Marlee Matlin lobbies for 'CSI: Chicago'
Matlin guest-stars in an episode of the original "CSI," tentatively scheduled to air Thursday, Feb. 3. In "The Two Mrs. Grissoms," which has been in production this past week, Matlin plays Julia Holden, a professor at a college for the deaf, whose mentor is fellow professor Betty Grissom ( Phyllis Frelich), mother of former head CSI Gil Grissom ( William Petersen).
This causes tension with Grissom's current wife, CSI Sara Sidle ( Jorja Fox), who simultaneously must deal with her mother-in-law and with Julia, who's also Grissom's ex-girlfriend. It doesn't help that both Julia and Mrs. Grissom are deaf and can speak to each other in American Sign Language, which Sara is struggling to learn.
As to whether Mrs. Grissom might have preferred Julia to Sara as a daughter-in-law, Matlin speaks in sign language through an interpreter, telling Zap2it, "She adores me better, I know that. I just had to say that."
Asked if her character might return on a future episode of "CSI," Matlin has another idea altogether.
"I'm here!" Matlin says. "But, we have to have another 'CSI.' I'm making the announcement that I think there should be 'CSI: Chicago.' I want it badly, and I'm dead serious about it."
Matlin's idea might not be so far-fetched.
Although "CSI" is set in Las Vegas, the hometown of show creator Anthony Zuiker -- but filmed in the Los Angeles area, as are the spin-offs -- Matlin and Petersen, the show's former star and still an executive producer, are both natives of Chicago suburbs in Cook County, Ill., and executive producer Carol Mendelsohn is from Chicago itself.
But Matlin isn't certain what sort of character she'd play in a Windy City-set forensic crime drama.
"Perhaps I'd play somebody who is a good lip-reader," says Matlin, "an investigator, number one on the call sheet!"
She laughs at herself, then says, "No, but seriously, there should be a 'CSI: Chicago,' and I need to be one of the stars in it. It's a no-brainer."
While Matlin would love to play a Chicago police officer (and her husband is a long-time member of a Los Angeles-area police department), as she is deaf, she says, "It'd be awesome, but not realistic. I know it's just television, but it wouldn't be real. I could be a former cop. I don't know.
"I'll let Carol figure it out."
Matlin thinks she might be able to grease the wheels with Mendelsohn a bit to get the producer on her side, perhaps by taking her to dinner.
"And bring her favorite flowers," says Matlin, "favorite chocolates. What's her favorite carwash? Starbuck's?"