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Horatio's down, but not out

It's almost over. Not for much longer will we see Horatio Caine, the coolest man on television, put on his sunglasses and . . . say something important.

Because in just 18 episodes' time (glasses off), CSI: Miami, the flashiest, most expensive-to-produce strand of the long-running franchise (glasses on) . . . ends forever.

Having to stop and type in those ellipses for the bits of CSI: Miami where Horatio (David Caruso) pauses is really fiddly and annoying and time-consuming. It makes you wonder, in fact, if they're actually indicated in the script, or if he just (glasses on) . . . puts them there himself.

Whatever, it's going to be a little tough saying goodbye to old H, as his colleagues call him. The sunglasses, the peculiar pauses, the dark suits worn in a dazzlingly sunny, suffocatingly humid climate -- they've all become part of television lore.

Oh, and let's not forget H's habit of talking to people while looking in a completely different direction -- at a palm tree, a passing cloud, his shoes maybe -- or the moments when he cocks his head like a curious dog (he does that a lot when pointing his gun).

CSI: Miami never actually jumped the shark, as they say.

Right from the off, the plots where so soaringly daft and Horatio's behaviour so idiosyncratic that the shark was usually several metres below everything else.

Although Horatio probably wasn't looking at it.

Still, when the scripts start resorting to near-death hallucination scenes, you know it's probably time to call it a day.

This first episode of the 10th and final roll of the dice, which picked up where last season's cliffhanger finale left off, began with Horatio -- who's on the dock, bleeding from a bullet wound in the side, while colleague Natalia (Eva LaRue) is locked in the boot of a car that's plummeted into the water -- having a vision of his late wife, who was killed way back in season 4.

They're sitting at an outdoor table of a restaurant and he's telling her he wants to stay with her.

"No, you have to go back," she tells him, insisting he must live out his life, and then Horatio notices the blood from the gunshot wound on his shirt.

It was hokey as hell and a little reminiscent of that scene in the vastly overrated The Sixth Sense when Bruce Willis's character finally realises that . . . well, if you know, you know and if you don't, I'm not spoiling the surprise.

There's nothing like a dead nagging wife to get a man moving, so within seconds Horatio is up on his feet, dives into the water, rescues Natalia and gets back into the chase to find murderous bad guy Toller, all the while sweating like a horse in the Miami heat.

You'd expect a man with roaring red hair, pale skin and a fondness for dark clothes to sweat a lot in Miami, but Horatio somehow never did during the previous nine series. Told you: coolest man on television.

The dramatic reconstruction is the curse of the modern history documentary.

The first in the four-part series Fight Club: A History of Violence was dominated by cheesy, repetitive and slightly salacious reconstructions of female bare-knuckle boxers beating the hell out of one another in 18th-century London while surrounded by a mob of baying, bloodthirsty punters.

Brutal bare-knuckle bouts between poverty-stricken women (they were called catfights) were a huge attraction until a more regulated form of women's boxing took over.

It's an interesting enough subject, especially since the boxers tended to be Irish women from the city's poorest, most disease-ridden slums.

Yet far more compelling was the wider social history behind it all, vividly described here by a couple of professional historians.

Then again, any series that takes its title from the combined titles of two Hollywood movies is already displaying laziness.



csi: miami HHHII fight club: a history of violence HHIII


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