CSI: New York--'Risk'

By Kristine Huntley
Posted at January 27, 2006 - 5:17 PM GMT

See Also: 'Risk' Episode Guide


While riding the subway home from work, Danny is shocked to see a body on the train tracks and manages to get the conductor to stop just in time. Mac and Lindsay join him and the scene and determine the victim, Randy Williams, a Chelsea University student, was surfing on the top of the subway not long before his death. Mac also finds a bloody shark tooth in Randy's hand. When Hammerback examines the body in the morgue, he determines Randy died from several blows to the head with a wooden object, though he notes it could have taken hours for Randy to die. Hammerback gives the wooden splinters from Randy's head wound to Mac, and also shows him Randy's last meal--a variety of aquarium fish consumed, alive, only forty-five minutes before Randy was killed. Stella and Flack are looking out the window of a Wall Street office building at the body of Q.T. Jammer, a commodities trader, who appears to have hung himself. Hammerback soon dispels that notion--Q.T. was asphyxiated before he was hung. Green fibers in his mouth indicate he was probably suffocated. Bobby Martin, Q.T.'s under-broker, is the one who found Q.T.'s body--he says he was bringing him coffee and ran into the bathroom to vomit after he found Q.T. dead. He also tells Dr. Hawkes that Q.T. had a devastating day, losing massive amounts of various clients' money

Danny and Lindsay talk to Chuck White, the conductor on the train ahead of Danny's, but he says he doesn't recall anything out of the ordinary happening on his route. The CSIs turn to the train itself. Danny discovers two sets of footprints on the top of the train, and Lindsay finds the primary crime scene inside the car when she discovers blood on the wall. Danny and Lindsay pay Perry Lohmann, Randy's roommate, in bed with Randy's girlfriend, Amber. Perry tries to run, but the CSIs stop him, and he admits he and Randy went out the night before, but that his memories are hazy because they were drinking so much. He dimly recalls a bar with dancing girls where Randy fought the bouncer, and remembers they followed the bouncer to the train, but Randy and the man only exchanged words, not blows. Perry says the two may have train surfed, but he can't recall. He says he left Randy alive on the train. Danny catches sight of Perry's wooden pledge panel and swipes it to examine.

Hawkes shows Stella the footage from the security camera outside Q.T.'s office. They back up to a portion of the tape before Bobby goes in to discover the body and spot a man named Seamus Reiter storming out of the office and throwing a vase. When Stella and Flack question him, he admits he got rough and grabbed Q.T. around the neck when he found out how much of his money was lost, but denies killing the man. In the lab, Adam Ross tells Mac that Randy ate a combination of nuts and Siamese fighting fish just before his death. Mac recalls a bar another case brought him to called Wild Wild Wet that featured the exotic fish on tables. Mac talks to the bartender, Vinnie Marino, who tells him that he beat Randy and Perry up when they started eating the exotic fish at the tables, but says they were alive when they left. Mac spots a bloody wooden club behind the bar and takes it to examine. In the lab, the tox screen results for Q.T. have revealed he was dosed with chloroform when he was killed. Stella and Flack decide to look up Cecil Arthur, a client of Q.T.'s who visited him that day with a green handkerchief in his pocket. Cecil is feeding pigeons when they find him, and he explains that a circular stain on his handkerchief is from pigeon poop. Besides, Q.T. actually made money for Cecil that day, so he has no motive to kill him.

Danny has hit a dead end: the blood on the wooden club isn't Randy's, and the splinters in the wood match neither the club or Perry's paddle. Adam thinks the shark tooth is worth looking into--its size indicates it came from a large shark, and algae on the tooth indicates it was from the North Atlantic. Only a few such sharks have been caught in that area in the last few decades. Hawkes has a lead in his case: he tells Stella the chloroform may have acted as a solvent and changed the color of the fabric it touched. This leads the CSIs to a blue pillow from Q.T.'s office. They find a green circular stain in the middle. They return to the security tape and Stella notices when Bobby emerges from the bathroom the first time, his coffee is no longer steaming hot. What if he replaced the coffee with chloroform and then ditched the cup after the murder? As Q.T.'s under-broker, Bobby stood to inherit Q.T.'s book. A CSI team is dispatched to go through the company's refuse, and they find the cup, which has Bobby's prints on the outside and traces of chloroform inside. Bobby is unrepentant--he was the one who made Cecil Arthur the money that day while Q.T. lost 17 million dollars of his clients' money. Q.T. was dismissive of Bobby's ambitions, so Bobby decided to take his advancement into his own hands. Stella arrests him.

When Mac finds anti-freeze on the splinters pulled out of Randy's head wounds, he turns to Chuck White, the conductor of the train Randy and Perry rode. Chuck was carrying a wooden shoe paddle in his train car, which was used to separate the train from the third rail of the tracks, which is coated with anti-freeze. Chuck denies any hand in the murder until Mac shows him an old picture of him with a rather large fishing catch--a 21 ft. long shark. Randy and Perry were goofing off on the train after surfing on the top, and Chuck tried to get them to knock it off. Perry left the train, but gave Chuck a parting gift first: he spat in his face. When Randy began to mock him, Chuck lost it and beat Randy with the paddle before dragging him to the door. Randy grabbed onto the man's key chain with the shark tooth on it, impaling his hand on it and taking the tooth with him when Chuck threw him from the train. Chuck laments the plight of the working man, and Mac says he sympathized—until Chuck broke the law. His long day finally done, Danny heads home on the train and talks to a pretty young woman who was checking him out on his earlier ride.


