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Why ‘CSI: Miami’s Sunglasses Moment Will Never Be Replicated in Any Other Show

Even if you have never seen an episode of CSI: Miami, you know. If you’ve never heard of David Caruso’s Horatio Caine, you know. If you think The Who is from Dr. Seuss (or to really date yourself, the one on first base), you still know. It’s a pop-culture perfect, cold open, pre-credits moment, right up there with anything on Saturday Night Live or The Office. Horatio Caine shows up at a crime scene, gets the rundown of the crime, replies with something like “The verdict is in, Frank…”, pause, puts on the sunglasses, and finishes the quip with a fantastic one-liner “… but the jury is out.” Cue The Who’s “YEEAHH” from “Won’t Get Fooled Again,” opening credits. And it’s used to set up an otherwise dramatic crime procedural.

CSI: Miami is the first spin-off of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, and proved to be just as popular as its kin, running for a full 10 seasons before being canceled in 2012. What works in the series’ favor is having used the CSI template and shifting it to the Sunshine State. But what really sets it apart is its Horatio Caine “sunglasses moments” cold opens. Some are darkly comic, others are not, but it’s the same routine: start to say something, sunglasses, finish saying something, starting every episode like clockwork. So to really understand the rationale behind why they will never be replicated again, one has to appreciate the cleverness of the moments, delivered in a brilliant deadpan that rivals Leslie Nielsen’s Frank Drebin.


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