CSI: CATHERINE AND SARA INTERROGATED!
TV Guide Magazine, September 28-October 4, 2009
By Craig Tomasoff
Marg Helgenberger and Jorja Fox answer burning questions about Sara’s return and the crime show’s killer new season.
The most baffling scene on CSI last season wasn’t a stabbing or shooting. It was a missing persons case: The show’s lead investigator for its first nine seasons, William Petersen (Gil Grissom), left the series halfway through the year, sending CSI’s ratings slipping and causing concern for its cast and producers.
“We look at last season in a way not dissimilar from the fans,” admits executive producer Carol Mendelsohn. “We may have shortchanged a number of our characters in being so focused on the transition from Grissom’s team to Catherine’s We’ll try to make up for that this season.”
From the opening scene, it’s clear the mood is deadly on the graveyard shift. The team is ‘fractured,’ says Mendelsohn. Enter Jorja Fox, who’s back, at least temporarily, to help Catherine (Marg Helgenberger) get the CSIs to play nice again. But where’s Grissom? “The audience will know in very short order the status of Grissom and Sara,” Mendelsohn promises. “I can say that between the time they left and now, there are no little Grissoms out there.”
Meanwhile, both Nick Stokes (George Eads) and Ray Langston (Laurence Fishburne) get promoted and start a season-long hunt for a serial killer. “The crime scene for this killer is a body,” says Mendelsohn.
The case may also be just the thing to bring the team together and feeling like a family again. “We were out of our rhythm a bit last year,” says Eads. “We needed to go back to the garage and find what inspired us, and there’s some good stuff with what’s happening on the show now.”
That starts with the return of Fox, whose departure two seasons ago “felt like we lost our lead guitarist,” Eads adds. So, as CSI tunes up for its 10th season, TV Guide Magazine sat down with Fox and Helgenberger to ask them questions, sent in by fans on tvguidemagazine.com, and found out how the team is getting its mojo back.
What would you like to see this year on CSI that hasn’t already been done?
Marg: A musical episode! That’s something we’ve talked about since Season 2. The cast has, anyway. I don’t think the writers think it’s a great idea.
Jorja: I’ve been advocating for the CSI musical episode for a long time. And not because I have any talent musically, because I don’t. Everybody else does. Marg has a beautiful voice.
Marg: You do, too, have talent.
Jorja: I can’t really sing. But I’d love a dance number.
Jorja, why did you come back to CSI?
Jorja: I thought it would be a heck of a lot of fun. When I said my goodbyes, with cake in my mouth and flowers in my arms, the last thing I said to the producers was I’d love to visit. But this was very unexpected.
Is it possible Sara will return for good?
Jorja: I’ll just say I’m very pleased with what they’ve come up with to bring Sara back. You do get to learn a little about what she’s been up to. I was pleasantly intrigued.
Marg, are you happy to have Jorja back on the set so you’re not the only woman?
Jorja: I’m gonna cover my ears!
Marg: Well, obviously, Lauren Lee Smith [who played Riley Adams] was with us last year, but there was a time before she joined us that I was the only woman, for the most part, other than Liz Vassey in the lab and Sheeri Rappaport. Not that I minded being around all those guys, ‘cause they’re all really great and cool and sexy and all that stuff. But there needed to be more of a presence of female power. So I was thrilled to have Jorja back. She’s just the coolest chick on the planet.
Catherine and Sara have never really had a close friendship. Will they become closer?
Marg: I’ve always wanted them to have a closer relationship. I liked the characters’ energies together. So it hasn’t been for a lack of me wanting and asking for it. I hope it happens. We do have a couple of nice scenes in the first episode.
Jorja: I know very little about where we’re going from here. Sara has pretty obvious authority issues, so when she’s locked horns with Catherine, it’s because Catherine’s in a position to tell Sara what to do. In her mind, Sara believes she doesn’t have a boss. She is her own boss. Most of their fights come out of that. They’re very different woman but blend marvelously together.
