By casting Ted Danson as D.B. Russell, head of the team on "CSI," the producers of the show made a brilliant decision. It has not only made the show more interesting for viewers, but it has also made the show seem more authentic. Maybe it has to do with how well Danson can play a dramatic character, but it could also have to do with the intelligent writing that his character has received.
When Gil Grissom left "CSI" (played by William Petersen), there was a void on the show that got filled by movie star Laurence Fishburne. Fishburne joined the cast as Dr. Raymond Langston in the spring of 2008, bringing almost too much seriousness to his role on the show. There were interesting episodes that revolved around the character of Langston, but the show always seemed much darker than it should have been. It's not a knock on Fishburne, but rather that "CSI" didn't need that type of character commanding so much screen time.
When Fishburne left the show and Danson signed on, it seemed at first like the show-runners had miscast a very important role. The supervisor needed to encompass the job and everything it entailed, but Danson certainly wasn't the obvious choice for the part. He has more than adequately filled the void left by Peterson leaving the show though and it would have been nice to see him take this role a few years earlier. Maybe the show could have kept even more viewers and retained the authenticity that carries most of the storylines.
On a show that has seen some major characters like Wendy Simms (played by Liz Vassey) and Catherine Willows (played by Marg Helgenberger) leave, it may actually have gotten better the day Danson agreed to join the cast. Now Elisabeth Shue has joined the cast as well, playing the character of Finn, who herself has an extremely mysterious background. Both actors make the show better and viewers can only hope that it is enough to convince CBS to make at least one more season of "CSI."
The decision for another season has not yet been made, with CBS probably waiting to see how other shows do in the ratings before deciding if "CSI" comes back in the 2012-13 television season. Hopefully it does, because the casting changes may have breathed new life into the franchise.
- Ted Danson
- Laurence Fishburne
- Raymond Langston