George Eads has been placed on a leave of absence by CSI producers.
The actor, who has portrayed Nick Stokes since the series premiere in 2000, engaged in a heated exchange with a writer and will appear in the opening three installments of Season 14… but his return after that is unknown at this time.
Said a red for CBS TV to The Hollywood Reporter: "George Eads will not appear in several episodes during the first half of the season. We look forward to him returning to CSI very soon."
It's unclear just what prompted the clash, but insiders say Eads was unhappy over the direction of character; the writer with whom he argued was eight months pregnant and Eads threatened to quit in a subsequent meeting with show runner Carol Mendelsohn.
Look for Nick's absence to be addressed in Episode 4 (and for him to be sent for training at Quantico) and for the actor to miss the drama's 300th installment, which will feature the return of Marg Helgenberger.