Another key member of the Las Vegas investigative team is stepping out from behind the yellow tape. EW has confirmed that Laurence Fishburne, who joined the show more than two years ago in an attempt to fill the void left by William Petersen, will not return to CSI this fall.
Fishburne’s contract, like many of his co-stars, expired after the season 11 finale in May. In an interview with EW, the film actor indicated that he wanted to return for another year as Dr. Raymond Langston. ”I’m having a great time,” he says, while acknowledging that it was a challenge replacing Petersen’s Grissom. ”I was cognizant of the fact that Grissom was a much-beloved character. I made it my business to sit down and watch almost every episode of CSI from season 1 until I came on. It was about understanding the world and becoming as immersed in the show as possible. I love it.”
Despite his high-profile status as a film actor, Fishburne’s presence wasn’t enough to keep CSI’s ratings strong in the wake of Peterson’s departure. The show finished the season with a 3.3 rating among adults 18-49. It was ranked No. 30.
The contract for CSI’s other high-profile star, Marg Helgenberger, also expired in May but she is expected to return to the drama next season — albeit in an abbreviated way. She told People earlier this year she’s planning to do only ”a few episodes” next season. Executive Producer Carol Mendelsohn told EW that the season 11 finale was a cliffhanger in more ways than one. ”Most of our actors are negotiating for next season, so at the moment we don’t know. It must be a test for the writers of CSI. We always start planning for next season without knowing for sure.”
CSI is expected to bring on a new actor to replace Fishburne.