Another regular series cast member is off another hour-long drama. Laurence Fishburne is out on CSI. Last year when he renewed his contract, he only signed for one season so it isn’t that much of a surprise that he decided not to renew his contract again. Plus, Fishburne is going back to what put him on the map…movies. Marg Helgenberger is already on record as coming back for next season, but only in a part-time capacity.
So what does all this mean for the one time #1 show on network TV? Well for one thing, the show has already been moved to Wednesday nights at 10pm from the prime Thursday 9pm slot. Right there, the show is going to take a hit. Now, not only are you losing Fishburne, but Helgenberger won’t be back full-time next season. I also have to wonder what happened behind the scenes with Fishburne and the CSI team. The reason I say that is because typically, production starts for the Fall shows in July. It’s June 8th. Fishburne didn’t give a lot of notice to the CSI team to find a replace and change or adjust stories as a result. Or did he and CBS is just letting the cat out of the bag now and they have a plan? I’m not sure it’s the latter because I don’t see the benefit to waiting to announce he’s leaving. Plus, I’m pretty sure you would have had a replacement lined up to announce with his departure if CBS knew about this. So what took so long for Fishburne to decide and wouldn’t CBS have put a timeline on it to be ready for production?
Either way, he’s out and as of right now, no one is in to replace him. I stopped watching CSI when Grissom left. Part of it was because I couldn’t see CSI being the same without him but the other part was because I had grown tired of the series. When you don’t focus on the personal aspects of the characters at all, and you solely look at it being a case-of-the-week show, you can only watch so many episodes about the science of finding the killer. At least that’s the case for me. I know you would get some stuff like Grissom and Sara and Catherine’s issues with her father. But you would only get 1 or 2 episodes in a 24 episode season that opened up the characters at all. And when the best character leaves (Grissom), a great character leaves with him (Sara), and another great character dies (Warrick) it crushes a show, for me. I love Catherine and Nick, but it’s like having Criminal Minds with just Morgan and Garcia. They’re awesome but you are missing a huge group/family dynamic. So I haven’t watched CSI in about 3 seasons and I don’t plan to revisit it anytime soon.