PRIMETIME TV CRIMEFIGHTERS PANEL
Aired November 1, 2010
Note: Only transcribed Marg’s responses…
Moderator: Jim Longworth
Jim: We just talked about Halloween and I thought people would find it interesting. All of you, by profession, have chosen this path where you play dress-up so I thought coming out of Halloween, it would be interesting to find out a little something about you. And one way to do that, instead of a bio, is just have each of you…We’ll start with Matt and come down the row. Tell me about your favorite Halloween costume. As a kid, something that really stands out in your mind. Don’t give me one, like, from yesterday. Give one from when you were growing up.
Marg: I dressed up as Wilma Flintstone one time.
Jim: That’s good.
Marg: Yeah, because I’ve been a redhead my whole life… and she had red hair too.
Jim: Did you have the beads around your neck?
Marg: Yeah. But the best part, I guess…well, it was the best and the worst at the same time — was the bare feet. I walked around…I was living in Nebraska at the time, where I am from. I walked around Halloween night with bare feet. I managed…I didn’t get a cut or anything.
Jim: Oh, man. Did anyone play Fred Flintstone? Was there a Fred to your Wilma?
Marg: No. There was a Betty though. My girlfriend was Betty.
Jim: Let’s talk about the other thing that I mentioned between Halloween and Election Day. And I want to ask about whether you think you should use your celebrity to be involved in politics — to endorse candidates, to be up front, to be visible. Because that continues to be a controversial subject no matter what side you are on. People in the media talk about it all the time. I’m going to start with Marg on this one, and my thought goes back to an interview I did earlier with Ed Asner this year, who of course talked about how his career almost went to nothing when he got in trouble over trying to send aid to the Nicaraguans back in the 80’s. And he just didn’t get any work for a while. So I am wondering…I guess it’s a compound question. Should you get involved in politics? Should you be visible? If not, is it for economic reasons, because it might hurt you career? So, Marg. go with that.
Marg: Well, I mean, if someone is passionate about something, whether it’s a cause or a candidate, I say go for it. I think yes if you believe in…If you really want to get somebody elected and you feel that your celebrity can help that person get elected…
Jim: You went to the inauguration — the last one, right?
Marg: Yes, I did.
Jim: Was that fun?
Marg: Oh, it was incredible. Yeah. It was surreal. I mean, I know that is an overused word for that, but it was amazing. And I was just at a fundraiser for Barbara Boxer.
Jim: So, you don’t mind being seen and going to fundraisers for people you believe in.
Marg: No, of course not.
Jim: This is something I promised the panel, when we were talking on the phone the last couple of weeks, that I would do. Give everybody a chance to do something you don’t normally get to do in interviews with any of the media, and that’s just give a plug for a particular charity or something you believe in or something you’ve been supportive of.
Jim: Marg, you’re the last one up and I know that you’ve helped a lot in awareness for breast cancer. And there’s a personal reason for that.
Marg: Yes. My mother’s a thirty-year breast cancer survivor.
Jim: Thirty years.
Jim: Good for her.
Marg: Absolutely. Yeah, so I’ve been involved in raising awareness and fundraising for close to that long. And whether it’s through National Breast Cancer Foundation, Susan G. Komen or through the hometown hospital in Omaha, actually it’s not my home town, but I’m from Nebraska, that provides mobile mammography. I’m not speaking very articulately…
Jim: No, that’s all right.
Marg: For rural communities, a lot of these communities are so far from hospitals they can’t even make it to…they’re like three hours away or something. These rural communities in Nebraska.
Jim: I’m glad you’re doing that, especially with the mobile mammography, because it was only a few weeks ago that controversy came out about the article in the New England Journal of Medicine — where there was some study, weird study, that said “Well, it’s not as effective as we thought” and the doctors and the nurses and the care givers jumped all over them and said “Look, you need to keep getting them.” So I think that’s your message too.
Marg: Right. Sure, yeah.
Jim: Let’s change the pace a little bit. Have a little fun here and do something I like to call ‘the confessing’. I’m going to say something and I want you to react to it. I’m not making these things up, by the way, just to make a joke. These are real things. You have to own up to it and maybe explain it.
Jim: Marg, you wanted to… First, I just have to tell you I’m a TV Guide fanatic and I was going back through my TV guides and in the last two years of TV guide you were on the cover four hundred and seventy times. It was amazing, which is more than…
Marg: Four hundred and seventy times??
Jim: No, I’m just making that up. You wanted to be a nurse, and again, this could be a serious thing or whatever. I was curious. Is that…
Angie Harmon: Marg wanted to be a nurse?
Jim: Yeah, she wanted to be a nurse.
Angie Harmon: Okay, I thought you meant him (referring to Thomas Gibson)
Jim: No, Thomas was a nurse. Thomas was a wet nurse.
Angie Harmon: I thought he wanted to be Tom Cruise?
Jim: Thomas was a wet nurse, and Marg, you wanted to be a nurse for a while, right?
Marg: Yes, when I was… my mother was a nurse, so I was wanting to follow in her footsteps. But what changed…Well, I started…the English teacher in high school asked me if I wanted to start being in the plays, and I kind of reluctantly did because I don’t know…I liked the teacher.
Jim: It changed your mind.
Marg: Well, it was so much that…What really did it was when I went to visit this school in Yankton, South Dakota. It was an all girls’ Catholic school in Yankton, South Dakota, and we went to view the school like in February, which is bleaker than bleak, right? The weather. And I just… I mean I couldn’t do it. It was like three hundred and fifty girls, all Catholic, which is what I had come from and I’m like ‘Wow I did this for eighteen years. I can’t do this for four more’. So that’s kind of what changed my mind, was just realizing that I was going to be in jail for four years if I didn’t, like, switch it up.
