Laurence Fishburne is leaving CSI after two-and-a-half seasons at the helm, according to Deadline.

A source confirms that Fishburne decided not to renew his contract this year, choosing to return to a film career. Before joining the CBS drama, Fishburne appeared in numerous films, notably the Matrix trilogy.

Fishburne joined CSI in December 2008, during the show’s ninth season, as a replacement for exiting series star William Petersen. His portrayal of professor-turned-investigator Raymond Langston was seen as a revitalization of sorts for the show, but fans’ reactions were mixed.

Fishburne’s departure is another note in CSI‘s already jittery 12th season. CBS has moved the show from its old Thursday night time slot to Wednesday nights. Also, while nothing official is confirmed, Marg Helgenberger has hinted that she will be appearing in fewer episodes next season.

I’m sad to see Fishburne go — I’m probably one of the few who enjoyed his presence on the show, thinking that he’s settled into Petersen’s shoes well (although he never sought to replicate Grissom in the first place). But I’m more curious as to how his departure will affect the show — they just regained their footing last season with the return of Jorja Fox, for one. Is the bell tolling for the once-mighty CSI? We’ll see.

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(Image courtesy of CBS)

Henrik Batallones

Staff Writer, BuddyTV