As dominatrix Lady Heather on CSI, Melinda Clarke probably knows all too well the trouble with getting excited prematurely. So maybe that's why, when she got the call to play the character for the sixth time, she was both happy and cautious.
"I had a conversation with Anthony [Zuiker, the show's creator] and was like, 'Am I a corpse?'" laughs Clarke, who took a break from her role as ass-kicking madame Amanda on Nikita to film the April 7 episode. "Because it's always a possibility with that show. He told me, 'No! That would never happen!' So I jumped at the chance to play her again."
The character first came to life in Season 2, after a murder at her fetish club. There was immediate sexual tension between her and Gil Grissom (William Petersen), which became a running theme throughout her other appearances. When we last saw Lady Heather, though, she seemed to have given up her life of leather in order to become a psychologist.
When she returns, she has a doctorate in psychology and goes by the name of Dr. Kessler. And unfortunately for fans, Grissom won't be around for her return. As for how she crosses paths with the CSI team, according to executive producer Carol Mendelsohn, "her personal and professional expertise are needed to help solve the murder of a young woman caught up in a cross-species fetish, and who happens to be a former patient of hers."
The case leads Langston (Laurence Fishburne) to intimate conversations with Dr. Kessler that, explains Clarke, "sets up a lot for Laurence's character and the season ender. It's really big!" Still, while she enjoyed that encounter, Lady Heather's heart is apparently still with Grissom.
"There could be a wonderful episode in the future, where she has more to do with Sara [Jorja Fox] and Grissom," Clarke says. "Anything is possible, so I'll put that out in the universe and see what happens."
CSI airs Thursdays at 9/8c on CBS.