CSI: New York--'Heart Of Glass'

By Kristine Huntley
Posted at February 15, 2007 - 5:04 PM GMT

See Also: 'Heart of Glass' Episode Guide

Synopsis:

The body of a young woman named Diane Langdon is found dead in a bathtub with no evident fatal wounds, though a bullet fragment is found next to her. Mac discovers a credit card on a nearby table with wood shavings on it and realizes the apartment is not Diane's. The name on the lease reveals it to be that of a man D.J. Melvoy, who had a restraining order against Diane. None of the neighbors know Diane, but one tells Danny he heard two soft pops during the evening. He also gives Danny the name of the guy he knows as the tenant of the apartment: Justin McKinney. Justin tells Danny and Angell he's subletting the apartment but denies knowing Diane. Mac joins Stella at the apartment of Emery and Kennedy Gable, where Emery has been found dead amidst bloody glass from his fish tank. Kennedy, who has been living with her brother since they were in a car accident together nine months ago, claims a 5'5 blonde woman attacked them and killed her brother. Stella goes through the blood glass and accidentally cuts herself with a shard. Though she washes the wound thoroughly, she is thrown to learn from Sid that Emery had AIDS. Realizing she could be infected, Stella goes to a clinic to get tested and starts taking anti-virals as a precautionary measure.

Peyton determines that Diane was electrocuted, so Danny takes a trip back to the scene and is surprised to discover the light above the tub is rattling. He investigates and finds the rest of the bullet--as well as a severed electrical wire, which he realizes was responsible for Diane's death when she herself investigated the light fixture. Danny returns to one of the neighbors, Colleen Ballard, who mentioned a headache the night of the murder, and takes her back to the morgue to see Peyton. At Danny's behest, Peyton examines Colleen and find a bullet in her skull. Colleen, who didn't even realize she'd been shot, is taken to the hospital. Danny and Angell arrest Colleen's husband, Russell, who shot at his sleeping wife twice the night Diane died and was shocked to come home and find his wife very much alive.

Stella and Hawkes question Rebecca Monin, a former hit artist Emery produced, and Mia Opal, an alternative medicine specialist who was performing heat cupping on Emery. Both women were angry with Emery and fir the physical description from Kennedy of the killer, but both deny murdering him, and the evidence backs them up. Mac's suspicions turn to Kennedy, who passes a polygraph but still bothers Mac. A trip back to the apartment helps Mac put it together: countless broken mirrors and glass in the apartment and Kennedy's claims that the woman who killed Emery had broken in twice before, coupled with the car accident confirm for him that Emery did indeed kill her brother. He breaks the news to her gently: she has Capgras syndrome, a disassociative disorder that follows a stressful trauma and causes sufferers not to recognize their own reflection. Kennedy saw her reflection, assumed it was an intruder, and when she attacked her reflection she cut her brother, who was trying to stop her. Kennedy proves his point when she attacks the reflective mirror in the interrogation room, shattering it and cutting Stella behind it. Hawkes tries to help Stella, but she refuses to let him touch her and runs out of the room.

Analysis:

The first three acts of "Heart of Glass" are excellent. I don't remember being this engrossed in the actual cases (save for ones where a main character's fate is tied in with the mystery) in quite a while. Both were strong premises that were gradually revealed to be nothing like they initially seemed. Each had an air of the unusual from the get go--the woman found dead in the bathtub with no apparent fatal injuries and the young, healthy man who died from a fatal wrist slashing, apparently administered by a woman much smaller than he. Great material there for both.

Which is why the conclusions are so very disappointing. It's not because I picked out the killers right away, but rather because the resolution for each case was so far-fetched. A man shoots his wife in the head--[i]in the head[/i]--and she never realizes it? And no, Peyton's comment about how Colleen Ballard must have showered away all the blood doesn't explain it. Did she also wash her sheets? Scour the floor for blood drops? Not to mention the pain of getting shot didn't, say, cause her to wake up? Even if it were possible to believe that she somehow slept through being shot, the sweeping under the rug of physical evidence--namely, the blood--is simply unforgivable in a show that relies on evidence by its very nature.

