In preparation for Marg Helgenberger’s last episode of CSI – airing tonight on CBS — EW talked to the 53-year-old actress about becoming the third original star (behind Gary Dourdan and William Petersen) to depart the long-running crime drama, as well as what she’ll miss, and whether she’ll ever come back.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: You say goodbye to the other members of the CSI team in the last scene of your final episode. Was that by design?
MARG HELGENBERGER Yeah. I had asked for that to be the last scene ’cause I knew it was gonna be a really intense scene and I just didn’t want to play it before anything else. I don’t know if pressure is the right word, but I felt like a big bubble over my head, like, “This is an important day in my life.” It’s been such an incredible journey. I just wanted to make sure that…I said the right things.
How did you think it went?
I was really happy with the way it went. I mean, the scene, I had tweaked it. They had written it, but I tweaked it and they were okay with that. They said, “Really, whatever you want to say.” My boyfriend said several times, “That was just really, really special.” I mean, I knew that I was probably not gonna feel that kind o’ love. I mean, who knows? I hope to have another experience like that in my career, but that was a rare experience to end [my time on] the show that I still have enormous love for and respect for and pride and all of that. It was great. It was beautiful. It was really beautiful. Every time I’ve like thought about that day and leaving, I well up. Jorja Fox had written this card for me with a polar bear on it — a photograph of a polar bear. What she said in the card was so beautiful about how I’m an endangered species and blah, blah, blah. It was just so moving. So I just feel so blessed to have had this experience all these years.