'MIA/NYC--NonStop'By Kristine Huntley
Posted at May 20, 2004 - 9:23 PM GMT
See Also: 'MIA/NYC - NonStop' Episode Guide
After sixteen-year-old Laura Spellman finds the brutally slain bodies of her parents, Horatio vows to personally track down the killer and let Laura know she's safe. A scrap of paper with the lettering from a car rental company leads the CSIs to an important clue: the killer flew in from New York. Determined to keep his promise to Laura, Horatio boards a plane to New York, on the tail of Nick Murdoch, whom he believes is the killer.
New York City CSI Mac Taylor is called to the scene of a murder. An undercover officer has been strangled. The man's identity? Nick Murdoch. Horatio is rather surprised when he arrives and finds his suspect dead. Horatio and Mac quickly figure out that the real killer must have stolen Murdoch's ID. The two CSIs discuss jurisdiction, but Mac quickly cedes it to Horatio.
A partial print at the scene reveals the killer to be an ex-con named Davy Penrod. They track Penrod to his apartment but he manages to escape by jumping off the roof of his building and landing in a dumpster. Horatio finds his plane ticket, with an address written on it. But it's not the Spellman's address--Davy killed the wrong people. His intended target was Michael Hanover, who returned to New York with his wife and son. A visit to the Hanovers' luxury condo proves their luck ran out. Both parents are slain, and the son, Michael Jr. was stabbed but is still alive.
Stella Bonasera takes photos of Michael Jr.'s stab wounds, while medical examiner Sheldon Hawkes tells Mac that Hanover had suffered a heart attack not long before his death. Stage makeup residue on Hanover's clothes leads Horatio and Mac to Renee, Hanover's mistress. However, it seems Renee was also sleeping with Hanover's son. He denies any involvement in his parents' murders, but his stab wounds don't match theirs. He was stabbed with a different knife.
Mac finds the knife in an elevator shaft--along with a tassle. He matches the tassle to the doorman, Kevin Dow. Kevin saved Hanover when he had a heart attack, and Hanover was so grateful that he put Kevin in his will to the tune of one million dollars. Kevin needed the money, and so he hired Penrod to kill Hanover when he went to Miami. When Penrod botched up, he had to kill the couple in New York, and leave a possible suspect to throw the police off the scent: Hanover's son. Penrod is nabbed soon after, and Horatio returns to Miami to tell Laura Spellman she's safe.
What an introduction to CSI: New York! Moving from Miami to New York creates a stark visual contrast; whereas Miami is a sunny orange hue in color, New York is a gloomier blueish gray. The CSI shows have always been adept at using color to create atmosphere, be it the bright lights of Las Vegas or the glistening white buildings of Miami. New York is darker than the other two, which is quite fitting. However, it manages to look completely different from the Law & Order shows, which also call New York home.
The episode really belongs to Mac and, to a lesser extent, Horatio, and Gary Sinise does more than hold his own. He's tough and clever, and in an especially nice scene, gracefully agress to give the suspect over to Horatio after Horatio tells him about Laura Spellman and the promise he made to her. A lesser man would have wrangled over it, and lesser writers might have decided to have the two intelligent, determined men be at odds over the issue and the case as a whole, rather than allowing them the mutual respect they have for each other.
The other characters understandably don't as much screentime, but among them Stella Bonasera and Danny Messer shine. Stella is savvy enough to get a crucial piece of evidence when she photographs Michael Jr. when the medics are loading him into the ambulance. He needs to go to the hospital, yes, but the CSIs need their evidence to catch the killer, too. Danny, with his strong New York accent, already seems like he'll be a standout among the cast. Aiden and Sheldon get a scene each; just enough to introduce them so that the audience knows to look for them when the show debuts in the fall.
And David Caruso's performance can't be overlooked. Despite the fact that he's more or less playing second fiddle to Mac Taylor, he still commands attention whenever he's on screen. His promise to Laura, and his determination as he fulfills it, makes him, in my opinion, the most compelling character on any of the CSI shows. Horatio is a man who truly cares about the victims he's investigating, and more importantly, those who are left behind to mourn them. In every performance, Caruso reminds us that he's dealing with real people here, not just statistics.
Kristine Huntley is a freelance writer and reviewer.