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Caruso trades cop uniform for district attorney's suit

David Caruso

Actor returns to TV after foray into films

September 24, 1997
Web posted at: 11:34 a.m. EDT (1134 GMT)

From Correspondent Sherri Sylvester

(CNN) -- These days, David Caruso displays a new humility as he reenters series television. Crowds failed to follow him when he left the hit series "NYPD Blue" at the end of its first season in 1994, moving on to such big-screen fare as "Jade" and "Kiss of Death."

Caruso insists that when he waved goodbye to "Blue," he wasn't thumbing his nose at TV in general.

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"I didn't want to leave the other television show," he says. "Ideally, I would have stayed with the other show and had the option to do motion pictures in the hiatus."

Caruso says his new series, "Michael Hayes," fits his criteria for returning to TV. He plays a U.S. attorney and former cop.

"It wouldn't make sense for me to try and do this again if I couldn't build on where I was," Caruso says. "I wouldn't do a detective and try and compete. I'm interested in going up to the next level."

scene from 'Officer and a Gentleman'

Not that Caruso hasn't been in his share of hit movies -- he just wasn't the star. He was Richard Gere's roommate in "An Officer and a Gentleman," where he was rescued from drowning by drill sergeant Lou Gossett Jr.

In "First Blood," the movie that launched the Rambo franchise, Caruso plays the only deputy who supports Sylvester Stallone's traumatized Vietnam-veteran character.

"I was the youngest guy in the movie, and Stallone was a huge hero for me," Caruso recalls. "I was a 'Rocky' freak, and I was terrified to be around him."

Caruso says he's learned a lesson.

"In the time I've had off since doing the show ("NYPD Blue"), it's become even clearer to me that if you're on a show that people are watching on a weekly basis, and a show that's having impact, and a show that's part of people's lives in an important way, there's nothing like it."

When "Michael Hayes" hits the airwaves on CBS, Caruso hopes to have that kind of impact again.


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