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CNN LARRY KING WEEKEND

Interview with 'CSI' Cast

Aired May 18, 2002 - 21:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, unsolved mysteries, Jon Bonet Ramsey, Chandra Levy -- in the news.

No wonder one of T.V.'s top drama's is "CSI Crime Scene Investigation". This phenomenal series is about following evidence and closing cases. Glory details, high tech twists, it got them all.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If there's one thing you learn on this job, it's that human beings are capable of anything.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: But, how realistic are the corpses and the clues?

Joining us from LA, stars from the gripping show, killing the competition, and from Detroit, world renowned forensic expert Dr. Henry Lee, with insights on "CSI's" accuracy and high profile real life crimes, and it's all next on LARRY KING WEEKEND.

"CSI" has been extraordinarily popular, and surprising hit on CBS every Thursday night at 9:00. What a cast, and what an idea. The concept is (ph) "CSI" and the cast joins us, William Peterson who plays Gil Grissom, the Senior Forensic Officer heading the team Criminalistics Bureau in Los Vegas. Marg Helgenberger plays Catherine Willows, she's a top member of that team, also a single mom and a former stripper -- cover every angle.

Jorja Fox plays Sara Sidle; Sara is an intensely focused member of the team; sometimes seems that work is her whole life. Gary Jordan (ph), -- Dourdan, rather, plays Loric Brown (ph) on "CSI", Loric's another member of the team of criminalistics, he's highly competitive, he's a talented jazz musician, and has had a gambling problem. This is covering every base known to man.

And Elizabeth Devine, story editor and technical consultant for "CSI", veteran criminalist, worked 15 years in the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, has a BA in Biology and a Master's in criminalistics, and in Detroit, a frequent guest on this program, Dr. Henry Lee, the world renowned forensic expert, the Chief Amaratis (ph) for Scientific Services, and the former Commissioner of Public Safety for the state of Connecticut, his new book is "Cracking Cases, the Science of Solving Crimes." Elizabeth, were you involved in this, from the get go?

ELIZABETH DEVINE, STORY EDITOR AND TECHNICAL CONSULTANT, CSI: Yes, not with the pilot, but I've been involved with every single show.

KING: How'd they get you involved William?

WILLIAM PETERSON, ACTOR, CSI: Well, Anthony Zacher (ph), who came up with the idea, pitched me the story and I just fell for it, big time.

KING: You liked it right away.

PETERSON: Yes.

KING: Marg?

MARG HELGENBERGER, ACTRESS, CSI: It was a pilot script that my agent tipped me off too, a couple years ago and said, "This is the one to go after, if you want -- if you're interested", and I, you know, read it immediately and said, "You're right", and I just -- I had a really strong feeling about this show.

KING: You did, so did William. What about you Gary?

GARY DOURDAN, ACTOR, CSI: A -- Billy (ph) gave me the job.

KING: Billy (ph), is William.

DOURDAN: Yes.

KING: We -- they call you Billy (ph)?

DOURDAN: Les Moovez (ph), Wayne Peterson, Anthony Zacher, they had a lot to do with me, getting the gig, fantastic reading, fantastic script, easily to get involved with, right away.

KING: You like it right away?

DOURDAN: Right away.

KING: Jorja?

JORJA FOX, ACTRESS, CSI: Actually I joined the show, when Liz joined the show in episode one, I was, sort of, a last minute cast edition to the show, and ID (ph) comes (ph) with (ph) memorized also, completely -- it's like a trance, I think that a lot of us go under and -- yes, so, I joined the show late, by a typical standards (ph).

KING: Dr. Lee, what is a criminal list?

HENRY LEE, FORENSIC EXPERT: A criminal is a person working laboratory, crime laboratory, or police department, search the crime scene, examine the physical evidence, but all the criminal goes to the crime scene. Some just work in the laboratory examine the evidence. Other does the crime scene analysis, not like their "CSI", they dust the crime scene, or so examine the evidence.

KING: Is this called forensics?

LEE: Forensic, yes, this is part of forensic. Forensic is a really major area, they have so many specialty areas, such as the forensic medicine; dealing with live patients, forensic pathology does the autopsy, forensic oldumcollege (ph), deal with the dental evidence ...

KING: Does every big police department have criminalists.

LEE: Yes, big departments, every state will have a crime laboratory.

