Could Cyrus the Virus or Morpheus have replaced Grissom?
So it's not surprising really that CBS Entertainment president Nina Tassler wound up admitting that attempts to secure Malkovich as a possible addition to the cast of CSI never worked out, amid news that star William Petersen was leaving his role next season as team leader Gil Grissom. Tassler said the network "talked about" Fishburne, but never really settled on him.
The new character Malkovich would have played wouldn’t necessarily replace Petersen’s character, joining the Las Vegas forensics unit as a new guy who secretly knows he has a genetic disposition to become a serial killer. Tassler expected Petersen to leave the show after 10 episodes or so in the middle on the 2008-09 season, overlapping a few shows with the new character.
“You look at someone like John Malkovich,..who has an interesting internal life to every character he does,” Tassler said, noting that Malkovich begged off before formal negotiations could begin. “We’re looking for someone that has depth and scope and gravitas.”