Who should replace Laurence Fishburne on 'CSI'?


Image Credit: Sonja Flemming/CBS

As every CSI fan will attest, there is no replacing William Petersen. Laurence Fishburne did an admirable job keeping the Las Vegas team intact for the last two years with his portrayal of Raymond Langston, but the CBS drama never recovered in the ratings once Gil Grissom rode into the sunset. As a result, the show finished the season with a 3.3 rating among adults 18-49 (each ratings point equals 1.3 million viewers). It was ranked No. 30.

Three weeks ago, before news broke that Fishburne will not be returning to CSI, CBS announced it was moving the 11-year-old series from Thursdays to a more protected slot on Wednesdays, where it will compete against the now-hobbled Law & Order: SVU (we miss you already, Chris Meloni!). But that hardly means the network has thrown in the towel on the mothership: Given that the fading CSI: New York could fall off the schedule after next year (it finished its seventh season with a 2.1 rating), followed by CSI: Miami (the nine-year-old drama is at a 2.9) in 2013, there’s a real chance that CSI could be counted on for another two, possibly three years — which is why there are plans to fill the void left by Fishburne.

But who should it be? Adding another high-profile (see: expensive) star may seem risky, especially if the actor doesn’t deliver. And George Eads, who fans love as Nick Stokes, seems primed and ready to be the lead gent on the show. But the drama still needs another household name to bring in new fans. Enough with the film stars, though! No offense to Fishburne, but a tried and true TV star is usually the best person to turn a franchise around.

So here, in my never-to-be-humble opinion, are some suggestions for possible replacements:

Jimmy Smits: The CBS brass seemed to love him in Cane, even though the drama tanked quickly. And just because his NBC drama Outlaw fizzled out after one season, doesn’t mean Smits is any less of a TV star. Downside: He’ll command something north of $100k per episode. But hey, bonafide TV stars don’t come cheap.

Chris Meloni: How delicious would it be if, after failing to carve out a new deal on SVU, Meloni jumped to the timeslot competitor to kick serious crime-fighting butt? Downside: He won’t come cheap, either, and he probably wants a break from primetime TV.

Michael Chiklis: One, he was born to play a cop. Two, he’s immensely popular. Three… do I seriously need to provide more reasons? Downside: He does his best work as a bad guy.

Ethan Hawke: He definitely seems a little more cerebral than the other men, and this guy is ready to make a serious run in primetime. (His Fox actioner Exit Strategy was passed over for fall.) Downside: I’m not sure he can take on the role of a team leader.

Terry O’Quinn: I may be crawling out on a limb here, but I’m fairly certain that everyone at EW, including Doc Jensen, would start watching CSI if John Locke worked inside the yellow tape. Downside: A procedural might not mesh with O’Quinn’s eccentric (and sometimes menacing) persona. But a girl can dream.

Who am I missing?

Read more:
Laurence Fishburne exits CSI

Laid-off TV stars: Who is out of a job next season
18 TV Shows That Replaced a Star

Comments (274 total) Add your comment
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  • Taylor

    A woman would be kinda interesting…what’s Kim Basinger doing nowadays?

    • KC

      Heather Locklear!

      • Shellibelli

        James Franco!

      • Mandi

        SHoreh Agdashloo would be an interesting choice if they want a new head of the department, otherwise, they should bring in a newbie csi imo….

      • stickittotheman

        Steve Carrell is free.

      • District 12

        Kate Mulgrew would be interesting, it would be nice to see her on tv again

      • O’Snap

        I hear Charlie Sheen is available.

    • Miss Talk

      Keanu Reeves, people.

    • Mandi

      Technically, a woman was in charge because Kathryn(?) Willows was promoted to supervisor after Grissom left…

    • Brian K

      Elizabeth Mitchell.

      • JJ


      • arben

        My thoughts exactly.

    • Joe D

      I LOVE the Kim Basinger idea!!

  • BayouShaman

    Too bad they killed off Liev Schreiber after his multi-episode arc a few seasons back when he took over briefly for Peterson. He was good in his role and always a delight to watch chew scenery.

    • Jess

      Agreed – I always loved his character and hoped they staged his death. I don’t remember his story line exactly but I think that could work.

    • Phil Esteen

      Concur. Liev is an excellent actor and has a creepy intensity that made him an interesting CSI character.

      That said, all the CSI-based shows seem dated and tired now, but set against the background noise of all the “reality TV” nonsense, the CSIs seem almost Shakespearean.

    • Nancy

      Liev was great. I think that he fit
      in great. They should not have killed off his character. He was just awesome.

  • Roger Pedersen

    Personally I think Grissom should be returning. A wisened, stronger and calmer Grissom would be nice.

    • di


    • rick

      Tommy Lee Jones

      • madcamel

        Best suggestion yet!

    • rhonda

      i stopped watching after Grissom left and not coming back unless he does. The show i love but when they start taking off the main player its never the same. I want Grissom back please

  • karen

    Bring back Grissom after eye surgery and a long rest….oh yeah!!!!

    • caroline

      It’s his ears that were the problem – and he fixed those.

  • Kay

    John Lithgow.

    • habsgirl

      Trinity??? Very creepy but would totally work!

  • Angel

    Bring back Grissom for a final season.

    • Marceline

      yes, better answer. I hope a last season with Grissom

  • KC

    Charlie Sheen

    • rick

      get real that guys a washed up crack head with a loud mouth.

      • Altair

        I’m pretty sure that was a joke.

    • Drilon

      I love your weblog.! exetrmely good colours & topic. Did you create this website yourself or did you hire someone to do it for you? Plz reply back as I’m looking to create my personal blog and would like to know where you got this from. thanks

  • Used to like this show

    Nobody. Make season 12 the last. It jumped the shark several seasons ago, anyway.

  • Robyn Walker

    If William Petersen would come back that would be nice but if not how about Kurt Russell?

    • Tan

      Excellent idea!!

  • Keanu Reeves


  • Antonio666

    How about Charlie Sheen?

    • di

      Wild thing as a cust would be funny

  • UGH

    Lady Gaga.
    She’s everywhere else already.

    • PrincessPJ

      Or maybe Jennifer Lopez – she’s everywhere too!

  • Taryn

    Chi McBride maybe?

    • ALS

      He’ld be interesting as a cop, maybe as the new sherriff

      • Carol

        That’s a really good suggestion!

    • Fernanda

      I need to point out, while searching via tons of blogs each week, your theme of the blog is dihisnguistable (for all you appropriate motives). Should you not head me inquiring, what’s the name of the concept or perhaps would it be a custom extramarital relationship? It is better than the themes or templates I personally use for a lot of associated with my sites

  • Ernie

    Rowan Atkinson

    • Darrn

      CSI: Bean!

    • Carol

      What a delightfully quirky idea! I’d watch that.

  • Matt

    Vincent D’Onofrio

    • kcbaybe

      Snoop Dogg

Page: 1 2 3 15
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