Laurence Fishburne had never seen 'CSI' before landing lead role
It's hard to believe that before joining the cast of "CSI," Laurence Fishburne had never seen an episode of the world's most popular crime series.
Prior to meeting with executive producers Naren Shankar and Carol Mendelsohn, Fishburne says he felt "a little stupid and embarrassed that I hadn't watched the show."
"I'm happy to say that the episodes they sent to me to look at were really engaging," says Fishburne. "And really wonderful and kind of dark and moody, like a lot of the work I've been involved in."
The actor will be playing a new character that is only known so far as "The Professor," a college lecturer and former pathologist who also possesses a chromosome also found in serial killers.
After his introduction to the series in early 2009, The Professor will join the team as a level one CSI -- not as the team's leader. His storyline will cross over with Grissom's, who this season will face personal turmoil and reevaluate his life among the CSI ranks.
Best known for his portrayal as Morpheus in The Matrix trilogy, Fishburne was nominated for an Academy Award for his performance as Ike Turner in "What's Love Got to Do With It." Earlier in his career he worked on TV shows such as "Miami Vice" and "Hill Street Blues."
Now 47, he recently wrapped up a stint with his one-man show "Thurgood," and earned a Tony nomination for his performance.
The search for a new lead actor for "CSI" began earlier this year when leading man William Petersen ("Gil Grissom") announced he was leaving the forensics drama. While Petersen will still return for guest appearances and remains an executive producer on the show, the exact date for his departure from the series has not been set.
Fishburne will start filming with the series this September.
Joining a tight-knit crew that includes original cast members Marg Helgenberger ("Catherine Willows") and George Eads ("Nick Stokes"), Fishburne is prepared to do his part to keep "CSI" successful.
"Listen, the thing for me to do -- the most important thing to remember -- is to not mistake my presence for 'the event,'" says Fishburne.
"The event is 'CSI,' the show, and everyone has a responsibility to bring their unique talents and gifts to it and that's what I'm going to do."
The 10th season of "CSI" will air this fall on CTV.