Mel Rodriguez, who played Chief Medical Examiner Hugo Ramirez on CSI: Vegas, is leaving the series ahead of the second season. He’s the latest high-profile departure from the CBS franchise. Stars William Petersen and Jorja Fox had announced they also wouldn’t return for the second season of the beloved crime lab procedural series.
TV Line reported Thursday that Rodriguez bowed out of the series. It’s unclear how the show will address it or if he could return for guest appearances. Rodriguez joined the cast of CSI: Vegas, a revival of the original CSI, last February.
CBS didn’t comment on Rodriguez’s decision. But a cryptic Twitter post from the show told fans to “embrace change.”
Rodriguez is the latest cast member to leave the show. William Peterson, who starred as Gil Grissom in the original series and CSI: Vegas, said he would leave the series last month after appearing in the 10-episode first season. He will continue to serve as a producer of the show for its second season.
Jorja Fox announced earlier this week that she also wouldn’t return to CSI: Vegas. Fox, who played Sara Sidle on the show, said she was following Peterson out the door because Sidle and Grisson “belong together.”
“After much deliberating, I have decided not to ‘Sidle up’ for CSI Vegas. For me, CSI has always been a love story. The story that people can find love in the darkest of places and times,” she wrote in a thread. “And the story that love, even in the darkest of places and times, can expand and grow roots and endure. I personally just can’t split Sara and Grissom up again. So goes Grissom… So goes Sara. Wherever they go, they belong together.”
CSI began in 2000 and spawned several CBS spin-offs. The network canceled the flagship series in 2015 but brought it back last year.
Fans React to Stars Leaving ‘CSI: Vegas’
Fans of CSI: Vegas don’t seem to be embracing change. Several people on Reddit said they were done with the series after Gil Grissom and Sara Sidle left.
“If Sara and Grissom won’t be in Season 2 anymore, I probably won’t want to watch,” wrote the original poster. Another fan added, “I liked Roby okay, but the other two new CSIs just didn’t catch my interest. I suffered through their scenes just get more of Sara and Grissom. Without them continuing as anchor characters, I doubt I’ll bother watching S2.”
The first season received mixed reviews from fans but was stable in the ratings. Though it drew in far fewer eyeballs than the show’s predecessor, Variety reported. CSI: Vegas closed out its first season with just north of 3.7 million viewers.
One of the nagging problems for some fans was the lack of depth on the show’s bench. They wanted the series to add more characters
“[The show] also […] had I think too few characters, which meant too much time, again usually with Folsom and Allie,” one fan wrote. “But build out the lab with a few more techs and a couple of more CSIs, and it won’t feel so much like Folsom and Allie are being shoved down the viewer’s throats the way it did in Season 1.”
Three of the show’s stars leaving won’t solve this problem.