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CSI Files - CSI: New York--'Run Silent, Run Deep'

CSI: New York--'Run Silent, Run Deep'

By Kristine Huntley
Posted at April 20, 2006 - 8:38 PM GMT

See Also: 'Run Silent, Run Deep' Episode Guide

Synopsis:

Mac gets a call from a man who confesses to burying a body at the north end of the New York Giants stadium just before shooting himself. Mac and Flack find the man, Salvador Zabo, in his car, dead from a single gunshot wound to the head. Mac calls the New Jersey CSI department and asked them to meet him at the Giants stadium in East Rutherford. Along with the NJ CSIs, Mac and Hawkes locate and exhume the remains, along with a gun and a cigarette butt. Mac notes the victim was killed execution style, with a shot to the head. Back in Manhattan, Stella reluctantly leaves her boyfriend Frankie Mala in bed when she receives a page summoning her to a crime scene. At the posh Von Arms hotel, Danny is already processing the body of Jim Mooney, a bank executive, who lies dead from multiple stab wounds on the bed in one of the rooms, champagne and chocolate-covered strawberries on the room service cart untouched. In the bathroom, Stella finds a message written in vasoline that reads "I caught you bitch. Go home."

In the morgue, Dr. Hammerback determines the skeleton from the Giants stadium was a young man, around 17 or 18 years old. He also shows Mac a laser-removed tattoo on Salvado Zabo's back, and when he cuts off the flesh and microwaves it, the tattoo is revealed: Tanglewood. Mac goes to Danny, who previously told his boss he used to hang out with members of the gang ("Tanglewood"). Danny recognizes Salvador as one of the guys from the gang, and says that his older brother Louie knew him. Mac cautions Danny to stay away from the case, and Danny agrees. Hammerback turns to Jim Mooney and shows Stella that the weapon used to kill him was a short knife, possibly somewhat blunt. Mac takes the gun from the grave, gets it to function again and matches the striations on the fatal bullet to those made by his test fire. Next he turns to the serial number, matching it to a batch stolen fifteen years ago--by none other than Sonny Sassone. Mac tracks the Tanglewood boy down to a construction site he's overseeing. Sonny, charged with the murder of Paul Montenassi in "Tanglewood," beat the murder rap just like he told Mac he would. Mac asks him about the guns, but Sonny is equally as dismissive. Mac vows to get him this time.

Danny has identified a bronze trace on the bed as air stockings--spray on pantyhose--while Adam has matched the handwriting from the mirror to a sample in the handwriting database from a threatening letter sent six years before to a man named Newt Glick who runs a company called Ultimate Date X-perience, where men can pay to take out beautiful women. Stella and Flack suspect the men get more for their money than just a date. Nick denies being in the room, so Stella turns to the women and swabs their legs for trace of the air stockings. Thanks to a Fastscan facial reconstruction Adam Ross was able to do on the skull, Mac was able to make sure a picture of the boy was slipped to a local paper, and Jack Manning identifies the remains as those of his son, Bobby, who disappeared fifteen years ago in 1991. Manning doesn't recognize Zabo, but he admits Bobby sold drugs. In the DNA lab, Lindsay is shocked to get a surprising match on DNA from the cigarette butt. She takes it to Danny--it's his DNA, a match to his internal reference sample.

Danny takes the DNA results to Mac and tells him he needs a friend, not a boss. Danny confesses his brother Louie is a Tanglewood boy, though insists he himself never ran with them--except for one night. Salvador and Sonny had kidnapped Bobby from the Bronx and brought him to the Giants stadium. Danny started to protest when they began to beat him, so Louie hit him and told him to get lost. Danny drove off, and the next day Louie told him that they dropped Bobby off, alive, in a bad neighborhood. Danny swears to Mac that he didn't go in the stadium. He recalls Louie bumming a smoke off him, but he insists Louie isn't a killer either. Mac gravely tells Danny he believes him, but is forced to put him on desk duty. Mac tracks down Louie, who starts tell Mac the false story about dropping Bobby off, but stops when Mac tells him how much trouble Danny is in. Louie claims Salvador is the one that killed Bobby, and that he and Sonny are no longer friends. Louie tells the CSI he has "plans" for Sonny, and intends to protect his brother.

