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CSI Files - CSI: New York--'Boo'

CSI: New York--'Boo'

By Kristine Huntley
Posted at November 1, 2007 - 9:19 AM GMT

See Also: 'Boo' Episode Guide

Synopsis:

On Halloween night, Danny and Lindsay head out to Amityville, where the Duncan family has been found slaughtered in their house. Sheriff Benson thinks the house is cursed, since a family died there in a similar fashion years ago. Benson postulates that Glen Duncan shot his wife Amy and their sons, Charlie and Tony, before committing suicide. While examining the scene in the house, Danny and Lindsay discover the Duncans' daughter, Rose, in the wall, a gunshot wound to her abdomen. The CSIs have her rushed to the hospital. Lindsay is spooked when an old woman accosts her in the house and tells her to get out. With the help of Dr. Hawkes, Danny and Lindsay determine that Glen didn't kill himself, meaning that someone murdered the entire family. Rose identifies the killer as a terrifying monster. Lindsay finds evidence of tree sap in a print lifted from where they determine the killer stood, and from there they are able to trace the killer to a tree in the front yard and into the attic. It seems apparent that the killer was hiding out there for a significant amount of time.

Lindsay runs DNA on a shirt she found in the attic and finds alleles in common with the old woman from the house who scratched her. Danny and Lindsay decide to look up the older murders in the house and discover that two members of the Willens family survived: mother Betty and son Henry. Henry, who has been in and out of jail for years, currently works for Amityville Animal Control. Lindsay is able to locate him by GPS tracking the collars of dogs he recently rounded up, and the CSIs find him and his mother at the Duncans' house, retrieving a suitcase full of bones. The bones belong to Henry Willens' sister, whom he accidentally shot as a child. Not wanting to lose her last remaining child, Betty hid the body, but when she heard the Duncans were intending to renovate the house, she sent Henry to retrieve the little girl's bones. Henry snuck in after the Duncans left to go trick-or-treating, but they came back early when one of the children got a stomachache. Henry panicked and shot the family.

Mac and Stella join Flack at the scene of a zombie flash mob, where one of the zombies has fallen down dead. Dr. Hammerback determines he was the victim of both blunt and sharp force trauma, and ultimately died of a subdural hematoma, which probably didn't kill him until about fifteen minutes after the fatal blow. Though the victim's body temperature indicates he died eight hours ago, witness testimony suggests he died just three hours ago. The CSIs are able to identify the victim as Dexter Nevins and learn a funeral was held for him the day before. Adam also notes that oddly enough, the victim was wearing a diaper. The CSIs exhume his coffin and find that he clawed his way out. Inside the coffin they discover a small voodoo doll with rare Haitian blue coffee beans inside it.

Mac and Stella visit a voodoo shop where Mac is thrown by the number 333 appearing on the eyelids of Josephine Delacroix, the proprietor. Josephine, whose shop sells the rare coffee beans, admits to making the doll for Dexter, and Mac begins to suspect the man was faking his death in an insurance scam. Sure enough, Hammerback determines he died the first time around of congenitive heart failure caused by a drug in his system called tetradetoxin. Mac makes note of the name of the doctor that signed Dexter's death certificate, Roger Burgess, and when the CSIs discover he lived close to the graveyard, they pay him a visit. They find both Roger Burgess and Sophia Nevins, Dexter's wife, locked in an embrace in the bed--barely alive. Dexter rose from the dead and caught them in the act together. He dosed both with tetradetoxin but Roger hit him several times with a cricket bat before collapsing, leaving Dexter to stumble out and join the zombie walk before his own fatal fall.

Analysis:

CSI: NY tackles its first Halloween episode in this fun romp, and it's a success. Horror flick vet Joe Dante really gives the episode a spooky feel; the scenes in the Amityville house in particular seem reminiscent of haunted house movies as well as The Blair Witch Project. And the grave digging scene in the beginning of the episode was a hoot, with Bruce Dern telling a frightening zombie story to a younger digger, only to have a man actually pop out of the earth and grab hold of his leg.

Beyond the spooky house, there's not much to the Amityville case other than the fact that Danny and Lindsay discover that what happened in the house was not in fact a multiple murder/suicide but in fact good old fashioned murder. I wish Danny had been the one to explore the house rather than Lindsay; Carmine Giovinazzo's expressions are priceless and I have no doubt that he would have had some great reactions to the house, the old lady and the secret passageway. He was particularly good with the frightened child, Rose, putting her at ease despite her obvious fear.

Thankfully, we're spared any Danny and Lindsay mushy moments; in fact, now that the two are together, we no longer have to sit through the artificial sexual tension between the two that was played up so much in seasons two and three. Save for her teasing him about the condom spray in "Can You Hear Me Now?" and her concern for him in "The Deep", we've had scant suggestion of the two's relationship, and Danny more often than not seems irritable when she's around. Hopefully after two years of being an obnoxious distraction, the pairing will continue to fly under the radar.

Sadly the episode wastes the wonderful Robert Picardo, who turns up as Sheriff Benson. Picardo has a fantastic comedic range, but he's given little to do here beyond relaying the facts about Amityville to Danny and Lindsay. When you've got an actor as gifted as Picardo, he shouldn't be wasted in a one note role. Surely he could have loomed over Danny and Lindsay's investigation a bit more?

The zombie case incorporates a little more of the science and the unexpected twists the CSI franchise is known for. Dexter fakes his own death for insurance fraud, only to rise from the dead to find that all didn't exactly go according to plan. How did he survive all that time without oxygen if his wife didn't leave the tank? Maybe there was a hole in that fancy, biodegradable coffin. Not only does Dexter punch through it, but he makes his way to Burgess's house and helps himself to some tetradetoxin and knocks out the cheating couple. Not bad for a zombie, even if he's the walking dead after Burgess hits him in the head with his cricket bat before he passes out.

Dexter conveniently finds his way into a zombie flash mob, where he blends in easily, so easily that no one realizes he's dead when he drops. For those wondering, zombie flash mobs are the real deal; ZombieWalk.com is a forum where people can arrange to meet to participate in a zombie flash mob. (Interestingly, people from the real forum were given the opportunity to participate in this episode.) Flash mobs aren't a new concept in the CSI world--they were introduced three years ago in the CSI: Miami episode "Murder in a Flash"--but the zombies are effective here, and it's gleefully fun to watch them swarm around the crime scene.

What would an episode be these days without a reference to Mac's 333 caller? I breathed a sigh of relief when Mac mentioned he hadn't heard from the caller in a week, thinking that perhaps that would be the sole reference to Mac's pesky stalker. But in the voodoo shop, Mac is thrown off guard when he sees the numbers 333 painted onto Josephine's eyelids. She tells him the number refers to the son of the devil, who collects souls for sins of youth. No doubt it's a clue; might Mac have some skeletons in his closet from his teen years? Hopefully we'll find out soon, because I can't see this storyline being dragged out much longer.

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Find more episode info in the Episode Guide.


Kristine Huntley is a freelance writer and reviewer.