Interview with the cast and creators of “CSI: Vegas”

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Interview with Paula Newsome, Marg Helgenberger, Matt Lauria, Mandeep Dhillon, Jason Tracey and Anthony Zuicker of “CSI: Vegas” on CBS by Suzanne 9/16/22

It was great to be on this TCA panel and ask Marg Helgenberger a question. I’ve watched the show since it’s first episode, so I’m a huge fan. I think the newer version is just as good! Although the original cast is missed, I’m glad they’re able to bring some of them back, occasionally.

Paula Newsome, Marg Helgenberger, Matt Lauria, Mandeep Dhillon, Jason Tracey (showrunner/EP) and Anthony Zuicker (EP/creator).
Virtual via Zoom September 16, 2022
© 2022 CBS. All rights reserved.
Opening remarks: The new season premieres Thursday, September 29th and will also be available to stream live and on demand on Paramount+. Joining our panel today is our showrunner, Jason Tracey; “CSI” creator, Anthony Zuiker; Paula Newsome who plays Maxine Roby; reprising her role as Catherine Willows, Marg Helgenberger; Matt Lauria as Joshua Folsom; and Mandeep Dhillon as Allie Rajan. This is a fantastic time in the “CSI” culture, coming back after five iterations. We started this whole shebang on October 6th of the year 2000. Yet here we are on our 841st episode in a 21 episode run season with “CSI: Vegas” with a fantastic showrunner Jason Tracey and an awesome cast. Our show has always been about justice for victims. We’re a forensic procedural show. We’re still here solving crime and providing hope. And we welcome you and we’re very excited about season two.

CBS 2022 Fall TCA Press Tour: CSI: Vegas Panel

CSI: Vegas, the iconic crime procedural series that has captivated audiences for decades, is back with a second season, and the CBS 2022 Fall TCA Press Tour provided a unique opportunity to dive into the world of forensic science once more. In this virtual panel, key figures from the show, including showrunner Jason Tracey, creator Anthony Zuiker, and the talented cast members, Paula Newsome, Marg Helgenberger, Matt Lauria, and Mandeep Dhillon, offered a fascinating glimpse into the upcoming season and the enduring legacy of “CSI.”

The panel began with a warm welcome from Sienna Sanders of CBS Network Publicity and Rachel Wesolowski from CBS Studios. They introduced the panelists, setting the stage for a lively discussion about the show’s evolution, themes, and its profound impact on both the entertainment industry and the real world.

Creator Anthony Zuiker, reflecting on the show’s enduring popularity, said, “It’s our show that has always been about justice for victims. We’re a forensic procedural show. We’re still here solving crime and providing hope.” With 841 episodes under its belt, CSI: Vegas continues to deliver gripping stories of justice through the lens of forensic science.

The first question addressed the unresolved serial killer storyline from the previous season. Showrunner Jason Tracey assured fans that this storyline would indeed continue but not immediately. He emphasized that the show would explore other compelling narratives before delving deeper into the serial killer plot.

A highlight of the panel was the collaboration between Marg Helgenberger and Anthony Zuiker on a Catherine-centric episode. The two reminisced about a breakfast meeting at the Beverly Hills Hotel, where they discussed the episode’s creation. Helgenberger revealed that their motivation for the episode came from the personal loss of their mothers, making the episode particularly meaningful to both of them.

Marg Helgenberger, who reprises her role as Catherine Willows, shared her experiences working with a new cast and a different set. She expressed her gratitude for the warm welcome she received from the new team, praising their professionalism and enthusiasm. Despite the changes, Helgenberger conveyed her love for the character and her excitement about exploring Catherine’s continued growth.

The panel delved into the fascinating world of forensic technology, with a focus on the advancements that have excited the creators and writers. Jason Tracey mentioned intriguing developments in arson technology and molecular map making, while Anthony Zuiker shared his experiences at a facial reconstructionist workshop in Austin, Texas. He highlighted that advancements in both old and new technologies continue to play a vital role in the show.

Phenotyping, a technique using DNA to determine physical characteristics, was discussed as a valuable tool for storytelling and investigative purposes in the series. Paula Newsome, who plays Max Roby, a geneticist on the show, emphasized how the series highlights the real-life dedication of forensic professionals who work tirelessly to solve cases.

Marg Helgenberger’s return to the role of Catherine Willows was a significant topic of discussion. She shared her personal journey of rediscovering the character after a hiatus, explaining that she missed Catherine’s passion, swagger, and spunk. Helgenberger also discussed the personal growth she has experienced, both as an actress and as an individual, through her portrayal of Catherine.

The panelists reflected on the unique legacy of “CSI,” a series that has inspired countless individuals to pursue careers in forensic science. Anthony Zuiker recalled that when the show first aired, there were only 10 applications for crime scene analyst positions, but today, there are over 10,000 submissions annually. The show’s influence on aspiring forensic professionals has been immense.

Paula Newsome, who portrays Max Roby, the boss of the crime lab, shared her thoughts on the importance of representation. She expressed the significance of being a woman in a leadership role in a male-dominated field and how her character sets an example for others interested in forensic science.

