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CSI Files - CSI: New York--'Raising Shane'

CSI: New York--'Raising Shane'

By Kristine Huntley
Posted at December 1, 2006 - 5:32 AM GMT

See Also: 'Raising Shane' Episode Guide

Synopsis:

After a man in a green hoodie bursts into a bar, steals money and shoots the bartender, the CSIs are shocked when Dr. Hawkes is picked up in matching clothing and IDed by the bouncer, Nick, as the shooter. The CSI team is removed from the case by Captain Stanton Gerrard, who takes umbrage when Danny is reluctant to leave the scene. Mac sends Stella and Danny to Times Square on another case: a man has been found dead in his underwear in a booth at a Peeking Tom's, the victim of an apparent overdose. Tom, the proprietor, denies touching the body or knowing how he got into the booth with no clothes on. Dr. Hammerback examines the body and confirms the man died of an overdose, but the coroner also discovers GSR in his nostrils and an unidentified substance on the man's back.

Hawkes is booked and given a union lawyer, who asks how he can explain his clothes matching the bartender's description, or the bloody $280 worth of bloody bills found in his pockets. Hawkes is baffled and upset. Mac rushes into the room, locking the door behind him to buy a little time, and asks Hawkes for his side of the story. The doctor maintains his innocence. Gerrard angrily extracts Mac from the room, but Flack pulls the two apart and tells Mac that the bartender, Kelly, had died from her injuries. After the hoodie Hawkes was wearing tests positive for GSR, Danny, desperate to prove Hawkes' innocence, tracks down the bouncer Nick to see if Nick is at all uncertain about IDing Hawkes. He doesn't budge.

Stella interrupts an intimate moment between Peyton and Mac, and Mac shoves Peyton's hand away from his face before Stella can see them. Stella tells Mac that she thinks the GSR on Hawkes' hoodie might have rubbed off on his jogging clothes from his body as he was testing firing earlier in that day. Mac, Stella and Danny sit down to talk out Hawkes' story and his possible motives and come to the conclusion that he's being framed by none other than Shane Casey, who wants revenge on Hawkes for performing the autopsy on the bartender that Shane's brother, Ian, was convicted of killing. Shane visits Hawkes in jail to taunt him, and none of the guards believe Hawkes when he claims Shane is a killer. Mac and Hawkes go over the night of the murder and conclude that Shane must have posed as a drunk man Hawkes ran into at a newsstand, and used the opportunity to plant the money on him. Mac receives a message from Shane to meet him at a busy hotel. Before he goes, Mac tries to explain to Peyton what happened earlier, but she's deeply hurt, and when he calls her Claire, she ends their relationship.

When they find evidence that Peeking Tom cleaned up around the body in the booth, Danny returns to the shop with Detective Angell. Tom turns over a ring on a necklace that he took from near the body. After Shane manages to slip a cell phone in his pocket, Mac follows Shane around the hotel, and learns Shane's demand: he'll turn over the gun that clears Hawkes if Mac will clear his dead brother Ian of the bartender's murder. Mac chases him, but Casey escapes. Lindsay has surprising news back at the lab: the GSR in the peep show victim's nostrils matches the GSR found at the bar. Shane must have hired the junkie to dress like Hawkes and kill the bartender, and afterwards killed him and stripped him down, dropping the ring in the process. Stella traces the number Shane used to call Mac to the bar where Ian supposedly killed the bartender, and Shane texts Mac: he wants Danny, who empathized with his affection for his troubled brother, to meet him there. The CSI agrees to go, but he's found evidence that Ian did in fact kill the bartender: pictures of the bartender from the newspapers show him wearing the ring that Shane dropped at Peeking Tom's.

A nervous Danny enters the bar and is startled when the jukebox starts playing and Shane pops up from behind the bar, holding a gun. He knows all about Danny and his brother Louie, and he wants the CSI to process the scene. But Danny shows him the ring and then the picture--proof that his brother in fact killed the bartender. A devastated Shane collapses and Danny arrests him for the second time. The evidence clears Hawkes, who happily leaves prison behind and meets Stella in the corridor.

