CSI: New York--'My Name Is Mac Taylor'

By Kristine Huntley
Posted at November 20, 2008 - 10:53 AM GMT

See Also: 'My Name is Mac Taylor' Episode Guide

Synopsis:

Stella, Hawkes and Flack stand over the body of Macabee Taylor, who apparently plunged to his death in a high rise building. Hawkes observes that he's the second Mac Taylor to die in the space of a week. Stella calls Mac, who has just finished up a swim at an athletic center. During his swim, Mac noticed a man walking alongside the pool, fully dressed, and afterwards he finds someone has rifled through his wallet and keys, leading him to conclude he's the killer's next target. Sid compares the deaths of the two men: the first, MacDonald Taylor, died from exsanguination after being shot, while the second apparently died from his fall, though Sid notices a subdermal bruise that suggests he was hit in the face with a gun before he died. At the scene, Lindsay observes that Macabee's keys are fifteen feet from his body, the keychain crushed and scattered, indicating the killer and he may have struggled over the keys. The new deputy inspector, Gillian Whitford, introduces herself to Mac and recommends he be cautious in pursuing the case. He tries to dismiss her, but she urges him to consider the possibility that someone is attempting to retaliate against him for closing a previous case. Adam identifies 21 Mac Taylors in Manhattan and Mac has them all brought in. Reporter MacQuinn Taylor is nervous, while Machiavelli Taylor is irritated at being detained. Mac gets a call: another Mac Taylor has been attacked--and survived.

Stella goes to the hospital to question MacKendra, who says she was attacked on her way to her car after work by a man who fought her for her keys. The CSIs realize the killer is after a car; Mac concludes that the killer dismissed him as a target after looking at his keys at the pool. Danny turns up a hit in the database on the bullet that killed the first Mac Taylor, which ties it into a parking garage break in three weeks prior. Danny and Flack pay Terrence Davis a visit, hoping he's seen the suspect, a man sporting a distinctive neck tattoo. Adam discovers a shard found at the scene of Macabee's death is made of deer antler--and it has female blood on it. He identifies the shard as a button from a highend fashion boutique, Kitano Oka Designs. Stella drops by to find Daniel Oka, one of the owners, packing up. He says the line didn't sell very well, forcing him and his partner, Melinda Kitano, out of business. He mentions that Melinda used to be his girlfriend. In the holding area, the seven Mac Taylors Mac is continuing to hold at the station get edgy, and MacQuinn walks out. Terrence gives Danny and Flack the heads up when he spots the man with the neck tattoo in his bar; Danny and Flack arrest and question the man, Perry Samuels, who is guilty of violating his parole. Perry admits to breaking into the garage, but insists he sold his gun afterwards. Watching the interrogation through the two-way mirror, Mac recalls MacQuinn Taylor mentioning he parks his car at the same garage Perry broke into.

Hawkes brings Stella to the Art Installation Waterfall in Brooklyn, where he's found evidence their killer may have held a vigil with flowers and candle wax. Mac gets MacQuinn to show him and Danny his car. Noting that the first victim lived just blocks from the garage, Mac notices damage on the car. MacQuinn claims it was from a fender bender, but Danny finds blood that proves to be human. Stella has Adam search for hit and run victims and Lindsay matches the blood on the car to the blood on the deer antler button. Stella looks up Melinda Katana, Daniel Oka's girlfriend, and learns she was killed in a hit and run in Brooklyn. Stella finds a grieving Daniel Oka, who witnessed Melinda get hit and die right in front of him--while the killer drove off. All he had was the image of the car--and the name of its owner, Mac Taylor. Mac brings MacQuinn in, disgusted that the man didn't even stop to see if the woman he hit was alive. While MacQuinn claims it was an accident, Daniel Oka, who has doused himself in gasoline, plunges into the memorial he's set up for Melinda right in front of Stella. After seeing a critically injured Oka off to the hospital, Stella sits with Adam and they look up the names of their co-workers to see how many others in Manhattan share their names. Mac goes to find Gillian and asks her out for a cup of coffee.

Analysis:

I'll admit it up front: I had some reservations about the hundredth episode of CSI: New York after hearing the premise of it. Mac being targeted by someone out to get him yet again? We saw at the end of the third season that Mac has a bit of a persecution complex; after Clay Dobson plunged to his death in "Past Imperfect", IAB rightfully investigated, but Mac felt he was being railroaded. Season four brought the 333 stalker and Mac's proclamation that the whole case was about his life after Adam assembled the massive 3-D puzzles. His complaint might have been legitimate in that case, but oh, Mac can get so irritating when he feels he's personally under the gun. Knowing that, I groaned a bit when Mac announced in the teaser that he was the killer's next target.

