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CSI: New York--'Can You Hear Me Now?'

By Kristine Huntley
Posted at September 27, 2007 - 9:16 AM GMT

See Also: 'Can You Hear Me Now?' Episode Guide

Synopsis:

Mac returns home from his vacation in London and is greeted with a shocking sight: blood coming from the crown of the Statue of Liberty, dripping down her face. The body of a security officer, Georgia Morse, is found with her throat slashed, and Charles Price, a fellow security guard is missing. Danny scales the Statue to get blood samples and determines that there is too much blood on the Statue's face for it to have come from their victim. Mac notices two blood drops that seem inconsistent with the arterial splatter from the fatal wound, and Hawkes recovers glass and a sticky substance from the victim's body. While they investigate the grounds, Mac tells Stella about mysterious hang up calls he received in London at 3:33am every night. The CSIs discover blood on a viewing station and wire tied around it to keep it in place. Looking through the viewer, the CSIs discover another body across the water. Damion Brock is sitting straight up in a chair, with wounds on either side of his neck. The words "two more will die" are written on his undershirt. When Dr. Hammerback examines Damion, he discovers that the man was embalmed with cleaning fluid, and he finds a small metal object in his mouth.

Lindsay determines the sticky substance on Georgia's arms was from a liquid comdom spray, while Adam and new lab tech Kendall try to one-up each other with the other evidence. Kendall finds the wire from the viewing station was from a piano--the A key to be exact, while Adam learns that the metal piece found in Damion's mouth was a component of a music box that played a Mozart tune. The box belonged to a woman named Nova Kent. She insists she lost the box, but Danny is skeptical. Mac determines the blood drops were from Georgia's blood bouncing off Charles Price's security badge, eliminating him as a suspect. Hammerback has the answer to Price's whereabouts when he shows Mac a severed arm a group of boaters found. Stella and Flack examine Damion's apartment. The landlord, Morton Brite, lets them in, and Stella recognizes him as a man suspected of killing his girlfriend, Marie Cousmira, a young woman whose death she investigated a year ago, and whose murder she never solved. In Damion's bathroom, Flack finds evidence that Damion was drained of his blood and embalmed while still alive. A call comes in to Damion's number, revealing a chilling outgoing answering machine message recorded as Damion died, with the terrified man talking about a license plate.

A viewfinder in Damion's apartment and a 911 call lead the CSIs to the killer's next victim: Lee Nakashima, who is found inside a drum at a famous music hall, his tongue cut out of his mouth. Video found with the victim shows him describing a man, and Mac puts it together that the victims, who both lived at the same apartment building a year ago, may have witnessed a crime: Marie Cousmira's murder. A piece of paper found in Lee's mouth is revealed to be a ticket to Nova Kent's concert and the CSIs rush there to discover a sinister man holding flowers for her. They arrest the man, Anthony Colton, and though he confesses to murdering Marie and threatening Nova, who witnessed the crime, he denies killing the other men. Stella puts it together when she finds the A string missing from Morton Brite's piano. Morton, enraged that witnesses to Marie's death chose not to come forward killed them and poured Damion's blood all over the Statue of Liberty to get the police's attention and lead them to Marie's killer. Morton tries to run, but Stella shoots him in the leg, preventing his escape. Back at the office, Mac receives a silent phone call at 3:33am.

Analysis:

Blood running down the Statue of Liberty's face--well, that's definitely a hell of a way to open a new season. New York is a city of stunning visual landmarks, and none is more iconic than the Statue of Liberty. I can't begin to imagine the red tape the show had to cut through to get permission to not only film on the Statue but to actually spill red dye on her. Whatever it took, it was worth it--it was a strong opening for a strong episode.

It's no surprise Zachary Reiter's name is attached to this one; he was responsible for last year's gripping "Hung Out to Dry" which bears some similarities to "Can You Hear Me Now?" Both episodes feature a serial killer who commits murders in brutal and bizarre ways, both killers attacked witnesses and both had believable motives. Like he did in "Hung Out to Dry," Reiter, along with executive producer Pam Veasey, has come up with some truly creative and chilling ways to kill people. Draining a man of his blood while he's still alive and embalming him with cleaning fluids at the same time? Cutting out a man's tongue and hiding him in a drum? Truly frightening stuff.

