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Creating a Scene — July 02, 2001

It started with Quincy M E. but now a new tea of dedicated experts are solving crimes using forensic science. SHARON RAINSBURY visited the set of Nine’s CSI and spoke to series’ stars william Petersen and Jorja Fox. IT is 8.30am on Monday morning, but the Las Vegas criminalistics bureau is already a hive of activity. Uniformed police officers come and go through the front door as two cars pull up outside the grey building.

Lead crime scene investigator Gil Grissom is climbing out of his car when colleagues Sara Sidle and Warrick Brown pull in next to him.

“How’d it go at the college?” Grissom asks, leaning in the open passenger window. “They’re not co-operating,” Sidle replies.

“We didn’t have a warrant. Got kicked out,” Brown adds, before the conversation is cut short when a loud voice interjects from the sidelines.

From behind a mobile monitor, director Peter Markle is watching the action play out on the screen in front of him, and he is not happy with what he sees.

“Let’s do it again,” he cries, as the actors return to their positions at the start of the scene. They run the lines once more before Markle calls for the " second team", and actors William Petersen, Jorja Fox and Gary Dourdan disappear into their trailers.

Their stand-ins run the scene again while camera angles are checked and marked on the road, and final preparations are made to shoot the scene.


Making the most of modern special effects, CSI viewers are often given a microscopic view of the clues that help Grissom (Petersen) and his team of crime scene investigators — Catherine Willows (Marg Helgenberger), Nick Stokes (George Eads), Sara Sidle (Jorja Fox) and Warrick Brown (Gary Dourdan ) — piece together the evidence and bring the perpetrators to justice.


Jorja Fox, who plays Sara, also thought the show would appeal to viewers from the moment she joined the cast in the second episode.

“Stereotypically, whenever you are pitching science it is a hard sell,” she says.

“Audiences are really smart and if it is not a total escape sitcom then they want to feel like their intellect is being appreciated. And that’s one thing we work really hard at.

“I barely passed eighth-grade science, and it is so romantic to me that I get to play a scientist.

“It was sort of that elusive faraway thing that I would never be able to be any good at, and here I am playing a star scientist who went to Harvard. It is great.”





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