KING: What we're going to do now is just show you a scene from one of the "CSI's" to give you a little framework here, and then we're going to delve into lots of aspects, so watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "CSI")

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: What do we got?

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: They indinerred (ph) Andrea's (ph) car to the assistant (ph) ...

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: He has his wallet and his credit receipt.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: He didn't bother to (ph) valet.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: Save five bucks, cost him their lives -- carjacking gone bad.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: Carjackers don't use knives.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: Never?

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: I used to say never on Sunday, then Perl Harbor happened.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: I never, say never.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: Oh, man.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: We've got three minutes to drop (ph) this crime scene, and after that we loose it all to the gutter.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) take overall (ph). Loric put hold (ph) down on everything you pack (ph). We've (ph) got to get these bodies into van (ph).

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: Now (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

UNIDENTIFIED ACTRESS: Keep the jacket up.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: Go.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: Bring the body bag, I want to cover this women.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: Get that bag, hurry up.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTRESS: Can we get another gurney?

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: I need another gurney.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: Joe (ph), I've got it.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: All right, let's get him up.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTRESS: Come on, hurry up. (UNINTELLIGIBLE)

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: Keep the plastic on.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTRESS: We're loosing everything.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: Yes, our killer got lucky tonight.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Bill (ph) Peterson, how much did you get to learn about your -- about this craft from play it?

PETERSON: The great thing about the show is, we learn everyday.

KING: You do.

PETERSON: Absolutely. It's really one of the reasons that I wanted to do it, quite frankly. I was always terrified that if I got on television that I did a role, that I would be doing the same thing everyday, possibly for years, and I wouldn't be able to grow, or to learn anything. This provided the opportunity to learn something everyday.

KING: Your character is very intense, is he not?

PETERSON: Yes.

KING: Would you describe him as?

PETERSON: Yes, I think he's in love with his work, and he puts that probably most above everything.

KING: Marg, how do you see your person you play?

HELGENBERGER: Unlike Billy's (ph) character who is an entomologist (ph), in addition to being a criminalist, I came to this career through another path. And I just think that, the path that she took is, kind of, interesting, and that' the thing (ph) of the exotic dancer. But I've learned an enormous amount of -- about criminalist terminology, forensic science, since starting this show, and as Billy said, every day we learn something new -- and all the words are spelled out phonetically for us. And Liz is standing by to give us the definition of what we're talking about.

KING: By the way Liz, is everything on the show correct, or do they take literary license.

DEVINE: Well, we have to do some literary license, we do -- speed things up for television, but everything scientifically we try to keep as accurate as possible and do a lot of research and try to help our actors know that what they're saying is the real thing.

KING: Do criminalists solve crimes?

DEVINE: I think criminalists play a huge part in solving crimes, and juries expect forensics now, and you really can't solve a crime without forensic science these days.

KING: Gary, how do you approach Loric (ph)?

DOURDAN: I think I liken (ph) my character to Marg's, there's a certain street life sensibility, sort of, informness (ph), being out on the field.

KING: What attracts him to this work?

DOURDAN: Well, I think that's the two parts of the scientific part of it, and also the laymen's part of it. It almost a detective, kind of, figuring things out by a hunch and backing it up by science.

KING: But you're around a lot of gory things here.

DOURDAN: Yes.

KING: Jorja, how do you see Sara?

FOX: Sara is very intense. She might be a little excessive compulsive; she has a great amount of patience with focus and detail. I think it's funny, because Michelle (ph), we learn so much everyday on the show, but so much of it goes into my short-term memory, because something that I'm memorizing for acting and I wish I retained more. I come to loose all the highlights. What was that thing we did two months ago, that I forgot to -- I answered (ph) it out so I could learn that new thing.

KING: We'll talk about why their show's a hit, other things they do, as we wend (ph) our way through "CSI", the end of a season of extraordinary success, don't go away.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, I measured all the sharp points of entry on Kevin's (ph) body. They're all identical. They're all made from the same murder weapon.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So, if this dagger matches your mold ...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK, we just put the sharp wounds to the head.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Then we find murder weapon number one. Now, we just need that second murder weapon. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Points of impact on these two are blunt, right.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Stabbed someone with a blunt instrument.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sara (ph), you still have the dagger tip from the body?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Any other cast of the unidentified murder weapon?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The dagger's not a diamond, it doesn't last very forever.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We don't have two weapons.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, he started with Kevin (ph), and then he went after Jessica (ph), and then the tip broke off.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And then, he went back to Kevin (ph) and finished the crime (ph).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One weapon, one killer.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: We're back with the cast of "CSI", and we want all of your opinions on this, why is it a hit William? No one forecasted it, it was supposed to be the fugitive right, the big CBS hit.

