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David Caruso talks 'CSI: Miami'

Editor's Note: CNN Access is a regular feature on CNN.com providing interviews with newsmakers from around the world.

David Caruso
David Caruso

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'CSI: Miami,' CBS, Monday, 10 p.m.

(CNN) -- Not too long ago, David Caruso was the red-haired golden boy of "NYPD Blue." Now, after some career ups and downs, he's back on television and back on the force -- though, this time, it's part of the forensic investigation team of "CSI: Miami," the spinoff of the popular CBS show "CSI."

Caruso stopped by "American Morning" to chat with anchor Paula Zahn about the new show.

PAULA ZAHN, CNN ANCHOR: The success of "Crime Scene Investigation" has led to a spin-off, "CSI: Miami." It is a comeback for David Caruso, the onetime star of "NYPD Blue." Ironically, Caruso now shares the screen with another "Blue" alum, Kim Delaney. "CSI: Miami" debuts tonight on CBS and David Caruso joins us now.

Good morning. Congratulations.

CARUSO: Thank you for having me.

ZAHN: The buzz around this show is great. I'm wondering from an actor's point of view if sometimes that sets false expectations.

CARUSO: You know, I think it's an easy trap to fall into, if you get hooked by it. But the good news is in today's world of so many options in entertainment, if you're getting some attention, that's a positive thing.

ZAHN: Now, help us understand how this relates to the original series. You had one crossover episode. That was last spring.

CARUSO: Yes, the Miami show essentially debuted on the Las Vegas show as one of the sweeps episodes in May. Marg Helgenberger takes the scene unit from Las Vegas to Miami -- there is an abduction case -- and essentially introduces us to the audience.

ZAHN: So there will no other players now from here on in that will crossover?

CARUSO: I don't know.

ZAHN: Are there surprises?

CARUSO: That show got some nice ratings, and it was a successful show, and secretly, I think it would be great if we could do that.

Caruso, Delaney
David Caruso and Kim Delaney in "CSI: Miami."

ZAHN: I want to read something great a critic said about you this morning -- Robert Bianco -- he said, basically, what hasn't changed since you left "NYPD Blue" is your ability to "infuse every line and moment with so much intensity you are unable it look away." He says, "You belong on TV and we can only hope he found a vehicle to keep him there."

CARUSO: I paid good money for that review.

ZAHN: I just thought that it was nice to share something nice a critic wrote about something for a change.

CARUSO: Thank you. That's great.

ZAHN: Do you feel this is the vehicle?

CARUSO: Well, you know, this was -- the assemblage of people, and being a part of the "CSI" family, was so effortless for all of us, it would be great if we could do the show for a while. I'd be very comfortable doing this.

ZAHN: How much of a commitment has CBS made to you?

CARUSO: I have seven episodes. We got six in the can. So, but you know, I have to say, the one thing about CBS, and I'll be honest with you, there is no complaining about the campaign they have done for this show. So we will hope for the best.

ZAHN: There is a big piece in The New York Times in the business page, saying it is all about helping "David Letterman," that they really wanted a very strong show in [the] 10 p.m. slot because he is complaining Jay Leno had better lead-ins.

CARUSO: Right.

ZAHN: Are you giving David Letterman better lead-ins?

CARUSO: We are trying. In fact, he had Biff come out, Biff Henderson, and we did some great stuff with him, so you're right, I think that that's a big aspect of all of the 10 o'clock shows.

But if you look at the slate of 10 o'clock shows that Mr. Moonves has put on the air and the actors, oh my God, it's unbelievable. So I think that Mr. Letterman should be happy, and I know we're happy.

ZAHN: So unbelievable that it's intimidating. It's always been the most competitive timeslot.

CARUSO: I agree. But if you look at these other 10 o'clock shows, [they feature] Tom Sizemore, Anthony LaPaglia, it just goes on and on. So he -- [CBS head] Mr. [Les] Moonves is serious about this.

ZAHN: In closing this morning, I know after leaving "NYPD Blue," after a season and a money dispute, you said that was a mistake. Why?

CARUSO: I have had nine years of unemployment to clarify that. A lot was happening in those days, very quickly. Television, as you know, can kind of jettison you into a whole new world. So too much was happening. Now as a different time, and I'm armed with different information.

ZAHN: Well, we congratulate you, because most of what we read is very, very positive. Good luck on your debut tonight.

CARUSO: Thank you very much. I appreciate that.

ZAHN: And I hope have you more than seven episodes coming our way.

CARUSO: That would be great. Thank you.

ZAHN: Thanks, David.



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