Laurence Fishburne Leaving ‘CSI’ Before Season 12

Published 4 years ago by , Updated August 13th, 2013 at 10:59 am,

[UPDATE: Find out who is replacing Laurence Fishburne on CSI.]

After two and half seasons on CBS’ procedural staple CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, Laurence Fishburne has decided not to return to the flailing series as it begins its twelfth season this fall.

Initially contracted for a single season, Fishburne’s departure does not come as a big surprise, as the famed actor purposefully requested that his contract renewals with CSI be limited to a single season at a time. While this contractual element was most likely implemented for the purpose of allowing Fishburne to pursue other endeavors, it is not known whether another role was the reason for him leaving – but the downfall of the once popular CSI certainly didn’t help.

Ever since series mainstay William Petersen left the series in 2008, CSI has had trouble maintaining the large audience that it once garnered. With CSI season 11 drastically declining in the ratings, CBS made the decision to move the series from its long-time Thursday night timeslot for season 12 and replace it with the upcoming Jonah Nolan series Person of Interest.

No statements have been released from Fishburne or CBS, but Deadline is reporting that a producer on the series wasn’t too surprised to hear the news of Fishburne leaving: “Nobody expected him to be on the show for 7 years, it’s Laurence Fishburne.”

It’s been a long, tough road for CSI in recent years. While the announcement of William Petersen leaving CSI could be referred to as the series’ proverbial tipping point, things only grew more troubling as the series attempted to continue without him. With many of the CSI’s familiar cast making their exit, either freely or by force (death of a character), CSI quickly became a shell of the series that fans once clamored for.

csi cast Laurence Fishburne Leaving CSI Before Season 12

In its current form, only three of the series’ original cast members are still a part of the show – Paul Guifoyle (Captain Jim Brass), Jorja Fox (Sara Sidle) and George Eads (Nick Stokes). While Fishburne’s character on the series, Dr. Raymond Langston, ended last season being accused of murder, it is currently not known if Fishburne will be returning in some form to conclude his character’s story-arc.


CSI: Crime Scene Investigation season 12 will air Wednesdays @10pm on CBS

Follow Anthony on Twitter @anthonyocasio

Source: Deadline

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  1. I’m watching it right now and won’t be going forward. I do not care for it with TD. LF was much better. And LF didn’t leave, his contract expired and they didn’t want to renew it.

  2. The writer stated that only 3 original characters remain. He was incorrect. He forgot Marg. H. It’s just sad to see such a great show end. The minute they moved it to Wednesdays I knew the run was over. Now L.F. has bugged out. It’s pretty much done. Watched T.D. in this first show and was disgusted (really bad choice CBS!). This guy is “so” old and uninteresting. Good grief it looked like he was wearing a depends in his pants. Got bored with the story line half way through and changed the channel. This is the ONLY show I watched on a loyal basis since show number “1″. I don’t know why the big wigs “ALWAYS MESS UP A GOOD THING!” Well, William P., Marg H., George E., Gary D., Jorga F., you guys did a fantastic job to make this show what it was. Sorry you’ll be the ones to get hosed. Thank you so much for your commitment to your fans. GOOD LUCK.

  3. I liked the new episode with TD. LF’s and the whole story line with Nick Haskel was too dark. I stoped watching last year. Will start watching again now that the story line is over.

    • Story line too dark? Good heavens, we are talking about CSI aren’t we? Practically everything was dark. What about the miniature serial killer, and some of the other disgusting offal this series has featured in it’s story lines? The fact of the matter is this was one of the most gifted, talented and flawlessly unique ENSEMBLE casts that has ever appeared on television. Each character inspired their fellow artists to produce their most excellent work. It was like an exquisitely fine tuned Swiss timepiece. Remove one tiny sprocket and the whole mechanism is irremediably damaged. It was stupidity to loose William Petersen. Outright criminal and suicidal to the show to kill off Gary Dourdan’s Warrick Brown character, that was the death knell. The nature of an ENSEMBLE cast is the unique idiosyncrasies of that specific unit that makes it work. Disturb it and the result is you destroy it. Sincerely yours, An Angry Fan

  4. I watched the episode today. (gotta love my DVR!) I was nervous because of the negative comments I read. I will say I didn’t hate it, nor did I love it. I am willing to give it a chance. I did love the dark story line last season but I find the whole idea of what drives people to do such horrible things fascinating. Probably because I can’t imagine doing anything like that. I found TD’s character quirky. I don’t know if it will work but it IS different. I’ll watch a few more episodes to see where it goes before deciding to watch the rest of the season or not. I wasn’t sure about LF in the beginning because I was such a HUGE fan of WP. I did really enjoy his character though.

  5. I have to agree with you. Last season’s episodes with Haskel were too much. Not quite what the series had started out as. It became less interesting and entertaining and more creepy. Maybe some of the original fans will come back now that LF is gone. He was a very dark character and a little creepy himself. I have watched CSI for it’s entire run and will look forward to more of the ‘mystery solving’ on the crime scenes instead of the creepy serial killer episodes.

    Looking forward to it.