Analysis:

I've said it before and I'll say it again: episodes in which the future of one of the characters is in jeopardy are always more exciting. The stakes are higher, and therefore the audience's emotional investment tends to be greater. Seeing Hawkes being picked up, hustled into a police car and put in front of an eyewitness like a common criminal in the teaser is a shocker, sending a message to viewers to sit up and take note--this episode isn't going to be a run of the mill murder mystery.

Usually I object to B-cases in big episodes like this, but writers Zachary Reiter and Pam Veasey link the two crimes, making what first seems to be an unrelated case that even the CSIs can't muster up any enthusiasm for a crucial link in the shooting Hawkes stands accused of. That was well done, as was the CSIs' difficulty concentrating on what seemed like a fairly straightforward overdose before they learned of the dead man's connection to Shane Casey.

I was both anticipating Shane's return and feeling a little apprehensive about it at the same time. When a killer makes a strong impression--like Shane did in "Hung Out to Dry", there's no way to know whether the character's subsequent appearances will be as good, or whether they'll be a let down. Take Paul Millander on CSI: "Anonymous" was a great follow up to Millander's first appearance in the "Pilot", but "Identity Crisis", the character's third and final appearance was just baffling.

Luckily, the second time's the charm for Shane Casey. Already a more complex killer than most, Shane at least had a credible motive behind his very twisted actions: he was seeking revenge for what he believed was his brother's wrongful imprisonment, conviction and subsequent death. This time around, we learn he's wants more than revenge: he wants to clear his brother's name. I'm often hard on the motives of killers in the CSI shows, but Shane, despite his very flawed methods, is a sympathetic figure in his devotion to his brother and his desperation to prove him innocent. Edward Furlong throws himself into the character, making Shane's realization that his brother was in fact guilty and his collapse at the end all the more powerful.

That's probably not much consolation for poor Hawkes, who spends the better part of the episode behind bars, in a prison jumpsuit. Hill Harper is luminous in these scenes, transitioning seamlessly through the range of emotions Hawkes experiences during his ordeal. At first, he's simply shocked; his reaction mirror's the audiences'. Of all the characters on CSI: NY, Hawkes seems the least likely to commit a crime. He's well educated, intelligent and refined--certainly the most sophisticated among his colleagues. Like the CSIs, we know there's no way Hawkes would steal $280 and then shoot someone in cold blood, but like them, we're puzzled by the damning evidence.

After he's identified by the bouncer and brought into the station, Hawkes' shock turns to anger and disbelief. He's defensive when the union attorney questions him, and when Mac bursts into the interrogation room and locks himself inside with Hawkes, the doctor isn't sure what to offer the CSI. Again, Harper plays these scenes just right, conveying Hawkes' disbelief and sense of urgency as he tries to reason out of a situation that makes no sense to him. Hawkes is trapped in everyone's worst nightmare: being accused of a crime he didn't commit, with evidence that strongly suggests otherwise.

Mac is torn: he believes in Hawkes' innocence, so much so that he's willing to bend the rules and piss off Captain Gerrard by bursting into the station and locking himself in the interrogation room with Hawkes. But on the other hand, Mac believes the evidence trumps everything, and the evidence against Hawkes initially looks fairly damning. At one point, Mac, Stella and Danny even play devil's advocate, trying to reason out Hawkes' motives if he had indeed committed the crime. The session doesn't last long: Mac quickly concludes Hawkes has been framed, and it doesn't take them long to conclude who the culprit is. It's refreshing to see smart people on television not forced to act dumb to draw out a script; once the CSIs realize what's going on, they know the culprit is Shane.

Gary Sinise wisely sets aside Mac's stoicism in this episode, instead allowing the audience to see the wheels turning in Mac's head as he tries to puzzle out how Hawkes has been so easily fingered as a murderer. Once he does figure it out, that steely determination we've come to expect from Mac shines through, and surprisingly, he's willing to play Shane's game in order to get the evidence to clear Hawkes. After all, because he and his team have been banned from the case, it really is the only option available to him.

