Tough-talking detective Aiden Burn was abruptly fired on the Oct. 5 episode of CBS' CSI: NY. But was the lady cop's portrayer, original cast member Vanessa Ferlito, unexpectedly ousted as well? TVGuide.com asked the 26-year-old, Brooklyn-born and -raised actress for the skinny behind her exit .
TVGuide com: Sorry that you're leaving CSI: NY.
No, it's a good thing. But it's sad if you watch the show, I guess.
TVGuide.com: CBS wanted some big changes in CSI: NY this season. Were you one of those changes?
Oh, no! I was the one who wanted to leave.
TVGuide.com: Why? Were you unhappy with the direction of your character?
I had no intention of doing an hour TV show. I had just wrapped the movie Man of the House with Tommy Lee Jones, so it's not like I had nothing going on. But it was CSI:NY! You don't say no to that. I have no regrets. It was a great experience and everybody was very good to me, but — and I know it sounds crazy — I really wanted to be home in New York. I wanted to still do movies and theater. That's why I got into this business in the first place.
TVGuide.com: Is there a boyfriend waiting for you in New York?
Yeah, I have a boyfriend in New York.
But it's not only the boyfriend. I tried my best, and it was my decision to go.
TVGuide.com: How did [series cocreator] Anthony Zuiker take it?
I had my manager and agent break the [news]. I really love and admire Anthony. I don't want to say it went over so smoothly, but after they told him, I called him personally. I'm not good with drama, but he handled it so well. Anthony was always very good to me, and in return, I gave him my all. So when I told him how I really felt — that I wanted to be back in New York, that I didn't want to be away from my family and my friends — he got it.
TVGuide.com: Some might think this is a risky choice. It's a CSI and, even if it's not the highest-rated one, it's giving up a paycheck that could have been steady for a lot of years.
Yeah. But for me, it wasn't about that. You have to be happy. To stay in it for any other reason than that is denying yourself and your life, and I don't want to do that. I could die tomorrow!
TVGuide.com: You must feel pretty confident about your ability to get good work.
Obviously, I was confident enough to come from where I come from in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn, and pursue this career. Nothing's changed. If I got CSI, I'll get more.
TVGuide.com: You're not leaving with plans to do another TV series, are you?
No, no, no, no. I have no plans on doing that anytime soon.
TVGuide.com: You did do 24 the year before.
I had a great time doing 24, but I left that show as well; I didn't have a permanent contract. So what happened was we shot two episodes and I got [Man of the House]. When I let them know, they asked me to stay on the show, but I left and took the movie. But it worked out, because I had time to finish some more  episodes. I did 12, and then they wound up getting rid of the whole [Season 3] cast anyway.
TVGuide.com: Are you worried that you'll get a reputation as a quitter?
No. Because [the situation with] 24 was different. They knew that I'd get a movie, [but] they took their chances. I could have turned down the movie and then got killed in the next episode. So that was a no-brainer. As far as CSI, this was my first show as a regular, and I left. But as far as my reputation, it's all in how you carry yourself. And even if I did leave on bad terms, I would never speak badly about them.
TVGuide.com: Your character arc on 24 ended in a spectacular way. Bam! A bullet hole in the head. Are you satisfied with the way Aiden exited CSI: NY, being fired for almost-evidence tampering?
[Laughs] I had no idea what was coming. I knew that they couldn't shoot me or kill me, because when Rory left CSI: Miami [a year ago], they shot him. It was sort of ironic in a way because they "fire me" after I resign. Are they trying to tell me something?
TVGuide.com: Would you rather have gone out with a great death scene?
I feel they kept it kind of open, because I'm not dead. I have such a great relationship still with CBS and with Anthony that if he ever asked me to come back while I was in the middle of doing something else, then [I would]. [Zuiker tells TV Guide.com that Ferlito is "a really talented and sweet woman who I think I'll work with in the future."]
TVGuide.com: Is it a dark movie?
Yes, very dark. Stephen Dorff plays my husband, who hires Helen and Cuba to kill me. But when they come, they're in for a surprise! It's so twisted. I also just finished a movie called Gridiron Gang with the Rock, a true story about boys in jail. I play a teacher, and we filmed it at a real jail in Malibu. So I'd go in to the classrooms and talk to the boys — and they just sent me this lovely note, thanking me for inspiring them.
TVGuide.com: So what will make Vanessa Ferlito happy?
I want to stay in New York, so if I could do theater and a movie a year, I'd be a happy camper.
For an inside look at even more big changes ahead for CSI: NY, watch for the new TV Guide hitting newsstands Thursday.