Ted Danson
Credit: Jason Kempin/Getty Images

The crime scene behind the yellow tape just got a lot more interesting on CSI.

CBS is set to announce that Ted Danson will take over for Laurence Fishburne as the drama’s leading man for the show’s 12th season. Danson will play the CSI supervisor for the grave shift after heading the crime lab in Portland. He comes to the team as they are still grappling with the professional and personal fallout from last season’s take-down of serial killer, Nate Haskell.

“You can create a new character on the page, but until the perfect actor comes along and breathes life into it, it’s just words,” said executive producer Carol Mendelsohn. “We’re very excited Ted Danson came along.”

Danson — the veteran Emmy-winning TV actor who was most recently seen toking doobies with Zach Galfianakis on HBO’s Bored to Death –– replaces Fishburne, who left the series in May after CBS declined to renew his contract. Fishburne came to the drama more than two years ago in an attempt to fill the void left by William Petersen (Gil Grissom). Despite his high-profile status as a film actor, Fishburne’s presence as Dr. Raymond Langston wasn’t enough to keep CSI’s ratings strong in the wake of Peterson’s departure. The former Top 5 show finished the season with a 3.3 rating among adults 18-49, ranked No. 30.

The casting of Danson caps off an exhaustive search by CBS to find another star worthy enough to help return some luster to the aging CSI franchise. EW learned that offers went out to actors like Tony Shaloub, Robin Williams and John Lithgow before the studio landed on Danson, who’s been enjoying a career resurgence thanks to a critically-acclaimed run on Damages. He received three Emmy nominations for playing Arthur Frobisher on the (onetime) FX drama. Danson will remain a series regular on Bored.

“From the moment we all started talking about the role, it was clear he couldn’t be more perfect,” said executive producer Don McGill. “Intelligence, wit, warmth, depth of character and emotion, he brings it all. And now he’ll have to bring latex gloves, too.”

Presumably for investigating crimes.

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