Talk about the worst-kept secret in the TV biz: More than a month after we first brought you news of the talks between Laurence Fishburne and CSI, CBS is now confirming that the Oscar-nominated actor is joining the cast this season as William Petersen’s pseudo replacement.

Says CBS: “Fishburne will play a former pathologist who is now working as an itinerant college lecturer, teaching a course in criminalistics. His focus is on understanding criminal behavior, how and why people commit acts of violence — tendencies he disturbingly sees within himself. In the course of a murder investigation, he comes into contact with the CSI team and ultimately joins the Las Vegas Crime Lab as a Level-1 CSI.”

Says me: He’s got some funky serial killer DNA!

“CBS asked us, ‘Who’s at the top of your dream list?’ CSI executive producers Carol Mendelsohn and Naren Shankar said in a joint statement. “Without hesitation, we said Laurence Fishburne. He is a powerful and intense actor, with an incredible range….If you distill CSI down to its essence, it’s a collaboration — and we are so looking forward to collaborating with Mr. Fishburne. For all of us at CSI, this is truly a dream.”

“I am elated and delighted to be joining the cast of CSI,” said Fishburne. “I look forward to a wonderful collaboration with the creative and talented team of such a successful and distinguished show.”

Fishburne will debut in this season’s ninth episode, right around the time Petersen departs.

OK, the big question: Will Fishburne be able to fill Petersen’s size 12s? Comment away! And then head over to Hollywood Insider to find out why Fishburne felt “stupid and embarrassed” when he was first approached to join the show.

addCredit(“Laurence Fishburne: Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images”)

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