Goodbye, Gil Grissom


December 11, 2008|By David Zurawik | David Zurawik,

He works in what must be the darkest office on the planet. On a weekly basis, he is knee-deep in body parts. And those are the good parts of the job. Why on earth would a guy want to leave?

Nevertheless, Gil Grissom (William Peterson) is leaving the building on CSI: Crime Scene Investigation tonight at 9 on CBS.

Not exactly forever - he'll dip back into the forensic fun once in a while (my guess: during ratings sweeps weeks when the body parts really start dropping). But he's handing the forceps over to a successor in a two-part episode that begins tonight.

As everybody knows, it's Laurence Fishburne who gets Grissom's parking space on the night shift. Unfortunately, CBS made only one-half of the two-part episode available for preview, which is two steps south of dumb. And this is a franchise famous for its story arcs.

I'd love to tell you Fishburne as Dr. Raymond Langston has it all - or at least part of all of the goods in this role. But there is simply not enough of him in Part 1 to tell. There's promise, but that's about all. The people who make this police procedural are proceeding very slowly in their introduction of Langston. (9 p.m., WJZ-Channel 13) ** 1/2

LATE-NIGHT GUESTS Comedian Jerry Seinfeld visits the Late Show with David Letterman. Actor Tom Cruise visits The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.

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