Steven Bochco Memoir

NYPD Blue Bombshell: David Caruso's 'Cancerous' Behavior, Insane Demands Recounted in New Memoir

Hey, Steven Bochco, tell us how you really feel about David Caruso!

In the überproducer’s new memoir, Truth Is a Total Defense, the NYPD Blue co-creator chronicles the events that led up to the controversial departure of Caruso in Season 2. And it ain’t pretty.

By the end of the cop drama’s breakout first season, “David Caruso had become impossible,” Bocho writes in the book (a portion of which has been excerpted on “Caruso’s behavior was, simply put, cancerous. He was emotionally unavailable to everyone, and he was volatile, moody or sullen, depending on the day. Most people don’t function well in a dysfunctional environment, but Caruso loved it because he was the source of all the discontent, and it empowered him.

“He never said it to me directly, but the simple truth was, Caruso felt he was too good for television,” Bochco adds. “He wanted to be a movie star. And his plan was to alienate the writers, producers and his fellow castmates in hopes that we would dump him from the show.”

When that didn’t happen, Caruso asked to be let out of his contract unless certain demands were met, Bochco alleges. Among them: A raise from $40K to $100K an episode, as well as “Fridays off… a 38-foot trailer…. an office suite on the lot, replete with his own development executive, for whom we had to foot the bill to the tune of $1,000 a week… two hotel suites in New York when the company went there on location, plus a dozen first-class plane tickets… and additional security to shield him from his adoring public.”

In the end, Caruso was written out of NYPD Blue four episodes into Season 2. Jimmy Smits, meanwhile, was brought in to replace him and, as Bocho states, ended up making “the series even greater.”

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. Give me a break! says:

    Always felt that Caruso was WAY overrated.

  2. fiberlicious says:

    Some people’s children…bless his heart.

  3. JustJade says:

    Why did he feel he was so valuable? His career up to NYPD Blue was minimal, at best. And he was certainly the most prominent character in the first season, but he by no means carried the show. Most of his performances consisted of the same thing: tilted head, low deliberate voice saying “I’ve got one deal and I don’t care who takes it.”

    • johnhelvete says:

      His behavior was deplorable but Caruso was fantastic in the first season of NYPD Blue. This was 1993/94, pre George Clooney being on ER and becoming a movie star. I can understand why Caruso might have thought it was his one chance to become a “movie star” but it does not excuse his behavior, he clearly went about it the wrong way.

  4. Shaun says:

    He was obviously an idiot

  5. Diane says:

    Once a douche, always a douche.

  6. Cas says:

    So how did he nab CSI: Miami after that then? Also, if he thought he was too good for television it makes no sense he took another TV gig.

    • SAM says:

      From what I can tell, his movie career never took off after he left “NYPD Blue” in 1994. He had another series in 1997 but it didn’t work out. It looks as if he was kinda lucky to get CSI in 2002. I always had the thought that he imagined himself as leading man material when he is really a character actor IMHO.

    • tvpam says:

      He attempted a movie career which no one cared about, then went back to tv and played nice enough that there weren’t these stories during the CSI years.

    • Tim says:

      Cause all his movies bombed. I think Jade was one of them.

      • dan says:

        That had one hell of a car chase in it but that is all I remember about it.

      • Carlos Lee says:

        “Jade” was bad. Angie Everheart was hot in it. On “40 Year old Virgin”, one of the guys told Steve Carrell’s character to be like David Caruso in “Jade”. In other words, stoic and a hard ass. He was good in “Proof of Life” which was a decent action movie.

    • KLS says:

      I liked him enough in “Proof of Life”, 2000, with Russell Crowe & Meg Ryan, to remember him. He was a kick-ass military type helping out Crowe. That’s the only movie of his I remember without looking it up.
      He certainly made a lot of money tilting his head and putting on/taking off his sunglasses which was the extend of his acting skills portrayed on CSI:Miami.

    • Beezers says:

      He made a few movies that bombed because they were terrible. Of course, he blamed his lack success in the movies on people not wanting him to succeed because he left NYPD early. Yeah, right David. I saw those movies and they were terrible. I’m sure he jumped at the chance to star on a TV show after that!

    • chris73 says:

      Caruso had been “humbled” by the bombs he was in and the B-Movies that came after. He was in Proof of Life with Russell Crowe and he seemed to have gotten praised for his work. Then came CSI Miami. The rumor was that if he acted like his days on NYPD Blue, Jimmy Smits may have been Plan B. Yet it was the other NYPD Blue alum that washed out, Kim Delaney.

