August 04, 2011 6:02am PT by Lesley Goldberg
Marg Helgenberger Leaving 'CSI' in January
Marg Helgenberger’s Catherine Willows is following in Laurence Fishburne’s footsteps and signing off CSI.
After more than 250 episodes of the series, original cast member Helgenberger opted to return for Season 11 only after executive producer Carol Mendelsohn approached her last season and asked her to remain on so the writers could properly script her exit.
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“The combination of that info and me having a hard time letting go of this show and this group of people, I said, ‘Yeah, I'm not done playing this character; I’m not done letting go of this group of people,” the actress told The Hollywood Reporter at TCA Wednesday.
“Marg will be around through January, so Episode 12,” Mendelsohn said. “People come and go and come back, so hopefully when we say goodbye, that won’t be the last time we see her.”
Ted Danson's character, CSI supervisor DB Russell (who replaced Fishburne), will affect Willows' role within the team.
"Ted’s character is pretty endearing and he has a way of looking at a crime scene that’s a fresh perspective and it gets under everybody’s skin – in a good way,” she says, noting that the crew took some “liberties” with the way the crime last season was solved. Willows, ultimately, is a team player and may directly be impacted in the fallout.