PETERSON: I believe CBS thought the -- it would be the fugitive ...

KING: They did not think "CSI" would be a hit, I mean they were happy of course.

PETERSON: I'm sure not, but -- I don't know, I always thought it was going to be a hit because -- I did a movie several years ago, called "Man Hunter", which was based on a Thomas Harris (ph) ...

KING: Hannibal Hector's (ph) first introduction (ph) to us.

PETERSON: And people, for years, had been talking about -- to me about that, and about that and, you know, the science that goes into finding these people and in that case it was profiling, criminal profiling, which is very different than what we're doing. But, I just knew that there was a -- especially since the O.J. trial, there was this language out there, that I'm not sure that the public was versed in, but they knew what exactly was ... KING: That's correct, so wouldn't you have bet then, it would have been hard then to be a hit when you're saying a lot of words, we don't know what you're talking about.

PETERSON: Well, I think what we want to know is what are they talking about? And so I think, people watch our show on the edge of their sofa's as opposed to lounging at (ph) that (ph).

KING: Marg, why do you think it's a hit?

HELGENBERGER: I think it's a hit for many reasons. I think that foremost, I think that it's a great mystery, and I think that mysteries will always be successful, because people are always intrigued by them.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: These roots (ph) have skin tags (ph).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: These hairs were ripped out (ph).

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HELGENBERGER: The use of the special affects, which actually help people understand the science. I think that's why school children and teenage kids are so compelled by the show and they are inspires to become criminalists, because of the way we utilize the science.

KING: You think you inspire people to ...

HELGENBERGER: I know, I have. I've had teenagers come to me, or parents of teenagers come up to me and say, "My child is changed or I'm changing what I want to do for the rest of my life", or whatever, what does an 18 -- 17 year old know for ...

KING: Gary, why do you think the public has responded?

DOURDAN: I would echo, just what they've said, I think that, I've said it before that this is an information age, we have a lot of shows that are going into discoveries of nature, and I think this is a great timing for it. And I think that it's never going to go anywhere, we had Sherlock Holmes that's still very available and accessible.

KING: And it's still though Jorja, it has to be a good story, right? To get all the rest, you have to have who, what, where, when, why.

FOX: The writers and research department, and our technical advisors, I think every weekend end (ph) it (ph), to make a plot suspenseful. I think of our show as an actual adventure show, and even though there's not a lot of car chases or things like, there's a pacing where people, there's a suspense that people are, kind of, wondering what happened. And I think we're also really lucky that we're on the cutting edge of this technology, and things are happening everyday, stuff is coming out that will allow us to have new tricks coming out of our pockets for (ph) a long (ph) time (ph).

KING: And now a key moment in the show, Dr. Lee; what do you think of "CSI"?

LEE: "CSI" is an excellent show. As a matter of fact, many detectives also watch, today I was selected to allow the detective from Detroit Michigan, even some from Hawaii, to attend a practical homicide-training seminar. I did a survey and asked them, "How many of you watching CSI?" It was surprising to me, almost the majority of the class. So, they did like the show, but sometime they say, little bit far from reality.

KING: What do you say?

LEE: One of the detective will tell, he got into a lot of troubles, and the chief went out and bought a license (ph) for him, and he went to couple crime scenes and not found any evidence, the chief started yelling at him, "CSI" detective want all of those evidence. We spent so much money and bought you this license (ph). What did you do with that? Interesting show, the people liked it because after O.J. Simpson, Jon Bonet Ramsey, Vincent Foster (ph) case, the public dying for the reality show. This case, of course, it's more in reality sense, compared to many other police show, because many time, you know, by second commercial, you guys already found the clue. We have to work years, years, before we found any lead.

KING: And that's as Elizabeth said, right, you have to speed the process up.

