The team is on the case after a car thief is found dead in the trunk of a stolen Ferrari.
The NYPD is on the lookout for a pair of car thieves who have stolen 16 Ferraris in the past two months. They know they are looking for two attractive women, but right now that’s all they have to go on. Danny rides around with one of his rookie officers, and they check parking garages for stolen cars. They find a red Ferrari with the engine still running; unfortunately, there’s a dead body stuffed in the trunk. A red light camera captured an image of this woman behind the wheel—she’s one of the elusive car thieves.
Flack, Lindsay and Mac talk to people who had their Ferraris stolen by this woman, including Nathan Purdue. The car in the parking garage seems to belong to him, but the hidden VIN number doesn’t match. Someone put the VIN from Purdue’s Ferrari on this car, which was taken from a Connecticut dealership six hours before Danny found the young woman’s body.
Adam reconstructs an RF cloning device that was found destroyed next to the Ferrari. This allowed the girls to get in the cars without setting off alarms, and Adam finds a fingerprint on an internal element of the device. The fingerprint leads back to Arthur Noonan, a seasoned car thief. Flack heads to Noonan’s apartment, and the man’s daughter Audrey answers the door. Flack is surprised to see that Arthur is in a wheelchair due to illness. There’s a picture of him with his children, and Flack realizes their car thieves are Arthur’s two oldest daughters. Their victim is Michelle, and Nicole is still missing. Audrey is the youngest daughter, and she chose to go to law school while Michelle and Nicole took up the family business. After Arthur got sick, he asked them to quit stealing cars. They called him a hypocrite, and he hasn’t spoken to them in months.
White powder found on the controls in the Ferrari is a ‘magic’ powder used to help regrow tissue after severe burns. Hawkes determines that the killer used Krav Maga on Michelle, and he knew exactly how to hit her to cause the most pain. She was electrocuted with a modified stun gun through her jacket, which left no mark on her skin but caused an otherwise healthy young woman’s heart to stop. Mac puts the pieces together and figures out that they are looking for Dominic Yanos. He’s a terrifying criminal who is wanted all over the world, and it was believed he may have died in an explosion a few years ago. They have no pictures of Yanos as an adult, but they can guess he had burns after the explosion—burns that could be treated using the white powder. He is skilled in Krav Maga, and he has used a modified stun gun in the past. When Lindsay remarks that the regenerative powder causes light sensitivity, Mac remembers seeing Purdue blink against the light when they were talking about his stolen Ferrari. Purdue is Yanos.
Yanos killed Arthur and took Audrey, and Nicole has been stealing cars out in the open. She fled to Brooklyn, and the team locates the garage where she and Michelle chopped Yanos’ Ferrari and distributed the parts. He didn’t just want a Ferrari, he wanted his stolen car back. Unfortunately, the girls didn’t know where the parts were, so they tried to trick him by stealing another red Ferrari and switching out the VIN. Yanos killed Michelle when he realized what they’d done, and Nicole has to get all of the parts back if she ever wants to see Audrey alive again.
The team sets Yanos up and arrests him when he comes for the car, and they find Audrey nearby, tied up but alive. When they reassemble Yanos’ car back at the lab, they discover a hidden compartment containing passports and other identification needed for Yanos to take a new identity. The FBI has been investigating Purdue for months after they discovered he was laundering money, although they had no idea who they were really after. Yanos realized the authorities were closing in, and he tried to escape before they could catch them. An international criminal was brought down by a family of car thieves.
“Cavallino Rampante” finds the team searching for the person who killed a car thief—not just any car thief, but a beautiful young woman who stole Ferraris with her equally-beautiful sister. The investigation leads the team directly into an even bigger case: the search for a man wanted around the world for crimes ranging from drugs and weapons charges to human trafficking. It’s an ambitious storyline, and to be honest, it didn’t need to be quite so big. The man who killed Michelle over documents hidden in his stolen Ferrari didn’t have to be such a major criminal. We’d never heard of Dominic Yanos until this episode, so he’s a bogeyman who comes out of nowhere and gets taken down within the hour. That said, the idea of a family of car thieves unintentionally bringing down an elusive villain is an interesting angle.
