Smith, who joined the cast of the long-running CBS crime show last season, is now leaving after just one year. The new season will open with her character, Riley Adams, having departed the Las Vegas crime lab.
Executive producer Naren Shankar says the decision to let Smith and her character go was “an issue of how we were feeling the ensemble was working.”
“When we brought in the character of Riley, it got lost in the shuffle a little bit because we had lost Warrick, we had lost Sara, and then in the middle of last season Grissom finally left,” Shankar tells TV Guide. “I think, as a result, the character never quite found its footing in terms of the rest of the gang.”
The lab won’t be down a person for the entire season, though. Jorja Fox, last seen reuniting with Grissom (William Petersen) in the Central American jungle on Petersen’s last episode as a regular, will reprise her role as Sara Sidle in five episodes this season. She’ll make her first appearance in the season premiere.
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