'CSI' scoop: William Petersen to reprise role in upcoming episode

william-petersen_320.jpg Image Credit: Tony Barson/WireImage.com Now here’s a love letter to CSI devotees: EW has learned exclusively that William Petersen will reprise his role as Gil Grissom with a cameo in an upcoming episode. The actor – who left the show in January 2009 – already shot his appearance on the CBS drama and we’re told his return involves Jorja Fox, who plays Gil’s on-screen wife Sara. It’s unclear exactly when he’ll appear back in or around the lab, but TV Line teased that it may occur this week. 

As EW first reported in December, the writers paved the way for a possible Petersen return by penning an episode that  introduces Gil’s long lost mother, played Phyllis Frelich. In the Feb. 3 show, a murder occurs at a school for the deaf where Grissom’s mom is a professor. Sara goes to investigate but ends up facing an unexpected challenge — a surprising lack of affection from her mother-in-law. Apparently, Grissom’s mom never felt that Sara was the one for her beloved Gil so the two women have a few fences to mend. The episode also stars Oscar winner Marlee Matlin as a school colleague who not only serves as Mrs. Grissom’s protege but used to date Gil. Guess who momma Grissom prefers?

Fans are supposed to think that Gil is constantly on the move so he and Sara maintain a long-distance relationship. This week’s story is a continuation of an arc that started way back in season one’s memorable “Sound of Silence” episode, in which we first learn that Gil can sign because he grew up with a deaf mother.

When Petersen left, both he and his fellow producers promised that the longtime TV and stage actor would return occasionally. Back in 2009 when he was preparing for his departure, Petersen told EW exclusively that while he won’t miss playing Gil, he hopes fans won’t get too shaken up over his character’s absence. ”I think there’s a way for the audience to remember him, like losing a great co-worker they’ve known for years,” Petersen said. ”He didn’t die in a plane crash, he didn’t get a brain tumor. He’s out there.”

More on William Petersen and CSI from EW:
exclusive: William Petersen says goodbye

William Petersen returns to the big screen

Comments (311 total) Add your comment
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  • JT

    I guess I’ll have to tune back in. The long distance relationship is one of the most ridiculous things on television since Ross & Rachel’s over the top post marriage relationship.

    • Blah Blah

      I think that the show went down hill since William signed off.The show just wasn’t the same without him on it.. The other guys okay,but he isn’t Gil..

      • cjay

        The “other guy”. I am not knocking that Gil might be better for the role but the “other guy” is too plain a description for Laurence Fishburne.

      • Christine Callahan

        am not a big tv fan. But your right, he was the person for the role. I stopped watching the show after his departure too. He just had that something, that captured your attention from beginning to end !

      • samIam

        @sexyrose…was his last name McDonald? and did he have a white painted face and big red hair and nose?

      • Chuckles

        I agree. I think Fishburne does a good job but he is not Gil. It’s difficult to replace a character like Gil. He is/was the main character in the show. Everyone has a particular place but his was a lead role and you might as well cancel the show if you kill off the main character. Just and Observation.

      • libby

        Christine, maybe you are talking about his “bow” legs. Yes I miss Gil and although Lawrence is a good actor, He is not Gil. Gill was the show.

      • Deb Lilly

        After “Grissom” left, I quit watching CSI Las Vegas as well. It just never seemed the same after he left.

      • HammerinHank

        Unfortunately, they’ve replaced Gill with excessive blood and guts. A poor substitute to be sure.

      • Reality Bites

        I stopped watching when Grissom left.. he was the heart of the show. When he left to do a play and they replaced him with Liev Schrieber.. strangely enough that worked really well.. but not once he left. AND I hated the Sara/Gil pairing.

      • iusedtowatchthisshow

        “The other guys”.. Come on at least call him Morpheus :)

      • DeltaQuadrant

        Lawrence Fishburne is great. I was glad to learn he was coming to the show. I was also sad to see Gil Grissom go. I liked him too. Lady Heather is NOT a good match with Gil. You guys are nuts. Grissom is a logical scientist. Heather was a free spirit. Opposites can attract, but what would they have in common? Sarah is just as boring as Gil, so they actually do make a good couple. Lady Heather was on FIREFLY. That is where I first seen her.

      • Mary

        Sara and Grissom are perfect together

      • Vegas Fan

        Heather is just Dum she had sex with her daughters killer to get his DNA when she could have got it from a coffey cup or wine glass.

      • James

        They should have killed of the rancid Heather woman

      • Fiona

        Please bring back Jack Oakley from TGTBATD to finish what he started kill of lady Heather. He did pay her.

      • Rita

        The Lady Heather character was ludicrus.