Though Morton caught my eye right off the bat, Reiter and Veasey did a nice job of setting up the final reveal. I eventually dismissed Morton as a red herring, and the end scene with Stella felt safe and familiar initially. How many times have Mac or Stella gone to tell a friend or former suspect that the victim's killer has been caught? For that very reason, there's initially no reason to suspect that the case hasn't been neatly wrapped up--until the show begins to cut back and forth between the interrogation of Anthony and Stella's conversation with Morton.

It's always great to see Stella in action, and that final scene in the basement with Morton ratchets up the tension. Stella is cool under pressure, and in control the entire time, as Morton gradually loses his sense of control as he delves into his explanation. And Stella doesn't mess around--the minute she sees a shot, she takes it, much like she did in "Trapped" when the killer was holding Danny hostage. It's a nice bit of continuity--Stella knows better than to hesitate, and when she sees an opportunity, she seizes it.

Alas, the continuity from "Snow Day" is non-existant, at least as far as Danny and Adam are concerned. If Mac was only in London for ten days as planned, how did Danny's hand and Adam's burns heal up so quickly? At the very least, putting Danny's hand in a cast would have been a nod to the events of the previous season's finale. I suppose that would have compromised the shot of Danny straddling the Statue of Liberty's nose, but Hawkes could have just as easily have taken those blood samples. Both Danny and Adam seem fine emotionally as well; the latter has even found time to hop into bed--or rather, onto a couch--with a co-worker. I wonder if the scenes ended up on the cutting room floor, as they did with Flack recovering from the bombing in "Charge of This Post" (story).

A.J. Buckley was as delightful as ever, providing both comic relief and geeky knowledge--his winning combination. It's great that he's been added to the regular cast, though he was absent from the opening credits (more on those later). His flirtation and competition with fellow lab tech Kendall was a fun bit of lightheartedness in the episode, as was Lindsay's call to Adam when he was late for work. Her crack about calling from the unemployment office was genuinely funny, but she almost ruined it by getting prissy on him towards the end of the call. However, her explanation of the liquid condom was hilarious, proving that taking the character back in a lighter direction was the right move. Anna Belknap and Carmine Giovinazzo play off each other well in the scene--Danny's uncomfortable look as Lindsay explains the contraceptive is priceless. Though they lack convincing romantic chemistry, there is comedic chemistry between the pair in this scene.

Also in fine form was Eddie Cahill, who's Detective Flack seems a tad more aggressive in this episode. His interrogation of Anthony Colton is gruff and raw, and he's even got a swagger as he paces in front of the Statue of Liberty when calling for reinforcements to storm the apartment building where Damion is. Flack has never been a softie, but he's rougher around the edges. Could this be a result of him having to kill a man in the line of duty in "Snow Day"? Or his confidence from the drug bust in that episode that "crippled organized crime" in New York City? Either way, it suits him.

Mac returned from London without Peyton--and his sense of humor. He seemed more like the dour Mac of the earlier seasons of the show than he has in a while. Perhaps Peyton's family didn't approve of him? The lipstick on his cheek before he got on the plane would suggest otherwise, though it's possible it was a goodbye kiss. I hope we haven't seen the last of Claire Forlani's Peyton. She brought a lot to both the show and to Mac, who lightened up last season in large part because of her. I suppose Mac has good reason to be dour right now--he's been receiving creepy phone calls at 3:33am every night. What's the significance of the time? Could it be someone with an axe to grind with Mac from his military days? An innocent person he put away erroneously? A killer he didn't catch?

I do have one major complaint: the new opening credits. The sequence hadn't changed since the second season, so it was time for the images to be replaced with more current ones. But the theme song? Whose idea was it to mess with "Baba O'Riley"? The adage "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" certainly applies here. Maybe the new mix will grow on me, but nothing will be as good as the original.

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Find more episode info in the Episode Guide.


Kristine Huntley is a freelance writer and reviewer.

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