'CSI' Producers Take Look At Kinkiest Side Of Vegas

By Carolina
February 8, 2006 - 6:52 PM

The airing of "Pirates Of The Third Reich" tomorrow night marks a yearly tradition for CSI: the team's return to the darkest side of Las Vegas.

Every year the show tends to deliver an episode (or two) that has everyone talking and this one promises to be it. But the stories told in these episodes are not as out there as most people may think - they show a side of this famous city that really does exist. "It goes back to Vegas, where the show is set. In Vegas, anything goes," executive producer Carol Mendelsohn said, adding that "Pirates of the Third Reich" is, "one of our more out-there episodes."

It also goes back to writer Jerry Stahl, who is responsible for the most shocking episodes: "Fur and Loathing," "Ch-Ch-Changes," and "King Baby," and most notably, the creation of Lady Heather. Stahl also penned down tomorrow's episode. "He's completely perverse," said William Petersen (Gil Grissom). "There's no place Jerry won't go. There's nothing Jerry won't look at."

Stahl isn't scared to go all out and show a side of the United States most people like to overlook. His book Permanent Midnight tells the story of his heroin addiction. "He introduces Americans to worlds that they wouldn't normally see," said supervising producer Richard Lewis, who directed tomorrow night's episode. "It's always a little darker and edgier when Jerry writes."

This has gotten the show a bad reputation with family oriented groups, especially the Parents Television Council, who has placed CSI in its list of worst family oriented television shows. The PTC claims these plots are irrelevant to a good story. "They go into a depth of detail that I think is unnecessary for a show about forensic investigations," said PTC member Melissa Caldwell.

These episodes may have some parents turning their televisions off an hour earlier than usual, but the numbers prove fans can't get enough of them. When CSI delves into the kinkiest worlds, its ratings go through the roof. "We try to think, 'What would our fans like to see? What would be a thrill ride?'" added Mendelsohn. "Our job is to make them want to come back next week, to create a great hour. That's the guidepost to everything we do."

It's also the writers' job to look into these sub-cultures and tell a good story, with richly developed characters and credible plots, and CSI is known for hitting the mark each time. One of the show's most famous characters, Lady Heather, has shown a depth and range of complexity as that of a main character's. "She was a multidimensional person who hadn't been seen, a dominatrix who was much more evolved — enigmatic and empowered," said Melinda Clarke, who plays the famous dominatrix.

Lady Heather returns tomorrow night to deliver another emotional punch to Grissom's life and to yet again introduce CSI into a world it has never seen before. In the end Petersen isn't afraid to take Grissom to these worlds, "I just don't want it to be gratuitous."

"Pirates Of The Third Reich" airs tomorrow night at 9/8c on CBS. Visit USA Today to read the original article.

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