Jim: But you were never charged.
Marg: Never charged. No.
Jim: Let’s go around the horn and find out how you got the role that you’re playing now. Was there someone that made a call and said ‘I want you’ or someone that said ‘You’re due for an audition’ or ‘I’ve written this especially for you’ or ‘Would you be interested in it?’
Jim: Marg, with CSI, you guys went on the air what nine years ago? or eight years ago?
Jim: Eleven? Wow! And this, did I hear somebody say, or did you said it the other day? This is going to be your last season.
Jim: By choice. You’re going to do other things. But what…when the role first came up…did Anthony come to you and say “Hey, you’re our girl” or was there a long list of people like Angie was talking?
Marg: Well, it was so long ago I’m trying to recall. No, my agent actually called me and said “If you’re interested in doing a pilot this pilot season,” which would have been spring of 2000 “this is the one we should go after.” So he sent it over to me and I read it as soon as it arrived, called him back and said “Yeah, let’s make this happen.” And so he was able to get the offer from CBS, and then I went on to talk to Anthony and the director Danny Cannon and Jerry Bruckheimer .
Jim: Here’s the thing. Not everybody has to answer this, but if anyone wants to just jump in because I know you get this question all the time, you get bored with it. Let’s just quickly, two or three of you. Whoever wants to take it. And that is research. Were you asked to research for your role? Did you have to do research for your role? Did you not do research for your role? Is it a method thing?
Marg: I’ll share one day that I rode with this woman that my character is loosely based on, Yolanda McCleary, who — her first day of retirement was today. I just spoke with her on the way over here. Anyway, so one day we started off, the first call was ‘dead body at the Hard Rock’, the Hard Rock Hotel.
Thomas Gibson: It sounds like an episode.
Marg: Yeah. And it was a gentleman that was in this room. It’s kind of fun actually to sort of be there, and she was asking me questions, because by then it was like the third season and I’d already learned quite a bit. And she was saying “what would you do?” blah, blah, blah. But then the next call was a robbery out in the like suburbia and she said “Oh, I hate these. These are boring because it’s usually kids. And they’re not…their prints aren’t in the system” and so on. And it was this older couple and a very modest home. And this woman is, like, showing us where there had been some disturbances. She walked us down this hallway and she said “Okay” and she looked over, back over at us, kind of nervously, and she said “I just want you to know I thrown fun parties.” Oh and Yolanda — I didn’t get it — Yolanda goes “Hide the sex toys.” So, sure enough, we open the door and she’s got this, like, shelf full of, you know, handcuffs and lubricants and all kind of things. And we had to dust this stuff.
Angie Harmon: Stop!
Marg: We literally had to dust a package of cock rings. I’m not joking.
Jim: You dusted…
Angie Harmon: Stop it…
(Applause from the Panel)
Marg: So, all in a days work. A dead body…
(applause and laughter from Panel)
Jim: Before time gets away from us, I wanted to break a cardinal rule of these events.
Angie Harmon: Haven’t you done that already?
Thomas Gibson: I know.
Jim: She’s the one that talked about the sex toys. No, we always promise the talent that we’re not going to make you dress up and come as your character. We’re not going to ask you questions as your character. We’re not going to ask you to do lines or anything like that. And I wanted to break that tradition because everybody here at one time or another when you were asked has been in a play. So I want you to tell everyone… I’ll go down the line. Tell us the name of the play, how old you were and recite one line from the play that you were in.
Jim: Marg, a play…
Marg: You have to end on me. I have such a lame story.
Jim: That’s all right.
Marg: It really is. I think it was the first thing…
Jim: Did you start early? Was it…
Marg: Well, I was eight…seven or eight or something. But it was the school musical. I didn’t really want to do it at all. I was terrified. You know, it was a small rural school so they use every kid, no matter what. And it was this play called ‘Danny the Dark Green Dinosaur’ and I was this character, Susan the Swan. And I had a long neck and I had a song about that. And it went like this… (Marg sings) “I’m Susan the Swan. I can glide upon the lake with ease. Just like a breeze. But look at my neck. Oh Danny, oh heck. Goodbye, you cry baby, good bye” Because he was…
Jim: Very good.
Marg: Eh, whatever.
Marg: I don’t remember anything else. Any Shakespeare I did. But I can remember that.
Jim: Before time gets away from us, I want to ask everyone about their favorite TV Crimefighting show of all time and maybe name a favorite TV Crimefighters. Now this could be somebody you grew up watching or a favorite from not too long ago. But I think we’d all be interested to know as we carry through this tradition tonight and get ready in just a few minutes to honor a legendary TV crimefighter. It might be kind of a neat way to end up and talk about what impressed you, what you remember, your favorite TV crime fighter and your favorite series. And they may not be the same. You may have a favorite cop or detective and a separate series that you like.
Marg: Yeah, the 70’s really sort of dominated with the really great cop shows. I watched Mannix too and Police Woman. I liked Angie. She was always so sexy and hot and she didn’t have to sacrifice any sexiness to do police work.
(Marg and rest of the panel laugh)
Jim: Good point.
Marg: And I watched Charlie’s Angels too, of course. For the camp value. That was really fun.
Thomas Gibson: It was campy? (Laughs)
Marg: I…even at fifteen, I knew that.
The panel discussion concludes at this point with a tribute to the legendary Mike Connors.