Interview with Liz Vassey

Liz Vassey won a Daytime Emmy at the tender age of 18, thus throwing her already busy acting career into overdrive. With gigs ranging from Beverly Hills 90210 to Tru Calling, the stunning brunette cites a brief cameo on Joss Whedon‘s internet musical, Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog as one of her most cherished roles.

These days, when Vassey isn’t peering at DNA patterns as Wendy, the forensic technician on CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, she’s hoping for a return to musical theater and touting her ta-ta’s for a very good cause.

AfterEllen: How are things on CSI? What’s in store for Wendy Simms this season?
Liz Vassey:
I don’t really know, but I’d love for her to go out in the field more. In one episode, I went out in the field for the first time with Laurence Fishburne. He’s just fantastic and could not be nicer. And I got to swab John Schneider, who came in as a villain. I had a paralyzing crush on him as Bo Duke from Dukes of Hazzard, when I was a kid. And I was like, “You guys! This is the best Christmas ever!” I had a great time being able to shoot in the sunshine, as opposed to the darkness of the lab.

And I think Hodges [played by Wallace Langham] might go out a little bit more, too. We were both sent to Vegas to do a ride-along recently, and I got to watch an autopsy and talk to real CSIs. So, I get the feeling things are moving in that direction.

AE: How was it working with Jorja Fox?
I got to work with Jorja quite a bit when I first joined the show. She and Laurence Fishburne are both made of cool. When you’re around her, Jorja has this thing where you feel like, “It’s OK. I’m with Jorja.” It’s a feeling that they both exude — they’re really comfortable and fun to be around.

And I like everything Jorja stands for. I’m a pescetarian and I’ve been talking to her about that. She’s avid about animal rights. And I think she’s a terrific actress. She’s back for five or six episodes this season. They’re not consecutive. But I hope she stays for more, it’s really great having her around.

AE: Are you in any scenes with her this season?
No, and we don’t like it. We really like working together. And it’s nice when the women get to do stuff ’cause we’re outnumbered by the men on the show. We all genuinely like each other. But the law of averages says you’re probably going to be working with the guys.

AE: Lauren Lee Smith is not returning this year. What happened?
That had absolutely nothing to do with her talent, because she’s a very talented. It was unfortunate — she was brought in at the same time as Laurence Fishburne. And [we] were in the midst of this perfect storm of cast upsets: three people leaving and Laurence coming in. I think she’ll land on something in about five seconds, if she hasn’t already.

AE: The cast list on CSI is ridiculously long.
Oh it’s huge. I think there are 10 of us. I went out to lunch recently with Patrick Warburton [from The Tic] and he was making fun of me saying, “You’re doing an hour drama and I’m doing sitcom. Your schedule must be sick.” And I told him, “Dude. [laughs] There are 57 people on my show. It’s not that bad at all.”

AE: Are we going to see your character, Wendy, having a personal life?
I hope so. Last season, we did that episode where she and Hodges almost admitted we had feelings for each other. It really opened up a lot. Wendy sees something else in him — that he’s not the suck-up everybody else thinks he is — and that makes her like him.

Wendy (Vassey) and Hodges (Langham) on CSI

I think these two characters work well together because it doesn’t quite make sense, but it doesn’t make sense in all the right ways. It makes me root for them.