Review: CSI: New York–‘Blacklist’

The NY team hunts a killer who uses technology to do his victims in.

Synopsis:

The murder of Aaron Dexter, the CEO of GMI Health Network, seems like an open and shut case after he’s found shot to death in a seedy Bronx neighborhood. The team nabs his killer via prints off the door of his rented car, but Stella and Adam discover his GPS system was hacked, indicating he was purposefully led to the dangerous neighborhood. Across town, Dr. Jeff Evans nearly dies of an allergic reaction–and when the waitress calls 911, she finds the operator unwilling to be any help at all. When Mac and Flack arrive at the scene, they find the restaurant’s computer system has been hacked, and the 911 call diverted. A shadowy figure uses the surveillance cameras to watch the two detectives, and get background information on them. In the lab, Lindsay finds a connection between the two victims: Evans worked as an oncologist at a hospital owned by GMI.

When Mac returns to the lab, he’s surprised to find technicians installing surveillance cameras based on a work order with his electronic signature. Realizing it’s the work of the killer, Mac holds his phone number up to the cameras and gets the killer, who identifies himself as Grave Digger, to call him. Mac quickly realizes from the man’s heavy breathing that he’s ill, but Grave Digger turns the conversation to Mac–and how he watched his father die from small cell lung cancer. Mac realizes Evans was Grave Digger’s oncologist. Adam gets a break as well: he’s able to match two signals to the same company, leading the team to believe Grave Digger worked there. Cross referencing the list of employees with Dr. Evans’ patients gives them a name: Victor Benton. Lindsay uncovers the names of the two people that treated him–Evans and Lisa Kim–and also finds that Aaron Dexter shut down the oncology department, where Benton was being treated for free.

Realizing Lisa is Benton’s next target, Mac and Hawkes race to the hospital where she works. When they get there, they find the young woman trapped in an elevator, where Victor is using her claustrophobia to terrorize her. Mac manages to rescue her just in time, and Adam finally get a location for Victor. Mac and Hawkes race to his apartment where they find the dying man about to expire. Mac revives him and tells Victor he has no sympathy for him. Victor tells him his father had more time than he otherwise would have because he got treatment, but Mac shucks off the comparison, telling Victor he’s a coward for what he’s done. Leaving Victor to his fate, Mac recalls visiting his dying father at home after returning from the Gulf War–and the way his father encouraged him to take the job in New York.

Analysis:

Sometimes it’s tough to watch an episode and not wonder what could have been. This is one of those episodes. That Grave Digger, he picked the wrong guy. Sure, Mac’s father died of the same disease that struck him down, but anyone who took one glance at Mac’s record and history would have quickly realized Mac doesn’t see shades of grey. He doesn’t get disillusioned and disgruntled and bitter the way Victor had. The guy with Mac–the guy whose girlfriend was murdered a mere month ago and who turned around and killed the man who struck her down–that guy might have been more open to Victor’s rants about the system. Not Mac–never Mac. (And sorry, Mac, but I imagine those articles summed you up pretty well–Victor was just seeing what he wanted to.) But Flack? There’s a guy who might have listened–even if just for a single moment, a short beat, before he came back with some snarky response.

At the end of the day, the parallels in the episode don’t quite work. Victor going after the CEO–sure, that makes sense. But his oncologist and nurse? That’s a stretch. As is the way he latches on to Mac for a sympathetic ear. I can’t imagine there’s a single article out there about Mac that would in any slight, miniscule way paint him as a person who would in any way commiserate with a revenge killer, especially one casting such a wide net. Would Mac have done anything to save his father, or extend his life? Sure–but soundly and squarely within the limits of the law. I suppose Victor can be excused for his poor judgment on account that he’s dying, except that he sure did pull off three crimes rather masterfully.

Having Grave Digger zero in on Mac paves the way for two rather sentimental flashbacks, in which Mac returns home from the Gulf War to find his father dying. I’m not sure what new information we’re supposed to glean from the flashbacks, other than that Mac’s father was the one who told him to go to New York and start a family with Claire. Bittersweet given what we know of Claire’s fate, sure, but essential to the story, or even particularly impactful? Hardly. Gail O’Grady has little to do but look sad, and aging Gary Sinise backwards by almost twenty years wasn’t quite a success. John Terry is very good–as he always is–but his speech to Mac doesn’t reveal much about their relationship, beyond the fact that he’s proud of his son, and they’re somewhat formal with each other (Mac calls him “sir” twice).

The beginning of the episode has a lively feel to it, even though it’s somewhat of a red herring chase. It’s great to see Flack hasn’t lost his snarky tongue, and there’s an edge to his delivery that wasn’t there before. Eddie Cahill is great with nuance, and what’s eating at Flack is clearly right there beneath the surface, though he’s almost able to mask it. A flashback to his attempt to save Jessica Angell in the diner where she was shot in “Pay Up” shows the audience that her death is still very much on Flack’s mind, despite his protests that he’s “fine.” Flack is not fine, but you’d almost believe he is, because Cahill is playing Flack in such a way that he clearly believes that he can fake it well enough to make it true.

The team member most likely to fall apart given what he’s been through–Danny–seems to be holding up pretty well. Aside from an awkward missed high five with Adam, who goes for a literal high five–far out of Danny’s reach–we don’t see much of how Danny’s adapting to life in a wheelchair, besides the fact that he’s clearly lab-bound. Lindsay fills Stella in on Danny’s progress when he’s not around, telling Stella that he was able to move his toes, and though it’s not much, the doctors are hopeful. If Lindsay is suffering from being overburdened at all, it’s not apparent in her attitude. Aside from a comment about Lucy spitting up on her clothes, Lindsay seems perkier than ever. She’s even wearing a Whitesnake t-shirt–which seems way, way too cool for the square Lindsay we’ve seen thus far.

Building on last week–and his improbable hook up with Stella–Adam seems more confident than ever, hemming and hawing far less than he used to. His tech savvy is crucial to the case, and he definitely steps up to the plate to come up with key information. Danny, who he’s always looked up to, is essentially stuck in the lab now, giving Adam a companion whose company he clearly enjoys–and putting them on more equal footing. And though they agreed their dalliance in “Epilogue” was a one time thing, Stella lightly touches Adam on the shoulder in the lab, indicating that there’s definitely an intimacy between the two. All in all, life is pretty good for Adam Ross these days.

Source: "Blacklist"

Kristine Huntley

Author

Kristine Huntley

Kristine Huntley is a freelance writer and reviewer.

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