'CSI' and 'CSI: NY' crossover: Gary Sinise visits Ted Danson ... and vice versa
Gary Sinise's Detective Mac Taylor leaves the Big Apple to visit his girlfriend Christine ( Megan Dodds) in Las Vegas as a new story begins on CBS' "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation" Wednesday (Feb. 6). The problem: When he arrives, she can't be found. The mystery comes to involve D.B. Russell ( Ted Danson), leading him to follow Taylor back East as the tale concludes on "CSI: NY" Friday (Feb. 8).
Though Sinise was involved in two tales that merged his series with the now-finished "CSI: Miami," he's never been on the set of the Vegas-set parent drama before, And since Danson joined "CSI" only last season, this is his first opportunity to visit a related show, and also to work with fellow Emmy winner and acting veteran Sinise.
"He's such a sweet man," Danson tells Zap2it. "We had a lot of fun, and he's such a professional. I've always admired him as an actor, hugely, and I really like what he does with his life ... his band (the Lt. Dan Band, which frequently plays concerts to benefit America's military) and his celebrity. It's astounding what he does for the troops."
Sinise makes it a mutual-admiration society, saying, "Ted's a wonderful guy who's been around the business for a long time and has done a lot of great things. He's beloved in the industry, and he's just a nice man. A good guy to be around, just very easygoing."
As Mac tries to locate Christine, "easygoing" doesn't necessarily apply, Sinise confirms. "He is driven not only by finding the bad guys this time, but by preventing something bad happening to his love. He's connected to this personally in a way that drives him a bit over the line."
So much so, crew members had memories of an earlier Sinise character: Jimmy Shaker, the cop turned vicious kidnapper and extortionist in the Ron Howard-directed 1996 thriller "Ransom." That movie's final act played out intensely and violently on -- ironically enough -- the streets of New York.
"In this crossover, Mac is pushing things," Sinise says, "because the clock is ticking on the life of his girl. He gets a little impatient, and I asked after we shot a scene, 'Do you think that was a little too much? Do you think it was a little Jimmy Shaker-ish?' And they were like, 'Oh, no, no. That was Mac Taylor. Jimmy Shaker is evil.'"
Having dealt largely with the same cast and crew since joining "CSI" in the fall of 2011 (though he was present for Marg Helgenberger's exit and Elisabeth Shue's arrival), Danson reflects, "It's fun to go over and meet new actors. When you do that, it becomes like a little 'acting summer camp,' and I'm interested in who I'm going to get to play with.
"I have to admit that when I first heard we were going to do a crossover, I got all excited: 'I'm going to fly to New York!' But no, I went five minutes to Radford," the Los Angeles studio where much of 'CSI: NY' typically is filmed.
Still, Danson was happy to stay close to home in a work sense. "A lot of people have been here from Day One," he reports of the "CSI" staff, "and most have been here at least seven or eight years. Everybody really understands how lucky we all are, and there's a lot of gratitude. The crew is such a well-oiled machine, we're 12 hours, in and out. We never do the really, really crazy work hours."
"CSI" is now in its 12th season, while "CSI: NY" soon wraps its 9th -- the finale airs Friday, Feb. 22 -- with hopes for a 10th. Recent developments, such as Dr. Sid Hammerback's ( Robert Joy) cancer revelation and Detective Lindsay Monroe Messer's ( Anna Belknap) second pregnancy, indicate the East Coast-themed show's writers and producers have been thinking ahead.
A producer of "CSI: NY" as well, Sinise hesitates to make any predictions about another renewal, since it cut so close last spring ("They called me about an hour before it hit the Internet."). Whatever ultimately happens, the actor is pleased with the way his character has played out.
"We've watched Mac over the last nine seasons as somebody who's really work-obsessed, very devoted. We understood early on that he lost his wife in the World Trade Center (on 9/11), and only one other time did he have the potential for love, when Claire Forlani was on the show for a season. This person he's met, Christine, is somebody he's very committed to. The idea of losing her is very disturbing to him."