Crafting Murder On A Tiny Scale

By Rachel
May 18, 2007 - 6:13 AM

CSI: Crime Scene Investigation used season 7 to explore an unusual storyline that required minute attention to detail.

CSI's Miniature Crime Scene Killer, or MCSK, was the show's first season-long recurring storyline. Taking place over five episodes, the MCSK mystery gave fans a chance to try to solve the murders, each of which came with a scale replica of the crime scene. Some critics claimed that the storyline was meant to help CSI compete with ABC's Grey's Anatomy. Executive producer Naren Shankar denied the comparison. "We're a true crime procedural; we're a mystery show," he told Calendar Live. "Any kind of season-long arc we generate is not about who you're going to sleep with, or who you're going to choose, or who you're going to drive off into the sunset with…."

The MCSK arc was inspired by the work of Frances Glessner Lee, a woman who used dioramas of murder scenes as forensic training tools for the police. The CSI writers met with a forensic scientist to come up with a story and a character that would fit the profile of the MCSK. According to Shankar, the season-long arc was reminiscent of the "mythology stories" from The X-files, which followed the same theme over the course of the season.

A major part of the MCSK story arc was the miniature crime scenes themselves. Crafted by set designer Rob Sissman, each crime scene was actually three separate creations. Sissman designed the life-sized set and then created two miniature replicas. The prop that was used by the actors on the show was a half-inch-scale model of the original set. High definition cameras were used to capture close shots of the third model, which was a one-inch-scale. It took Sissman hours to duplicate the details for each scene and he said that the "season was exhausting."

You can read the entire story at Calendar Live.

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