‘CSI: Vegas’ EP & Star on That Metaphor for Gil & Sara’s Relationship, the Hodges Case & More

Jorja Fox, William Petersen, Paula Newsome, Mel Rodriguez in CSI Vegas
Spoiler Alert
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[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for CSI: Vegas Episode 3 “Under the Skin.”]

Three episodes into the CSI revival, and there’s a lot going on in Vegas, both with the season-long case (did Wally Langham’s Hodges tamper with evidence, or is he being framed?) and off the job for both old and new CSIs.

Gil Grissom (William Petersen) and Sara Sidle (Jorja Fox) may have narrowed down their list of suspects as they work the Hodges case without officially doing so, but they also have a medical issue to deal with. And boss Maxine Roby (Paula Newsome) is juggling wanting to protect the Crime Lab and trying to connect with her estranged son.

Read on as Newsome and executive producer Anthony Zuiker break down what’s happened so far and tease what’s to come.

Should We Be Worried About Gil & Sara?

Gil is suffering from mal de debarquement (essentially, he’s land sick), he reveals to Sara near the end of Episode 3. “It feels like I never left the boat,” he says. “We’ll figure it out. I’ll never go away,” she assures him. “If you need to hold onto something, hold onto me.”

“The land sickness is a metaphor for the relationship between Gil and Sara. One character wants to be on the water where he’s comfortable, and one person is getting her feet back on the land, which is Sara,” Zuiker explains. “So the sudden land sickness for Grissom is more metaphorical, which is where do I truly belong — back in my comfortable place on the sea where I have a compass of what tomorrow is or do I belong back on land where we’ve built this monument of truth? The sickness does come and go as his opinions of where he belongs comes and goes.”

William Petersen as Dr. Gil Grissom, Jorja Fox as Sara Sidle in CSI Vegas


Because this ailment can go away on its own (or not at all), it gives them the freedom to play with it as they wish. “There are times [Gil’s] keeping it from [Sara], there are times they have to address it,” the EP says. “There are times it comes and goes.”

The Hodges Case

The Crime Lab is in a tricky spot at the end of this episode — Internal Affairs is running it out of Washoe County, to eliminate the appearance of a cover-up. That’s a hard pill for Maxine to swallow.

“This has been Maxine’s work for a very, very, very long time. These scientists get to meet people on the worst day of their life and then help them,” Newsome says. “It’s very important to Maxine to make sure that they got it right, but more important, [it’s about protecting] the integrity of the lab.”

Paula Newsome as Maxine Roby in CSI Vegas

Sonja Flemming/CBS

That — along with knowing how key Gil and Sara can be to solving this — factors into some of the decisions she makes about their investigations. “Maxine does bend to some opportunities to make Sara and Grissom able to do the research because she knows they will get it right. She knows that the truth and evidence are just as important to her as it is to them,” Newsome says. “So she’s willing to make them available to spaces that normally she wouldn’t.”

As a result of these obstacles — being unable to work it officially and the move to Washoe — Gil and Sara “will be more reactionary to the action of where the case takes them week by week,” Zuiker says. “When they have the opportunities to exercise their skillset, to hone in on what really happened, they’ll do that. But there’s going to be constant obstacles.” For example, while Sara’s credentialed, Gil doesn’t have a badge; he’s acting as a consultant.

Mixing Old & New

While Sara has worked with Maxine and Gil did consult when it came to identifying a bug, “the lion’s share of what they’re going to be doing in the season is really going to be on this longer runner,” Zuiker says. “There’s not enough runway to involve them too much into the intimacy of the crimes of the week, because we’re also trying to launch a brand new cast.”

Jorja Fox as Sara Sidle, Paula Newsome as Maxine Roby in CSI Vegas

Sonja Flemming/CBS

And when it comes to the new team, Maxine will be “doing the most double duty,” the EP continues, while Hugo (Mel Rodriguez) will have some stuff to do as the coroner and Folsom (Matt Lauria) and Allie (Mandeep Dhillon) “will have some nominal dealings” in the Hodges case.

When it comes to mixing the old and new, Newsome says Sara and Maxine’s dynamic was easy to step into. “I met Jorja a little bit before we shot. We just took a walk around the Valley, just got to know one another, and I will tell you, it was the easiest thing in the world, the chemistry and the connection that Sara and Max have, Paula and Jorja have,” she shares. “It’s art imitating life. They can shorthand with one another. It’s like having a friend who loves the same thing as you do, you finish one another’s sentences.”

With Gil and Sara finding out things they didn’t know about their former colleague, Hodges, how’s Maxine feeling about her team? She trusts them completely, Newsome says. “Maxine is one of those people that follows her gut regarding people. Regarding evidence, it has to be the science. She does not pick these people lightly. She’s very instinctive about it.”

Mandeep Dhillon, Matt Lauria, Paula Newsome in CSI Vegas

Sonja Flemming/CBS

Getting Personal

CSI: Vegas has already established Folsom and Allie as its will they/won’t they couple in the Lab. “That’s always a little tricky, isn’t it?” Newsome says of how her character feels about two of her employees possibly dating. “It’s a little complicated for her, and I think she’s going to just let it go on and see if they can handle it on their own.”

After all, Maxine has enough on her plate between the season-long investigation, cases-of-the-week, and her estranged relationship with her son. As we see in the premiere, he hangs up as she’s telling him she loves him, and she comments to Sara that he doesn’t smile at her like he used to. “I really want to give kudos is to our showrunner, Jason Tracey, who has written a very sensitive and yet specific storyline for a mom and a son,” Newsome says. “He’s in his 20s, and she’s a mom who’s trying to hold on to her baby boy who’s over six feet tall. It’s a mom trying to hold on and a son trying to become a man.”

As we learned, Maxine was an athlete in college, but she tore her ACL. So what does that mean about perhaps seeing her chase down suspects? “We’re going to leave that to the young folks, a little bit to Jorja and Sara this season, but probably next season,” Newsome laughs.

CSI: Vegas, Wednesdays, 10/9c, CBS