On Wednesday's episode, titled "Let the Chips Fall," Grissom (William Petersen) and Sara (Jorja Fox) close in on who framed Hodges. But as they get closer to the true culprit, they find themselves in new territory. Meanwhile, the rest of the CSI team investigates a lock room murder mystery at 30,000 feet, when a cargo plane lands autonomously at McCarran Airport and everyone on board has been killed.
"Some people have had way more time than they wanted, some people had way less time. But there's a young audience that has found the show, even younger than the audience that we had when we finished. Quietly there's been people streaming the show and I would've had no idea to know that that was happening. That's a really big surprise is to see how many people watch the show, really ultimately because of this pandemic," Fox told ET of the fans' reaction to the first half of the season thus far. "And there's so much to watch and there's so much really good TV to watch, that people are still finding the show and enjoying it means the world."
While Grissom and Sara are in deep on Vegas, the actress hints that next week's installment, "Funhouse," is when things really begin to go haywire. "My favorite episode of 'when did you really feel it started to gel' [is] episode 6," Fox teased. "I've been excited about all of them, but there's two storylines and it's almost like a mash-up in a way, where there's two universes that are going to collide and they're going to start to create a web. And episode 6 is when that really takes off."
Ahead of the new episode, Fox reminisces about reuniting with CSI creator Anthony Zuiker, what's surprised her the most from fan reaction to Vegas and why she's personally hoping for a Marvel-like CSI universe to come to fruition on the revival.
ET: When I spoke to Anthony recently, he said one of the highlights was getting a swing of things with you and Billy on set and the ritual of breaking down the scripts. What was it like for you to reunite with him? What was a personal highlight?
Jorja Fox: Anthony's a force of nature. He's a cyclone -- a really, really brilliant cyclone -- and it was really great. He's really busy doing a whole bunch of stuff so we weren't quite expecting him to be actually in Los Angeles on set with us. He came out, he was there the first day as was Jonathan Littman and Jerry Bruckheimer Television. And that just felt so magical that these two guys that had really shepherded the show for so long were there. Another thing coming out of the pandemic, none of us had seen each other anyway, for a year and a half, and we never would see each other as much as we want to see each other. But suddenly, because you were going to work, you got to see people. I think they had a great time. I think that's why they came back a lot. I was like, "Wow, he came back week after and the week after!" He's just super collaborative and you can go hit him with anything and you can watch his brain move and he'll come up with something that's either really profound or really good or really weird within minutes. All of those are magic for CSI.
Sara and Grissom have been trying to figure out who framed Hodges, and in episode 5, they're starting to turn up the heat with the investigation. What can you preview in terms of this upcoming episode, which is a bit of a turning point?
I love episode 5 and I love the story that Matt Lauria and Mandeep Dhillon sort of drive. The storyline for Sara and Grissom is going to spike a lot, it's going to go up and they're going to feel really close and they're going to be really high and then it's going to crash and they're going to go really low and really almost like it might be the end. Obviously this case is the most important case of their entire careers. Everything hinges on it. Grissom's reputation hinges on it, Hodges' whole life hinges on it. Many, many, many really, really bad people will get out of jail at the same time if they fail. So, not only are the stakes that high, but they've never had this little evidence to work with. So we're going to yo-yo. I actually think that episode 5 is ultimately really a low point of the 10 episodes for Sara and Grissom.
Even going back to the CSI days, they were always on top of everything for the most part. How do you think this affects their frame of mind as they navigate through these treacherous waters?
Certainly for Sara, because I get to be the more emotional of the two characters over the time... I think it's really tough in particular for Sara to sort of keep it together because they don't have control over anything. In the first nine years, Grissom was the boss, so he had all this leeway and Sara really only answered to Grissom. Therefore, she did what she wanted. Sara never was all that really administrative-minded, I think she would never want to put out a piece of work that wasn't accurate. But it wasn't because she was trying to get promoted or she really cared what other people thought. The truth is what's important for Maxine and for Grissom and for Sara, thank God they share that. Thank God that all three of them really are willing to put every single thing on the line to make sure that what you get is the truth. And they're in line about that, but they don't have any strings they can pull. They don't really have any contacts that are still around to help. They don't have access to a real lab, which are maybe one of the lowest points for them, at least in work. Lowest point for Sara ever in the history of the show was that the marriage with her and Grissom didn't work out the first time. But certainly in a work field, the stakes don't get any higher.
What can you preview for the second half of the season?
It's going to be the science that's going to actually get them out. And it's been also really fun to remind, to get to make science the lead again, like back in 2000, when the show first started, science wasn't really trending all that much. It wasn't super cool. And science became cool for a while, not just because of CSI, but I think society, things trend in and they trend out and I never imagined in 2021 that that science could be in worse shape than it is right now. People actually will look at science and think that maybe that's just subjective. And so I think one of the best things that the show can offer and certainly the way out for Sara and Grissom is to just, you know what, science is real and if you follow the science, then your answer will come.
When I spoke to Anthony too, he alluded to -- if there is a season 2 -- potentially more familiar faces from the CSI universe, like New York, Miami, even Cyber. Is there a character from the CSI universe that you would love to have Sara interact with?
That sounds like maybe a Marvel move.
A CSI version of Avengers.
The Avengers. Well, in that case, I want to work with Chris Pratt and that raccoon and Groot. That's who I'd really like to work with! First of all, I would love to see the [guys from] CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, that would be the cast within the context of this show that I would love to see more of. I think I would start there for sure. I know that Anthony [Zuiker] and Jason [Tracey] have a million really incredible ideas to move forward. It's kind of a wait and see. With the last two years that we've all had, I think we never could have expected the world that we're in and I'm so grateful this year that things are way better than they were last year. That's something that's so much to be happy for. I think it's going to have a lot to do with if there's people that want to see those stories and hear them. I know they got them, so let's wait and see how it unfolds.
Personally, I would love to see Greg back in the universe somehow.
You are not alone. I would love to see Greg. I would love to find a way to have Laurence Fishburne back. I enjoyed working with him so much. His storyline was shorter than I would have liked it to be. They actually had a really, really, really cool thing that might have happened. There are also the stories that you want to tell that you don't quite find a place for and so you never forget those. There are several stories that I'm like, "Oh, I believe we never did that one. We never got to see this one." Everybody, obviously Marg [Helgenberger]. I would love to see more than anything on Earth, I wish we could bring Gary Dourdan back. I think the biggest mistake the show ever made was putting him in the line of fire of a bullet. In order to see him again, we'd have to do a prequel and we're too old to do a prequel at this point. No way we can age 20 years.
A hallucination, a vision one of the characters has in a very surreal state. We've seen on other television shows that anything is possible.
On a personal note, I had so much fun working with Liz (Elisabeth) Shue and Liz (Elisabeth) Harnois. We did a couple those Girls Gone Wild episodes and they're just fun and they're both so smart. I just thought they brought amazing depth to the show. I just love that there's so many women CSIs now in 2021. It's really fun to have so many women on the show.
CSI: Vegasairs Wednesdays at 10 p.m. ET/PT on CBS. For more, watch below.