This week’s episode offers viewers a closer look at Danny’s new role as Sergeant. “Cavallino Rampante” opens with him addressing the uniformed officers under his command before their shift begins, and he rides out with Officer Lauren Cooper. Later in the episode, Danny reprimands Lauren for spending two hours filling out paperwork for a minor drug possession charge. Lauren points out that the man was breaking the law, but Danny reminds her that any time they spend writing forms is time they aren’t spending on the street looking for real criminals. He wants her to think next time and weigh the options before she makes a call. Being a cop makes her accountable for her actions, but Danny’s position means he’s responsible for all of the officers working under him. Her decision will lead to overtime, and he might not get to see his family that night. Lauren didn’t think about all of that, and Danny tells her she’ll remember it next time—and she won’t make the same mistake.
Mac is standing nearby during this exchange, and Danny speaks to him after Lauren walks away. Danny expects Mac to tell him what he did wrong, but Mac is smiling. He thinks Danny is doing just fine now that he’s the boss, and he points out how far the Sergeant has come from his early years in the crime lab. Later in the episode, Danny seeks Lauren out and starts to apologize for being hard on her, but she insists that he did the right thing. She needs to learn, and he has a lot to teach her. He thinks she’ll be a great cop, which is more than anyone said about him when he was just starting out in the NYPD. She wonders if he made as many mistakes as she makes on the job, but he says he messed up even more than she did—plus, he was impulsive, arrogant and thought he knew everything. I have to admit, sometimes I miss that version of Danny Messer. He was certainly interesting to watch!
Lauren invites Danny to join her and some of the other rookies after work for a drink, but Danny says he’ll head home instead. However, he does show up in the bar at the end of the hour, and they all seem at ease as they enjoy a drink together. Overall, Danny seems to be doing pretty well in his new job, and I like the dynamic between him and Lauren. He might not see himself as a very good boss, but it’s clear that Lauren respects him. As a longtime viewer, I have distinct memories of Danny the impulsive know-it-all, so it’s interesting to see him from the perspective of a young cop who only knows him as ‘Sarge’.
Adam has some great scenes in “Cavallino Rampante”. When he walks into the garage and sees Jo with grease on her face and wearing a pair of coveralls, he says, “Lookin’ good, JD.” Very few people can pull off that particular look, Adam says, and Jo grins and tells the lab tech that she loves him. These two have a really fun dynamic to watch. Things were pretty awkward between them when Jo first joined the lab last season, and I’m glad to see that he’s more comfortable around her a year later. Adam may still act nervous around Mac, but he doesn’t seem intimidated by Jo these days.
Adam’s demonstration of the RF cloning device is hilarious. He takes Mac’s keys and throws them across the parking garage before he illustrates how the device works by unlocking Mac’s SUV and starting the engine. After he proves his point, Mac sends him to retrieve the keys at the end of the scene. Poor Adam, he could have done the demonstration with the keys in his pocket, but that wouldn’t have been nearly as entertaining. Later in the episode, Mac walks into the lab to discover that Hawkes has Adam in a choke hold. They are demonstrating Krav Maga, Hawkes explains, and he uses Adam to illustrate how their killer attacked Michelle with skill and efficiency. Adam gets into the demonstration, making noises of pain as he falls to the floor. When Mac walks away, Hawkes tells Adam he can get up and gives him a hand. These two should have more scenes together—minus the Krav Maga, of course.
Jo seems to know a bit about Ferraris, and it’s clear that she’s not afraid to get underneath a car and get her hands (or face) dirty. At the end of the episode, she steps in for Nicole and wears a long, brunette wig to deliver the Ferrari to Yanos and capture him. She puts herself in danger by being there, but she’s glad to help catch such an infamous fugitive. It’s mentioned earlier in the episode that the FBI has been investigating “Purdue” for months, and any mention of the FBI makes me think of Jo’s past. It’s too bad David James Elliott has a new show that keeps his schedule full—it’s great for the actor, of course, but it might have been nice to see Russ saunter into the lab to consult on the case for the FBI and get under his ex-wife’s skin a little bit. They had a great dynamic last season (in “To What End?” and “Identity Crisis”), and I would love to see him on the crime drama again.
See also: “Cavallino Rampante” episode guide