He picks at stiffs as crime solver Nick Stokes on ”C.S.I.” (CBS, Thursday 9 p.m.), and George Eads, 35, is no softy off-screen, either. EW.com talked to the Texas native about the new ”C.S.I.” spin-off (fans will get their first peek at the David Caruso series during a crossover ”C.S.I.” episode May 9), why he occasionally butts heads with the show’s writers, and why Nick has dated his last hooker.
Is working on the ”C.S.I.” set as grim as it looks?
We’re pretty Method about what we do, but our gag reel is hilarious. Like one time I had to say to Jorja [Fox]’s character, ”You need to get out more.” But for one take, I changed the line to, ”You need to have Daddy give you a good roll in the hay. That’ll straighten you right out.” She tried so hard not to laugh! And I think people would be surprised at how much we cuss when we screw up. I’m like somebody with Tourette’s Syndrome.
Nick never seems to get queasy, no matter how grim the scene. Are you as sturdy of stomach?
Believe me, if I ever had to smell a liquified body in a bag, I’d throw up. But my superhero Nick Stokes, he can’t. A lot of times I’ve said, ”Wouldn’t he have some smelling gel under his nose or something?” And they say, ”No, no, your character’s tough.”
How long did it take to nail the C.S.I. jargon?
You don’t have to be a rocket scientist. But I’ve actually been begging for more dialogue, more adult conversation about something that is grounded in everyone’s reality right now — just things like why people do what they do and why some people go off the edge. Maybe one of the investigators can’t even eat because they’ve seen such gruesome stuff, or someone else is having health problems because they’ve been working too hard.
But the focus on crimes, rather than personal drama, is what made the show a huge hit. Wouldn’t it be dangerous to shift this?
I understand why we don’t want to take the show out of the morgue, but how many times are we going to be able to spoon feed people the same can of carrots? I mean, viewers are now able to go, Oh, they’re going to spray with Luminol [a chemical agent that makes blood visible under blue light]! They’re going to find blood on the mop! I think the actors are good enough that you could write some stuff that would make the show blossom.
Have you had a lot of battles with the writers about your character?
Oh, every day I fight for the integrity of the character and where I want it to go. Sometimes I think the writers are better at writing story than dialogue, or maybe I just understand the character better than they do. But they do allow us to collaborate. I just got to see Nick’s apartment for the first time after 43 episodes, and I had to tell them to get rid of some stuff.