Cheers Scene Investigation: How Would the Former Cheers Cast Stack Up on CSI?

By Tim Surette

Jul 13, 2011

First the head of CSI's CSI team was that guy from Manhunter and To Live and Die in L.A.. Then it was Morpheus from The Matrix. Now it's a bartender from Cheers.

Yes, CBS has found a replacement for the recently departed Laurence Fishburne to headline its tentpole series CSI, and it's Ted Danson.

You can't deny Danson's acting ability; his dramatic turn on Damages as Arthur Fobrisher was stellar, and his newest role—as the pot-smoking George Christopher on HBO's Bored to Death—is a joy to watch. But CSI? Really? He may be decades older, and his hair might be whiter than John Mayer, but will we ever see him as anyone other than Sam Malone, the ex-ball-player-turned-bartender from the classic comedy Cheers?

No. But even while we wrestle with the thought of Sam Malone as a CSI, we can't help but wonder how the rest of Cheers' colorful cast would do as crime-scene investigators.

Diane Chambers (Shelley Long)
Diane certainly has the smarts and drive to be a successful bad-guy catcher. But as soon as she arrives at a crime scene and sees some blood spatter, her princess tendencies will lead her directly into the bushes to unswallow her breakfast parfait. Confine her to a desk, and maybe she's got a shot. But putting her out in the field? No way.

Rebecca Howe (Kirstie Alley)
Her ability to adapt and to suck up to those in power makes her an ideal puppet for upper management—always a plus for any cop show. But the second a handsome Fed starts sniffing around one of her cases, she'll fall over her feet flirting him. She needs a little more backbone.

Ernie "Coach" Pantusso (Nicholas Colasanto)
If CSI were on Comedy Central, he'd definitely be perfect.

"Woody" Boyd (Woody Harrelson)
See above.

Carla Tortelli (Rhea Perlman)
Now we're talking! Carla's no-nonsense attitude and bulldog temperament make her ideal for the muscle of the organization. Give her a badge and set her loose on the seedy thugs of Vegas.

Norm Peterson (George Wendt)
Everyone say it with me now: "Norm!" His affable personality and known-around-town status make him perfect candidate for dealing with criminal informants and interrogating perps. Either they'll open up to him over a few beers or they'll beg for jailtime after he talks their ears off. But with watering holes open 24 hours a day in Vegas, he's sure to run up a bar tab that even Steve Wynn couldn't pay off. Solution: free drinks at the $1 blackjack tables downtown!

Cliff Clavin (John Ratzenberger): Is anyone better suited to take over as boss than Cliff? His encyclopedic knowledge of everything and his Asperger's behavior would be perfect for getting into the nitty-gritty details of homicide scenes. Plus, he could not only examine evidence with eagle-eye precision, he could also tell you where the evidence originated, what stores the evidence might have come from, and what those stores had on sale that day. Bonus: Cliff's experience as a postal worker obviously means he's well trained in firearms.

Frasier Crane (Kelsey Grammer)
With his expertise in psychology, Frasier is a natural fit for a CSI team. But with his penchant for opera and all things pretentious, he's also a natural fit to get his ass kicked by his colleagues on a daily basis.

Which Cheers character do you think would make a good addition to CSI? And how do you think Ted Danson will do on the show?

Follow writer Tim Surette on Twitter: @TimAtTVDotCom

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  • pichikin Aug 25, 2011

    If I were to pick a cast member of Cheers to head up CSI, Kelsey Grammer would be my first choice. Ted Danson is a close second though. He was great as Frobisher in Damages. I'm excited to see how he'll do in CSI.

  • CrimeDramaBee Jul 15, 2011

    Why do they have to keep casting a new lead guy. Promote Nick or Cath or even Sara and then you wouldn't have to worry about jumping another shark. Poor sharks are gonna become an endangered species or something.

  • Geek_Queen Jul 15, 2011

    While I like Ted Danson, I have a hard time picturing him as a CSI on CSI. If he's playing someone like Ecklie who usually stays around the office, that I can picture better.

  • KevinG87 Jul 14, 2011

    i haven't watched CSI since season 3, and honestly, i don't think it should've gone past that really. haven't they run out of ideas yet? it was already getting obvious when i stopped. it and the other, what, 20? CSI shows need to go away. and Law & Order for that matter lol

  • Mar-Q Jul 14, 2011

    Agreed. Couldn't have said it better myself. I didn't even know Laurence Fishburne was leaving, though I guess considering the finale it makes sense.

  • Thnunumber6 Jul 14, 2011

    The phrase "jumping the shark" was the first thing that came to my mind upon hearing Danson was joining C.S.I., a show I have steadily lost interest in as it is.

  • shootingstar609 Jul 14, 2011

    I'm not sure about Ted Danson, then again I wasn't sure about Fishburne either and I really liked his character. As for the rest of the Cheers cast, I didn't watch much of that show so I can't really speak to anything about the characters.

  • pokerrob1023 Jul 14, 2011

    Get your head out of your Clavin

  • brag0031 Jul 14, 2011

    Cliff would be perfect for interrogations. After 5 minutes of being forced to listen to him talk, suspects would confess to anything!

  • logossun Jul 14, 2011

    Actually, I found the article... well, bland. I expected more laughs in there, sorry.

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