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CSI: New York--'Manhattan Manhunt'

By Kristine Huntley
Posted at November 10, 2005 - 9:45 PM GMT

See Also: 'Manhattan Manhunt' Episode Guide

Synopsis:

Picking up where "Felony Flight" left off, serial killer Henry Darius takes Alexa Endecott to her parents' apartment in New York. He gets her past several teens on the first floor in the middle of a small mid-day party complete with drugs and alcohol and takes her up to the family safe and forces her to open the biometric lock with her hand. But when the safe is empty, Darius is enraged and shoots her. He goes downstairs to where the teens are, forced them to lie on their stomachs with their hands behind their backs and shoots them too. When the CSIs arrive with Horatio Caine from Miami, Mac and Stella recognize the positions of the bodies as matching those from the nurses Darius killed in Midtown. They head upstairs when Stella notices blood dripping from the ceiling, they go upstairs and find Alexa's body, and the empty safe.

Detective Flack tells Mac that Alexa's younger sister, Sarah, is in school and is being brought to the precinct now, while the parents are returning from an overseas trip. Mac finds a red fiber from the vault and gives it to Flack to get to trace. Stella and Horatio turn to the Lydia Johnson case and the fatal bullet, while Lindsay, Hawkes and Danny arrive to help process the scene. Lindsay is frustrated when Mac sends her back to the lab to analyze the trace that they found at the scene. Danny finds a blue and yellow fiber from a prep school uniform in the elevator and concludes someone got away. Hawkes takes the medicine bottles from the 'pharm party' the kids were having while Danny heads back to the lab, where a frustrated Lindsay is working on the evidence. Mac talks to Sarah, who at first denies being at the party, but then admits that she was. She was in the pantry when her friends were shot and she fled out of the service elevator. She had no idea Alexa was in the house. Stella and Horatio get a hit on the bullet from Lydia Johnson--it matches a gun registered to a Albert "Big Al" Grafton. On their way to see Big Al, Horatio gets served with a subpoena--all he will tell Stella is that it's a personal matter.

Hawkes runs the prescription bottles from Endicott's house and finds one for Alexa prescribed by a Dr. Miles Feldstein, who was the doctor who declared Darius fit to stand trial. Mac and Flack go to see Feldstein who admits he mentioned his wealthy clients to Darius. Mac notices he's bleeding and rushes to the window--Darius was just there to ensure Feldstein's silence. Mac spots him on the scaffolding, and rushes with Flack downstairs to the side of the building, only to discover the man wearing Darius's clothes is just the window-washer, whom Darius forced to switch clothes with him. A satin banner falls to the ground from the building's roof, but when Danny goes up to investigate, all he finds are the window-washer's clothes. Mac discovers a metro card with a car number on it and surmises Darius wants a meeting.

Stella and Horatio find Albert Grafton working security at a swanky party and he claims that he used the gun four months ago in self-defense, but he's only had it for a year. He bought it off a man in Times Square, and he describes the man for Horatio and Stella. They take the description and the sketch made with Adam Johnson's help and run through the mugshot database and come up with Vincent Rosetti--the "Rosie" Brian Miller recalls hiring. Rosetti was in Atticus at the same time as Darius, and was paroled two days ago. While they pursue Rosetti, Mac meets with Darius on a crowded subway car and Darius seems to be considering surrender, until he makes Mac choose between capturing him and saving the life of a commuter he stabbed in the neck. Mac hesitates and chooses to save the commuter, allowing Darius to escape.

The commuter survives, and Mac gets a new lead: the red fiber from the vault is synthetic, possibly from a backpack. Stella and Horatio find Rosetti at the parking garage where he works and arrest him after he tries to run from them. Horatio thinks Rosetti and Darius discussed their respective murders in lockdown in Atticus, and Stella takes a DNA sample from Rosetti. Danny has a lead on the biometric lock: Sarah Endicott accessed the vault hours before Alexa did, when Alexa and Darius were still in the air. Stella and Horatio match Rosetti's DNA to the shovel used to bury Lydia Johnson. He tells them Brian hired him to scare James, her husband, but that he ended up with Lydia, who struggled with him, causing the gun to accidentally go off. After that, he shot her in the head to "shut her up." Horatio asks Stella for jurisdiction in the case, which she grants, meaning Rosetti will be taken back to Miami, where he will be eligible for the death penalty.

The CSIs put a GPS trace on Sarah Endecott's phone and find her at Tiffany's, where she's spent a significant amount of money. Stella looks into her backpack and finds only half of the three million in the vault in the backpack. Mr. Endecott joins Sarah in the interrogation room and lies in order to protect his daughter, telling Mac he let Sarah take the money. Mac puts together where the second half of the money is: Dr. Feldstein's secretary has it. She transcribed all of Feldstein's sessions and forged a friendship with Sarah, convincing her to steal the money and give her half in exchange for her silence. Flack arrests her. Stella has some surprising news from the DNA lab: a comparison of Alexa Endecott and Henry Darius's blood has revealed they're siblings; the two share the same father. Tom Endecott is shocked but Mac brings up a paternity suit lodged against him twenty-three years ago. Meanwhile, Darius has returned to the Endecott's apartment and convinces Sarah to let him in, but she's not alone: Mac and Horatio are there to take him into custody. Horatio heads back to Miami, but first calls Adam Johnson and tells him that his mother's killer has been caught. Mac tells Darius he'll be extradited to Miami, but Darius seems unconcerned--he's grateful for Mac's attention and pursuit of him. Mac is disgusted and tells him to "rot in hell."

