‘CSI: Miami’ Almost Starred a ‘Miami Vice’ Star As Horatio Caine

CSI: Miami is one of the most influential police procedural dramas ever to air on network television. A staple of the television landscape in the early 2000s, CSI: Miami debuted in 2002 on CBS and quickly made an impression on audiences of all ages.

Based in Miami, Florida, the show was stylish, cool, and full of intrigue. Although it is no longer in syndication today, it remains very popular in reruns and through streaming services.

As much as fans love the show, the final cast could have looked very different — and at one point in time, one particular television star was considered for the prime role of Horatio Caine. 

‘CSI: Miami’ is one of the iconic police procedural dramas

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CSI: Miami made its television debut in 2002 as the first direct spinoff of the landmark show CSI: Crime Scene Investigation. The show focused on the exploits of elite detectives assigned to the Miami-Dade Police Department’s Crime Scene Investigations.

While the detectives themselves were fictional, the cases and the scenarios presented in the show were often very realistic, even gory in nature. For nearly 10 years, audiences followed along with the storylines in CSI: Miami.

Critics praised the show for its authenticity as well as the stellar acting and writing. The entire cast was undeniably excellent, but David Caruso‘s portrayal of Lieutenant Horatio Caine became far and away from the most acclaimed performance in the series. 

David Caruso portrayed Horatio Caine

David Caruso as Horatio Cane on 'CSI: Miami.'
David Caruso as Horatio Cane on ‘CSI: Miami.’ | Ron P. Jaffe/CBS Photo Archive via Getty Images

Born in 1956, Caruso enjoyed a thriving career on television well before being cast as Horatio Caine in the early 2000s. Caruso was born and raised in New York, and developed his love of movies at a young age, after working as an usher in a movie theatre.

He began acting in the eighties, appearing in movies such as An Officer and a Gentleman. All throughout the eighties and nineties, Caruso worked as a character actor, playing villains and authority figures.

In the early nineties, Caruso received praise for his work in the TV series NYPD Blue. Prior to being cast in CSI: Miami, his work on that show was probably his most popular role. Still, with the debut of CSI: Miami in 2002, Caruso would forever be known to his fans as Horatio Caine, the impossibly cool detective with a penchant for tough cases and tougher people.

Ultimately, the role would be Caruso’s final bow to the world of acting as well — when CSI: Miami ended its run in 2012, Caruso decided to step away from performing in order to focus on his love of art. 

Don Johnson was almost cast as Horatio Caine

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There’s no doubt that Caruso made a splash as Horatio Caine. While many fans cannot imagine anyone else playing the role of the sunglass-toting detective, another big television star was almost cast in the role.

Reportedly, Don Johnson, the charismatic star made famous in the iconic eighties television show Miami Vice, was considered for the role of Caine prior to Caruso being cast. Don Johnson didn’t get the role, but he probably isn’t sweating it too much — he has gone on to have a thriving career in movies and miniseries projects like HBO’s Watchmen

As for Caruso, fans still hold out hope that one day, he and the rest of the CSI: Miami cast might one day return to reprise their roles from the hit show. While nothing firm has been announced, anything is possible — and in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, there is more of a place than ever for nostalgic entertainment.