How Much CSI: Vegas Will Feature Marg Helgenberger's Catherine After Losing William Petersen And Jorja Fox

Marg Helgenberger CSI
(Image credit: CBS)

CSI: Vegas scored a renewal for a second season of what was originally billed as a limited series, but Season 2 comes with the loss of original series stars William Petersen and Jorja Fox as Gil and Sara. The good news is that Marg Helgenberger has officially signed on to reprise her iconic role as Catherine Willows. After the departures of Petersen and Fox, the question is: how much will the Vegas revival feature her? Fortunately, fans won’t have to wait for the show to return for an answer.

As was previously rumored, Marg Helgenberger is on board to return to the CSI franchise for the Vegas spinoff, and Deadline reports that she will be a series regular with a one-year deal. Her series regular status is definitely good news for fans watching the new series but missing the familiar faces from the original, but the one-year deal raises the possibility that she could be in and out after a single season, like William Petersen and Jorja Fox, both of whom also had one-year deals. 

It is worth noting that William Petersen wasn’t expected to stay beyond that first year (even if there were hopes to the contrary), and Jorja Fox chose not to return to Season 2 for the sake of not splitting up Gil and Sara. If that hadn’t been a concern, Fox could well have come back for the second season, which got a chilling setup in the final moments of the Season 1 finale. Marg Helgenberger’s Catherine won’t have the same kind of ties to another regular in the way that Gil and Sara did, so she won’t face the same conundrum that Fox did. 

Catherine is also the logical choice as a big name to bring in after the departures of Petersen and Fox. Helgenberger and Petersen starred in the first nine seasons of CSI together before he left at the end of Season 9, and Helgenberger stuck around for another few seasons before leaving in Season 12. She appeared a couple of more times over the years, but CSI: Vegas will be the actress’ return to series regular status in the franchise for the first time since 2012. 

Her return to series regular status isn’t to say that Marg Helgenberger will want to return beyond Season 2, or even that CSI: Vegas will receive a Season 2. The revival did well enough in the ratings on CBS, but never managed to beat its competition unless Chicago P.D. over on NBC was airing reruns. Still, I have no trouble believing that Vegas was set up well enough in Season 1 that it can survive off-screen departures of Gil and Sara (who got closure anyway); the arrival of Helgenberger as Catherine can only help. 

Although Catherine didn’t appear in the first season that brought back Gil, Sara, Hodges, and Brass, she did get a mention in the series premiere when Sara informed Brass that Catherine “rolled out a red carpet” and would have been there “if she could” after he was attacked. Brass exposited that Catherine has “a little grandbaby in Dublin.” Catherine clearly has ties outside of Vegas, and the biggest question about her return might actually be what brings her back, more than whether or not she’ll stay past a single season. 

Marg Helgenberger joins a cast comprised of Paula Newsome’s Max Roby, Matt Lauria as Josh Folsom, Mandeep Dhillon as Allie Rajan. Mel Rodriguez was a series regular in Season 1 as Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Hugo Ramirez, but he too departed after one season. CSI: Vegas will presumably need to bring in a new medical examiner as well as Catherine. If you want to revisit Helgenberger’s original time on CSI, you can find the full series streaming with a Hulu subscription. The full first season of CSI: Vegas is available streaming with a Paramount+ subscription.

Laura Hurley
Senior Content Producer

Laura turned a lifelong love of television into a valid reason to write and think about TV on a daily basis. She's not a doctor, lawyer, or detective, but watches a lot of them in primetime. Resident of One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and Northeast Ohio. Will not time travel and can cite multiple TV shows to explain why. She does, however, want to believe that she can sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation (and author bios).