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The Real Reason Gary Dourdan Left CSI

"CSI: Crime Scene Investigation" had a sizable run on CBS. The police procedural ran for 15 seasons from 2000 to 2015, and as tends to be the case with any live-action TV show that runs that long, cast members came and went. People who were there from the very beginning dropped out a few years later while other actors came in to fill their shoes. It was a hodgepodge of a cast, and everyone will have their favorites. But it's hard not to have a soft spot for one character who was there from the start who left prematurely — Warrick Brown, as played by Gary Dourdan.

Warrick Brown was a recovering gambling addict who had a chance to turn his life around by becoming an audio-video analyst for the team. He helped them on numerous occasions until he faced false accusations of murder, eventually being acquitted in the end. However, he wasn't meant to last on the show. During the Season 8 finale, Warrick was shot in his car, and for the Season 9 premiere, it was revealed he died in Gil Grissom's (William Petersen) arms. It was a tragic end for such a beloved character, but the real reason behind Dourdan's departure seems to come down to a tale as old as time — contract negotiations.

Gary Dourdan's contract expired

The transition from Season 8 to Season 9 for "CSI' was a major one. Not only was Gary Dourdan's character killed off, but Jorja Fox also departed during that timeframe (via TV Guide). However, her character was kept alive, allowing her to continue making guest appearances throughout the show's remaining run as well as appear in the current spinoff series "CSI: Vegas." Dourdan wasn't as lucky, and while there isn't a ton of information out there concerning why negotiations fell through, Entertainment Weekly offered this tidbit: "According to an insider, the decision was a mutual one made by the actor and CBS/Paramount, the studio that produces the procedural drama for CBS."

According to reports, CBS didn't waste any time trying to find a replacement. TV Guide goes on to report how producers quickly sought actors for the role of Ray Santoro, which is noteworthy because a character by that name never ended up on the series.

Gary Dourdan may have permanently left the "CSI" franchise, but he hasn't done too badly for himself in the years since he left the show. He's appeared in a number of movies and TV shows over the years, most recently with a recurring role on "First Wives Club." Whatever the reason for his exit from "CSI," few could argue that he didn't receive one of the most emotional send-offs in the show's history.