Jorja Fox leaves “CSI” on her terms


Sara Sidle has left the building.
And she has left of her own free will. But don’t cry too much into
your Petri dishes, forensics fans: She may be back to visit every now
and then. In an interview with Entertainment
, veteran

CSI cast member Jorja Fox
said leaving the series was her decision, one that had nothing to do
with money, and that she might return for guest spots later down the

“It’s my call — and a
very, very difficult one, something I’ve been thinking about for
a long, long time. It’s one of the hardest decisions I’ve made in my
life. It has nothing to do with my contract, nothing to do with money. …
It could be the stupidest thing I’ve ever done in my life. Only time
will tell. … There are so many things I want to do! Some are personal.
Some are professional. And I really need to do some of them before I
get too old.”

Fans have been atwitter about
Jorja’s possible exit since last season’s cliffhanger finale saw
her character kidnapped and pinned under a car by the Miniature Killer.
Of course she survived, only to dash her fans’ hopes by announcing she would leave the
show later this season. Her final episode (episode eight of season eight … oh,
the symmetry) will air in mid-November.

Now, I’m a longtime fan
of the show. The cast’s simple chemistry and geeky forensics had me
hooked from the start. But Jorja’s departure means the departure of
my favorite CSI. Well, at least I still have Sofia (Louise Lombard)
and Catherine (Marg Helgenberger).

Jorja said Sara’s final episode,
which has already been filmed, was emotional and exhausting.

“It required me to go deeper
than I ever have. It was an emotional episode for everyone, certainly
for me. I’ve been exhausted since before the premiere, in such an odd
way. There has been an incredible outpouring of support from my fans
— and confusion. Because I think a lot of the fans believe this is
a contractual issue and has something to do with money.”

But Sara may not have gathered
her last piece of evidence after all. Jorja left the door decidedly
open to guest starring. And CSI
executive producer Carol Mendelsohn
was even more emphatic about Sara’s return in an interview with TV
: “Yes.
You can count on it … the fans will not have seen the last of Sara
Sidle. Nor will Grissom.”

Yay! Well, I could do without
the Grissom stuff. Speaking of Gil, tonight’s episode promises the
big proposal. Mendelsohn hinted that it would have something to do with
the bees from last week’s episode. After seeing this picture, I think it’s
bound to go something like this: “You’re just a bee charmer, Sara
Sidle. That’s what you are, a bee charmer.”

Sara’s departure leaves
fans to contend with new female CSI Ronnie Lake (Jessica Lucas). Sadly, she didn’t exactly make
a great first impression in her debut last week. Producers haven’t
said whether Jessica is an official replacement for Jorja, or
how many episodes she’ll star in. But considering the circumstances, you
can’t help but draw comparisons between the two. And, much like Sara’s
annoyed reaction to the newbie, I keep thinking, “Who let this teenager
in the lab?” Seriously, I’m going to have to see some I.D., young

As for Jorja and her future
plans, the 39-year-old actress wouldn’t give specifics, but it sounds
like travel is on the agenda.

“I might buy a ticket for
around the world. It’s also summer in the Southern Hemisphere, so I
might take a surf trip. I forgot to have kids! And there are several
projects of my own that I’m excited about.”

I wish Jorja well on her future
adventures. May they be filled with considerably fewer flesh-eating
maggots and gaping head wounds. And, if you ever miss the bugs and blood,
you know where to go to get your fix. We’ll be waiting.

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