After a decade away from the world of yellow tape and bloodied corpses, Marg Helgenberger reprized her role as Catherine Willows Thursday on CBS Expert: Vegas. It seems her character’s so-called ‘retirement’ – which involved serving on the board of the Eclipse Hotel and mentoring young women in forensics – wasn’t all that fulfilling, so the episode started with his request to Maxine (Paula Newsome) for his former comeback gig.
Luckily, there have been a few job openings since Gil (William Peterson) and Sarah (Jorja Fox) were never replaced after leaving at the end of last season. Apparently the Grissoms are currently on a boat in the Arctic Circle but in real life Petersen has only signed on for a year on Expert: Vegas while Fox opted out of returning for a second season.
“Work is in my blood,” Catherine told Maxine.
And with that, Catherine is immediately put to work in a “sex dungeon” where a dominatrix has been found murdered and very bloody. Catherine throws out phrases like “molecular map making” to show Joshua (Matt Lauria) that she’s still got it, but stays eerily quiet when he asks about her surprise return to the investigation unit. Catherine then receives a call and rushes to a crowded area, where she thinks she sees a woman named Grace but fails to catch her.
At the end of the episode, Maxine suspects there is another reason Catherine wanted to get back inside the Yellow Ribbon. Turns out she mentored a young woman named Grace, a former dancer who was studying to be a CSI and working part-time at the Eclipse. But the girl disappeared three weeks ago and no one at the hotel seemed to care. Catherine suspects a cover-up operation by the hotel, but what for? And by whom?
The episode ends with the sight of someone – Grace, perhaps? — lying in a sandy grave.
Earlier this month, Helgenberger told reporters that before committing to return to ITUCshe “wanted to make sure there was a reason Catherine would come back to work”.
“It’s a difficult concert. Why would Catherine, at that age, come back? said Helgenberger. “It was important to me. I had several conversations with [showrunner] Jason Tracey on this. I really want to do it right and we did.
Helgenberger signed a one-year contract to return to the proceedings. “I feel the respect towards me, I am so grateful. It was great fun working with everyone. The set is very different from the original set. I’m still discovering new rooms, actually. Sure, I miss some members of the old gang, but I got over that pretty quickly because everyone was so welcoming and kind.
Expert: Vegas is produced by CBS Studios in association with Jerry Bruckheimer Television. Executive producers are Tracey, Jerry Bruckheimer, Jonathan Littman, KristieAnne Reed, Anthony Zuiker, Carol Mendelsohn, Ann Donahue, Craig O’Neill, William Petersen, Uta Briesewitz (initial episode only), and Cindy Chvatal.