Peter Lenkov

By Kristine Huntley
Posted at April 2, 2008 - 8:09 PM GMT

See Also: 'DOA for a Day' Episode Guide

Following the end of the WGA strike in February, Executive Producer Peter Lenkov and the rest of the CSI: New York writing team have been hard at work on the final seven episodes of the season. One of the major storylines that required their attention was the conclusion to the mystery that began in last fall's "Down the Rabbit Hole", when the team tracked a killer in the virtual world Second Life. The conclusion to that episode, "DOA for a Day" airs tonight in the U.S. Lenkov took time out the rushed production schedule to discuss the episode with CSI Files' Kristine Huntley as well as to hint at what's to come for the New York team in the season's final episodes.

CSI Files: Tonight's the big Second Life episode conclusion episode. How much did the writers' strike affect the episode?

Peter Lenkov: It really hasn't affected it at all. It's the same story I wanted to do before the strike. More time had passed since that last episode, but I'm hoping that because the first part of that aired last week that we won't really be paying too much attention to the time pass.

CSI Files: Will there be another virtual tie-in with Second Life in this episode like there was in the first one?

Lenkov: It's different because in the first episode it was a means to an end for [the killer]. She needed to go into Second Life in order to be able to steal this identity [of the character of Venus]. There is a little bit of Second Life in this episode because it plays into something that happened in the first episode, but it's not a Second Life episode. The first one really showcased Second Life, but in this one we use it because it helps us follow the trail of our suspect so it plays a lot less in it, but it's part of the overall investigation that bleeds from [episode] one into two.

CSI Files: So it won't be the same interface with the virtual world this time around?

Lenkov: I feel like we did that. It was fun the first time around but if we did it again the second time, I'm not sure how we would do it and make it any different. We do go to a cosplay club [in the second episode]. [It's] the cosplay club that you did not see in the first episode--we just mention she was coming from a cosplay club--we actually go to that club. But that's about it.

CSI Files: Do you feel the collaboration between CSI:NY and Second Life was a success?

Lenkov: It was successful; it was great. By the time we did the second episode, there was a lot of shorthand. A lot of it was a learning experience in the first one--how be able to tie in machinima into the episode and how to get it done in a timely fashion with our post-production schedule. With this one, we knew exactly what we needed to do to make those dates happen with our deadline. So it really was successful.

CSI Files: You came back from the strike in February and had seven episodes to do. What's the production schedule been like?

Lenkov: Because of the schedule, we're doing a lot of double ups, [filming] two episodes at a time. We want to air episodes as quickly as possible. Because of that, it cuts into our post production time, so normally we'd have a little more leisure time in post; now we're having one or two day turnarounds. It really was about us wanting to get new shows on the air as quickly as possible, so we sort of did it to ourselves.

CSI Files: Who chose how many episodes you'd have for the rest of the season?

Lenkov: CBS dictated that.

CSI Files: Can you tell us what your plans are for the rest of the season? Has the strike affected them?

Lenkov: The one thing the strike did was to allow us to have some time to reflect on what we were doing and how we could amp up everything and deal with some of the open-ended storylines that maybe if we [had been] working week-to-week we would have let fall to the wayside. But we were able to take a step back and look at everything, look at what we had done, and say, "How can we do it better and make it bigger and more exciting to the fans?" [The strike] is what allowed us to do that--it gave us that breathing room to say, "How can we make things different?" Because sometimes you get on that train and you're moving so quickly that things fall to the wayside sometimes. I think that break allowed us to look back and look at what we had done and really probably produced some of our best shows in this tail end of the season. [Executive Producer] Pam Veasey is calling it season 4.5 because it really feels like it's a new season, these last few episodes.

CSI Files: Are there any specific storylines that are getting developed thanks to the strike that you can mention?

Lenkov: I'd rather not mention them. When you look at trailers for the show, they give away a lot of stuff. I feel for the audience [that] character and little stories about our characters are the last sort of surprises in an episode. So those are the last things I'm holding onto, hoping that they're not exposed too early and that the audience gets to watch them for the first time and not expect anything. Everybody knows what the episode is going to be about this week. The commercial that's airing does a good job of telling what the story is, but it does give away a lot. I think people will appreciate not having all the information for the episode.

Here's the thing: we're going to deal with Danny and Lindsay, there's been some flirting with Flack and Angell--all these things are things that we're continuing on, that we're developing and making them a little more rich with each episode that airs.

CSI Files: Danny and Lindsay: heating up or cooling off?

Lenkov: There's a hint of what's going to happen in the episode [tonight] and I think that's probably the best way to explain it. You're going to get a real hint of where the relationship is.

CSI Files: And Flack and Angell are going to keep flirting?

Lenkov: [They're] two good-looking people who work together and are attracted to each other and there's some flirting. We'll see where that goes. It's a fun relationship because it's flirting. It's like when you're in an office situation with single people and you're flirting. It's just natural that those two people['s] relationship would get to that place.

CSI Files: We've heard Mac is getting a new love interest, played by Jessalyn Gilsig. Can you say anything about her?

Lenkov: There are a lot of interesting women coming in and out of his life, and it doesn't have to necessarily be [in] a love interest [capacity]. There are women that are going to be in his life. I think just jumping into a relationship really doesn't normally happen in real life--it's allowed to develop. I think you'll see a lot of women who could potentially be love interests. I know there's all this talk about Jessalyn being a love interest, but really, she's organic to the story [tonight] and becomes a part of the CSI: New York world, but it's not necessarily jumping into a relationship right away. I was reading in [a magazine] that Mac got a new love interest, and I'm not sure how that got out. I think just the fact that it's a woman who's going to be playing off him and has some weight in terms of acting chops, everyone goes, "Oh, love interest." You like things to develop and you want to see chemistry and I think that's the way we work--putting people in scenes together and seeing how it works out. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. Again, there's going to be women coming in and out of [Mac's] life and I think there will be a lot of surprises.

CSI Files: We've heard Stella has a big episode coming up.

Lenkov: Pam wrote a great Stella episode that airs next week. It's a very powerful story for her.

CSI Files: Can you hint at anything coming up for Flack, Hawkes or Adam?

Lenkov: There's a lot of big stuff coming up! We're going to do another big finale and we're already breaking the first episode of season five, which looks like it's going to be a real big, fun ride as well.

CSI Files: Is it going to be a cliffhanger?

Lenkov: That's what it's looking like.

CSI Files: Is it true you're going right into production on the beginning of season five after you finish the final seven episodes of season four?

Lenkov: Yeah. The season finale cuts next Monday and right after that episode we're going right into 501. [We're going to get] the first four in the can and then take a little bit of a break and come back and do the rest of the season. We'll start airing [next season] a little earlier.

CSI Files: Will next season be longer?

Lenkov: Yeah, I think we're looking at like 26 episodes!

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Kristine Huntley is a freelance writer and reviewer.