Returning to CSI in Season 10
You can’t get rid of me. Everybody- I’ve had a couple of dramatic goodbyes here *laughter* like pretty dramatic! And it’s like oh, I’m gonna be- I’m probably going to be the last one standing. “Oh her? She’s saying goodbye again, whatever. She’ll be back in a few weeks.”
It is nice. You know, when I left I had cake in my mouth and I was crying. And I was looking at Carol and I was ‘I’d love to visit! That would be super fun!’ And I never expected that they’d actually call. So that they did is so flattering for me.
Why Jorja Returned to CSI
I got the script in July, Carol Mendelsohn had called me, and I thought ‘Aw, that’s really sweet and that’s awesome but I’m sure those guys have peaked.’ I mean, it’s ten seasons and they’re such brilliant minds, but they’ve been writing it for ten years. The first page of the first episode of season ten did it. I was like ‘Wow. Okay, game on.’ They just knocked my socks off.
I was so thrilled that they’d even called me and said ‘Hey, do you want to come visit for a little while?’
What Sara & Grissom Have Been Up To Since Leaving CSI
When we left Grissom on his last episode, we presumed that Grissom and Sara were living together, happily ever after, suspended in reality, in the jungles of Costa Rica. Which is a lovely place to get to spend time in, I highly recommend it. If you’re gonna disappear, do it there.
We sort of set the stage- We haven’t revealed all that much of where they’ve been and what they’ve been up to, but that they traveled extensively over the last year, they had somehow landed in Paris, waiting for - they’re married - they’re waiting for a grant to come through.
How Sara Returns to Vegas
From my perspective, and Sara’s, Sara never wanting to be the doting housewife that doesn’t want to have her own thing going on, gets a phone call from Ecklie that says they’re a man down, a man short, and could she recommend anybody to come in to Vegas. And so Sara decides to take the job on a very short term basis, while her husband does his thing, to give him the space to teach and to do what he does, and not feel that she’s just kind of sitting around, watching him do what he does.
That’s sort of the setup, that’s about as much as I know so far.
Can Sara and Grissom Survive A Long Distance Relationship?
I do think that they’re pretty comfortable, sort of having a long distance relationship. Especially now that they know - you know, wedding ring - that this is going to be the course of their lives, that they’re going to share their lives together. Now that they have that security and stability, I think they both feel confidant that they can go and do things and come back together.
The Effort Behind The Spectacular Season 10 Opener
Yes, I was very, very surprised by the amount of work the actors were going to put on it. I was completely blown away by the amount of work post was going to have — even after we shot these really labor intensive, lengthy, took hours to set up, hours to rehearse, every move had to be so very precise — the post production was going to be thirty times what shooting time was on it.
Being Partnered With George Eads in The Season 10 Opener
I was very, very lucky — not only because I love George Eads like a brother — that I was partnered up with him, but George had had, he’d gone through pretty serious back surgery this past summer and so when they were setting up who was going to be where and what characters were doing, because he still sort of - he’s about 90% there on his strength, he’s been working very hard to get up to par, they set George and I in, probably, the simplest pose of the group. I thought “How lucky am I that I get to be next to George.” Cause that’s why I, in a way, get to do something simple.
I decided that Sara’s sort of a little bit by the book, so she’s holding her gun in a very, sort of textbook police officer way. George Eads, being the cowboy that he is, is all “I’m gonna do it a little fancier, and I’m gonna have my gun — one arm kind of bent and looking around the corner.” I think we both underestimated when we started the night how long we were going to have to hold those guns in the air without flinching. Without moving at all. It was very hard work for George that night, to do that, over the course of that time, still getting his strength back.
We got really lucky, and it was still hard.
The Challenge of The Season 10 Opener
We had to reset several times for the tiniest little movements. After take eight or nine, even though I had taken this really easy gun stance, my hand eventually *makes her hand quiver*. As the night wore on, I think we had real guns as well, which are a lot heavier than the fake guns that we use, because they were seeing these guns very closely. They had to be the real weapons and they’re definitely heavier than the other stuff we mess around with most of the time.
Working With Laurence Fishburne
It’s been super cool. I’m a huge fan of his work, for such a long time now. Most of the time that I’ve actually been watching movies and TV, Laurence Fishburne’s been there, he’s been working since he was like 13 years old. I remember him from those early, early days, Apocolypse Now. I still get a little nervous around him, to be perfectly honest with you. He’s a man that, at least with me, very graciously really look me in the eye for a long time and I get a little nervous.
