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'CSI' To Undergo Major Format Changes

By Christian
November 13, 2004 - 9:39 PM

See Also: 'Mea Culpa' Episode Guide

It seems 100 episodes in the old CSI: Crime Scene Investigation format was enough for the show's producers, as starting with episode 101, they will spice up the show by radically moving around many of the characters.

In the new edition of TV Guide, the magazine's CSI expert, Rochell D. Thomas, reveals that Catherine Willows will be promoted to head of the swing-shift CSI team in in the upcoming episode "Mea Culpa." Joining her each day at 4:00pm will be Warrick Brown - a virtual guarantee for tense situations, as Warrick will now be reporting to the woman he nearly kissed earlier this season in "Down the Drain.".

In addition to providing Catherine with cosier working hours, the promotion will put her at equal footing with Gil Grissom, something he's not too happy with. To make matters worse, with many of his most experienced people moving away from the graveyard shift, he'll be forced to rely on a B team consisting of people such as Greg Sanders, who still doesn't have all his field proficiency tests behind him, and internal affairs officer Sophia Curtis, recently demoted down from the day shift.

All this is the result of the events in "Mea Culpa," in which a murder trial is reopened to explore new forensic evidence. During cross-examination, Grissom discovers a previously undetected fingerprint on a matchbook left at a crime scene, meaning that the man who was originally convicted may well be innocent. Rather than focusing on finding the true killer, Grissom's longtime enemy Conrad Ecklie uses the finding to make life for Grissom as painful as possible, as we reported in our recent spoiler report.

Speaking to TV Guide, executive producer Carol Mendelsohn said that these kinds of personnel shifts are exactly what happens in the real world of forensic police departments. "My understanding is that people are always moving around.You don't stay working with the same team. Circumstances change."

The show itself might also change somewhat, as Mendelson hinted we will get to see more of the characters' personal lives. "Our CSIs have been together for almost five years. [...] Relationships evolve." But before fans get their hopes up - CSI will still primarily remain a procedural drama, so the characters won't be hooking up in classic soap opera style anytime soon. In fact, the producers recently cut a scene from an episode which would have followed up on the Warrick-Catherine moment in "Down the Drain." According to Mendelsohn, "it just didn't feel right and we thought we were hurrying the relationship too much."

The original report from TV Guide, which includes more details on "Mea Culpa" as well as more quotes from Mendelsohn, can be found in the new November 21 - November 27 edition of TV Guide, featuring Jerry Seinfeld on the cover. Massive thanks go out to Al Forno for this!

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