      • Bioassay

        I Never liked Heather hope she’s gone forever.

      • labrats

        very nice epi. Jorja looked beautifull dressed up for a change Marleen and Phyllis were great guest stars.

    • BP

      I hate Sara Seidel with the fire of a thousand suns.

      • Fan of CSI

        agreed…i always thought Gil was better off with Lady Heather!

      • VegasChic

        I loved Lady Heather. Definitely wanted her to end up with Gil, especially after the episode where her daughter is kidnapped & killed.

      • Kay

        You do realize you’re talking about hating a fictional character with that much passion. You might want to find a hobby.

      • cattyfan

        Pairing Gil and Sara is what made me stop watching the show. And I agree…Gil was better with Lady Heather.

      • JK

        Lady Heather was the bomb diggity !!!! Sara, plain and dumb.

      • Kay

        The grapes are so sour over here. Gil ended up with Sara and that’s that. Deal with it.

      • Jason B.

        Never was a fan of the character. Thought the writing made her kind of preachy and whiny.

      • evoc

        Right on. Can’t stand Sara Seidel, was disappointed to read that character will be back.

      • laseh9

        i enjoy that comment lol

      • Justgirl

        Yay, I thought I was the only one who hated Sarah…..

      • David

        It was a weird name also. Sounds like Suicidal.

      • Laura

        Lady Heather was cool, but I actually wanted Grissom to end up with Catherine. Thought they’d be a good match. But I guess I was in the minority…

      • Sue1

        I never enjoyed Sara, her moodiness or her aversion to the job, and never understood her return to CSI. I also never saw an ounce of chemistry between her and Grissom, and count myself as being on the Lady Heather bandwagon. In the early days of the show, Catherine had a distain for Gil that always prevented me from seeing them together. I respect Peterson’s choice to leave, but the show suffered with his exit, and I’ll be glad to see him back, even if for a little while.

      • Reality Bites

        Oh please. Just about any other female they ever had on the show living or dead had more chemistry with Gil then Sara did. It was a pathetic pairing. I think when they revealed them as a couple it was a collective NOOOOOOOOOOOOO heard across tv land.. followed with a WTF?

      • Patti

        I hated the Gil & Sara pairing as well. Loved Lady Heather. I have dealt with it – by not watching the show anymore. They might as well have killed Grissom off after that pairing – the Grissom we knew and loved was dead with that move anyway.

      • Yep!!

        Me too. And I really wished he would’ve ended up w/Lady Heather as well. They just seemed right.

      • Fran

        Sara and Gill Perfect for Each Other

      • Melissaa

        I never liked Sara..whiney, unprofessional, boring, a miserable character. I have no clue what the writers were smoking when they paired Grissom up with her..she is so far beneath him..not a believable match at all.

      • carolae

        I agree….once Peterson left that role, it just wasn’t the same. Besides, Fishburn may do a good job but he just doesn’t cut it. We still watch the show and hope that Peterson will return to the lab even if it is only periodically. Don’t know what he is doing at the moment…..he had a role in a play but that was over a year ago. I hope he changes his mind and returns.

      • Daisy

        Sara is awesome

      • keeley

        They should have let lady whatever die when she paid Jack Oakley to kill her .

      • baadja


    • Tammy

      Gil and I had a love affair, he just didn’t know it. I’m with everyone else, IF he returns I’ll start watching CSI again…. I so can’t wait to start our love affair back up if that’s the case.

      • calistoga


    • Reality Bites

      I still feel horribly cheated that they let her survive the miniature killer.. it was the perfect opportunity to get rid of her character and they serious let the audience down!!

      • flashgordon

        I agree. I’ve had a difficult time watching the show with Sara in and Gil out.

      • Cindilouhoo

        ABSOLUTELY… what a great op to off Sara, that whiny, good for almost nothing character and a great finish for that fantastic series! I miss Gil’s exchanges with the other characters, too… esp Lady Heather. But I’ll admit, I’d like to have seen something develop with Catherine.

      • AnnaSophia

        You people are so delusional that it’s almost pathetic. Lady Heather is a dominatrix. Never in a millions years would the producers have paired up Grissom with LH. Maybe it was a nice little experiment but it would have never worked… He’s married to Sara now so that ship has sailed. Deal with it !!! LOL….

      • Fran

        Sara is the best character on CSI

      • Amanda

        Pity LH didd die in GBATD

    • Jean Guy Levesque

      Peterson’s slow over acting is so bad, it might be worse than Tommie Selleck’s crap acting. Vivve la Quebec!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      • Fish paste

        Watching Fish is like watching paint dry.

