By Lynette Rice
Updated October 15, 2007 at 11:33 PM EDT

CSI‘s Jorja Fox — the 39-year-old actress whose tenure on TV’s No. 1 drama almost ended in 2004 when she was temporarily fired during tense contract negotiations — has quit the show. She wrapped production on the drama last week. Fox told exclusively that her decision to give up the role of Sara Sidle had nothing to do with money and everything to with wanting a break from the commitment of a weekly television series.

“There are all these things I want to do. Some are personal. Some are professional. And I really need to do some of them before I get too old,” explains Fox. “If I thought the show were on its last legs, I would have tried harder to stay the course. But I feel like its going to be around for a while, so if I don’t want some of those dreams to pass me by. I have to get off the ride for a while.”

Fox said CBS had invited her back for an eighth season (her contract expired in May) but she was only interested in signing on for a limited number of episodes. She’ll appear in five more this season — her last in mid-November — before saying goodbye to TV’s top-rated drama. For more on’s exclusive interview with Fox, check back on Wednesday.