  7. He was young and cocky, he learned his lesson and was a class act with CSI Miami

    • mary says:

      Yep, that’s it. He became sooo big , so fast. He’s certainly not the first, nor the last. And quite frankly if he had chosen better roles, he could have hit it on the big screen. The problem was he didn’t. I wonder how he was on Hill Street Blues-he played one of the gang members that was on a lot of the time(but usually in the background).

  8. QYW says:

    Seriously? So, in other words, he was “acting” like an “actor”? Wow, how awful! Sorry, I’m not a fan of Caruso, but, I’m even a lesser fan of these “tell-all” books, whose primary goal is to make more money for the writer–who isn’t hurting to begin with. I’ll pass…..

    • Simon Jester says:

      Bullpucky. Meryl Streep has had a long, successful career without making everyone’s life around her hell. Caruso was simply a prima donna, and paid the price.

      • Anne says:

        Exactly. And it’s not different than any other workplace. If we give actors a pass to be total crapbags at work, then we’re saying everyone can be crapbags to their coworkers.

        • QYW says:

          The two of you can calm down–I wasn’t defending or giving him a pass. Caruso, how he played or didn’t play nice around others is on him. Yes, there are actors who do very well and don’t play divas–but, producers are no better and doing a “tell-all” book does what? I mean besides giving more money to Bochco? And after this long? IMO, he’s no better, and in the end he wrote him out of the series, so what? After all, this is yesterday’s news. SMDH

          • JJ says:

            Yet, “after this long” you cared enough to read the article & post a comment (and then respond again hours later). While it may be “yesterday’s news” there’s still a lot of interest, and Bochco’s had a pretty successful career. Besides, this is what, three paragraphs of what I’m guessing is a couple hundred page book. Its not like the whole thing is about NYPD Blue and David Caruso. (BTW, Newsflash: Most people write a book to make money!

          • QYW says:

            Well, my goodness, are you one of the monitors of the internet, JJ? Telling people what articles they may or may not comment on? I was referring to the “time” this all started was in the 90’s, and after this amount of time why was it again being revisited. So, sorry I didn’t get your permission to give MY opinion on the article after I read it. Wow, aren’t you the self important special snowflake. By the way, Newsflash to you, Many people write books to share information on many causes–then there are ones who like to spread gossip for money or revenge. Take your pick–when you have time from telling people why they can or cannot comment… Get over yourself–I have.

  9. Theresa Talmage says:

    I loved that show after Caruso left. I wish it was still on. I know there are reruns but would love it to come back

    • mary says:

      I’d be happy if Franz came back to tv.

    • Elf says:

      I’m pretty sure they are airing reruns on DirecTV’s Audience network. Of course, if you don’t have DirecTV then what I just said doesn’t help you at all… What about Netflix or Hulu?

    • Iris says:

      There’s a LA law reboot in preparation, maybe NYPD Blue will come next? Franz is such a great actor, I’d be happy to see him again even in a cameo or a guest role, anywhere.

  10. jerry stone says:

    I have never seen the first 2 seasons. I love the show, season 3 and beyond. Obviously no one character keeps it together. Many come and go but the show maintains. Could it be the writing and direction

    • Elf says:

      I think in this case it’s safe to say that without Dennis Franz there was no show. Despite the ensemble nature of the show, Sipowicz was the clear center. In fact, I can’t help but assume part of the reason Caruso wanted out when he did was because he realized he’d quickly be overshadowed by Franz if he stuck around. Remember, Franz was getting just as much attention at the time but nobody was clamoring for him to make the leap to films as a heartthrob.

    • misery chick says:

      I highly recommend seeing the first 2 seasons! Caruso is excellent and when you see where Andy started…you can really appreciate how hard he worked to come so far.

      The acting, writing and directing are top notch…i doubt you’ll regret the time spent watching 😏

    • wilbur mckorse says:

      It is the quality of work by the sound mixer otherwise you would need to read lips.

  11. Brian says:

    I remember all this when it was happening and I remember being bummed because I had liked Caruso from his earlier roles. Don’t get how you can be around as long as he was and then turn into a HUGE douche when you finally get your big break. At least he was humbled by the time he got another huge shot with CSI Miami.

    • Pat says:

      Humbled? Maybe a bit. But many a guest star who had appeared on Miami always chose their words carefully when interviewed about working with him.

  12. Charity Stivason says:

    He was an awful actor why I didn’t watch csi Miami just way too hard take him seriously when he tried act cool or like a badass he was just awful think stars act like that need replaced then maybe they wouldn’t act so intitled

  13. Larc says:

    Caruso was the reason I stopped watching. When he left, I came back.

  14. robin says:

    Dc, kheigl, t gibson all cut from rhe the same cloth.

  15. Laila says:

    Why write an article about one person and put a picture with two people? Which one are they talking about!!

