‘CSI: Vegas’: Matt Lauria Breaks Down ‘Inevitable’ Finale Ending & Josh’s Love Life

Matt Lauria in 'CSI: Vegas'
Spoiler Alert
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[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for the CSI: Vegas Season 2 finale “Dying Words.”]

CSI: Vegas ends its second season with one of its own in cuffs!

In the finale, Josh (Matt Lauria), upon learning his mother (Lolita Davidovich) was murdered, runs his own investigation with Trey (Daniel Di Tomasso). He even tricks someone they think just knows who killed Jeanette into thinking he’s bleeding out with blood bags. But then he learns that this guy is his mother’s killer … and that man is found dead by the rest of the team. When Max (Paula Newsome) and Serena (Ariana Guerra) track down Josh, he lets them cuff him.

But is Josh a killer? We tried to get some answers out of Lauria, who also broke down Josh’s feelings for both Allie (Mandeep Dhillon) and Serena.

When Max and Serena find Josh, I first was wondering if he even knew the killer was dead, but then he lets Serena cuff him. What can you say to the question of whether he himself might be a murderer or just an accomplice to murder?

Matt Lauria: I can’t say. I think it was deliberately penned with that ambiguity infused in there. I’m eager to learn what people surmise about all of that. I had to pull Jason Tracy, our amazing showrunner and who directed that episode, aside, and we had to have some whispered conversations about what we thought was going on there. But yeah, it’s definitely open to interpretation.

I can say this: I’m in shock. Whatever event has happened, it is deeply disturbing. Also there has been a sort of adrenalized mission over the last 48, 72 hours, and so it’s a dump. You find me at the beginning, at that site before I even know that my mom has passed away, looking for something, looking for something that maybe was substantive from my past, something that was comforting, something that is familiar, and then finding myself back there again at the end with that sort of adrenaline dump.

Josh’s mindset at the end of the episode — could he have killed a guy? Even in his grief, he was able to set up that elaborate ruse with the blood bags, but that’s when he thought the guy just knew something. Then to find out this is the guy who killed his mom… Was that enough to drive him over the edge?

Absolutely. One of the more interesting facets of who Josh is is there’s everything that I’ve ever been and raised to be and all the great influences around me as a child that have made me into a certain thing. And then it’s the departure from almost all of those things and the aspiration to change and to become something distinctly different than that. My whole life is this measured approach, self-mastery, and choosing an entirely different path from what was probably laid out for me or very likely I would walk down. I think that that measured part and that self-mastery part of Josh is the one who devised the blood gimmick, but then something breaks and something snaps. You’re suddenly looking in the face of your mother’s murderer. So yeah, I think anything is possible.

I think at the end when I accept the handcuffs, I know there’s no use in fighting it. It’s the only way it can be. And so regardless of what may have transpired, it’s an inevitability. But yeah, I definitely think absolutely, no question. I could have done it.

Shane Callahan and Matt Lauria in 'CSI: Vegas'

Sonja Flemming/CBS

Talk about filming that whole sequence with Josh pretending to be out of control, but really being in control with the blood bags, then actually losing control because of his grief and finding out that he’s actually looking at his mom’s killer.

It’s a gift as an artist to be given such challenging and also delicate material, and fortunately, Jason Tracy is so brilliant and so thoughtful and there was just such a deliberateness and specificity about all of it. And then the collaborators, I just love working with Daniel Di Tomasso. I think he’s a fantastic artist and a great person. He does the work, he’s a true man of the craft. And we were both gifted this wonderful actor, Shane, who plays my mother’s killer, and just all of us stayed in it and were so focused and just constantly discovering the scene and continuing to approach it on every single take and approach it from different angles.

How does Josh feel about his mom at the end? There have to be so many complicated feelings there, and a lot of what he does has to be driven by guilt, because if he had followed her that night…

Yeah, that’s exactly it. Just guilt, regret, pain. Mom is mom is mom, no matter what. And yeah, heartbreak, devastation, immeasurable grief and regret and anger. And Lolita is so amazing. She was such a beautiful collaborator. I was really lucky.