The panel concluded on a heartfelt note, with the cast and creators expressing their gratitude to the real-life forensic scientists who inspire their work. Marg Helgenberger dedicated the season to these dedicated professionals and emphasized the importance of science, facts, and evidence in a world often marred by divisiveness.

As “CSI: Vegas” returns for its second season, it continues to uphold its legacy of showcasing the power of forensic science in seeking justice for victims. With a talented cast, engaging storylines, and a commitment to authenticity, the series remains a beloved and enduring fixture in the world of crime procedural television.

MORE INFO: Trailer

CSI: VEGAS returns for its third season and continues the legacy of the global hit franchise. Amidst the neon lights and long shadows, dark threats lurk in Sin City. Maxine Roby (Paula Newsome) leads her brilliant team of crime scene investigators – Catherine Willows (Marg Helgenberger), Allie Rajan (Mandeep Dhillon), Detective Serena Chavez (Ariana Guerra), Chris Park (Jay Lee) and Beau Finado (Lex Medlin) – as they use science to solve baffling mysteries. Chief among them: who framed their colleague, Joshua Folsom (Matt Lauria), for a gruesome murder? The most daunting and dangerous cases in the history of this storied franchise are coming, and the team will have to deploy the latest forensic techniques to preserve and serve justice in Sin City.


Drama (Filmed in HD)



Paula Newsome

(Maxine Roby)

Marg Helgenberger

(Catherine Willows)

Matt Lauria

(Joshua Folsom)

Mandeep Dhillon

(Allie Rajan)

Ariana Guerra

(Detective Serena Chavez)

Lex Medlin

Jay Lee

(Beau Finado)

(Chris Park)


CBS Studios in association with Jerry Bruckheimer Television


Jason Tracey, Jerry Bruckheimer, Jonathan Littman, KristieAnne Reed, Anthony Zuiker, Carol Mendelsohn, Ann Donahue, Craig O’Neill, William Petersen, Cindy Chvatal, Steven H. Kram and Steven H. Blume

Marg Helgenberger (Catherine Willows) on "CSI: Vegas" on CBS. CSI: Vegas Season 2 Photo: Sonja Flemming ©2022 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Marg Helgenberger reprises her role as Catherine Willows, a single mother working as a crime scene analyst, in season two of “CSI: VEGAS.” She earned two Emmy Award nominations as well as two Golden Globe nominations for this role in the critically acclaimed series “CSI: CRIME SCENE INVESTIGATION.” Helgenberger ended her twelfth season of this global hit series in 2013.

Helgenberger was last seen in the CBS series “All Rise.”  She also starred in “Intelligence” and “Under the Dome” for the Network. Marg’s breakout role as K.C. on “China Beach,” won her an Emmy Award in 1990.

In Fall of 2017, she starred in the off-Broadway premiere of Theresa Rebeck’s play “What We’re Up Against” at the WP Theatre. Other recent stage appearances include the Arena Stage production of “The Little Foxes” in which she played Regina and the Barrington Stage Company’s production of “The Other Place.”

Helgenberger appeared in the May 2019 Universal/Amblin release of “A Dog’s Journey,” starring alongside Dennis Quaid. Her other film credits include: “Erin Brockovich,” “Mr. Brooks,” “In Good Company,” “Fire Down Below,” “Species,” “My Fellow Americans,” “Cowboy Way,” “Bad Boys,” and “Always.” She has also appeared in numerous mini-series including starring as Patsy Ramsey in the highly rated CBS miniseries, “Perfect Murder, Perfect Town” based on the bestselling book about the unsolved murder of Jon Benet Ramsey.

Helgenberger was raised in North Bend, Nebraska, and is a graduate of Northwestern University. She currently resides in Los Angeles. Follow her on Twitter @MargHelgen and Instagram @Marghelgenberger.

Paula Newsom (Maxine Roby) on "CSI: Vegas" on CBS. CSI: Vegas Season 2 Photo: Sonja Flemming ©2022 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Veteran film, television and stage actress Paula Newsome, prior to CSI: VEGAS, is best known for her standout performance opposite Henry Winkler and Bill Hader as the fierce, funny, and fragile ‘Detective Janice Moss’ in HBO’s Emmy-winning series “Barry,” and hanging from a car in the international blockbuster “Spider-Man No Way Home”.

Newsome was born and raised in Chicago. Four months after moving to New York, she was cast in Lincoln Center’s Tony Award-winning “Carousel.” She then performed in several Off-Broadway and regional productions, before making her big screen debut opposite Dolly Parton in the romantic comedy “Straight Talk.”

Newsome co-starred alongside Angie Harmon in the police drama “Women’s Murder Club.” She has made numerous guest star appearances on notable television series, most recently an emotional arc on the popular Dick Wolf franchise’s “Chicago Med” and Steven Bochco’s “City of Angels,” with Viola Davis and Gabriel Union. Other television credits include “Suits,” “Transparent,” “Pretty Little Liars,” “NCIS,”, “Suburgatory” and “How to Get Away with Murder,” opposite Viola Davis.

