On Thursday night, "CSI" kicks off a fourth year of solving crimes with science.
The Early Show co-anchor Julie Chen caught up with its star, Marg Helgenberger, who plays a former stripper turned forensic specialist.
Helgenberger was in Los Angeles, where the two enjoyed breakfast overlooking the California coast.
What's Helgenberger's typical breakfast? "It kind of varies," she says laughing, "Yesterday, I had a breakfast burrito."
Helgenberger prepared to dish on the new season of "CSI - Crime Scene Investigation." Fans can expect more stories of murder and mayhem, where the truth is always stranger than fiction.
With a smile on her face, she explains, "There is an episode that's coming up that explores the world of plushies. Have you ever heard of that?"
Helgenberger continues, "It's apparently people who enjoy having sex being dressed up in little furry costumes: Squirrel-girl, ha."
Chen says she had never heard of that. "Nor had I. Nor had I!" Helgenberger exclaims. "Don't ask me why they're called plushies or why they get off doing what they do."
Helgenberg's character is strong, sexy – having been a former exotic dancer – and smart. She is always very calm, something the actress says she does not really practice in front of a mirror.
She says, "Although this year, I'd kind of want to bust out of that calm center a little bit. I'd like to see Catherine be a little bit more of a loose cannon, and be a little bit slave to her emotions."
Asked if there is kinky side to Catherine Willows, Helgenberger says, "I do think she's got an active sexual life."
Helgenberger admits to being in her 40s, a time in which some actresses struggle to find juicy roles. With two Emmy nominations for "CSI," Helgenberger says she's doing some of the best work of her career, and enjoying all the attention.
About her fans, she says, "Who would think somebody my age would be role model for a 10-year-old girl? To me, that is so touching that I have an impact: 'We like you because you're so strong and you're smart.'"
Sometimes the fans comments are comical, Helgeberger notes. An example: "I want to be a criminalist. And sometimes they say, 'I like your wardrobe.'"
Yoga helps Helgenberger stay fit. She also lifts weights once in a while. "Just get those biceps going," she says so she can slip into those fabulous gowns that are part of her life.
Posing for pictures, she says can be actually very humbling. She explains, "Say you arrive and they're like, 'Marg! Marg!' and they're taking your picture and then here comes Sarah Jessica Parker. And they're like (she motions indicating a swish pan away from her). And you're like, 'But I'm still here.' Oh, all right."
Be sure to tune in Thursday night at 9:00 p.m. on CBS when a new season of "CSI" premieres. The crack forensic team tries to capture killer who commits a double homicide.
Copyright 2003 CBS. All rights reserved.