The team follows a trail of clues to catch a killer who is playing a deadly game.
The body of ballerina Ellen White is found dangling over the stage at the Conservatory of Dance. Evidence shows she was strangled before being strung up, and all of the suspects from the conservatory were in practice at the time of the murder. Black powder from the rope is consistent with pre-Civil War gunpowder, which connects this case to another murder; an unidentified young woman was shot in Hell’s Kitchen with an 1830 Pepperbox Revolver. These two women have nothing in common, and the methods of murder are completely different—but the deaths are related.
The second victim is Lisa Weston, and she has a new type of anti-depressant in her system that leads them to her psychiatrist, Dr Emerson. Lisa was bipolar, but she was doing better. Mac asks about Ellen White, and Dr Emerson reveals that the young woman was also her patient. Adam is able to track the revolver, which was bought by Dr Emerson herself. Flack and Lovato head to her office to bring her in, but she’s not there.
Mac gets a call to let him know a third body has been found. Shane Simmons is another one of Dr Emerson’s patients. He was hit over the head with a candlestick and left on the putting green. There’s a whisker from a snow leopard, which leads them to the zoo. The man in charge of the snow leopards is not the killer, but his car is part of a program called Go Ride. Another man who rented the car, Steve Davis, was a former patient of Dr Emerson. They head to his apartment and find Dr Emerson tied up in the closet. Steve has gone after his next target: Emerson’s fiancé Clayton, a professor at Chelsea University. Armed with this information, the team is able to reach the scene in time; they capture Steve, and Clayton survives.
“CLUE: SI” heavily features the classic murder mystery game Clue (aka Cluedo). It’s a clever idea, and it fits perfectly within the framework of a CSI show. After all, the team is always working to figure out who killed a victim, which weapon they used, and often where the original crime took place. The Clue connection adds some fun to the episode, but the CSIs are still dealing with a very serious situation—no matter how entertaining CSI: New York might be, the team is still trying to solve a murder.
The killer, Steve Davis, first started seeing Dr Carly Emerson when he was 13 years old for OCD and depression. In order to make the boy feel more comfortable, the psychiatrist offered to play a game of Clue with him. Over the years, Steve fell in love with the her. He felt like she was the only person who cared about him, but she had to tell him that she only cared for him as one of her patients. She referred him to another doctor two months ago, but Steve felt like she was turning her back on him—so he decided to take his anger and frustration out on the doctor by destroying everything she cared about. He kills several of her other patients before going after Dr Emerson’s fiancé.
Steve bases each murder on a character, location and weapon from the game; however, the references are not exact. Lisa Weston has red hair, which makes her Miss Scarlet. She was shot with an antique revolver, but she wasn’t killed in an actual kitchen—she was killed in the Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood. The second victim, Ellen White, has the same last name as the character Mrs White. She is killed with a rope in the conservatory, but in this case the location is the Conservatory of Dance, rather than a sunroom. The third victim, Shane Simmons, is a former golfer found on the green at a mini golf course—this indicates that he represents Mr Green. Shane was bludgeoned to death with a candlestick in the “ball room” at the mini golf course, which sounds the same as “ballroom” despite the difference in function. (As a note, it looks like the show filmed the mini golf scenes on location at the Pier 25 Mini Golf course in Tribeca, “Manhattan’s only 18-hole miniature golf course.” This is definitely a fun way to include an authentic NYC location in an episode.)
Steve doesn’t just want to hurt Dr Emerson, he wants to make sure that she knows he’s the one behind the murders. She figures it out and heads to his apartment, no doubt in an attempt to stop him herself, but the team later finds her tied up and gagged in the closet. They need to figure out the next target, and they analyze a Clue game board in Steve’s apartment. It is set up with all of the previous murders, as well as the next one; he’s going after Professor Plum with a knife in the library. Steve has been following his intended victims, so they locate the young man’s notes. For Professor Plum, he has a list of history classes. One of the classes is repeated, so they know they’re looking for an actual professor. Dr Emerson speaks up, letting them know that her fiancé Clayton is a professor, and that’s his schedule. They rush to Chelsea University and go through the library, but there’s no sign of the killer or his intended victim. Mac sees a plaque on the wall, which indicates this library was built in 1963. They locate the university’s original library, which is now a science building, and they find Steve standing over Clayton’s body with a bloody knife. Fortunately, they are able to save the man, and the detectives chase after Steve as he runs out. Flack and Lovato are on his tail, but he’s just out of reach. When they rush into a student lounge, however, they see Steve standing with his hands up. Mac went around him and captured the man, and Flack makes one more Clue reference. He says, “Mac Taylor, in the lounge, with the glock,” and Lovato gives him a look. Flack just grins, though—he couldn’t resist.
