Review: CSI: NY–‘Out Of The Sky’

Bodies keep piling up after robbers steal five million dollars worth of jewelry from a lawyer.

Synopsis:

As lawyer Roland Carson argues with a client, Melvin La Grange, several thieves burst into Carson’s apartment. Carson’s bodyguard James Belson rushes Carson and La Grange to safety, but La Grange lunges for his gun and only gets off one shot before the robbers open fire on him, killing him. Belson is shot in the abdomen, but when the police arrive, he’s still alive and is taken to the hospital. Mac questions Carson, who tells him that the only thing he’s concerned with is five million in jewels that the robbers took. The jewels belong to a client who will be furious to know they’re missing. Danny goes to the hospital to see James Belson, who used to ride patrol with him but left the police force in disgrace after he overlooked a gun in a patrol car and two cops were shot by a suspect as a result. Belson tells Danny that the robbers broke in and he took a bullet. The two catch up briefly and Belson tries to entice Danny into working security, which pays much better than police work, but the CSI demurs. Flack and Danny locate the helicopter the robbers used to escape and find one of the men dead in the helicopter, abandoned by his accomplices. At the lab, Hawkes recovers a microchip from one of the empty bags found in the helicopter. Adam uses the signal to trace any other chips used and is surprised to find the signal leads back to the morgue. Mac and Hawkes go down to the morgue and discover the signal is coming from a John Doe on one of Sid’s autopsy tables. Mac find the microchip in the man’s shoe treads. Sid performs an autopsy on the man and finds he died from a gunshot wound to the head, but also points out a cut on his throat—which Sid recovers epithelials from.

Jo identifies the dead robber as Logan Peele but isn’t able to link him to John Doe. Lindsay analyzes algae on John Doe’s shoes and determines it came from a fountain filled with coins—that he likely was making a wish when a bag full of gems fell out of the sky. The tracking chip from the bag found its way to his shoe and led the robbers right to him. Hawkes matches the epithelials from John Doe’s neck wound to a thief named Arnold Vonley. Flack interrogates Arnold, who admits he mugged the dead man and took his watch, but left him alive—and didn’t touch his “gym bag.” Amused, Flack informs him that the bag contained five million dollars worth of jewels. A young woman named Jenny Harper comes to the station looking for her boyfriend, Heath Kirkfield, who left their apartment that morning to turn in a bag of jewels he found. She’s devastated when Flack tells her that Heath is dead. Jenny tells the detective she got a garbled call from his phone that morning, and turns over her cell phone to Flack. She tells Flack that she convinced Heath to turn the jewels in, and worries that she may have gotten him killed. Danny analyzes flower pollen from the treads of the vehicle that drove away from the helicopter and finds a nursery that carries all the types: New Grove Flowers. When Danny and Flack go to the nursery, they find the remaining two thieves dead in a car, shot execution style.

The men died twelve hours ago, while Heath was killed eight hours ago, meaning the two couldn’t be responsible. Lindsay identifies them as Ted and Paul Kendrick, brothers who were defended on a robbery charge two years ago by Roland Carson. When Hawkes identifies the gun used to kill them and Heath as Roland Carson’s, Mac interrogates the attorney, who scoffs at the idea that he would have set up a robbery and used his own gun. He maintains any of his clients could have accessed his gun. Mac is unconvinced. When Hawkes identifies a substance on the floor of Carson’s apartment as sand from a sandbag mixed with gunshot residue, they realize Belson staged the robbery, and had the robbers shoot him through a sandbag to minimize his injury but to make him look like a victim. Danny goes to Belson’s hospital room, but the man has checked himself out—and is headed for the apartment Heath Kirkfield shares with Jenny Harper. Danny catches Belson at Jenny’s door and talks him the bitter ex-cop down. Mac returns the gems to Carson who notices a valuable ring missing. Jenny, who discovered the ring beneath her pillow, takes it to the fountain where Heath made his wish and tosses it in.

Analysis:

Implausible to say the least, “Out of the Sky” hinges on more than a few lucky coincidences: the bag that falls out of the plane happens to be the one filled with the most valuable loot, the bag just happens to fall into the hands of guy making a wish at a fountain and the tracking chip from the bag just happens to come loose… and get stuck in the shoe of this unlucky lucky soul, who is then set upon by a mugger who dismisses the bag full of jewels as a gym bag. That’s an awful lot of coincidences for one episode, and while I was glad the obvious suspect, sleazy lawyer Roger Carson, wasn’t actually the thief, the episode would have been much more interesting had it hinged more on the relationship between Danny and Belson rather than the series of unfortunate and unlikely events that lands hapless Heath Kirkfield in Sid’s morgue.

