'CSI' Season 12 Preview Guide: A Fresh Start for the Vegas Crime Lab
'CSI' Season 12 Preview Guide: A Fresh Start for the Vegas Crime Lab
Last season on CSI, in between a sad farewell for Wendy and a welcome (if too short) return for Grissom, we saw the Vegas crime lab -- and especially Langston -- deal with Nate Haskell, the Dick and Jane Killer. Stabbed at the beginning of the season, he resisted dealing with his darker tendencies, but finally did just that in the season finale. Although we're not so sure what happened: did Langston kill Haskell in self-defense?

What to Expect in CSI Season 12

Looks like we won't get much of an answer to the cliffhanger that capped off CSI season 11, as Laurence Fishburne left the show to pursue a movie career. But two new faces join the Las Vegas crime lab this season.

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Taking over for him is Ted Danson, who you probably best know as Sam Malone from Cheers -- but CSI season 12 isn't his first dramatic turn, thanks to his acclaimed stint in the drama series Damages. He joins the show as D.B. Russell, the former head of the Portland crime lab. Described as "a family man and scientist, but not a nerd," the producers said his character will bring balance to a crime lab that was rattled by events of the last season.

Also joining the show is Elisabeth Harnois, who we saw last season as Morgan Brody, Ecklie's daughter from the LA crime lab. I must also mention, Jorja Fox is back as a series regular, after appearing as a recurring star last season.

However, we can expect a major departure in CSI season 12: Marg Helgenberger will be exiting this year, and producers promise a send-off deserving of the CSI veteran. Executive producer Carol Mendelsohn revealed that the first 12 episodes of the season will act as her send-off, and her final case will see her as an "action hero," especially since her loved ones will be put in jeopardy.

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Most importantly, however, CSI season 12 promises a change in tone. It will be lighter than previous seasons, with a bit more humor, although I guess it's safe to say it will be more whimsical than slapstick. After all that happened last season, after all, the Vegas crime lab needs a breather.

CSI returns in a new day and time: Wednesday nights at 10pm -- and it all kicks off on September 21. Why not check out a clip from the season premiere, "73 Seconds"?

(Image courtesy of CBS)