Matt Roush explains why Jorja’s back on CSI

We all know not all fans are happy about Sara being back. Some are okay with it but don’t like ‘Happy Sara.’ Others just want to know what on earth’s going on with Grissom and Sara!

TV Guide Magazine’s resident expert on all things TV, Matt Roush, gives you a bit of a ‘why’, on the TV machinations sides of things.

Question: I’ve been a CSI (Las Vegas) fan from the beginning. But this season has just lost me. I don’t understand why Sara is back while Grissom is off in Paris? I thought their love story ended beautifully in the jungle. I don’t like the “happy Sara” either. It just seems too OOC (out of character) for me. I don’t care about the Dr. Jekyll storyline the way I did with the miniature killer, blue-paint killer or the Paul Millander story. Laurence Fishburne seems wasted on the show and not sure of what he is doing. Short of canceling the show, do you see anyway to fix it? Or has it jumped the shark? —Michelle

Matt Roush: Let’s leave the shark aside, OK? What we have with original CSI is a show in its 10th season, experiencing an understandable slump, especially in the wake of losing its lead star. Bringing back Jorja Fox was a reaction to the show having shed too many of its core characters (including Grissom and Warrick) too quickly. And while it may not please the “shippers,” I’ve always liked Sara as part of the ensemble so am happy to see her still around, and she gives us an occasional link to Grissom as well. (The long-distance relationship doesn’t make much sense, but then, it’s hard to imagine Sara being content just sitting around while Gil lectures at the Sorbonne or whatever.) To CSI’s bigger problems, I agree they haven’t made Fishburne’s character dynamic or compelling—even the stunt where he crossed over to the other CSI shows fell flat (though the ratings were strong)—and the new arc hasn’t caught fire. It’s possible CSI exhaustion has simply set in; it happened with Law & Order, too, although that show has creatively rebounded in the last year or so. Not sure what CSI can do to refresh things without upsetting the long-time loyalists who have attachments to Catherine, Nick, the lab rats, Brass, Doc Robbins, etc. The show appears to have peaked, and it’s not likely to go back to the way it was. So we, like CBS, may just have to settle for a while.

Credit: TV Guide Magazine

18 thoughts on “Matt Roush explains why Jorja’s back on CSI”

  1. eh. I like happy Sara. I don’t mind the long distance thing and I think that CSI is doing great for being on it’s TENTH season.
    Sometimes it feels like people just WANT to nitpick.

  2. With the return of Jorja there is a return of the chemistry we saw in the earlier years among the remaining original cast. Though it is not as complete as the earlier seasons, it is alot better then it was this prior season. We certainly see a better attempt this season of the writers bringing a team approach from all of the cast members in the episodes which was severely lacking the last 1 1/2 seasons. I do agree that the Dr Jekyl case isn’t as intriguing as the miniature serial killer case. In fact it is very drawn out. I don’t know what the ratings are like this season thus far compared with last season. Unlike last season, I have actually made every attempt to watch the episode on Thursday evening as I did in previous seasons. I don’t agree that CSI is at the Law and Order level. I have no doubt that the writers can and will develop great story arcs for our favorite cast. I think that they are trying too hard to write an arc around LF character that is taking away the focus on the team and intriguing cases. Though I miss Grissom, I think the remaining cast can take take put CSI back on top if the cases could be consistently intriguing.

    1. I found it amusing since I can’t stand the ‘current’ L&O stories, but I love watching the old ones. Lenny Brisco was just the heart and soul of grumpy ol’ dudes on that show. *sigh*

      CSI has, IMO, never made a serial killer plotline interesting. Ever. They either kill them off too soon, or not soon enough. They just don’t have the ongoing arc balance like, well, Bones or even Greys, to pull off that level of plot. It’s not a bad thing, just something they should know and avoid. The only time they got a repeat character right was Lady Heather.

      But. The show is old, it shows, and while Jorja’s a symbol of bringing back some chemistry, the cases have been dull as dishwater. A great big bucket of meh, except we get Jorja. And that’s sad.

  3. I must be easily placated or not observant enough; I still enjoy CSI — changes and all. I love having the character Sara back; I also really like Ray. I miss Grissom but, hey, I can live without him. (Not that I wouldn’t LOVE to see him back once in awhile!) I like seeing Catherine in charge and I love some of the newer storylines (Hodges and Wendy, Catherine and Vartann, Greg and his book…I hope they pick up on that one again soon).

    I do think that pretty much ALL shows start to feel old after awhile. I think we live in a culture that wants everything new, all the time, and that we collectively have a memory of about five minutes. Personally, I try to resist that. We all age. It’s kinda nice to age along with your favorite show.

    Yeah, the show is different without Grissom and Warrick. Yeah, it’s a bit bizarre that Sara would come back after having escaped proverbial hell, found herself, AND had the love of her life leave his job to come after her.

    But it’s TV, not real life — that’s why we watch it and not reruns of our days at work.

    I’m glad Sara’s back and I hope Jorja’s happy. I don’t care if she’s back due to ratings, her own desire to work, or the writers’ need to keep writing for a familiar character.

    Jorja is always fun to watch; the happier Sara is a nice change from the previous too-moody one.

  4. I don’t like new happy sara because it IS out of character. I’m not saying i’m not glad she’s happy, but it’s not like her to leave one person and come back a totally new person. Because that WAS a 180 change.

