Jorja Fox played crime scene investigator Sara Sidle in the original CSI series, as well as the recently aired season 1 of CSI: Vegas.
The actress who plays Sara Sidle in the hit series CSI: Crime Scene Investigation has explained why fans dislike her character so much. Jorja Fox starred as crime scene investigator Sara in the original CSI series, as well as the recently aired CSI: Vegas season 1. Aside from her work in the Las Vegas Crime Lab, Sara’s biggest storyline throughout both series centers around her relationship with her colleague and superior Gil Grissom (William Petersen).
Since her first appearance on the CBS procedural drama the character has split public opinion, with some even believing that CSI: Vegas season 2 would be better without Sara Sidle. While her drive and tenacity while searching for the truth are admirable qualities, the perfectionist who sometimes skates the fine line between self-assurance and arrogance is arguably less appealing. Sara’s relationship with forensic entomologist Grissom is another issue that polarized CSI fans for years.
Love or hate Sara’s CSI character, she is perhaps the hardest working member on the team. She quite literally devotes her every waking moment to getting justice for the victims who can no longer speak for themselves. But while on paper these are incredible personality traits to have, it is not enough to make some viewers actually like her. Actress Jorja Fox, who left in CSI Season 8 and returned in season 11, acknowledged this when the finale of CSI season 15 aired in 2015. The actress stated (via Entertainment Weekly), “I think Sara is the least-liked character on the show. As much as she has a lot of fans, I think she has more who dislike her.”
Fox explained that Sara’s relationship with Grissom plays a part in her likeability problem, as well as her headstrong personality. Fox continued: “Obviously Sara had her sights on Grissom. He’s our protagonist and all eyes see the lab through Grissom, especially through the first nine seasons. So all of sudden there is Sara in that vision. But there were fans who wanted Gil to hook up with Catherine or Lady Heather [Melinda Clarke]. I also think Sara is socially awkward and stands by her guns no matter what. That can be grating to people.” The interesting twist regarding Sara’s relationship with Grissom, specifically in the original series, is that while he’s a brilliant brain, he presents a number of challenges as a partner—yet Sara is the one that takes the backlash. Their appearance in CSI Vegas saw viewers more invested in the pair, leading to the opinion that the show cutting Gil and Sara’s kiss was a mistake.
The final comments from Fox flip this narrative and offer a different perspective—that Sara never cared much about being popular anyway, instead she cares more about getting to the truth. Speaking of how this affected her personally, Fox muses that, perhaps for her own survival, she tries to take it “as a compliment,” because whether someone likes Sara or not, they are emotionally invested in her enough to talk about the CSI personality. It is rare that a main character creates such a division in its fanbase, but whatever side is taken, it is hard for anyone to imagine another actress in the important role, or be annoyed that Sara gets a happy ending with Gil.