The venerable CSI franchise is officially coming back. CBS has given a straight-to-series order to CSI: Vegas, a sequel to the mothership CSI series, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, for the 2021-21 season.
Headlined by returning CSI stars William Petersen and Jorja Fox, joined by new series regulars Paula Newsome, Matt Lauria, Mel Rodriguez and Mandeep Dhillon, CSI: Vegas hails from writer Jason Tracey, CBS Studios and Jerry Bruckheimer TV. Also coming back is another fan favorite CSI cast member, Wallace Langham, reprising his role as David Hodges.
With CSI: Vegas, the most watched drama series of the 21st century, CSI, opens a new chapter in Las Vegas, the city where it all began. Facing an existential threat that could bring down the Crime Lab, a brilliant team of forensic investigators must welcome back old friends and deploy new techniques to preserve and serve justice in Sin City.
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Newsome is believed to be playing Maxine, the new head of the Vegas Crime Lab Lauria is said to be playing Josh, a Level III CSI who is typically the lead investigator on cases, and has a knack for crime scene reconstruction. Rodriguez is reportedly playing Hugo who took over as Head Medical Examiner three years ago. I hear Dhillon plays Allie, a young level II CSI, an immigrant who followed her dreams to Las Vegas. Petersen and Fox will reprise their roles as Gil Grissom and Sara Sidle, respectively.
“Twenty-one years ago, we launched CSI and watched in awe as this new cinematic series launched an entire genre and became a groundbreaking juggernaut that still has global resonance today,” said Kelly Kahl, President, CBS Entertainment. “We are thrilled to welcome the next generation of forensic criminalists to the CSI brand and unite them with the legendary characters from the past who we still love, including the extraordinary Billy Petersen and Jorja Fox. Crimefighting technology has advanced dramatically over the last several years, and combined with classic CSI storytelling, we can’t wait to watch this new CSI team do what they do best: follow the evidence.”
As Deadline revealed last February when the potential CSI followup was in preliminary stages of deal-making and development, the original idea was for the event series to debut in October 2020, marking the 20th anniversary of the mothership series’ premiere. That plan was thwarted by the coronavirus pandemic-related production shutdown.
Tracey, who serves as showrunner, executive produces CSI: Vegas with JBTV’s Bruckheimer, Jonathan Littman and KristieAnne Reed as well as CSI creator Anthony E. Zuiker, franchise showrunners Carol Mendelsohn, Ann Donahue, and CSI: Cyber alum Craig O’Neill. Peterson and his long-time producing partner Cynthia Chvatal, who exec produced the original series, also are executive producers on CSI: Vegas. Uta Briesewitz will direct the first episode and serve as executive producer (pilot episode only). ViacomCBS Global Distribution Group is distributing internationally.
“I’m excited to be bringing back the CSI franchise to all our fans who have been so loyal to us for all these years,” said Jerry Bruckheimer. “And to be back in Las Vegas where it all started over 20 years ago makes it even more special. We’ve enjoyed working on this project with CBS and look forward to welcoming back Billy, Jorja and Wallace as they join a new group of talented actors in CSI: Vegas.”
CSI: Crime Scene Investigation followed a team of crime-scene investigators for the Las Vegas Police Department as they used physical evidence to solve murders. The original cast included Petersen, Marg Helgenberger (who is currently a series regular on another CBS series, All Rise), Fox, George Eads, Gary Dourdan and Paul Guilfoyle. Petersen was succeeded by Laurence Fishburne as CSI’s leading man. He in turn, was followed by Ted Danson. Petersen left CSI in Season 9. Fox departed as a series regular in Season 8. She remained a recurring guest star for the next four seasons, rejoining the cast as a series regular at the start of Season 12. Langham joined CSI as a recurring in Season 3 and was promoted to series regular in Season 8 for the remainder of its run.
Created by Zuiker, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation bowed out in 2015 after 15 seasons, having launched a $1 billion franchise for CBS that spanned four series; CSI and spinoffs CSI: Miami, CSI: New York and CSI: Cyber. They are now joined by a fifth with CSI: Vegas. CSI: Crime Scene Investigation was the most watched drama series in the world for seven years between 2006 and 2016.