    • Amanda

      it works for Sara and Grissom

  • Jademarisa

    Just one episode? I’d love him to definitely come back!

    • Blah Blah

      i think they should get rid of the other guy and have Gil come back for good. i bet it would give the show way more viewers

    • GGG

      I like Laurence Fishbourne and I think he does a great job. I like his story and what he contributes to the cast. He’s a terrific actor…

      • ENC

        I think Laurence Fishbourne add a breath of fresh air to a show that was starting to be the same old same old. I never even missed Grissom.

    • C M

      They are testing the waters to see if the ratings will jump up again, if they do they probably will bring him back.

  • googie

    great to hear, i’ll be there!

    • flashgordon

      Me too!

  • dee123

    Old news EW, old news.

  • Javadude54

    I haven’t watched the show since my favorite lab rat was fired, but I’ll watch the episode with Grissom in it online after it airs.

    • MJ

      He wasn’t fired. He wanted to leave.

      • Meghan

        She means Liz Vassey, who played Wendy.

      • carolae

        Correct-o-mundo…..he was offered a role in an upcoming play I believe in Chicago which was going to be for about a year. I sure hope he changes his mind and returns F/T.

    • Japanese Japanese HIROSHI

      I understand that Wendy the character remains active as a CSI officer somewhere else (meaning she won’t be seen at least regularly onscreen).

      Anyway, was the actress (Liz Vassey) actually fired from the cast?

      • Jason B.

        The show did not renew her contract. They stated that they wanted to go into “a different creative direction.”

        The character was stated to have relocated to a CSI lab in California during her final episode.

      • Japanese Japanese HIROSHI

        @ Jason B.,

        Thanks for your info. : )

        Dear internet : ) (Dear producers),

        Re Gil Grissom the character, while as a person, sometimes the man seems to have had problems interacting with others and often came off as uncaring (f.o.speech), cold and in need of sense of humor, doubtless is he the pillar of the series.

        Please bring him back — for good. And with his old flame the sexy and mysterious Lady Heather, too (sugar on top).

        And get him and Sara to divorce, s’il vous plait. : )

  • Cindy Yelle

    Wow thats awesome ! I enjoy his replacement but I think the two offer a great dynamic :)Sounds like a good story line.

  • KB

    Petersen was the heart of CSI. So glad to have him back for an episode.

    • Blah Blah

      i agree.The show just wazn’t the same with him out of it.. i think it lost alot of viewers when they made that choice.

  • Cindy

    “Cameo” usually means a brief appearance, just a line or two. Say it isn’t so.

  • Tori

    This is old news. I read it about over a month ago. EW is starting to slack.

    • Petunia

      Aren’t you special Tori. Being in the loop and all……

      • BigBoo

        Yes. Being in the loop is special. I smell sour grapes instead of flowers….

    • kikidee

      Because it was reported on EW before. It’s on here now (again) because it is presumably this week that the episode airs. Just a little judgemental and quick to criticize, Tori!

      • Tori

        Thank you kikidee! It was reported on here before and a couple other places before that, I wasn’t trying to say I was special. Cause trust me i’m not.

      • lanam

        you are a cool person tori, don’t pay attention to trolls :) that person had no reason to treat you like that.

      • Chuckles

        I am.

    • Margie

      You people are so nasty that you sound jealous. Act anonymously the way you would if we could see you.

      • Jess

        That sentence makes absolutely no sense.

      • Gil in in Wide World

        Jess- It sure does… Margie is suggesting that we behave online as we would in person… simple.

  • Graciela

    William Petersen is festured in the next episode talking via Skipe scene from what looks a tent. The promo aired on CTV of Canada and withdrawal because Billy apparently did not want his appearance was promoted.

  • Sonia

    Please let him stay, it’s not the same without him!

  • jenna

    Great news!!! I’ll be watching for sure. I hope this paves the way for a few more occasional visits. The promo on CBS/CSI website looks awesome!!

  • Lena

    I never understood all the fuss CSI made with Gil and Sara FINALLY getting together and riding off into the jungle together only to have them wind up having a long-distance marriage. WTF! It’s the most ridiculous thing ever!

    • Fridge

      Totally agree. Plus, Sara left and then all of a sudden decides to come back? I thought she left because she was burned out on being in Vegas, yet here she is. After Grissom left I haven’t regulary tuned in. I’ll stick to the reruns on USA and Spike.

    • Molly

      Well they are happy so good for them, Sara needed time off now she has recupriated,

  • Joeyz

    Best news ever!

  • Ipstenu

    Breaking? CTV aired a clip of him in the ep on Thursday, the Fans had it out on the net by Friday AM, and NOW you pick it up? Bit slow, guys.

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