really beautiful, very workable, aesthetically pleasing lab set; each room plays into the next so it opens up the show to have a lot of movement and a good pace which I think will add to the feeling of New York.

CSI Files: Have you noticed more of a New York feel to the show so far in the scenes you've filmed this season?

Cahill: Absolutely, I have. It's all new to me; we have a lot of new people on the crew and the sets have been so overwhelming in a positive way that that's really been where my focus has been. Each room offers a view of New York City. It's really open, it's really glassy. You will see the girth of New York City bearing down on the office. It's been invited into the office space, which I think is great because it essentially is the lead character of the show.

CSI Files: You guys shoot in LA-are the sets really able to create a New York feel on the set?

Cahill:: Yeah, I think so. I don't think one department does it alone. I think the actors have their job [and] the writers have their job with regards to bringing New York to the show. I think on those two fronts we've got it as handled can be expected. Then they do all sorts of things like [have] a second unit going to New York or they'll bring [the actors] to New York. My point is that one aspect of it doesn't do it; [it happens] when all the pieces come together.

CSI Files: Have the actors been to New York yet this season to shoot?

Cahill: Not yet. I don't have a specific date but there are plans. You can cheat it so much, but at the end of the day you need to show the buildings. That's the city, the title city to the show so it's important to get there. I think the production [staff] is going to do a good job of doing that as well. They're always there without us, from what I can tell; they've got a splinter unit going to grab this look, that look, this building.

CSI Files: What's coming up for Flack? What would you personally like to see explored?

Cahill: I'm looking forward to just getting further into and learning what the audience can expect from my character [and] developing him more as a homicide detective. In reflecting on last season I've come to a place in thinking, ‘Alright, what does that mean? What is his disposition at a crime scene? What is the nature of his job?' I would like to bring forth more of the nature of his job this season.

I can't say [exactly what's coming up for him], because we haven't had too much time to sit with the writers so I don't know which way it will go necessarily.

CSI Files: Do you think we'll see more of his background like we did in "The Fall"?

Cahill: There's talk about it. I wish I could commit and say yes we're going to [explore his background soon]. I've spoken to Anthony [Zuiker, CSI: NY's showrunner], I've spoken to a couple of other people about that who seem to be behind that, but I think at this point we're going to have to see how the season progresses. My gut feeling is that we will touch on it at some point.

CSI Files: What do you like about Flack? Do you feel you have anything in common with him?

Cahill: I like that he's a legacy. I like that they've touched on the fact that his father was a cop-to what level we don't know-but they have touched on the fact that his father may have been some sort of legendary cop. I like the fact that he's in a place that has in some respects has been handed down to him. I get a kick out of tradition; personally, I have a real interest in my [own] family's history, looking back to my grandfather, my great-grandfather, my father, who I'm lucky enough to have to tell me the stories-but I get a real kick out of family history. I find comfort in the fact that he's not the first generation in this place, that there is history, that there may have been some intrinsic knowledge just growing up under the point of view of a police officer, as he did.

In adding to that, I respond to [the fact that] he draws lines, he has boundaries; in some respects he's wise enough to be able to read people and, for right or wrong, come to very conclusive feelings about people with regard to criminals. [For him] there's a very definite boundary between the good guys and the bad guys. I think in some respects his life's work is making sure these people who create the most heinous of crimes really don't get to enjoy the rest of their lives. To me, that's a worthwhile cause, so I relate to that.

CSI Files: Do you enjoy Flack's humor and sarcastic one-liners?

Cahill: I love it! And to bring New York into it, too: having grown up there, having friends there, having been socially-reared there, and now having some distance between myself and New York, one thing I really like about it and at times miss is that there's a real loving sarcasm to the way that city works. So much social activity being a New Yorker is based on breaking balls, and I think to reduce it to that is interesting, but it's a way of [expression]. Amongst friends it's a way of expressing love, in conflict it's a way of getting the upper hand fast, and in situations like the ones [Flack] deals with, it's a way of coping and/or getting his point across. I love that sense of humor.

