‘CSI: Miami’ takes over Cal State Fullerton

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Cast and crew film a scene for the season finale of 'CSI: Miami' outside of the Performing Arts building. Photo By Nick Marley/Daily Titan Photo Editor

Investigators who rushed to Dade University’s pool were greeted with a grisly crime scene. A murder has taken place. The seasoned Lieutenant Horatio Caine arrives, checks out the unlucky corpse and delivers a notorious one-liner while donning his shades.

Cal State Fullerton doubled as the fictitious institution Dade University for the television drama “CSI: Miami” on Wednesday, with the shoot resuming today. Cast and crew are filming the season finale set to air May 24 at 10 p.m. on CBS.

“This campus was the best. We shoot the whole show in Los Angeles,” said the episode’s director, Joe Chapelle, regarding CSUF’s selection to pose as a college in Florida. “What’s great about Cal State Fullerton is with all the palm trees and the expanse it really feels like Dade County. The look of the show is very modern and high-tech, and a lot of the buildings here, especially the newer buildings, fit the look of the show perfectly.”

Executive Producers Barry O’Brien and Marc Dube wrote the episode being shot, “They All Fall Down.”

“We basically chose Fullerton State because of the pool,” O’Brien said. “There’s a murder, unfortunately for the guy who dies, that happens in the pool. (CSUF has) a fantastic pool area down there. We shot near your music hall. Beautiful, beautiful facility. We turned that into our behavioral psychology wing.”

“The school was very accommodating, too. We’re going to spend three days here,” Dube added. “We have Horatio Caine interviewing professors, a grad student–they’re all suspects–so we’re near classrooms getting shots.”

The two commented on the episode’s storyline.

“There’s a terrifying incident in the lab where one by one, all of our CSIs lose consciousness. It’s a cliffhanger,” O’Brien said.

“All of our characters all fall down,” Dube said. “We don’t know who gets up until the premiere of next season.”

Kinesiology major Alanna Meek, 20, stepped in to assist with the production.

“I just overheard them talking to another student asking around if someone knew Tai Chi,” the Delta Zeta member said.

Meek came forward and showed the crew what she could do before she was placed as a coach for one of the actors who was playing a suspect in the episode who practiced the Chinese martial art form.

“I went over it with the actor, he had done it when he was 17 and so it was kind of familiar to him,” she said. “And he said it seemed a bit right and that he just needed enough to make it look good on camera and that he only needed four movements.”

O’Brien was pleased with Meek’s help.

“She was just plucked from walking past our shoot in the music hall. She’s proving to be quite an expert,” he said.

Dube said that using CSUF students for the shoot was definitely something the crew wanted to do.

“Part of the plan in our production meeting was to recruit,” he said.

Meek said she thought the whole process was interesting.

“Everyone is so down-to-earth and I’m so shy and scared of doing the wrong thing,” she said. “Everyone’s really friendly. I’ve never seen a movie or a show being shot before.”

Assistant Vice President Academic Operations and Finance Lisa Kopecky was contacted by the show’s location manager, interested in using CSUF for the scene of the crime.

“It came together very quickly,” she said. “The money we’re getting (from the studio) will cover the out-of-pocket expenses and the rest will go to ASI.”

The money will be divided among the areas of the school that were used for the shoot with a good portion going to the Student Recreation Center, as the pool would be used for the murder, Kopecky said as she watched the crew work on Titan Walk.

“I absolutely love the show,” she said. “I was watching the students to see how they reacted. Some were saying, ‘Oh my gosh, is that David Caruso?’ And they’d pick up the phone and call their friends.”

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