Our very first scene that we had together, which is in the season opener, in episode one, we started a shot where it’s, literally, Laurence and I are in mid-handshake. So we’re shaking hands, and we’re looking each other in the eye, for a much longer time than is natural. You’ve got the director “Rolling,” okay, “Reset,” “Action,” these are all long beats, and it’s just this hold of the two of us like that. And that was the first day that I worked with him.
It was daunting, it was a little daunting, it was amazing, and you get to really see, sort of, behind someone, on a day like that. There was just nothing there but kindness and wisdom.
Dealing with Blood & Gore Again / Getting Back Into Swing of CSI
So far, so good! I’ve been a little detached. Sara’s been a little detached, I’ve been a little detached from that. The stuff that’s been really hard for me has been the crime scene work and the processing. I mean, I haven’t done that in two years.
I came back and did four shows, just last year, to sort of help Grissom arc and Billy’s arc, as he was leaving the show. But I was just Grissom’s girlfriend. I wasn’t walking around with a vest or a flashlight or a pair of tweezers.
I always knew it was a skill, and I always had a deep appreciation while I was watching everybody else. But to be two years out of doing that, and to come to set, they had to wait for me a little bit. And they’ve all been very, very patient and kind. Things I could do without even blinking two years ago, I have to practice and study. I blow takes. I’m behind the curve.
It’s humbling for me and interesting. I’m hoping maybe, maybe, by December I’ll sort of have my act together a little bit.
Keeping CSI: At The Top / A Decade Of Success
I think it’s a real, humongous, testament to the writers that managed to keep the stories interesting and different and authentic. Unfortunately, there’s no shortage of crime in America from which to pull from the headlines. That’s the bad side of this show. There will continue to be stories that the writers will read about and become fascinated by.
That’s sort of the good thing, but at the same time, every week that we write an episode, it gets harder to write that next episode. To do it where people can’t say “Oh that reminds me exactly of season three.” Especially when they have so many of the same characters that they did. I’m sure that the writers sometimes are like “Couldn’t we just trade for two weeks with the LOST cast? I mean just to freshen it up!” Just to have somebody else to work with. Send these actors to ABC and ABC sends actors to CBS.
They probably get so sick of us.
The Impact Of “Executive Producer” Carol Mendelsohn
I don’t think that CSI would exist without Carol Mendelsohn. You know, not anywhere even close to what it is. There’s such a dance of relationships that she really, in many way, is the ringleader. The ring master. She’s the conductor of the orchestra.
And while she’s doing all that, she’s also writing. She’s also the force of so much of the creativity that’s feeding the show as well. She’s an amazing, spectacular woman. She’s impeccably good at what she does. She makes it look easy, as if she’s just making a pot of coffee.
I don’t think anybody would probably at least still be here if it weren’t for her. If not ever be here.
CSI: Being Snubbed By The Critics & Overlooked By The Award Shows
It is pretty rare, once a show gets into season six and seven and eight and nine, that it gets mentioned in those kinds of areas. It’s very typical [to be overlooked] and you can’t even take it remotely personally. It’s just the nature of the “critical acclaim” arena, I guess. *laughter* Whatever that club is.
But yeah, and especially the behind the scenes work. The cinematography, the lighting, the directing, the art direction, the special effects, makeup — I could go on and on down the list. I believe beyond any shadow of any doubt that I work with the most talented people in the television business. And when you do get to a point, okay, it’s ten years of working nine, ten months a year, every day, around the clock, sometimes fifteen, seventeen hours a day. Of course, I would love to see the kind of recognition everybody around here deserves.
We’ve been so lucky. I’ve worked on some other shows that were really popular once, and they didn’t get a lot of critical love either. So I do wonder if you’re really lucky if you get one thing or another. I don’t know if there’s been a show that’s gotten all three: the ratings, the fans and the awards at the same time. It seems that life doles out fairly for people. You’re on a cable network, you might not have so many viewers, but we’re going to give you a cool award because you’re great.
If I had to pick between the three, I would definitely pick the fans. There’s no doubt about it, the fans built this show, maybe more profoundly than most shows on television. Honestly, really if it hadn’t been for the fans, we wouldn’t be here. I’ve been really grateful for that.