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]