On the big screen, Newsome appeared in “Guess Who” opposite Bernie Mac and Ashton Kutcher, “Little Miss Sunshine,” “Things We Lost in the Fire,” “Black or White” and “Reign Over Me” alongside Don Cheadle, Adam Sandler and Jada Pinkett Smith.

Newsome attended Webster University in St. Louis, Missouri and earned her degree in Musical Theatre. She is trilingual, speaking English, French and Italian, and enjoys riding horses. Currently, she resides in Los Angeles. Follow her on Twitter @mepaulanewsome and Instagram @therealpaulanewsome.

Matt Lauria (Josh Folsom) on "CSI: Vegas" on CBS. CSI: Vegas Season 2 Photo: Sonja Flemming ©2022 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Matt Lauria is perhaps best known to audiences for his role as ‘Luke Cafferty’ on “Friday Night Lights.” Most recently, he co-starred opposite Juno Temple in Sky TV’s original series “Little Birds” in the UK; opposite Hailey Steinfeld in the Apple series “Dickinson”; and on the Paramount+ series “Tell Me A Story.” For four years, Lauria starred in the critically acclaimed drama “Kingdom.” His additional television credits include Shawn Ryan’s “The Chicago Code,” Jason Katims’ “Parenthood” and “Lipstick Jungle,” “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation” on the Network, “Burn Notice,” “The Forgotten,” “Traitors,” “30 Rock” and the ‘February’ episode of “Down” from Hulu/Blumhouse.

In film, Lauria will next be seen opposite Andrea Riseborough and Allison Janney in “To Leslie.” He last appeared alongside Samuel Jackson and Jesse T. Usher in New Line’s “Shaft,” and with Gina Rodriguez and Anthony Mackey in Catherine Hardwick’s “Miss Bala” for Sony. On the stage, Lauria starred in Paul Down Calaizzo’s play “Really Really” at MCC for director David Cromer, and David Auburn’s “(Proof) An Upset”.

Lauria was born in Washington, D.C. and is a graduate of University of North Carolina School of the Arts. Currently, he lives in Los Angeles.

Mandeep Dhillon (Allie Rajan) on "CSI: Vegas" on CBS. CSI: Vegas Season 2 Photo: Sonja Flemming ©2022 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Before CSI: VEGAS, Mandeep Dhillon is perhaps best known for her reprisal of sarcastic and uptight math-geek ‘Saz Kaur’ on the BBC hit “Some Girls” written by Bernadette Davis. Recently, she starred in a pivotal role in “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.” In 2020, she starred alongside Ricky Gervais in season two of the critically acclaimed Netflix series “After Life.” Also, she starred opposite David Morrissey in the BBC crime thriller “The City and the City,” and alongside Ashley Walters and Noel Clarke in Sky 1’s cop crime thriller “Bulletproof.”

Prominence on the big screen came in “David Brent: Life on the Road,” alongside Ricky Gervais. It was nominated for best comedy at the National Film Awards. Other film credits include Jamie Adams’ “A Wonderful Christmas Time” and “Garfield,” for which she won Best Actress at the Underwire Film Festival.

Dhillon’s television credits include “Doctor Who,” “24: Live Another Day,” “Finding Fatimah,” “Hospital People,” “Wolfblood,” “Fried” “Whitechapel” and “Lucky Man,” written and produced by Marvel movies legend Stan Lee. Additionally, Dhillon stars in a new BBC3 sitcom, “Avoidance,” as writer Romesh Ranganthan’s sister Danielle.

Dhillon hails from London and currently resides in Los Angeles. She trained at the prestigious Central School of Speech and Drama. Her birthday is Dec. 21. Follow her on Instagram @mandidhillon.

Jason Tracey wrote and served as an executive producer on “Elementary,” on the Network, and “Burn Notice” on USA. Prior to that, he was a child. Well behaved. The kind that would not bother you if you sat next to them on an airplane.

Anthony E. Zuiker is the creator of the “CSI” franchise, which has earned the title of the “most-watched show in the world,” spawned three television spin-offs (“CSI: Cyber,” “CSI: Miami” and “CSI: New York,” all on the Network), aired hundreds of episodes, and even garnered a GUINNESS WORLD RECORD®. As one of the most groundbreaking storytellers today, Zuiker continues to innovate across every platform, from TV to Digital to Books and Broadway. He was the creator of “Cybergeddon,” the first digital blockbuster for Yahoo and the best-selling digi-novel series “Level 26.” In addition to his publishing company, Zuiker Press, which he co-owns and co-runs with wife, Michelle, Zuiker is also executive producing the “Soul Train” musical for Broadway.

Zuiker grew up in Las Vegas and currently lives in Los Angeles. His birthday is August 17. Follow him on Instagram @aezuiker.

Proofread and Edited by Brenda

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Lex Medlin, Paula Newsom and Eric Szmanda on "CSI: Vegas" on CBS. CSI: Vegas Season 2 Photo: Sonja Flemming ©2022 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved.