CSI: Vegas premiered last night, and fans and show creators alike can’t stop talking about it. CSI: Vegas creator Anthony Zuiker spoke with Parade about his biggest takeaways from his new series, and what fans can look forward to over the 10-episode arc.
Zuiker began by mentioning the cast, and the unique mix of legacy characters and new faces. “You bring back all the original cast and nobody new, it puts a lot of pressure to be innovative,” he said. “If the cast is completely brand new, it’s a lot of a family to love early. But if you do a little bit of both, it feels like it’s a good option to move forward.”
The show has a good balance of the familiar and the new; not just with the characters, but the setting as well. The crime lab had a complete overhaul to keep up with the changing times and new technology. Seeing familiar faces like Sara Sidle and Gil Grissom in a new environment is comforting for fans, like they’re not going through this new CSI alone.
‘CSI: Vegas’: Character Development and Relationships
Zuiker also noted that the series is more personal than the original CSI; in Vegas, we get longer story arcs, as well as home-time with the characters. This was a hard and fast rule on the original show: don’t take your work home with you. But now, the nature of storytelling itself has changed, and Zuiker wants to reflect that.
“We didn’t really bring our problems or our personal life home,” said Zuiker, “because our rinse and repeat nature of doing these standalone crimes of the week was the most important.”
Similar to a lot of procedural shows at the time, the case-of-the-week was the most important aspect of the show. Character development and relationships took a backseat to science.
Not so for CSI: Vegas. While science and crime-solving are still going to be a big part of the series, especially with one arc spanning the entire 10 episodes, relationships and characters’ personal lives are going to be front and center on the show.
‘CSI’ Led People to New Career Paths
Zuiker said that diversity and representation were immensely important when casting the new series. “Having the proper representation is important for our franchise because a lot of young people watch our show,” he said. Zuiker also mentions the application rate for the real CSI in Las Vegas has gone up thanks to the original show.
“In the year 2000, the Las Vegas crime lab received like 10 applications to be a CSI,” said Zuiker, “Now it’s well over 10,000 applications a year. So, we’ve definitely moved the needle big time in that department.”
Zuiker said his aim was to represent as many people in the field as possible; a woman of Indian descent as a genius investigator, a Hispanic man as the “Mastermind of the Morgue,” and an African American woman as the boss. These characters represent the real-life diversity of the workforce, where television mostly focuses on the white, male aspect. Zuiker wants young people watching his show to look at those characters and think, “Someday I want to be like that individual.”