June 01, 2010 at 12:00 PM EDT

Image Credit: Frederick M. Brown/Getty ImagesCSI will be down one lab rat when the show returns this fall.

A CBS rep declined to comment, but a source close to the long-running procedural confirms that Liz Vassey’s (Wendy) contract option has not been picked up.

“The show is going in a different creative direction in its 11th season,” says the insider.

News of Vassey’s departure comes as several of her costars are negotiating new contracts. Might this be a precursor to a larger cast shake-up? That’s a rhetorical query. I honestly don’t know if anyone else is leaving. But an investigation has been launched, and I’ll hopefully have answers soon.

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