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CSI Files

An archive of CSI, NCIS, Criminal Minds and crime drama news

Josh Berman

By Christian Sparborth
Posted at May 3, 2005 - 4:19 PM GMT

CSI: Crime Scene Investigation co-executive producer Josh Berman recently took the time to answer questions from CSI Files visitors on topics ranging from his new show Deviant Behavior, the new recurring characters on CSI, and even romantic pairings between some of the established characters!

Berman has been a CSI writer since the show's first season, starting with the episode "Who Are You?" This year, he's worked on the episodes "Crow's Feet," "Mea Culpa," "Unbearable" and "Compulsion" -- and he also revealed he's written CSI's pre-final episode of the season, which we expect will be called "Iced." In addition, Berman has been developing the Fox drama series Deviant Behavior, for which he said a pilot has already been shot, and is currently under consideration for next season.

Following the announcement of this Q&A session, more than sixty people posted at Talk CSI to suggest questions for Mr. Berman, with close to two dozen people registering for the specific purpose of participating in this Q&A. We'd like to thank everyone who posted a question, and we hope you'll stick around at Talk CSI in the future!

Of the more than a hundred questions that were suggested, we chose what we thought were the most interesting, and divided them over four categories: questions dealing with Josh Berman himself, CSI in general, CSI ships, and finally the future of CSI. Below you'll be able to find Mr. Berman's answers to the questions -- our sincere thanks go out to him for taking the time out of his busy schedule to get in touch with the CSI fans!

Personal Questions

CSI Files: Can you tell us a little about yourself?

Josh Berman: I grew up in Encino, California. I've always enjoyed writing -- both fiction and nonfiction. When I read the pilot of CSI, I responded to the "mystery" storytelling. My agent submitted material to Carol Mendelsohn, the showrunner, who fortunately responded to it. I started work two weeks later.

'A Caribbean Mystery:' Do you have a favorite CSI episode?

Josh Berman: I am most proud of "Invisible Evidence". In the episode, the CSI team must race against the clock to solve a case. It was a chance to 'break the mold' in the way a story unfolds. Also, it was the first time we started an episode with a CSI on the stand. As a writer, it was exciting for me to see how our CSIs react in a sterile courtroom.

Bruno: There seem to be a lot of Bermans in Hollywood, and especially within the Viacom family. Can you tell if you are related to any of the following people? CSI's David Berman (David Phillips), Gail Berman (new head of Paramount), Rick Berman (head of the Star Trek franchise), Marc Berman (MediaWeek's Programming Insider), and Shari Springer Berman (the director of American Splendor.)

Josh Berman: The only relative (that I'm aware of) is David Berman, my brilliant younger brother.

CSI Files: Can you tell us a little about your project Deviant Behavior?

Josh Berman: Deviant Behavior tracks two Detectives in San Francisco who chase the city's most deviant criminals. It has already been shot, and is under consideration for this Fall. Cross your fingers! However, even if the series goes forward, I will remain on CSI (happily) for the next two seasons. I love my job and I love working for Carol Mendelsohn (my boss). CSI continues to be exciting and I'm happy to keep writing for these wonderful characters.

CSI Files: What does a typical working day look like for you?

Josh Berman: No day is "typical". Every day presents its unique challenges. Depending on the day, you could find me on the set, writing in my office, writing at home, in editing, in casting, or in the writer's room.

'Destiny:' I read that you're certified by the Association of Firearm and Tool Mark Examiners. Was it just the show that got you interested in this or something you have always wanted to do?

Josh Berman: Honestly, I didn't know I was certified, but that's really cool. I spoke at one of their conventions, so maybe it's an honorary certification?

'Dynamo1:' For our Birthday thread, may we know yours and David's?

Josh Berman: Sure, my b-day is Dec 20th. David's b-day is Nov 1st. Thanks for asking.

General CSI Questions

AntonyF: Is it scary being the number one show in America? I always think if I were in that position I'd be frightened every week that people would start to go away. As a producer, what are the pros and cons of low vs high ratings?

Josh Berman: There are no cons in high ratings. High ratings means that viewers appreciate our hard work, which is extremely gratifying. Carol and I often worry about a fall in the ratings, but, thankfully, that hasn't happened yet. I'll probably crawl into a cave and hit a deep depression if/when we fall out of the top 10.

'A Caribbean Mystery:' I've heard that Billy Petersen is a great ad-libber, how many of his ad-libs eventually make it for the final cut of the episode?