Will we see more of Catherine as a strong supervisor this season?
Marg: Yes, you will. There is something that happens in one of the first episodes because someone leaks information to the press, [and the] hard-ass on the show, Ecklie [Marc Vann], has to come down on someone, so it’s the leader. I think you’ll see Catherine at the top of her game, confident.
Jorja: Catherine’s had a leadership position on the show for some time. So it’ll be sort of seamless and subtle. But for me, it’s exciting to see a woman in charge.
Will there be a Grissom and Sara wedding anytime soon?
Jorja: I have no idea if there’ll be a wedding! Would I, as Jorja, like to see one? Sure. I think, even though it seems the antithesis of who Sara is, she’d like to see one, too.
What do you think happened between Grissom and Sara after the screen went to black at the end of William Petersen’s final episode?
Jorja: I think we left them happily ever after in a Costa Rican rain forest. I certainly would like to leave it at that. I liked that moment being suspended for a while. It was so slow in coming, season after season. It was something I was rooting for, and I was happy the story ended the way it did. So just let it hang there for a while.
Will we see Catherine find love in the future?
Marg: [Laughs] I think it’s way overdue for Catherine to have a love interest! There was an ex, who was shot dead. I had a brief relationship with a guy who just wasn’t right for me. There was the whole Warrick [Gary Dourdan] flirtation thing that we didn’t really follow through on. But I’d love to see Catherine’s vulnerable side.
Jorja: And to see some sparks fly!
Marg: Catherine needs somebody tall and dark. She’s always attracted to edgy-type guys, but at this point in her life and career, she knows that’s heading into dangerous water. I think she’s evolved a little bit. Not that she wants somebody who is milquetoasty.
Jorja: [Laughs] A foot doctor?
Marg: Sure. He probably gives great foot massages. Which would be quite sensual. [Laughs] She does stand on her feet a lot.
Would Catherine ever kiss Sara?
Jorja: We did today! At the TV Guide Magazine photo shoot. But on the show, probably not. Sara and Catherine love each other very much, but they probably wouldn’t kiss.
Marg: We have to keep some mystery.
Will we get to see Catherine’s daughter, Lindsey, and her mother this season?
Marg: I’ve always wanted to have my daughter be much more of a presence on the show, especially now that she’s a young woman. That allows for some great storytelling. I can only hope there will be more.
Will there be any more about Catherine’s father, Sam Braun, and his legacy?
Marg: That will definitely be there. Definitely that old-school Vegas stuff will be throughout the whole season.
What’s the funniest thing that ever happened on the set?
Jorja: Back when we were doing the ‘Grave Danger’ episode, and George [Eads] was in the box where he’s dying every minute he’s still in there….We get this tape in the mail from the killer and it’s a Turtles song. The camera’s going around all of us, and we’re all there. We’re trying to analyze this tape, a critical moment in the story, and we all hear the music and start dancing to it.
Marg: The musical episode!
Do you two hang out together off set?
Marg: I keep meaning to go down to watch her surf.
Jorja: I just spent four days doing it. I’ve been surfing for about eight years.
Marg: I’ve been down to her place but haven’t seen her surf yet. I guess I might try doing it, too, but I’m not as brave as she is.
Jorja: Oh boy, that’s not true!
Marg: [Laughs] The temperature of the water is what I’m most afraid of. If I was in Hawaii, I’d love to do it with you.
Jorja: Great! Let’s go to Hawaii and go surfing.
Would either of you consider joining Dancing With the Stars since you have the moves to blow the minds of America every week?
Marg: I could see where that would be a lot of fun, actually.
Jorja: Would America be ready for dancing forensic investigators?
Marg: See? It all comes back to CSI: The Musical. Every question comes back to that. If we keep putting it out there, it’ll happen.
Scans of the magazine article can also be found HERE in our gallery.