The Boyfriend of the Week

January 22, 2001

This week's Boyfriend is probably not going to be all that popular. In fact, a bunch of you are probably going to write me to tell me you're sick and tired of me pickin' out Boyfriends who consistently fail to meet the standard definition of "gorgeous" (which is, of course, "see 'Russell Crowe'"). Last week it was ol' baldy and this week, it's that old guy from "C.S.I." What the heck is wrong with Meg? She used to have such stunning taste!

Well, you guys, you're totally off your rockers. Because while, granted, William Petersen is no spring chicken and he's not good-looking in that rugged-yet-sensitive way ("see Russell Crowe"). I'll tell ya, if you watch C.S.I. long enough, you too will become addicted and attracted to William P. Why? Because his character not only kicks butt, he's also the coolest bug-dissecting blood-spatter-tracing forensics fella on the tube today. In fact, and this is saying a LOT, I think I like him even better than I like Quincy M.E.. Gasp!

Yikes, huh? No kidding. Better than Quince? I can't believe it either! But it's true. William's character, Gil Grissom, is not only cuter than the Quince-man (sorry Jack), but he's also right on the cutting edge of forensic technology. And far, far less likely to go off on rants about lookalike drugs and whatever-else Quincy was all fired up about way back in the 70's. Gil's more laid-back, which is not to say he doesn't care about the people involved in the crimes he investigates. He does. He's very sweet in that respect. But he's also just freakin' cool. Though he does violate a cardinal rule of science by storing his lunch in the lab fridge with his samples. Holy cross-contamination, Batman! Nevertheless, I've never seen anyone look sexier next to an electron microscope than Gil. (In fact, speaking of cross-contamination, I wouldn't mind swapping some spores with Gil Grissom some weekend night. Hubba hubba!).

In case you've been out of the country since September, I should tell you what C.S.I. is. It's a new show on CBS that airs on Friday nights and is about a bunch of crime scene investigators in Las Vegas. One of the things I really like about the show, actually, is the setting. I just went to Vegas for the first time this year and I absolutely loved it. But the show is more than flashy scenery and a bunch of pretty faces (and, believe you me, there are many pretty faces on there besides Will's), it's also very unique. Instead of being a mystery show of one of the two most-commonly used varieties (cops or cops/lawyers), it's a mystery show that takes you even further behind the scenes. So far behind the scenes, in fact, that the evidence of the crime becomes microscopic. It's been a long time since we viewers got to go that far backstage and my oh my how the technology has changed. It's not only cool, fellas, it's completely fascinating.

But, obviously, not everybody out there is a science junkie like me. So, let's get back to our main subject, Mr. William Petersen. You have alternatives for Will-watching if you just can't get yourself to watch a show on which they dissect bugs and spray-paint magic stuff on floors to check for hidden blood trails (so cool!). In fact, one of the reasons I wanted to feature Will was so I'd have an excuse to rent his latest movie, "The Skulls," which also stars ex-Boyfriend Joshua Jackson. I fully expected this movie to, as the kids say, "suck," but I was actually pleasantly surprised to discover it's not half bad. The movie is about the secret college fraternity "The Skulls," which is actually based on a real secret society that a lot of really famous people have been members of (George W., for one). In the movie, Joshua plays a newbie to the society who discovers the people in charge are not the swell guys he thought they'd be. And William plays one of those in-chargers, who is, lucky for Joshua, not nearly as bad as his cohorts. Or is he? Mua ha ha ha ha! I'm not tellin'! While it's certainly not a "film," it's definitely worth the $3.50 rental charge and two hours of your time. Particularly if you like looking at William Petersen in nice suits.

Which I do.

