CSI: New York--'Hung Out To Dry'

By Kristine Huntley
Posted at October 12, 2006 - 8:35 AM GMT

See Also: 'Hung Out To Dry' Episode Guide

Synopsis:

The headless body of Amy Feider is discovered hanging from a ceiling fan in the Sigma Delta Theta sorority house during a party. While Mac, Stella, Hawkes and Lindsay examine the room and the body, Danny and Flack talk to the various partygoers, but get little to no information from the inebriated college students. Dr. Hammerback determines Amy's head was seared off, most likely with an acetylene torch, and notes that her blood alcohol level was at .26, an extremely high level. He also finds trace amounts of the date rape drug GHB in her system, though there's no sign that she was sexually assaulted. Coconut hair on her clothes leads the CSIs to Ethan Tierney, a fraternity guy wearing a coconut bikini. He admits to fooling around with Amy at the party, and tells Stella that he remembers her asking him to choke her during sex. He recalls doing it, but the amount of alcohol he consumed that night prevents him from remembering anything else.

Flack summons Mac and Stella to Central Park, where Amy's head has been discovered wrapped in part of the t-shirt found on her body. Using fluid from Amy's eyes, Sid is able to determine that the GHB found in Amy's system was produced by her body naturally after she died. In the lab, Stella puts the two pieces together and discovers an elaborate drawing and the words "Everything and Nothing." Hawkes identifies the drawing as a Hydra, a seven-headed beast that was slain by Hercules in Greek mythology. He notes that the hydra on the t-shirt only has six heads. They also notice a website url on the shirt: kodecon.com. Danny recalls a boy from the party named Shane wearing a similar t-shirt, and he and Mac go to speak to the young man. Shane tells them his t-shirt is from edoclaundry.com, a site that sells t-shirts with codes embedded in them that unlock chapters in an internet video narrative. He looks at the t-shirt found on Amy but says that it wasn't part of the edoclaundry series. He sends the CSIs to Washington Square Park, where a college student named John Hayes is selling the shirts. He's angry when he learns his concept is being ripped off. Back at the lab, Stella and Hawkes visit kodecon.com" and input "everything and nothing," which reveals a video of a young boy on rollerblades playing with a hockey stick.

Flack summons the CSIs to another crime scene: thirty-two-year old Kenneth Chandler's body is found propped up by a tree, railroad spikes impaling his eyes. His eyeballs are discovered in his pocket, and he's wearing a kodecon.com shirt, indicating his killer and Amy's are the same person. In the morgue, Sid and Mac discover dozens of eyes painted onto his torso. Hawkes examines the dye and determines it's the same as that used to make the t-shirts. Stella ponders the significance of the eyes--could they be derived from the Greek myth about Hera's 100-eyed dog Arbus, whose eyes she placed on the peacock's tail after Zeus killed the dog for spying on him? The code word from the shirt on Kenneth, consciousness, allows the CSIs to unlock another video, of a boy blowing bubbles. Using buildings in the background, Stella and Danny are able to triangulate the location where the footage was shot.

Their results lead them to an abandoned house, where they discover the equipment the killer used to make the t-shirts, as well as the torch used to sever Amy's head. Stella takes the screen back to the lab and recreates the t-shirts the killer was working on. She analyzes them, pulling out the different coded messages and symbols. When Mac looks at what she recovered, he puts it together: kodecon.com plus the t in the justice scale behind the logo is an anagram of "Docket no." The t-shirt is referring to a criminal case, and other coding suggests it's a 2003 case from Queens. A hair discovered on the screen provides the missing link: it's a match to an Ian Casey, convicted of murder in 2003. He hung himself in his cell on the day of his conviction. The CSIs realize his brother Shane is the killer, and the victims were principles in the case: Amy was the jury forewoman, Kenneth the sole witness against Ian. When Mac discovers Hawkes was the ME in the case, he fears the doctor might be Shane's next target.

Hawkes recalls testifying at the trial, and remembers the defense attorney was incompetent and merely going through the motions. The CSIs rush to his office, where they find the man on the floor, tied up. Shane jumps out from behind a door and flees. Danny and Flack give chase and finally catch up with him. The two drive him to the precinct, and on the way Shane bitterly recounts how the jury took only fifteen minutes to find his brother guilty. Danny sympathizes with his agony over his sibling's plight, but not with his actions afterwards. Flack and Danny deliver him into custody, but not long after Lindsay shocks Mac and Stella with the news that Shane has escaped.

Analysis:

CSI: NY goes for a plot-driven episode this week and comes up with a winning episode in its fourth outing of the third season. From the gruesome murder to the cool t-shirt decoding, I was completely and totally wrapped up in the episode. The puzzle pieces fit together especially well, and the rapid pacing guaranteed the viewer was hooked from the gruesome reveal of the first body.

