Why Does the New CSI Like Pushing Grissom's Buttons?
Lauren Lee Smith, CSI
What is the deal with the new kid on the CSI block? TVGuide.com invited new cast member Lauren Lee Smith (The L Word, Mutant X) to shed some light on the thus-far very murky life of Riley. (CSI airs Thursdays at 9 pm/ET, on CBS.)
TVGuide.com: Tell me about dipping your toe into the world of domination in last week's episode.
Lauren Lee Smith: Yes, that fun! [Laughs] Riley got in there with the rest of them. Maybe she knows a little more about it than she should.
TVGuide.com: Was there anything that made you, the actress, blush?
Smith: I'm not going to lie — they had this giant box that I pulled out from under a bed, and there was stuff in there that I had no idea what it was for. "What? How would you...?" Eric [Szmanda, Greg] and I turned into 12-year-old kids, basically. The crew was slightly amused for the first five minutes, and then was like, "C'mon now."
TVGuide.com: Is there anything juicy for you in this week's episode, which revolves around a Koreatown shooting?
Smith: That was the first time that I got to use a gun, so that was interesting! It's kind of addicting, actually. It is, though, a little strange pointing a gun — even though it's fake — at someone's head. And in this case, at an elderly woman.
TVGuide.com: But she probably drives badly, so....
Smith: That's right. [Laughs] I'm forgiven for that one.
TVGuide.com: What do we know about Riley thus far? She rebelled against her parents, who were both shrinks....
Smith: I don't know if we know if that's the truth yet. All we really know is she's kind of a smart-ass, and she likes to push people's buttons — especially Grissom's. We're going to see that a bit more in upcoming episodes.
TVGuide.com: What's behind her tendency to push his buttons?
Smith: It has a little to do with how she treats any sort of authority figure. She likes to look at things from the other side.
TVGuide.com: She hasn't been brought up to revere Grissom, as some have.
Smith: Right, so she's not really afraid to challenge him. That throws him off.
TVGuide.com: You've been working a lot with Eric Szmanda. Is that pretty much the game plan moving forward?
Smith: They started my character off playing with everyone, but the chemistry between Eric and I is very brother-sister and kind of teasing. I hope they continue with it.
TVGuide.com: But it's not anything that will blossom into sexual tension.
Smith: Oh my god, I really hope not. It's always more interesting when they keep things platonic. There are more ways to go with that than if a romance starts to bloom.
TVGuide.com: I see a lot of fans referring to Riley as "quirky." Are you OK with that?
Smith: What does "quirky" really mean? Sure — it sounds good, I guess. She's just a little bit "off."
TVGuide.com: You have to think that anyone who does this job for a living has to be off.
Smith: You have to. And in order to bring a new character to this show, she has to make a bit of an impression. Otherwise, she's just another girl on the night shift. So "quirky" is all right with me.
TVGuide.com: Are there any big reveals about Riley on the horizon?
Smith: There aren't these big reveals, just bits and pieces of truth... or non-truths. It's up to the audience to decide if she's bulls---ting.
TVGuide.com: On the syndicated series Mutant X, you had the power of mind control. Have there been any recent real-life instances where you could have used that?
Smith: I just got a new car, so that could have helped [with negotiating]! I actually have a weird tendency to say things to people that they were just about to say. I always freak my best friend out with that. So I might have a bit of psychic power. [Laughs]