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CSI: New York Boss Teases Near-Death Finale, but Is There Life Left for Season Nine Renewal?

CSI: NY Monty Brinton/CBS

Being on the bubble for renewal has some benefits to the CSI: New York crew. Like the ability to take big risks such as shooting their star and leaving him lingering between life and death.

In the season eight finale Mac Taylor (Gary Sinise) is shot and dying, and takes some time while in limbo to reflect on his life and relationships, with his coworkers and family left reeling after the near-fatal shooting.

We talked to executive producer Zach Reiter all about Mac Taylor's emotional limbo in the season finale, what you can expect for fan favorites Danny and Lindsay—and if there's hope for a season nine renewal (the writers have even started working on ideas that fans will love).

We have all the finale dish and an exclusive sneak peek from tonight's season finale!

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Q&A with CSI: NY executive producer Zach Reiter

You shot Mac Taylor! Why did you decide to go in this direction for this finale?
We shoot him. We had to create a finale that could either be a season finale or a series finale. It seemed like this was pretty event-worthy, to really put Mac Taylor in a situation where it looks like he's going to die, and that forces him to interact with the people in his life subconsciously and be vulnerable, and share certain emotions that somebody as tough as Mac Taylor is doesn't normally share. It felt right.

Last season was a professional crisis for Mac Taylor. Is this one an emotional crisis?
Definitely emotional. Last year's season finale was about have I done enough in this job? Can I move on? This season's finale is more about the relationships with his team, and faced with the possibility of death, has he said the things he's wanted to say? Does he have things he can pass down to the people who have meant so much to him?

What does Mac learn during this near-death experience?
Through this near-death experience and through these virtual scenes he has with all the characters on the show he's able to say the things that he hasn't said in the past. He cares enormously about these people, but oftentimes he doesn't express those kinds of feelings in words. This near-fatal event causes him to have some interaction with [his dead wife] Claire. So he's able to revisit some of those emotions and come to grips with what it means to have that closure. 

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Watch an exclusive sneak peek from tonight's CSI:NY below: 

What will we learn about Danny (Carmine Giovinazzo) and Lindsay (Anna Belknap) in this finale?
There's a really beautiful scene later on in the episode—written by [executive producer] Pam Veasey—which we learn a lot about where Danny and Lindsay are as a couple and what they're thinking about. And how Mac is pretty intuitive and knows what they are thinking about their future and what lies beyond the New York crime lab.

This group is truly a family. How does his near-fatal shooting affect the CSIs?
We set something up where the father figure and leader of this team for the past eight years is now lying in the operating room with a potentially fatal wound. We've laid the groundwork for obviously a moment where the team, the family, can rally. To see them come together in a moment that is incredibly emotional for them is always fun.

This season you've been able to do new types of episodes flashbacks, old-school crime scenes. Why did you decide to do those now?I think that's the blessing and the curse of being on the bubble. We feel like we've got to do something different and fun, and this might be the end so let's shake it up. We've never—none of the CSI franchise—done anything like this. So the beauty of being on the bubble is we can take more chances. It's been really fun to do that. 

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In this finale have you left open the possibly to a ninth season?
Not only have we left open the possibility, but Pam and I have already started kicking around ideas. New York City is amazing. Even eight years in, we're not done. But also characterwise, personal things, that if there is a season nine we're really hoping to delve even further. In season nine we want to take those [personal moments] further, we don't want to just do it in little blips. 

We're hoping to pepper the entire season with half of an episode dedicated to the possibility of even spending a day off with each character. While the rest of the team is at work and solving a particular crime—how is it that our characters spend that 24 hours when they have a day off. We'd like to actually spend a decent amount of time dealing with their personal lives, so we're hoping we have the opportunity. 

Has CBS given you any indication of CSI: NY's chances for a renewal?
We have no idea. We've been given no notice on whether or not we're coming back; I think obviously they have a difficult decision to make. They are trying to figure out their schedule. We're hopeful. Some of the feedback we've gotten has been quite positive, so we still have our fingers crossed.

CSI: NY's season finale airs Friday at 9 p.m. on CBS.

Are you excited to see Mac's emotional breakthrough while in limbo? Not ready to say goodbye to CSI:NY yet? Praying to the TV gods for a season nine renewal? Head to the comments! 

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