Though the reason for Kanakaredes departure hasn't been discussed much, it was, according to CBS, apparently the actress' decision to depart her role of Stella Bonasera, a role she's played for six seasons as she worked alongside series star, Gary Sinese. However, according to Fancast, Kanakaredes statement said simply, "I made some amazing and lifelong friendships during my six seasons on ‘CSI: NY,’ and I will treasure them forever!”
Such an unexpected twist would lead one to wonder about all the female cuts CBS is doing for the new fall season and if this is somehow related to those firings and cut backs. While it could be suspect, the announcement of Sela Ward's addition to the cast less than 24 hours after the news of Kanakaredes' exit might forestall those thoughts.
Ward has been a stable on the TV scene for years. She's a bankable actress who has gone from series to series as she worked her magic. She made an impact on Emerald Point N.A.S. in the early 80's and then kept right on going as a regular on Sisters and Once and Again, winning Emmys for both shows.
It's unknown if Kanakaredes will return to give viewers a decent goodbye to her character, but Ward is expected to be there from the season opener on.