LEE: Yes. I really think Bill (ph) and Jorja say something really profound, very good, say everyday learn something, and I be in this business 45 years now, everyday I'm still learning. Like every time, lectured (ph) to the detective, the day you start, feel you know everything, that's the time you should retire.

KING: Those are -- take real life stories, right Marg, stories that happened in real life and translate, as "Law & Order" does.

HELGENBERGER: Yes.

KING: You did the one with the homeless, right, person in there, right, and the killing by the women in the car in the windshield. So, you will take stories out of the newspaper and transform them into a fictionalized hour.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Absolutely, and true things that people do to each other are much more interesting than anything we could think up, so.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have real stories that have happened out there, that our writers will go, we'll never be able to do that, they'll think we made this up.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She was injected with pink (ph) botulism (ph) botox (ph).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The ultimate wrinkle cream.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How did it get into her blood stream?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bad doctor.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Missed the muscle, shot directly into her super artroclear (ph) vein.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Have all of you been to a morgue.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.

(UNINTELLIGIBLE)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.

KING: Have you looked at like, dead bodies. I mean have you had to do this?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, I've looked at dead bodies.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I've only seen one dead body in a morgue, and it was not intact, in other words it was a -- it was a heart attach victim.

KING: I see, have you seen ...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have not been through an ...

KING: Autopsy. Anybody. How about some of the scenes where you have to portray like you're looking at, is that hard?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think our makeup people and the actors that come to play our dead people are amazing.

KING: They're a dead beat.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They're amazing. We'll do a scene -- we will be doing a scene and the coroner's lab and the actor will be on the slab for an hour while we setup the lights and do all of that stuff, we'll forget that the person, is an actual living person.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, you know, we get asked that question a lot, about is it gory for you all? But -- first -- these actors are all made up as corpses, but then they'll like poke their head in and they'll say, "Hey, you guys where's craft service?", you know, so it just breaks the illusion, but when you actually see it on air, or a tape of the program, I'm sometimes, it's like too intense for me. So, it's when you in the moment, it doesn't really phase you, and I imagine it might be something when you're actually working, and you don't have time to think about it, but when you see it after the fact, it's ...

KING: We'll take a break and be back with lots more about "CSI", don't go away.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What's Hasmet (ph) doing here?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She's playing tag -- hid her in the dirt, ends up with first degree burns on his hands.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Wait, we got a call about a dead body.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, I'm getting there (ph). So, Hasmet (ph) arrives, figuring some sort of chemical spill, starts removing the toxic soil, and "bam" a shovel slams into his shoulder blade.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, these have been reduced to shreds. Epidermal tissue, is virtually gone, the body's desiccated (ph).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Discuss (ph) fluid, the consistency of dishwashing soap, Hasmet (ph) guy was right. The killer dowsed the body in lye.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Must have thought it would destroy the body.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, ashes to ashes, dust to dust, without the wait.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Call 911.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That was it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Dr. Lee, how realistic is the realism. Well, its pretty real, and of course, just talking, you guys talk about a morgue, autopsy -- day before yesterday I was in Detroit with Dr. Wack (ph), we went to the autopsy room to dissecting some bodies, just look at it, you know, nobody enjoy to see others misfortune. But, on the other hand, we can't stop to feel sympathize to the victim or so the smell of the morgue, the death, it's kind of relapse iding (ph). I still remember the first homicide, when 40 some years ago, is a dismembering case, after work on that case for months, I don't like to eat meat. I almost become a vegetarian. Reality and the show, of course, is still a little bit apart, but the reality usually it's a teamwork. We need more people, we have the first police officer detective, laboratory scientist, medical examiner, district attorney, everybody have to work together, so important.

KING: From what this case, wouldn't you say that the Ramsey case was a classic example of poor criminalist work at the scene?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, I'm not sure they had criminalists at the scene.

LEE: Yes, they do, they did have some Sheriff Department, forensic people on border police department and detective dust the crime scene.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, it's a lot different to do -- what did they have no murders, a couple of murders in three years versus, you know what we say in LA county, where our criminalists do go into the crime scenes, collect the evidence, come back and analyze it, and you can only get good at that, the more you do it. So, it's skill takes repetitiveness and going out to the crime scenes a lot and I think there were some problems, definitely problems with that case.