Stella gets a hit on the air stocking trace from one of the girls at UDX, Melanie Stefano. Stella and Flack find Melanie with Paul Sabotini in bed at a hotel. They question Melanie, asking why she was seeing Jim Mooney on her day off. Stella posits that she was freelancing on her own, and that Newt got wind of it and left her the message in the bathroom. When she saw it, she took off. Looking for more proof, Stella and Adam test different knives on a pig corpse and determine that Jimmy was killed with an oyster-shucking knife. Flack tracks Mac down at the lab--someone has attacked Louie Messer and beaten him so badly that he's near death. Danny is already at the hospital when the ambulance pulls in, hysterical with worry for his brother. Mac smokes two cigarettes--finishing one and putting one out halfway--and takes them to the lab. He determines the one from the crime scene was only smoked halfway, backing up Danny's story, and wonders if Louie didn't take a cigarette Danny discarded and put it behind his ear to smoke later, only to drop it in the grave. But there's no way to prove it. Along with Flack and Lindsay, Mac goes to the hospital to check on Danny, who is anxiously watching his brother's surgery. Mac sends Lindsay to analyze Louie's clothes and asks Flack to look out for the distraught Danny and make sure the Tanglewood boys don't make him their next target--or vice versa.

Stella gets the UDX client list, a little black book, from a reluctant Newt, and is surprised to see that Paul Sabotini owns an oyster bar. She goes to the restaurant and finds him using an oyster-shucker--and sees blood on it. Paul fell in love with Melanie and wanted to "save" her--he paid for her hotel room and was horrified when he stopped by to surprise her and found Jimmy Mooney waiting for her. He stabbed Mooney. Stella arrests him. Lindsay finds a smashed up tape recorder in Louie's clothes and takes it to Mac, who repairs and plays the tape: Louie went to Sonny and got it on tape that Danny wasn't involved in the killing--and that Sonny was the shooter. Mac finally has enough to arrest Sonny, and this time he promises the gangster, it'll stick. Louie is in a coma, but Danny has heard the tape and finally understands that Louie was trying to protect him all those years ago. Devastated about what's happened to his brother, Danny goes outside on the verge of tears and finds Mac waiting for him. Mac holds Danny as he sobs. Frankie brings Stella a gift at the lab--a statue he has made for her which he calls an 'aresanob,' which he tells her is Peruvian for "soul of a woman." Later in her apartment, Stella googles the word and can't find a definition, but she does discover a website: aresnob.com. Noting the word is her last name spelled backwards, she clicks on it--and is shocked by what she sees.

Analysis:

The follow-up to first season's "Tanglewood" was both a long time coming and highly anticipated. Danny Messer has become a focal character on this show in a way no other non-lead (lead as in Grissom, Catherine, Horatio, Mac and Stella) has on any CSI show has, in part because of how well-written the character is, how complex and unusual he is in the face of so many characters on procedural shows that fall easily into archetypes we've seen many times before. The other part of why the character is so beloved is Carmine Giovinazzo, who puts so much into every performance that he makes us believe in Danny, not just as a guy going through evidence or even one having a rough day, but as a real character with genuine, believable depth. Love him or hate him, people react to this character--he's consistently engaging. Danny reacts to everything passionately, and in turn the audience reacts to him in a similar way.

In last season's "Tanglewood," Sonny Sassone implied to Mac that there were things he knew about Danny, and said it in such a way that made the audience suspect that there was more to the story Danny told Mac about hanging with the Tanglewood boys now and then. Danny's own reaction--one of despair--certainly backed up the suspicion that Danny had lied to his boss. In contemplating the follow-up, it is important to go back to the original to see if the two hold up together, not just individually. In my review of the episode at the time, I thought Danny had lied to his boss and that eventually it would be revealed that he had a Tanglewood tattoo. But as time went on, I began to doubt that Danny's involvement was direct. As soon as his brother Louie was mentioned in "Trapped", I figured he'd be involved in the Tanglewood plotline.

I wasn't surprised or disappointed to be proved right, but I do wish we'd seen Danny and Louie interact before he ended up in a coma. There might have been time for it if there hadn't been a secondary case which took time away from the main one. My only major complaint with the episode is that I strongly believe there should have been no B-case. Two cases work fine for the regular run-of-the-mill episodes, but for one where a main character is in trouble, I think a secondary case is more often than not an irritating distraction. The audience doesn't care much about whether the prostitute or her pimp or her would-be savior killed the banker when Danny career is in jeopardy and his brother is lying in a coma. I also think the developments with Stella were out of place in this episode, but more on that later.

