'CSI' Finale Scores Big Ratings: How Did It End After 15 Seasons?

The CBS show CSI: Crime Scene Investigation wrapped up its 15-season run with Sunday's CSI finale movie. Long-time fans were anxious to see some fan favorite characters return for the opportunity to wrap everything up in a farewell to the show. How did the finale do and how did things end once it was all said and done?

As Entertainment Weekly detailed, Marg Helgenberger and William Petersen returned for the CSI finale titled "Immortality." The returns of these original cast members were no surprise, as it had been announced some time back that they would be incorporated into this final show. However, fans were hopeful that the returns would pay proper tribute to the legacy of the Catherine Willows and Gil Grissom characters.

Viewers even got a bit of Lady Heather action in this last show, a nod to the recurring character played by Melinda Clarke. Though Ted Danson and Elisabeth Shue have been two of the primary cast members of late, their presence was quite minimal in this CSI finale.

Many were curious to see if Sara Sidle and Grissom would end up together as the series wrapped. This pairing was a storyline component that had been danced around on-and-off throughout the show's run and for many, the finale would have felt incomplete had these two not found a happy ending together.

As fans know, Gil and Sara had been together, then split, in prior seasons. Many expected the series to end on a good note for Sara and Gil though. Indeed, as TVLine details, Grissom and Sidle were together as the CSI finale wrapped, together on a boat heading off to lands far away. In addition, as things ended Catherine got the gig to head up the lab and her daughter Lindsey was following in her career footsteps.

Jorja Fox of 'CSI'

What did viewers think of the CSI finale? It seems that the opinions were fairly mixed according to the TVLine poll after the show. While about one-third thought it was awesome, a fair amount of the audience considered it to be only okay, and a decent chunk of those tuning in found it to be above average.

While some may have found the CSI finale to be underwhelming, the ratings indicate that people did tune in to see how this iconic series wrapped everything up in the end. As the Los Angeles Times details, "Immortality" drew 12.2 million viewers, the highest ratings for the series since January 2012.

Those ratings are impressive numbers on any given evening, but this finale aired against an NFL football game. Once the delayed viewing numbers are added in, the final CSI finale numbers should be even stronger. Throughout much of its run, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation was a solid performer for the network even in the later seasons.

There have been multiple spinoff shows based on the original CSI, with CSI: Miami running for a decade from 2002 to 2012. CSI: NY gave CBS nine seasons, running from 2004 to 2013. There's a fourth franchise now in its early stages, as CSI: Cyber debuted last spring, and the show returns with a full second season beginning on October 4.

'CSI' star Ted Danson

Though Peter MacNicol was a primary cast member in the initial CSI: Cyber episodes, he's gone for Season 2 and Ted Danson shifts over to the show now that the CSI finale is done. Though it would seem that the door is slightly open for some original show characters to make a visit to the new show, Deadline details that there's nothing coming in that regard quite yet.

What did you think of the CSI finale? Did the show hit the right note as it wrapped up the 15-season run of the show?

[Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Valerie Macon/Kevin Winter/Getty Images]