Laurence Fishburne Chooses Red Pill, Leaves ‘CSI’

The “Matrix” actor ditches the show he joined 2.5 years ago

Laurence Fishburne has opted not to renew his contract for "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation," the hit CBS program he joined in 2008.

The "Matrix" alum took on the marquee role when William Peterson, the hugely rated series' original lead actor, left midway through its ninth season. Fishburne played Dr. Ray Langston, a college professor and former pathologist.

The news means that Fishburne will not return for the 2011-12 season, which moves to Wednesday nights at 10 p.m. ET. No word yet on who will replace him, if anyone, when "CSI" returns in the fall. And no word about the fate of Langston, whose final act, barring future Fishburne cameos, was killing his serial-killer nemesis. The May finale ended with internal affairs questioning Langston about whether he had acted in self-defense.

The episode was its low-rated season finale ever, netting just 11.8 million viewers and a 2.6 in the 18-49 demo, well down from the towering heights of its Nielsen heyday.