At the end of episode 3 of CSI: Vegas, titled “Under the Skin,” Grissom revealed to Sara that he’s land sick. Essentially, he feels like he “never left the boat.” In reality, the disorder is called mal de debarquement. It is sometimes present after a “long period of passive movement,” according to the National Organization for Rare Disorders. Passive movement like, say, living on a boat for six years.
According to showrunner Anthony Zuiker, he’s using the illness as more of a metaphor; specifically, for Grissom and Sara’s relationship. You thought marriage would be the end of all their notorious relationship problems? This is Sara and Grissom we’re talking about.
Zuiker spoke with TV Insider recently about the relationship and the metaphor. “One character wants to be on the water where he’s comfortable,” said Zuiker, “and one person is getting her feet back on the land, which is Sara.”
Grissom is struggling with being back on land after so many years of finding his passion on the boat. He’s struggling do decide where he belongs, says Zuiker, “back in my comfortable place on the sea where I have a compass of what tomorrow is or do I belong back on land where we’ve built this monument of truth.”
Zuiker also explains that “the sickness does come and go as his opinions of where he belongs comes and goes.” As this is an ailment that waxes and wanes, writers can use it as a metaphor for a character’s indecision. Subsequently, it’s a brilliant use of theme, emotion, and tone creating a desperate feeling in Grissom. It’s also an opportunity for emotional Sara/Grissom moments, like in the episode where Grissom confesses. “We’ll figure it out. I’ll never go away,” Sara replied, hugging Grissom. “If you need to hold onto something, hold onto me.”
‘CSI: Vegas’: For William Petersen, Getting Back to Work was Easy
William Petersen fell right back into his legendary character on CSI: Vegas, comparing it to riding a bike. “It’s like riding a bicycle, you know? [I’m] back to doing what I know how to do,” he said.
Gil Grissom has a new team and new tech to play with, but he’s still just out there following the evidence like he always was. “It’s exciting,” he said in a clip posted by the show on Twitter. “The technology has advanced and it’s a different time. There’s different ways of solving crimes. The truth emerges and we just try to get to it as fast as possible.”
Sounds like Petersen is truly enjoying his time back as Gil Grissom, solving crimes with his wife Sara Sidle. The character is going through a tough time in recent episodes, but that just adds to his complexity and brings viewers back for more.