Why Did David Caruso Leave NYPD Blue? Unraveling the Mystery Behind the Actor's Departure

Why Did David Caruso Leave NYPD Blue? Unraveling the Mystery Behind the Actor’s Departure

Why Did David Caruso Leave NYPD Blue? Unraveling the Mystery Behind the Actor’s Departure


When it comes to iconic television shows, NYPD Blue is often hailed as one of the greatest crime dramas of all time. Running for 12 seasons from 1993 to 2005, the series captivated audiences with its gritty portrayal of the New York City Police Department. Throughout its run, the show featured a talented ensemble cast, including the charismatic David Caruso, whose departure from the show left fans shocked and curious. In this article, we will delve into the reasons behind Caruso’s departure, uncovering the mystery surrounding his exit from NYPD Blue.

The Rise and Fall of David Caruso

David Caruso’s portrayal of Detective John Kelly in NYPD Blue earned him critical acclaim and a loyal fanbase. With his intense gaze and brooding presence, Caruso quickly became a fan favorite. However, despite his success on the show, Caruso’s career took a dramatic turn after just one season.

Ambitions Beyond NYPD Blue

One of the main factors contributing to Caruso’s departure from the show was his desire to pursue a career in film. After a string of successful movies in the 1990s, including “Kiss of Death” and “Jade,” Caruso believed that transitioning to the big screen would be the next logical step in his career. This ambition led to tensions and conflicts with the producers of NYPD Blue, who were reluctant to let go of their star performer.

Contractual Disputes and Salary Demands

Another significant factor in Caruso’s departure was a dispute over his contract and salary demands. Despite initially signing a five-year contract with the show, Caruso sought a salary increase for the second season, citing his growing popularity and the show’s success. When the production company refused to meet his demands, Caruso decided to leave, hoping that his departure would force them to reconsider.

Friction with the Cast and Crew

As is often the case in the entertainment industry, personality clashes can contribute to an actor’s decision to leave a show. While Caruso was praised for his acting abilities, his demanding and perfectionist nature reportedly caused friction on set. This friction, combined with his desire to pursue other opportunities, further fueled Caruso’s decision to leave NYPD Blue.

The Fallout and Its Impact on Caruso’s Career

Following his departure from NYPD Blue, David Caruso’s career suffered a significant setback. Despite starring in several films, including “Proof of Life” and “Session 9,” Caruso struggled to recreate the success he had found on the small screen. It wasn’t until his role as Horatio Caine in the hit show “CSI: Miami” that Caruso experienced a career resurgence.


The reasons behind David Caruso’s departure from NYPD Blue are complex, involving a mix of personal ambitions, contractual disputes, and clashes on set. While his exit left fans disappointed, Caruso’s subsequent success in “CSI: Miami” demonstrated his resilience and ability to reinvent himself. Despite the mystery surrounding his departure, Caruso’s time on NYPD Blue will always be remembered as a pivotal moment in his career and the show’s history.


1. Why did David Caruso leave NYPD Blue?

David Caruso left NYPD Blue due to contractual disputes and disagreements with the show’s producers.

2. What were the reasons behind David Caruso’s departure?

The reasons behind David Caruso’s departure from NYPD Blue were primarily contractual disagreements and clashes with the show’s producers.

3. Did David Caruso’s departure affect the show’s ratings?

Yes, David Caruso’s departure from the show had a negative impact on the ratings initially, as he was one of the main lead actors and his character was widely popular among viewers.

4. How did the producers handle David Caruso’s exit from the show?

To handle David Caruso’s exit, the show’s producers decided to kill off his character, Detective John Kelly, in the storyline, resulting in a dramatic and emotional exit.

5. Were there any attempts made to bring David Caruso back to NYPD Blue?

Yes, there were attempts made to bring David Caruso back to the show. However, due to ongoing contract disputes and personal differences, these attempts were unsuccessful.

6. Who replaced David Caruso’s character on NYPD Blue?

After David Caruso’s departure, actor Jimmy Smits joined the cast of NYPD Blue to fill the void left by Caruso’s character.

7. Did David Caruso’s career suffer after leaving NYPD Blue?

Initially, David Caruso’s career did suffer to some extent after leaving NYPD Blue. However, he later found success as the lead actor in the television series “CSI: Miami,” which helped revive his career.

8. Were there any conflicts between David Caruso and the show’s creator Steven Bochco?

Yes, there were conflicts between David Caruso and the show’s creator Steven Bochco. Their differing visions for the show and creative disagreements contributed to Caruso’s departure.

9. How did fans react to David Caruso leaving NYPD Blue?

Fans of the show were initially disappointed and upset by David Caruso’s departure from NYPD Blue. Many expressed their dissatisfaction and even boycotted the show for a brief period of time.

10. Did David Caruso ever return to NYPD Blue for guest appearances?

Despite the conflicts and controversies surrounding his departure, David Caruso did return to NYPD Blue for a couple of guest appearances in later seasons, giving closure to his character’s storyline.