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 If Looks Could Kill CBS Watch Magazine

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MessageSujet: If Looks Could Kill CBS Watch Magazine    Sam 31 Juil - 11:36

If Looks Could Kill

Matt Hurwitz

Tags: CSI: Miami, Emily Procter

Talent, beauty, intellect- CSI: Miami’s Emily Procter is the total package. So it’s no wonder this Southern beauty has managed to charm viewers.
With steely determination, Emily Procter’s Calleigh Duquesne studies the bullet removed from a victim’s body at the CSI: Miami crime lab. Calleigh’s in search of answers and won’t stop until she finds them. Although the scene was fi lmed not in Miami, but rather on the show’s extensive interior set at Raleigh Studios in Manhattan Beach, Calif., Procter is found another day in a more glamorous setting-a photo shoot at the Beverly Wilshire, a Four Seasons hotel, a few miles away. Outside, and bedecked in full Hollywood allure, Procter is posed exiting the hotel’s Rolls Royce, holding a beautiful 8-month-old Great Dane named Bogart on a leash. Well-behaved for most of the shoot, the pup suddenly decides a visit with the photographer a few feet away is in order-and it is now the petite Procter who is being taken for a walk. Hardly the stoic crime scene investigator type, she laughs off the pooch’s move, giving Bogart a smooch and plenty of attention. The woman with the warm smile on the other end of the leash is the Real McCoy-a humble Southern belle who would rather learn about her interviewer than talk about herself.

Though CSI: Miami is now finishing its fifth season, Procter-who has also appeared in The West Wing and Friends and films, including Jerry Maguire and Leaving Las Vegas-got her start in television in a different role. “I did 6 and 11 p.m. weekend weather at the local CBS affiliate,” she says. A native of Raleigh, N.C., Procter studied journalism in college, working at the station while still in school, eventually graduating to covering breaking news like murders. “I was low man on the totem pole. It was very gruesome, and I remember having to cover a murder right around Christmas, and I just thought, ‘I can’t do it.’ It was not the right subject matter for me.
But, lo and behold, here I am on a daily basis with subject matter far more grim.” To study for her role as ballistics expert Calleigh, Procter trained with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department as well as spending time with her subjects at the Miami-Dade County CSI unit and the technical advisors for the series. “I spent a lot of time picking the brains of the police officers whom I was going to be working with,” she explains. “I asked them about their lives and how their work affected their personal lives.” It was important for Procter to learn how it felt to be a woman officer in that role, and to her surprise, she found plenty of them at work at Miami’s real CSI. “There are a lot of women there. And Miami is the only CSI office that requires its officers to graduate from the Police Academy, which is why they sort of cross over with a lot of interrogation as well as being at a crime scene or carrying a gun.” And, believe it or not, there are plenty of gorgeous people -just like on the show-working in the venue. “People would be shocked! The first time I met the women there, I thought, ‘This is a bunch of schoolteachers out on vacation.’ Just very feminine and very soft. I remember one of them chimed in, in a high, feminine voice, ‘My name is so-and-so, and I do the dopers!’” Procter learned something even more significant from working with the real officers. “I’ve really become aware of the incredible sacrifice made by the people who do the job,” she says. “I don’t think it’s something the general public has any concept of. It’s a loss of innocence for them, it’s a loss of freedom. Once you become aware of how things happen, the world looks so different.” A visit to a real CSI lab left a considerable impression-particularly when it came to seeing evidence from crimes relating to children, such as shoes and other artifacts. “They say you never get over those. The children are always very hard to process,” Procter says. And doing so can take its toll on the officers. “Some of the people that I work with don’t have children, because, as they’ve said, ‘Once you’ve seen what we’ve seen, it becomes very hard to think about having a child now.’”

