UPDATE: Stars of CSI talk about the end of the legendary series below!
After 335 episodes, television’s most cutting-edge crime procedural series, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, comes to an end on Sept. 27. For fans of the groundbreaking series, the end of the show’s 15-year run feels bittersweet, but no one has shed more tears than series creator, writer and executive producer Anthony E. Zuiker, who penned the series’ final script. “I was all over the place,” he admits. “I was laughing out loud. I was crying every day. Not necessarily crying because it was over, but just touched, kind of touched by the characters and touched by the moments and hearing the voices again.”
He also shared the surreal moment when he completed the final script. “I remember I typed the words ‘End of Series’ at the end of the second hour’s script. I just kind of stood up, I pressed print and I just left because it was so bizarre and I went down to a deli, sat down, I had a sandwich and like, ‘I can’t believe I just typed the words “End of Series!”’ It was really bizarre. Tons and tons of tears, I’ll tell you that, and tons of laughs.”
Zuiker calls the two-hour finale “a love letter to the fans,” and says, “It’s going to be intense, it’s going to be hilarious, it’s going to shed tears and have brand-new science, a really complex, rich mystery, and just really take you back to some of the old-school stuff and kind of push it forward to the new-school stuff. And leave there, I believe, satisfied with all the time and investment that you’ve had in the franchise if you were a fan. If you’re not a fan, and you come in for the first time, you’ll still have a wild ride too.”
Zuiker isn’t giving away any spoilers, but while we speak, William Petersen and Marg Helgenberger walk across the studio lot. “It’s really cool,” he shares. “It’s cool to have them back. It’s really neat to reconnect with them.” Past and current series stars also scheduled to appear include Ted Danson, Jorja Fox, Eric Szmanda, Robert David Hall, Paul Guilfoyle, Wallace Langham, David Berman, Elisabeth Harnois and Jon Wellner. Also, Melinda Clarke returns as Lady Heather.
Launching one, let alone four successful TV series is a herculean feat, and how Zuiker — who was living in Las Vegas and working in the hospitality industry — came up with the concept that became C.S.I. is no less miraculous. Back in August 1999, Zuiker saw an episode of a Discovery Channel series that covered the murder of former Raiders cheerleader Linda Sobek. He was fascinated that the case hinged upon the DNA of a single hair found in the suspect’s car and he knew that he had stumbled upon something with potential. “I realized that the body was a perfect specimen and then C.S.I. was born at that point.” Zuiker did a lot of research, wrote his first ever TV pilot and “We were lucky enough to sell it, shoot it and air it. It aired on October 6 of 2000 — on a Friday — and the rest is history.”
In its 15 years on TV, C.S.I. has had many memorable moments and jaw-dropping episodes and Zuiker reveals, “My personal favorite episode of all time is the episode titled ‘Blood Drops.’ It’s episode number 107, first season. The finale of Season 5, directed by Quentin Tarantino was called ‘Grave Danger.’ That was really fantastic. Then … the first time we went No. 1 was an episode I wrote solo entitled, ‘Ellie,’ named after Jim Brass’ daughter. I think those are the three I kind of really, really enjoyed … and certainly this one — the finale — will be in that same company.”
When pressed to choose an item from the set he’d like to take with him, Zuiker already has something in mind. “There’s a small medallion that’s embedded in the floor where Billy Petersen last stood. I’m hoping to get my hands on that piece of flooring when it’s all over.” As the man who built the franchise from the ground up, it seems like a fitting choice.
BELOW: CSI stars talk about the series finale!
CSI Series Finale > CBS > Sunday, Sept. 27 at 9pm ET/PT
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