Things get personal—and dangerous—for Stella Bonasera (Melina Kanakaredes) in this week’s episode of CSI: New York, “Rest in Peace, Marina Garito”.
The New York characters face dangerous situations on a regular basis, Kanakaredes told TVGuide.com, “but Stella has this bizarre empowerment.” She continued, “She almost died in Season 2 by someone she cared about. Now, she’s fearless about life-or-death situations. It’s like Rambo Stella.”
“Rest in Peace” finds Stella facing danger under water and in a car. “Literally, I am getting my head bashed in at the bottom of a pool by this bad guy,” Kanakaredes shared. “I flip over in a car and I’m upside-down. I’m very proud; I did all my own stunts. I pinched a nerve hanging upside-down in a harness. It was one of those moments where I was like, ‘I am not acting here.'”
It all starts when Stella refuses to believe the evidence that points to a young woman named Marina (Moran Atias) committing suicide. Marina has been in contact with Stella for several years, trying to find any lead that could tell her what happened to her brother, who disappeared when they were children. “Every Monday she has been calling Stella, saying, ‘Have you got anything?'” Kanakaredes told Fancast. “It’s a very, very common practice for a police detective to have ongoing cases they keep fighting for. It’s finding a needle in a haystack, but they keep searching—and Marina Garito is that for Stella.”
When Marina turns up dead, Stella won’t accept that the girl killed herself. It doesn’t make sense that she would give up without finding the truth. “Stella’s been taking these calls for four years, and she just doesn’t believe it’s a suicide,” Kanakaredes said. “It becomes this wonderful true-to-life story [of] guilt and obsession for Stella. She takes on the obsession of this young woman who needs answers, except she’s parlaying it to find out what happened to this girl. And she’s haunted—literally haunted.”
“She just won’t believe it,” the actress continued. “That’s pure gut instinct and that’s pure Stella. She doesn’t care what the evidence says, and that’s what I love about the character: She is so not black and white. She is able to cross lines and come back over and say, ‘See, I crossed the line for this, but I was right.'”
Atias described “Rest in Peace” as “an exercise in women supporting women.” In addition to featuring Stella, the episode was directed by Allison Liddi-Brown and written by executive producer Pam Veasey. “First of all, Allison is an amazing director, and Pam Veasey wrote the episode,” Kanakaredes said. “It was great because this is a cop show, so it’s a boy’s world—but it’s not. It was a collaborative effort between all these fantastic women. And fantastic men!”