***CSI: Crime Scene Investigation
***CBS, Wednesdays, 10 ET/PT
Premiere: Sept. 26
Where we left them: Under attack from the former undersheriff of Las Vegas, the murderous Jeffrey McKeen (Conor O’Farrell) — who runs an underworld empire of drugs and corrupt cops from his prison cell — the CSI team was on the ropes, with Undersheriff Ecklie (Marc Vann) gunned down on the street, investigator Nick Stokes (George Eads) handing in his resignation in frustration, and supervisor D.B. Russell’s (Ted Danson) young granddaughter kidnapped.
Where they’re headed: The Season 13(!) premiere picks up the moment the cliffhanger ended, with even more team members in danger — including the newest, Julie Finlay (Elisabeth Shue), who takes off after the kidnapped Kaitlyn and shares a secret-filled past with Russell. The “Cape-Fear-ish” storyline, says executive producer Don McGill, was designed to take the ever-serene D.B. and see “what would happen if we took that guy who seemed to have everything in control, his family and work, and really pushed him to the edge.”
That push will carry through the season. “We show his worst fears, that his granddaughter is dead, and we see his demons and his darker side, his impulse to go an eye for an eye,” McGill says. “As we lean forward into the season, we’ll see that worst fear play out. Once something happens to a family — even if the resolution seems neat and tidy — the emotional fallout is anything but.”
They’ll also explore the relationship between him and Shue’s Finn. “They have a long history,” albeit a mostly professional one, McGill says. While D.B. is committed to his family, “for Finley, who struggles to have relationships with men, Russell is kind of the perfect man — but unattainable, which is part of the attraction.”
Who’s new or returning: McGill says they’ll focus on the core cast this season — including, finally, answering the perplexing question: What’s up with Sara (Jorja Fox) and Grissom (the long-departed William Petersen)? He’s been in the jungle for years, but she’s still on the case — are they even married anymore? “We’ll answer that, in a way that may surprise people.” McGill says. “We’ll deal with her dissatisfaction with the long-distance relationship, and may find a resolution as to where the marriage is headed.” The season also will explore the relationship of Ecklie to his estranged CSI daughter Morgan (Elisabeth Harnois) — and his romance with Hodges’ mom Olivia (guest Jaclyn Smith). — Bruce Schwartz