Analysis:

"Manhattan Manhunt" builds on what "Felony Flight" started, and indeed, improves greatly on it. Thankfully Darius is front and center in this half of the story, and the focus on Mac Taylor and Horatio Caine is much more proportional than it was in the first episode, even if Horatio spends much of his time working with Stella, not Mac. The Lydia Johnson case still figures prominently, but it takes on more significance once it's clear that it's no longer a cold case and the CSIs are pursuing an actual viable lead.

The episode's strongest moments are between Mac and Henry Darius. Not unlike he did in CSI's "Committed", James Badge Dale is able to provide a lot of depth in his portrayal of a deeply disturbed man. Darius is evil, of that there is no doubt, but Dale does an admirable job of making clear how earnest he is in his desire to relate to Mac, in his need to be significant and sought after by someone. Dale shows an impressive range in a way he wasn't able to in his straight-laced sidekick character on 24. Dale might have a real future playing villains.

Also impressive is Mac's reaction to Darius, and the fire Gary Sinise injects into his final scene with Darius. Mac rarely gets very fired up about anything, but Darius's attempts to get Mac to sympathize with him clearly rattle something in the usually taciturn CSI. His outburst--"I hope you rot in hell, you son of a bitch!"--is so out of character and yet so passionate that it's a positively moving moment, and shows that even someone who has been a CSI as long as Mac has is still capable of being affected by the audacity of killers.

It is interesting that both Rosetti and Darius are both being shipped down to Florida, where Horatio mentions the death penalty is very much in effect. Horatio mentioned the exact same thing in his first collaboration with Mac in "MIA/NYC--NonStop". I find it refreshing that series of shows that shows vicious killings in every episode doesn't shy away from having one of its heroes advocate the death penalty. It's very realistic to see someone like Horatio (or Mac and Stella, neither of whom seem to have problem when Horatio asks for extradition) want to pursue justice to the fullest extent of the law. Horatio is so focused on the plight of those who survive crimes after losing loved ones that it fits well with his character. I am sure some would argue with me on this point, but I believe it makes him an even more sympathetic character, the kind that sees justice through to the end not for vengeance but for the sake of the survivors left in the wake of violent crimes.

My complaints with the episode are few. The first is about Horatio's subpoena. I was waiting for most of the episode to find out what it was for, and had heard rumors that Horatio's big secret was going to be revealed in this episode, but alas, there must have been a change of plans. I'm all for a build-up and gradual unveiling of information, but what more perfect opportunity to reveal Horatio's big deep, dark secret from his time in New York than when Horatio is actually in New York? And just out of curiosity, how did the people issuing the subpoena know Horatio was in New York? Did Stetler tip them off? I suppose word might have gotten around that Horatio and Mac had teamed up on the Darius case, but without knowing anything about the subpoena, it's only guesswork.

I was shaking my head when Mac got on the train alone to meet with Darius. How is it that Mac doesn't know any better? It's something I could see a younger, more radical CSI doing, but Mac is so by the book. Darius didn't even tell him to come alone! The scene was still exciting, if predictable, but it would have been better if Mac had taken a few undercover officers with him, or even Danny, who looked at him like he was crazy when he expressed his intention of meeting with Darius on the train. When Danny looks at you like you're nuts, it's a sure sign that your plan is too extreme.

Oh, and as someone who takes the train to work everyday, there is no way to know which specific car will be where at any given time (without working for the transit authority, and even then, I wouldn't bank on it). How would Darius have any idea that Mac would track him down so quickly at Feldstein's and then know that Mac would figure out the right time to meet him on the car?

The only other complaint I have with the episode is more New York specific: Lindsay Monroe remains a completely unsympathetic and unlikable character. Five people are lying dead in the Endecott's apartment, and all Lindsay can think of is that Mac won't let her process the scene, that he wants her to go back to the lab and do labwork that needs to get done so that this vicious killer might be caught? Lindsay needs to grow up, fast. She's acting like the teacher's pet, not a competent young woman who wants to do her job and help people. Did Hawkes complain when Mac put him through the ringer? And really, would it have made that much of a difference if she'd gone over the prescription bottles or processed the service elevator? Lindsay did have one legitimate complaint: Danny calling her "Montana." That got old in "Zoo York".

But a few nitpicks don't detract from the overall superiority of "Manhattan Manhunt." David Caruso and Sinise work so well together that one hopes that this won't be the last time the two CSI teams collaborate. Each man slips seamlessly into the other's world, and the two have such a natural rapport that it's easy to imagine them as partners. This pair of episodes is the perfect way to kick off sweeps month.

Discuss this reviews at Talk CSI!

Find more episode info in the Episode Guide.


Kristine Huntley is a freelance writer and reviewer.

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