Since I was already planning on watching one WP movie over the weekend, I decided to go whole-hog and make it a little marathon by watching TWO instead. The second one I rented, which was also not-half-bad, was the old movie "Manhunter" (when I say "old," by the way, I mean "from the 80's"). "Manhunter" is the movie based on the book "Red Dragon" by Thomas Harris, which some of you may know is the prequel to "Silence of the Lambs." William plays an FBI agent who retired after capturing Hannibal Lector and sustaining a pretty nasty physical and mental wound from the whole process. But there's a new serial killer at large and the FBI just can't get a handle on the case. So, they ask him to come back for just one more. He agrees, as long as they'll keep his face out of the news, but, of course, that goes horribly awry and pretty soon the killer is threatening him and his family, with a little help from Lector, whom Will consults for some insight into serial killer behavior. Not too shabby. Definitely suspenseful, and there's some fine acting in there by Tom Noonan (as the killer) and Dennis Farina (as Jack Crawford).

Incidentally, the film was made in 1986 (directed by Michael Mann, who also did "The Insider"), which means William Petersen is considerably younger in it. I usually take notes when I watch movies for Boyfriend research and the only note I took on this movie was, "Oh my god, I think I'm going to die." Cuz, kids, looks can kill, and William Petersen in "Manhunter" is absolutely dreamy. Trust me on this one. Dark curly hair, kind of a rugged, sensitive look (ooo, Russell alert!), everything you could ever want RIGHT THERE. Including the knack for forensics (because that's how his character catches the bad guy, of course).

So, there you have it. Two fine alternatives to Friday night television for you. No excuses left, people! And, actually, I've seen another movie Will was in. It was the made-for-tv version of Peter Benchley's knock-off of his own book (Jaws), "The Beast." But, I'd avoid that one unless you are just like me and can't resist really bad scary/disaster movies. It's a lot like Jaws, plot-wise (killer sea creature), but without the amazing script, incredible cinematography, and, um, Richard Dreyfuss. Pretty much the only saving grace is William Petersen's presence, which is not exactly nothing. But it's not enough for me to recommend the flick in good conscience.

A little biography, before I get too carried away with recommendations and non-recommendations: Will was born in 1953 in Evanston, Illinois (which I think is by Chicago). He attended Bishop Kelly High School in Boise, where he mostly played a lot of football and dated cheerleaders (well, I made that last part up, but it is rumored that he wears his old football jersey in a lot of his movies, and football players and cheerleaders usually go together, so I thought it was a safe extrapolation). He began acting while attending Idaho State University and then spent a year in Spain as a Shakespearean student (I hope somebody quickly told him that Shakespeare was actually from England). After that, he returned to Chicago to go to work as an actor on the stage.

He was a many plays during his career as a stage actor, including "A Streetcar Named Desire," which he performed at the Stratford Festival in Ontario, Canada (the same festival, I believe, that Constable Fraser was just playing Hamlet in late last year). In fact, it was his performance there that landed him his first movie role, in "To Live and Die in L.A." (which I haven't seen). He then started showing up in about a movie a year, 50-50 television and screen, playing everything from an artist ("Keep the Change") to Pat Garrett ("Young Guns II"). But despite the fact he was soon a fairly familiar face, major stardom seemed to elude him.

Until finally he got involved with a little television project called "C.S.I." (he not only stars in it, by the way, he's also the producer). Of all the shows to debut last Fall, "C.S.I." is the only one the critics are really calling a hit. Because it's got everything anybody could ever want from a telelvision show: cute guys, smart women, and lots of blood. Ouch! Killer!

It looks good that "C.S.I." will be around for a few years, as I think the show gets better and better with each episode. And that's definitely good news for us. It means years and years of getting to see William Petersen and his suave gray hair, his crinkly eyes, his mischevious smile, and his fridge full of tissue samples, test tubes of blood, and bags of lunch. Could life get any better? (To find out, check back next week!)

MacGyver Factor Score: 97.223%. I took a few points off because he waited so damn long to make himself known to me. If he'd been on C.S.I. right about the time he showed up in "Manhunter," I'd be married to him right now. Dang! Born too late!

Boyfriend-Related Links

The Official CSI Site (including an interview with WP about Quincy!)
A CSI Fan Site
Will's IMDB page

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