She’s always on CSI: NY duty, but if not for Melina Kanakaredes, this week’s episode wouldn’t exist.
The actress wears an extra hat as the writer of the CBS crime drama’s story airing Wednesday. She literally takes her character, forensics detective Stella Bonasera, someplace new: Greece, where Stella and colleague Mac (Gary Sinise) probe New York murders evidently linked to ancient artifacts.
The tale ends a four-episode arc, and Kanakaredes says creating it has given me an interesting new perspective on this business. It’s been pretty phenomenal.
Kanakaredes’ interest in Alexander the Great’s father, Philip II, inspired her.
When I was a little girl, an archaeologist showed me the gold armor (Philip) was buried in. Apparently, he had one leg that was shorter than the other, so it was all adjusted to his body. I’ve always had this theme in my head, and I thought it would be nice to go to Greece. (However, Los Angeles ended up doubling for it.)
Then came the writers strike and the economy’s decline, but Kanakaredes’ idea ultimately was revived as part of an international smuggling saga. She recalls being told by Pam Veasey, a CSI: NY executive producer and the show’s head writer, We’re going to start it, and we’d like you to finish it.’ I was like, Really? I just pitched the idea; I wasn’t intending to write the script.’ And she said, Go ahead.’
Kanakaredes already had written a series pilot, which CBS still has an option on.
Kanakaredes also has high praise for her regular co-stars.
It’s a real group effort here, she says. I’ve been very lucky to get these roles as strong, intelligent, feisty women. Stella is grounded in a sense of truly caring; she might cross the line every once in a while, but she does it for good reason, and with integrity.
Indeed, in the newest CSI: NY story, Stella turns in her badge.
She goes rogue in a way she’s never done before, Kanakaredes says.
While CSI: NY is her longest TV gig to date (and she says she has no plans to depart), the Akron, Ohio, native also had sizable runs on Providence and CBS’ serial Guiding Light.