CSI: New York--'Love Run Cold'

By Kristine Huntley
Posted at October 5, 2006 - 9:33 AM GMT

See Also: 'Love Run Cold' Episode Guide

Synopsis:

A launch party for a new brand of vodka is disrupted when Tanya Nettles, a model working at the party is found dead. After determining the murder weapon was an icicle from the party, Mac leaves Danny and Lindsay in charge of collecting evidence when he's called away to another crime scene. Danny is disgruntled that Lindsay stood him up for dinner, but she brushes him off by telling him that something came up. The two collect several feathers in the basement near Tanya's dressing room while Flack questions Tanya's boyfriend Liam, who tells him that he was running late to the event and worried that Tanya would be upset with him. He was on his way back from his parents' house in the Catskills, and changed for the party in the car. In the morgue, Dr. Hammerback finds vodka in Tanya's stomach, even though her BAC is 0.0%. Danny theorizes that she may have been killed with one of the icicle-shaped vodka glasses. The feathers prove to be from the costumes of the waiters and waitresses. There's a smudge of grease on Tanya's face from the platform her body was lifted up on, as well as a piece of gum with DNA from an unidentified female.

Mac joins Stella at the New York marathon, where Owen Reed lies dead near an aid station. Though it appears he was pushed and hit his head on the curb, Dr. Hawkes notices evidence of what seems to be cyanide poisoning. Hammerback contradicts both theories, saying that Owen died of carbon monoxide poisoning. Frostbite on his face indicates he was sprayed directly with it. Stella suspects a high pressure valve she found at the scene may have been involved. She also recovers small, orange balls from Owen's shirt which prove to be fish eggs commonly used in sushi. The puzzling clues don't present an obvious answer, so the CSIs turn to motive and possible witnesses. One of the runners near Reed was Michael Gibson, a man involved in a lawsuit against Reed. The slick businessman admits to slapping Reed on the back during the race, but denies any involvement beyond that.

Danny and Flack question Colin Flynn, the bar's manager. The sleazy club owner admits a scratch on his face is from Tanya, who hit him after he spied on her in her dressing room, but denies killing her. Danny tricks him into touching a car by the sidewalk, allowing the CSI to lift his prints. The gum found at the scene has teeth impressions that don't match Tanya, traces of nicotine and spearmint lead Lindsay to Jennifer, a waitress at the party envious of Tanya. Jennifer confesses they scuffled, but refuses to give Lindsay her fingerprints. The CSIs turn back to the feathers, and Lindsay notices one is a synthetic feather used in fly-fishing. Danny recalls Tanya's boyfriend Liam was up in the Catskills, and could have been fishing. Danny and Flack interrogate Liam, who was falling apart over his crumbling relationship with Tanya. When he confronted her in the basement before her grand entrance at the party, she broke up with him and he stabbed her in a fit of anger. The case closed, Danny confronts Lindsay about their mutual attraction, and she tells him that while she has feelings for him, there are things she has to work through before she can be in a relationship.

Wheelchair marks on the poster Owen Reed's body was discovered on lead Stella to Richard Keith who was racing in the marathon near Owen. Stella questions him about what he saw, but he tells her he just assumed Owen had slipped. He tells her someone got in his way and he crashed at around the same time Owen did. Stella turns back to the nozzle, noticing marks on it that she believes are from an animal's teeth. When she runs them through the database, she comes up with a match to a Sicilian wildcat. Though it's illegal to own them as pets, Stella tracks down Heather, a young woman who owns one, only to learn the cat died four days ago. Stella takes the cat back to the lab for an autopsy and learns it died of CO2 poisoning, just like Owen. She also finds a piece of nylon under its claw, and recalls seeing a torn netting in one of the apartment windows at Heather's building. Stella and Mac visit the owner of the apartment, a photographer named Sharon Cates, who also happened to be a volunteer at the aid station Owen died near. When the CSIs find a canister of CO2 used in photo developing and pictures of sushi with fish eggs, their case starts to come together. The lynchpin proves to be the identity of Sharon's brother, Richard Keith. Richard ended up wheelchair bound after being struck by a car driven by Owen Reed, who was drunk at the time. Sharon plotted to kill Owen in revenge, and though Mac knows Richard helped her carry it out, neither Sharon nor her brother will admit to it.

