Traditionally, when a television series comes to an end, it usually only returns through reruns. There have been updated versions of old TV projects with new casts – such as in the case of the revamped versions of “MacGyver” or “The Wonder Years.”
The fact “CSI” is back – now called “CSI: Vegas” rather than the original “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation” – after ending its run in 2015 is a rarity when it comes to TV shows. Look for this unusual new beginning with the season opener at 10 p.m. Oct. 6 on CBS.
This procedural is not merely a remake but a continuation with several familiar faces including Jorga Fox and William Peterson who played Sarah Sidle and Gil Grissom starting when the CBS crime drama debuted in 2000. The pair reprise their role for the new chapter in the “CSI” saga when evidence is uncovered that threatens every case they worked on with the crime lab.
The new head of the crime lab, Maxine Roby (Paula Newsome), enlists the aid of Sidle and Grissom to clear up this massive mystery.
This revival is the work of executive producers Jason Tracey, Jerry Bruckheimer and Anthony Zuiker.
Tracey says, “I want to say thank you for the opportunity to take this show forward into a new era. It was a show that changed television. It changed criminal justice around the world. And it changed a lot of lives in Hollywood.
“People were inspired by what the show made possible on TV. It’s been an enormous treat to bring back some iconic characters, working with fabulous actors, and tell these stories at a moment when I think the world needs it.”
Fox found returning to the show to feel very familiar and very new at the same time. A big reason the project feels fresh despite spending more than a decade playing the character is that in the short time the show has been away, the science part of crime scene investigation has changed dramatically.
Peterson never expected to get a call from the producers in regards to a new version of the show he worked on for so many years. He was surprised but didn’t hesitate to jump at the chance to return to the series and play Grissom again.
What intrigued Peterson was getting to see how Grissom and Sidle have changed since viewers last saw them.
“It’s different because it’s 20 years later. And it’s different because it’s all new people, too. And that’s all been great and exciting,” Peterson says. “And so, it’s a real thrill to be able to do this with everybody again.”
Peterson had already established himself as a film actor with projects such as “To Live and Die in L.A.” and “Manhunter” before “CSI” came along. But the CBS series became a major part of his acting career earning him three Emmy Award nominations and a Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series; He also got a nomination for a Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series – Drama.
One thing that set Peterson’s character apart from all the other investigators and detectives on the networks was that he dealt with crime using his mind more than muscle.
“When we first started in the whole creation of the first ‘CSI,’ the idea was, I didn’t want to carry a gun at all. And I don’t mostly,” Peterson says. “I think there was maybe two times when I had to involve myself with a handgun.
“That was a big part of it. You know, having had played at cops, and run around all over L.A. and the East Coast chasing bad guys, and shooting them or being shot myself, the idea of being able to work with just the mind, as an actor, that was a challenge and a great opportunity to grow as a performer.”
Both Fox and Peterson are happy to be back with the series but both admit they were a little rusty when it came to the technology and procedures. Fox stresses they were very good with both during their initial run.
Fox says she even struggled the first few days back with simple parts of acting on a TV show such as knowing where to stand.
Peterson adds, “I hadn’t done any television acting in a long time. Like since we did the finale. It was interesting, because it’s a whole new lab. It’s new construction. It’s all kinds of new machines, new technology that Grissom wouldn’t have been all that comfortable with even 10 years ago.”
If you miss the opening episode when it originally airs, “CSI: Vegas” will be available on the streaming service of Paramount+ the next day.