Imagine my relief when, even before the halfway mark was reached, it became obvious that our Mac Taylor was in fact not the target of the killer. Coming off Mac's ordeal in "Hostage" and "Veritas" at the beginning of the season, as well as the 333 storyline from last season, it's nice to see a story that heavily involves Mac but doesn't make him the target of a killer. The case itself is a rather inventive one and I found myself quite liking the way it was set up and how it unfolded. The idea of a man only having the license plate of the car and the rather common name of the person responsible for the death of his girlfriend and using those two things to try to track her killer down is a clever set up for a CSI episode. I was totally caught up in the mystery, and, despite his crimes, found it impossible not to feel bad for Daniel Oka in the end.

Another thing gave me pause about the 100th episode: the massive amount of stunt casting. Former American Idol contestant Chris Daughtry and celebrity progeny Rumer Willis show up as Mac Taylors, while NFL star Marshall Faulk shares a scene with Nelly. And yet all three turn in decent performances. Daughtry is convincing as a very frustrated Mac Taylor, annoyed that he's being inconvenienced thanks to an apparently very specific serial killer. Willis does an admirable job portraying a young woman who is both shaken and angry with herself after being attacked. And Faulk adds a cool disdain to the scene he briefly appears in, immediately identifying Danny and Flack as cops.

Scott Wolf is a standout as the Mac Taylor actually being targeted by the killer. He goes from nervous to frustrated to cagey to abashed throughout the course of the episode. As the only name actor among the bunch of Mac Taylors, I suspected he might be the target right off the bat, but the revelation comes out quite naturally during the course of the episode. Wolf is quite good in the role; he has a genuine open warmth that stands in stark contrast to the cowardice we eventually learn characterizes MacQuinn.

Julia Ormond makes her first appearance in this episode as Gillian Whitford, the new deputy inspector, presumably brought in to replace Stanton Gerrard, who killed his daughter's rapist in "Admissions". Gillian has already heard all about how "stubborn" and "strong-willed" Mac is, but she persists anyway, pointing out that the killer could have a personal vendetta against him. Mac dismisses her at first, but at the end of the episode he's asking her out on a coffee date. There's no ambiguity here; Mac actually says to himself after she casts a glance back in his direction, "She turned back, Nice." It's a wonderfully unexpected thing to hear coming from the lips of Mac Taylor, but it works perfectly. Is Mac Taylor finally coming out of his shell and actually making a definitive move on a woman? It would be so nice to see him loosen up a little.

Starsky and Hutch--I mean, Danny and Flack--are in fine form in this episode. The two get to pay a visit to Terrence Davis, the club owner Flack struck a deal with in "Turbulence", offering a plea that kept Terrence out of jail in exchange for information. Flack, with Danny in tow, comes to collect, wanting to know about the parking garage robber who is possible connected to their case. At first Terrence holds out on them, complaining about them coming by for small favors, but he comes through in the end. He also provides brilliant bits of comedy, making a crack about Danny being from Staten Island, one Flack finds pretty funny. The CSI shoots the detective a look and, sulking, asks, "Oh, you think that's funny?" Flack should know by now Danny is good at dishing out jokes, but doesn't take well to being the target of them. Back in season one's "Blood, Sweat and Tears" when Danny nearly got hit in the head with a bag of garbage after sticking his head in a trash chute, Flack was forced to suppress a laugh after Danny shot him a withering glare. The moody CSI likes being in on the joke; he doesn't do so well at being laughed at.

Danny certainly is coddled by his colleagues much of the time; at the end when Stella and Adam are checking on names and Adam finds ten Danny Messers, Stella cautions, "Don't tell Danny." The two riff on Flack's name and laugh when they find only one Sid Hammerback--a 90-year-old woman! Adam wonders about the six Adam Rosses and what they might be like. When Stella asks him to look up her name, Adam finds "only one" and casts her what seems to be a significant look. Adam has long been nursing a crush on Stella; might there be a future for the nerdy lab tech and the sophisticated CSI? After all of Stella's very bad boyfriends, it would be nice to see her with a guy we know is genuinely good. Adam certainly fits that bill. Still, with all the romance afoot in the show right now, I'm hesitant to hope for another one lest it be overkill.

All in all, "My Name is Mac Taylor" epitomizes what keeps viewers coming back to CSI: NY: engaging mysteries and great characters. I loved the little nod to the episode being the 100th when the first door Macabee Taylor tried as he fled from the killer was the one on floor 100. Most of all, I loved the little character moments in the show: Hawkes' one-step-ahead exposition to Stella, Flack disdaining MacQuinn at the precinct, Flack calling Danny "Danno," the look the two exchanged when Perry made the crack about Danny's supposed sister, the way Stella came back to the lab after a downer of an evening and sought out Adam, who'd been ditched by his friends and instead was looking up his co-worker's names. The episode does a good job of highlighting the strengths of the show, which is exactly what a milestone episode should do.

Discuss this reviews at Talk CSI!

Find more episode info in the Episode Guide.


Kristine Huntley is a freelance writer and reviewer.