Why Did ‘CSI: Crime Scene Investigation’ End After 15 Seasons on the Air?

Devan McGuinness - Author

Oct. 6 2021, Published 8:04 p.m. ET

CSI: Crime Scene Investigation 2000
Source: CBS

Rarely, television shows premiere and hit so big with the audience that they span a whole new genre of TV watching. The CBS show CSI: Crime Scene Investigation premiered on Oct. 6, 2000, and with it, the first procedural forensics crime drama series was born.

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The long-running series aired its last episode on Sept. 27, 2015. But, after taking home multiple awards, with 15 seasons on the air and many spinoffs, why did CSI end? Read on to find out.

Crime Scene Investigation on CBS
Source: CBS
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Why did ‘CSI’ end?

CSI: Crime Scene Investigation was a first-of-its-kind TV series that focused on detectives who worked at trying to find clues and details in crime scenes to solve the case. It revolutionized these forensic-focused shows and was CBS’s first in a long line of many dramas that followed a similar format.

Set in Las Vegas, the show started with a team led by Gil Grissom (William Petersen) and included Catherine Willows (Marg Helgenberger), Sara Sidle (Jorja Fox), Warrick Brown (Gary Dourdan), and Captain Jim Brass (Paul Guilfoyle).

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Grissom on CSI
Source: CBS

Together they used each of their expertise to help gather the clues needed to help solve the case at hand. The show was known for its zippy graphics that brought viewers right into the work. And the format of the show worked extremely well.

During the show's 15-year run on the air, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation took home an impressive number of honors, including 127 Primetime Emmy Awards nominations, landing 68 wins.

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Other accolades included many Golden Globes, multiple Screen Actors Guild Awards, a collection of ASCAP Film and Television Music Awards, and several wins through the American Society of Cinematographers.

Despite all the impressive work and the fact that the show was dominating the ratings for over a decade (including landing the title of “most-watched show in the world” according to the International Audience Awards), even good things have to come to an end at some point.

Source: Twitter
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In 2015, after 15 very successful seasons and many new faces throughout the seasons, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation came to an end. But at least the finale was fit for a show that reigned supreme for so long.

Instead of a typical one-hour episode, the show aired a two-hour made-for-TV movie, providing fans with a send-off to their favorite characters.

The reason for CSI going off the air seemed like it was a mix of inevitability and the fact that there were other shows capturing viewers’ attention. We know that there had been several spinoffs of the original CSI over the years, including CSI: Miami, CSI: NY, and CSI: Cyber, which were then also competing with the audience.

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Gil Grissom (William Petersen) and Catherine Willows (Marg Helgenberger) on CSI
Source: CBS

But another theory that hung around on why the show was canceled was due to the infusion of real-life forensic and crime-style shows, which were found on networks like Investigation Discovery. With fans getting their fix of the science from a less dramatic show, it might have pulled some of the viewers away.

However, like all good things, if we have enough patience, we might be able to have our favorites rebooted or restored. And that’s the case for CSI: Crime Scene Investigation. A new sequel to the original has been picked up, renamed CSI: Vegas, and it’s slated to hit the air in October 2021, with several old favorites returning to reprise their roles.

CSI: Vegas airs on Wednesdays at 10 p.m. EST on CBS.

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