In today’s Casting Bits, a familiar face is returning to CSI, Once Upon a Time has found its Ariel and Melanie Griffith is heading to Hawaii Five-0. Read on for all the details, including casting news for Girl Meets World, Community, The Following, Grey’s Anatomy, The Mindy Project and The Middle.

Marg Helgenberger returning to CSI: The long-running crime drama will be hitting a major milestone this fall: they’ll be airing their 300th episode on October 23. And to celebrate the occasion, they’re bringing back Catherine Willows for an episode that “takes our characters back to the beginning,” executive producer Don McGill told TVLine. “They have to investigate a murder with the same MO and the same suspect from 14 years ago.” Part of her appearance will come as recreated flashbacks where viewers will get to see how the characters have evolved over the past 14 years.

Once Upon a Time finds its Ariel: It was revealed during last month’s San Diego Comic-Con that The Little Mermaid‘s Ariel will be a new character on the show. We now know that JoAnna Garcia is set to play the famous mermaid, who will be introduced in episode 6 of season 3 (the episode is fittingly titled “Ariel”). Executive producer Eddy Kitsis says that the villain Ursula may also show up. “But on our show,” he said to TV Guide, “you never know what that might mean.”

Melanie Griffith heading to Hawaii Five-0: The show’s official Twitter account announced the news: “@MelanieGriffith to play role of Danny’s mom on #H50 this upcoming season!” It’s not known at this time when she’ll show up or how involved her character will be, but she’ll most likely want to meet her son’s girlfriend, Gabrielle.

Girl Meets World casts Riley’s crush and little brother: According to TVLine, Peyton Meyer will play Tristan Friar, one of Riley’s classmates who also happens to be her crush. And all this time, we only knew she would have an older brother, but now it’s been announced she also has a younger brother, Louis, who will be played by August Maturo.

Jonathan Banks joins Community and Rob Corddry returns: Banks, formerly of Breaking Bad, has signed on for 11 of the 13 episodes ordered for season 5 as a criminology professor named Pat Nichols who, according to Entertainment Weekly, has a “mysterious background in military and police work.” Annie starts taking his class, and we’ll get our first look at him in episode 2. And TVLine is reporting that Rob Corddry is returning to the NBC comedy as Alan Connor — we don’t know yet the reason for the character’s return.

The Following adds Jessica Stroup to the cast: When the show returns in 2014, the former 90210 actress will be a new series regular; she’ll play Ryan Hardy’s niece and an NYPD police officer named Max. She becomes an ally to Ryan after the two reconnect, as reported by EW.

Other Following casting news: James McDaniel has been cast in a recurring role as FBI Agent Ken Phillips, who’s in charge of the New York City task force. He will most likely be teamed up with Kevin Bacon’s character, Ryan Hardy, notes TV Guide. And Valerie Cruz has signed on as “hard as nails” (as described by E! Online) NYPD detective Gina Mendez. A new murder spree takes over NYC, and she teams up with Mike Weston and the FBI; she’ll first show up in the season 2 premiere.

James Remar moves from Dexter to Grey’s Anatomy: Unfortunately, we know literally nothing about his character — does Shonda Rhimes have to be that secretive? But TVLine notes that he’ll first appear early on in season 10, and he’s set for a multi-episode arc.

Timothy Olyphant to guest star on The Mindy Project: Yet another big-name actor is signing on for season 2. Following in the footsteps of James Franco, Kris Humphries, Bill Hader, Chloe Sevigny and many others, the Justified star has signed on for the role of Graham Lohan, “a wild, professional skateboarder in his mid-40s who nearly runs Mindy over in Union square before asking her out on a date,” as reported by the LA Times.

Rachel Dratch brings the funny to The Middle: The SNL alum has been cast as the principal at Brick Heck’s middle school. Executive producer DeAnn Heline told TVLine, “It’s a really funny story, and she’s got a really fun character to play. [Incoming sixth-grader] Brick hasn’t been going to classes; he gets a little confused.”

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(Image courtesy of WENN)

Jeff Dodge

Staff Writer, BuddyTV

Jeff Dodge, a graduate of Western Washington University, has been a TV news editor for many years and has had the chance to interview multiple reality show stars, including Randy Jackson, Nick Cannon, Heidi Klum, Mel B and John Cena.