CSI Files: Flack really does have the best lines!

Cahill: Yeah, I get lucky. That I would like to see more and more of. I do think that is absolutely part of that character. It may actually be my favorite part.

CSI Files: Interestingly enough, upstanding Flack seems to be closest to the shadiest character on the show, Danny (Carmine Giovinazzo). What do you make of their friendship? Why do you think Flack was so supportive of Danny when he got in trouble?

Cahill: I think Don has a real strong sense of justice, and I think in that case ("On the Job") he believed in Danny. I think he believed his friend, he believed his colleague, and he also believes in the system. So it was nice to try to bring all that together in communicating with somebody in that one scene [after] Danny had shot the undercover cop. Because Danny came from the total opposite [background]-‘I don't trust the system, I don't trust anything'-it was fun to sit down, just like friends do and [say], ‘Buddy, chill out, just wait a second. Trust me, if you are good, [the system] will take care of you. And I believe that you're good, so just keep your head straight.' On a show like CSI: NY, it's great to be able to have those moments and develop those relationships amongst the characters.

So I don't think it's a controversial relationship; I think on the flipside, if Flack were faced with somebody [who had done something wrong], we saw [the result] in "The Fall". He's going to do what he thinks is right. And this is what I love about the character-he will do what he thinks is right. I think he believes in himself enough to know he's a pretty good judge of character, so if you do something wrong, you gotta pay the price. And if you didn't do something wrong, then you've really got nothing to worry about because it will get worked out in the end.

CSI Files: It's an interesting relationship given how opposite the characters really are. Do you think it will get developed further?

Cahill: I think so because the underlying theme behind that is that you see relationships develop in extreme circumstances and I think in certain a certain respect being a New York City police officer is a world only another police officer would understand. So that to some extent can become the great equalizer. ‘You come from here, I come from here, we do this thing together that so few people understand,' so that in and of itself brings people closer. You hear stories of it in combat-being another, even more extreme situation. But if we're in something together, and I need you as much as you need me, that can eliminate certain boundaries between people that exist in normal society.

City cops exist in an interesting place in society, especially in a cosmopolitan city like New York that draws a lot of attention. In some respects, cops politically serve as the press agents for the city. So they've got pressure from the city, they've got pressure from any sort of criminal element, and they've got pressure from society to protect them. They've got political, social and criminal pressure to deal with, and everyone has such high expectations of them, so they really exist in this funny place. Which is also why I love doing a show about forensic science and police officers, because I think they're a special, interesting group of people.

CSI Files: Have you found the science interesting or challenging?

Cahill: I'm to this day astounded by the smallest things that have now become so commonplace. The fact that you can get a piece of someone's hair and find out what their age is, what sex they are, what their race is, how tall they may be-I think that will forever be riveting, at least in my lifetime. Having been born in the tail end of a generation that didn't come up with the idea of computers in the classroom or the idea of DNA, I think that may remain surprising to me for the rest of my life. It's amazing!

CSI Files: Was there any case in particular that really surprised and impressed you?

Cahill:: I remember one in "Rain" when Danny was trying to figure out where the security guard was standing, and eliminating any impossible situation. I find it really interesting that they can take a space that looks nothing like it looked at the time of the crime and through forensic evidence and material evidence figure out where people were standing and how they were behaving and what is physically possible or impossible for them to do. And that's where I think forensic science is absolutely amazing. and [when] applied in the real world where oftentimes it can disprove the story of someone who may otherwise have gotten off. I like when science traces piece of body to person, when science can recreate a situation almost exactly. What an asset to law enforcement, and what an asset to us as citizens, to know that there's that ability.

Then [there are] the cold case guys-the guys who pick up the cases that are ten, twenty years old and finally are able to process the DNA and put criminals away. It makes me feel good to know that we live in a society that would pursue criminals that much that they would go back twenty years. The fact that out of sight, out of mind doesn't really apply is comforting. It says we as human beings have a great respect for human life.

