We had a chance to chat with executive producer and showrunner Jason Tracer about CSI: Vegas Season 1 Episode 10, which tied up the David Hodges case and opened up a possible mystery for Season Two.
Tracey co-wrote the season finale and chatted with us about closing loose ends, dangling a few threads, and working with Wallace Langham and Jamie McShane.
He also discussed Sara and Grissom's happy ending and ideas for potential Season Two, so keep those fingers crossed.
Hey Jason. I have loved CSI: Vegas this season. The season finale worked as either season or series finale.
That's gratifying to hear from somebody who has watched the season. We were hoping for that satisfying, click sound.
It did work. How hard was that to close out the current stories but dangle a few threads?
I love writing finales because it's a payoff for the considerable team effort in the writers' room. We plant the flag about where we think we're sailing to and, there are prizes along the way.
This one felt like our launch dictated a lot about what the finale would need, and I thought that Craig O'Neill, who co-wrote it with me, and the entire writing staff did an excellent job of teeing it up. By the time it was time to take a swing at that pitch, we couldn't wait to do it.
So has there been any word on a Season Two renewal?
Talks are being had, and our fingers are crossed. I think you'll be among the first to know if there's anything to announce. We're all optimistic.
So if you get one, the cliffhanger seemed to be a throwback as well, to an old case.
That case is going to be something new. I'm not saying that we won't dip our toe in the water with older stuff and stuff that predates this new chapter, but it will primarily be more forward-focused than we were this season.
Okay. If you get a season 2 renewal, will Billy and Jorja be back?
The door is always open to our returning folks. I know that Billy came back to do these ten episodes, and I'm hopeful that both Billy and Georgia and any number of other returning folks might feel the phone call and be up for telling some new stories, but we have no expectation.
I would not want to presume any more of their time. Billy and Jorja have been incredibly generous with us to come and do these ten episodes.
I think everybody's understanding was that we would launch this new era with them and then leave them in a great place and keep things open-ended so that they can make their own decisions.
I loved the ending montage. It seemed Max had come full circle with her son. And I loved Grissom and Sara on the roller coaster since, as a long-time fan, I know how important roller coasters are to Grissom.
Yes, that one came straight from Billy and Jorja. There were different possibilities for where to leave them, and nothing felt more fitting than that idea. It was not just a metaphor for their season, but very relevant because, as you say, he loves that thrill.
Yes, As an old-time fan, I remember all those roller coaster scenes, so I love that. I also am a huge fan of the new characters. I love feisty badass Maxine.
I do too. Paula was tremendous fun to work with and was such a great collaborator. She was the voice in my head when I was writing a pilot. I hoped to entice her to come and play this role. She did, and she made it way better than I could have expected.
I'm also wondering what is next for Josh and Ali. Will we learn even more about their character histories?
I think we'll learn more about all these characters, I hope, in season two. There were a lot of great ideas in the room for everybody.
There are only a finite number of episodes in one season, and invariably great ideas get pushed downstream, and we think maybe we'll get to that next time, and then they'll be a fresh batch of ideas because everyone comes in with whole new energy for season 2.
With Folsom and Allie, there's more to uncover about their past, and then hopefully, you know a lot more exciting stuff for them in the future.
So are we going to see a little romance with them, hopefully?
These are professionals. I will say Grissom and Sarah were undoubtedly a long boil. We don't want to overeat things too quickly, but obviously, I think we've instigated a little enjoyable trouble, the good kind of trouble for ourselves as storytellers.
At the end of the montage, that key thing will complicate things and open up a whole new line of communication.
Absolutely. So assuming we get another season, will we have another season-long mystery and then stay with the murder of the week story too?
We found something fun new for this franchise, which was a heavy serialized B story. I don't know that we would make a weekly commitment to quite that amount of on-screen B stories.
It will probably scale back from that, but I think the modern audience, and in telling these tales with this particular team, want to continue these season-long mystery building.
What you see there at the end of this finale opens the door to such a mystery, something that we think we can sprinkle in more heavily than was typical in the original run of the show.
It would be more the scale of like the miniature killer than this Hodges storyline that had a toehold in every episode. It l probably wouldn't be that serialized next season, but definitely, something that will span the season.
I loved the miniature killers. They were fun. I was a massive fan of the original.
Yeah, me too. That's why I had so much fun working on the show.
I bet. Did you enjoy having Wallace back as Hodges?
So much. There was probably a no bigger fan of the Larry Sanders show than me. Obviously. I was a huge fan of CSI, don't get me wrong. However, Larry Sanders was my first taste of Wallace Langham.
It was fantastic to come onto the set to see him reprise his role as Hodges. I thought it was one of our more exciting reinventions of a returning character to see how people change and grow over the years.
He goes from warming up and gaining a little wisdom later. I don't know that anybody would have thought you could both preserve the character and also be more sympathetic than we've ever seen Hodges be before. It was fascinating.
Do you think we will see Anson Wicks again?
Never say, never, he's alive. You can't rule anything out. Jamie is a fantastic and generous actor. It was a lot of fun to work with him.
He is. I have seen him at other shows. It was so hard to hate him because I enjoyed him as an actor.
That was something that we were hoping for was that you would understand the soul of this villain a little more because we had more room to play with the character. When we first spend time with him, he's singing Bonnie Raitt and making breakfast for his sister, who he lives with and takes care of, and you can't completely hate a guy like that.
It's an invitation to ponder his motives and not in any way agree with what he's done, but maybe understand a bit more why a bad seed got planted.
Many people are curious about who you may bring back in season two. I see lots of requests for Katherine and Greg.
I see them too. I see lots of requests fall over the map. People send me their tweets and, our cup runs over with great possibilities, and Anthony Zuiker is always in the mix with excellent connections to the cast of every iteration of the show.
Hopefully, we'll be able to use his Rolodex and make some phone calls to make some new invitations.
When do you think we'll hear the official word if CSI: Vegas gets another season?
That I don't know, it's what I've asked Santa for, so we'll see.
If you missed any of CSI: Vegas, remember you can watch it online via TV Fanatic.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
Laura Nowak is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.