Procter’s character, Calleigh, apparently has learned to shut out the horrors of her work by sticking close to business- something that can be both a pro and a con. “She’s completely dedicated to doing her job well-she never compromises. She has a real integrity,” Procter explains. “But she probably doesn’t know herself very well. You never see her making a lot of personal choices. I don’t think she has any personal choices. She just stays in the lab and puts two and two together.” Her matter-of-fact character has led Procter to another team comparison. “You know, CSI is really just Scooby Doo,” she jokes. “Without a doubt, I’m Velma. ‘Everyone get in the van! We gotta go! Quit fooling around!’ And Horatio [David Caruso] is Fred. And Alexx [Khandi Alexander] is Daphne-she even wore the head scarf!” However, many CSI: Miami fans would argue that Calleigh is a bit more glamorous than the spectacled Velma. “Emily Procter is very smart, very attractive and deceptively intuitive about her character,” says CBS Entertainment President Nina Tassler. “She’s so striking, she’s so gorgeous-how could she be as strong as she is? She’s deceptively strong. She’s the Steel Magnolia. She’s got that quality, and she brings that to Calleigh. So I think she really is a breath of fresh air. But she also can be lethal.” Despite her classic beauty, the character hasn’t had much success in the relationship department-dashing fans’ hopes that perhaps she’ll be hooking up with lead investigator Horatio. But earlier this year that appeared to change, with some amorous sparks flying between Calleigh and fellow investigator Eric Delko (Adam Rodriguez). “It’s nice to have some romance to play, but at the same time, when you’ve spent that amount of hours with someone every week for five years, it’s … it’s not romantic! We’ll do a scene, and we have to turn around and ask people, ‘Do y’all think that’s sexy? Did that look sexy?’” A stroll with Procter around the set of CSI: Miami takes a while: She knows everyone from the director to the electricians by name, stopping to chat about everything from work to babies to a favorite e-mail sent by the makeup artist. “There are no prima donnas on this show. Everyone has different personalities, everyone has good points and bad points, but you will never hear of pettiness on our set. It just isn’t allowed.” She’s also proud of the portrayal of smart people as … smart people. “One of the things I like most about the show is that it comes from the standpoint that solving the crime is cool, as opposed to committing it. ‘Knowledge is power’ is the thread that runs through all of the CSI shows.”

Although most of the series is filmed in the Los Angeles area (the Long Beach and Marina del Rey areas of the region typically pull duty for Miami), the cast does spend several weeks a year shooting portions of episodes that can only be filmed in the real location, and the fun-loving Procter makes sure to enjoy. “The great thing about shooting in Miami is that they need to shoot in the high sun, so they’re only shooting during daylight hours.” That provides plenty of time to do the things she loves, including swimming and running-and playing with dolphins (no, not the football players). “There’s a place where I swim with the dolphins, and [the trainers] actually said I could come and be an intern there one summer. Unfortunately, my agents and managers have much different plans for me!” Procter also entertains while in Miami, taking in visits from her dad, who just turned 75 in March. Ever the Southerner, Procter still enjoys the closeness of family and friends back home, flying back once a month during production time for visits with her mother. “We go antiquing a lot, and we always do pedicures together- that’s our thing. And we sit around and talk. Talk and eat.” The actor in the family isn’t so much the cook at home, preferring to do the dishes. “After I cook, I’m not hungry. And I like to eat too much to cook. So I’d rather wash.” She stays close with the friends back home, as well, spending time with groups of people who’ve known her her whole life, none of whom notice they have a TV star on their hands. “They don’t care-I get absolutely no slack!” Far different from her life in L.A., where developing relationships can be a challenge. “Los Angeles is so insular, if for no other reason than the traffic. You spend a lot of time alone in your car, and everybody’s got their own schedule. It’s always more than they can accomplish, because it takes two hours to get everywhere.
The rest of Procter’s time off is spent doing whatever she can that she’s never tried before, it seems. “People are always, like, ‘She’ll never do that.’ But I do! And I love it.” One such challenge led to learning to drive race cars, so that she could participate in the Toyota Grand Prix in Long Beach, Calif., which took place this past April. She also loves to travel and eat different kinds of foods, though L.A. hasn’t been able to satisfy her craving for great Mexican food, despite its availability throughout the Southern California region. “I was in Mexico City when I was in high school, so, in all honesty, if I want good Mexican food, that’s where I go to get it.” Procter can also be found on occasion fronting her own band, White Lightning. Well, actually it’s a character of hers, Britney Wednesday, that’s seen leading the group. “Britney’s the ultimate narcissist,” she says. “She sings songs, tells relationship stories about people she went to high school with, using power ballads and self-help book terminology, to sort of fi gure out where they went awry.” As for Calleigh, she remains on the job at CSI: Miami, dedicated as ever. And there’s a reason. “Calleigh’s a lot tougher than she was in season 1,” Procter says. “I imagine if something had happened to someone you loved, not knowing would be terrible. The more answers you can give people, the more you can put an end to their suffering. There’ll never be an answer to ‘Why did this happen?’ or ‘Why did someone do this?’” she says. “But at least there can be an answer to ‘How did it happen?’ or ‘Who did it?’ And I think where Calleigh comes from is, ‘I just want you to tell me the truth. I just want the truth so I can put it to rest. It’s just a search for the truth.”

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