The TV cancellations came down last week and while most of the rubble consists of one-season-and-done shows like The Finder, GCB, and The Playboy Club, there was one big surprise on the list. CBS let go of one of its precious CSIs, the flamboyantly ridiculous CSI: Miami.
While one could have inferred the cancellation from the shortened 19-episode season or that it was replaced unceremoniously back in April by a show that will also get the axe (NYC 22), it still seems a little shocking that the network would make this move. The reasons for the cancellation probably have to do with slumping ratings and increasingly-expensive cast and crew, but that’s not really important to me.
CSI: Miami was a gawdawful show. It was formulaic, full of stilted dialogue, ludicrous stories, over-the-top cinematography and horrendous acting. Which is exactly why it was so amazing. Leading the cheesy assault was David Caruso’s Horatio Caine, who did for sunglasses what Kojak did for lollipops. Police procedurals have long been making classless quips about the fictional dead people they investigate, but CSI: Miami and Horatio Caine elevated it to hilarious art form and unlikely pop culture status by inventing a “Corpse – Quip – Sunglasses – Theme Song” formula that started nearly every show. YouTube has compiled a lot of them into either a nauseating trip into madness or the funniest thing you’ll watch today.
Of course, if that was the only gun in Horatio’s arsenal, the novelty would have died off fast. No, this character had no end of bizarre quirks. Aside from his shades-obsession, Caine would never actually look at a suspect he was interrogating. Instead, he would pace slowly around the room, and occasionally toss questions over his shoulder while striking some of the most awkward poses this side of a figure drawing class. I can certainly imagine a guilty mind being unnerved by this strange technique, because I certainly was.
Horatio posed everywhere. Interrogation room, crime lab, morgue, wife’s deathbed, midst of a gunfight, at the prow of a boat…wherever poses could be posed. I don’t recall him ever sitting or drinking or eating. He crouched sometimes, like a panther about to strike some bewildered target, but he never rested. BECAUSE JUSTICE NEVER RESTS.
There were other characters, sure. Some of them died or went insane or left or had some random storylines here and there. But they all largely existed for two reasons: to look good in casualwear and to set Horatio up to spike down another “brilliant” zinger. Without him, they were just your average crime-solving unit…maybe even blander than most. Hell, they didn’t even have a geek/goth girl stereotype manning those wacky Internets. But with Caine up front, they were suddenly interesting.
Early in the series, they made some token effort to show Caine as a capable lab man but soon realized he was at his best out in the field chewing off abominable one-liners, putting his sunglasses on, and posing dramatically in front of sunsets. It was gloriously stupid and one of the primary reasons I watched the show. Because I could not honesty believe this was all being done seriously. I mean, it had to be tongue-in-cheek to some degree, right?
Okay, so maybe it wasn’t. But that doesn’t really negate the so-bad-it’s-good vibes that CSI: Miami radiated for 10 seasons. With its silly plots, questionable science, and hammy acting, it showcased nearly everything wrong with network TV and inflated it all to comical proportions. Intended or not, it was one seriously funny parody of the police procedural.
But as they say, all good (or bad) things… *puts on sunglasses* …must come to an end.