I've been hoping for a long time that CSI: NY would do a case that involves the subway. It's a fantastic setting for a murder, and I love how this one was set up, with Danny on his way home from an 18 hour shift when he looks out the window and spots a body on the tracks. Talk about work following you home. The conductor is able to stop the train awfully quickly, managing to stop just short of hitting and mangling the body. It's convenient but forgiveable given the novelty of the opening. It's also rather entertaining to see Danny acting like Cinderella left home from the ball when both Mac and Lindsay show up in formal wear, pulled away from their respective evenings out on the town. I can't imagine that after working an 18 hour shift, Danny was thrilled about pulling a case while headed home, but considering his character's penchant for complaining, he handled it with surprising grace.

CSI: NY is doing something very interesting with the character of Danny, something that I've long wanted to see, and that's showing the development of a younger CSI . Watching Danny use his increased, carefully honed skills of perception to spot a body on the train tracks or improvise at a crime scene in "Trapped", is giving viewers a picture of what this job is like for a younger criminalist, someone in many ways the audience can relate to much more than the older, more experienced characters. It's utterly fascinating to watch the character grow and change as the job becomes more and more a part of his life and who he is. Danny has already changed so much from the petulant child who insisted to Mac that he couldn't do things Mac's way in "A Man a Mile". Carmine Giovinazzo always manages to make Danny’s growing pains sympathetic. There's no bigger treat for the audience than watching a character grow up and mature during the course of a show, and on this show, it's especially interesting to see a character who, at first sight, is not a stereotypical "ace" CSI growing into the job.

The only significant problem I had with the episode was that I was left a little confused about how exactly Randy ended up dying, or rather when. Early in the episode, Hammerback mentioned that it could have taken hours for Randy to die from the blows to his head. Indeed, in the flashback we see Randy is alive when Chuck shoves him off the train and onto the tracks. But this is the subway--Danny's train couldn't have been any more than ten or fifteen minutes behind Chuck's train, and probably not even that long. So was Hammerback that far off? Randy was good and dead by the time Danny found him. I suppose it's possible the blow from hitting the ground could have finished him off, but I think Hammerback would have noticed and mentioned that.

Chuck's impulsive killing of Randy in a moment of anger was much more believable than some of the motives have been this season, but Mac is not a man to sympathize with a murderer, no matter what the justification (save, perhaps, self defense). The scenes in which the partying college boys drunkenly cavort at the bar and on (or on top of) the subway build nicely to their antics that aggravate Chuck to the point that, after Perry spits in his face, he's angry enough to kill.

There's a lot of nice humor in this episode, especially in the interactions between the characters. Hammerback's line about "necking" with a patient is laugh-out loud funny, especially when Stella reacts just as the audience does, with an expression of shocked disbelief at what Hammerback just said. Hammerback quickly--though not all that quickly--realizes how his comment could be misinterpreted and quickly corrects Stella, but the look on her face suggest she's not quite sure what to make of him. Melina Kanakaredes and Robert Joy play the scene perfectly. Hammerback is one truly odd duck, but he adds a nice quirky bit of humor to the show, not unlike Hodges over on CSI.

The other great comic scene is the one between Mac and Adam when Mac comes up with the name of the club where Randy and Perry were partying at. Adam stares at Mac as though he's shocked Mac knows that the club even exists, and Mac's response is along the lines of "What? I get out sometimes." It's hilarious because Mac is the last guy who would ever go to a club like Wild Wild Wet. And, of course, he didn't go there during the course of a night out on the town--he was there working a murder case. It's such a quintessential Mac response and Gary Sinise plays the scene with a droll deadpan, while A. J. Buckley provides a humorous mirror for the audience's response. It's nice to see New York engaging in a little character humor.

Lindsay's attempt to catch Perry when he flees is also very funny, given that she ends up with only his shirt in her hands. But she slows him down long enough for Danny to tackle him. Though Lindsay hasn't grown on me as a character yet, I do admire the fact that she's willing to chase and try to take down suspects. She did it to better effect in "Zoo York", her first episode. I sort of wish she'd gotten the guy this time around--Danny seems to be tackling someone every other episode--but it is nice to see that she's afraid to get in the ring. The joke about her not being from New York is getting very, very stale though. She's not wearing overalls, and her lack of a New York accent doesn't make her stand out either, at least not in this cast where Danny and Flack are now the only characters with heavy New York accents. I'd rather see more of how being from Montana gives Lindsay a different perspective rather than seeing people peg her as an outsider because she doesn't know what a "doot-da-doot" is.

The excellent casting in the B-story is what really makes it fun to watch. Danny Gill as Seamus makes an impression as a beefy client of Q.T.'s, and the gifted John Billingsly hits all the right notes as the loopy Cecil, who celebrates his good fortune by feeding pigeons out of the sunroof on his limo. And Mark Famigiletti is pitch perfect as the crazed Bobby, who explains to Stella with a glint his eye why Q.T.'s book was worth killing for. There's not a drop of remorse in Bobby, a pointed satire of the cutthroat nature of the trading business. Kudos also go to Eddie Cahill, who always strikes the right note as the droll, witty Flack who takes no, well, flack from anyone.

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Kristine Huntley is a freelance writer and reviewer.