New 'CSI' character's 'different ... DNA'

As you've probably heard by now, William Petersen's going to be leaving CBS' "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation."

And naturally, CBS entertainment president Nina Tassler wants to put as good a spin as possible on this potentially damaging development. So when she notes that the new character who'll eventually be replacing Petersen's Gil Grissom as head of the CSI unit has "a different kind of DNA," I assume, in my ignorance, that this is some new execu-speak for "quirky."

William Petersen as "CSI's" Gil Grissom


Turns out this guy -- who's not yet been cast, though she later confirmed that John Malkovich had been approached and had turned down the role -- has some genetic profile that's been linked with serial killers.

While this could be useful in ridding the show of those pesky contract disputes, since the writers would always have the option of having the boss kill off actors who didn't settle quickly, Tassler insists the character isn't showing any clinical signs: no history of torturing animals, for instance.

Good to know.

“Right now, it’s not a problem per se, it’s something he’s curious about in his own genetic code,” she said.

One could probably say the same about Dexter Morgan, the Emmy-nominated star of Showtime's Emmy-nominated series, "Dexter," which played, in a slightly sanitized form, on a strike-strapped CBS this spring, but Tassler said "Dexter's" not an influence for "CSI."

Probably also a good thing, since the CBS "Dexter" experiment didn't exactly bring out viewers in droves, CBS viewers apparently preferring their serial killers to get caught.

Asked how she'd feel about the headline, "Would-be serial killer joins 'CSI,'" Tassler replied, "I wouldn't phrase it that way."