Gary Sinise

After being on the bubble for the second year in a row, CSI: NY ended its last season celebrating the team as one big, happy family.

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Now that the show has once again been saved from cancellation, the producers want to continue to celebrate the show's characters by offering the audience peeks into their private lives throughout the season. "We'll take characters home," executive producer Pam Veasey tells TVGuide.com. "They'll be off work, and you'll see what their day off is like. What does it tell us about the characters, and who they've evolved to become? Is there something new you can learn about each of them?"

For Mac (Gary Sinise), viewers will get to see some of the struggle he endured while recovering from a gunshot wound. Fortunately, Mad had new love interest Christine (Megan Dodds) by his side the whole time. "She was part of his rehabilitation, so they've definitely grown closer," Veasey says. "He's very happy in this relationship, as is she. So you'll see this relationship develop throughout the year. We'll ultimately end with a great deal of happiness for Mac."

But he will still be affected by the memories of the shooting. "He's still going to do his job, but I think he assesses things differently," Veasey says of her leading man. "It's something he's constantly reminded of. So you see how that situation can haunt him."

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Mac will have to put some of that aside as he and the team investigate a series of arsons in the two-parter that opens the season. When a fire chief is killed in a deadly blaze, the team's most likely suspect is Leonard Brooks (guest star Rob Morrow), a recently paroled arsonist who's difficult to pin down.

"He goes up against our team psychologically and physically, and it's quite fun," Veasey says. "He's our prime suspect because he's just finished serving his time, but he ends up being a source of information for us on who might have committed the arson. He really understands fire and feels like it provides him with a lot of control, which is the mentality of most arsonists. He is resisting the urge to do what he feels is natural to him... and [Mac's] hoping he's been rehabilitated."

Elsewhere, things might once again heat up in the love life of Eddie Cahill's Det. Flack. The show has cast Natalie Martinez as Det. Jamie Lovato, who Veasey says "reminds Flack a lot of Angell [Emmanuelle Vaugier]." "She's a really authentic New Yorker. She grew up there, grew up in a family of cops, and really knows how to push guys around. But she's still be an incredibly vivacious, smart, sexy woman."

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In terms of other personal stories, Jo (Sela Ward) will reconnect with an old flame (thirtysomething's Peter Horton) when a case takes the team to San Francisco. "Jo has a type, and they all seem to be FBI agents," Veasey jokes. And Danny (Carmine Giovinazzo) and Lindsay (Anna Belknap) may be expanding their family.

"We did leave the idea that they're looking for a new place to live," Veasey says. "Is it in the city? Is it out in the suburbs? Do they move away? Do they both continue to work at the lab? What are the challenges? Are there more children or not? [They're] establishing their family and how they want to define it."

And if the show ends up on the bubble for a third year, Veasey's not worried about it. "We're pretty sure we'll fight again for our spot, but we approach every year [thinking], 'Let's just do the best show we can do — one that we're really proud of,'" she says. "We don't think [about the bubble] until we get to the end, and by that time we've done our show. We dedicate ourselves to doing the best quality show we can do, because we actually have no control in the end. We understand the business of television, but as creators, we just attack it and say, 'What's the best and most fun we can do?'"

CSI: NY premieres Friday at 8/7c on CBS.