William Petersen as Gil Grissom, David Caruso as Horatio Caine, Gary Sinese as Mac Taylor, Mark Harmon as Jethro Gibbs, Anthony LaPaglia as Jack Malone. These guys are the franchise players of primetime TV. But they are also role models. Each represents a different management style.
David Caruso in CSI: Miami seems to have contracted a terrible case of William Shatner disease and now takes himself much too seriously. He’s always posing with the sun glasses, standing side ways, and talking with that over-the-top emphasis. Everything is now said with maximum menace, including things like “Billy…get…me…a…SANDwich.” Working for a guy like this would be agony. You’d have to worry about stepping on his lines, or standing in his light. Bosses like this are self dramatizing, but everyone has to pitch in because they like it when we dramatize them too. Call this the diva management style.
Of course, Petersen as Grissom left CSI, and TV is the poorer. Sure, he was a little creepy with all the bug stuff, and, yes, he always seemed to be trying a little too hard with the poetry. But otherwise, he seemed a decent guy, the sort of guy who would cut his staff a little slack. The kind of manager who didn’t care how you got it done as long as you got it done. Call this the professorial management style
What about Sinese as Mac Taylor in CSI: New York? You get the feeling that the actor is still looking for the role, and as a result the character still has all of his humanity in tact. He’s not quite sure how to play certain situations. Sometimes he comes on too strong. Sometimes, he’s dialled so far back it’s like his phoning it in. Sinese is still working on his managerial signal, and this makes him the most human of these characters. Not the best to work for, but the most interesting to watch. Call this the still-working-on-it management style.
This distinguishes him from Anthony LaPaglia as Jack Malone in Without a Trace. LaqPaglia acts as if his exposure to weekly tragic events has destroyed his capacity for feeling. His reaction to everything is the same: silent, suffering witness. Dude, snap out of it. We get it, life’s a bitch, then you die. Lighten up a little. Call this the funerial management style.
The best person to work for is clearly Mark Harmon on NCIS. That is if Anthony DiNozzo, Ziva David, Timothy McGee, Abby Sciuto,and Dr. Donald Mallard are anything to go by. This little ensemble cast has more fun in a given program than Caruso’s people do in a season. Viewers, too. The secret is Gibbs’ perfect balance. He is impatient with anything less than perfection even as he manages to indulge the playfulness and eccentricities of his crew. It’s a fine line. Call this the perfect management style.
In the world of TV there are several managerial options. Those of us who serve as managers want to choose wisely.