Dropping the B-case would have allowed for a scene between Danny and Louie, or maybe a longer discussion between Mac and Stella about how hard it would be to prove Danny wasn't at the scene after fifteen years. That's not to say what was on screen wasn't satisfying, because it was, but some things did seem to happen pretty fast, and there wasn't a lot of time between the time Mac was talking with Louie and when Louie ended up in the hospital, making it feel like an abrupt development.

I also would have liked to see more of the delightfully conniving Sonny Sassone, who is played with relish by Michael DeLuise. Sonny deserved more than to be relegated to two scenes in the episode. Sonny is a significant nemesis for Mac, and I would have liked that final scene between Sonny and Mac to have packed a little more punch. I loved it when Sonny went off on Mac and Stella at the end of "Tanglewood" and it would have been great for him to have a moment like that in this episode. I did enjoy Mac's satisfaction at finally catching him, and his parting words to Sonny, "Sweet dreams, dead man."

One of the best things about this episode was seeing how the team really rallied around Danny. With the exception of Hawkes (who disappeared in the second half of the episode), each one was clearly concerned about Danny's plight. Lindsay risked her job to not only bring Danny the DNA evidence but to hand it over to him. For someone who has shown herself to be pretty ambitious, it was a surprising and telling move, indicating that she is willing to put the feelings of someone she has clearly come to care about over her career. Given that she replaced someone who Mac fired, it was a daring move, and one that made her much more likable than she has been recently. Anna Belknap handles the scenes subtly, letting us see just how deeply Lindsay has come to care about Danny.

Eddie Cahill proves he can play the concerned friend as well as the sarcastic tough guy when Flack promises Mac to watch over Danny. Flack and Danny have one of the most compelling friendships on television, and Mac is smart to leave Danny with someone he actually trusts. Mac himself has softened towards Danny since his scathing condemnation of the younger CSI in "Crime and Misdemeanor" and "On the Job". I suspect this time around Mac's reaction is different because Danny comes to him and tells him what happened the night of the murder. Mac can't ignore the evidence, but he does prove that he has faith in Danny. Though the CSIs go about proving things in creative and unconventional ways, there was something personal about the way Mac smoked those cigarettes outside the building.

The final scene between Danny and Mac is a moving one. Gary Sinise plays Mac with a perfect blend of awkwardness and concern. Mac is clearly a man who has never had children, and doesn't seem like he'd know quite what to do with them if he did. He was much the same with the child in "Necrophilia Americana" that he is with Danny. And in many ways, Danny is childlike. When he tells Louie in the hospital room that their parents are coming, he refers to their mother as "Mommy" and when he tells Mac about how his brother is doing, his words suggest those of a child confronting an act he finds incomprehensible. Despite the fact that Danny supposedly has the roughest background of all of the characters, he is oddly the most innocent among them, constantly expressing his disbelief and dismay over how people can do the horrible things the do to each other. It's just one of the things that makes the character completely fascinating.

The moment when Danny breaks down in front of Mac is a fragile one--we don't often see men crying on television, and certainly not in front of their bosses. But in Danny's eyes, it has always seemed like Mac was more than a boss--Danny has always treated Mac like a father figure he desperately wants to impress. Whereas Lindsay's eagerness to please comes across as a combination of ambition and self-satisfaction, Danny's has always been a little desperate: he wants to do right, and he wants to impress Mac so that Mac will like him. So this scene seems especially significant for the two: Danny finally understands that Mac does indeed care about him, and trusts him enough to fall apart in front of him. Both Sinise and Giovinazzo play it perfectly.

The scene between Mac and Danny should have been the last scene, but it's not because the somewhat puzzling decision was made to set up Stella's storyline for the next episode. We never get to see what Stella sees on screen in the episode, though if you go to aresnob.com, you'll see an extended preview cum Kid Rock music video that gives away a lot of the twists in next week's episode. It looks exciting, but I still question the wisdom of ending an episode with such an emotional, powerful conclusion with an extra scene that's supposed to add shock value. How can the audience even be shocked when they can't see on their television screens what Stella does on her computer? The scene should have been placed before the final scene between Danny and Mac, or better yet, the whole plotline with Stella and Frankie should have been worked into another episode. The Tanglewood storyline was strong enough to stand on its own.

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Find more episode info in the Episode Guide.


Kristine Huntley is a freelance writer and reviewer.