You probably know this, but this isn't William Friedkin's first time to direct an episode of CSI, much like he did for tonight's episode, the series' 200th. There was this episode that aired last season, the episode involving a murdered club owner found in a garbage trunk, and a then very much alive Warrick (Gary Dourdan) finding a woman he had sex with dead - in his own car. Or you probably know him for the film The Exorcist.
So why return to the series? Perhaps one reason is his friendship with William Petersen: after all, the two worked together in the 1985 flick To Live and Die in L.A., and the latter still acts as the show's executive producer despite leaving his on-screen role as Gil Grissom. He came down [to watch the shooting] for two or three days, Friedkin said. We're very close friends. I'm just crazy about him. I sort of discovered him, and we've stayed very close over the years and I'm not at all surprised by his success.
And then there are the rest of the cast and crew. Laurence Fishburne's just a great actor, he said of the newest member of the cast. It was really a pleasure to work with the other guys. I love working with Marg [Helgenberger], Paul [Guilfoyle], George [Eads], and Eric [Szmanda]. Liz Vassey, I think, is underused on that show. I think she's wonderful. He's also worked with some of the show's crew: A lot of the guys on the crew are people I've worked with for years, he revealed. Many of the years I worked with going back to The Boys in the Band and The French Connection and The Exorcist.
If anything drew him to work on tonight's episode of CSI - where Langston (Fishburne) finds one of his former students murdered, and leads the team to the world of Mexican wrestling - it's the theme. It's a fascinating underground world, he said. I'd like to say that very little is known about it in Mexico and up here it's sort of underground. But a lot of people are aware of it and it's huge in the Hispanic neighborhoods here in Los Angeles. I went to some of the bouts that are in underground arenas and you'll see whole families there on a Sunday evening.
The twist to his episode? I was able to mix it in with sort of Cuban voodoo, he said. And there's a Cuban video scene that's very authentic. Cuban voodoo and Lucha Libre are kind of the undercurrent of the show. You don't see it every day on television.
Friedkin's episode, named Mascara, hits screens tonight from 9pm on CBS. You probably saw the preview earlier; images from tonight's show are on the slideshow below.