Few actors get one hit series, never mind several, but Jorja Fox has played major characters on three of network TV’s highest-rated series — ER, The West Wing and CSI: Crime Scene Investigation. Now, 21 years after she first stepped foot on a CSI set, the actress is back in the city where that particular show began with CSI: Vegas (Wednesdays, 10 p.m. ET, CBS), a reprise of the original. She plays the same character she twice left behind, once in 2007 when she first departed the show, and again in 2015, after a short comeback.
Was it an immediate “Yes” when CSI producers asked you to return as forensic expert Sara Sidle?
From the moment I started working on the show [in 2000] until the end, there was, underneath the surface somewhere, a love story. So I was hesitant. I called Billy [co-star William Petersen] and said, “Are you thinking about doing this?” He said, “I think I am. Are you?” And I said, “I think I am.” Once we realized we were going to do it together, that was it. I couldn’t wait to start.
Mr. Petersen aside, why return to both the character and the place?
[She] is my favorite character that I ever played. I adore her for all her quirks and all her flaws. I find her interesting and fascinating because she is so much smarter than me. That was the easy part. [But] to get into the energy and the vitality of Las Vegas … Nothing is better than actually going to Vegas, and because we were still coming out of a pandemic, that was a little bit in question.
What’s the best thing about Vegas?
There are people there from all over the world, from all different backgrounds and countries, that come to experience Las Vegas. There are very few places as diverse as Las Vegas, in a very unique way. I enjoy people from all over the world that come there, cutting loose and having fun in the ways that they do that.
Biggest random celeb sighting in Vegas?
My brother, who I think was 12 at that time, ran into Frank Sinatra walking through the hotel lobby. He was really nice to my brother, who was totally miserable in Las Vegas. And so because of that story, my brother continued to return to Las Vegas his whole life. He loves it there.
Vegas is famous for its heat. Do you love it or hate it?
I do love the heat, [but] the heat there several months of the year really seems uninhabitable to me. I’m a beach person. I’m an ocean person. I don’t like that there’s not an ocean there. I grew up in a little beach town in Florida and I live on the coast of California, so my go-to has been, “Well, I’ll just get in the ocean ...”
You started CSI in your early 30s, and now you’re 53. What’s different about you?
I really care less [about] what other people think of me, and I have a real sort of peaceful self-esteem. I have a sense of urgency in not only really appreciating time with my family and my loved ones, but also in trying to do something to make sure the planet is a place we can all keep living on for another 100 years.
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