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'CSI' Finale: Creator Anthony Zuiker on Emotional Endings, Origins and Longevity
By SP_COP on September 27, 2015 | From
'CSI' Finale: Creator Anthony Zuiker on Emotional Endings, Origins and Longevity It’s one of TV’s great rags-to-riches stories: Young guy from Las Vegas delivers a global smash hit with his first-ever TV script.

Anthony Zuiker, 47, was not so far removed from his job driving a tram for a Sin City hotel when he managed to field the pilot for “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation” for Jerry Bruckheimer TV and CBS in 2000. A well-arranged marriage of Zuiker with veteran showrunners Carol Mendelsohn and Ann Donahue set “CSI” off on a journey that would change the course of TV history and spawn three spinoffs, most recently the Patricia Arquette starrer “CSI: Cyber.”

With the mothership wrapping its 15-year run with a two-hour movie airing Sunday night, creator/exec producer Zuiker spoke with Variety about the emotional experience of writing the finale, reuniting with original “CSI” stars William Petersen and Marg Helgenberger and his deep appreciation for Mendelsohn, Donahue, CBS’ Nina Tassler, Leslie Moonves and others who helped him along the way. And he explained why he still giggles at the sight of a certain high-end department store in Beverly Hills.

Everybody keeps asking me, ‘Are you OK?’ I’m fantastic. I had the privilege of watching the playback on Thursday with my parents attending. There’s a lot of laughs and a lot of tears story-wise. It felt really good to get a pat on the back from my dad … I have emotionally come to grips with the fact that TV shows have to go up and TV shows have to go down at some point. I would rather have the exit we have. I’m very respectful of the gift that Mr. Moonves gave us — the ability to have closure for our audience. Very few shows have that opportunity.

To come back with Billy and Marg and the same team and the same routine is such an incredible joy. When you’re doing an episode you’re usually stressed out about the next script coming down the line. This time everybody came in with the best behavior and we were all committed to the draft. It was a great moment to have where you know you’re seeing something extraordinary (with) top-level people who respect each other to the end.

I’ve never written two 47-page scripts before — they were probably 10 minutes over on both hours. We were able to let the actors come in and do what they do best. It reminded us how you can’t really hire anybody who can do what William Petersen does. You don’t really appreciate until he comes back just how natural it is for him to share the screen with evidence. In one scene he was looking at a bunch of bomb parts on the table and in his imagination (added later with vfx) he sees the parts lifting off the table and coming together as a bomb. When he was acting that out we were so mesmerized by his reaction to watching it being built that the director kept forgetting to yell cut. You forget how good Billy is. He’s just remarkable.

This is the Super Bowl for (Jorja Fox’s) Sara Sidle. She’s applied for the directorship of running the lab. This (case) is the one incident that brings back Grissom, and we see her being mentored by (Ted Danson’s) D.B. Russell. This is a case that paralyzes Vegas. One of the big burning questions of the finale is where (Grissom’s) heart will lie. GSR usually stands for gunshot residue but in this episode it stands for Grissom-Sara Relationship....
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NAMES: Anthony Zuiker
TAGS: CSI, emnotional endings, finale, longevity, original, the creator and executive producer of the American television show CSI