Meet Sin City's newest crime scene investigator, Julie Finlay

Meet Sin City's newest crime scene investigator, Julie Finlay
by: Michael Jodha
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Arms outstretched, lying in a pool of blood, Elisabeth Shue’s character is motionless as two crime scene investigators search for clues to solve her murder. When they miss the obvious hints, she opens her eyes, stands up and points them out herself.

Her character, blood pattern expert Julie Finlay, obviously wasn’t actually dead, she was taking part in a training session with newer CSI agents. It was a gruesome scene to introduce the actress to the show, and she certainly didn’t seem to mind. 

“I liked that it was different right away,” Shue says of her bloody opening scene on CSI. “I’ve always been one of those people that if something terrible happened on the side of the road, I can’t help but look, so I think I’m fitting in with the grossness of the show.”

Between staring at car wrecks and solving grisly murders in Las Vegas, the 48-year-old actress took the time to chat with CTV about ’CSI’, her character and getting used to the grotesque nature of some of the murder scenes.

“You do (get used to the grossness) really quickly because you know there are no real dead bodies there,” she explains. “(The CSIs are) professionals and they’ve seen so many dead bodies in their time it does help that you have that sort of detached point of view.” 

A veteran actress of the big screen, including an Oscar-nominated role in 1995’s “Leaving Las Vegas”, Shue brought her experience to the ‘CSI’ set and helped form her character’s profile. Originally conceived as a woman with severe anger management issues, Shue fused her own take on the character with the producers to create Finlay as a personality that was more realistic and more in touch with the actress.

“We talked about how maybe instead of her having anger management issues, she has an issue with boundaries,” Shue says. “She likes to come up with inappropriate ways sometimes to solve cases. That’s more her issue than she’s going to blow up and tear someone’s head off.”

But Shue adds she hasn’t ruled out playing the anger management card at some point in the future.

“That sounds kind of fun.  I may have to do that in one episode just for fun,” she says.

She does make one thing very clear about her character: she’s not a replacement for Marg Helgenberger’s character Catherine Willows. Helgenberger left the ‘CSI’ franchise earlier this season after 12 years on the show. Shue and her co-star Ted Danson are the new leads for the show, currently in its twelfth season. 

“We both feel that we’re not necessarily filling in for those characters because they’re so iconic – they’ve been established over 12 years, my God. We’re just being introduced as completely new characters,” she says about tackling the lead roles. 

She does enjoy the fact she gets to share a lot of screen time with Danson, who joined the show at the beginning of the current season. 

“I really, really enjoy working with him. He’s such a strong actor, really funny and easy to be around and cares so much – I just love working with him. It’s been so much fun,” she says.

Check out CSI Wednesdays at 10PM ET on CTV.

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