Josh Berman: Billy is one of the most talented actors I've had the pleasure to work with. He's got a terrific sense of humor and many of his lines end up in the final cut.

CSI Files: Have you been involved in any of the preparations for the fifth-season DVD box set, for instance by recording audio commentaries or appearing in any of the behind-the-scenes featurettes?

Josh Berman: Honestly, I haven't been involved here. Just too busy with the show, at the moment.

'MedicWarrickLvr:' I work in the medical field (in the Emergency Room actually with the Trauma Team). [...] How do you all go about the research for your cases and writings as far as accuracy of the medical and forensics end?

Josh Berman: We have a fantastic research team. In addition to our two former CSIs who work with the writers and on the set, we also have two full time researchers -- David Berman and John Wellner, who are also both actors on the series. We do everything we can to make every episode as realistic as possible.

CSI Shipping Questions

CSI Files: At least half of the questions we received dealt with shipping - groups of fans who rally around a specific romantic pairing of CSI characters. Two of the most popular seem to be Grissom/Sara, and Greg/Sara. Are you aware of the cult-like following these ships have? Is it something you want to consciously develop? And are there any shippers in the writing room?

Josh Berman: I'm thrilled that people want to see romantic relationships between our characters. Different writers feel very strongly about different pairings. I think it's best to keep everyone guessing!

'csinut:' Sara has opened up alot and revealed some painful secrets about her past to Grissom. Do you see Grissom feeling comfortable enough with Sara to do the same? I swear he's hiding a big, emotional secret.

Josh Berman: I'm sure he's got a secret or ten, but I doubt he's about to share them with Sara (or anyone). Grissom is such a complex character, and I believe we've just begun to scratch the surface.

'SLynn:' The dynamic between Jorja Fox's Sara Sidle and Eric Szmanda's Greg Sanders has evolved significantly over season five. [...] Do the writers/producers plan on expanding on this?

Josh Berman: I just wrote an episode that airs May 12 ["Iced"] in which Sara and Greg get their own case. I love their interaction and enjoy seeing them work together, as well. They are extremely talented and play well off each other. Not sure how their relationship will evolve in the future.

Future CSI Questions

CSI Files: CSI has gained several recurring characters this season, and beefed up the roles of some of the previously established ones. Was this done in order to prepare some of them to possibly take over as regular characters in the future?

Josh Berman: I think we brought in new characters to make the Lab feel more realistic. After 4 or 5 seasons on the air, I think viewers are willing to accept and embrace new cast members. That being said, I don't want any of our regulars to ever leave.

'Sidle My Idol:' The changes this season have been interesting, but we, as I speak for millions of viewers, hope that the team split is not permanent. So, that is my question. Is the team split permanent?

Josh Berman: Keep watching -- that's all I will say.

'Jennybel75:' Continuity doesn't always seem to occur on CSI, things/issues/events that have been brought up in other episodes have been left unresolved or seemingly ignored (eg Dr Lurie, Nick's confession about his molestation). Season 5 has seemed a little better in this regard -- do you plan to continue this continuity (heh) and dealing with consequences?

Josh Berman: Actually, I think we're quite realistic in not tying everything up neatly. Life is messy sometimes and not everything has a resolution. I love the fact that Carol has not felt it necessary to resolve everything. In regard to Nick, he shared the molestation when the moment was right. There was no need to dig any further. Apparently, Nick has either dealt with the molestation or moved-on. It's not something that interferes with his work.

'idreamedmusic:' I love how CSI can still experiment with its format now and then, like with the most recent "4x4" or "Invisible Evidence" in S4. Any plans of doing more episodes that break out of the usual format in the future?

Josh Berman: As writers, we're always trying to think outside the box. I hope we continue to do so.

AntonyF: Did you meet Quentin Tarantino when he came in to the show?

Josh Berman: I met Quentin, but I was focussed on the episode that will air right before his finale. He's a fantastic director and a wonderful man. He was loved by the writers, cast, and crew.

CSI Files: And finally... can you give us any hints on what we can expect during the sixth season?

Josh Berman: My lips are sealed. But I can promise you're going to love next season.

Discuss this interviews at Talk CSI!

Find more episode info in the Episode Guide.

Christian Sparborth is the editor of CSI Files, as well as of Star Trek fan site TrekToday and Desperate Housewives fan site Get Desperate!

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