LEE: When (ph) you have to work together, but the many laboratory criminals doesn't go to the scene. Many time the detective goes to the scene, however they don't training in salms (ph).

KING: That's what I question when I watch the show sometimes; do criminalists -- are always go to the scene? Do you know?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It depends on the jurisdiction, it depends on the department.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It also depends on whether they are qualified to go to the scene. They're in different stages of their development.

KING: Now, how do you approach it as an actor, when you come to the scene, how do you see -- your role is what there? It's a mystery to you, right?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, its -- we all know the scripts in advance, we've read the whole thing. So, the goal as an actor, is to try and make sure we don't get ahead of what we know, of what the character knows. So, the character has to play the mystery. The actor knows what's happening.

KING: You might shoot a last scene first, depending on what's set up that day right?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You can shoot a show in the morning, and start a new show in the afternoon, and so -- I think that's really keeping the scenes together, in your head, and knowing where you're coming from and where you're supposed to be going, what stage of the case are you in, and that can get a little ...

KING: It can drive you nuts?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It can drive you a little crazy, especially if there's script changes on a -- from a scene to scene basis, which happens from time to time.

KING: When you watch the finished show then, are you often surprised?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, always surprised, because there's many things that we are not at all involved with. All the special effects, that's all done in a computer graphics place called Stargate (ph), and some of the things they come up with are ingenious, and it's so amusing sometimes. That's where a lot of the black humor comes in.

KING: Are you involved in the editing Elizabeth? Are you in that room?

DEVINE: Very infrequently, sometimes I'm there.

KING: So therefore, you're surprised too, when you watch it.

DEVINE: I sometimes am. I -- often they bring me in just to look at the way they set up a special affect, for instance when you go into the body, that we're going past the right organs and it's not, we're not breaking a rib, when we're supposed to be breaking a knee cap, you know, that sort of thing. But, most of the time they do it on their own, and they're really very talented.

KING: Dr. Lee, is a lot of this work, team work?

LEE: Yes, there a lot of team work in real crime laboratory, also a lot of teamwork. However, many time we don't produce result in second commercial, that's one big problem. The public really enjoy the shows and got a lot of phone calls saying "CSI" people can do it and why don't you guys do it. That's kind of put us in a little bit difficulty, I like to invite the cast to Connecticut to see our laboratory or also University of New Haven (ph), we have the Institute of Forensic Science. If any of you interested to come, you are welcome.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Wow, thank you.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's very nice.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We'll be there.

KING: Write a script where there's a certain crime in Connecticut and you can't solve it. Dr. Lee could be in it, and he calls on the "CSI" team from Vegas. You've got the whole thing worked out. We'll be right back with more, we'll reintroduce our guests too, don't go away.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: She said the original sighting (ph) was a class C, downed power line.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTRESS: Wind keeps shifting, hot spots breaking out all over.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: Well, well, downed power line.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTRESS: Good eye.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: The matchbook time blade device.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTRESS: Well, don't touch it, it will desinagrate (ph).

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: That's the only reason I carry this stuff.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTRESS: Hairspray, extra hold.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: The difference between walking and running. Guy lights a cigarette, sticks it in a matchbook and takes a stroll.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTRESS: (UNINTELLIGIBLE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: It has become an extraordinary success story, in television. In fact, Mr. Peterson, just asked if it had been renewed, and was just informed, it has been renewed, thus (ph) of course Mr. Moonvest (ph) has completely lost his marbles.

The guests are William Peterson, who plays Gil Grissom on "CSI", the Senior Forensic Officer, one of the show's producer's as well, Marg Helgenberger, one of the 50 most beautiful people in the -- on the planet, according to "People Magazine", also known for her Emmy winning role on "China Beach", and she plays Catherine Willows, Jorja Fox plays Sara Sidle, the intensely focused member of the criminalist team, she was a murder victim in the cult (ph) hit "Memento", Gary Dourdan -- Gary Dourdan is Loric Brown (ph) on CSI, he was also credited with appearances on "Swift Justices" and "New York Undercover", and he is another member of the criminalistic team, Elizabeth Devine, the story editor and technical consultant for "CSI", and a veteran criminalist herself.

And Dr. Henry Lee is the world renowned forensic expert, he's in Detroit, and he's the author of the book "Cracking Cases, the Science of Solving Crimes."