Capgras syndrome really exists (as I had no doubt that it did--the research for the CSI shows is impeccable), but it, too, feels like a stretch. Perhaps that's because it's coupled with such an unbelievable case--coming right not long after the bullet revelation, it feels equally farfetched. The foundation was solid--the car accident the Gable siblings were in was referred to several times and it was mentioned that Kennedy moved in with her brother to recuperate, suggesting that one of the two needed to be cared for by the other. But again, the physical evidence confounds. Did Kennedy really break all those mirrors and all of that glass without spilling a drop of her blood? CSI shows live and die by the details--since the details are what the franchise is all about--and the details just didn't hold up this time around.

Good thing the characters came to the rescue. Stella cutting herself on the bloody glass might have truly dire consequences given that Emery was HIV positive. Stella's reaction to the situation is vintage Stella--rather than telling anyone about it and opening herself up to pity and concern from the team, she bandages the wound herself and later, when she finds out that Emery has AIDS, she goes on her own to get tested.

Though it's highly unlikely that it will turn out that Stella has in fact contracted HIV, it's not a plotline that's likely to be resolved in the next episode, given that it will take three or more months to determine if Stella has the disease or not. And hearing the nurse go over the possible complications from the anti-viral drugs Stella will have to take makes the whole thing seem very real, and very frightening. Melina Kanakaredes conveys Stella's distress through her standoffish and distracted behavior throughout the episode. The storyline is a powerful one, and I can't wait to see where it takes Stella.

On a lighter note, I very much enjoyed the interactions between Mac and Peyton in this episode. Both characters seem unburdened now that their relationship is out in the open. They flirt lovingly amidst discussion of their case, and if anything their relationship seems to have deepened since they almost parted ways in "Silent Night". Their once secret relationship is now known by everyone, even poor Danny, who is none too pleased to be the last to be clued in.

Danny seemed back to his old self in this episode, and Carmine Giovinazzo gave a more energized performance than he has in many weeks. Once again, Danny was fidgety, jumpy and quirky--in short, the character that was so compelling and impossible to look away from. One of the things that makes Danny such a delight is how he reacts to everything around him so decisively, whether it be to pout about finding out about Mac and Peyton last or to be overly dramatic about a little electrical shock or to be incredibly, shamelessly proud of himself, as he was over figuring out there was a bullet in Colleen Ballard's head. It was great to see the old Danny back, and I hope he won't scamper away again once lifeless Lindsay returns to New York.

Danny's interactions with the sharp, smart Angell hint at what could be an intriguing pairing were he given a worthy love interest and not saddled with the albatross that Lindsay Monroe is. I'd love to see more of Angell's personality--as Hammerback, Peyton and Adam have proved, recurring characters can be as much of a delight as the regulars, and be plenty interesting in their own right. Emmanuelle Vaugier has made several appearances as Angell; it's time to show more about her beyond that she's a rookie who saw her first mummy early in the season.

The opening of the episode seems to contain a few sly nods to die hard fans of the show. Mac and Peyton have apparently come out of the romantic closet--and petulant Danny is the last to know. The writing on the mirror first appears to be "I Love DL" (a bit of a stretch since the cursive L might be smudged to look like the J, but the other way around doesn't make much sense)--might that be a nod to the burgeoning relationship between Danny and Lindsay? And Danny asking in a slightly wounded tone if "even Flack" knows about Mac and Peyton could be a nod to many of the fans' favorite friendship, which sadly hasn't seen much screen time this season. Whether these are mere coincidence or actual inside references, they add up to one of the best teasers of the season.

Discuss this reviews at Talk CSI!

Find more episode info in the Episode Guide.


Kristine Huntley is a freelance writer and reviewer.