Guide To Acting: The David Caruso Way

by Rathe on Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Alright, so, against my will, more or less, I have been forced to watch, of all things, CSI: Miami a lot lately (you know how days in with the family can be). I can't be the only one in the world who only watches the show up until the Daltrey scream just to see the one-liner.

Sadly, weeks of this have led to one of my unhealthiest obsessions yet: David Caruso. I've been paying far more attention to the way the man carries himself as Horatio Caine than I have actually watching the plots unfold. And so, on the basis of some very haphazardly-scheduled episodes across multiple seasons, I present to you, the Official TCFTD Guide To Acting: The David Caruso Way! Shades at the ready, it's time to crack some jokes and skulls!

Horatio Caine, shades, sunglasses
Eye on the ball, hand on the holster.

1. Stance and Posture - Looking the Part

Let's start with the easy stuff. Chances are, you'll never be shown doing something that isn't integral to the plot - Horatio only seems to be pulled in a few times per episodes to deliver some snark or interrogate someone while the rest of the team seems to do actual, you know, detective work; as if he's on rental and they have to be conserve how and when they use him. So keep this easy little rule in mind:

You don't walk to anyone. Sure, you might walk around a crime scene a little, hands on hips, glowering a bit, but everyone walks to you if they need you. No unnecessary movements. So, get those hands on those hips and stare the hell outta that floor and/or middle distance, son, because if there's a dead body there someone should be telling you how it got there.

So, say someone's finally come over and is telling you why there's a dude sprawled on his lawn with a tuning fork through his left lung or whatever's happened this week. This leads onto part...

2. Conversation (Or Lack Thereof)

Stare into middle distance - preferably with glasses on - with the steely determination of a man who has more one-liners than pores, until someone talks to you. You never initiate conversation. Even when someone does start talking to you, try to avoid eye contact for as long as possible, and when you do, make sure it's a quizzical glance, as though they've invaded your privacy (ie, Miami). The only time your eyebrows unknit themselves is when some poor perp makes a pathetic last bid to fix their alibi - allowing yourself to chuckle inwardly knowing the Incorruptible Blade of Miami Truth and Justice will strike them down all the same, along with the rest of their kind.

Enunciation is easy. Take a sentence and break it up into two distinct parts - the windup, which will be the first half, a pause for dramatic effect or eyewear placement, and the pitch, usually a cutting jibe os some kind before, motioning to walk off somewhere with intent. Doesn't matter where you go, the camera always cuts the instant you do so...hopefully, otherwise you're going to look very foolish when someone asks where you're going.

So for example, say the team has found the body of a farmer, whose murderer has apparently made a rather botched job of covering his tracks, although there is more than one suspect. "Looks like an open and shut case," remarks a which point you turn toward them on your heel, and slowly windup, "You know what they say, don't count your chickens...*don sunglasses*...until they hatch."

3. Everything Else - For Those Unthinkable Moments When You're Not Actually A Detective At A Crime Scene

So this is all great, but not really anything you don't know after watching an episode or three. There are things we can draw from Caruso's forays into film, or just times when he's expressing emotions other than mild disdain. The film Kiss of Death provides some pretty good examples. Angry? Pace around the room and talk slightly faster! Delight at seeing your daughter while out of jail? Talk like you always do (though the one-liners suddenly become significantly less appropriate)! Getting punched in the face by Samuel L. Jackson? Take it like a man! Don't even flinch! Or react! Or say or do anything! Jade, similarly, shows us that you can kiss someone without really having to do anything...just stand there, maybe fall on a sofa, let the other person do everything. So, the rule of thumb: if you're not angry, you're probably bored. Or sharing top billing with Nic Cage.

Samuel L. Jackson, David Caruso, punching, punched in face
The fact I animated this represents the greatest effort ever put into a single thing on TCFTD at one time. Revel in it, won't you?
Now, dig out your favourite play, get in character (motivation: eventual retirement), and you too can one-day star in your own bafflingly long-running yet utterly formulaic ratings topper! Godspeed!

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