CSI: New York--'Oedipus Hex'

By Kristine Huntley
Posted at October 19, 2006 - 9:32 AM GMT

See Also: 'Oedipus Hex' Episode Guide

Synopsis:

A girl is found dead under the subway tracks after she performs with a burlesque show re-enacting the prom scene from Carrie, complete with fake blood covering the performers. Mac, Danny and Lindsay notice the fake blood on her body, as well as the fact that her shoes are missing. In the morgue, Sid Hammerback determines she was beaten to death, and that several wounds in her head indicate she was struck with a sharp object. Danny notices a tattoo that reads: "Til Death Do Us Part, Omen & ..." with the second name scratched out, while Dr. Hawkes makes note of abrasions on the girl's hands. Danny discovers a logo on her underwear with the initials "SG," which Adam identifies as standing for the Suicide Girls. Danny tracks them down and learns the Suicide Girls are a group of women who take the same last name and share a love of body art. Danny speaks with Missy Suicide, the group's founder, who IDs the dead girl as Omen Suicide, formerly Carensa Sanders, and two other girls, one of whom has a trash poker with blood on it. Danny suspects the worst, but when Hawkes tests the blood, it turns out to be from a rat, not a human.

At Rucker Park, an area famous for its intense basketball games, the body of one of the star players, Alondo "Chopper" Tevis is found on one of the courts. Mac notices a crescent shaped wound in his forehead, and finds a similarly shaped piece of brass nearby. The CSIs follow the trail of blood to an alley and wonder how and why the gravely injured man crawled from the alley to the basketball court. In the morgue, Hammerback pulls a bloody, folded up piece of paper from Chopper's sock and glass from his arm. Both of his legs were fractured, he had burn marks on his wrist made 6-8 hours prior to his death, and old track marks on his body indicate he was a recovering addict. Stella is able to get a print from one of the pieces of glass from his body, and it's a match for up and coming NBA star Dante Hope. When the CSIs confront him, he insists he had nothing but respect for Chopper even though the man beat him on the basketball court recently.

Danny and Lindsay are surprised when Omen's mother, Helen Sanders, shows up at the precinct, and Lindsay asks Danny to handle her, claiming she's not good with mothers. Danny tries to console the woman, only to get slapped in the face for his efforts. After Hammerback finds shoe polish in the wounds in Omen's skull, Danny and Lindsay identify the kind of shoe used to kill her--a green stiletto. Danny turns to the dummy to figure out how she was killed, and determines the murderer struck her in the head with the shoe, which would have produced a significant amount of blood spatter. Since the Suicide Girls were all wearing similar green stilettos, the CSIs have eight suspects the night of the show, none of whom are very forthcoming. Nixon Suicide hits on Danny, while Al tells Lindsay she tossed her shoes after the show because they were ruined by the fake blood.

The paper from Chopper's shoe turns out to be a prayer card, leading the CSIs to his church. The priest tells them Chopper had told him in confession that someone was offering him a lot of money to throw a basketball game. At the altar, they discover a burnt button in one of the candles, and suspect that it might belong to the person who wanted Chopper to throw the game. Stella takes it back to the lab, but when Flack calls in to say that Chopper's widow, Kendra, cashed a check of Chopper's for fifty grand. Mac meets Flack at her apartment, which overlooks the basketball court. She tells them that Chopper gave her the check and tried to reconcile with her, but she told him it was too late for them. Their son, Taurus, enters the apartment and regards the cops indifferently. Back at the lab, Stella traces the button from the church to a custom-made car spinner owned by a man named Hector Moody. Mac and Flack catch the man trying to filch a stolen watch, and the bring him in. Hector tried to pay Chopper off to throw the game, and hit the basketball player with his car when he refused. Hector denies the charges.

Hawkes reconstructs Omen's tattoo and discovers the other name is Al. The CSIs go to pick up Al Suicide and find her in the middle of a fight in a club with a man who goes by the name of Why Munster. Al thinks Omen cheated on her by hooking up with him, and Munster confirms it, and tells the CSIs he met her when she asked him to ink her tattoo for her. At a loss, the CSIs go back to Omen's wounds, and Danny recalls marks on her hands. He suspects they may have been made by a motorcycle kick from a vintage bike, and recalls that Munster mentioned driving a bike. They bring him back in and Danny puts it together. Munster's real name is Albert Linehart, and Danny suspects when Omen asked him to ink her tattoo that he assumed the Al on it was him. When he discovered it wasn't, he waited for her outside her show and beat her to death. Blood on his bike helmet confirms Danny's theory. The case closed, Lindsay offers to show Helen Sanders the tape her daughter made to join the Suicide Girls. Danny watches the group of women leave the station; Nixon asks him out, but he turns her down.

Stella and Mac track down the couple whose watch Hector Moody was trying to sell. Clay and Lily Becker were on vacation when they were mugged. Mac spots a Teacher of the Year award in Lily's suitcase, and notices the stem of the apple is missing. It's the piece found near Chopper's body. The couple confesses: shortly after they were mugged, Chopper crawled up to their car, wounded after being hit by Hector. Frightened, Clay assumed he was another assailant, and Lily struck him with her award. They drove off and left Chopper to die. Flashbacks reveal another sad irony: Chopper's son was the mugger who robbed the Beckers.

Analysis:

There's something really fun about watching an episode in which it's obvious the people who made it had fun doing so. While crime shows rarely get the chance to be lighthearted, there are some fun moments in this one, all of them involving the Suicide Girls. CSI: NY creator Anthony Zuiker was fired up about getting the women involved with the episode (story), and their interactions with the characters provide for some enjoyable moments.

Adam seems to be a more normal version of CSI's David Hodges; when Danny brings him the "SG" initials, he immediately recognizes what they stand for and mentions having dated a Suicide Girl once. Danny might have chuckled had he realized just who the Suicide Girls are, but the clueless CSI has to have it explained to him (partially for the audience's benefit) by the women themselves when he goes to have them ID Omen's photo.

The best scene with the Suicide Girls is by far the interrogation scene, where Danny and Lindsay separately try to find out if they have any ideas about who might have killed Omen. The Girls have a fun time with the cops; Fractal is amused by Lindsay's puzzlement over her name, while Nixon takes the opportunity to hit on Danny. She's persistent and asks him out at the end of the episode, but Danny almost demurely turns her down.

The banter the Girls engage in with the CSIs doesn't take away from the tragedy of Omen's death, but we see more grief from her mother than from the women she's chosen to be her family. Mary-Margaret Humes showcases both Helen's grief and her anger over her daughter's death, which helps balance out the novelty of having the Suicide Girls as guest stars and gives the story gravitas.

Lindsay's initial refusal to deal with Omen's mother hints at the secret she is keeping about her past, but the way she gets out of the duty is downright childish. When Danny asks her to speak with Helen, she barks at him that she always gets the tasks no one else wants. It's reminiscent of her equally distasteful outburst in "Manhattan Manhunt", when she complained about Mac sending her back to the lab. Rather than just asking Danny if he would speak with Helen, she complains much like child in grade school would when given a difficult homework assignment. Lindsay remains a whiny, unpleasant character with an attitude that makes it impossible to warm up to her.

That said, I'm pleased by the slow revelation of what's eating at her. The small hints that have been dropped this season and at the end of last are leading up to uncovering her deep, dark secret. I don't like her character at this point, but I'm hoping what's to come will explain why she is the way she is, and perhaps make her palatable if not likable.

Danny is oddly passive in this episode, showing none of the spirit that makes his character so compelling. He barely flinches when Helen smacks him, and it's difficult to tell whether this is indicative of the diluting of his character that has been happening since last season, or a hint about his own past--perhaps a subtle suggestion that being hit is nothing new to Danny. The former is a depressing prospect, because Danny used to be this show's most vibrant character, and it's a shame to see him so drastically changed.

The B-story is one that might have benefited from being an A-story in another episode--it's far too much information crammed into too small an allotment of time. I found myself confused much of the time, either by where the money Chopper gave to Kendra came from (he did turn down Hector's deal after all), how Hector ended up with the watch Taurus stole, how Stella traced a button from a shirt to a spinner on a car wheel. The plot just didn't hold together in the way that it should have, and I suspect that had more to do with having too little time to develop it rather than it being a weak story.

Having Chopper's son turn out to be the mugger would have been a nice twist...had it actually been revealed in something other than a flashback. I realize the CSIs can't uncover everything, but in this case, it would have been much better to have a scene at the end of the episode where this is revealed. Perhaps Mac could have found Taurus's prints on Clay Becker's watch, and brought the boy in to tell him how his father died. It would have made for a powerful ending, and would have been far less confusing than the rapid fire flashback at the end that filled in so many of the blanks that should have been dealt with in the present, and not relegated to a hasty sequence of scenes that was difficult to follow.

I was pleased that mention was made of Shane Casey, who escaped at the end of last week's episode, "Hung Out to Dry". I realize continuity can be difficult to maintain in a procedural where the stories are expected to be fresh and new every week, but having references to the Shane Casey storyline peppered throughout the season until his eventual return will only make that moment all the more exciting. And a little continuity never hurts--it gives viewers something a little extra incentive to keep tuning in each week.

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Find more episode info in the Episode Guide.


Kristine Huntley is a freelance writer and reviewer.