LAURENCE FISHBURNE OFFICIALLY JOINING 'CSI' TEAM!
After a month of rumor and speculation, Laurence Fishburne has officially signed on to join the cast of CBS' "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation."
While not technically replacing exiting series star and executive producer William Petersen, Fishburne will make his debut on "CSI" in the season's ninth episode, an addition generally tied to Petersen's pending exit.
Fishburne's character is a former pathologist, now lecturing at colleges in criminalistics. As was previously reported, the character is an expert on criminal behavior, driven by the fact that he has several key genetic markers that show he has a tendency toward acts of violence himself.
"CBS asked us, 'Who's at the top of your dream list?' say "CSI" executive producers Carol Mendelsohn and Naren Shankar in a statement. "Without hesitation, we said Laurence Fishburne. He is a powerful and intense actor, with an incredible range. We had the opportunity to see Mr. Fishburne in 'Thurgood' on Broadway a few weeks ago, and it was a truly profound experience. The actor disappeared and Thurgood Marshall was standing there on the stage. Mr. Fishburne is also a talented writer and director. If you distill CSI down to its essence, it's a collaboration--and we are so looking forward to collaborating with Mr. Fishburne. For all of us at CSI, this is truly a dream."
Fishburne was one of several names who popped up in early buzz about Petersen's possible replacements. Other respected actors mentioned at the time included John Malkovich and Kurt Russell.
A Tony winner for August Wilson's "Two Trains Running" and an Oscar nominee for "What's Love Got to Do with It," Fishburne has also won a pair of Emmys as producer on "Miss Evers' Boys" and for guest starring on "Tribeca." For a generation of viewers, though, his most recognizable small screen credit was his turn as Cowboy Curtis on "Pee-wee's Playhouse."
In CBS' statement, Fishburne adds, "I am elated and delighted to be joining the cast of 'CSI.' I look forward to a wonderful collaboration with the creative and talented team of such a successful and distinguished show."
Fishburne's casting will be formally announced in a conference call with reporters on Monday (Aug. 18) morning.