‘CSI: Miami’: David Caruso’s Horatio Caine Was Inspired By This Real-Life Person

The old CBS CSI franchise was once one of the hottest television properties until all ran out of gas. Not that franchise TV ever wanes when going by the ever-popular Chicago franchise on NBC. CSI: Miami, though, was one of the most popular in the aforementioned group of tv shows, mostly thanks to a compelling cast.

David Caruso might be easily ribbed sometimes for his overly serious demeanor on CSI: Miami. Yet, his Horatio Caine character is still celebrated for being tough and at the center of using improved technology in a cop procedural.

From 2002-2012, this series held supreme, but who was the real inspiration behind the Caine character? It turns out he was based on a real detective from the opposite coast.

Who was Horatio Caine based on?

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

According to sources like Fascinate, Caine was based on a real-life LAPD bomb squad detective. His name was John Hayes, a very plain name that obviously needed a change for television.

Nobody would have guessed Caine was based on Hayes considering CSI: Miami took place in the remotest place away from LA. Even so, Hayes reportedly worked as an adviser on the show thanks to being friends with co-producer/writer Elizabeth Devine.

Latter was responsible for basing Caine on Hayes due to their friendship and Hayes telling Devine all his experiences working for the LAPD. Later, Hayes became a script consultant, not including giving advice to the actors on how they should react to specific situations.

Most interesting, however, is how the show came up with the name Horatio Caine. Some might think it sounds like it was inspired by Horatio Hornblower, the fictional Naval officer. Caine was named after a real person.

The other Horatio

Official sources say Horatio Caine was named after the Victorian Era author Horatio Alger. Those not familiar with Alger’s books should know he wrote about children who were given chances to work themselves up from their poor families to a better life.

The parallels between Alger’s stories and Caine are not too far away. Writers gave Horatio Caine the same type of background since he came from an unhappy childhood while working his way up to his law enforcement position.

These literary allusions make CSI: Miami much more interesting when looked at through a different angle. In the end, though, it was just a popular procedural making Miami look attractive.

At the same time, David Caruso gave a compelling performance as Caine, including having a famous death scene turned fake to capture the criminal who shot him.

Horatio Caine also had another life

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Anyone who watched CSI: Miami from beginning to end will also know he had another life when living in Pensacola for a time. When Caine lived there in the mid-’90s, he went undercover with the name “John Walden” while striking up a relationship with a woman named Julia Eberly (Winston).

Tropes like this are common in cop shows, if also bringing up the usual plot point of having an unknown son. Horatio and Julia did have a son named Kyle, someone Caine did not know existed until seeing him in a future episode of CSI: Miami.

What made this plot point confusing is it was said Caine spent time in New York as well in the early ’90s, giving a possible continuity error. Nevertheless, it did make Caine more human and gave a look into his personal life. Apparently this past aspect to Caine’s life had nothing to do with John Hayes, unless that was covered up.

One thing about detectives is they sometimes live a life unlike any other, if not really being like James Bond.