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The Ausiello Files: July 17, 2009

EW’s TV scooper on ”CSI: Miami,” ”The Mentalist,” and ”One Tree Hill”

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CSI: Miami takes a trip down memory lane
Looks like David Caruso will be trading in his grandpa shades for some vintage Oakleys. For its eighth season premiere on Sept. 21, CSI: Miami is flashing back to 1997 to show the early days of Horatio & Co. The episode will be told from the point of view of a comatose Delko, who was critically wounded in last May’s finale.

”We get to see how Horatio put his team together,” explains executive producer Ann Donahue. ”We thought it would be fun to go back when [forensics] was still considered junk science.”

The time warp also allows Donahue to bring back some fan favorites, including original cast members Khandi Alexander (Alexx) and, if a deal can be made, Rory Cochrane (Speedle). Army Wives‘ Kim Delaney, who was let go at the end of season 1, was not asked back, but her character, Lieut. Megan Donner, may get a shout-out.

For longtime viewers, the real treat will be bearing witness to Horatio’s transformation from buttoned-up homicide cop to cool-as-a-cucumber, one-line-spoutin’ crime-scene deity. ”We will see him literally become the Horatio we know,” teases Donahue.

And what about the reverse-aging issue? Donahue says they have some ”tricks up our sleeves” to make the cast appear 11 years younger, but adds it doesn’t involve anything major. ”They’re TV stars for a reason. They’re good-looking people.”

SCOOPLETS

Ex-Oz star joining The Mentalist
Patrick Jane (Simon Baker) should have a field day reading this guy: Terry Kinney (Oz) is joining The Mentalist as a former lust interest of Robin Tunney’s Lisbon and a major player in the Red John murder investigation, sources confirm to me semi-exclusively. The drama kicks off season 2 (its first in its new Thursday time slot) on Sept. 24.

Jane Lynch exits Starz’s Party Down
Jane Lynch had to bow out of the second season of the Starz comedy about L.A. caterers to play the scheming gym teacher on Fox’s Glee. ”We are hopeful that Jane can guest-star for us at least once, but we’re not even able to lock that down at this point,” says Party Down exec producer Rob Thomas, formerly of Veronica Mars.

Desperate Housewives comeback
After a year away from Wisteria Lane, Andrea Bowen will reprise her role as Susan’s spawn Julie this fall — although there’s some debate as to how long she’ll be around. ABC would only confirm that she’ll appear in the Sept. 27 premiere, but my Housewives mole insists Bowen will once again be a series regular. I’m siding with my mole on this one.

Grey’s empowers Chandra Wilson
Grey’s Anatomy is putting a Nazi in power! No, not a real Nazi. That would be crazy. Allow me to explain: Chandra Wilson — a.k.a. Miranda ”the Nazi” Bailey — will step behind the cameras this fall and direct an episode of the ABC smash. ”I’m excited to have this opportunity to grow,” says Wilson, who will helm next season’s seventh episode.

{TV scoop is best served instantaneously. Follow Ausiello at twitter.com/ewausiellofiles.}