Laurence Fishburne joining "CSI" cast

Tue Aug 19, 2008 3:50am EDT
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By Steve Gorman

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Stage and screen star Laurence Fishburne's last turn as a series regular on network television was the role of Cowboy Curtis on the 1980s kids show "Pee-wee's Playhouse."

So the acclaimed actor better known for playing dark, brooding characters says he looks forward to his new TV gig as a forensics investigator with disturbing tendencies on the hit CBS detective drama "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation."

Not that he had ever seen the series before his first meeting with the show's executive producers, Carol Mendelsohn and Naren Shankar.

"I felt a little stupid and embarrassed that I hadn't watched the show prior to having a meeting with them," Fishburne, 47, acknowledged in a conference call with reporters for the announcement that he is joining the show's cast.

"But I'm happy to say that the episodes that they sent me to look at were really, really engaging and really wonderful, and kind of dark and moody, like a lot of the work that I've actually been involved in," he added. "So I'm very excited."

Famed for his movie work as Morpheus in "The Matrix" trilogy and his Oscar-nominated role as Ike Turner in "What's Love Got to Do With It," Fishburne is slated to make his "CSI" debut in episode nine of the show's upcoming ninth season.

"CSI," which averaged 17 million viewers last season, ranks as CBS's top-rated show and the third most-watched scripted series in all of U.S. prime time.

Mendelsohn and Shankar hailed Fishburne as their "dream" casting choice.   Continued...

<p>Actor Laurence Fishburne arrives to attend the Creative Coalition Awards Gala honoring individuals for their commitment to champion social welfare issues in New York, December 18, 2006. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson</p>