One of the things about the speed of it, do you think Bill (ph), there's some danger when you have the answer on the DNA in two and a half minutes? And it might take two and a half months.

PETERSON: And in some cases, it can take up to six months because, for instance on our show, our lab work, we have everything we need.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No matter how clean or expensive the room seems, that's why I always travel with nonoxynal-9 (ph). UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You sound like you're making a commercial.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You have all the equipment you could possibly have. There's labs acrossed the country that don't have much of the stuff that we have. One of the problems in solving crimes today is, having the funding.

KING: Well, do you think the public, Elizabeth, then wants answers right away? You see a drought -- was (ph) isn't (ph) it over in two days?

DEVINE: I think there is that possibility, but I also think that trained for most, which the people who do this are used to testimony, and they're used to telling -- I'm used to telling jury's that, "Hey that's television and this is real." But, we also have a job to do on the show, and that's to further the story and the only way to do that is not to wait six months for DNA, we're going to have to get it quickly, so that we can move on with the story. So, we do take that sheet (ph), and it's just something that we do.

KING: Jorja, what do you think drives the character? I know you've had a personal -- a friend of yours lost someone very close to her, right, a mother?

FOX: Yes, and I think all of us at some point have had a very personal experience with death. You know, as we were talking before, the stories that are true on the show, you always want to tell them with the most dignity that you can. You know it's a T.V. show, but, you know, please ...

KING: So, the people you are playing, they don't make a lot of money.

FOX: Pardon me?

KING: They don't make a lot of money, these people.

FOX: No, there ...

KING: What do you think drives them?

FOX: They're nuts, I think they're all typically very, very smart people, that are very good at something a lot of people can't even comprehend, and I think that, that kind of drive keeps them at what they do. I know there's a very high burn out rate actually with criminalists.

KING: I would guess. What do you think Marg?

HELGENBERGER: Why they like to do what they do. I think they have a knack for it, I think that they, I think most of them would tend to be ...

KING: A little Sherlock Homish (ph).

HELGENBERGER: And meticulous, and they have an eye for detail, and are keen obervationalists and I think ultimately, they all are detectives in their heart, they're detectives.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's also a certain amount of heroism to what they do, I mean these ...

KING: But, they don't get the headlines.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, they don't. But, for them, to be able to -- I remember being in Vegas when one of the "CSI's" had spent two weeks combing a car for fingerprints, and abandoned vehicle that had been stolen, and finally tape lifted a partial thumb print, and he was just -- it was the most unbelievable, he was just lit up, from having finally been able to pull something that may or may not be able to get this thing done. And I mean -- I think that they're, I think that they're heroes as well. I think that they also bring closure to an awful lot of people when there's seeming no closure available.

KING: Well, if they get to tell the family member, here's what happened, here's why it happened.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right.

KING: And often solve it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think it's a good time, because it's the unsung hero, it's great to have Dr. Lee on the show, it's great to bring these criminalists out into the forefront.

KING: Elizabeth, do the ever not get the bad guy on the show?

DEVINE: Yes, one of the things that I try to strive for, is that we don't always figure it out, we don't always ...

KING: As "Law & Order", you don't want to win them all.

DEVINE: But, we win most of them, our audience wants us to solve the crimes, but we have a few that were unsolved. Gary did one, that basically going in, he knew he was not going to solve, and sometimes you have those, and it doesn't mean you work any less hard, but there are cases that you're not going to ever solve.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We had an episode early in the year that we all worked on this case, and it turned out at the end of the case, that it was an accident. And we had calls from everywhere going, "What do you mean it was an accident. No, somebody had to do it, we want somebody to have done it."

KING: Dr. Lee, is there the perfect crime?

LEE: Well, in theory, shouldn't, and we unfortunately many times because they not found physical evidence, also no witnesses, like we often talk about solving crimes, just like a building a four legged table. You need a good crime scene. You need good physical evidence, detected through work on clue, found witnesses, the last one, little luck, we need luck. And if you don't have that, like the Jon Bonet Ramsey case, we don't have the for (ph) scenes (ph) that's why case still unsolved. KING: Might that case never be solved.

LEE: Well, we still, people still working on it. If we have some new development in size or some witness come along, or maybe little lucky, a case may be solved. Of course, you know, people always talk about perfect crime, in reality, we work everyday. I can really appreciate a good comment about criminalists, because criminalists, forensic scientist, it's not a job, it's a profession. We have to devote ...

