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Petersen to leave CSI

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A CSI goodbye

Can CSI survive another cast shake-up as William Petersen takes an exit?
A CSI goodbye"This will be a year of transition for the show," "CSI" executive producer Carol Mendehlson told EW. "We always knew it was coming, and I'm glad it didn't come until now."

After years of will he or won't he, William Petersen is officially leaving "CSI," sort of.  Petersen's contract has him departing the series by mid-season but he'll still be hanging around behind the scenes as an executive producer. There's also a possibility of him making guest star appearances, which will likely be based around his ability to get other work.

Petersen is Gil Grissom in the eyes of so many TV viewers, it's hard to imagine him playing anything else. But the bigger question is, can "CSI" survive with the loss of yet another major cast member? So far, so good. Mendehlson says they have plans to add several new characters into the mix in the fall but that no one will ever "replace" William Petersen.

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