‘CSI: Miami’ Featured the Star of Another Popular Detective Drama

by Suzanne Halliburton
Gregg DeGuire/FilmMagic

Maybe CSI: Miami, even in a small way, helped Stana Katic become such a boss detective on Castle.

Katic had everything on Castle. She was fearless, smart and intuitive as Kate Beckett. She also had the stunning looks to be a model. Beckett (hardly anyone called her by her first name) gradually fell in love with Castle, the crime writer turned police consultant played by Nathan Fillion.

But two years before the premiere of Castle, Katic took a turn on CSI: Miami. But she wasn’t the true blue cop type. Rather, Katic played a potential murderer.

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If you’re a fan of CSI: Miami, a successful spinoff of CSI, then you know the show’s format. It’s all about crime scene investigators who use the tiniest bits of clues to figure out who done it.

Katic appeared in an episode called Deep Freeze, which ran Oct. 22, 2007. Katic played Rita. And she was glamorous. Her character had an affair with a star quarterback named Doug McClain. And guess what? The football standout was murdered. He was doing a phone interview with a reporter when said QB abruptly died. Turns out someone stabbed him in the neck.

Now, if you ever watched CSI: Miami, you know that the show usually put a bizarre twist on what otherwise could be a mundane detail. The CSI: Miami investigators couldn’t bring the quarterback’s body to the lab. Why? He wanted to be cryogenically frozen.

And here’s another tweak of the ordinary. Quarterbacks do media interviews all the time. But McClain was speaking with an obituary writer from the local newspaper. She was doing a pre-write of McClain’s obit. And, coincidentally, McClain dies while he was talking to her.

An obvious turn for the CSI: Miami investigators would be to determine motive for the murder. Was it robbery? That’s when Katic’s Rita came into the picture. Investigators found her skin cells inside the quarterback’s home. By the way, the QB was married, but not to Rita.

Then the Rita plotline went down a different path. Doug was the father of Rita’s son. And the son died the week before of a rare kidney disease. Rita had begged Doug to undergo tests, to see if his kidneys were a match for their son. But he never did do the test. Yes, Rita did stab Doug. But did she kill him?

The CSI: Miami investigators were at the cryo lab. They could figure out how Doug’s blood clotted around the wound. Yes, Rita stabbed Doug in the neck. But he didn’t die until someone else took out the knife. There was a 30 to 40-minute window between the puncture wound and time of death.

Guess what? The knife also was in Doug’s cryo tank. It turns out the wife pulled out the knife and allowed Doug to die. She was tired of his cheating.

Two years after CSI: Miami, Katic earned the co-starring role in Castle. It definitely was a career definer. The series ran from 2009-17. It was really popular at the People’s Choice Awards.