KING: You never give up. You told me once, you were looking at cases from 20 years ago.

LEE: Yes, as a matter of fact, this week as you know, you guys -- you will cover that, Skakel case, happened 26 years ago.

KING: And you testified in that case.

LEE: Right.

KING: And you said that the state prosecutors have no direct scientific evidence linking fingerprints or DNA to Skakel.

LEE: Yes, but we have some indirect evidence, no direct evidence.

KING: We'll take a break and be back with lots more about "CSI", don't go away.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Found some blood.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, not much but enough to work with.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK, photograph it, swab it, let's get it back to the lab.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well if it's hers, maybe that's whey the scent dogs lost their trail. The odor from the dumpster would have thrown them off.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey, I think I got something here, check this out. Whole dumpsters beat (ph) to (ph) hell (ph), this one spots fresh.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Nick's right, vehicle paint chips, metal flecks in the color coat.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There's some chips on the ground.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Possibly hit and run.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Probably tossed her in a dumpster, heinous crime.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What's she doing with that guy?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'll ask.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What's with the old geezer?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Furniture polish?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is that blood?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, man, it's looking bad out here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This virus (ph) is to (ph) cover up.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: We're back with the cast of "CSI". You worked on the Menendez case?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Very small part yes, I actually processed both defendants when they were suspected of trying to escape from their prelim, I had to look for metal shavings on them, and I looked at the evidence from the crime scene for possible reconstruction, which was not possible.

KING: And it took all this time Marg, and they finally discovered in the Danielle van Dam case that she was suffocated. That was the means of death. It took all this time to find that out.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Right, I mean the little -- I haven't been following the case closely, but I know the body been quite decomposed, it had decomposed quite a bit, and they said that was part of the reason of the hold up. Am I right Liz, about that?

KING: How they, how they do it, is just amazing. Yes, you would think that everything's hopeless.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, you can't, you would never be able to figure out anything from this.

KING: But you can figure out things, I'm reading the book -- bringing the book Michael Connelly, "City of Bones." They find bones from a child, 30 years ago, and they can investigate off bones. They can find method of death off of bones.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, they can.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, it's amazing isn't it? That's scarey.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, not every bone.

KING: Dr. Lee, one wonders, why weren't you a normal doctor, Park Avenue, $700,000 a year, what are you need dead bodies?

LEE: Well, I start my career as a police officer, a detective, as a matter of fact, as a captain in charge detective, 40 some years ago. Then, I become a scientist, and then of course, not have my mother want me to become a regular MD, make a lot of money, but let me tell you Larry -- when I was in high school, I want to become a basketball player. When the coach looked at me 5 8" he says, you grow another two feet and come back to see me. Then I realized, I can't be a basketball player -- but I'm really interesting in solving crime -- I'm so happy I've become a forensic scientist.

KING: Is it hard William dealing with scripts where people do terrible things to other people.

PETERSON: Yes.

KING: Can (ph) we (ph) move (ph) around (ph) on this, I asked William, are you around, you see the worst.

PETERSON: Yes, and you can't believe, we're somewhat innerred (ph) to all of that. I mean yes, you see it a little bit on the news, you see the newspaper, you hear about things, but when we do these case, and we -- you know, this actually happened, they actually did this. It just makes you, you know, you just want are never sure what to wonder about humanity.

KING: Doctor, you ever get used to coming upon a horrendous scene. You ever get used to that?

LEE: Yes, everyday. Sometime we go to the crime scene, three, four, times a day. When the victim's family need help, because they usually turn to the police officer, detective, forensic scientist. We're their last hope.

Like, I receive letter almost everyday, sometime 30/40 letters a day, phone calls -- just other day a mother and call me and say her daughter disappear 40 some years ago, and she run out of all the resources, can I help out. Many time, they say their daughter been murdered, husband been murdered, so forensic scientist, you know sometime we hear a lot of sad story.

Of course, when the case solved, when the family thank us, writing a letter, it's not really say, you can gain in financially, this a group of good people working day and night, helping society.

