It's a drizzly Friday in mid-October in Manhattan Beach, Calif., just south of LAX, and "CSI: Miami" is throwing a party.
But first, there's a physical altercation to be filmed in front of the Miami-Dade Police Department -- actually a green glass building not far from the CBS drama's main sets -- involving stars David Caruso and Adam Rodriguez and a couple of guest stars, one playing a suspect and the other playing someone very angry at the suspect.
The angry man tackles the suspect, who's being walked into the building. CSI Eric Delko (Rodriguez) jumps into the fray, but ultimately it's up to Lt. Horatio Caine (Caruso) to prevent a knife being used.
Fortunately, Caine's famous Silhouette Titanium Model 8568 sunglasses were not damaged in the fracas.Then it's back to soundstages for a surf-and-turf lunch and a big cake celebrating production of the show's 200th episode, currently scheduled to air Dec. 5.
Even getting to this many episodes is an increasingly rare occurrence in today's impatient TV world, and in its 9th season, "CSI: Miami" has been moved from its comfortable Monday berth to the anchor slot on Sunday, where it risks being delayed if an NFL game runs over.
That's just what happened to the second episode on Oct. 10, which didn't begin to air until a few minutes before 11 p.m. Eastern (because of the time difference, it aired in its regular slot on the West Coast). Even with this, the show drew well over 9 million viewers.
"You basically created a new time period," says CBS entertainment chief Nina Tassler in her prepared remarks prior to the cake cutting.
"Between 11 and 12 at night," Caruso says. "I was asking if anyone has ever done that before. We were technically a late-night show. But a scripted show at 11 o'clock at night?
"People stayed up, and they stayed again in week three, because we went on the air at 10:26 p.m. (Eastern). So it's a fluid time slot, as they say."
Perched on a wall outside the MDPD location, sitting on a jacket to protect her white pants (female regulars on the show frequently wear white pants on the job but not skirts), Eva La Rue, who plays CSI Natalia Boa Vista, says, "Hopefully there's not an end to this show. We're hoping there isn't. We've got kids that need to go to college. We're so blessed that we've got a great crew and a great cast."
And while the white pants may be snug, La Rue has yet to be asked to don a bikini.
"Thank God," she says. "The pressure would be horrible. We leave that to the guest stars. They wear the bikinis, so we don't have to."
No matter what, bikini wearing would be out as an option for co-star Emily Procter, who plays CSI Calleigh Duquesne and who is pregnant with her first child, due in mid-December.
In an unusual sight on the laboratory set, Procter is wearing a dress and platform shoes.
"I never wear pants in my life," she says. "I never thought I'd say this, but I miss wearing pants. For the first time in my life, I miss my pants."
The younger men in the cast have other challenges. Rodriguez did enjoy the tussle he was filming in the morning, saying, "Taking them down, it was fun. It was a good way to start the morning, get the blood flowing.
"They've got me running in every episode this season. I think I've had to chase somebody in at least one sequence of each episode."
As for how he's doing physically, Rodriguez says, "My back is holding up OK. My hamstring's ready to pop. Oh, man, I do not want to do that. We'll see what happens. The show must go on. My hammy, it's either going to go or it isn't -- 17 more episodes to go."
Rodriguez's frequent partner in action sequences is co-star Jonathan Togo, who plays CSI Ryan Wolfe."One day," he says, "Adam and I were chasing the same guy for 12 hours. We're sprinting. By the end, we couldn't run. We couldn't move our legs."
Togo has also jumped off bridges wearing a harness and engaged in fistfights.
"In an hour," he says, "I have an appointment with a chiropractor. I see a sports chiropractor now, because of the stuff on the show. It takes its toll on your body. But you've got to be able to show up for work the next day. There's no calling in sick in TV."
Despite the hours and aches and pains, Togo probably speaks for the rest of the cast when he says, "Playing cops and robbers was my favorite thing, playing hide and seek. This is the very adult, million-dollar-a-day version of playing cops and robbers. It's the most fun ever."Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times