Marg Helgenberger is just now shooting her last couple of episodes of “CSI” before she leaves the long-running series. Robert David Hall acknowledges it’s another big cast change, and he’s going to miss her. “She’s a friend, she’s like a sister. I’ve known her for 12 years now. But of course, I support her decision to move on and try new things,” he says, “and I’m looking forward to working with Elisabeth Shue.”
The series, of course, has had quite a few comings and goings in recent years. Hall admits he still misses William Petersen, and Laurence Fishburne, who is a good friend of his. But now, “I’ve really come to love Ted Danson. He’s such a generous actor and such an interesting actor. You watch him and wonder, ‘What is he going to do next?’ As D.B. Russell, he’ll be talking to you but looking at something else. It’s almost like he has ADD, going off on some seemingly unrelated thing. But he always comes back around to solving the crime, and you like going on the ride with him.
“It’s a funny thing about change and about time marching on. I think you have to honor what about the show works, but you have to be bold bout pushing the envelope, too,” adds Hall. “I don’t think the changes are negative. We still have a good audience, and the show is huge overseas.”
Hall has just finished shooting the Dec. 14 episode of “CSI” — a huge episode for his Dr. Robbins character. In fact, it’s the episode no fan of Doc Robbins should miss.
“We finally deal with the white elephant of Doc Robbins’ disability. We go to Doc Robbins’ house, see him take his prosthetic off,” Hall reports. “He’s in real pain — not physical pain, but mental pain. There’s strong psychic torture the character is going through.” Things aren’t good at the Robbins’ house, you see, since, “A naked dead guy is found in Doc Robbins’ bed, and they suspect his wife (Wendy Crewson) of complicity, shall we say. It’s a very twisted journey to the end.”
And Hall loved it. “For two weeks, I got treated like a leading man,” he tells us with a laugh. “I even got to kiss the girl. I’ve done 260 episodes, and it’s the first time I got to kiss the girl.”
MEANWHILE: By the time you read this, Hall should be in Washington, D.C. for tonight’s (12/1) 25th Anniversary Gala Victory Awards. He’s being honored at the event benefiting the National Rehabilitation Hospital. A tireless advocate for actors and others with disabilities, Hall has also paid many visits to Walter Reed Army Hospital and Bethesda Naval Hospital. “My entire family is steeped in Navy tradition,” says the actor, who has a number of relatives that were Naval Academy graduates.