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TCA: William Petersen, Jorja Fox on New 'CSI'

William Petersen and Jorja Fox in CSI: Vegas
(Image credit: Ron P. Jaffe/CBS)

CSI: Vegas premieres Oct. 6 on CBS, picking up where CSI: Crime Scene Investigation left off in 2015. William Petersen, who played Gil Grissom, and Jorja Fox, who played Sara Sidle, are back. 

The original series, which launched in 2000, made a lasting mark on pop culture. “It was a show that changed television. It changed criminal justice,” said Jason Tracey, executive producer, during a TCA session. 

The new series will also star Paula Newsome, Matt Lauria, Mel Rodriguez and Mandeep Dhillon. “We are building something new but we’ve got a fantastic blend of new and returning faces,” said Tracey. 

Petersen said the call to get the band back together was unexpected. “I sort of jumped at it,” he said, drawn to the idea of revisiting Grissom and where he is here in 2021. “It’s a different world from what it was 20 years ago.”

The folks working in the Vegas crime lab have more sophisticated technology than they had when the initial CSI was on the air. “The science is like Disneyland,” said Newsome. 

Fox admitted it took some time to get up to speed on the new equipment. “I was a little rusty for sure on all the science,” she said. 

Petersen said he was never a fan of science before working on the show. “I didn’t like it in school. I just didn’t understand it,” he said. “Once I started on this, I became fascinated by it…I’ve become more like Grissom in that I appreciate the things that he appreciates.”

The producers were asked about having a show full of law enforcement professionals in an era when many view police differently than they did years ago. CSI has “always been about evidence and science and following the evidence wherever it may lead,” said Tracey. 

Kelly Kahl, CBS entertainment president, described the new series to B+C earlier this summer. “If you liked CSI in the past, you’ll see the same excitement, the same characters, the same wry humor. But we’re also very cognizant that TV has moved on in the last few years. Things that were new at the time when CSI came on, the close-ups and the visual effects, those are almost customary now. The producers understood they have to update the way the show looks to make it look very contemporary and, hopefully, like the original CSI, maybe a little ahead of its time.”

Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.