Robert Voets, CBS
David Caruso and Gary Sinise in the "CSI: Miami"-"CSI: NY" crossover.

"CSI" creator Anthony Zuiker has a word of advice to fans.

"Expect the unexpected" when you tune in to the "CSI: Miami"-"CSI: NY" crossover that airs tonight and Wednesday at 9 p.m. on CBS/Ch. 2.

"We have a lot of body count, a lot at stake, a lot of blood, a lot of screams," Zuiker said in a conference call with TV critics to talk about what he's calling "virtually a movie" when you add the two episodes together. "You may not sleep that night, but you know what? It'll be a lot of fun."

It's the first "CSI" crossover since "Miami" was launched on the original series and "NY" was launched on "Miami."

"We held off on this because we wanted to wait until 'New York' had distinguished itself," said Anne Donahue, the "CSI" executive producer who runs the "Miami" show. "And I think Anthony and his team have really distinguished themselves. I am happy to tell you, 'CSI: NY' last week was No. 10."

Actually, "CSI" was No. 1; "Miami" was No. 4; and "NY" was No. 10. "As I tell young Anthony, that just doesn't happen," Donahue said.

And it's not bad for a guy who, before he sold "CSI," was operating the tram at the Mirage in Las Vegas.

"I was lucky enough to meet Anthony five years ago when there was this new show called 'CSI.' And I couldn't remember the name — I kept calling it 'CIA,' Donahue said. "And now 'CSI,' thanks to this former tram driver and great writer, is part of the lexicon."

Still, they're looking for a ratings boost out of the crossover.

"These types of crossovers really are a tremendous treat for our viewers," Zuiker said. "And it really gives our viewers a chance to sample other 'CSI' shows and casts and mysteries on other nights. Invariably, there will be some 'Miami' fans who start to watch 'NY' and vice versa.

" 'CSI: NY' has gone through a complete visual makeover in terms of the lighting style, the colors, the new labs. This is just the event that the franchise needed at this point, not only for 'CSI: NY' but to treat the viewers. And it's, I feel, some of our best work if not the best."

It is, however, an exceptionally violent couple of episodes. It opens with a small-plane crash in Florida that allows a convicted killer being transported from New York to escape. It's tied up with the investigation of a year-old murder in Miami that still hasn't produced a body — but that escaped killer goes on a violent spree in both states.

A spree that, quite naturally, brings together Miami's Lt. Horatio Caine (David Caruso) and his team and Detective Mac Taylor (Gary Sinise) and his team. A spree that eventually mounts to 13 bodies in the two episodes.

"The funny thing about it is (writers) Liz Divine, Ann Donahue and myself never sat down and thought that this would escalate to 13, but it's just the magical, organic way that the story came about," Zuiker said. "And with dead bodies, there are stakes. With 13 dead bodies, there are the biggest stakes."

Having done this crossover, are more coming? Could there even be a three-way crossover with all three "CSI" series?

"You never know," Donahue said.

"The beauty of this franchise is it's very interchangeable in terms of how crossover combinations will work," Zuiker said. "But you run the risk of doing too many of these things a year. Not only would you kill the writers, but I think these things should be special. Once a year at the most is great."

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