KING: Are there any people Lee (ph), who you run into who believe you are what you play?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was in the grocery store the other day, and this gal was behind me in line, and she all of sudden recognized me and went, "Grissom, it's you, it's Grisson", and I said, "Not today, it's Saturday", so I was off. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was actually, we were shooting in Vegas, and I went up to Reno on one of my days off, an actual forensic detective came up to me and starting talking for about an hour.

KING: Marg, happen to you yet?

HELGENBERGER: Do I get confused with my character? Somewhat, but I have to -- the other thing that -- something happened to me the other day, in a airport, I was paying for a newspaper, and this gentleman said to me, "I love your show, whoever writes it has got a sick mind, and you can tell them I said that." I'm going -- one hand he loves it, but then he's like repulsed by it, I think part of the provocative nature of our show ...

KING: Jorja, do you think people think it's sick?

FOX: Sick?

KING: Sick, weird.

FOX: Yes, they probably do.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, look at this.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Put it mildly, you have a weird job.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (UNINTELLIGIBLE), speak to black sheep.

KING: We'll be back with our remaining moments with Peterson, Helgenberger, Fox, Dourdan, Devine, and LEE, sounds like a law firm. Don't go away.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Identified him from his dental records, Jason Doyle (ph), dead for three days, no GSR, so I guess he didn't shoot riddle (ph).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We only recovered one slug from his cranium, and we got this fragment from his lower back.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: His lower back?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I thought he was shot twice in the head.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Vascular embolization (ph), bullet got into his arterial system.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's rare.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, it took a full body xray for me to find the thing. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bullet entered here, fragmenting at the neck, and loosing velocity upon penetration of the corroted (ph) artery, tubed down the aortic (ph) continually loosing momentum, as it exited the aorta, it struck the vertible column, and then was swept down to the base of the aorta, where I recovered it here at the lombar (ph) region -- pinball.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: Is it true that you get better equipment for the show, than real CSI people get?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's the truth, some crime labs ...

KING: Did the company send it to you?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.

KING: We see equipment, it's real equipment.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, yes. Everything we use is real. There are a lot of crime labs in CSI's that don't have access to it, but everything we use ...

KING: That's not some set builder.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, no.

DOURDAN (?): Sometimes it's not actually (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

KING: If you tell me this is a macrobatic (ph) transformer, it is.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I ask these guys around the country, and they'll go, "I can't believe you have the mass (ph) spectrometer (ph), you know, all that stuff."

KING: Are you envious sometimes, Dr. Lee?

LEE: Yes, I heard most of your comment. We're lucky, but most of time the crunch (ph) many piece of equipment you can't bring to the crime scene. Crime scene is one process, laboratory is another.

KING: Laboratories are sexy and kinky though too, you know.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You really think those freaks out there running around with their little dog collars on getting spanked, are the same as you and me?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Just because you never did it, doesn't mean you never could.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, sex does play a part.

KING: As it does in our lives.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Plus it also does in murders a lot. You know ...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I've heard.

KING: Is this show moving to Miami, or it's going to be a new show in Miami.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This show is not moving, we're happily staying in Vegas, but there is another show, it's going to be in Miami.

KING: Called "CSI Miami"?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's it.

KING: Same producer, are you involved in that Bill (ph)?

PETERSON: No, I'm not.

KING: Can they take the name like that?

PETERSON: Well ...

KING: Is it CBS?

PETERSON: Yes, CBS is doing it and some of our people are helping them do it, and it ...

KING: So, it's not going to be a rival show.

PETERSON: I really don't -- no -- well, no, it's not.

KING: Well you're "CSI", that's going to beh "CSI Miami"?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.

KING: Ut-oh, this is going to be who wants to be a millionaire. We're going to have "CSI Boston", we're going to have "CSI ...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Larry, it's always been the maxum (ph) in Hollywood, that that's work making is worth remaking. Anything that was good once, could be good twice.

KING: Imitation is a serious form of flattery. Hope you all take Dr. Lee up in his offer, to come out there.

Dr. Lee, thank you as always for joining us, and we thank Elizabeth, and Gary, and Georgia, and Marg, and William, the shoe is "CSI", it airs Thursday nights at 9:00, focuses on the team of forensic investigators working on the overnight shift of the Criminalistics Bureau in Los Vegas. Thanks very much for joining us on this special edition of LARRY KING LIVE for our whole crew, and everybody else here in Los Angeles, good night.

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