CSI: NY--'Green Piece'

By Kristine Huntley
Posted at March 12, 2009 - 9:13 AM GMT

See Also: 'Green Piece' Episode Guide

Synopsis:

Adam is enjoying playing goalie in a street hockey game with his friends when he suddenly finds himself caught in the blast when a van explodes, destroying a house. Though disoriented by the explosion, Adam hears a man calling for help and pulls him out of the debris. The police, along with Mac and Hawkes, and the EMTs arrive. The man Adam rescued identifies himself as Felix Redman and tells Hawkes he was alone in the house--his wife was visiting her parents. FBI Agent Frank Richardson offers his help to Flack, who has his officers canvas the area while the CSIs start in on the wreckage of the house and the van. Mac recovers traces of an explosive called Nitromethane, and he and Stella find the remains of two large metal drums, allowing them to calculate that the bomber used 500 lbs of explosive. Flack learns that Redman owns an electronic recycling company--and hasn't received so much as a parking ticket. While digging through the wreckage of the house, Danny makes a startling discovery: the body of a young woman. Sid confirms that she died from the blast, and Stella brings Redman in to identify her. The man is shocked and horrified to see that she's his daughter, Allison. Stella later tells Mac that Redman assumed his daughter was at school, while the pair wonder if the bomb is the work of a terrorist cell, and if it was intended for another target.

Danny is able to trace the van to Classico Rental company, and finds that a man named Michael Elgers rented it last. Elgers has a record for committing hate crimes, so Flack brings him in. Elgers is unabashedly racist, disgusting Flack, but he claims to have no knowledge of the van and when Flack shows him the rental form, he claims the signature isn't his. Stella and Mac go over the van's remains in the lab. Stella discovers a watch used as the trigger, set to detonate at 2PM. Mac notices metal inside the van welded to one side of it, indicating that the blast was directed to exit out of only one side of the van. Mac realizes Felix Redman was indeed the target. Stella visits the shell-shocked man at work, and he tells her he just signed a contract with the city to handle all of Manhattan's electronic waste. Stella wonders if one of his competitors could have set the bomb. Adam returns to work and takes over for Hawkes, who joins the rest of the team in a meeting. Stella and Mac have matched the watch trigger to a bombing at a gas station carried out by a group of environmentalists known as the Purists. Their leader is Theodore Wicks, who goes by Teddy Mayhem, and his second-in-command, Len Burton, was a victim of Michael Elgers. The team puzzles over why Redman was targeted by the group.

Mac pays Wicks a visit at the eco-friendly club he owns. Wicks denies knowing Redman but defends his cause--and the possibility of casualties in his attacks. Adam goes over Allison Redman's clothing and finds a picture from Guiyu, China, in her pocket, which he shows to Stella, but no promising leads. Hawkes reassembles the rearview mirror from the van and finds a print that matches Allison Redman on it. Mac studies footage from a Purists' protest and spots Allison among the crowd. Recalling the photo Adam found, Stella looks up Guiyu, China and discovers the city is the "E-waste Capital of China." Lindsay is able to connect Wicks to the bombing when she matches markings on a pipe used in the attack to a vice Wicks purchased. While Mac interrogates Wicks, Stella questions Redman, who was shipping electronic waste to China. Stella tells Redman that the Purists targeted him because of the hazardous--and illegal--exportation of the waste, and that his daughter died trying to save him. A disgusted Mac asks Wicks why he involved Allison by having her rent the van, and Wicks tells him every member of the group played a role. Wicks told Allison her father was the target, but only after he thought it was too late for her to stop the bomb. Mac vows to catch all of Wicks' compatriots. After a heart-to-heart conversation with Mac, Danny drags Lindsay, who is about to return home to Montana to visit her family, to the courthouse on a pretense and brings up marriage again. After telling her that they "make sense," he's able to persuade her to take the next step with him, and the two marry in front of Mac and Stella.

