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'CSI: NY' Season 7 Preview: New Night, New Star ... But Still in New York

by Kelly Woo, posted Sep 23rd 2010 6:00PM
Sela Ward, CSI: NYWhen 'CSI: NY' returns for its seventh season, it'll be the new kid on the block -- the Friday night block. The series has moved from its former Wednesday timeslot to air Fridays at 9PM ET on CBS.

And that's not the only big change to take place: Original star Melina Kanakaredes, who left the series this summer, is being replaced by Emmy-winning actress Sela Ward. The only thing not changing, it seems, is the location -- still New York, New York.

During a location shoot in Central Park, Ward told us how happy she was to join the veteran hit series. "I'm loving being on the show. I love the character, love Gary Sinise, love all of the cast," she said, adding "It's very different for me, so I'd be lying if I didn't say this may be the hardest thing I've ever done ... but slowly but surely, I think I'll get my sea legs."

Ward and Sinise haven't worked together before, though they'd met on the awards circuit (he for 'Truman,' she for 'Almost Golden: The Jessica Savitch Story'). And when the offer to join 'CSI: NY' came in, Ward couldn't pass up the opportunity to work with the fellow Emmy winner.

"I had made a conscious choice not to do a lot of work for a while while my kids were younger and now that they're older, I was just missing it," she said. "And the offer came in and I thought, "You know what? I've never done anything like this. It'll be challenging and I'd love to work with Gary.'"

CSI: NY castStill, joining a tight-knit cast that's been together for seven years must've been daunting. "You would think it would, but no," she responded. "And I really attribute that to the generosity and spirit of this cast and the set and trust me, every show is not like that."

The cast and crew have welcomed her with open arms, and co-star Hill Harper gave her a rave review. "It's been great. Sela is a wonderful actress, she has great spirit," he said. "We're kind of a hard-edged New York show and her character brings all this Southern charm which is really lovely."

So new night, new star -- and a whole new energy, Harper noted. "It challenges the writers to have to think more creatively," he said. "You get used to this character does things this way, this character does things that way. Now you have to create a whole new character [and] you have to create a whole new way that different characters interact. It's pretty special."

Ward loves her character, Det. Jo Danville," for "her humor and her smarts. And I think she's a little mysterious and I like that."

Danville is thrust into a case from her very first step -- when she trips over a corpse in the crime lab. "The character hadn't even been written when I got the phone call," Ward revealed. "When Melina decided not to renew her contract, this all went down very quickly. So we talked a little bit about the character and possibilities for the character and then off they went to write. I think I got a script three days before we started shooting, so it was a real fast track. We're still talking about Jo and who is she, and she's still evolving."

In the scene they were filming in Central Park, for episode 8, Ward, Harper and castmate Eddie Cahill discussed the spooky nature of the case under investigation. Ward was still getting used to the technical dialogue and how realistic the show can be. "Some of the scenes in the autopsy room have made me pause, for sure," she said. "They're so realistic looking. I was doing a scene with Bob Joy where we're in the middle of dialogue and he's peeling back the scalp of this man, right off his head. It was pretty disgusting and it was so realistic looking, that I couldn't even look down in the middle of the scene. For real."

Season 7 is already packed with guest stars, including John Larroquette, Edward James Olmos and Thomas Calabro. One guest star that Harper hopes to see? Someone to play his love interest!

Hill Harper, CSI: NY"I've been saying this for a long time and it hasn't happened any year I've said it, so I don't want to jinx myself, but I really believe I'm going to get a love interest this year," he said. His dream guest star? "I want Halle Berry but I don't think she's going to do it. She's busy, she's a mom." Or there's his friend, Zoe Saldana. "She's awesome. We've played love interests in two movies, these little independents, one was called 'Premium' and one was 'Constellation.' So we're used to kissing."

During the shoot, tourists in Central Park flocked over to check out the stars doing their scenes. How does Ward feel about becoming part of a hit franchise? "You know I've never been part of anything like that. The shows I've done were always critically acclaimed but they were never demographically [popular] like these franchise is," she said. "So I really don't know what that looks like. It's a different fan base. I guess the closest experience I have with that is 'House,' where I did a recurring role for nine shows. It's a different animal. It'll be fun to see what the response is, if it works and all of that."

Harper, more used to being gawked at by passers-by, said he loves location shoots because they "encourage [fans] to watch ... And at the end of the day, the only reason why we're on the show is because of the fans. The only reason. So whoever's reading this, we owe it all to you."

'CSI: NY' premieres Fri., Sept. 24 at 9PM ET on CBS.

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Gordon Werner

please. You mean the 4 minutes of exterior shots not filmed in LA? That ain't changing. At least Law & Order was filmed in NYC

September 23 2010 at 6:46 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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