By Sandra Gonzalez
August 03, 2011 at 07:26 PM EDT

After showing the first clip of Ted Danson on CSI, executive producer Carol Mendelsohn told a room of reporters at the Television Critics Association press tour that they’re looking forward to “a lighter season” of the procedural, as the show prepares to bid farewell to Marg Helgenberger.

“I think you can infer it [from the clip],” she said. “Last season we were chasing a serial killer … that arc has come to an end. With the introduction of our new CSI superior who has his own process, I think you can say it’s a lighter season.”

Danson’s character, investigator D.B. Russell was described by EP Don McGill as a family man “who grew up with counter-culture parents and traveled around with them.” “They were folk singers. He wasn’t just home-schooled, he was van-schooled,” McGill said.

Meanwhile, Marg Helgenberger, who announced in February that she would be “doing a few episodes” of this season after initially saying season 11 would be her last, said her extended stay is a result of her “having a hard time letting go.” “I’m not done playing this character. I’m not done letting go.” After the panel, a source told EW that Helgenberger would be in the first 12 episodes of this season.

More TCA scoop: @EWSandraG

Read more:

Marg Helgenberger calls Justin Bieber ‘kind of a brat’

Laurence Fishburne exits ‘CSI’

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