Rory Cochrane

By Kristine Huntley
Posted at September 22, 2004 - 2:31 PM GMT

Rory Cochrane has been with CSI: Miami since the show debuted in 2002, playing criminalist Tim Speedle, a level-headed professional who worked cases with a cool demeanor and a fierce determination. But in Monday night's season premiere, "Lost Son", Speedle was killed in the line of duty while investigating a shady jewelry shop with Horatio Caine. Cochrane sat down with CSI Files to tell us why he decided to leave the hit show and why he's unhappy with the way his character was dispatched.

CSI Files: So, the question that's on everyone's mind right now is, why did you decide to leave CSI: Miami?

Rory Cochrane: Doing a one-hour drama is very long. I'm originally from New York and my family's back here, and a lot of my friends. I felt [the show] was never-ending and the grind was a lot. It's nice being on a hit show and the viewers are very supportive, but I couldn't really take it anymore.

It's hard to sit there and complain when the pay is good and most people make what we make in an episode, in a year. It wasn't a money thing. I didn't like someone having control of my life for most of the year.

CSI Files: Were you happy with the way your character, Tim Speedle, was written out?

Cochrane: No, I actually thought it was pretty lame to be honest with you. They have all these creative ways that people die [in Miami]. A main character on the show--I thought they could have come up with something a little more imaginative. Getting shot--anybody can think of that.

CSI Files: Did you have any ideas that you suggested to the writers about how to write your character out?

Cochrane: I suggested something to them. I forgot what it was, but it got shot down. It was like I'm the one who wants to leave, so I couldn't really ask.

And I was like, "Can I at least get to shoot somebody?" And they're like, "nope."

CSI Files: What do you think about Speedle's failure to clean his gun?

Cochrane: I gotta be honest with you, I thought it was totally lame, but what can you do? It's not up to me.

CSI Files: Did Speedle ever fire a successful shot?

Cochrane: No. Never.

CSI Files: Did you have any input in shaping your character? He changed a great deal in the first season, from a more laid-back, casual type, to a cooler, edgier professional. Did you have anything to do with that, or was that just the writers tweaking the character?

Cochrane: It was sort of like a free-for-all in the beginning and they were just trying to put things together. We had a really great technical advisor named John Haynes, and I'd ask him questions. I'd say, "would I be wearing this Grateful Dead shirt? Does this make any sense to you?" And he was like, "No." So I was like, "Get me in a collared shirt because CSIs are supposed to wear collared shirts." I'd just try to make it as realistic as possible under the circumstances. Of course, we're driving Hummers and things like that--that's out of my control--but for my character I wanted to at least try to go by the book and not take the liberty of being able to wear t-shirts or tye dyes or whatever.

CSI Files: Do you think you'll keep in touch with any of the cast members?

Cochrane: I still keep in touch with those guys. The cast is great. They're funny, nice people. They're great to work with. It didn't have anything to do with anybody involved that I chose to leave. It had to do with the grind and the monotony. It was kind of like Groundhog Day. You get up, go to work, come home, get up go to work go takes a toll on your soul kind of.

CSI Files: Were you happy with your character and his development?

Cochrane: It was fine. I don't regret doing it--I learned a lot. I didn't have any complaints about anything other than I just needed some freedom.

CSI Files: What made you decide to make the leap from film to television? What made you take the role initially?

Cochrane: I'd never been submitted for television before for however long I was doing movies, but I had this agent at the time--I'm not working with him anymore--but he sort of talked me into it. I had initially turned [Miami] down, and then there was a series of phone calls where he sort of convinced me to do it.

CSI Files: When did you decide that you wanted to leave CSI: Miami?

Cochrane: Probably in the first season. Everybody could tell I was sort of unhappy [but] I didn't want to bring anyone down. To be honest with you, I'm surprised they let me out [of my contract], but I'm glad they did and I thought that was very gracious of them.

CSI Files: Did you tell the producers that you wanted to leave in the first season?

Cochrane: No, I wanted to put in two years. I always thought I'd put in two years, but when the ratings became so high, I thought, wow, they might not let me out of this thing. But I was classy about it, I didn't demand more money. I just said, "I want out."

CSI Files: Why did they choose to write you out in the third season premiere, "Lost Son"?

Cochrane: I initially told them during hiatus period right after the second season. I told them in June; that's the time when people go in and try to renegotiate. So the next episode was that one [the season premiere] that we did in July.

CSI Files: What are you working on right now?

Cochrane: I did a movie [A Scanner Darkly] in June in Austin, Texas for the same director as Dazed & Confused [Richard Linklater]. And that was a fun project to do.

CSI Files: What made you choose that role?

Cochrane: The director called me up and just asked me if I wanted to do it, and [it had a] good cast and I love Austin so I said sure. It definitely wasn't a money gig, it was just a fun project to do. It was kind of nice that everybody did it for like no money. It had all those big names in it.

CSI Files: What kind of roles are you interested in pursuing? Is there anyone in particular you'd like to work with?

Cochrane: There're tons of people I want to work with. I'm just sort of trying to get my head right and go back to the gym--little things that time didn't permit [before].

CSI Files: Are you looking at any particular roles right now?

Cochrane: A few things, [but] nothing set in stone.

CSI Files: Are there any roles you've played that you're particularly proud of?

Cochrane: I don't want to say, "Wow, I was really awesome in that!" I've enjoyed a few characters that I've played. Again it's nice to just do different things and play different characters.

When you're doing that TV thing, you're doing the same thing for years and years. You can fall into bad habits as an actor and I think it can take a toll on your ability to act, which I think is scary.

CSI Files: Did you notice that in your own performance or that of other actors?

Cochrane: I noticed it in my own performance because there were times where I just didn't care if I was good or not, and that scared me.

CSI Files: Would you ever consider doing television again in any capacity?

Cochrane: Well, actually, I'm not allowed to do TV for like four years, because they let me leave, but I'm still obligated to them for four years so as part of the deal, I can't do TV for four years.

CSI Files: Do you ever do any theater work?

Cochrane: No, I leave that to the real actors.

CSI Files: Were you a fan of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation before you got the role of Speedle in CSI: Miami?

Cochrane: No, I'd actually never heard of it, but they're doing extremely well, and I'm sure that New York show will do very well.

CSI Files: Thank you so much for your time!

Cochrane: I'd like to thank the viewers for supporting me. I've gotten phone calls already--people are really bummed out [about Speedle's death].

CSI Files:They certainly are! There are a lot of people who are upset about his death, and many who didn't like the way he died.

Cochrane: Including me!

Discuss this interviews at Talk CSI!

Find more episode info in the Episode Guide.

Kristine Huntley is a freelance writer and reviewer