I don't write about "CSI" very often, but wanted to note tonight's departure of Marg Helgenberger from the cast after over 260 episodes. William Peterson's been gone a while now, and though Ted Danson has worked out quite well after the problematic Laurence Fishburne era(*), Catherine has been just as important to the show as the various leading men. Where Grissom exemplified the brains, Catherine (who was very smart in her own right) was where the heart was centered. Among the reasons I've always preferred original recipe "CSI" to the spin-offs is that I liked the characters better, and Catherine and the way she related to everyone else was a huge part of that.

(*) Where did the whole notion of wanting to be the guy who replaces the guy who replaces the legend begin? I remember hearing about it after Jeff Van Gundy took over as Knicks coach from Don Nelson, who in turn had the unenviable task of replacing Pat Riley, but I'm sure it predates that, and it holds true to most fields. On the other hand, I suspect if they had cast Danson at the time and written D.B. Russell for him, the immediate post-Grissom period might have gone differently.

What did everybody think of her farewell episode? Did you like the callback to the diner scene from the beginning of the series? Was the elite hit squad too over-the-top, or should a character as important as Catherine get a larger-than-life final case?

And with George Eads as the last original CSI standing (remember, Jorja Fox turned up in the second episode), how is everybody feeling about the state of the show? Are you enjoying Danson? Looking forward to Elisabeth Shue's arrival?