A sniper hits Manhattan, causing Mac to clash with the Deputy Chief of Police over what to reveal to the public.
A sniper takes out two women in separate shooting incidents and Sid is injured in the morgue when the bullet from the second victim explodes when he tries to remove it. Danny examines the bullet’s remains and discovers it was filled with nitroglycerin. Mac butts heads with Chief Ted Carver, who wants Mac to keep quiet about the fact that there might be a sniper on the loose in the city at a press conference. Though Mac tries to keep his answers noncommittal, he agrees with a reporter who says that it sounds like there’s a sniper loose in the city, irking Carver. At the scene, Jo and Lindsay discover the sniper’s hide sight location and recover a hair and a beetle with human blood on it. Mac consults with his team on the case, but isn’t able to see a connection between the two victims, Elizabeth Grant and Vanessa Walters, aside from the fact that both were women with fair coloring. Jo turns up a connection with DNA from blood from the beetle, and a mitochondrial match on the hair to a twenty-four-year old man who was kidnapped as a child. Mac recalls the case, one he worked: Michael Reynolds was taken by a sex offender named Arthur Francis at the age of nine. Three years later, Michael managed to escape his captor and was reunited with his parents and brother, Tom. Mac and Flack go to the Reynolds’ apartment but find no one home. Mac notices drawings on the wall and crushed up red paint from beetles similar to the one Lindsay found on the roof. A young woman in the building across the street, Hayley Montgommery, calls to Mac and he remembers her from the interviews he did when Michael went missing. She tells him Michael used to have nightmares after he came back home, and that he left home when he turned eighteen.
The sniper strikes again, taking out a married businessman. Mac puts pressure on Carver to put the city on alert, insisting the public needs to know what’s going on. Lindsay traces the beetles to two paint supply companies and finds a Michael Francis purchased beetles from both. Recalling that the last name of Michael’s kidnapper was Francis, Jo posits that Michael may have suffered Stockholm Syndrome and taken his abductor’s last name. Flack and Danny rush to Michael Francis’s address and find a man dead from a gunshot wound on the floor. The CSIs are puzzled when the dead man is confirmed to be Michael Reynolds himself, their prime suspect, until Mac realizes the mitochondrial DNA from the hair could have matched Michael’s brother, Tom, as well. When Hayley calls Mac to tell him that Tom is back in the apartment looking for something, the CSIs rush over. They find Hayley unharmed, but Tom is gone. The CSIs find videotapes filled with angry rants from Tom, and Jo decides to utilize the NY Alert System, which will text his photo to every active cell phone in the area. A woman spots Tom at a hotel in Midtown and dials 911. The cops rush the hotel and find Tom on the roof. He shoots one of the cops, and Mac tries to talk him down, but Tom refuses to budge. Before Tom can shoot someone else, Mac fires on Tom’s ammunition, detonating it and allowing the cops to capture Tom. Sid returns to work, and Jo presents him with a new pair of glasses, complete with impact resistant glass.
What is it with Mac and bureaucracy? Mac has been fighting with one higher up or another since he stuck up for Danny in “A Man, A Mile” when a zealous ADA questioned the young CSI’s worthiness. Mac clashed with Chief Sinclair and Inspector Gerrard in season three (and since). The man hasn’t met a bureaucrat he doesn’t like to butt heads with and while Sinclair and Gerrard were at least written with some depth, it’s hard to understand Deputy Chief Carver’s position here. Sure, one can understand not wanting to cause a panic, but reporters aren’t dumb, and it seems like it’s pretty obvious to them that there’s a sniper on the loose. Even after the second victim, it seems pretty obvious that Mac is right and that the people of New York City should be urged to take precautions. I realize these bureaucrats are set up to make Mac look better, but shouldn’t their positions be a little reasonable? Carver is going to be around for at least two more episodes, so presumably (one hopes) he’ll be given a little more depth, but here he just seems like an obligatory stumbling block for Mac.
Politicking aside, “Hide Sight” is a great episode: having a sniper on the streets is a rich premise, and the backstory distinguishes the storyline from other “sniper loose in a city” storylines. The personal connection for Mac feels natural rather than shoehorned in as personal connection to cases sometimes can. Michael Reynolds’ ordeal was so terrible that Mac has never forgotten the boy or his family, even though he lost touch with them. Interestingly, while Mac may have been a hero to Michael, who put Mac’s badge number into one of his many drawings, he didn’t in fact have a hand in rescuing Michael. The boy escaped, and while Mac may have caught his abductor after Michael fled, Michael managed to save himself. Much as the CSIs are painted as heroes, it’s nice to see them as human, too, and the fact that Mac didn’t actually save the day twelve years ago humanizes him.
Michael’s innocence in the sniper killing coupled with his three-year ordeal as a child makes it all the more tragic that his life was cut short. Given that he’d taken his abductor’s name, it’s questionable whether he got past his ordeal enough to function in society, but to die at the hands of his pathologically jealous brother is a truly sad end for a young man who had suffered a great deal in his short life. The episode touches on the sexual abuse that Michael endured but doesn’t delve into it, aside from a somewhat controversial line from Mac about wondering at the time whether it would be better to find the boy alive or not after discovering he was taken by a sexual predator. It’s a potentially provocative statement to say the least. I was a little surprised that Mac didn’t condemn Tom at the end of the episode after he was taken into custody, but perhaps he felt, as Jo seemed to, that Tom was clearly mentally unbalanced.
There’s an initial shocker in the first few minutes after the teaser when Sid opens up Vanessa’s skull to retrieve the bullet, and it explodes in his face! It’s a jolting moment, and one that gives the audience momentary concern for Sid. Luckily, he’s okay, if dazed, and Hawkes points out his glasses potentially saved him from blindness. The exploding bullets are a nice touch, and it makes the sniper seem pretty devious and intent on the most destruction possible. Danny tests the nitroglycerin and finds the amount put in the bullets used by the sniper allow for the possibility of a secondary explosion. It’s definitely a detail that ups the ante.
Not as much is made of the sniper being loose in the city as one might expect: the panic Carver fears will overtake the city never materializes, at least not on screen. The story focuses more on the Reynolds case than the sniper’s presumed reign of terror over the city, though Lindsay is given a line that points out how vulnerable people are as they roam the city streets. Alas, Anna Belknap doesn’t really sell the line, and it comes off as more of an obligatory observation than a weighty mediation. Contrast that with Jo’s dialogue about why neglect could turn Tom into a sniper: while that’s a somewhat more difficult conclusion to swallow, Sela Ward delivers the dialogue with authority and conviction. Jo is a real bright spot in the show this season.
Given the subject matter, there’s understandably little humor here, though Flack, who has been more sensitive of late, cracks a joke when he and Mac arrive at the Reynolds’ apartment and find the walls covered in drawings. “I’m thinking… guilty,” Flack quips when he takes in the walls covered in drawings. The snap judgment hearkens back to the Flack of earlier seasons, before the death of his girlfriend Jessica Angell added an edge to the character, and his shooting of her killer gave him a better understanding of shades of grey. Flack wasn’t in on the debriefing with the CSIs so perhaps he didn’t know about Mac’s history with the case; it’s unlikely he’d be as flip as he is here if he did. Regardless, Flack zingers always garner a laugh, and the same is true here.
Source: "Hide Sight"