I have to admit, I had the killer pegged from the beginning. Yes, Edward Furlong's shifty Shane was a pretty obvious pick, but the fact that he stood out wasn't what clued me in. As soon as Danny labeled him the one "normal" guy among the drunken frat boys, I was sure Shane was the killer. Danny has a long history of rotten intuition about people--in two instances in the first season of CSI: NY ("A Man a Mile" and "Rain"), the person Danny trusted implicitly turned out to be the killer. I even noted in my review of "Rain" that Danny's poor judge of character could become a continuous theme:

For a supposedly hardened New Yorker, Danny sure is naive. If it goes on much longer, it could become a running joke: the person Danny is convinced didn't do it has to be the guilty party.It's worth a laugh, but not a trend one wants to develop so early on in a show's run.

It's a nice bit of continuity to see that Danny still mistakenly trusts the wrong people. Danny thankfully seemed back to his old self this week--without the burden of the tedious interactions with Lindsay, we're able to once again see the deeper facets of Danny's character. Danny makes a cute crack about the expense of the coded t-shirts in Washington Square Park, but it's the scene in the police car with Shane where he really shines. Danny frankly and somberly tells Shane that he can relate to him with regards to going to bat for a troubled brother, but that he knows murder and jail isn't what Shane's brother would have wanted for him. It's a well-placed, subtle reference to the lesson Danny learned in "Run Silent, Run Deep" when he discovered that his own brother Louie pushed him away to protect him. Carmine Giovinazzo once again proves he excels when he's given good material to work with.

The romantic storyline between Danny and Lindsay is thankfully pushed aside this week, and Lindsay likewise fades into the background. Lindsay has little to do in the episode save for looking horrified at the crime scenes. It seems fairly clear that the romance storyline exists to prop her character up, as she has little to no development outside of it. I sincerely hope the revelation of her secret past adds depth to her character because as it stands now she's little more than a pallid love interest for Danny, and one that pales in comparison to Claire Forlani's Peyton Driscoll, a character that was specifically brought in as a love interest but has already grown beyond that role in just two episodes.

I loved the twist that occurred three quarters of the way into the episode that made Hawkes a potential target for the killer. Will Shane Casey's escape put Hawkes in danger? Hill Harper does a great job conveying Hawkes' baffled surprise when Mac tells him he's next on Shane's list, and it would be great to see what he does if Hawkes has to live with the worry of being stalked by a killer for a while. Hawkes is such a cool, composed character; I'd love to see the effect that kind of stress would have on him.

Eddie Cahill continues to add small but memorable nuances to his character. I love when Flack walks into the first crime scene with a handkerchief over his nose; it's a funny moment that also distinguishes him from the CSIs. His questioning of suspects remains deftly humorous--I laughed out loud when he sent the '40 Hands' guy away. But Cahill also subtly conveys that there's more to Flack than his snark when he quietly observes the exchange between Danny and Shane in the police car. Unlike Danny, Flack isn't one to let his guard down and get personal with a suspect, but his expression reveals an interest in whether or not Danny's candid revelation will strike a chord with Shane.

CSI: NY showrunner Anthony Zuiker discussed the coded t-shirts at length in his latest CSI Files interview, a form of multi-platforming the show first tested in "Run Silent, Run Deep," when Stella discovered her boyfriend had put up a website with a video of the two having sex at aresanob.com . The idea of coded t-shirts that unlock video chapters of a story is pure genius, and writer Zachary Reiter incorporates it skillfully into this episode.

The codes in Shane's t-shirts unlock childhood videos of Shane and his brother Ian in happier days and only make sense once the case is cracked, though they do give the CSIs an important clue when Stella and Danny are able to use the buildings in the background of one of the videos to discover the location of the house where Shane is making his t-shirts. The mythological references--the Hydra, Arbus, Hypnosis--also prove to be important clues, and showcase how tightly and cleverly written this episode is.

The ending does feel a little rushed, however. Having Lindsay tell Mac and Stella that Shane has escaped feels anti-climactic after such a thrilling episode. Wouldn't it have been more exciting to see Shane's escape, or have a bedraggled Flack or Danny rush into the lab, fresh off a failed pursuit of Shane, announce the news?

That said, I won't be sorry to see Furlong's troubled killer return. Though his methods were sadistic, his motive was believable, and Furlong conveyed Shane's anguish in a way that made him somewhat sympathetic. Though I always find it a tad convenient when the killer sticks around just long enough to be a witness of sorts for the CSIs but then disappears by the time they put the pieces of the puzzle together, I did buy that Shane was trying to get a message across with his elaborate killings and coded t-shirts. I hope that when he does return (and I have a feeling he will), his character will remain as complex and fascinating as he was in this episode.

On a side note, as many have no doubt already discovered, the multi-platforming continues--Shane's website, kodecon.com leads viewers to a preview of next week's episode involving the Suicide Girls. Though it's nice to get an extended preview, it would have been even cooler to be able to watch the videos that the codes on Shane's t-shirts unlocked. Those eager to experience the multi-platforming in action should head to edoclaundry.com and enter "call me a patriot" into the prompt to get a taste of the Poor Richard story.

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Find more episode info in the Episode Guide.


Kristine Huntley is a freelance writer and reviewer.