Surprisingly, the final showdown is not between Shane and Mac or even Shane and Hawkes, but Shane and Danny, who empathized with Shane about his feelings for his troubled brother. Danny opened up to Shane and told him about his own brother Louie, a gang member who, last we heard, was in a coma after taking a beating trying to protect Danny from a murder charge. Shane's clearly done his homework, and it's Danny he wants to meet him at the bar, and Danny he wants to try to clear his brother in exchange for the murder weapon that will clear Hawkes.

Shane's choice is a shrewd one: out of all of the CSIs, Danny is far and away the most empathetic. Usually he sympathizes with the victims and the families they leave behind, but when a killer's motive stems from loss of a loved one, Danny often has compassion for him or her. In "Super Men", he clearly sympathized with the father who killed the man responsible for his daughter's death; even if he didn't approve, Danny understood where the man was coming from. The same was true in Shane's case: Danny told Shane about his own brother because he knows what it's like to love a troubled sibling.

Danny's sympathies don't only lie with Shane: he bends the rules quite a bit trying to help Hawkes. It's great to see the old Danny--the Danny who cares more about justice than walking the straight and narrow--back in action. He keeps processing at the scene even after Gerrard has told him to stop, and he tracks down the bouncer to try to see if the man is uncertain about IDing Hawkes. Danny's earnestness and loyalty are a large part of what makes him such a compelling character. The people really matter to Danny, and in a genre that boasts so many callous characters, he's a refreshing change of pace.

Danny's finest moment comes in the showdown with Shane: Carmine Giovinazzo plays the scene perfectly, getting across both Danny's determination and his fear, which heightens the suspense of the scene. There's a real sense of urgency and danger created by Furlong and Giovinazzo's performances. Furlong is almost manic, but he turns steely and scary on a dime, while Giovinazzo is jumpy but gains confidence as the scene progresses. The episode couldn't have had a better climax, and having the showdown be between Shane and Danny, who has so much emotional investment in the case on so many levels, was a wise one.

Stella and Flack both have intense moments in the episode as well. Stella comes between Gerrard and Danny after the former opines that he'd like to beat some sense into the CSI. Stella angrily threatens him right back, and when Stella makes a threat, there's no doubt that she'll carry through with it. Interestingly, Stella alone meets Hawkes after he's released from prison. I would have expected Mac or Danny or both to show up as well, especially given how involved they were with the case.

Flack's moment is brief but significant: he comes between Mac and Gerrard after Gerrard has gotten Mac out of Hawkes' interrogation room. Gerrard is out for blood, but Flack gets him to back down by reminding him that he'd do the same if it was Flack himself in there. The scene reminds both Mac and the viewers that Flack is on the other side of this case--he's not been removed like the rest of Mac's team. Like his dilemma in "Consequences", the moment reminds us Flack has another work life outside of his interactions with the CSIs. Gerrard is his Mac, and seeing things from this perspective humanizes the abrupt, rigid Gerrard a little.

Sadly, it seems like Peyton Driscoll has made her last appearance. After Mac thrusts her hand roughly away from his face when Stella walks in, Peyton sees the writing on the wall: Mac isn't willing to commit to their relationship in the way she wants him to. When he mistakenly calls her Claire, the deal is sealed. I'm sorry to see her go--Claire Forlani exudes a refined warmth in her scenes with Mac, and she's helped Sinise to open up a bit and explore Mac's softer side. None of that is visible when he almost violently tears her hand from his face: his feelings are fairly clear in that one knee-jerk reaction.

I hope I'm wrong and Peyton will pop up again sometime; she's a character worth exploring, whether she's with Mac or not. I'm torn as to whether I want to see Shane again. He's a wonderfully layered character, but "Raising Shane" was such a perfect send off for him that I can't imagine it being topped. An episode of this caliber is rare, and I'd rather not see Shane again than have one episode too many, a la "Identity Crisis." "Raising Shane" not only perfectly concludes Shane's character arc, but it's also the perfect final episode of an excellent November sweeps for CSI: NY.

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Find more episode info in the Episode Guide.


Kristine Huntley is a freelance writer and reviewer.