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July 18, 2008

New 'CSI' character has shades of 'Dexter'

TCA -- CBS entertainment president detailed the usual character that will fill the void left by Billy Petersen’s departure from "CSI" -- a scientist with a serial killer’s DNA. 

"Strategically we’ve been talking about this for quite some time," CBS entertainment president Nina Tassler says. “With Billy, I think part of it was informed by the new character that they've created.  I don't think you replace Billy, but you sort of look at adding elements to the show that are really going to invigorate and contribute to the alchemy of the show."

"They created a great character," she continues. "He's a doctor, a scientist who's got a very interesting DNA that is going to inform the duality of the character. He is an outsider coming into the CSI unit.  He does not immediately come in as the boss, but he has an interesting genetic profile that in certain sort of medical contexts, they've noticed that many serial killers have that same genetic profile.  And this gentleman knows this about himself and it's a journey to discover who his true character will ultimately become."

The character will not have previously acted on any typical serial killer/homicidal impulses, Tassler made clear. No killing of animals, etc. No actor has yet been cast for the new role.  Tassler says that Petersen will overlap with the new character for a few episodes.

After the panel, she also confirmed reports that the network talked to actor John Malkovich about the part, and is still looking for somebody with similar depth for the part.

“We have an unbelievable season planned,” she says. “I call it the DVR-proof season of ‘CSI.’”


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