The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - FRONT PAGE - AN­DREW FEN­TON

Os­car-win­ning actress Pa­tri­cia Ar­quette says that tak­ing the lead role in CSI: Cy­ber, which de­tails just how eas­ily the av­er­age per­son can fall vic­tim to cy­ber­crimes, has been an eye-opener.

“I knew a lit­tle bit about hack­ing, a tiny bit,” she says.

“But I had no idea (of the scope of cy­ber­crime) and I don’t think most peo­ple know.

“We’ve brought th­ese de­vices into our homes. We’ve in­cor­po­rated them with their con­ve­niences into ev­ery as­pect of our lives, but the things they’re ca­pa­ble of are also re­ally ter­ri­fy­ing.

“Af­ter work­ing on this show I just want my kids to throw ev­ery­thing away, get a pen­cil and pa­per. I’m go­ing to get a pager!”

With the 15-year old CSI re­port­edly head­ing into its fi­nal sea­son next year af­ter more than 300 episodes, the time seems right for a new spin-off. The par­ent show has al­ready out­lasted CSI: Miami with David Caruso and CSI: New York with Gary Sinise.

Now it’s Ar­quette’s turn to head up a Crime Scene In­ves­ti­ga­tion team and with CSI: Cy­ber re­newed last month for a sec­ond sea­son, the signs point to the brand be­ing around for some time to come.

Ar­quette’s char­ac­ter Avery Ryan, a cy­ber-psy­chol­o­gist who spe­cialises in analysing and pre­dict­ing the be­hav­iour of on­line bad­dies, was in­tro­duced in a back­door pi­lot in sea­son 14 of CSI.

The in­spi­ra­tion for the char­ac­ter came from Mary Aiken, the real life direc­tor of the Cy­ber Psy­chol­ogy Re­search Cen­tre in Dublin, who is a con­sul­tant and pro­ducer on the show.

Ryan leads the FBI’s Cy­ber Crime Di­vi­sion of agents and geeks in­clud­ing James Van Der Beek ( Daw­son’s Creek) and rap­per Bow Wow (aka Shad Moss), who swoop on evil­do­ers in the dark net to the sounds of The Who’s theme tune I Can See for Miles.

Given that nerds tap­ping on key­boards to catch other geeks in cy­berspace is in­her­ently dull vis­ually, the mak­ers have out­done them­selves com­ing up with novel ways to il­lus­trate cy­ber­chases us­ing loads of flashy com­puter graph­ics.

The 47-year-old Ar­quette, who played the ti­tle role in su­per­nat­u­ral drama se­ries Medium for seven sea­sons be­tween 2005 and 2011, seems more than a lit­tle sur­prised about her late ca­reer resur­gence thanks to Boy­hood, the project she filmed over 12 years and which won her an Os­car, BAFTA, Golden Globe and a swag of other awards.

Ar­quette took the CSI: Cy­ber role be­fore her Os­car win meant she could write her own ticket, but says she wouldn’t let elitism over project choice in­flu­ence her ca­reer.

“I’ve seen a lot of peo­ple not work be­cause of their ego about how good the ma­te­rial should be, and af­ter a while no one hires them,” she says.

“So I’m grate­ful for this op­por­tu­nity and I like the idea of reach­ing world­wide au­di­ences.”

Ar­quette says she stays grounded thanks to her back­ground. Grow­ing up poor on a hip­pie com­mune in Vir­ginia and be­ing a sin­gle mum by the time she was 20, she knows what it’s like to be wor­ried about not be­ing able to af­ford food or pay bills.

“There’s an illusion in Hol­ly­wood, there’s an illusion in fame and I never re­ally took it se­ri­ously.”

It was her kids, both huge CSI fans, who in­sisted she think se­ri­ously about CSI: Cy­ber.

“They were like CSI! You’ve got to read that!”

Ar­quette’s char­ac­ter is a pretty straight ar­row, but Ar­quette says she per­son­ally has a lot more sym­pa­thy to­wards cy­ber ac­tivists of the type of Wik­iLeaks or Ed­ward Snow­den who at­tempt to ex­pose cor­rup­tion or un­veil gov­ern­ment se­crets.

“My char­ac­ter, I think, would re­ally have a clear line about: her job is to fol­low the line of the law and the estab­lish­ment,” she says.

“That’s when it gets very in­ter­est­ing act­ing wise be­cause you re­ally have to act that part even if you don’t agree to that part. I do feel like if your na­tion breaks their own laws … and the con­sti­tu­tion … that’s re­ally danger­ous and that should be known.”


CSI: Cy­ber, Chan­nel 10, Sun­day, 9pm

Pa­tri­cia Ar­quette stars in CSI: Cy­ber on Ten.

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