Analysis:

Irony is the name of the game in "Green Piece," with a man surviving the destruction of his house only to learn after the fact that his daughter was inside--and that she was killed in the blast. A daughter learns that the target of the attack she's been planning is in fact her own father. That very father, who on the surface would seem to be a champion of environmental causes with his electronic recycling company, was in fact shipping the waste off to China, where it would burn in junkyards and poison both the environment and the people of Guiyu. Of all the evidence that seems to be significant--the man filming the crime scene, the Neo-Nazi's signature on the rental form--it is a picture from Guiyu that Adam deems insignificant that ends up clinching the case. The biggest irony of all, of course, is that it is the daughter and not the father who ends up perishing in the blast.

As Felix Redman, Bobby Gant turns in a sympathetic performance--but not too sympathetic. Given that the man just lost his daughter in a bombing when she wasn't even supposed to be anywhere near the house, I would have expected the team to dwell on his sad plight a bit more. Stella is compassionate when questioning him, but not overly so. Then again, it's a bit surprising to see the man back at work so soon after his house collapsed on him and he found out about his daughter's death. Gant plays him as very shell-shocked, but his quick return to work made me suspicious of him and I suspected there was some reason behind why he was targeted. In the end, after we find out what he's done, it's not clear whether we're supposed to feel sorry for him or find him as reprehensible as Stella clearly does. Perhaps some mixture of both.

In his latest CSI Files interview, Eddie Cahill mentioned playing opposite Matt McTighe, saying:

"I had this experience with a guest star the other day, this kid who was playing a Nazi-kind of character. This kid was so poised, he was fucking scary in so many ways, that suddenly I find myself five seasons into this show going, "What the hell do I do here? I can't just dance around this guy. I can't Flack him until the scene's over, it's just not going to work with him!" And it was really kind of fascinating."

That's a pretty significant compliment coming from Cahill, who's always on his toes and can go up against the best of them. Indeed, Flack is more subdued than usual in this scene, taken aback by the depth and intensity of Elgers' hatred. McTighe does convey a simmering evilness as he calmly faces the detective, rocked not by the suggestion that he'd bomb a synagogue but by the fake signature on the rental form. Flack is clearly floored when the man asks whether the girl who was killed was white or black. "She's dead," Flack replies, stunned in the face of this man's inhumanity.

One thing I always enjoy about Zachary Reiter's scripts is that he takes the time to show the interconnectedness of the characters on this show. They're not just colleagues who work side-by-side; they're something of a work family who know about each other's lives. Whether it be Sid envying Lindsay her time off from work or Hawkes expressing concern over Adam's injuries--and lightly teasing him after he returns to work--or Danny turning to Mac for advice about Lindsay, there's a real sense that this team knows and cares about each other. My favorite bit was definitely the interplay between Hawkes and Adam after the latter returns to work. Adam, no doubt milking his experience a little bit, tells Hawkes he was questioned by multiple agents, who were practically "acting like I had something to do with it." Hawkes looks at him and quietly asks, "Did you?" and lets the question hang there for a moment before relenting and saying, "Just kidding!" The moment provides for a nice laugh in an otherwise serious episode.

Adam really steps up to the plate in this episode, shaking off his disorientation from the blast and charging into the wreckage of the house to rescue Redman. He's come a long way from the traumatized young man who nervously watched Danny recklessly taunt their captors in "Snow Day". While Danny took a vicious beating in order to distract the hostage takers, Adam, who had been tortured earlier, gathered his courage and ran to get the Marquis solution Danny has asked for. Adam doesn't hang back or hesitate here: he simply charges in when he hears the voice calling for help. Adam's confidence has slowly been building over the last few seasons: he got a chance to show off his internet savvy in the world of Second Life in season four's "Down the Rabbit Hole", and just a few episodes ago he was able to connect with a troubled, traumatized boy in "The Party's Over" and elicit a confession from him. Without changing the core of who Adam is, A.J. Buckley has shown how working in the lab--and with tough guys like Mac and Danny--has drawn Adam out of his shell and allowed him to tap into wells of strength he likely didn't know he possessed.

