Most cast members including Ted Danson, George Eads and Jorja Fox are on the set when Helgenberger wraps her final scene for the CBS crime series.
Marg Helgenberger has wrapped her final scene for "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation" on Wednesday, December 7. On the set, cast and crew members were present when the Catherine Willows depicter bid her goodbye.
"I've been thinking a lot about this moment for a very long time," she began her speech. The 53-year-old had to fight back tears when she continued saying, "From the bottom of my heart, thank you for the time of my life," which was followed by applause from people in the room.
Perhaps to make her longtime gig on the unforgettable, Helgenberger took home some of her character's properties, including vest and badge. She was additionally presented with a cake which featured edible photos of her with old and new co-stars.
In an interview with Entertainment Tonight, Helgenberger talked about her departure more elaborately. Calling the decision a "very emotional" one, she said, "It's been a fifth of my life, and it's been quite a ride. How can I leave this? ... It's so much more than a job and that's why it has such an impact on me."
Ted Danson, who joined the show this season to replace Laurence Fishburne, chimed in, "Every other day I'd make some joke about her staying." He, however, claimed to understand his co-star's decision.
Meanwhile, Jorja Fox still holds out a hope that Helgenberger will be back someday just like what she did after she briefly left the show in season 8. "I'm like, 'you'll be back'... I believe that in my heart of hearts. I think it makes it easier to say goodbye to her right now because in my heart she'll be back at some point, some time," she shared.
Helgenberger's last episode of "CSI" is scheduled to air in January 2012. Most cast main members namely Danson, Fox, George Eads, Paul Guilfoyle, Eric Szmanda and Robert David Hall will appear on her last scene. While other details are kept secret, Danson did hint that Catherine's exit will involve a near-death experience.