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CSI: Miami Is Actually Based On True Stories From This Detective

For 10 seasons, the extremely popular spin-off "CSI: Miami" was anchored by the lead performance of David Caruso as Lieutenant Horatio Caine, the director of the Miami Dade Crime Lab. Caine is an expert in explosive forensics as a former bomb squad technician, and while he has strong ethics, he also will bend the rules to get real justice.

Caruso was famously hard to work with on set, but his intelligent, utterly cool performance as Caine helped make the show a massive success. As much as Caine whipping off his sunglasses and saying a one-liner every other episode was so cheesy it became a meme, it also suited the tone of the flashy, iconic procedural.

But like the lead character of Gil Grissom in the first "CSI" series, whose experiences are similar to an actual forensics analyst, Horatio Caine is actually based on a real-life investigator, though some of their experiences naturally diverge. Here's the real inspiration for Horatio Caine of "CSI: Miami."

Horatio Caine is based on an LAPD bomb expert

According to Factinate, the character of Horatio Caine on "CSI: Miami" is adapted from the real LAPD detective John Haynes, who also worked in a bomb squad and specializes in explosives.

Haynes was friends with Elizabeth Devine, herself a criminalist with years of experience who wrote and produced for the show. His stories about his time in the LAPD would be repurposed for her "CSI" scripts, and Haynes even consulted the actors on reactions to certain situations so their performances would feel realistic.

Though the way the "CSI" franchise depicted forensics has been criticized, the consultants for the show were proud of how much the shows popularized the science. One former criminalist turned consultant for "CSI," Rich Cataloni, told The Washington Post, "Liz [Devine] and I used to be science geeks, and now we're kind of cool. Science is not like learning to speak ancient Greek. The show has made science cool."

You can watch all of "CSI: Miami" on the streaming service Paramount+.