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CSI's Eric Szmanda

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AGE: 28

HOMETOWN: Mukwonago, Wis.

LATEST GIG: the CBS hit’s DNA expert

•Test tube babe: As lab technician and resident quipster Greg Sanders on CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, Szmanda says he cracks jokes on the corpse-laden set “to lighten things up a bit.” All kidding aside, he has “very soulful eyes,” says costar Marg Helgenberger. Plus: “He writes thank-you notes. I mean, what guy writes notes these days? He was raised right.”

•Rebel with a cause: At Mukwonago High School, “I was constantly challenging the rules,” says Szmanda. Parents Elaine, a homemaker, and Don, a hearing-aid salesman, “always got a kick out of it because I never really did anything that bad.” (No, they weren’t alarmed when he protested against Styrofoam cafeteria trays.)

•Movin’ on up: Szmanda recently bought a $700,000, four-bedroom home in Studio City, Calif. “It’s my little haven,” says the single guy.

•Season of change: After Greg’s three years in the lab, CSI‘s writers are finally letting him investigate crime scenes. “It’s nice to get out in the field,” says Szmanda,” and get my hands dirty.”