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CSI Files - CSI: New York--'Supply and Demand'

CSI: New York--'Supply and Demand'

By Kristine Huntley
Posted at April 29, 2005 - 11:03 PM GMT

See Also: 'Supply and Demand' Episode Guide

Synopsis:

Kaitlyn, a Chelsea University student is trying to study when she's interrupted by noisy music coming from her neighbor's dorm room. Her irritation turns to concern when she hears a gun shot and goes down the hall to discover a gruesome sight. When Mac and Stella arrive at the scene, they note that the victim, Will Novick, was badly beaten before he was shot in the head execution-style. Will's roommate, a girl named Jordan Benson, is missing. She left her pink cell phone behind, which Stella bags. Mac looks at the damage and notices that the blood spatter is inside some of the boy's stereo equipment, indicating there were two attackers: one who trashed the place, the other who beat the boy. Mac finds a pair of tickets to "King Lear" with bloody fingerprints on them. Stella finds white residue on a tabletop, and tests it: it's heroin.

Dr. Hawkes describes the fatal bullet to Will's head as a mercy killing after the severity of the beating he received. Hawkes saw no signs of heroin use in the boy. Mac and Stella talk to Mr. Novick, Will's father, who refuses to believe his son was dealing drugs. He tells the skeptical CSIs that Will was a good kid and was putting himself through college. In the lab, Danny tells Mac that the heroin is pure China White, with 90% purity. Stella is going over Will's finances, and she shows Flack that the boy made cash deposits here and there. Aiden has a lead: she shows Mac that there were two seats in between the two tickets. Mac and Danny head to the theater, where the matinee of "King Lear" is in progress. A young man, Alex, and his girlfriend are watching the play. The CSIs pull Alex aside, and he claims he's Will's "digger"--he would wait in line to buy tickets for Will to scalp. Will's cash funds came from scalping, not drug dealing.

Meanwhile, Jordan's purse has been found in an ally. Stella tells Mac that Jordan's cash and credit cards are still in the purse, though the purse strap is broken, indicating it was ripped from the girl's shoulder. Mac sees fresh blood on the ground and Stella notices a ricochet mark from a bullet on the wall of one of the buildings. Mac follows the blood trail to a dumpster and is surprised when a young African American leaps out at him. Mac acts quickly and tackles the young man, one Shaun Deroy, who denies knowing about Jordan. When they get back to the lab, Chad analyzes Deroy's cell phone, but it's only a few days old and offers no clues. Flack calls Stella with some surprising news: Jordan has turned up, safe and sound, at her father's mansion. Stella and Flack question the girl, who says she needed to get away from school for a few days. She didn't know Will well, but says she didn't think he sold drugs, as she never would have roomed with him if he did. Flack and Stella leave unsatisfied, convinced something isn't adding up. At the police station, Aiden scrapes under a surly Deroy's nails. When he threatens her, she tasers him in order to get a sample of a substance on his hands.

The CSIs have another dead college student on their hands: Paul Collins, who overdosed and was found by his RA. Mac picks up a baggie filled with fine white powder and tells Danny to check for a connection to Will Novick. At the lab, Stella takes apart Jordan's cell phone and finds two messages telling people to meet her at 11:30 and noon at different places on the college campus. Mac brings Paul Collins' clothes for Chad to examine, but while Chad is telling him the heroin Paul had was high quality, they are interrupted by a cell phone ringing. Mac finds Paul's cell in his clothes and answers it; Stella, using Jordan's cell, is on the other line. Jordan, not Will, was the one dealing the drugs.

Stella and Flack pay a visit to Jordan, but both her father, Martin, and her lawyer, Diane Lipstone, are in attendance. Stella accuses Jordan of killing Paul Collins with the heroin she sold him, and she shows her a picture of the dead boy. She asks Jordan to tell her who else she sold drugs to, but Jordan refuses to speak, and Diane tells Stella to go. Disgusted, Stella leaves the picture of Paul with Jordan. Back at the lab, Aiden tells Mac that the substance from Deroy's hands is superglue, and notes that the DNA under his nails belongs to a woman. Aiden goes through Jordan's purse and finds white residue, which she gives to Chad for analysis. Stella and Flack go over Jordan's financial statements and learn she was broke; she ran up debt on two cards, which her father paid off. After doing so, he cancelled the cards. Aiden tells Mac and Stella that there were traces of China White in Jordan's purse, and the DNA on her lipstick matches the DNA under Deroy's nails. Aiden suggests the CSIs use Jordan's college ID to track her movements.

Chief Dwight Hilbourne confronts Mac about Stella's questioning of Jordan, referencing three other complaints filed against Stella in the past. Mac dismisses the complaints and reminds Hilbourne that Stella was trying to save another college kid from dying like Paul did. Afterwards Mac confronts Stella, telling her she should have used better judgment. Aiden interrupts them to tell them that Jordan's purse was a designer knockoff and that she found superglue under the insignia that matched the superglue found on Deroy's hands. The superglue on the purse is relatively fresh, indicating that Jordan bought the purse recently. The CSIs realize Deroy was selling the purses and must have sold Jordan one containing heroin by accident. Jordan must have decided to capitalize on her find.

