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Elisabeth Shue to join 'CSI'; replace Helgenberger

Elisabeth Shue, seen in a file photo.

Elisabeth Shue, seen in a file photo. Credit: Los Angeles Times, 2009

Here's a nice surprise for a veteran show currently in need of one:  Elisabeth Shue is joining "CSI" as a character who will ultimately replace Marg Helgenberger's Catherine Willows. 

The show did not technically announce when Helgenberger -- a regular from Day One 12 years ago -- will leave, but Shue's character arrives Feb. 15. Helgenberger was fully expected she'd go this season, but I always assumed the departure would be during May sweeps. Some reporst - for example - say she'll exit now in January. 

Here's the release. But what's so intriguing about all this is that she has a "past" with Ted Danson's D.B. Russell; should add some spice to what has otherwise been a dull but respectable run for Danson on the show. A lot of fuss was made when Laurence Fishburne replaced Bill Petersen, and ratings declined, but they've continued to fall - show's now tracking around 11 or so million viewers per week. Of course the Wednesday move could be to blame for that too. .

"Shue will play the newest CSI, fresh off an anger management course, amid rumors that D.B. Russell (Ted Danson) fired her when she worked for him in Seattle. “While it’s difficult to say goodbye to a beloved character like Catherine Willows, it’s exciting to start a journey with a new CSI, especially when that character is played by Elisabeth Shue,” said executive producer Carol Mendelsohn. “The new CSI also struggles with ‘brutal honesty issues’ and suffers no fools.” “Elisabeth’s character will share a past, in another crime lab, with Ted Danson’s character (D.B. Russell),” said executive producer Don McGill. “The first time things didn’t go so well between the two of them. Maybe the second time’s the charm, or not.”"

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