This week on CBS’ CSI: NY, matters of love and… well, mortality… loomed large, as one crimesolver pulled the trigger on romance, while another was dealt an entirely different hand. Co-executive producer Trey Callaway, who penned the hour, gave TVLine the inside story on both developments and previewed what comes next.
STOP, IN THE NAME OF LOVE | On the happier note, “Flavato” fans — aka those who’ve been wanting Detectives Flack and Lovato (played by Eddie Cahill and Natalie Martinez) to become partners in a very different way — saw the new year get off to a promising start, as the duo went on a date (and even got a bit physical).
That the procedural took this leap with a workplace romance was almost happenstance. Recalling the addition of Martinez for Season 9, Callaway says, “It wasn’t a case of, ‘We’re going to cast this woman to be Don Flack’s girlfriend.’ That was the furthest thing from our minds.” But when the writers first saw Cahill and Martinez on screen together, “We all sat around with dumb smiles on our faces saying, ‘There’s something here.’ And then we begin to write to it. The chemistry was abundant, and we took it to the next level.”
As for whether the detectives will keep their romance on the down low, Callaway notes, “It’s probably something that would be under wraps for a while, but the flip side is that when you start to fall in love, you’re in love, and you want to share it with the rest of your family — even if it’s your ‘work family.'”
RICH MAN, POOR MAN | More significantly, CSI: NY‘s winter premiere shared two big reveals about Sid. One was surfaced by Jo, who discovered that an anonymous “Guardian Angel” who’d been gifting downtrodden individuals with million-dollar checks was none other than the mild-mannered M.E. But it’s the why of Sid’s largesse that shook longtime fans: As confided to Jo, he’s been diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma.
Callaway says that series vet Robert Joy was given a heads-up on this twist “early on” in the season, “because Bob is not only an extraordinary actor, he’s just someone that is a wonderful human being.” And since Callaway wrote the Season 8 episode in which Sid got (very) rich from a patent, “I wanted to tell the next chapter in that story.”
To that end, Callaway initially set out to simply reveal that Sid was gifting money to the loved ones of victims who touched the M.E. “He knew their lives had been irrevocably impacted, so he wanted to make a difference in their lives, positively,” explains the scribe. When Callaway pitched that story to showrunner Pam Veasey, “She loved it, then said, ‘…but how about we do this,’ and she added the extra, incredibly emotional layer of exploring an illness.”
The minute that Veasey suggested that wrinkle, “I got a knot in my throat,” Callaway shares. “We all love Sid — he’s certainly a beloved character — so it was one of those things that, from a writing standpoint, felt perfect. And let me tell you, I wrote it and I’ve watched it several dozen times, and I still get choked up. All of us know someone or have lost someone to some form of cancer, so it’s very resonant.”
What’s more, in the hands of Joy and Sela Ward, Callaway “knew that these two performers were going to be so in their zone when it came to bringing it to life. Whatever I wrote on paper, they elevated 100-fold through their sheer skill.” (In fact, he recalls seeing at least one cameraman wiping tears away during the shoot. “That’s when I thought, ‘Oh, this is one of those moments.'”)
Will Sid live to see any possible Season 10? Callaway is bullish on the medical examiner’s short-term prognosis, saying, “As far as we’re concerned, Bob Joy is not going anywhere.” That said, “This is definitely a very different and personal struggle Sid is going to have to face – and he’s lucky to have a friend in Jo to support him through it.”