Lindsay has a little mystery of her own to solve, and it makes for an amusing secondary ‘case’ during the episode. (I especially love the music during the flashbacks!) While she’s working in the ballistics lab, she leans down to look into a microscope and comes away with blue circles around her eyes. At first, she assumes that Adam is behind it, and the lab tech is flustered as he walks past Danny and Hawkes in the hallway. He tells Danny to talk to his wife, so Danny and Hawkes head into ballistics to find Lindsay hefting a gun. She’s not very amused by this little prank, although Danny and Hawkes do think it’s pretty funny. She plans to figure out who is responsible, although she must wear oversized sunglasses around the lab in the meantime to cover up the tell-tale ink circles.
Later, Lindsay finds a moment to process the scene of the ‘crime’, swabbing the methylene blue dye from the microscope and finding a series of letters pressed into the edge of the table with the same ink. Lindsay figures out that whoever pranked her is a detective—the letters are from the detective shield. This eliminates Adam and Hawkes, who don’t wear badges, and Danny points out that Mac isn’t likely to pull a prank. That just leaves Jo and Danny himself. Danny denies that he’d play a trick on his own wife, but he’s a bit reluctant to hand over his badge. She checks it and sees no sign of blue ink on the shield, but he isn’t off the hook just yet. At the end of the episode, Lindsay waits in front of the elevator as it opens to reveal Danny holding a bouquet of flowers. Lindsay is curious at first, but she quickly catches on: it was Messer, in ballistics, with methylene blue. Her husband is the one responsible for the fading blue rings around her eyes, although she wasn’t his intended target—he was trying to play a prank on Adam, who was supposed to be working in the ballistics lab at that time. She wonders why he didn’t just tell her the truth, but he has to admit that he couldn’t do it when she looked so pissed off. Poor Danny, he really messed up this time! Fortunately for him, it’s obvious that Lindsay isn’t going to hold a grudge. I don’t think Adam would be so lucky if he’d been responsible.
Mac’s aphasia storyline takes a big step this week. After stumbling over the word “building” in front of Flack and Jo, he goes to visit Christine at her restaurant. She apologizes for not returning any of his phone calls; she didn’t know what to say. She isn’t angry at Mac, but she is hurt and confused. She’s also embarrassed because she feels like she has been too enthusiastic about their relationship, and that it isn’t as serious as she let herself believe. She thinks it would be a good idea to back off, but Mac doesn’t want her to do that. In fact, he’s finally ready to be honest with her about his problems. He still has trouble opening up, however, and Christine reminds him that she stayed by him during his recovery because she cares about him. Whatever is going on, he can tell her. He explains about the aphasia, although it isn’t easy for him to admit. Christine wants to know why he didn’t just tell her to begin with, but she interrupts before he can respond. She knows exactly why he didn’t tell her: his pride is one of his most endearing qualities, but it’s also his greatest weakness. She needs some time to decide if she’s okay with that. Considering how long it took for him to finally open up to her, especially after being so firm about shutting her out, it’s understandable that she would need a bit of time to absorb all of the information and figure out how to proceed.
She comes into the lab later, meeting with Mac in his office. His reaction is very different to the last time she was there, and things are looking up for the pair of them. Christine appreciates that Mac finally opened up to her about his problems, and she makes sure he understands that she’s tough enough to deal with it—and with anything else that comes their way. Mac knows how tough she is, and it’s obvious that he’s going to make an effort to be honest with her from here on out. Lindsay interrupts with some case-related information, making Christine curious about why she’s wearing sunglasses. Lindsay and Mac explain what happened, but Mac ends up stumbling over the word “blue.” Christine finishes his thought easily before heading out so he can continue with the investigation. At the end of the hour, Mac heads to Christine’s restaurant because there’s something he needs to say: he tells her he loves her for the first time, and they share a kiss. It looks like these two will work things out, and now Mac can focus on his recovery with Christine by his side. Hopefully the next step will be opening up to the rest of his team—they aren’t just work colleagues, they’re family.
See also: “CLUE: SI” episode guide