It's Official: Laurence Fishburne Joins 'CSI'

Talk about the worst-kept secret in the TV biz: More than a month after we first brought you news of the talks between Laurence Fishburne and CSI, CBS is now confirming that the Oscar-nominated actor is joining the cast this season as William Petersen’s pseudo replacement.

Says CBS: "Fishburne will play a former pathologist who is now working as an itinerant college lecturer, teaching a course in criminalistics. His focus is on understanding criminal behavior, how and why people commit acts of violence — tendencies he disturbingly sees within himself. In the course of a murder investigation, he comes into contact with the CSI team and ultimately joins the Las Vegas Crime Lab as a Level-1 CSI."

Says me: He’s got some funky serial killer DNA!   

"CBS asked us, ‘Who’s at the top of your dream list?’ CSI executive producers Carol Mendelsohn and Naren Shankar said in a joint statement. "Without hesitation, we said Laurence Fishburne. He is a powerful and intense actor, with an incredible range….If you distill CSI down to its essence, it’s a collaboration — and we are so looking forward to collaborating with Mr. Fishburne. For all of us at CSI, this is truly a dream."

"I am elated and delighted to be joining the cast of CSI," said Fishburne. "I look forward to a wonderful collaboration with the creative and talented team of such a successful and distinguished show."

Fishburne will debut in this season’s ninth episode, right around the time Petersen departs.

OK, the big question: Will Fishburne be able to fill Petersen’s size 12s? Comment away! And then head over to Hollywood Insider to find out why Fishburne felt "stupid and embarrassed" when he was first approached to join the show.

addCredit(“Laurence Fishburne: Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images”)


Comments (112 total) Add your comment
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  • Mandy

    I am very sorry to hear that William Petersen won’t be on CSI every episode, as I love Grissom. But if he had to go Laurence Fishburne is an excellent choice. He is a great actor and I think his character will be very interesting.

  • Snarf

    No one can replace Petersen, but I can’t think of an actor better qualified to succeed him.

  • midge

    > OK, the big question: Will Fishburne be able to fill Petersen’s Size 12s?
    Who else? Seriously, Michael. It’s Laurence Fishburn..

  • Craig

    Excellent choice!! If there’s anyone who could replace William Peterson, it’s Lawerence Fishburn. I smell Emmy nomination in 2009!!!

  • alice

    Grissom can never be replaced, but Laurence Fishburn is certainly a great actor and i look forward to see how he can create something new

  • Murie

    Now I will watch CSI!

  • caty

    now i’ll watch the show.

  • steve

    Excellent choice!! nobody can replace William Peterson, but cant think of a better choice than Lawerence Fishburn to succed him. I can see an Emmy nomination in 2009!!!

  • Grifter

    No one can replce Bill Petersen. I wonder how the rest of the cast will take to Fishburne. Less screen time for the rest of them from now on I suspect as I doubt he’s signed on to share the limelight. And it’s the end of CSI for me, Bill Petersen WAS CSI, he’s made CSI the show it is. Now it’ll be just another crime show. Fishburne will keep the interest for the time being, long term, who knows.

  • Jonathan Racasa

    of course no one can replace petersen, and the success of csi in its first few seasons. but fishburn is the best replacement they could have ever gotten. he is an amazing actor and has such a quiet but commanding presence.

  • Hilary

    No one will ever be able to fill Petersen’s shoes. Ever.
    I know I won’t be the only crying when Grissom leaves.

  • anonymous

    billy petersen would never be replaced…he is the show, but i have no doubt Laurence Fishburn can create something great neverthless

  • DebS

    I agree with Jonathan Racasa. Mr. Peterson and Gil Grissom can’t be replaced, but this is probably the best choice for a replacment.

  • redhead.n.dimples

    My question is what’s the status on Warrick/Gary Dourdan ? Last season’s cliffhanger did not look good for Rick’s future. I would miss him.

  • K

    They chose an excellent actor with gravitas and commercial appeal, I don’t think they could have done much better. CSI’s casting has been hit or miss over the years (for every Liev Schreiber there’s a Jessica Lucas), I’m glad to see they listened to their better angels this time. Will the show be the same without Petersen and Grissom, one of the most iconic characters on TV? No, definitely not, CSI will be a different show and this is the end of an era. However, CSI Version 2.0 is in good hands with Fishburne, it may suffer from the law of diminishing returns, but at least it has a decent chance now of avoiding an embarrassing and painfully protracted demise (cough, ER, cough).

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