  6. Seriously I am a die hard CSI. Fan and as much as i missed Gils charcter from the show Lf charcter and storyline had its peakes and valleys but I blame the writers for that. I do think its possible with the right actor and good solid writing Ted Danson can work. He is bestknown for Cheers but it is not his only body of work. BTW who on here tweets so we can hash notes pre and post show. Love the enthusiasm and passion of the csi group.

  7. I really did enjoy Fishburne on the show and I’m sorry he’s leaving.

  8. CSI 2nd epi of the season..I liked it. Writing is getting better. What did you CSi diehards think – the ones that are still in?

  9. Ray

    The season with Lawrence Fishburne was Excellent! As usual Mr. Fishburne brought a flavor and excellence to the mix. And the character “Haskell” as a sort of nemisis to Fishburne’s character took the show to another level. Sorry to see Lawrence go. CSI Vegas is still the best of the three. Hope Ted Danson can bring it this season.

  10. I am liking the show so far – liked the intro and I like Ted Danson’s character dry wit.

  11. As the show’s producers already knew that Lawrence may not be there, for the long run, they should of started earlier to find someone to take over for Grissom. Ted Danson is not it! I mean we are already suppose to accept Ted’s eccentric ways, much like Grissom had his own, right away, from his book refereences to his just doing things, like taking scrap from a crime sight, as it had nothing to do with the case. Ted is an actor for comedy; his transition just is not there. They even had him point out something the CSIs would have caught on, right away, to show he was more on top of things, than they are. I find it hard to watch the show with him in it, even as the rest of the crew are liked. Fishburne may have exited at the right time.

  12. I was witholding my final opinion until I had seen several episodes. I don’t believe it’s fair to judge an actor on the first episode. I had grave reservations on TD. He is by far the most quirky and kind of light hearted character I’ve seen. I think comparing him to LF is like comparing apples to oranges, they are in no way, shape or form similar characters. I will admit to being curious to seeing where they take his character. You can tell by the other characters that they dont’ know what to make of him either. I’m not ready to toss the show yet.

  13. Laurence Fishburne was unwatchable and inexplicably arrogant on this show and his departure is a good thing. Ted Danson will help.

    • True!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  14. I still like Ted Danson’s character and his acting. The writing and shows are getting better and it’s not like there isn’t enough crazy headlines to help them write better shows. Good Job tonight CSI!!

  15. I wasn’t excited that they were replacing the lead character but after just one episode we were hooked again. LF was, in my opinion, a better lead than any other. He brought a sensitivity and curiousness of character that brought us back to watching CSI. TD is just not a full bodied character actor. He is a one note speaker, he lacks passion and fully portraying his character. He is flat. Just reading a script with little expression. Get LF back and the show would surely rise from the ashes.

  16. Grissom, or William Peterson, is irreplaceable! So are Gary Djourdan and now Mag Hellgenbeger (sorry if I mispell some names). The original cast had its unique magic – no one can replace that. Mr. Fishbourne is a great aotor, I would agree totally but NOT for CSI. Mr. Danson is algo a great actor, but I don’t think it the kind of magic for the show. Can someone get Grissom back? And then find a story line to recoup Marg and Gary… but the best idea is not to try and save the show… let just give it a rspectable end, with all its characters. Would anyone agree? Cris in PERU

  17. The bottom line is cbs needs to give Laurence Fishburne whatever he wants and put him back on the show!!!

  18. I love all CSI’s but Vegas has always and still is my favorite. Sure do miss all the cast members that have left the show but am really surprised to read that CSI Las Vegas has really dropped that much in ratings. I really thought Laurence Fishbourne was a great choice to move in after Grissom left. I enjoyed the Haskel episodes and the “dark” aspect of the show and am very disappointed to not see what happens next…. I’ve always liked Ted Dansen though and like the show just fine with him in it. I still watch re-runs in the daytime and can’t figure out why out of so many shows they only seem to play the same episodes from the same seasons over and over. Die Hard CSI Fan, Taira Lynn Masteller _ Joplin, MO.

  19. I’m a fan of New York and Law Vegas and admittingly i hated the fact Grissom went but Ted Danson is awesome! I really like him in this and the series is holding strong!

  20. Peeps, I liked the finale of CSI Vegas-I thought it was fantastic!! The writers hit it out of the park with that last show. At the end of the day, the acting is an incredibly important part of keeping that show hot, it has been very hit or miss.
    I still like Ted D. character, but it will be important if they are going to turn this show over to really merge some interesting characters into this show and many of them have been very blah blah blah bland. Please let’s move past those characters that are gone – they are not coming back.

  21. Doc Robbins is still there ;)

  22. I believe the show still has good qualities. Yes it is not as it used to be when Grissom (William Peterson) was still there but who is to say that the show ended when he left? It still continues to produce really brilliant episodes even if some are not on form with earlier episodes. The show has had to adapt due to a loss of some of the main characters but this, at least for me has not stopped me from watching. A show is only bad when no one cares or discusses it but with the amount of comments on here i would say that it is still going fairly strong. The only annoying thing that has happened with the new series for me was the exit of Ray Langston (Laurence Fishbourne) or a lack there of. It was totally played down, one comment from Brass to Doc Robbins and one comment from Nick to Catherine with barely any details. That was the only dissapointing thing for me.