CSI: New York--'One Wedding And A Funeral'

By Kristine Huntley
Posted at November 22, 2007 - 8:35 AM GMT

See Also: 'One Wedding and a Funeral' Episode Guide

Synopsis:

Brett Dohn and Emma Blackstone are set to have the wedding of the season in Central Park, until Brett turns up dead. The CSIs discover he's been wrapped in bubble wrap and apparently wasn't killed in the room where he was found. Mac finds yellow paint transfer on a curb nearby, especially puzzling as the curb was painted at 6 a.m. and Sid determined the groom died between 2 to 3 a.m. Sid makes a gruesome discovery when he unwinds the bubble wrap--someone has shoved a cell phone into the laceration that killed Brett. Hawkes discovers evidence that orthopedic pads were removed from the groom's shoes, but comes to conclude the shoes were switched out by the killer, based on the yellow paint and the shoes' worn appearance. Hawkes and Flack find the primary murder scene--the hotel room where Brett was staying the night before, and conclude that a missing wedding gift might contain the weapon. Hawkes and Mac match hair from Brett's clothes to one of the groomsmen, George, but while George admits to wrapping Brett in bubble wrap and moving the body to satisfy a hundred thousand dollar bet that Brett would make it to the altar, as well as switching shoes with Brett, he denies killing his friend. A bit of green goop leads Danny and Flack to the caterer, Timothy Maxwell, whose child had a birthday party the day Brett was killed. Phone records from Brett's cell indicate he was calling Timothy incessantly, and Timothy admits to reaching a breaking point when he was called away from his son's birthday to change the catering menu at the last moment. He sliced into Brett with a spatula from a wedding gift, and shoved his cell phone into his body before leaving.

Stella leaves the courthouse after testifying at a preliminary hearing to make a frightening discovery: someone has left a box on her car. After the bomb squad declares it safe, she opens it to find puzzle pieces inside. After confronting Drew Bedford, who insists he didn't send her the puzzle, she brings it back to the lab. She notices blood splatter on it and sets Adam to the task of reassembling it. He does, revealing a partial 3-D architectural landscape of New York. There's one piece missing, so Stella goes to Drew's and finds a piece under his desk. She apologizes to him on the way out. Adam tells her the piece isn't a match, so she and Lindsay go to the building and the floor the piece would have depicted where they find another box, a chalk outline of a body and a satchel. Stella is puzzled; so far she can't find a personal connection in all this to her. She and Lindsay follow up on a tiny piece of redwood found in the corner of the first box, which leads them to a store where a pedophile named John Andrews work. They question him, but his ankle bracelet provides him with an alibi.

When Mac sees the puzzle, he realize it's connected to him, not Stella. It's a roadmap of the places in New York that are significant to him: his first apartment, his first crime scene and the building where he got engaged. A third box is discovered on the roof of that building, with more puzzle pieces and another piece of debris, this one limestone from the Alamo. Mac realizes the fragments, along with an imprint on the satchel, are connected to the Tribune Tower in Chicago, which features stones from world landmarks on it. Mac arrives in Chicago at the Tribune Tower and gets a call from the 333 stalker, asking him how it feels to be home.

Analysis:

Poor Adam Ross. The guy couldn't catch a break in this episode. First he has to assemble the contents of a box full of puzzle pieces together without any help. Somehow he manages to figure out that the puzzle is a 3-D one and his reward is...another box with a bag of puzzle pieces in it. Then he brings evidence he can't make sense of to Danny, offering to pay the CSI twenty-five dollars. Danny smirks gleefully, figuring out what the substance is in a matter of seconds. That was probably the easiest twenty-five bucks Danny Messer ever made. And then poor Adam gets another bag of puzzle pieces, though this time Lindsay condescends to help him assemble them because now she can impress the boss by helping out. Poor Adam; I imagine he got a bigger headache going through all that than I did watching it and trying to follow the twisted path the story took.

