When “CSI: NY” returns with all-new episodes on Friday, January 6, the series will pack a powerful emotional punch as it goes behind the scenes of the Mixed Martial Arts world to investigate the death of a fighter, whose body has been charred beyond recognition.
Guest starring in the episode is real-life MMA champion and former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Tito Ortiz, who plays Derek Petrov, the murdered cage fighter’s opponent.
“He actually did a good job in the scene I did with him,” says series star Gary Sinise, who plays Detective Mac Taylor. “He was telling me he wants to start transitioning more. He is getting older and he has taken a beating … but he has delivered a few beatings along the way I am told. Now he is doing more technical advising and that kind of thing and seemed to be more interested in developing his acting skills. He was a good guy to have around. I enjoyed spending the day with him.”
Also on hand to check out the MMA action was Eddie Cahill, who plays Det. Don Flack. Truth be told, Cahill wasn’t even supposed to be on set that day. He recalls, “When Tito was here, I came to work because I wanted to see it. They built a whole octagon here on the lot. It was fun to sit back and watch. He is not a guy I would want to get hit by.”
The octagon that Cahill is referring to is a special ring the producers had built in the outdoor space between two of the “CSI: NY” stages in Studio City, CA to accommodate the fight scenes — something they were happy to do to capture the real feel of the sport.
“We are blessed to have the most extraordinary production design team and visual effects team, I think, in television,” says co-executive producer Trey Callaway. “They are regularly tasked with faking and/or recreating interesting aspects of New York City.”
So where did the idea for the testosterone-driven episode come from? “We wanted to go into that world, mainly because my kids watch that stuff all the time,” admits executive producer Pam Veasey. “It was a great event, but an emotional story, and Tito does a great job.”
Tune in on Friday, January 6 at 9 p.m. on CBS for all the “Clean Sweep Action,” which also features former “7th Heaven” star David Gallagher as a possible murder suspect.
Preview Tito’s Appearance: