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CSI Files - CSI: New York--'Til Death Do We Part'

CSI: New York--'Til Death Do We Part'

By Kristine Huntley
Posted at February 21, 2005 - 12:51 AM GMT

See Also: 'Til Death Do We Part' Episode Guide

Synopsis:

After a pair of doves and a bride drop dead at a wedding, Mac and Danny are summoned to investigate. Mac notices the bride, Hannah Bloom, has excessively red eyes, but that it doesn't appear she cried. Danny notes that her skin is discolored and looks hardened. Detective Kaile Maka tells the CSIs that Hannah was in perfect health. Her only complaint was a headache, possibly a hangover from the bachelorette party the night before. Maka and Danny head to the bridal suite where they see the mess left after the bachelorette party. Danny tests the drinks around the room, and Maka uncovers a syringe. In the morgue, Dr. Hawkes is prevented from starting the autopsy on Hannah by Abel Bloom, Hannah's father, who says that a rabbi needs to say a prayer over her body before any autopsy can be performed. Hawkes promises to wait a little while, provided the rabbi comes quickly.

Across town, Detective Flack leads Stella and Aiden to the abandoned Staten Island Monastery, where a stolen car and a man's hand have been found. When they enter the building, which has been vacant for fifty years, Stella takes note of a pair of handcuffs on the wall and the bloody hand by them. She finds the rest of the man a few feet away, lying dead, an abrasion on his head and blood around his mouth. The man is a parolee--a bus ticket and $1.50 lie near the body. She also finds dermal tissue on his teeth, indicating that he chewed his own hand off. Aiden finds a partially dug hole in the ground. Stella talks to Henry Milton and Lance Moretti, structural engineers who were examining the building for a university considering purchasing it and discovered the hand. Lance had been at the building the week before, but saw no sign of the dead man then. Flack has information on the car--it was reported stolen four days ago. When Aiden processes it, she finds a gun and a hand-drawn map.

Danny tells Mac he went over the alcohol from Hannah Bloom's bridal suite, but that he didn't find any poison on it. The hypodermic needle was from botox injections. There were no signs of poison in the suite at all. Hawkes is still waiting for the rabbi to arrive in the morgue to begin his autopsy of Hannah Bloom, but when Stella arrives he's able to give her an ID on the body of the man from the monastery: Rick Amadori. Amadori bled to death, but he was also suffering from hypothermia and starvation. Hawkes also shows Stella marks on Amadori's knuckles that indicate he punched someone recently. He also points out that Amadori had surgery in jail after being stabbed, and that the tip of the weapon is still lodged in his stomach.

Mac and Danny cut open the dead doves from Hannah's wedding and find their insides covered in cleaning products. Their deaths were not accidental. Della Fallon, a worker at the hotel, is the one of the only people who had access to the doves before the ceremony. At first, she stonewalls Danny and Detective Maka, but finally admits that she killed the doves out of resentment: it was her idea to use them in wedding ceremonies, but the hotel owner and the head of catering took all the money from the idea. She denies killing Hannah, and says the cleaning solution wouldn't have killed the woman.

Stella questions Bobby Lugano, the inmate who stabbed Amadori. Lugano says he and Amadori got into it, but that eventually the animosity wore away. He tells Stella that Amadori didn't have friends, only enemies who gave up. When Stella asks him why he attacked Amadori, Lugano shows her a large scar on his chest.

In the morgue, the rabbi arrives to bless Hannah Blooms body and Hawkes begins his autopsy. Danny takes her wedding dress and starts processing it, pulling several hairs off it. Hawkes has a COD for Mac: Hannah Bloom was killed because of exposure to formaldehyde. She either inhaled it or absorbed it through her skin. Mac and Danny interrogate Audrey Davis, the maid of honor, and Walter Lisco, the groom, respectively. Audrey, a biology teacher would have had access to formaldehyde. She and Walter went out a few times before he got together with Hannah. Audrey says she had no reason to kill Hannah, but Mac notes that Walter is worth fifty million dollars. Walter admits to Danny that he came across Audrey trying on Hannah's wedding dress. Both deny killing Hannah.

Stella, Aiden and Detective Flack go to Queen's Plaza where Rick Amadori got off the prison bus. A diner owner recognizes Rick and tells the CSIs that Rick fought with another patron over a booth. He left and drove away in the stolen SUV. Stella puzzles over the timing--the SUV was stolen from a location over twenty minutes away from the diner around the time Rick was released--he wouldn't have had time to steal the car. Did he have a partner? Aiden gets prints of the gun from the SUV and while there's no match in CODIS, she does get a lead: the prints belong to a relative of Victor Mulcahy, the man Amadori was in jail for murdering.

The CSIs bring in Mulcahy's son, Connor, for questioning. Following the death of his father, Connor was placed in foster care. His prints were all over the car and the gun, and though he denies to Stella and Flack that he took the car, he admits to killing Amadori, claiming he waited for the man to be released from jail and then killed him. Stella and Flack search Connor's apartment, where they find clippings about Mulcahy's murder. Stella isn't convinced despite Connor's confession, and she argues with Flack, who wants to take the evidence to the District Attorney.