Analysis:

Something about "Love Run Cold" left me...well, for lack of a better word, cold. From the smoke and mirrors cases to the out of synch characterizations of some of the principles, the episode felt forced and awkward in several spots. Both of the cases seemed cool in the beginning, but neither really paid off.

The first, the model found dead on the lounge was set up well. The party with the icicles and chilly temperature was a visual feast and made for a fun opener. But ultimately the case ended with yet another jealous lover confessing to the killing. Jealousy is the motive behind a lot of murders, and there's nothing wrong with it cropping up in CSI episodes, but it works much better when it's spiced up a bit, or written with an unusual twist, like in "Trapped" or "Stealing Home". Does it get any more run-of-the-mill than a guy not being able to deal with growing apart from his high school sweetheart?

The other case was more puzzling, but the last minute motive felt rushed. I realize this is something of a Catch-22: reveal that Richard was struck by Owen too early and the resolution is apparent, but holding it back makes the ending feel rushed and pulled from out of the blue. I still think it would have been preferable to have it come out earlier that Owen was responsible for crippling Richard. After all, if the CSIs were able to find out about the lawsuit Owen and Michael Gibson were involved in, wouldn't it have been just as easy to discover that Owen was responsible for a car accident? That still would have allowed for the reveal of Richard's sister's involvement at the end of the episode, and it would have felt a lot less rushed.

The case is also filled with convenient finds. After the admittedly intriguing initial findings--the frostbite in 90 degree weather was particularly clever--we're left with bite marks on the spray nozzle, which Stella theorizes belong to an animal and then just happen to be from a rare, illegal pet, whose owner just happens to be listed...it's a little over the top. Not to mention the scene in Sharon's apartment, in which the CSIs find clue after clue in quick succession--the spray bottle, the wheelchair ramp, the pictures of sushi. It's too much.

Speaking of too much, Danny was the definition of over the top in this episode. I know the writers have been trying to develop a rapport between Danny and Lindsay, but at some point between last week's episode and this one, Danny went from casual flirting to desperation, and it feels completely off. He makes no less than three attempts to get close to Lindsay in this episode, when prior to this, the most he's suggested is grabbing a meal during work hours. In the scene where he begs Lindsay to get lunch with him, I couldn't tell if he was desperate to talk to her, or just really, really hungry. Like so many things about the episode, the scene felt off.

I did like it when Danny finally confronted her flat out about their feelings--it's so rare when characters actually have an honest, straightforward discussion about sexual tension that the move felt refreshing, at least initially. But then Lindsay pulls out the most clichéd response in the book--she needs to be on her own because she's dealing with an issue she thought she was over. If she hadn't been gazing at Danny with unconcealed desire the moment before she said it, I would have assumed she was giving him the brush off. Danny once again takes it too far by calling after her as she walks away to tell her to let him know if she needs anything, ending the scene on an awkward note. This pairing has lacked both chemistry and originality from the beginning, and it would be nice if this was the end of it, though I sincerely doubt it is.

The character that would benefit the most from ending it is actually Lindsay, who since she joined the team in "Zoo York" has been defined almost completely by her relationship with Danny. From the obligatory scene they share in every episode regardless of whether they're on the same case or not to her initial competition with him and then her eventual turning to him every time she has a problem, Lindsay's development has been almost completely tied in with Danny. The character remains elusive, changing from week to week with no real consistency. Dropping the romance story line could only be beneficial for her, especially as the revelation of her past is approaching, but I have a feeling that pairing will crop up again just as she's grappling with her issues.

Don't get me wrong, I like that CSI: NY is bucking the CSI trend (at least up until this point) and developing relationships between its characters. But I'd prefer they crop up organically, like the pairing between Catherine and Warrick in season five of CSI, and have a foundation upon natural chemistry between the actors involved. Rushing relationships that should develop naturally never works, and doing so risks leaving viewers cold.

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Kristine Huntley is a freelance writer and reviewer.