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James Hibberd

Marg Helgenberger Got Slipped a Roofie, But It’s Not a Bad Thing

July 17, 2006 11:21 AM

Actress Marg Helgenberger is excited for the seventh season premiere of the procedural drama “CSI.” Helgenberger talked about her anticipation at the show’s TCA session Sunday afternoon. The two-part opener takes place behind the scenes at the Las Vegas Cirque du Soleil stage show “Ka.” At first she was coy, letting critics know her character will experience “something very significant that is stretched out over two parts,” that puts her and her family “in jeopardy.”     

But Helgenberger went further, telling critics she and actor George Eads’ character Nick Stokes go to a bar, only to have her character Catherine get slipped something into her drink.

The loyal audience of “CSI” appears to be split 50-50 between approving this past season’s developing Gil Grissom-Sara Sidle romantic relationship, while the other half wants the show to focus on the forensic cases, said Jorja Fox, who plays Sara.

Since “CSI” has focused so much on the procedural elements, “there are so many interesting stories we could still show” on the emotional side.

Fox has been with the “CSI” since its second episode, but notes the Grissom-Sidle romance has been in the work for the past six seasons. The breakdown, or sheets given to actors describing the characters they are auditioning for, described Sidle as a potential love interest six years ago when Fox first went out for the part.

Executive producer Carol Mendelsohn said there have been “raging debates” among the show’s writers over the relationship.

“Since I’m the show runner I won the debate,” she said.

The relationship also changes the usual dynamic between viewers and the characters, Mendelsohn said.

“In this one instance the viewers will be ahead of the CSI’s,” she said.

One critic wanted to know if the producers and cast, like CBS Entertainment President Nina Tassler, thinks of “CSI” as an underdog against the show’s new time period competition this season, ABC’s “Grey’s Anatomy.”

“In the beginning we were certainly the underdog,” Mendelsohn said, noting that the first night the show aired the network didn’t call to congratulate the writers the day after on its impressive ratings performance, since CBS executives thought “the computer at Nielsen was broken.”

 “We’ve always been underestimated by everyone but the fans,” Helgenberger said. “Our network underestimated us, the critics underestimated us, but the fans have not.”



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