Luckily, Adam's misery is A.J. Buckley's gold mine, and he reminds us why Adam is a regular feature on CSI: NY these days. His reactions are priceless, from his despair upon looking at the first set of puzzle pieces to his joy at figuring out how the puzzle works. Buckley has an expressive face, and part of what makes him such a winsome character is his reaction to his work. Adam genuinely gets excited by what he does, and that shines through in Buckley's performances. He's genuinely abashed when he can't figure out what the green goo is after vowing he'd figure it out, so much so that he's willing to pay Danny to do the work. Buckley and Carmine Giovinazzo play off each other well; one is clearly more of a nerd than the other, but they both share the same enthusiasm for the work they do, the same genuine earnestness to get to the truth.

Danny again is the character who finds emotion in this quick-paced episode. Timothy Maxwell instinctively senses Danny is the more sympathetic ear--something most suspects seem to do, which is a nice touch of continuity throughout the series. Something about the regretful tone in his voice and his wide blue eyes makes people gravitate towards Danny for sympathy. Sometimes he gives it, and sometimes he reminds them of those who really deserve his sympathy, as he does in this case. When Timothy laments that his son looked devastated upon his exit from the party, Danny asks him how he thinks his son will react to his father going away for years for murder. Danny has a point, and Giovinazzo wisely delivers the line without malice in his tone. The consequences of Timothy's rage will devastate his son's life. He should never have left that party.

Suspects rarely turn to Don Flack for sympathy, and with good reason--he doesn't have much to offer them. Flack's snarky wit is in fine form here, and I laughed out loud when he questioned George, who literally took his dead friend's body to the wedding so that he'd win a huge bet. Eddie Cahill injects a good deal of disbelief and scorn into Flack's voice in this scene, making it pitch perfect. Flack might be jaded and generally unimpressed with the things people do to each other--even if he is disgusted by them--but even he can be caught off guard sometimes. George's story is so preposterous it has to be true. I had to agree with Flack's conclusion that George was "the stupidest guy [he'd] ever met."

One thing about the case baffles me: if Timothy left his kid's party and went to kill Brett, how did Brett die between 2 and 3am? Presumably Timothy's kid's party was in the afternoon--did it really take him ten to twelve hours to arrive at Brett's loft? After all, Brett was out partying with his friends until midnight, so even if he'd hung on for a few hours, he couldn't have died any earlier than midnight. Unless I'm missing something, this strikes me as a glaring continuity error. It makes for a nice breaking point for Timothy, but timeline-wise, it doesn't hold together. Maybe an anniversary dinner with his wife would have been more believable?

Hawkes' sharp mind is in fine form tonight, and the good doctor catches some sharp, small details, like the evidence of orthopedic pads in the shoes the groom is wearing and the condition evident in the killer's hair. I love the way Hawkes and Mac bounce ideas off each other; the seamless performances of Hill Harper and Gary Sinise make it clear that the two characters are speaking the same language, a meeting of scientific minds if you will.

My head is still spinning from the 333 caller's trail of clues; wouldn't it have been easier to simply send Mac a text that reads, "Come to Chicago and let's have this showdown!"? The puzzle assembly quickly becomes overwhelming and repetitive as the CSIs chase down box after box after box. And after all that, we're still not sure what it means to Mac. The fact that the blood on the shirt, which Mac apparently let sit around for weeks, and the blood on the puzzle pieces indicate the two donors were brothers. This is somehow connected to Chicago--does Mac really not have any clues yet? For a guy who's leading the team we root for every week, he seems to be awfully slow in figuring this one out. I realize this is all heading for a big pay-off in next week's episode, but I hope it's worth it, because between holding onto that shirt for weeks and following the clues without appearing to connect them, Mac has come off as not too quick on the uptake.

He's not alone in the "not too swift tonight" club; Stella goes to see Drew not once but twice, all by herself with no back up. Isn't that how things with Frankie went bad, when she didn't see him as the threat he turned out to be? Stella is a sharp, smart, savvy woman who has been attacked in the past and already suspects this guy of being too forward and creepy, but somehow she doesn't see that as a reason to bring back up to go find out if he did indeed leave a box with bloody puzzle pieces on her car? Continuity problems in cases I can live with; making characters act stupidly or out-of-character just to advance the plot is harder to swallow. It would have changed very little in the story if Stella had brought back up with her to see Drew. Melina Kanakaredes does a good job of convincing us that Stella is truly wary of Drew, but the writers need to show us that with her actions, not just her tone and Kanakaredes' performance.

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Kristine Huntley is a freelance writer and reviewer.