William Petersen is leaving CSI. Peterson, who has played investigator Gil Grissom on the CBS procedural since its premiere in 2000, will make his exit from CSI in the middle of the 2008-2009 season. Petersen will return occasionally to make guest appearances, and he will stay on as a producer. The decision to leave was wholly Petersen’s, who has previously shown signs of CSI fatigue – the actor took a break from CSI in the 2006-2007 season to perform in a play. He was replaced by Liev Schreiber. The final episode for Gil Grissom will be the tenth episode of next season, and will most likely air in the early parts of 2009. Former co-worker and flame Sarah Sidle (Jorja Fox) and Lady Heather (Melinda Clarke) will both be involved in Grissom’s final episode.
CSI will remain unchanged, according to producers, though Petersen will be sorely missed by fans. Procedurals are able to weather the departures of actors somewhat more easily than their serial counterparts. Look at a show like Law and Order, which has remained successful over two decades, despite a high cast turnover rate. Gil Grissom may well be a beloved character, but the stories that CSI tells are not contingent on Grissom. The crimes and the investigation are the stories, the characters mere vessels in which the audience learns about the crime.
The producers of CSI aren’t relaying information as to how Grissom will eventually be leaving the show. He’s a man in transition, having been through extremely difficult personal times in recent episodes. Fans can expect Grissom’s decision to weigh heavily on his mind in the first half of next season. A new male investigator will be cast to replace the departing Grissom, though no possibilities for this role have yet been offered. CSI’s ninth season will premiere on CBS on October 8.
-Oscar Dahl, BuddyTV Senior Writer
(Image Courtesy of CBS)