Sela Ward and Sydney Park, <i>CSI: NY</i> Sela Ward and Sydney Park, CSI: NY

Sela Ward recalls being completely out of her element when she joined the cast of CSI: NY.

CSI: NY returns on a new night with a new face

"I had come from all those relationship shows, where I knew everything about love and breaking up and raising children. And I had to learn really fast about murder and bludgeoning and dismembering and gunshots and all this bloody gore," Ward tells TVGuide.com with a laugh. "So it was really trial by fire. The first couple weeks...  I didn't know what planet I had dropped onto, but now I am just loving it. I'm having a blast."Even though the two-time Emmy winner has learned the language of a network procedural, she says she still yearns to do character work. This Friday's episode (9/8c on CBS) offers up both when Jo's adopted daughter, Ellie (Syndey Park

), is a witness to the murder of the week. But rather than obsess over the crime, Jo has to wrestle with why her daughter was even at the scene in the first place."My daughter skips school and is on a subway train to Connecticut to meet her biological mother," Ward says of the episode. "She doesn't really have all the information because [Jo] hasn't told her yet what really happened — that I adopted her from a woman that I put away in jail.  ... I think she was afraid that maybe the child would want to be with the biological mother — that she would somehow have the loss of her daughter by revealing that information.

Exclusive: Vampire Diaries werewolf gets into hairy situation on CSI: NY

"It's a very touching episode," Ward continues. "I just love all that. Being a detective show — a mystery show, a forensic show — there really isn't much opportunity to have those kinds of scenes. It's a special episode."Also making a return appearance in this episode is Jo's ex-husband, played by JAG's David James Elliott. And it's once again clear that there's still something between the couple. But Jo's no damsel in distress."I think they are still very attracted to one another. I think there's still a lot of love left there, but it's just one of those relationships that should have worked on paper but didn't," Ward says. "He offers to stay and be there with me and offer support, and I tell him, 'I'd love for you to rescue me from this, but this is something I've got to do on my own."

David James Elliott returns to CSI: NY

But of course, Jo's not completely on her own. Ward says in this episode, Jo begins to see Mac (Gary Sinise) as more than just her boss. "[She goes] to Mac for emotional support," Ward says. "You see Jo — who's always in control and always has the answers — really not sure and really second-guessing herself. She goes into Mac's office really as a mess, looking for Mac to help her as a sounding board."And does this new development in their working relationship plant seeds for some off-duty bonding as well? Ward clearly isn't opposed to the idea. "They're both single; they're both alive," Ward says. "It makes it a reality-based situation where there is attraction, there is possibility. They're both very professional, so none of those lines have been crossed. But who's to say that they won't?"

Watch our video interview with Ward below: