5:00pm PT by Lesley Goldberg
'CSI' Shocker: Original Star to Exit (Exclusive)
CBS' CSI: Crime Scene Investigation will say farewell to one of its last remaining original stars this season.
Paul Guilfoyle, who has played Captain Jim Brass on all 14 seasons of the procedural, will exit the drama this season, The Hollywood Reporter has learned exclusively.
Guilfoyle is one of only two actors who has been with CSI from the start as a series regular (George Eads is the other). His final appearance will be in the May 7 season 14 finale. Sources say producers made the call to end the character's storyline. The actor, who found out late last week that he wouldn't be returning to the series, made what sources say was an emotional farewell speech during Friday's final day of production on the CSI set.
"Paul made Capt. Brass a standout character," CSI exec producers Carol Mendelsohn and Don McGill said in a statement to THR. "He is not just an original cast member, he is an original. In a show about forensics, fans always looked forward to the handcuffs coming out, and Capt. Brass putting his spin on the crime of the week, just as Paul Guilfoyle put his indelible stamp on the character and the show. He will be missed."
Guilfoyle and Eads' Nick Stokes have appeared in the most episodes of CSI -- 312 as of press time -- missing only a handful over the years. Co-stars Eric Szmanda (Greg Sanders) and Robert David Hall (Al Robbins) have both been with the series since its start, recurring in seasons one and two before being bumped to regulars in season three. David Berman also has been a mainstay and was promoted to regular for season 10.
CSI has had its fair share of cast changes in its 14-season run. The procedural, which was renewed this month for its 15th season, said farewell to stars William Petersen and Gary Dourdan after season nine. Marg Helgenberger departed after season 12; and original stars Jorja Fox and George Eads were both briefly fired from the series in 2004 following a short-lived salary standoff with the network and CBS Television Studios. Eads remained a regular, but Fox was downgraded to a guest-star role in season nine and recurring in season 10, before being bumped back to regular for season 11. (Eads also took a brief leave of absence at the start of season 14 following an altercation with a writer.)
Ted Danson and Elisabeth Shue, who both signed on in season 12, currently topline the series, which ranks as one of the top global franchises in the world and is seen in almost every country. The flagship series has already spawned -- and outlived -- two spinoffs: CSI: NY and CSI: Miami, which ran for 10 and nine seasons, respectively. CSI creator Anthony Zuiker, longtime showrunner Carol Mendelsohn and former CSI: Miami boss Ann Donahue are prepping a third spinoff, set to air in the spring, starring Patricia Arquette.
Guilfoyle's departure marks the latest major cast departure this season at CBS. Josh Charles exited The Good Wife on Sunday; NCIS said farewell to Cote de Pablo at the start of the season; and Person of Interest lost Taraji P. Henson. Other series also saw their leads leave this year: Sandra Oh will exit ABC's Grey's Anatomy at the end of its current season; Rob Lowe and Rashida Jones departed NBC's Parks and Recreation earlier this year; and NBC's Law & Order: SVU featured the departures of Dann Florek and Richard Belzer.