CSI: NY's Sela Ward: The Final Act of Rapist Arc Is 'Very Unnerving... a Great Thriller'

This Friday on CSI: NY (CBS, 9/8c), the John Curtis storyline enters its final act with Det. Jo Danville reeling from the fact that the suspected rapist whom she had a role in setting free years ago in D.C. has eluded another charge, again due to compromised evidence — in the latest instance, a victim’s shaky testimony.

“She is furious,” Sela Ward tells TVLine of Jo’s state of mind. “She is absolutely obsessed with getting this guy (played by Third Watch‘s Jason Wiles), so she’s being doing things that get her in a little bit of trouble with Mac. She’s a loose cannon at this point.”

Despite her best-ish efforts to keep herself officially away from the latest Curtis case, this week the dead body of a key player effectively pulls Jo into the mix. “Things become really interesting,” Ward teases. Especially since, she notes, “There’s more than one person who wants to see this guy behind bars — or dead.”

Among those with personal agendas who have Curtis in their crosshairs, there’s the senator (Once & Again‘s Jeffrey Nordling) whose daughter was the rape victim in D.C. We’re also about to meet a former FBI colleague of Jo’s (House alum Michael Weston) who did not weather the fallout of Curtis’ first acquittal quite as well as she has.

“He really is a tragic figure in this story because he just kind of loses it,” Ward says. “His whole career was ruined because of the mistake he made to let the rapist go free [in D.C.], so he really fell apart.”

TVLine’s Law-Enforcement Crushes Bracket Tournament: CSI: NY‘s Lindsay vs. Criminal Minds‘ Prentiss!

With all these characters in play — and given how last week’s episode ended by indicating that someone had coerced a young NYC woman into falsely accusing Curtis of rape this time around — “You just don’t know how it’s going to end,” says Ward. “It’s very unnerving and disturbing.”

The final two acts of this week’s episode, in fact, she touts as “a great thriller.”

Watch a semi-spoilery sneak peek here, then read on for more….

One way or another, by the end of the CBS dcrime rama’s fall finale, “Jo absolutely is able to put [the John Curtis case] behind her,” Ward previews. “And that will be a huge thing for her.”

To have delved so deeply into the backstory of a crime procedural character, and a relatively new one at that, “has been great,” Ward raves, “because I’m all about character-driven storylines. This has given me something to chew on, and with a procedural it’s hard to get that.”

The Curtis arc also gave Ward a chance to chew the fat with Nordling, who on Once & Again played her ex-husband. Reunited on CSI: NY set, she says, “We caught up on everybody and where everybody is, which was really nice. And shortly after I saw him I ran into Billy Campbell” – aka her O&A beau – “and we went and had a great, four-hour lunch.”

Hey, in the event that Campbell’s character on AMC’s The Killing is still alive, maybe Jo Danville could cross the country and use her forensics know-how to get him acquitted of Rosie Larsen’s murder? “Oh, I’d love that!” Ward says with a laugh. “That’s a great idea.”

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21 Comments
  1. Lila says:

    So I guess we’re tuning in tonight to CSI:JD, where the whole rest of the cast is going to take a back seat to her and her drama. I kind of would like to see the cast of CSI: NY. I didn’t realize Jo’s ex coworker and the senator were people that we cared about. Didn’t they set up Lindsay to want him behind bars to? Does Danny not support the role of Justice? Does Hawkes not care about this set of rape cases? Do none of them care about JO? What the crap was that big ol’ “misunderstanding” for if this entire episode is all about Jo and the people in her past.

    • DL says:

      I actually really enjoy her character. Remember, we’ve been treated to any number of character-centric episodes, and Melina Kanakaredes’s Stella Bonasera got a whole slew of them between her boyfriend arc and the Greek coin collector/murderer arc.

      A Mac episode opened this season, and a Danny episode put him back in the lab. I don’t think having a Jo episode is out of line, ESPECIALLY because she’s a new character and it’s good to see what makes her tick to get the audience invested in her. Though to be honest, maybe I’m biased because I never cared for Melina and like Sela Ward much better.

      • Lila says:

        Jo has now had more character centric eps than Stella had in 6 seasons. That’s a little overboard. We know more about Jo’s Life than we know about Stella’s. We know more about Jo than we know about anyone on the show.

        I like Sela, I like Jo Danville, but when I tune into CSI:NY I want to watch CSI:NY. That’s all I’m saying.

        • Lila says:

          And I do enjoy Sela’s character. I enjoy JO Danville, but what I really enjoy about CSI:NY is the cast as a whole. I want to see the cast working together and communicating with each other, not just with Jo. I’m not saying I don’t like her, but I want less attention on her and more on the way the cast works together the way they used to in the first few seasons. I am a fan of the show. I was excited when Sela came on, but I want more cast.

    • Sasha says:

      Jo is still considered to be a new character so of course they’ll want to have a Jo-centric themed story arc…

      This is only her second season and when they introduced her we knew soemthign was up with her past and this is it.

      All the the original cast members have had at least one Ep centered around them so lay off.

      What the heck?

      • Lila says:

        Hawkes has had nothing this season, and I don’t believe Adam or Sid have had anything besides very minor moments. We have now had 3 entire episodes dedicated to Jo. We had a lot of time dedicated to Jo last season, and we now know more details and have met SO many more people from her life than ANYONE else in the cast. In 2 seasons.

        I watch for all of the characters. CSI:NY is the characters. It isn’t just Jo Danville.