Given that Danny has had little to do in the past season or so other than being Lindsay’s other half and being stalked by Shane Casey, I was immediately intrigued by his connection with Belson. Alas, Danny and Belson only share two scenes, which are both rather predictably banal. Danny and Belson exchange pleasantries in the first  scene, which involves little more than Danny telling Belson he’s a family man and Belson lamenting the dissolution of his own family. Belson makes an offer to hook Danny up with some security work, which Danny predictably turns down. There’s nothing in this conversation that really gives us any real or new insight into Danny, or his relationship with Belson, and there should be.

Instead, Danny’s history with Belson comes out in a conversation with Flack that is little more than an information dump. While on patrol together, Danny and Belson arrested two guys and brought them back to the station. One of them had a gun, which he dropped in the patrol car. Danny sent Belson back to check the car, but he missed it… and later that night a suspect in the back of the car found it and shot the two cops taking him in with it. Danny seems to feel sorry for Belson, lamenting that no one trusted him after the incident, but even with Flack—Danny’s longtime confidant—there’s no real in depth conversation. It’s a missed opportunity.

The only other scene they share is when Danny catches Belson about to break into Jenny’s apartment; Danny is clearly furious with Belson, but it doesn’t have the impact it should because the personal hook for Danny hasn’t been fully developed. Does Danny see any of himself in Belson, a fate that might have been possible for him had one of his mistakes cost him his job? If only the episode had played up the “what if?” question for Danny, who has certainly made more than a few mistakes in his time, there could have been great material here. Carmine Giovinazzo, who built Danny into such a fascinatingly flawed character in the show’s early seasons, is being more or less wasted these days, his character relegated to bringing up his marriage at every opportunity and participating in an obligatory chase scene with Flack in almost every episode.

Two of the show’s other gems, Eddie Cahill and A.J. Buckley, are thankfully given better material here. Cahill always shines in the scenes where Flack gets to bust out his droll wit, and Flack gets a zinger in when he questions low-level thug Andrew Vonley, who lifted Heath’s watch but ignored the big duffle bag he was carrying. “You’re the dumbest mugger I’ve ever met,” Flack says, before informing the thief of exactly what was in that “gym bag.” Flack has to switch gears when he walks out of the interrogation and encounters Jenny, who is looking for her unfortunate boyfriend. Cahill is every bit as good in scenes that call for Flack to be compassionate, and Flack’s delicate handling of Jenny and the way he tries to ease her fear that convincing Heath to turn in the jewels got him killed just make us like the homicide detective even more.

Buckley can always be relied on for great comedic scenes and he doesn’t disappoint here when he shares an “ass dialing” story with Mac, who probably wishes Adam had held back. Gary Sinise is terrific opposite Buckley, calling up an amused skepticism whenever Adam gets goofy around him. Adam is usually flustered around the CSI leader, but he’s so eager to illustrate the phenomenon of “ass dialing” to Mac that he relays a story about a time he had his phone in his back pocket and inadvertently dialed his girlfriend at the time and left a fifteen minute voicemail—which picked up on the conversation he was having with his friends at the time about said girlfriend. Mac guesses correctly that the girlfriend is now an ex—before ordering Adam to get to work on tracing Heath’s phone… with his hands, not his ass.

Mac is less amused with Lindsay’s meandering earlier in the episode. Lindsay’s self-satisfaction every time she traces a piece of evidence to its source has grown incredibly tiresome; it’s an annoying trait, especially when considering the evidence she’s withholding in order to showcase her own cleverness is related to someone’s murder. When Lindsay comes up to Mac and Jo, asking, “What do you wish for?” and then proceeds to go on to talk about what most people wish for, Mac finally interjects, saying, “I’m wishing there’s a point here.” Mac’s irritation mirrors the audience’s; while a little explanation is sometimes fitting to understand how a CSI got from point A to point B, in this case it just comes off as Lindsay reveling in how pleased she is with herself. How is it that a character who has been on the show for so many years is still so annoying?

Source: "Out of the Sky"

Kristine Huntley

Author

Kristine Huntley

Kristine Huntley is a freelance writer and reviewer.

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