Fall TV Preview

Fall TV Preview: CSI: NY Serves Up 'Fun' Days Off, Temptation for Flack and... a New Li'l Messer?

CSI: NY Season 9 PremierePerpetually on the bubble, CBS’ CSI: NY was blessed earlier this year with an unexpected ninth season, which launches tonight at 8/7c. Given the 11th hour reprieve, it would have been entirely understandable for executive producers Pam Veasey and Zach Reiter to approach this season as the long-running procedural’s last — but is it? Perhaps not, say the showrunners.

“I don’t think by any means we are creating this [season] as if it’s the end,” Reiter tells TVLine. Adds a confident Veasey, “We have a dedicated audience and we’ve been moved to Friday nights at 8 o’clock. We want to continue the franchise — which is now down to two.”

Read on for more scoop from the EPs, including what’s in store for guest star Rob Morrow, what a day off in the life of a crime scene investigator looks like and whether there’s a new baby Messer on the way.

TVLINE | How did you approach this season?
ZACH REITER: I wouldn’t want to say that it’s business as usual; it’s Season 9 and we’re taking more risks and changing things up for our characters, so it’s not just doing the same old thing by any stretch… Everybody would be happy to have a Season 10 if that were to come. We may find ourselves in a similar position, where we’re creating a finale that can operate as both a season and series finale. But in terms of the 17 episodes before that finale, no, we’re not operating as though it’s the end.
PAM VEASEY: All of the personal lives of ours characters haven’t come into the lab in previous years and this year we decided to take time throughout the season to spend a day off with each one within an episode. What do they do when they’re away from us and not doing work? In the episodes there will also be a crime, but that person won’t be a part of it.

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TVLINE | Do any of the “day off” installments stand out as being particularly strong?
REITER: In terms of ones that have already been executed, we’ve created [a day-off story] for Flack that will appear in Episode 5 that is particularly satisfying.
VEASEY: You will meet his grandmother. And his sister Samantha (played by Kathleen Munroe) is back. It’s about family. It’s endearing and fun and charming, [and] you learn a little bit about his connection to his father.

TVLINE | Will fan faves Danny and Lindsay share their vacation day?
VEASEY: Right now, they have the same day off, but anything can happen. [Laughs] We have some ideas for them, but theirs doesn’t come up quickly in our season… They may get two days off: one with one [of them] off and one with the other. They will probably get serviced on the day off more than anyone else.

TVLINE | In explaining why NY got renewed over Miami earlier this year, CBS boss Nina Tassler alluded to your series being the more “fun” CSI. Does this season deliver on that lighter tone?
VEASEY: Yes, it does. They didn’t give us a mandate that now that we’re on at 8 we need to be really funny and charming and change what we’re doing. But you do take the idea that you’re opening a Friday night and that people want to come home and enjoy the start of their weekend… It’s not something you’re going to see right off the bat. We start our season with a really great two-parter that involves guest star Rob Morrow as an arsonist — not easy to laugh about that. [Laughs] But then we go into some really fun, delightful stories that make you smile. There’s some levity to it.

TVLINE | What else can you say about Rob Morrow’s arc?
REITER: He plays somebody who was an arsonist and finally got caught and spent the last 15 years in jail. Now, he is recently paroled and there are new fires that are popping up in New York City, so he is inevitably our first suspect in light of the timing and that some of the evidence mimics the old cases. He walks that tightrope because he’s a suspect, but he’s helping [the CSIs] solve this case — but is he playing them for a fool? So, it goes back and forth for a bit, and then takes a bigger turn in his second episode.

TVLINE | And how does Natalie Martinez join the fold?
VEASEY: We have Natalie recurring in the first half of the season as a detective in our precinct. She’s done a lot of great work. She’s working with Flack. It’s sort of a “will he go there again?” storyline. He had a love relationship years ago with a detective and this character tempts that idea again. She’s smart and she’s homegrown — there [are no women] on our show who are New Yorkers, so we wanted to add somebody with that flavor.

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TVLINE | Any long-arc nemeses this season?
VEASEY: Nothing long-arc. We do occasionally bring in arcs with our guest stars, but it’s usually over just two or three episodes.

TVLINE | Is there a plan to have Jaime Ray Newman return as Mac’s late wife Claire? Or has that emotional device sort of played itself out?
REITER: We never want to close any doors. If we figure out something that makes sense and is really great and emotional, we’ll have her back. But it does feel that, at this point, it’s been put to bed. He’s moving on and has found somebody in Christine who can inspire him in that way.
VEASEY: You’ll learn that Christine helped Mac recuperate after the shooting last year; that’s something we explore at the top of the season. She’s in this relationship for the long haul with him — as is he, but there aren’t any definitive plans. They’re happy where they are, just growing and loving each other’s company.

TVLINE | Any parting Danny/Lindsay teases for those Messer superfans out there?
VEASEY: We left on a cliffhanger last season that they have to make some choices about where they live and how their lifestyle moves forward: How do they keep continuing to do this as parents? Do they move out of the city? Do they become the suburb people? They’re going to make family choices about Lucy and their family, and also about adding another. Will there be another Messer? [Laughs] It’s just a conversation, know that! I don’t want to have Anna Belknap come in and tell me she’s going to get pregnant.