February 29 2024

CSI Files

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Review: CSI: New York — ‘Unspoken’

8 min read

A man opens fire during a political rally, injuring a senatorial candidate and causing Lindsay to get injured in the chaos.

Synopsis:

Lindsay and her family are at a rally for senatorial candidate Grant Hamilton. A man opens fire, injuring Hamilton, before running off. He jumps a fence in an alley after ditching the gun, dropping his baseball cap and cutting his hand on the fence as he climbs over. Hair from the baseball cap matches the blood on the fence, but they find no match in CODIS. However, they do eventually find a fingerprint that identifies their shooter as Evan Wescott, an elementary school teacher with a grudge. Hamilton wasn’t the target; Wescott was aiming at public school supervisor Beverly McCord, the woman he holds responsible for ruining his career after she accused him of inappropriate conduct with a child. He stole the gun from Hamilton’s beach house six months ago, during a party to raise money for schools. He waited until the rally to make his move because he was hoping he could get lost in the crowd.


Analysis:

The first half of “Unspoken” is completely dialogue-free, which is an interesting experiment for a TV show that relies on communication between the characters to push the plot along. The episode uses music to help establish the mood of the scenes, exclusively featuring songs by Green Day. The music serves as a soundtrack backing up the action of the scenes, while the actors are responsible for making sure their characters’ thoughts and feelings come through without saying a word. The cast does a great job with the added challenge, although the dialogue-free concept seems awkward at several points when it would have felt more natural for the characters to speak to one another. As much as I enjoyed the first half of the episode trying something new and different, I was relieved when the dialogue kicked in at the halfway point.

The episode starts with Lindsay, Danny and their daughter Lucy (played by adorable actress Brooklyn Silzer) at a political rally for senatorial candidate Grant Hamilton, and Lucy accidentally lets go of her red balloon. The family watches as the balloon escapes into the air, and Danny leaves to get his daughter a new one. Lucy knocks Lindsay’s purse off her arm, spilling the contents all over the ground. Lindsay kneels down to pick everything up, and Lucy wanders away while her mother is momentarily distracted. Lindsay panics when she looks up to find her daughter gone. She calls Lucy’s name, but the sound is lost in the cacophony of music and loud voices at the rally. She searches, frantic, and finally locates the little girl. Lindsay is immediately on her knees, hugging Lucy to her, relieved that she’s okay. When Lindsay glances up, however, she sees a man with a gun, and she pulls Lucy down and covers her to keep her safe as the man opens fire on the stage. Hamilton is shot, and the crowd erupts into chaos. Lindsay looks up, meeting the shooter’s eyes before the man runs off. A man pushing a hotdog cart hits Lindsay as he rushes by, leaving her unconscious as Lucy looks down at her. Danny rushes through the crowd, searching for his family, and finds his wife bleeding on the pavement.

Lindsay has a skull fracture, and Danny and Lucy stay with her at the hospital for a while. Danny eventually decides to take Lucy home, and the little girl leaves a drawing on her mother’s lap before they head out. The shooter, meanwhile, has seen a news report that features a photo of Lindsay; he knows this is the woman who saw him at the rally, and he now knows that she is a police officer. The news mentioned that Lindsay was at Trinity General Hospital, so he sneaks into her room with the intention of killing her. He’s nervous and emotional, and he breathes on the window and writes out some letters with his finger. He turns around, opening a folding knife, but it’s obvious that he isn’t comfortable with this. Lindsay is barely conscious, unable to focus but knowing that someone is beside her bed. The man gets closer, preparing to finish the job, but he hesitates when he sees Lucy’s drawing. He is clearly affected by the sight of something so innocent when he’s preparing himself to do something so horrible. Killing Lindsay would rob this little girl of her mother, and the man doesn’t make his move. When a nurse sees him in the room, she starts toward them, but she’s distracted just long enough for the man to get away.

The next day, Lindsay comes to and asks about Lucy. Danny says that he took her home the night before, but Lindsay remembers seeing her husband standing near the window. Danny assumes that she had a dream, and they change the subject. Danny fills her in on the case, stating that no one got a good look at the shooter. Lindsay corrects him, pointing out that she did, in fact, look right into his eyes. Danny immediately thinks back to what she said a minute before, about the man in her room, and he knows exactly who she saw. The shooter knew that Lindsay could identify him, and he came into the room to get rid of a witness. Danny is livid that the man got past hospital security, and Jo and Flack come to the hospital to discuss this development. Jo brings Danny a cup of coffee as he stands by the window, and the steam fogs the glass and reveals the letters written by the shooter. Danny moves the cup from side to side until they get enough letters to guess the message: I’m sorry. Danny isn’t appeased at all; he’s just happy that there is a fingerprint at the edge of the message. The killer made a mistake when he messed with a family of CSIs, that’s for sure! The fingerprint gets them Evan Wescott’s name, and they are able to track him down and arrest him before he gets a chance to make another attempt on Beverly McCord’s life.

