Now back in its former time slot after CBS’ quick benching of “Made in Jersey,” the crime procedural airs a new episode Friday (Oct. 19) that’s a big gamble for a TV drama: A sizable chunk of the story has no dialogue. Largely new music by the Grammy-winning Green Day functions as “narration,” as forensic police detective Lindsay Monroe Messer (Belknap) is hurt in the frenzy following an attempt on a politician’s (guest star Neal McDonough) life.
Appropriately subtitled “Unspoken,” the tale posed built-in challenges for Belknap and such other “CSI: NY” stars as Gary Sinise and Sela Ward. “When I was reading the script, I didn’t realize it would be the debut of all this music,” Belknap tells Zap2it of the included tunes from “Green Day �Dos!” (to be released Nov. 13) and “Green Day �Tre!” (coming Jan. 15). “I was looking on the Internet, and I was like, ‘I can’t find these anywhere!’
“We didn’t have a chance to know what it was going to sound like, but it’s peppered all through the first two acts. There’s no dialogue, and it was the biggest challenge for Pam (Veasey, one of the show’s executive producers), who wrote the episode … or didn’t write the episode, as the case may be. She managed to get a lot across with looks and unspoken communication between people.”
Still, there couldn’t be a “CSI: NY” episode that didn’t have any dialogue at all about bullet trajectory, blood type and so forth. “That kicks in a little later,” Belknap confirms, “but Pam manages a lot of exposition just with the looks between the actors.”
And for the actors, who also included several children, it wasn’t as easy as one might think to do the job without having to memorize lines. “I kept catching myself saying things,” muses Belknap, “ad-libbing them by accident. When you come up to your husband and daughter, you just want to say, ‘Hey!’ It was kind of hard not to.”
Actually, like mime Marcel Marceau getting the one spoken word in Mel Brooks’ “Silent Movie,” Belknap gets to utter the single line said in the “CSI: NY” story’s first two acts.
“We’re at a big political rally, and Lindsay’s daughter Lucy wanders off. Pam said, ‘I couldn’t justify a mom not knowing where her child went and not screaming her name to find her.’ So there is one moment where I say, ‘Lucy!,’ but even that is pretty much drowned out by whatever is happening on the stage at the rally.”
A “CSI: NY” co-star since its second season, Belknap is pleased the series — now in its ninth year — is devoting increased time to its characters’ personal lives, as with Friday’s rare chance to see Lindsay as a parent.
“You’re getting to see more of what these people are like when they’re not at work,” says the real-life mother of two. “it just adds to the whole imaginative part of the show, if you can picture where these people are when they’re not at the crime lab.”