CSI: The real reason they decided to remove Lauren Lee Smith from the series


When the original Las Vegas-themed CSI: Crime Scene Investigation premiered in 2000, few could have suspected the sheer size of the “CSI“-themed franchise it paved the way for. The series quickly became a hit and garnered spin-offs that fans began to follow.

But during all this time, many stars have left the “CSI” franchise over the years, due to the simple fact that such a large and long-running set of shows means there are tons of moving parts. Unfortunately, some seemingly important characters end up leaving sooner than you might expect.

Such was the case for Riley Adams (Lauren Lee Smith), who entered the show in Season 9 as a replacement for Warrick Brown’s (Gary Dourdan) crew, and quickly proved to be an invaluable part of the Las Vegas crime lab.

However, when Season 10 began airing, Riley was nowhere to be seen, as she transferred to another position due to her conflicts with Catherine Willows (Marg Helgenberger). What could have caused the character’s sudden departure from the show? The show’s producers may have found the real reason Lauren Lee Smith had to exit “CSI” quickly.

Sometimes an actor can be great and the character can be okay, but for one reason or another, they just don’t fit the puzzle. As “CSI” producer Naren Shankar said in one of his post-decision interviews in 2009, such was the case with Lauren Lee Smith’s Riley Adams, who simply walked into the show at a time when the CSI cast was already going through a huge change and that was not what they expected.

“It was a matter of how we felt the series worked. I think as a result, the character never really found her place in the story.”

It’s a shame fans haven’t had more time to get acquainted with Riley, but as a silver lining, Fox’s fan-favorite character Sara Sidle ended up returning for CSI Season 10 in her place and provided the series another path for new interesting stories. Perhaps more interesting than those generated by the character of Lauren Lee Smith.