Evan may not have killed anyone directly, but he is responsible for someone’s death. During his escape from the rally, he tosses the murder weapon into a dumpster as he runs through an alley. Two kids are playing with a soccer ball in the alley as he passes by, and the little boy climbs up to retrieve the gun as soon as Evan runs off. He pulls out the magazine, aiming the weapon at his friend and pretending to fire at her. Unfortunately, he doesn’t know that there’s already a bullet in the chamber, and he accidentally fires the gun and shoots his friend. Flack has been chasing Evan, and he comes around the corner just in time to see the little girl get shot. He runs forward, chase forgotten, and falls to the ground beside the little girl as he holds a hand to the wound. He tries to call 911, but he doesn’t have any cell service. He’s frantic as he stares down at the little girl, and she clutches at his wrist with the bloody fingers of one hand. He wants to save her, but it’s too late.

Flack is clearly haunted by the little girl’s death, and he flashes back to her death in the precinct while the little boy, Lonnie, works with a sketch artist to create a picture of the man they’re looking for. Flack tries to remember anything useful about the shooter, but he never got a look at the man’s face. Fortunately, Lonnie and Lindsay are able to identify the man after his fingerprint points them to the right suspect. Lindsay has no trouble picking him out of a lineup, and Lonnie is also able to tell them which man he saw in the alley. Before he leaves, Lonnie turns to Flack and says that he didn’t mean to hurt his best friend. Flack tells the boy that it isn’t his fault, and he promises that they’ll make sure Lonnie doesn’t go to jail for the girl’s death.

At the end of the hour, Flack is the one who confronts Evan about what he did. The man thinks he just shot at McCord and Hamilton, and he has no idea that he caused the death of a child. Flack tells Evan what happened, emotions held in check as he describes the little girl’s death and places a photo of her body on the table. Evan is clearly upset, and it is a particularly cruel twist of fate that he would indirectly cause the death of a child—after all, the whole situation started because he cared about children too much. Flack has no sympathy for the man, and he leaves the photo on the table as he walks out of the interrogation room. Eddie Cahill is able to say so much without words this week, during both halves of the episode.

“Unspoken” also continues Mac’s ongoing struggle with anomic aphasia. At the start of the hour, he’s using a tablet computer to do a simple exercise, labeling colors until he gets to the swatch of red on the screen. He can’t remember what it’s called, and he tosses the tablet aside. Later on, he’s writing on the wall with a red marker, and he stares at it for a long moment before writing ‘red’ on the wall. By the end of the hour, he’s able to label the color in the computer exercise. Mac is making progress, slowly but surely, but it’s an uphill struggle. Mac is getting frustrated, so he meets with a friend, Dr Kevin Phillips. The exercises aren’t doing much, and he just wants the aphasia to go away. The doctor is honest with Mac, letting him know that he is past the stage where temporary aphasia would have disappeared. His only option now is to retrain his brain. Mac doesn’t like that answer. He has a lot of responsibility at work, and he should be able to remember things as simple as the color red. The doctor understands, but there isn’t a quick fix. He needs to continue doing the exercises, and he encourages Mac to share his problems with Christine. Mac hasn’t told her (or anyone else) about his aphasia, but the doctor says that Christine is Mac’s greatest gift during this time. Whether Mac tells her or not, it’s only a matter of time before the truth gets out. I hope Mac is able to make real progress with his recovery, but in the meantime, I like watching the slow and steady process as he deals with the lingering consequences of his shooting.

See also: “Unspoken” episode guide

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4 thoughts on “Review: CSI: New York — ‘Unspoken’

  1. It’s not really a review. It’s not even close to an analysis. It’s the whole story for crying out loud. Here’s what I think, where was LIndsay’s gun? Even if she was off duty, don’t cops carry another gun? Danny, who I think was also off the clock, had his. And as a cop, isn’t it one’s instinct upon seeing an obviously-looking perpetrator pulling out a gun in a public place, needless to say, at a senator’s rally, to let the people get on the ground and order the guy to drop his weapon? Lindsay is always made to look stupid. Yeah, I know, Lucy was there, still, Lindsay could have done something after letting her get on the ground.

  2. I was just annoyed that all the songs played were by Green Day…Was it a marketing thing or did the writer/director really like that band?

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