The polished metal DNA-helix-inspired spiral staircase that is a feature of the CSI: Vegas set

The DNA-helix-inspired spiral staircase that is a feature of the CSI: Vegas set.

Phot credit: CBS Broadcasting Inc.

Sleek interiors, vibrant lights, and … grisly morgues! Production designer Alex Hajdu explains what it takes to build the CSI: Vegas world.

By Maria Neuman

With the latest incarnation of the CSI series, the forever-favorite forensics drama seems to have come full circle, with classic cadaver-sleuthing characters (Gil Grissom, Sara Sidle, and David Hodges) joining a new crew (Maxine Roby, Allie Rajan, and Josh Folsom) and returning to the place where it all started—Sin City. The updated CSI: Vegas opens a new chapter for the Crime Lab, and it needed a new look to match because even morgues deserve a makeover every now and again.

“The design brief was to develop the next generation, cutting-edge forensics laboratory in Las Vegas,” says Alex Hajdu, who has also done production design on Magnum P.I. “The look is a building that had a history before becoming a crime lab.” This is evident in the sleek entry foyer with cast concrete walls, terrazzo floors, and a striking DNA helix-inspired spiral staircase.

“I looked at images and architectural drawings of similar buildings, like the 1950s Chase Bank in Palm Springs.” Naturally, Hajdu also perused the previous CSIs; the midcentury design pattern is the connecting thread through them.

Watch CSI: Vegas on CBS and streaming on Paramount+.

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