Marg Helgenberger announced last week she will be the next original character to depart the hit TV show CSI. Helgenberger played the character Catherine Willows who was employed as a crime scene investigator supervisor.
Willows was level-3 CSI and forensic scientist in Las Vegas and a very good one at that.
Willows holds the no. 82 position on Bravo's list of 100 Greatest TV Characters. She shares that position with friend Gil Grissom, who was played by William Petersen.
Avid CSI watchers will be sad to see Willows leave. They have cried with her in trying times and laughed with her during her success and happiness.
Willows had a tough childhood, as she was raised by a single mother who was a waitress and a showgirl. A very intelligent and witty person, Willows' true potential wasn't seen when she was younger because her mother's demanding job prevented her from being settled in school.
Eventually Willows became an exotic dancer and found herself as the breadwinner for her and her dreamer boyfriend.
Willows then found a love for crime scene investigation and returned to school, graduating West Las Vegas University with a Medical Science degree and then joined the CSI team at the Las Vegas Police Department.
Willows worked her way up from a lab technician to a supervisor under Gil Grissom's tutelage.
Willows also struggled as a mother to raise her only child, Lindsey. She also later found out her father was a casino boss, who was later gunned down. Her father left her a portion of his business before dying.
After years of picking the wrong men, Willows finally fell in love with Det. Vartann, played by Alex Carter. It was the happiest she has ever been after losing her good friend Warrick Brown, played by Gary Dourdan, who died in season 9.
Viewers cried with Willows when she first saw Brown's lifeless body after he was killed by dirty Undersheriff Jeffry McKeen, in a back alley inside his car. Brown had figured out that someone high up in the police force had connections with mafia boss Lou Gedda.
That's what makes you a great CSI, McKeen told Brown before shooting him twice and walking away.
There was no one who could have given more life to Willows that Helgenberger. She was a perfect fit for the role and she brought out the best in the character she began playing in 2000.
Helgenberger recently wrapped her 263rd episode to be aired on Jan. 25, Entertainment Weekly reported.
She was given a proper send off by the cast and will get to keep the vest and badge that Willows wore, EW reported.
I've been thinking a lot about this moment for a very long time, Helgenberger said. From the bottom of my heart, thank you for the time of my life.
There have been reports that Oscar nominee Elisabeth Shue will join the CSI cast as a replacement for Helgenberger, making her first appearance on an episode that will air on Feb. 15, AolTV reported.
Start the slideshow to see Marg Helgenberger's evolution over the years.