In an interview at the 2014 Monte-Carlo Television Festival, Eric Szmanda took a question regarding the “CSI” cast and who is most like their TV character in real life. It didn’t take much thought before Szmanda revealed that the DB Russell fans got to know on the small screen isn’t too far removed from the actor tasked with bringing him to life: “The Good Place” favorite Ted Danson. “He’s just himself. And he has such a comfortable ease with every scene. I’m always really impressed with how he handles himself on set, but also how he brings himself to the role,” Szmanda explained, giving Danson plenty of praise in his response.
DB Russell was a relatively late addition to the “CSI” roster, arriving on the show via the Season 12 premiere “73 Seconds.” Nevertheless, according to executive producer Don McGill, Ted Danson fit in perfectly from the moment he first stepped on set. “It was almost like he’d always been here. We were just so, so fortunate,” McGill told The Futon Critic in a 2012 chat, noting that when he and the “CSI” team envisioned the character of Russell, Danson topped the list of actors they wanted to take the role. Considering how popular Russell quickly became, it’s safe to say they were right to enlist Danson to play him.
As the “CSI” franchise has grown and expanded, the roster of characters has increased exponentially. Still, that hasn’t prevented Ted Danson’s DB Russell from remaining a standout after all these years. Time will tell if he’ll get the chance to return to the role down the road.