        Which wouldn’t be so bad, but this episode isn’t even about the cast nor is it highlighting the rest of the cast. This episode is completely about Jo and the people she knew back when, when none of them have anything to do with New York. What about how this case has effected or should have effected the people she works with? How about how her actions and her attitude has effected the people she works with.

        No, they don’t delve into that.

      • Lila says:

        Adam was once considered to be a new character and we know next to nothing about him.

  2. gcem says:

    I agree with DL. I was upset when it was announced that Melina Kanakaredes was leaving CSI:NY, but when Sela Ward was brought in to replace her, I was pleased. Been a long-time fan of Ms. Ward and I like how she just fit right in with the gang. In fact, I tolerate Ms. Ward’s “Jo” more so than Ms. Kanakaredes “Stella.” I hope the writers delve a little more into “Jo’s” family-life. It seems like it would make for an interesting story.

  3. King says:

    Move on guys! Melina left the show. She didn’t want to do the show anymore so don’t waste time picking on Sela/Jo screentime. She’s the lead actress on the shoe so what do you expect? The show is lucky to have a great actress like Sela Ward. And having Jo centric storylines is something the hasn’t fully done yet. We’ve gotten lots of Mac, Danny, Lindsay, D/L, Flack and Hawkes in the past so let’s give this part of the season to Jo. I bet Mac will take over once again as we approach the end of the season.

    • Lila says:

      At no point did I say I didn’t like Sela or that I liked Melina. There’s nothing to move on from, except, obviously this board :p. And I guess I’m coming off as argumentative, but you guys are responding to a love for Melina I don’t have.

      But All I was saying is great! We got a character centric episode about Sela where she was in most of the ep. Then we got another. Then we got another and another. Sela’s great, but I like all of the cast members. I like them mixing it up and having fun. We’ve had three overly serious episodes all focused on the same person.

      I don’t care about Melina. She was great, but she didn’t make CSI:NY either. Mac isn’t CSI:NY. I just want to watch CSI:NY and that means I want to see the cast interacting the way they do together. There is such great chemistry among the entire cast that’s missing when it centers on one person, for any episode.

      • King says:

        Just like what I said, other characters have been on the show for a long time. They’ve had some great developments within those 7 seasons. Yet some people can’t accept giving just these three episodes to Jo who’s been on the show for just over a season?

  4. Babobo says:

    I agree with Lila.

  5. jana says:

    Personally, I like Jo much better than I liked Stella.
    And I do like character driven story arcs, so I’m looking forward to this one.
    I’m sure the writers try to dole out the story arcs, recognizing that Sela and Gary are the leads, while the rest are supporting. It’s the same with all the CSI’s: I enjoy the supporting casts maybe more than the leads; but I’m a realist, so I just try to go with it and enjoy the little moments that all the cast bring to the show.

  6. Kelly says:

    Thanks for the article Matt.

    I agree with everything you said Lila. I have watched this show from the beginning. But lately my interest has waned mostly because of the over use of JO. Even when the episodes aren’t solely focused on her, she is still there front and center which seemingly pushes everyone else into the background. I want to watch the show for all the characters, not just one.

  7. Faylinn says:

    I’m looking forward to seeing how this storyline plays out. I adore Jo, and Sela is just great. We’re getting to see a more flawed side of Jo as a character, we’re learning about her past, and we’re also seeing some really interesting interaction between her and several other members of the team – notably Mac and Lindsay. Continuity has (arguably) never been CSI: NY’s strong suit, so it’s nice to see that the show is delving into this storyline after alluding to it during “Vigilante” last season.

  8. Juanell says:

    I have to agree about liking Jo better than Stella. They had completely ruined Stella’s character with that little episode with Adam. Stella’s character had too many problems, but then again, so does Jo. Personally, I would not care if every episode was about Mac Taylor. :) I do think that Jo has too much baggage for the show and that they are spending too much time on her character. It seems like Danny, Lindsey and Sheldon have faded into the background and even Don. Don and Danny are the best characters besides Mac. Without Don and Danny, there is nothing to laugh at except those occassional little comments Mac makes.

  9. Tiffany says:

    Does Anyone know what the name of the song that was played at the end of this show? It was a slower song. Thanks!

  10. BR (a Canadian fan) says:

    I agree with Lila. The last two seasons of CSI NY have been soooo boring. My husband and I enjoyed the characters, the stories and the cases of CSI NY in the past. We were introduced to CSI NY about season 5 and played catch up with the earlier seasons. Loved season 1 – 6. MK was not the reason, just felt the writing was so much better and the show fast paced with a couple of cases each week. Character development in film is like in a book, so please don’t make the CSI characters live in a soap opera. Many of our friends all agree season 3 is the best. Means to an end was predictable and not thrilling. Lets put all the characters to work on cases.

    • Juliab. says:

      Means to an End was a mess. Way too much Jo. I like the character, but where is a story for the rest of the cast? CSI/NY writers need to step it up.

  11. Meo says:

    The whole last episode was messy and seriously flawed. Not well thought out either. Or maybe it’s just my lack of attention span…never really been a fan of Jo. Sorry.

    But how did John Curtis even get into the apartment? It sure as hell wasn’t through that hole in the window. And he was rather stupid. For a guy that said he didn’t want to get caught, he was just going to let Jo grab the gun?

    Why did Jo’s ex-partner commit suicide? I know he was probably depressed and all that but really? Instead of handing over and explaining the evidence to the CSI/police he goes and commits suicide?

    Wish they would learn something from the Mentalist. If you’re going to create this intellect perpetrator then please, don’t make them die so idiotically/meanlessly.

    Sadly Sheldon, Sid and Don are my favourite characters and they never get any love.

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