Yes, CSI fans will see different clothes on Laurence Fishburne’s Ray Langston this fall. No, the character’s change of style isn’t a stunt to jack up ratings. “It was taken out of context,” says executive producer Naren Shankar of comments made by CBS Entertainment President Nina Tassler on Monday.
“This is Lawrence Fishburne we’re talking about,” Shankar told EW. “It’s not like we’re sitting him down in a chair and giving him a makeover. It’s really about who this character is now. When he came on board, he was a newbie, he was still very much the professor holding onto that kind of life. At the end of the season he shoots somebody, and it has a pretty profound effect on how he views himself in this world.
“When the new season starts, Langston has really thrown himself into being a CSI, so his look changes to reflect that,” Shankar continues. “He really embraces what it is to be a criminalist. He’s wearing the forensic jackets to the scene. That’s all it is.”
At Monday’s Television Critics Tour session in Pasadena, Tassler responded to a question about Fishburne’s lack of popularity with fans and whether the network will attempt to stave off CSI’s ratings slide this season. She said Fishburne will have “a little bit of a wardrobe makeover” and that “our research and our fans said they love Fishburne and respect him…they just wanted to see him sort of more comfortable in his clothes.”