Modern Day Sherlock

Interview - Corey Miller

A Modern Day Sherlock Exclusive!

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Shane Saunders of Modern Day Sherlock got the chance to interview CSI: Miami Staff Writer Corey Miller, who began his CSI writing career on the original CSI!
MODERN DAY SHERLOCK: You first started out on the episode "One Hit Wonder" on the original CSI. What made you decide to switch shows?
COREY MILLER: Actually, the first episode I was involved in writing was a CSI episode, season two, entitled "You've Got Male," which I wrote with Marc Dube, who is also now on Miami. I was working as an assistant to the Show Runner, Carol Mendelsohn, and she let Marc and I do what she called an "audition" script.

The next season, I got the opportunity to then write an episode on my own. CSI was an amazing training ground for me. Carol allowed me to be involved in the rewrites, I got to attend all the pre-production meetings, watch casting, and then be on set for the shoot.

Thankfully, "One Hit Wonder" was well-received, and Carol asked me to do another freelance episode, this time for CSI: Miami. It ended up being season one's "Tinder Box." After that episode was completed, Ann Donahue, who left CSI to take over the Show Running duties on Miami, asked me if I would like to join the writing staff of Miami for season two.

I loved being on CSI, but at the time, there were no more staff openings. And I loved working with Ann, and was excited with the new direction she wanted to take Miami. So it was a no-brainer.

MODERN DAY SHERLOCK: You also wrote the episode "Under the Influence" which brought in character Ryan Wolfe (Jonathan Togo). Was it hard to find a new actor to replace Rory Cochrane and what was the reactions among the show?

COREY MILLER: When Rory asked to leave the show, we were disappointed to lose him, but at the same time, were also excited by the new dynamic we could bring to the show by killing a beloved character in a sudden way.

A lot of actors were considered for the new character. If I remember correctly, Jonathan Togo auditioned in New York, and was put on tape and sent out to us. Ann Donahue liked him immediately, and flew him out to L.A so they could meet in person. I think even Jonathan described it as the easiest job he's ever gotten. Ann brought him right in to meet the writers, and his enthusiasm was contagious.

There was a story we had considered doing on our second season, with Calleigh and her father, that didn't pan out. We realized that would be a great way to introduce a new character, because someone had to investigate the case without any impartiality. Enter: Ryan Wolfe. Who would have thought that I'd get to write his entrance to the show, and then also get to put a nail in his eye just a year later! Ha.

MODERN DAY SHERLOCK: What is it like working on a mega-hit? Could you explain the daily life of a CSI: Miami writer?

COREY MILLER: I consider myself lucky every day that I stumbled across this franchise. When I started on CSI, we were shooting the first episode (after the pilot). We weren't even going to premiere for a couple of months. I had faith in the material, and knew something really cool was being created, but who could have ever guessed how quickly it would catch on, and that two more shows would end up following it?

As for the daily life of a CSI: Miami writer, it's not glamorous in the slightest. But it is busy. When we aren't in the writers' room trying to come up with episode ideas, or writing a script, or doing rewrites, or in pre-production on a script, or on set with it, or are in the editing room, we are reading everything we can get our hands on, and doing research.

MODERN DAY SHERLOCK: You surely seem to be one of the great action writers on the show. What was it like getting to tamper with Jonathan's eye? :P

COREY MILLER: Well, thank you. You're too kind. I had a great time writing that episode with Barry O'Brien. We worked on another episode this season together (CSI: Miami 403 - "Prey"), and were both happy to get the chance to write together again. It was tough in getting the dramatic structure just right, but luckily we have a team of great writers, led by Ann and Elizabeth Devine, so we all wanted to make sure Ryan was put through the ringer in the most interesting way we could.

Jon Togo was an amazing sport. He was happy to have something entirely new to play - he had to scream in pain at the top of his lungs for hours! And the makeup, done by Cheri Montesanto-Medcalf, was beyond belief.

MODERN DAY SHERLOCK: How many times approximately do you shoot in Miami? Is it chaos down there?

We usually end up going to Miami three times a year. It's not chaos at all. We'd go there more, because it's such a unique city, and so beautiful. It is just cost-prohibitive. It's much cheaper to shoot it in L.A., so here we are. When we know we are going to go, we try to write to it. We try to make it more of a Miami-themed show, and be able to show off all of the "only in Miami" locations that we can get.

MODERN DAY SHERLOCK: Well thank-you, Corey. It was really appreciated.

COREY MILLER: Well, there we go. Take care --

Shane Saunders is the owner and webmaster of Modern Day Sherlock