How would you describe Josh and Trey’s relationship at the end of the finale? Because they have all that history, there’s what recently happened, then there’s everything from this episode…

Brothers. Brothers ‘til the end. Brothers that you’re going to punch in the face and scream at and not talk to for several years. But still blood, essentially.

Obviously his love life is the last thing on Josh’s mind right now, but does he even know how he feels about Serena and Allie?

I definitely know how I feel about Allie because it’s been a slow burn over several years of her not being available and having to work through the implications of, does she even like me? And if she ever did, could we even because of work and all that? That’s probably been a nonstop investigation of its own internally for years.

I definitely have a sense of how I feel about Serena in so much as the place that we fill in one another’s lives. Obviously it’s much newer and the function that one another serves in either of our lives, but I think at this particular moment, it has been a thing that I haven’t, as Josh, had the bandwidth to really go there and get into. That’s probably why there’s an expected outcome there where she’s like, “Listen man, you’re not talking. We need to take some time.” And I think the response — I haven’t seen the episodes — is probably a little bit of, I don’t want to say a numb acquiescence, but a sort of less invigorated response because there’s just other stuff that has to be dealt with and it’s a thing that I have to compartmentalize.

So it’ll be interesting to see what the outcome of all that will be. There’s got to be a reckoning. There has to be a conversation first and foremost about, “Dude, I put you in handcuffs. What the heck happened? What’s wrong with you?” That conversation has to happen at some point, and that’s way more of a priority than our relationship stuff, but eventually we have to talk about our relationship. So that’s all just been kind of stuffed in the corner, I think, for now.

Mandeep Dhillon, Ariana Guerra, and Matt Lauria in 'CSI: Vegas'

Sonja Flemming/CBS

But if he had to choose, who does he have stronger feelings for? There’s also the fact that he talked to Allie about what was going on.

I’m being very coy here, but that conversation with Allie, I think, was more circumstantial than a huge affront. I think Serena took it as a big affront and rejection, but I think it was like, we were both there. There’s just more history and context that she was aware of. She knows some of my history. She knows my mom and some of that relationship. She knows Trey and had interacted with him, unfortunately. So I think there’s just a little bit more there. And Josh is a man of measured words. And so I think that’s how they went down. What do you think?

I liked Josh and Serena together a lot more than I thought I would just because of watching the slow burn of Josh and Allie.

Yeah. I have a completely different relationship with both. I’ll tell you what’s interesting with both is that my relationship with Serena is maybe more welcoming of the parts of myself that I would be too embarrassed or ashamed to reveal to Allie. But then Allie is someone who is everything that I want to be, or the relationship with Allie represents who I want to be and what I’ve worked my whole life for and everything about her feels aspirational. But then Serena, there’s the part of her that — she’s got some spit and vinegar and loves to drink her tequila, and there’s a real sexual electricity there that… who knows? Allie and I have never even smooched, you know what I mean? So it’s two different sides of Josh that are kind of — you know what I mean? So it does make it a pretty interesting conversation.

Do you know anything about Season 3 or can you say anything that you want to explore with Josh in Season 3?

There’s a whole lot to of pieces to pick up. I’m going to be fighting for my job. There’s got to be some kind of investigation into what happened. A lot, I think, will be revealed. I hope that I get to do some scenes behind some glass, you know what I mean? In jail, that would be a blast.

I’m just grateful. Like I said, I’ve been gifted so much character stuff throughout the season, but especially at the end, and so I’m eager to continue to untangle all of that character stuff. It’s in a big messy ball, knotted ball right now, and so untangling that… I trust the writers so much. I’m honestly overwhelmed. I was just so grateful and humbled by what they had given me to sink my teeth into this season, and so I know, oh boy, if that’s where we’re starting next season, it’s going to get really exciting and intense.

Something a little more lighthearted: Do you know who Penny’s (Sarah Gilman) engaged to?

Yeah, I do. I’ll give a little bit more than they gave in the last script. “You know him,” that’s what she says. But I’ll say to you as viewers, you know him. That’s all I’ll say.


I can say this: I love the character and I love the actor, and it’s going to be a treat.

Series regular?

I can’t tell you anything!

CSI: Vegas, Season 3, TBA, CBS