Danny is tracing Jordan's path with her student ID and it leads him to the library where the student working there says that both Jordan and another student named Andrea Allix went into the Special Collections room around the same time. Danny races to Andrea's dorm, where he finds the girl passed out on the floor. He gives her CPR and tells the RA to call 911. Andrea survives and is willing to testify that Jordan sold her the drugs. Stella offers to step aside on the case, but Mac tells her to go to Jordan's house and finish it. Aiden has traced the purse to the warehouse district and a particular dealer: Joel Banks. Mac and Danny go to the warehouse where Danny discovers white powder on a table. Banks denies any involvement so Mac arrests him for selling counterfeit goods. Stella and Flack serve Martin Benson with a warrant and search the Benson house. Stella gets a weak positive read in the toilet where Jordan obviously flushed the remainder of the drugs. Stella figures Jordan decided to capitalize on the drugs she lucked into, assuming it was cocaine, but when Deroy attacked her and stole her purse, she fled back to her father's house. What Stella finds most reprehensible is that Jordan wouldn't tell them about Andrea after Paul died. Jordan is arrested for negligent homicide and drug trafficking.

Mac confronts Joel Banks in an interrogation room--he's found a blood drop that matches Will Novick on Banks' t-shirt. Mac believes Banks figured out Will wasn't dealing the drugs but killed him anyways after he broke into the apartment to send Jordan a message. Mac is disgusted, but he is convinced Banks will get what's coming to him in prison when the people he works for get wind of his actions. Mac goes to Will Novick's apartment where Mr. Novick is packing up his son's things. Mac tells the man his son was a good kid and apologizes for his earlier assumptions. He helps Mr. Novick move a few of the boxes downstairs.

Analysis:

"Supply and Demand" is one of those occasional episodes that breaks the CSI formula of two cases per episode. Generally, when the writers decide to focus on one case alone, the stakes are a little higher and the case is a little more complicated. While "Supply and Demand" doesn't quite rise to the levels of standouts like CSI's "Bloodlines" or Miami's "Lost Son", it is a thrilling hour, and it's refreshing to see the team working together. The camaraderie of the New York team shines through in a natural, relaxed way in this episode, from Mac teasingly praising Aiden to Danny smirking as Mac arrests Joel Banks for selling counterfeit handbags.

I find myself liking Stella more and more with each episode that airs. Her no-nonsense attitude and straightforwardness make her one of the show's strongest characters. She was right to be forceful with Jordan, especially given the possibility of other potential victims of Jordan's "cocaine." And Stella's denouncement of the girl at the end--pointing out how reprehensible it was of her to not speak up knowing that there was another potential victim at the school--was delivered perfectly. Melina Kanakaredes has really done a fantastic job of getting across Stella's toughness and determination. She's replaced the hardness of the early days of the show with a steely resolve and passion, making it easier for the audience to embrace and admire Stella.

Mac is in between a rock and a hard place when Chief Hilborne confronts him about Stella's aggressive questioning tactics. I'm not sure how aggressive showing a picture of a victim to the person responsible for his death is; I suspect that had Jordan Benson not been a spoiled rich girl, the chief wouldn't be so concerned about the complaint. And Mac admirably sticks up for Stella to Hilborne--the rest of the complaints against Stella are fairly easy to dismiss, and Hilborne is likely just bringing them up to put pressure on Mac. Mac doesn't spare Stella a tongue-lashing, but it's delivered more because she wasn't practical rather than that she was out of line. He's more angry with her for not taking the lawyer into consideration than he is with her pressuring Jordan.

Stella's not the only tough woman in this episode--Aiden gets to flex her muscles metaphorically when she tasers Shaun Deroy for threatening her in his holding cell. She doesn't even seem fazed by his menacing attitude, maybe because she knows she's a quick draw with the taser. Vanessa Ferlito does an admirable job of balancing Aiden's youth and her tough attitude. A little later in the episode, we see her glowing after Mac praises her deductive skills with the handbags. Aiden is a charming character and deserves more development.

Mac has a positively Horatioesque moment at the end of the episode when he goes back to help Mr. Novick carry some of Will's belongings out of his apartment. He strikes a nice balance between the often-detached Grissom and the earnest Horatio. Mac is much more low key than his Miami counterpart, but not as withdrawn as his Las Vegas one. Mac even gets a little piece of the action in the episode when he tackles Deroy and prevents him from escaping. As an ex-marine, it's clear Mac is still a tough guy.

One of the best things about the case is that it went against stereotype. Will, who it first seems is a hardcore drug dealer, turns out to be a ticket scalper. Wide-eyed, blonde Jordan, who insists to Stella and Flack that she wouldn't have lived with Will if he had been a drug dealer, turns out to be the one who made good use of an opportunity. I wish she'd been a little less weepy about it, though--not admitting to the Stella that she had sold to another girl was pretty cold-hearted. It's likely the only one Jordan had any concern for was Jordan, but making her a bit more outwardly stoic would have made her more interesting.

Next week: Danny gets in big trouble.

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Find more episode info in the Episode Guide.


Kristine Huntley is a freelance writer and reviewer.