On a chilly, overcast October day in Manhattan Beach, Calif., CBS’ “CSI: Miami” is throwing a party on one of its soundstages for its 200th episode.
After a surf-and-turf lunch and prior to cutting a big cake, CBS Entertainment chief Nina Tassler gives a short speech, saying, “Two hundred episodes, and a lot of crazy ways to die. On behalf of everybody, congratulations. This is a monumental achievement, monumental.”
Following her is CBS Television Studios president David Stapf, who observes, “There have been, like, 10,000 shows since the beginning of TV. Only 75 have gotten to 200 episodes, and I would argue that, probably there’s been only, like, 16 in the last 10 years. That’s an incredible milestone.”
A few days later, relaxing in his trailer after the end of shooting the episode — called “Happy Birthday” — star David Caruso reacts to that, saying, “I didn’t know that. That’s pretty interesting. I feel pretty good about that, I have to say. … The irony for us is, I think this is our strongest year ever.
“We have a whole new attack on the episodes. It’s been more exciting to be here now than it has been. We’ve just been galvanized somehow. There’s a ferocity to what we’re doing. As opposed to, ‘It’s season nine, and we’re tired,’ it’s the opposite.”
Rex Linn, who plays Miami-Dade Police Sgt. Frank Tripp, agrees, saying, “I hope we go 250, 275. I could see two more years.”
“Warehouse 13” star Joanne Kelly makes a guest appearance in “Happy Birthday” (which airs Sunday, Dec. 5), playing a pregnant woman who is brutally assaulted and left by the side of the road with her baby’s life hanging in the balance. Lt. Horatio Caine (Caruso) and his team from the MDPD crime lab race to track down her attacker.
The situation is particularly hard for Caine, who’s still suffering from the murder of his wife, Marisol (Alana de la Garza), the sister of team member Eric Delko (Adam Rodriguez).
“He has a surge of grief in this episode over his wife because she was taken from him so abruptly,” Caruso says. “It’s a very unresolved subject for him. There’s a really beautiful birth of a baby in this episode. The baby has such symbolism for us.
“That’s why we are ferociously after the people who harmed this pregnant woman. The cornerstone of hope for us is, in a way, riding on this birth. It’s really interesting the way this is configured. It has ratcheted us way up.”
Caruso thinks “Happy Birthday” is a fitting story to represent the show’s 200th episode.
“This particular case,” he says, “when I find her, eight months pregnant, by the side of the road, just beaten to a pulp — it would be impossible not to be affected by the outcome. So we’re pretty anxious to get these people. This is a high-stakes situation, worthy of being our 200th episode. Everybody’s coming away from the episodes, and coming away specific to this episode, just going great.
“I want to be here.”
Here’s a clip from “Happy Birthday”: