One of the most challenging circumstances that producers can find themselves in is the need to replace a long-standing role with a different actor. Lauren Lee Smith joined the cast during season nine as the main cast replacement for Jorja Fox’s Sara Sidle. Surely enough though, Smith was a worthy replacement.
The character of Riley Adams, who initially got along with her colleagues, was tough and rebellious and was often combative with her superior, Catherine Willows. The character of Riley Adams disappeared well before “CSI” ended, as her contentious relationship with Willows resulted in a scathing review of Catherine during her exit interview.
Elisabeth Shue – Then
After Catherine Willows, who was played by Marg Helgenberger, left the show, the producers were in a desperate search for another female lead. They decided upon Academy Award nominee Elisabeth Shue to take her place as Julie Finlay. As a blood splatter specialist with the team, Julie Finlay brought a unique specialty to the cast.
She stayed on the show for four seasons, joining during season twelve and staying on until the end of the show. The character of Julie Finlay, unfortunately, did not make it to the finale. This is because she fell into a coma following a brutal beating.
Lauren Lee Smith – Now
Originally from Vancouver, Canada, Lauren Lee Smith is probably not very well-known to American audiences outside of "CSI." Before joining "CSI," she was in a handful of lesser-known tv shows and tv movies, primarily for the Canadian Broadcasting Company (CBC).
After "CSI," Lauren managed to return to the CBC on the show, "The Listener," which unfortunately ended in 2014. She last had the starring role in the series "Frankie Drake Mysteries," but since then has not picked up any new projects. In 2017, Smith had a minor role in the Academy Award winner for Best Picture "The Shape of Water." And in 2022, she appeared in four episodes of "Departure."
Aisha Tyler – Now
Aisha Tyler also managed to have a successful career after CSI. Her career continued to flourish in 2001 after taking over as one of the hosts of "The Talk" and she has also starred in a variety of movies and tv shows like "Bedtime Stories," "Criminal Minds," and "Diary of a Future President," among others.
In her career so far, Aisha has managed to gracefully pivot towards different avenues; becoming an author, producer, and director. One of the most recent movies she showed up in was the comedy-drama "Friendsgiving." In 2022, Tyler put her trivia knowledge to the test, competing in "Celebrity Jeopardy!"
Aisha Tyler – Then
Though only appearing on the show for one season, Aisha Tyler played the memorable character, Mia Dickerson. Dickerson appeared in season five as a DNA lab technician and was defined by her exacting and almost neurotic behavior, commonly complaining of her colleagues contaminating her workspace.
Tyler also appeared in an episode of "CSI: Miami" but later left "CSI" altogether when she became busy with multiple projects in her career. Tyler also gained fame early on for her recurring role as the love interest of both Ross and Joey, Charlie, on arguably the most popular sitcom of all time - "Friends."