On a quiet Friday afternoon, May 9, 2014, CBS executives decided to share good news about new shows ordered for next season. Right on the wings of learning “NCIS: New Orleans” was added to the fall lineup, even more good news traveled fast. This time it was via Twitter, as television producer Jerry Bruckheimer shared, “Thrilled to have CSI: CYBER on CBS next season.” That's how viewers learned the pilot was now officially a CBS show, also for this fall, co-produced by CBS Television Studios, and Jerry Bruckheimer Television.
This third spinoff of the dependable “CSI” franchise was co-created by the triumvirate of Anthony Zuiker, Carol Mendelsohn and Ann Donahue. In a reprise of “Let’s get the band back together,” the trio is responsible for the very first “CSI” series, starring Gary Sinise, Melina Kanakaredes, Carmine Giovinazzo, Hill Harper, Anna Belknap, Eddie Harper, Robert Joy, and A. J. Buckley. Before the first “CSI” only Gary Sinise had a lot of visibility. The same can be said of “CSI: Miami,” where the characters grew on you. Ultimately those actors became firmly identifiable with their CSI franchise's successes and went onto other highly visible projects on the strengths of those initial roles.
This time, veteran actor Patricia Arquette brings experience in her acclaimed role on "Medium" to the table to help viewers again believe more of what they cannot see, perfect for a show revolving around bits, bytes, baud, and bad guys. Earlier today, Cynthia Littleton, TV editor-in-chief for Variety, noted that Pam Veasey, the “longtime showrunner of “CSI: NY” is on board in the same capacity for “CSI: Cyber,” which guarantees strong backing for the new show.
Veasey was responsible for 162 episodes of “CSI: NY” from 2005-2013, serving as co-executive producer and executive producer for the show. Her other credits include “In Living Color,” “The District,” “Martial Law,” and “The Gregory Hines Show,” a diverse range of subject matter and formats.
With Patricia Arquette at the center of “CSI: Cyber,” and potential collaborations of the show writers with consultant Dr. Mary Aiken, the first season will likely shine with fascinating subjects and on-target dialogue to preserve that reality feel that’s key to making an entertaining show realistic, or a realistic show entertaining. Arquette was tremendously convincing in the pilot episode.
Dr. Aiken is internationally known for her presentations and publications in the innovative new specialty field of forensic cyberpsychology. Her specialties include anything from the study of cyber stalking, cyber bullying, and the impact of technology to creeps who hide deep below the level of the public Internet to commit crimes, particularly against children. There’s no end of script potential in just these few research genres alone.
For the “CSI: Cyber” spinoff, the pilot was perhaps the strongest case ever for a show to go from “maybe let’s give this a try” to a sure-fire home run. And it was a done deal in less than eight days from the episode's broadcast. The script of the series pilot, “Kitty” introduced Patricia Arquette, who stepped right into the persona of FBI Special Agent Avery Ryan, a cyberpsychologist, and took the pilot into show status with just one hour of film time to measure ratings and response. It would be nice to see Elisabeth Shue from "CSI" possibly jump ship to join in "CSI: Cyber," but it's personal wishful thinking, with decisions best left to the experts.
With Zuiker, Mendelsohn and Donahue bringing their combined vision to create the full show concept and to write and cast additional series regulars, combined with the patented Jerry Bruckheimer explosive action formula for show success, there’s excitement in store this summer as we wait to learn more, including its future time slot. Stay tuned for more news as it becomes available.