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For `CSI: New York' the City Is L.A., and Cops Are Actors, but Body Is Real

September 14, 2006|Richard Winton | Times Staff Writer

"CSI: New York" took a step closer to being a reality show this week as it filmed at the Pacific Electric Building in downtown Los Angeles.

The smell of death that residents complained was pervading the building seemed a little too real even for crew members of the CBS crime scene investigation TV drama.

And it turned out it was. A maintenance worker concerned that a resident hadn't been seen or heard from or paid his rent in months entered Apartment 538 on Tuesday morning and found a decomposed body, said Craig Harvey, chief of investigations for the Los Angeles County coroner's office.

"There were complaints about the smell," said Harvey, who has seen more bodies than those in all the "CSI" episodes combined.

The man, still identified as a John Doe, had lung cancer, was said to be suffering from depression and may have used cocaine, Harvey said. The circumstances of his death aren't considered suspicious, but the cause is still undetermined, pending autopsy results, he said.

LAPD Central Division Homicide Det. Doug Pierce said that the "CSI: New York" crew was filming a couple of floors above the body but, other than the smell, was never close enough to get a taste of what the fictionalized drama is like in real life.

The show, which stars Gary Sinise, filmed at the building Tuesday, Wednesday and again today, said a source familiar with the production. The main cast members weren't on the set when the remains were discovered.

The historic building at 610 S. Main St. has been remodeled to include upscale lofts. It is a favorite spot for movie location shootings, having been the newspaper office in "Spider-Man" and used as a backdrop for many productions seeking an East Coast feel in Southern California.

richard.winton@latimes.com

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