    I had watched every single episode up until the day they brought Fishborne in. What a horrible fill in for someone like Grissom. Now I haven’t watched any of season 10 and dont plan on it until someone fixes this show. When all the actors leave and/or the personalities begin to change, it’s not the same show anymore.

    I agree with everything the person wrote. Fishborne is wasted. (Hell I would have taken Keppler over this borning piece of work.) It makes no sense whatsoever that Griss is in Paris while Sara is home.

    1. I don’t see Happy Sara as being OOC, but then again, I’m fan-wanking an excuse that she’s got reasons for happy and it’s Grissom and a good therapist. Which I shouldn’t have to do. Good TV doesn’t make me make up reasons for that!

      Keppler was an interesting character, definitely, and I miss him a lot.

  5. Leigh — Wow. Pretty harsh on Fishburne!! I’m just gonna say I still love the show. Still. The writing is still solid; the cases are still interesting; the double entendre still entertaining; the special effects still impressive. Fishburne is talented and I don’t think we’ve yet learned *who* Ray “really” is, or at least there’s still a lot of mystery there. And it might just be a reason, down the road, to bring Petersen back for a cameo or two…just my wishful thinking! 😉

    1. I think there’s a big diff, for most people, between how cool we think Laurence Fishburne is, and how much that isn’t true of his character.

      The problem isn’t that Fishburne’s not doing well, it’s that they’re giving him crap material. I tried to picture Billy’s Grissom back in the roll, and I think he’d be phoning it in, looking bored and drained. There’s just not enough GOOD material, for anyone, right now. I blame the writing. They’re not advancing the writing, just sticking to tropes they know work, and it’s getting a bit stale.

    2. Nothing too harsh, I just said he’s a horrible fill in for GRISSOM. Didn’t say he was a bad actor, just said I don’t like him as a replacement for Griss. Compared to the adorably nerdy bug-man, Fishborne is just blah….in my opinion anyway.

      1. I think the confusion comes from your crossing of using Grissom and Fishburne (btw,m it’s a U not an O).

        Fishburne replaced Petersen as the lead ACTOR, this is true.

        Ray Langston did NOT replace Grissom as the lead CSI 🙂 Cath did that. Semantics, but I suspect that’s where most people get shirty about the matter 😉

  6. As long Jorja is in every episode, I don’t really care why she was brought back. I love watching her as happily married Sara. If it weren’t for her, I would have skipped CSI altogether this season.. With the departure of WP and Jorja, the wrap-up of the GSR, Warrick’s death, the chemistry and balance of the show was forever altered. I agree with Matt in that there is not much that TPTB can do to fix this short of bringing back William Petersen. Since that is highly unlikely, they have to work with what they have. And to give TPTB credit, this season has been much better than the second half of last season in terms of stories and character interactions, not to mention the return of the awesomeness that is Sara Sidle. Let’s see how the second half of the season plays out. I hope that Jorja returns next season and that we get a really juicy cliffhanger…

  7. All interesting comments! I’m glad to see Sara back, though I hope she is going to Framce (like during re-runs). I would like to see some of that advocacy Sara (Empty Eyes) trying to help victims.

    I miss Grissom and Grissom/Sara so I watch past years and enjoy them.

    I still watch CSI and prefer it with Sara, though I don’t have the same enthusiasm as before. Maybe it will pick up!

  8. i love that jorja is back on the show, i love happy sara but i must admit that the drama with sara in past episodes made her character better 🙂 which made me like her in the first place.. but im glad shes happy and shes back on the show i stopped watching csi when sara left, then watched her guest episodes in s9 & the taylor swift episode then stopped watching until s10… so far i’m liking it… the Dr.Jekyll thing i dont even notice half the time ahha, i think i remember them mentioning it once… oh well i’m just watching it for sara to be honest 🙂

    i just hope they dont cancel csi anytime soon because its my life 🙂 ahahahh i neeed to watch at least ONE episode everyday!

  9. I agree with most of what has been written. I do not like Lawrence Fishburn in the show and feel he is still trying to find the character of Ray Langston after a year on CSI. He also does not appeal to me as a woman because I found William Peterson had a certain sex appeal with that stong lilting voice and those eyes.I’m sure there are some woman who feel the same about Lawrence Fishburn and it is no use pretending that those things don’t count because they do.
    I adore Jorja in the show and ofcause Sara is happy she is married and inlove with a man who is sensible enough to give her enough freedom in order to keep her.
    Carol Mendleshone (hope that’s right) is correct.Jorja is the glue of the show and I for one hope to see her next year. I also do not think it is fair to knock the writer’s. There are plenty of new idea’s on the show but new serial killers are such a nightmare because they are in every other crime show and people become desensatised.

  10. It took so much effort from me to accept JF’s decision to leave (and she gave good reasons for it didn’t she? I mean, she said she wanted to get married, she said she wanted to have a kid -hell, she even said she wanted to go to college!) anyway, it took so much energy to get used to the idea, that to see her back on the show pissed me off. I would have respected her more if she had simply said she was leaving because they didn’t want to pay her more.
    Oh, and I agree that the writing on CSI really sucks now. It wasn’t always good in the old days, but WP elevated the material with his presence.

  11. I’m happy saras back. I wish the whole group was there well not warrick because he’s dead witch is very sad. The show was beter with the whole group there

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