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Marg Helgenberger Talks About Why She Left CSI Originally And Getting Used To The Science Dialogue Again

marg helgenberger in csi
(Image credit: CBS)

While the upcoming second season of CSI: Vegas will be without CSI OGs William Petersen and Jorja Fox, the series will see the long-awaited return of yet another OG. Earlier this year, it was revealed that Marg Helgenberger will reprise her role of Catherine Willows in CSI: Vegas, and now the actress is opening up about initially leaving the crime drama and more. 

Marg Helgenberger was on CSI for the first 12 seasons of the CBS drama during its original run and even made a guest appearance in Season 14. Being on the same show for so long can take its toll, and Helgenberger candidly shared with EW her reasoning for leaving the series originally and being "burned out" sounds like it had a lot to do with it.

It was interesting because I had played Catherine Willows for so many years. It's like a part of me. In fact, one of the reasons I left the original show is because I felt like it had become too much of my identity. I was really burned out, I just kind of had to step away from that character. It wasn't that I was done playing her. So in terms of establishing a camaraderie or an instant chemistry, it was pretty natural, I have to say, and I think it's because I played this character for so long. It felt great to be back in her boots and her tight jeans.

Marg Helgenberger wasn't the only major cast member to exit CSI during it's original run, and It’s definitely understandable that she might want to take some time away from a network TV program, particularly given the long episode runs are notorious for long hours and grueling schedules. Though it is nice to hear that even though she didn’t necessarily want to leave the series, she felt she had to so she could break away from Catherine. But now she’s back! And other Vegas cast members have already shared their excitement over Helgenberger's return.

Photos from the Season 2 premiere of CSI: Vegas were recently released showing Marg Helgenberger back in business. The actress also discussed how it feels being back, admitting the challenges of easing back into the difficult dialogue used to describe the "science" behind the groundbreaking investigation techniques the show is known for highlighting.

I mean, I have to say it took a couple of episodes to get warmed up. I knew the style of the show, obviously, and there's an enormous amount of exposition sometimes, and there's certainly an enormous amount of science as well, just piecing together all of the evidence. It's sometimes a struggle for people to to get this dialogue right. And to get it so that it flows naturally. So, like with any job, it takes a few days to get warmed up.

Returning to a role that you haven’t played in a decade is doubtless not easy, especially on a show that has a decent amount of scientific forensic jargon and dialogue. Yet, Marg Helgenberger seems like she's up for the challenge and has "warmed up" to the task in more recent days.

It should be interesting and fun to see Catherine Willows back and see what brings her to Vegas. Whether or not the series will have more original stars back has yet to be seen. I also don't know if William Petersen and Jorja Fox will return following their departures at any point in the future, but it could be cool to see an even bigger reunion down the line.

Meanwhile, Season 2 of CSI: Vegas will also see some new faces. Sara Amini and Joel Johnstone are set to recur as siblings Sonya and Jack, the new head Medical Examiner and Assistant Medical Examiner, respectively. The two replace Mel Rodriguez following his departure as M.E. Hugo Ramirez. With the season premiering soon, it won’t be long until fans see old and new faces on the screen and the highly-anticipated return of Marg Helgenberger as Catherine Willows.

Don’t miss Helgenberger’s return in the Season 2 premiere of CSI: Vegas on Thursday, September 29 at 10 p.m. EST on CBS! Check out CinemaBlend’s 2022 TV schedule to see what else is on the lineup in the coming months!

Megan Behnke
Freelance TV News Writer

Passionate writer. Obsessed with anything and everything entertainment, specifically movies and television. Can get easily attached to fictional characters.