elisabeth shue csi cbs 'CSI: Crime Scene Investigation': Oscar nominee Elisabeth Shue 'really enjoying' going forensicElisabeth Shue is getting ready for her entrance on “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation” as its long-time female lead makes her exit.

Founding series star Marg Helgenberger‘s Catherine Willows leaves the CBS show in a two-part episode that starts Wednesday (Jan. 18). Then, “Leaving Las Vegas” Oscar nominee Shue returns to Vegas — at least figuratively, since the drama is filmed largely in Los Angeles — when her Julie “Finn” Finlay joins the crime lab Wednesday, Feb. 15.

“I’m really enjoying it,” Shue tells Zap2it of getting back into a regular work pace she hasn’t had since doing ABC’s drama “Call to Glory” in the mid-1980s. “I remember that what I loved about it was the feeling of almost like being in repertory theater. There’s such a family feel to a group that’s gone on for years and years, and I feel it immediately when I’m there [at ‘CSI’]. Everyone is so happy to see each other. They know each other inside and out, so it’s a very comfortable environment.”

Shue says that also pertains to fellow “CSI” newbie Ted Danson, whose D.B. Russell has a past with Finlay … specifically, his having fired her when they worked together previously.

“There’s something really nice about knowing you have time to discover your character and figure out the relationships,” adds Shue, whose credits also include such iconic movies as the first “Karate Kid,” “Adventures in Babysitting” and the two “Back to the Future” sequels.

“You always know there’s a chance to keep working and keep improving, like when you do a play. This night might not be the greatest, but tomorrow night, I’ll get it,” she says. “It’s always evolving and changing, so you don’t put as much pressure on every moment.”

The newest “CSI” hire could potentially help the show land a visit from a notable director: Shue’s husband, Davis Guggenheim (“An Inconvenient Truth,” “Waiting for ‘Superman'”), who has worked in television on such series as “Deadwood,” “The Shield” and “24.”

“He just likes doing pilots,” Shue explains, “because he’s really focused on doing documentaries. He does a pilot a year, then he puts all of his other time into documentary work … but I’ll bet we could probably get him to do one ‘CSI.’ Yeah.”

Posted by:Jay Bobbin