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Why Mac Taylor From CSI: NY Looks So Familiar

Gary Sinise spent nine seasons playing Detective Mac Taylor on "CSI: NY." The strict and tenacious Detective was a fixture in all 197 episodes of the Big Apple's entry into the "CSI" franchise and the "CSI: Miami" episode that was the former's backdoor pilot. In many ways, it is a career-defining role suited to Sinise's intensity and seriousness.

In fact, one of the reasons that the first season of "CSI: NY" feels so different from subsequent seasons is that it revolved so heavily around Mac. Though this would change starting with Season 2, transforming the show into more of an ensemble effort, it still very much was anchored by Detective Taylor.

"I had a lot of good fortune with the CSI series," Sinise said in an interview with Alibi. "When I travel around the world, I'd go to all these different countries and discover that the show was very popular everywhere." So yes, Sinise is recognized in the role of Detective Taylor. But with a career that has lasted years (via IMDb), there are plenty of other parts you no doubt recognize him in.

Gary Sinise played Jack Garrett in Criminal Minds

Not long after saying goodbye to Detective Mac Taylor, Gary Sinise accepted the role of Jack Garrett on the CBS drama "Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders." The premise of "Beyond Borders" was intriguing, taking the mandate of the FBI's Behavioral Analysis Unit abroad, viewing events through the eyes of an International Response Team that attempted to save Americans who find themselves in the crosshairs of international serial killers.

Sinise enjoyed the role, telling Alibi that he appreciated the fact that, despite being passionate about his career with the FBI, Jack Garrett was also a balanced and dedicated family man. "On TV, you quite often see law enforcement characters that are broken," he said. "They are dealing with a lot in their lives because they work within such a dark world, so there are always multiple divorces, and they are going through a lot of pain in their own personal lives. We wanted to show somebody who was able to balance home and work, even though he's dealing with a pretty dark world."

Even with an enthusiastic lead, "Beyond Borders" struggled. It received criticism for its broad and shallow characters, boring plots, and stereotypical and harmful portrayal of foreign countries. It was canceled after two seasons.

He played Burt Hammersmith in The Green Mile

Gary Sinise was also part of the already-impressive cast of Frank Darabont's 1999 adaptation of Stephen King's fantasy drama novella series "The Green Mile." Of course, the film saw Sinise acting alongside Tom Hanks, and not for the first time in his career (more on that later). The cast included Michael Clarke Duncan, James Cromwell, Patricia Clarkson, Jeffrey DeMunn, and Sam Rockwell.

Sinise played Burt Hammersmith, a newspaper reporter who covered the murders John Coffey (played by Duncan) has been convicted of. After a corrections officer, Paul Edgecombe (Hanks), discovers that Coffey is capable of remarkable, miraculous things, and after he doubts Coffey's guilt, he goes to Hammersmith to ask him his take.

Hammersmith is steadfast, believing that Coffey is guilty and deserves to be executed. Perhaps unsurprisingly, he even compares the African-American Coffey to a dog for a story that takes place in Jim Crow Louisiana. The scene is made all the more harrowing when Hammersmith calls over his injured son to make his point to Edgecombe. It's a short scene but undeniably chilling.

He played President Harry S. Truman

In 1995, HBO premiered "Truman," a made-for-TV biopic of the United States' 33rd president, Harry S. Truman. The film chronicled Truman's humble beginnings in Missouri, his rise to the U.S. Senate, and finally, as president following the death of Franklin Roosevelt (Lee Richardson) during the final days of World War II. The script was based on David McCullough's Pulitzer Prize-winning biography of the same name.

"Truman" was praised by critics, with particular enthusiasm for Sinise's performance. "Without submerging himself in mere impersonation," wrote TV Guide, "Gary Sinise captures Truman's granite resilience and just-plain-folks demeanor sans condescension."

The movie won the 1996 Emmy Award for outstanding made for television movie (via Emmys). Sinise also took home the Golden Globe for best actor in a series, mini-series, or motion picture made for television (via Golden Globes).

He played Lieutenant Dan in Forrest Gump

If there is a single role that defines the career of Gary Sinise more than Detective Mac Taylor, it is without a doubt that of Lieutenant Dan Taylor in "Forrest Gump." For many people, Sinise is Lieutenant Dan way before he is Detective Taylor. It is remarkable to consider that before he stepped in, the role might have gone to an actor like Joe Pesci (via E! News).

This would be the first time that Sinise worked with Tom Hanks. The two would again team up for 1995's "Apollo 13" and the aforementioned "The Green Mile," but their chemistry is particularly palpable in "Forrest Gump." In all the interlinked stories that make up the plot of "Forrest Gump," its protagonist's relationship with Lieutenant Dan seems to stand apart. He weaves in and out of Forrest's life, first as his commanding officer, then as an aimless and bitter veteran coming to grips with the loss of his legs, then finally as Forrest's business partner at Bubba-Gump Shrimp Company.

Sinise was nominated for an Oscar for the part. Lieutenant Dan has had such a massive impact on Sinise's career that he even founded a band in his name. The Lt. Dan Band, featuring Gary Sinise on bass, has played on military bases across the United States, raising funds for veterans and first responders (via Gary Sinise Foundation).