'CSI: Las Vegas' Season 12 Brings Multiple Cast Changes

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Fans of "CSI: Las Vegas" better buckle their seatbelts an prepare for one roller coaster ride of a season. The show enters its twelfth season. Ted Dansen appeared in the Season 11 finale and will become the new crime lab boss this season. Rumors point to Marg Helgenberger (Catherine) leaving the show after the first of the year. The best news surrounding the happenings of the upcoming season are rumblings that William Petersen will make guest appearances and be a focus of Helgenberger's final episode.

Dansen is expected to bring the funny to "CSI: Las Vegas" and lighten-up the episodes with the same charm and wit which made "Cheers" a hit nearly two decades ago. Densen's will portray a sort of quirky Sherlock Holmes type character who replaces Eckle. Even though the politically savvy Eckle left the lab, he is expected to be a thorn in the side of the investigators as the new under-Sheriff.

Ted Dansen's character D.B Russell will have two pairs of very big shoes to fill as the new male lead. Diehard fans may have embraced Lawrence Fishurne (Langston) but longed for the quirky scientist played by Petersen. The Season 11 cliffhanger led viewers to believe "Langston" threw the treacherous murderer "Haskell" from the balcony intentionally, landing him in hot water with Internal Affairs. "D.B" is a father of four with a very active sex life and the offspring of "hippie" parents. Lightening the atmosphere with a little humor is a great idea, as long as writers do not reduce the intellectual level of the show too far.

Helgenberger has been the anchor of the show since Petersen left the cast. The beloved character of "Grissom" still shoots the ratings through the roof every time during guest appearances. Long-running series are no stranger to cast changes and often weather the storm well, but losing "Catherine" will be a big blow for series fans. Helgneberger toyed with the idea of leaving last season, but was not quite ready to turn in her "CSI" credentials just yet. She agreed to prolong her contract so the writers could lead up to her exit properly. How exactly Helgenberger will fade from the screen in Episode 12 remains to be seen. The possibility of future guest appearances are in the works, so she will leave still breathing, but possibly in handcuffs.

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