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‘CSI’ plans for William Petersen’s departure

   Posted by: admin   in CSI News

As has been widely reported, William Petersen will exit CSI: Crime Scene Investigation mid-way through the hit forensic drama’s upcoming ninth season.

Addressing reporters at the Television Critics Association press tour on Friday (July 18) morning, CBS Entertainment President Nina Tassler says that the show’s producers have a plan for the exit of their le080108 1748 csiplansfor1 CSI plans for William Petersens departureading man.

“Strategically, we’ve been talking about this for quite some time,” she says. “It started last year. And they have an unbelievable season planned. We’re starting certainly with the resolution of the cliffhanger. Jorja Fox is coming back. We’ve got an unbelievable — I call it the DVR-proof season of CSI.”

Petersen, also an executive producer on the show, is expected to leave after the season’s 10th episode, but don’t expect a tragic end for the popular character. Tassler says that it is “certainly not the last time we’ll see him.” In the meantime, though, CSI will introduce a new male lead, a character who sounds like he’ll bring a fresh dimension to the long-running procedural.

“I don’t think you replace Billy, but you sort of look at adding elements to the show that are really going to invigorate and contribute to the — sort of the alchemy of the show where it is today,” Tassler explains. “They’ve created a great character. He’s a doctor, a scientist who’s got a very interesting DNA that is going to inform the duality of the character. So I think there — like I said, it’s not necessarily replacing Billy, but it’s adding an element that is going to sort of inform the dynamic of the team today.”

080108 1748 csiplansfor2 CSI plans for William Petersens departureInteresting DNA? Like he’s half-frog? No.

“He is an outsider coming into the CSI unit,” Tassler elaborates. “He comes in not immediately as the boss, but he has an interesting genetic profile that in certain sort of medical contexts, they’ve noticed that many times serial killers have that same genetic profile. And this gentleman knows this about himself and is sort of in this journey and — and to discover who his true character will ultimately become.”

Tassler promises that the currently uncast role will be inhabited by an actor of stature. One performer mentioned in previous buzz was John Malkovich, who reportedly turned the network down.

“We never met with him, but we had talked about him,” Tassler says. “Certainly you like at someone like John Malkovich, who is an extraordinary actor and who has got a very interesting sort of internal life to every character he does. And we’re looking for someone who has depth and scope and gravitas.”

Another name that has come up is Laurence Fishburne and, again, Tassler doesn’t issue a denial.

080108 1748 csiplansfor3 CSI plans for William Petersens departure“Did you see his show in New York?” Tassler asks rhetorically of Fishburne’s recent acclaimed performance as Thurgood Marshall. “He was amazing, so certainly a name that had been talked about as well.”

Either way, the exec promises fans will be satisfied.

“[W]ith CSI, it’s such a great time for that show in that you’ve also added Lauren Lee Smith, who is a terrific young actress, who comes in as a new CSI. And this new character is also going to give to the other supporting characters and Marg an opportunity to sort of show parts of their character, show parts of their personality, that the audiences perhaps haven’t seen ever before or at least in a while. So I think it will be a great transition. I promise you.”

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