The question on every CSI‘s fans lips is, can CSI survive without Gil Grissom at the helm of the Las Vegas crime lab? Despite being made up of a strong ensemble cast, CSI has been built around the strength and depth of William Petersen‘s portrayal of the complicated, brilliant Grissom. In tonight’s episode, “19 Down” CSI fans begin to get an answer to that question, with Gil announcing to the lab that he will be leaving permanently and with the introduction of the man who is being touted as Petersen’s replacement, Laurence Fishburne.

Fishburne, who’s distinctive voice you’ll recognize as Morpehous from The Matrix series, is tackling a very Grissom-esque role. He’ll be portraying Dr. Raymond Langston, a criminal pathologist who is teaching a course at UNLV on serial killers. Langston appears to be just as tortured and complicated as Grissom. Before moving to Sin City, Langston was a full out MD back east, working as a hospital pathologist. He is haunted and driven by a failure of his past, when he couldn’t connect the dots of an ‘Angel of Death’ at his hospital. Of course, this is only the most basic version of Langston’s path which is sure to be dark, twisted, and very very complex. This is CSI, after-all.

Even at first glance, there is a brooding magnetism to Fishburne’s portrayal. Your first glimpse of Langston, he’s shrouded in darkness and his booming voice comes before being exposed by dramatic spot-light. Langston is about to conduct a satellite interview with an incarcerated serial killer and Gil Grissom has snuck in on the lecture. While conducting the interview, the edges of Langston’s character begin to show themselves, putting any worry aside that he’ll be anything but a fascinating character for the next season and a half he’s promised to CSI.

For the next month CSI fans can enjoy what is sure to be an impressive complex-off between Grissom and Langston. William Petersen‘s last episode on CSI is scheduled for January 15 and in some episode between this and Gil’s final stroll through the Las Vegas crime lab, we’ll learn plenty more about Dr. Raymond Langston and just where he’ll fit into the future of CSI.

Abbey Simmons, BuddyTV Staff Writer
Photo Credit: CBS

Abbey Simmons

Contributing Writer, BuddyTV