Image Credit: Robert Pitts/LandovLast week, Adam Rodriguez whipped CSI: Miami fans into a frenzy when he announced via Twitter that “Eric Delko will be back full time 4 all of season 9!” The news came seven months after the actor went off contract with the hit procedural after failing to come to terms on a new deal with CBS. (At the time, Rodriguez said he agreed to return for 10 episodes to give Delko a proper send-off.) Why the turnaround? And what does this mean for Delko (or, more importantly, Delko and Calleigh)? Rodriguez, who’s currently wrapping up his recurring stint on Ugly Betty as Hilda’s beau, took some time off from fighting a nasty cold to give me the scoop. (Additional reporting by Sandra Gonzalez)
I thought you were leaving this season. What happened?
ADAM RODRIGUEZ: That was the plan. As we talked about last time, we got to a crossroads last year where [CBS and I] wanted different things. And one thing that was important was going back to finish the character properly. I think when the fans got the news that Delko wasn’t going to be back full-time and when they actually saw he wasn’t back full-time, they felt there was something missing from the show. They were very vocal about that and I have to give credit to CBS that they paid attention to it.
In other words, they met your demands?
RODRIGUEZ: That certainly had something to do with it. I think, you know, a lot of it had to do with both parties even being willing to hash something out. [The first] time, it was really CBS that walked away [from negotiations] quickly. I’m not going to pull any punches, that’s just the way it was. I think that fans really made it known that the show wasn’t the same without Delko. And like I said, CBS was wise enough to pay attention to that and make sure that they kept the chemistry of the show the way the fans wanted it.
Did CBS specifically tell you this was a result of fan response?
RODRIGUEZ: They certainly said that was one of the things. There’s no doubt that was the major reason.
Some fans are worried that, for financial reasons, producers will be forced to cut another member of the cast now that you’re back.
RODRIGUEZ: I would certainly hope not. I would be very, very disappointed if that was the decision that was made. I can certainly tell you that the agreement we came to should not warrant that happening at all.
Should I take that to mean they didn’t back the Brinks truck up to your house?
RODRIGUEZ: [Laughs] Certainly, I can’t complain, but, no, that wasn’t the case. One of the things [they did] to sweeten the deal was they’re allowing me to write and direct at least one episode next season. That was something that was really attractive to me.
Is it safe to assume that Delko will be leaving the D.A.’s office and rejoining the team?
RODRIGUEZ: That’s my guess. I don’t have confirmation of that, but I don’t know what else [they could do]… I think it might be interesting to explore [his current job] a little further before he actually comes back to the team.
What does this mean for Delko and Calleigh?
RODRIGUEZ: That also remains to be seen. I’m curious to see what they have in mind. But I think we have to go all the way down the road at this point. I would really love to explore the relationship fully and see what it’s like to have these people that have had this attraction to each other and are finally getting into this relationship for real after all this time. It certainly took a long enough for it to actually happen. I think we owe it to the people who wanted to see it happen to give them the whole ride as opposed to making it a short one, [especially since] it’s not about me leaving now. Now that I’m going to stay, I think that we’ll have a little more latitude as far as what we can do with the relationship.