CSI Files: Do you have a favorite episode or case?

Cahill: I think my two favorite episodes, if I had to [choose, are:] "The Fall" meant so much to me and was such a nice gift to have on a personal level, and "On the Job," -I really liked having that moment with Danny [and] enjoyed playing that episode out. And I liked that it came home to the department. I like when it comes home to the department or to me personally. Those were excellent; they were great fun.

CSI Files: Were you familiar with the CSI shows before being cast on New York?

Cahill: I was familiar enough. I've never been a big TV watcher, but I'd watched it, I enjoyed it. I think it's an excellent show, and I'm absolutely proud to be involved in it, because I think it's top-quality television. I don't think it gets much better than these shows.

CSI Files: What was your favorite pre-CSI: New York role?

Cahill: I gotta go with Jim Craig (from Miracle), that was awesome. I'm lucky I get to knock off the things in life I would like to do as a human being but can only do as an actor. I got to be a hockey player, bingo, done. I get to be a cop for a little bit, bingo done. I get to knock all the great stuff off.

CSI Files: You usually get cast as the good guy. Was it fun to play a bad guy in Felicity?

Cahill: That was great. The great thing about bad guys is they're really just good guys with a twisted point of view that makes them bad. They're normal, they're just frickin' weirdos. And I actually thought that was a really well-written character, and I had a blast with that. That was a really excellent group of people to work with as well.

CSI Files: What was it like being on Friends?

Cahill: It was absolutely a fun show to be on. In some ways I was such nervous wreck being on that show! I was really young and it was all kind of new to me Being on Friends was like being in The Matrix because everybody knows the show. By the time I got there, the show was so well-established. I fly out from New York and the next thing I know I'm sitting in a room [with] Matthew Perry, Lisa Kudrow and David Schwimmer and I could not figure out for the life of me what I was doing there. They were excellent to me and as a result I had a great time, but it was overwhelming, in the best of ways.

CSI Files: Did you enjoy the role itself?

Cahill: He was wholly different from other things I've done, but yeah, it was just fun. It was a fun time of life to have that happen.

CSI Files: Did it help you land other roles?

Cahill: I think it helped. I never had the impression that it specifically led to one thing, but I know it didn't hurt me.

CSI Files: How did you get cast as Flack in CSI: NY?

Cahill: I got a call saying they were going to add a character [to the show] and they [wanted to] meet [me], and they sent over the sides and the rest was history. And I said, "Oh, okay, this guy's cool." They were sides that didn't even play into an episode, but his personality was so clear. And it was sarcastic! On a personal level, I [thought], what a dream to be able to play a New York City cop with that kind of authentic tone to it, so I said yeah, I'm in.

CSI Files: Have there been any changes in Flack from the initial sides or early first season? There are so many changes happening in the show; have any been specific to your character?

Cahill: I think he will change more as a product of me getting more and more used to playing him. Having tried things in season one, [I tried] some that I think might have worked better than others and some that I might just let go by the wayside. And then just being [more] comfortable; that's how I think he will change the most.

CSI Files: How does the cast get along?

Cahill: Awesome. It's good, it's really, really good. It makes such a difference. I'm so fortunate to be able to go to work with great people; everyone gets along, which is a plus, and I think we all work really well together. Everyone has a vested interest in making the show as great as it can be. It's a real positive place to go. And that extends beyond the cast as well, including the many, many other people who are on set or near set on a day-to-day basis making it happen. Socially it's an excellent place to go! I love going to work; I show up for work early and leave late.

We have a lot of new crew members this year, and I realize that whoever's picking the people to be a part of this show, the production staff, they do a really good job of getting good people. I think in part sets get difficult because you've got so many people there, and it's hard to get along with everybody, but they've found some really good folks on this set. I think they really do a good job of keeping it positive, which helps everybody. It's great to work anyway, but when you get that as an added bonus, it's just to the moon.

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Kristine Huntley is a freelance writer and reviewer.