Tuesday, January 09, 2007


"I'm Horatio Caine, and this much I know. At CSI Miami we never Close."

I used to be a David Caruso fan. After seeing him in Mad Dog and Glory, King of New York, and the television series NYPD Blue, I liked his acting, I enjoyed watching him and looked forward to his work in other movies. His acting career after he left NYPD Blue was disappointing, but he got a high profile job in a spinoff of CSI, set in Miami Florida. CSI: Miami has become a major hit, an incredibly popular show with high viewer numbers every show. It is rerun constantly on various channels around cable television and has many fans.

It's also one of the worst shows on television, one of the worst ever. The acting is wooden, the plots absurd, the directing hamfisted, the writing hackneyed and ancient. And at the top of this list of woes stands David Carusoe's over the top performance as Horatio Caine, the head criminalist at the Miami Crime Scene Investigation department. His acting as the forensics expert seems dedicated to out-Kirking William Shatner in terms of rediculous overacting, overdramatized deliveries, and repeated stock poses and expressions.

Like CSI (the original set in Las Vegas) or its origin the James Bond movies, every episode of CSI Miami starts with a vignette, ending with a "clever" quip by the main character. Some wag put together a montage of these allegedly clever quips by Caruso, one after another. Beware, you will feel your IQ slipping away as you watch, and become sick of Roger Daltrey's signature scream in "Won't Get Fooled Again:"
Yes, if you sat through it you saw dozens of these, each one almost exactly... (putting on sunglasses) the same. To the point of deliberate self-parody.

Ace of Spades HQ ran this, noting some patterns that David Caruso follows:
He has four acting moves -- look down at the floor then suddenly look up to cow a malefactor with his powerful blue glare, don/doff his sunglasses, backpedal out of frame (the frame cannot contain David Caruso's electric presence!), and put his hands on his hips in a "look at my package" manner -- and yet this stupid show is the most popular TV show in the world.
and the comments were generally abusive to mr Caruso, who seems to be willing to dig himself into a trench of acting:
He makes David Hasselhoff look like Olivier.
-by Drew

You forgot the "take a knee" pose.
-by Capricorn

You forgot the "take a knee" pose.
Oh yeah, that's a good one.

He doesn't just take a knee, of course. He sort of does this exaggerated splayed out exhausted thing as if the weight of the world is quite literally weighing on his heroically narrow shoulders.
-by ObserverAce

Oh, I'm gonna get slammed...

The Husband got me hooked on the CSI shows, and I confess that I like them. He's also got me hooked on "House." Frankly, after watching Dr. House tear thru the rest of his cast, I really *like* Detective Horatio... He's sweet!

Yeah, yeah, he's a bit wooden, too, but geeze! If I wanted to watch reality, I'd watch the news! (Um, wait... did I just say that? LOL)

-by Kat

Can't watch Miami. Vegas is pretty good and NY isn't bad but they're both getting well within range of the shark and the boat is speeding up.

I think the problem, as with all long running shows, is that the plots are getting cliched and the writers are getting desperate. When this happens I start to lose the old "willing suspension of disbelief" and all the stupid incongruites start to leap out. Like when they go into the perps appartment with a SWAT team who all have rifles and armour, but as luck would have it, it's our brave heroes who actually find the bad guy and shoot it out.

I was never a great fan of L&O and I noticed fairly quickly that the bad guy was always the richest, whitest guy in the story so the suspense was kinda muted. (Although in one episode I do remember it was the rich white guy's son that did it, and in a real plot twist, one show had a black guy as the killer. But the rich white guy made him do it).

I must be getting cynical in my old age as Criminal Minds is already starting to age and I'm still in the first season.
-by Kevin B

Let's be fair: Caruso was awesome in First Blood.

Ace, I've been saying the same thing for a long time. I just can't understand why more people don't talk about Caruso's consistently ridiculous delivery. You'd think there would be an SNL skit about it.

Also, CSI Miami has a dude who is a carbon copy of Greg from the original CSI. They could be twins.
-by Driver

I'll tell you a secret: all shows in Europe (outside the UK) are dubbed. By really really bad actors (but I repeat myself).

Caruso has a lot of defects, such as not being able to act; but he DOES have a powerful voice. With the overwhelming lead sounding like any other soap-opera reject, CSI: Miami can still almost - almost - pass for any other CSI series.

Though, with CSI: LV getting gimmicky and NY being the only watchable one, that's not saying much anymore. The one here was the very episode when I quit download- erm, watching Miami.

Plus, NCIS has already had three super-strong seasons, with a fourth shaping up very very well.
Highly reccomend Dexter, too, but read the books afterwards because they really spoil the whole damn plot, as I learned too late.

And, please. Caruso wouldn't know an italian if I went up and pistol whipped him with my 45.
-by Francesco Poli

On a scale of mannered performances ranging from, say, the Great Gildersleeve to William Shatner, he's not that bad.

On the other hand, CBS' stock fell four points when he mislaid his sunglasses and couldn't act for a week.

And if we're talking about his acting tics, don't forget the 'winsome Irish twinkle' that has most parents saying, "Honey, maybe uncle David shouldn't babysit the kids anymore..."
-by richard mcenroe

I like the original CSI, but it has a really strong cast.
Yah, it has great acting, I also think it has great writing, and it was an original concept. It has the right (sensationalist) flavor with the tech stuff they do and how they do it (which isn't how it's done in real life because that's boring). The other shows had to differentiate and they just did it worse. I also like the rock soundtrack to it and the setting is good. The night shift in Vegas. Lots of lighting effects. Good lighting.
I'll tell you though, what got me watching CSI was William Peterson, I've been a big fan ever since To Live and Die In LA and Manhunter. Great underrated actor. The funny thing is you think of him as being big, tall, strong... and he's just a little guy.
Absolutely agree, that guy rocks and hearing "the dude from manhunter is in it and plays a similar role" was the reason I started watching the show on a friend's recommendation.

What's funny though is he doesn't really play that much of a badass, or a 'big, tall strong' guy in anything I've seen him in. In Manhunter he's pretty normal and human and relatable in how he acts and fights not a superman, in CSI he's actually a bit of a pansy and doesn't even carry a gun, in both it's his head that sets him apart from any other shmuck.

He's allways trying to get into the killers head and understand him, and then think of his own moves before he does. You get the impression he's the same type of guy the serial killers are, just on the other side with a bit more morals, because it's a giant mind game and battle of wits. I loved how he kept calling the serial killer in manhunter "my man". He really does an excellent job in that role.
-by Entropy
When William Shatner chewed up the scenery as James T Kirk and did his patented wait.... for thehurridlystatednextline delivery it was for a reason. He looked around and saw cardboard scenery and less of a budget than the Beverly Hillbillies and thought "I'm going to have to bring some drama to these scenes or people will notice this crap." He was pulling you by the collar to his face and growling the lines to you so you'd be interested. And it worked, even if he's almost comical in delivery when you think of it in hindsight.

A show like CSI: Miami is dazzling in its visuals, has ultra high-end budgets and effects, and a constant, thumping excitement built into its music and plots. Caruso just comes across as desperate for attention in all the scenery. He's better than that, but whatever weakenesses his acting has, the show is immensely popular, so he must be doing something at least not entirely wrong.
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