“Get off the escalator. You’ve got shit to do,” a divine “male, dominant” voice once told CSI’s William Petersen during a hallucinatory near-death experience. The voice must have visited Mr. Petersen – star crime scene investigator Dr. Grissom – again sometime around July 17, as he then decided that he will leave the show after the tenth episode of its upcoming 9th season.
Mr. Petersen told the New York Times, "All I know is there are no plans to kill Grissom. We’re trying to create this as if this is how real people in real life would act,” and that the plot points to Grissom looking to reform his life.
Enter Laurence Fishburne (who recently stepped off the Broadway stage in Thurgood). Word is that Grissom will become mostly absent, and producers are courting Mr. Fishburne (as well as John Malkovich and Kurt Russell) to join CSI in the skin of a new character. Reuters reports the new character will be “a doctor/scientist outsider to the CSI unit who has the same genetic profile as a serial killer but hasn’t previously acted on any homicidal impulses.” A fresh, unpredictable man of intrigue? Or a character tailor-made to kill off the remaining cast?
CSI will also introduce a new female character played by Lauren Lee Smith, of The L Word. Her persona as crime scene investigator Bryce Adams will be “a smart, flirtatious, and witty non-conformist who entered law enforcement to rebel against her judgmental psychiatrist father.”
Petersen will stay with the show as an executive producer, make occasional appearances on the show, and may also spotlight as director.