Mac is always at his most intense when chasing someone he believes is truly transgressing, and Wicks definitely falls into that category. At one point in the episode Mac notes that the case reinforces his belief in the death penalty, something the show touched upon in both crossovers with CSI: Miami, "MIA/NYC--NonStop" and "Manhattan Manhunt". Though we're seeing something of a softer, gentler Mac Taylor this season, that doesn't mean he's letting up on criminals at all. Though I'm sure he doesn't condone Redman's actions, that doesn't mean he has any sympathy for Wicks' reaction, pointing out to the Purists' leader that innocents could have been killed as a result of the bomb he set up outside Redman's house--or indeed, any of the bombs he has set. Mac vows to the unrepentant Wicks that he won't stop at arresting him--he'll hunt down all of his cohorts as well. No, there's nothing wishy washy about Mac's approach to this criminal.

We do get to see Mac's softer side in his conversation with Danny. After a father-son bond was set up between the two in the early seasons of the show, the two haven't interacted on that level in quite some time, save for Mac's affectionate gesture of touching Danny on the head and hugging him after Danny and Lindsay shared their baby news with him in "The Triangle". Danny opens up a discussion about Lindsay in Mac's office by telling Mac that he asked Lindsay to marry him and she turned him down, thinking he was just proposing because of the baby. Mac asks Danny if he was, and the younger man admits he doesn't know. Danny's insecurities come bubbling to the surface when he admits that he doesn't want to disappoint Lindsay or the baby. Mac tells Danny that his own insecurities prevented him from having children with Claire--and that he's regretted that since her death. Mac tells Danny he can choose to live in a place of fear or believe in the best version of himself. It's clear that Mac believes in Danny: as Danny is leaving his office, Mac tells him that he's going to make a great father. It's nice to see these two interacting in this way again: Gary Sinise and Carmine Giovinazzo have a great rapport, and some of Mac's best compassionate moments have come about from his interactions with Danny.

But is Danny's desire to marry Lindsay coming from true love or a place of fear? He's clearly nervous about her leaving and his proposal echoes his fear from "The Triangle" when he asked her if she was turning him down because he was the "wrong guy." When he gets her to the courthouse, Danny tells her he "can be the guy you want me to be." It's hardly the declaration of a confident man, a man who is ready and excited to take the next step with the woman he loves. Indeed, coming just eight episodes after "The Box", the episode in which Lindsay told Danny she was pregnant and just one season after he pushed Lindsay away and turned to another woman, it feels rushed. Why the pressing need for Danny and Lindsay to marry before the baby is born? This is 2009, after all, not 1959, and the two could have easily had the baby and then taken the time to make sure their relationship, which was strained up until Lindsay got pregnant, was on solid ground. The way it unfolds makes it seem like Danny's rush to get married is coming from that very place Mac cautions him to avoid. Danny seems mighty worried about Lindsay heading out of town with his baby on board, and going home to her parents, who would perhaps convince her that New York city boy with the thick accent isn't good enough for her.

Danny's dubious motivations for rushing the wedding aside, the pair do seem to be reconnecting after being on rocky ground last season, and really for most of their romance. Both Danny and Lindsay are genuinely excited about the baby, and it shows here when Danny cautions Lindsay to stay away from the crime scene, and she talks with him about her excitement over her upcoming trip to Montana and sharing her pregnancy with her mother. Danny makes the obligatory joke about not letting men near the baby if it's a girl. The couple shows much more excitement over the baby than they do each other; though they kiss twice in this episode, there's little passion there. Over on CSI, Grissom and Sara were as reserved as a couple could get, but the two times the pair kissed, sparks definitely flew. Another misstep is the cheesy montage of Danny and Lindsay's big moments together that plays over their vows. This is the first wedding between two CSIs--it would have been nice to see them get married, rather than just hearing their voices over the unnecessary montage.

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Kristine Huntley is a freelance writer and reviewer.