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Marg Helgenberger, reinvigorated by Ted Danson, still leaving 'CSI'

August 5, 2011 |  9:15 pm

Marg Helgenberger

Marg Helgenberger, an original member of the long-running show "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation," announced earlier this week that she would be leaving the show -- for real this time -- but explained that she'd been lured back for a little more law-enforcement action with the addition of Ted Danson to the cast.

"It was hard letting go. I realized I wasn't done playing this character," she said Wednesday during a panel at the TV critics press tour in Beverly Hills. Helgenberger indicated that her exit would come in January.

Playing Catherine Willows since 2000, Helgenberger garnered Emmy and Golden Globe nominations for her character, a showgirl turned blood-spatter expert. 

Helgenberger had told producers she did not want to return for another season, but said she understood their desire for a proper send-off for the Willows character.

Some recent forensics on the "CSI" cast: Laurence Fishburne made an abrupt farewell from the show in June; shortly after that, veteran and recent guest star Jorja Fox, who plays Sarah Sidle, announced she was coming back as a regular -- Grissom or no Grissom, it seems. William Peterson, who played Gil Grissom, left as a regular in early 2009 after overlapping with new-guy Fishburne in a transitional story arc.


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-- Matt Donnelly

Photo:  Marg Helgeberger at the "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation" panel held during the press critics tour in Beverly Hills on Aug. 3, 2011. Credit: Frederick M. Brown / Getty Images