If you were blindsided by the recent news about Thomas Gibson’s bad behavior on the set of Criminal Minds, wait until you hear the latest behind-the-scenes revelations about the old ABC classic, NYPD Blue, which ran from 1993 to 2005.
In a tell-all memoir titled Truth Is a Total Defense, showrunner Steven Bochco talks about David Caruso’s outrageously unapologetic bad attitude while he was on the show in seasons 1 and 2 — and Bochco isn’t holding back. He says that Caruso actually seemed to enjoy being a dark force on the set because it gave him more control
“David Caruso had become impossible,” Bochco writes in the book, via The Hollywood Reporter. “Caruso’s behavior was, simply put, cancerous. He was emotionally unavailable to everyone, and he was volatile, moody or sullen, depending on the day. Most people don’t function well in a dysfunctional environment, but Caruso loved it because he was the source of all the discontent, and it empowered him.”
Bochco also claims that Caruso felt he was above other TV actors, which only further added to tension on the set.
“He never said it to me directly, but the simple truth was, Caruso felt he was too good for television,” Bochco says. “He wanted to be a movie star. And his plan was to alienate the writers, producers and his fellow castmates in hopes that we would dump him from the show.”
Bochco’s statements that Caruso felt he was too good for TV weren’t just pulled from thin air. In fact, he alleges that Caruso actually demanded he had “the last seven weeks of the season off, so that his window for doing feature films would be larger.”
And time off to groom his movie stardom wasn’t all that Caruso requested.
In an effort to try to bully production into letting him out of his Season 2 contract, Bochco says Caruso’s agent came to him with a list of demands he wanted met in order for Caruso to move forward with the show. And — are you ready for this? — his demands included, “One, $100,000 per episode. Two, Fridays off. Three, a 38-ft. trailer. Four, an office suite on the lot, replete with his own development executive, for whom we had to foot the bill to the tune of $1,000 a week. Five, two hotel suites in New York when the company went there on location, plus a dozen first-class plane tickets. And lastly, Caruso had to have additional security to shield him from his adoring public.”
Bochco sure makes Caruso sound like a real peach, doesn’t he?
Still, even though Bochco obviously carries some ill will toward Caruso regarding the actor’s behavior, he has nothing but praise for his talent.
“Caruso was a big-time malcontent, but he was also terrific in the role,” Bochco writes.