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Laurence Fishburne

Jeffrey Mayer/WireImage.com

Once again, CSI has got its man.

As expected, Laurence Fishburne has formally signed on to appear as a regular on the forthcoming season of CBS' procedural juggernaut, replacing outgoing star William Petersen as the series' source of thespian gravitas.

While no air date has been set for the departure of Petersen's Gil Grissom, the network announced today that Fishburne would be introduced in the ninth episode of the season, not as a fellow CSI, but as a college lecturer and former pathologist who focuses more on criminals' motivation than methods.

"I am elated and delighted to be joining the cast of CSI," Fishburne said. "I look forward to a wonderful collaboration with the creative and talented team of such a successful and distinguished show."

Earlier this month, word broke that Fishburne was in talks to join prime-time's Sin City staple and succeed Petersen, who will remain a producer on the show and potentially make the occasional guest-starring pit stop.

"CBS asked us, 'Who's at the top of your dream list?' " producers Carol Mendelsohn and Naren Shankar said in a statement. "Without hesitation, we said Laurence Fishburne. He is a powerful and intense actor, with an incredible range.

"If you distill CSI down to its essence, it's a collaboration—and we are so looking forward to collaborating with Mr. Fishburne. For all of us at CSI, this is truly a dream."