William Petersen is leaving Las Vegas ... and CSI
Petersen plans to remain actively involved in CSI and is maintaining his role as executive producer. Although he will no longer be a series regular, he's definitely not planning on leaving for good, saying, "I'm in a great place in terms of knowing that I'll be more free to make choices. And I'm responsible enough to not do it in a way that would hurt [the show]."
WARNING: POSSIBLE SPOILERS AFTER THE JUMP
While Petersen makes his situation sound like he'll be a visiting professor who pops in to check on his favorite students now and again, executive producer Carol Mendelsohn seems to have a more structured idea of what's expected of Peterson, saying that, "he will, whenever CBS asks, come back." Really Carol? Petersen doesn't strike me as the type of guy who takes too kindly to network demands. I'm pretty sure that Petersen is going to either return or not return on his terms.
It's been a tough year for CSI. The series, which has maintained a pretty stable cast since its premiere in 2000, has lost three core castmembers in the past year. In addition to Petersen, Jorja Fox (Sara Sidle) and Gary Dourdan (Warrick Brown) have both left the show. However, like Petersen, neither seems to want to stay gone for long.
Warrick, who was presumably killed in the season finale, will show up in the season premiere. However, producers decline to say whether or not he'll actually be alive when that happens. Jorja Fox will also be returning for multiple episodes as Sara Sidle, and will play a big part in Grissom's final arc. When CSI's new season begins, Grissom is described as being in crisis, "As a man. As a scientist. As a teacher. As a middle-aged person who has been very successful at what he's done... [he] wonders, 'What's the point?'"
While Sara will be there to help Grissom get through what happened to Warrick, Petersen doesn't say whether the lovebirds will be riding off into the sunset together. Whether they do or not, it looks as though the beginning of the season, with Sarah's return and Warrick's final appearance, will be the last time we see the original gang together.
Do you think CSI is going to suffer from losing this many castmembers, or like Law & Order, will it just keep chugging along?