Danny tells Mac he knows how Hannah was poisoned: her dress was covered in formaldehyde. But it isn't lab-grade, ruling out Audrey as the killer. Most of the formaldehyde was found inside the dress, in the lining. This, coupled with the knowledge that Hannah bought her wedding dress at a resale shop leads Mac to suspect the dress was taken off a dead person. Mac and Danny go to the shop where Hannah bought the dress. The owner tells the CSIs that the person who sold him the dress was a first time seller and that he gave the name 'John Smith.' The business is cash-only, but the owner is able to supply Mac and Danny with two suits the seller brought in with the dress.

Stella and Aiden examine the map from the SUV and try to figure out why Amadori went to the monastery in the first place. When they realize it might be a treasure map of the monastery, Stella suspects he was set up. She goes back to the jail and examines Bobby Lugano's cell, where she finds a tracing of the map. She knows Bobby set Rick up, but who killed him. Back in the lab, Mac starts to tell Stella that Flack called, and she immediately lashes out, angry that Flack is so eager to convict Connor. Mac finally gets a word in and tells her that Flack decided not to go to the DA. Stella looks at the visitor log for the jail and recognizes a name: Lance Moretti.

Danny finds embalming fluid and deoderizer on the suits, but no DNA. Mac suspects someone in the funeral business is stripping corpses, and before long, they have another body on their hands when a man named Gordon Samuels drops dead on a sidewalk, apparently from formaldehyde poisoning. Danny analyzes his suit and discovers it came from a dead man, but he gets an ID from some traces of DNA on the suit: Payton Davis, who was buried by Swindon Mortuaries.

Stella calls Henry and Lance back to the Staten Island Monastery. She zeroes in on the roller Lance holds, and asks the two men about their involvement. Henry denies any and she believes him, but Lance was the man who escaped when Bobby Lugano was arrested for robbery. Lugano threatened Lance in order to get him to Amidoro. Lugano lured Amidoro to the monastery with the map, and when he got there, Lance hit him over the head and chained him up, leaving him there to die.

Mac interrogates John Swinton, who confesses to selling the suits and the dress, but admits he didn't think about the chemicals on the clothing. Mac asks him how many more suits are out there, and John answers that there's one.

Stella asks Connor Mulcahy why he admitted to killing Rick when he didn't actually murder the man. Connor tells her he stole the SUV and intended to kill Rick, but when he pointed the gun at him, he couldn't do it. Rick hit him and took both the gun and the SUV. Stella tells him that she, too, was in foster care and that it's up to Connor to make something out of his life. His prints are now in the system, but it's up to him as to whether or not they come up again in a criminal case.

Mac bursts into a wedding and pulls the groom, who is wearing the final suit that John Swinton sold, aside. Mac tells the groom they have to get him out of the suit in order to save his life.

Analysis:

A bride who drops dead at her wedding? A man who chews off his own hand and then bleeds to death? Both cases in this week's New York episode sound plenty salacious and slightly tabloidish as well. But one of the best things about "Til Death Do We Part" is that both cases in the episode have outcomes that aren't easily predictable. Both have convincing red herrings: the coincidental death of the doves in the wedding case, and the angry son of Victor Mulcahy in the convict's murder case.

The 'fatal formal clothing' plotline in particular had a tabloid feel to it. The red herring in this case--the possible liaison of the maid-of-honor and the groom--was effective, but the ultimate resolution to the case was far more creative than any love triangle could be. A morgue owner selling suits from dead bodies? It's just ghoulish enough to be believable.

Kelly Hu makes her second appearance as Kaile Maka in this episode, and I wonder if she's going to be joining the (thus far short) list of recurring characters like Jane Parsons and Dr. Giles. Her wry delivery is spot on for the show's lighter tone, and she's a nice contrast to gruff Danny (whom she's been paired with in both episodes she's appeared in).

The B-story had plenty of twists and turns of its own, but the most interesting one was Connor Mulcahy's involvement, or ultimately lack of involvement, in Rick Amidoro's death. Much of his purpose in the episode is to reveal some backstory for Stella in how she relates to him, but he also comes across as a convincing character in his own right: a young man at a crossroads, angry at his father's killer and how his life has turned out, but presented with an opportunity to change it.

Ultimately, the development of Stella's character and backstory has been particularly impressive. Stella started off as an often-unsympathetic and at times unlikable character, but over time, her hard, unrelenting nature has started to look more like strength. This episode does much to explain why: Stella was raised in an orphanage and thus had to become self-reliant. Her speech to Connor suggests that Stella believes in "tough love," most likely because this is the only kind she herself has known. She is upfront with Connor: what happens to him--whether he becomes a criminal or an upstanding citizen--is his own decision. Blaming his circumstances or his actions on the unfortunate things that have befallen him isn't an option in Stella's book.

Stella's circumstances go far in explaining her character. In "Rain", Stella was unsympathetic to the young mother worried about her baby, but much of that may have had to do with the fact that the mother aided the bank robbers rather than coming to the police. Stella clearly has little sympathy for those who choose to break the law. In "American Dreamers", Stella's lack of comforting words for the parents searching for the son they believe is dead could come from lack of experience with a parent-child relationship (she tells Connor she never knew her parents). Perhaps she simply couldn't relate.

Next week: Hitchhiking and trucking prove deadly.

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Find more episode info in the Episode Guide.


Kristine Huntley is a freelance writer and reviewer.