Sharon Knolle Freelance Writer

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CSI: Miami Mysteries Solved!

Published in Us Weekly, May 26, 2003

As TVs most-watched new drama comes to a gripping conclusion (there's a prison break!), Us investigates this season's brain-teasers

THAT KID IN THE Sixth Sense isn't alone: Every week 17 million viewers are seeing dead people - and loving it - on the hit CBS forensic drama CSI: Miami. And Emily Procter, 34, who plays Detective Calleigh Duquesne, is even seeing them in her off-hours! While walking to work through her Miami neighborhood recently, she spotted crime-scene tape and ducked under it, assuming it was the set. "Then the cops told me, We found a body in the trunk of a car,'" she says. Apparently the smell had given it away. "I said, 'Oh, dude, I could have solved that crime for you a week ago!'"

Dramatic, yes, but so is CSI: Miami. The creepy cases on this CSI: Crime Scene Investigation spinoff have made the show as hot as South Beach in July - and the big 75-minute finale (Monday, May 19, 9:45 P.M.), ominously titled "Body Count," won't disappoint. It will "grab you by the throat and not let go!" promises executive producer Ann Donahue. But before that last case, let's take a look at the season's biggest mysteries.

Is this really prime time's grossest show?
From close-ups of exploding aneurysms to glimpses of guts inside corpses, CSI: Miami proves that crime isn't pretty. "The show is pretty graphic for television," admits Rory Cochrane, 31, a.k.a. investigator Tim Speedle. But those buckets of blood and guts are all done with the help of a technical adviser to ensure authenticity. Explains Adam Rodriguez, 28, who plays Detective Eric Delko: "I've seen pictures of the real stuff, and some of it is pretty gruesome.

Where does that cool equipment come from?
The high-tech gadgetry is straight out of real police labs, and it often steals the show. Says Rodriguez: "There's a machine that takes a sample of skin or blood and breaks it down to its basic elements. Then, based on that, it tells you everything about the person. It's pretty incredible." Meanwhile, Khandi Alexander, 45, who plays coroner Alexx Woods, is partial to "this handheld saw that's used to saw off the top of your head." Nice.

What's the scariest thing about making the show?
One word: alligators. They've taken guest-starring roles more than once. David Caruso, 47, who plays Horatio Caine, recalls a shoot in the Everglades when a four-foot alligator swam into the scene. "Everybody just froze, thinking, 'Hellooo! Do we do something?' But he addressed the situation and quietly swam away." Meanwhile, Rodriguez and Cochrane had to reach into an alligator pit for another episode. It was "a little freaky," says Rodriguez. "I don't think they look at you and think, 'Oh, what a good snack,' but they will eat humans." Another scary thing is the scorching sun. The show shoots five weeks a year in Miami, which is convenient for Caruso, who already lived in the city (wife Margaret runs a clothing store there called Steam on Sunset). The lesson he taught his castmates was this: "No matter who you are, you've got to have sunblock." Unless you're an alligator, that is.

By Craig Tomashoff with reporting by Sharon Knolle*

* (Interviews with David Caruso, Emily Procter, Adam Rodriguez, Rory Cochrane, and Khandi Alexander)

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