CSI: New York--'Some Buried Bones'

By Kristine Huntley
Posted at February 8, 2007 - 10:22 AM GMT

See Also: 'Some Buried Bones' Episode Guide

Synopsis:

A security guard, Jeff Zegers, follows a young woman who has been shoplifting up and down 5th avenue into the dressing room, only to be fatally shot. Danny finds a dental mirror and burned off security tags by the body, and Adam is able to zero in on a woman wearing a reflective coat on surveillance videos. The CSIs follow her trail, interviewing a shop girl named Marissa Richardson, who their mystery thief stole a $25,000 purse from. When the shoplifter strikes again, this time stealing men's items, Stella realizes they're dealing with a professional thief. The CSIs view the newest surveillance footage and see the woman licking her finger to slide a ring onto it. They get the ring from the store--which proves to be a fake switched in by the thief--and get DNA off of it. Though the sample is unknown, the levels of a drug called propanolol in the sample indicate she's part of a medical trial, and through the records, they are able to identify the shoplifter as Ava Brant.

The body of a Chelsea University college student is found beaten and stabbed in a hedge maze in Queens with exam slips with two different names on them. Both boys, Eddie Williams and Thomas Brighton prove to be alive, and Eddie identifies the dead boy as Brian Miller. Both Thomas and Eddie, a pre-med student who is also Brian's roommate, admit that Brian took tests for them. Mac is surprised when Reed Garrett, the son his wife Claire gave up for adoption, comes to him and tells him that he and Ryan were colleagues on the college paper, and that Brian was writing a big expose on a secret society on campus known as the Knights and Shadows. Mac and Flack zero in on Thomas Brighton, a member of the Knights and Shadows. Thomas claims not to know anything about the article, but admits Brian was a member of their group. He underwent their exit ceremony that night when he told the group he wanted out, and though the ceremony involved a beating, Thomas swears they left Brian alive.

After Reed, who was working on a story exposing college kids helping others cheat on their exams, is beaten, Hawkes discovers radioactive material on a scrap of fabric found in one of the bushes near Brian and connects it to med student Eddie. Eddie confesses that he killed Brian after learning about the expose story Reed was writing. Eddie hoped to cash in on the university clause that gives straight As for the semester to any student whose roommate dies. He also beat up Reed, who tells Mac at Brian's funeral that he wonders if he could have prevented Brian's murder.

Danny and Stella track Ava Brant down, but she denies killing Jeff, something Adam backs up when he finds a sophisticated device that reads credit card numbers from a distance in the $25,000 bag. This leads the CSIs back to Marissa Richardson, the shop girl who showed Ava the bag. She conspired with an ex-con named Chris Campbell to swipe credit card information from wealthy customers and defraud them, but Jeff caught on to their scheme and wanted in on it. Chris lured him into the women's dressing room and shot him. Ava is off the hook for murder, but not grand theft. Stella compassionately suggests the women reveal her past abuse at the hands of her husband, to get leniency from the judge, and offers Ava her card if she wants to talk.

Analysis:

Let me say straightaway that I love Nelly Furtado's music. "Maneater" is one of the most infectiously fun songs of the last year, and "I'm Like a Bird" is unforgettable. Furtado is an incredibly talented vocalist and has a bright musical career, one that promises much longevity. After seeing this episode, I'm all the more convinced she should stick with singing and not venture any further into acting.

It's plenty of fun to see Furtado change from one outrageous outfit to another and switch a blonde wig for a light brown one, but once the CSIs catch up to her and she has to interact with them, things go downhill swiftly. Her interrogation scene is thankfully brief, with Stella and Danny doing most of the talking. But the final scene between Ava and Stella unfortunately relies much on the interaction between Furtado and Melina Kanakaredes, and while Kanakaredes delivers, Furtado is stiff and awkward, her voice monotone and her eyes empty.

It's a shame because the scene could have been great with a better actress. It's a pivotal one for Stella, who we've seen grow more empathetic since her ordeal in "All Access". The woman who once stood by awkwardly as a young mother fretted about the fate of her kidnapped infant has apparently gotten in touch with her compassionate side. Building on the side of Stella we saw in "Open and Shut", we again see Stella reaching out to someone she perceives to be a victim. Stella offers her advice, suggesting that Ava's history of abuse at the hands of her husband might be offered up as mitigating circumstances to a judge at her trial, and even hands Ava her card.

The scene would have played out better if the actress playing Ava had connected with Kanakaredes. Not that it wasn't fun to hear Furtado's music playing during the episode, but I can't help but wonder if stunt casting is hampering CSI: NY. Sasha Cohen didn't acquit herself very well in "Silent Night". Kid Rock in "All Access" was actually the best of the lot, but he was playing himself. New York would do better to cast talented actors like Marlee Matalin and stay away from muscians and athletes.

That issue aside, "Some Buried Bones" is a superior episode. The shoplifting story takes an interesting turn when the woman Stella and Danny have been pursuing all along turns out not to be their killer. The twist that the guilty party is actually the co-conspirator of the shop girl who has slipped a credit card reader into a pricey purse is unexpected, especially after so much time has been spent on tracking down Ava.

The other case is equally strong, appearing at first to revolve around a secret society much like the famed Skull & Bones society at Yale. The Kings and Shadows in the episode are much closer to the myths perpetrated about secret societies than the reality, but brandings and meetings in mazes make for much better entertainment than post-collegiate networking. Those curious about the reality of secret societies should check out Alexandra Robbins enlightening book Secrets of the Tomb.

Reed Garrett, the son Mac's dead wife, Claire, gave up for adoption, is integrated seamlessly into the episode: it turns out he's a friend of the victim, Brian, who was a fellow writer on the newspaper. Reed has thankfully broken the unspoken CSI show rule that all children related to CSIs must be insufferable brats (see Lindsey Willows and Ray Caine, Jr.). It helps that he's past the rebellious teen years, but there's also an earnest desire to know his birth mother through Mac that makes him an appealingly real character, played with sensitivity and nuance by Kyle Gallner.

Reed also gives the stiff Mac Taylor a chance to get in touch with his softer side, making for a refreshing change of pace. Their scenes are purposefully awkward and therefore very real. Their only bond is a dead woman, but their interest in each other, and the affection that's springing up between them is utterly believable and compelling to watch. The embrace between the two tugs at the heartstrings.

The absence of the ill-fitting Lindsay Monroe gives other, worthier characters more screentime, most notably Dr. Hawkes and lovably nerdy lab tech Adam Ross. Hawkes' scientific know-how comes in handy not once but twice in this episode. He's quickly able to determine what killed Brian, and later in the episode he's able to provide the link to the killer by recognizing the radioactive element found on the fabric in the bushes is used in the lab tests Eddie is running.

When Eddie mentioned that his father was Chief of Surgery at Mercy Hospital, I couldn't help but think of Hawkes' former mentor, Dr. Richards, whom we met in "And Here's to You, Mrs. Azrael". Granted, their last names are different, but if Eddie was in fact Richards' son, it could create for an interesting conflict with Hawkes somewhere down the road. I'm in favor of anything that brings the good doctor richer storylines.

Adam also proves himself an integral member of the team by pointing out Ava's instinctual reaction when a customer raises his hand abruptly. Adam recognizes the gesture, and when pressed by Danny, admits it's because his own father was a bully. The revelation adds depth to a character primarily used for comic relief. Like the charismatically kooky Sid Hammerback, Adam is being fleshed out, and hopefully that means he'll be around for the foreseeable future.

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Find more episode info in the Episode Guide.


Kristine Huntley is a freelance writer and reviewer.