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Marg Helgenberger's Views On Gun Control Influenced Her CSI: Vegas Character

"CSI" introduces quite a few agents over the course of its whopping 15-season run, but one of the characters that fans get to know best over the course of the series is none other than Marg Helgenberger's Catherine Willows. Somewhat of a protege to William Petersen's Gil Grissom, Catherine proves herself to be one of the central team's most capable members, solving many a tough case in her time. That makes it all the more difficult for viewer to say goodbye when the character takes her leave from the main cast in Season 12.

Helgenberger eventually made her grand return to the "CSI" universe by joining of the main cast for Season 2 of "CSI: Vegas." While longtime franchise fans are happy about Catherine's return, some may have noticed an interesting difference with the character this time around. Specifically, the veteran agent no longer carries or uses firearms, despite frequently having done so in the original series. As it turns out, it was Helgenberger's own personal views on the real-world issue of gun control that influenced this change for Catherine.

Helgenberger doesn't think Willows needs to be armed

In an interview with USA Today, Marg Helgenberger spoke about her portrayal of Catherine in "CSI: Vegas." When asked about why the character hasn't used a gun in the sequel series, the actress gave a practical reason, noting that Catherine is not an active agent when she first makes her return in the "CSI: Vegas" Season 2 premiere. However, she then revealed that she has a pretty clear personal stance on the matter as well. "I don't think Catherine needs to be armed," she said. "I'm sure some of that is my personal views on gun control."

It's true that the ongoing real-world issue of gun violence has brought about renewed consideration of how TV shows depict firearms and the people that use them. Some studies have suggested that depictions of gun safety in TV dramas can have a positive impact on viewership and allow for more educated discussions of gun control (via Deadline). While "CSI: Vegas" frequently depicts guns, having a character like Catherine generally refrain from using firearms lends the show's portrayal of the topic a bit more nuance.

While Helgenberger's stance on Catherine's gun usage is pretty firm, she's not completely opposed to her character using the weapon in the future if it meaningfully contributes to the show's narrative. "If it's called for in the scene, I would," the actress concluded.