  16. Cathy says:

    And yet, CSI Miami hired him! He was a horrible actor! Why put up with an UNTALENTED actor for the lead of a great franchise like CSI when they KNEW he was so difficult to work with? Plenty of great actors out there would have loved the opportunity. Instead they rewarded a conceited bad actor with another series, & made him a millionaire.

  17. DE says:

    The eccentricities didn’t stop at NYPD Blues. on CSI Miamai, they used to bring his glasses on a silver platter. And every week, he had a new pair of glasses. Every. Week. After the show got cancelled, I got one of those 200 left over pairs that production was throwing out. As I put them on, I repeat these lines: ” I will get you!!!!”

  18. Sara R says:

    Never as good after Caruso but stories were good – juist not Smits.

  19. Gerry says:

    Bombshell? This isn’t news. Everyone knew about this when it was actually happening.

  20. Ted says:

    “Sounds like Caruso had people on that set feeling…a little blue.”


  21. Lyn says:

    For me, Caruso’s face was a cover that told the book’s entire story. I never watched the show because I couldn’t stand him.

  22. Elaine says:

    I remember when he quit NYPD blue. . He wanted to be a movie star. Thought he had to lose weight to look better on the big screen since film adds weight. He looked like skin and bones.
    Painful to look at, which might have been one reason his film career was such a failure.

  23. J Fandorf says:

    His departure allowed Andy Sipowicz to become the heart and soul of the show. So thanks David.

  24. Sunny Dondelinger says:

    New York’s loss was certainly Miami’s gain. I personally think Mr. Caruso wanted to the star. The proof is in the sunscreen, folks. He was average in NYPD Blue and phenomenal in CSI Miami.

  25. Oscar the Oddity says:

    I had just started season 2 when Amazon dropped it from Prime. I remember my parents watching the show as a 90s kid but I never payed much attention to it, so I was really getting into watching it. Caruso’s character didn’t do much for me, though I did like him with Amy Brenneman’s character.

    It sounds like this guy thinks too highly of himself. I bet he was just as unpleasant on CSI: Miami — a show that I never watched.

  26. dan says:

    Whatever went down it was good for me. I loved Jimmy Smits and I will never forget Bobby Simone. Wonderful character and great performance. Truly heart wrenching.

  27. Carlos Lee says:

    I remember David Caruso in two things before he hit the jackpot on “NYPD Blue”. He had a small part as a deputy who gets beaten up by Rambo in “First Blood” and a cadet who washes out in “Officer and a Gentleman”. What was he thinking?

  28. Carolyn Thompson says:

    Why was he so excellent on CSI Miami? Maybe because they treated him with. respect.

  29. Cherie leibson says:

    Yeah, Baby! I adore the show and am watching it again.
    When I watch the first season with Carouso I marvel at how much
    much more Jimmy brought to the partnership with Dennis Franz.
    Bravo to the writers and actors of this fabulous show and Thank You

  30. sara bunn says:

    Well David my be a jackass and never got his movie career however he did get the lead billing in a successful show. To also be a little honest a movie career may not have been for him because the one movie I ever saw him it really stank bad.

  31. sara bunn says:

    Well the one movie I ever saw him in really stank. Let us also remember he did go on to have a series of his own a successful one

  32. Beverly says:

    Life proved how great he really was when he left NYPD Blue didn’t it. He was good in the show but no better than the others that followed him. Dennis Franz was the star and left the star !!

  33. Whatevah8 says:

    I loved JImmy Smits in this show and was heartbroken when he left. :( David Caruso? Meh

  34. TomB says:

    Sorry, had to go to imdb to find out which one of those guys was Caruso.

  35. Ben says:

    Bochco is one of the best writer/producers, and actors who didn’t appreciate the opportunity to work on one of his shows didn’t deserve their job. Just watching Caruso in “First Blood”, he was an actor trying to play a part and “acting”…it just wasn’t natural. I was glad to see him go. I understand Jimmy Smits was a first choice but wasn’t available. Luckily it all worked out. Audience Network on DIRECTV is re-running “NYPD Blue”, and I hope a cable network reruns “LA Law” & “Hill Street Blues”, all fantastic shows.

  36. MalsDoxy says:

    before his ego took over he was good in made-for-TV movie The First Olympics, but man, what a legend in his own mind! one-trick pony #HeadTiltEyesOverGlasses

  37. stevr dest says:

    Caruso sucked in everything he ever did. Adoring fans, give me a break.

  38. renegade159 says:

    I adorded Caruso, I found him HOT!! I watched CSI Miami for him….until I read how arrogant he is toward people in general. But, he’s still hot for a red-head!!

  39. David Caruso was the best part of the show. When he left, I really didn’t want to watch it anymore.