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CSI: Cyber is bringing a familiar face to the team — and saying goodbye to a different one.
The CBS procedural’s season-two premiere airs Sunday, picking up after last season’s finale in which Avery (Patricia Arquette) tracked down the person who had hacked her, while David Krumitz’s (Charley Koontz) sister Francine (Angela Trimbur) murdered the man who killed their parents.
Showrunner Pam Veasey tells The Hollywood Reporter how D.B. Russell’s arrival (Ted Danson) and Simon Sifter’s (Peter MacNicol) departure impact Avery. Veasey also shares her feelings about being the lone series to currently carry on the CSI legacy.
There are some big changes for the show in season two. What’s in store in the premiere?
The big excitement is of course that Ted Danson — D.B. Russell from CSI — has joined us now. He has become the director of Next Gen Forensics, which is sort of the idea of combining old-school forensics — DNA and fingerprints and trace evidence — with the new generation of crime, which is digital dust and hacking and trace evidence that connects to computers and devices. Our crime story [in the premiere] has to do with hacking home security systems and children’s toys.
What does Ted Danson’s addition bring to the show? How else will this season differ from the first one?
D.B. Russell comes in really appreciating a new phase in his life. I think in the movie, you don’t know that he’s decided to come to Cyber. Now, he’s leaving the crime lab and looking for something new. [You can] imagine Avery Ryan calls him offscreen and said, “If you’re free, I enjoyed working with you, and we have an opportunity for you to come here. Keep us grounded in the old-school forensic world but start learning the new levels of basic forensics in the technology world.” One [example] being science that relates to what’s called microbials — microbials are the identifying germs that each of us has. He’s funny, and he’s bright, and we’re going to introduce him to the dating world in Washington. Another change in the show is we’re going to show more of our cyber criminals.
How does Peter MacNicol’s departure from the series affect things?
Peter was great — we loved him. We simply mention that he’s gone on and got promoted. We’ve decided he got that promotion, but it takes him somewhere other than the Cyber division. But Ted is not coming in to replace him. Avery is offered his position, but she’s hesitant to jump into that job.
What are some other storylines you can tease from later in the season?
We’re going to continue with the idea of every one of us could be easily and unknowingly affected by hacking. We talk about security systems in our homes being hacked, we talk about toys that your children have being hacked and having intruders within them, we talk about medical devices and hospitals being hacked, we talk about the urban legends and adventures that take place online and how people can hack online games that are people exposed to and lure people via online sites, and we also of course talk about the multitude of dating apps that are out there.
With the flagship CSI series having recently signed off, how does it feel to be the only CSI series on the air?
For me, I’ve always been on the show. I was writing CSI: New York, and there was always another CSI on. So it wasn’t really apparent or evident to us right away that, of course, when [the CSI finale] airs, we’re it. It’ll be a first time in so many long years that there’s only one franchise, and we are the new CSI. But it’s kind of cool at the same time — kind of, “OK, we’re it.” (Laughs.) There’s always pressure to be a great show. We’re always striving to uphold the requirements of the franchise. But it is interesting and exciting, and we hope those that loved the CSI franchise will tune in.
CSI: Cyber‘s second season premieres Sunday at 10 p.m. on CBS.
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