CSI: NY had a unique set of challenges heading into its seventh season. The show was moving to Friday nights, where the writers would have to figure out how to resolve last season's "shot in the dark" cliff-hanger involving serial killer Shane Casey (guest star Edward Furlong) and married CSIs Danny (Carmine Giovinazzo) and Lindsay (Anna Belknap) Messer.Pam Veasey tells TVGuide.com. "We developed stories that were ready to prep for shooting, and all of them involved Stella. Then, the fallout happened." Veasey says after three days of intense phone calls, she found the cloud's silver lining: Emmy and Golden Globe winner Sela Ward signed on to replace Kanakaredes on the show."Timing is everything," Ward says during a break from shooting her first episode. "I hadn't worked for a while because I was spending time with my kids. But now that they're a little bit older, I was beginning to feel a little antsy, and then I got the phone call. The thing that was attractive to me was that it was an ensemble show. I wasn't going to be carrying it all on my shoulders."Gary Sinise) at the New York crime lab to be closer to her son, who's just started college in the city. Veasey says Jo is somewhat of a fish out of water. "She's a little gentler, slower. The South doesn't move as fast as New York City, and we're not trying to change her," Veasey says. "She's a little messy. She thinks about the people first. She understands the science, but she's also a very clever assumption-maker."Sinise says he looks forward to seeing Mac and Jo build a working relationship. "Mac and Stella had a great partnership; that was established even before the first season," he says. "Now we're going to have some fun watching these characters get to know each other.Edward James Olmos and John Larroquette in separate stories. Adam (A.J. Buckley) will get out of the lab. Viewers will meet a partner from Danny's past. And Hawkes (Hill Harper) will be featured in an episode about a haunting in Central Park."We really landed on our characters having some personal pull in the crime story this season," Veasey says. "Whether they know the person or not, the character leads us through it rather than the events of the crime."CSI:NY premieres Friday at 9/8c on CBS.