CSI: New York--'Summer In The City'

By Kristine Huntley
Posted at September 29, 2005 - 7:55 PM GMT

See Also: 'Summer In The City' Episode Guide

Synopsis:

At the Dandridge hotel, a woman rises from her hotel bed and pays the male prostitute next to her, telling him he can leave. She goes to the window, staring intently out at the Empire State Building, which is across the way. Her eyes widen in shock when she sees a man scaling the building, and she makes a frantic cell phone call. The man on the building continues to climb, passing a man and a woman in passionate embrace in an office. People gather below, only to watch in horror as the man suddenly recoils and falls to his death.

Mac Taylor and coroner-turned-CSI Sheldon Hawkes arrive at the scene to discover that the fall was so hard that the man's brain was literally knocked out of his head. Detective Don Flack takes Mac to the 6th floor ledge, where body of the man, Paul Gizner, lies. Flack says the man makes a habit of scaling tall buildings and that a friend of his recorded the climb. Mac looks at the man's cell phone, which has 911 punched into it--could he have seen something that caused him to place an emergency call? Hawkes and Mac pinpoint the spot he fell from--the 34th floor and go to the window he was going past when he fell. The window, which Paul was banging on, looks in on a conference room, and Mac sees high velocity blood spatter on one of the chairs and spots an EPT test in the trash.

Across town, Danny Messer and Aiden Burns stand by the corpse of a dead man in a rhinestone bra. When Stella Bonasera gets to the scene, she scans the bra and discovers that its made out of real diamonds, not rhinestones. When Danny mentions that the name on the man's mailbox is Price, Stella realizes the man is Whitman Price, a famous designer. Danny questions Nicole Jordan, the model who wore the bra at a photography shoot the day before. Nicole tells Danny that she noticed Whitman Price leaving without his bodyguard, and notes that she never goes anywhere without hers. Back at the morgue, Dr. Evan Zao shows Stella that Price swallowed something that, when he was struck in the chest, cut into his heart and killed him within minutes. Stella wants to use sub-dermal photography to see the imprint of the hand that dealt the fatal blow. Zao extracts the object from his chest: it's a sizable diamond, the crowning glory of the bra.

Back in the conference room, Hawkes is gazing at a mosquito sitting on the table and remarking on how hot the summer has been. Mac dusts the bloody chair and finds GSR. He follows a trail of scuff marks to a supply closet and opens it to discover the body of Jay Dillard, one of the partners at the firm the conference room belongs to. When Hawkes notices a mosquito bite on Dillard's neck, he goes back to the conference room to retrieve the mosquito, positing that it could have bit the killer as well and could have the murderer's blood inside it. Eli Bishop, the other half of Bishop and Dillard, who is shocked to discover his law partner is dead, but doesn't ask how it happened. Bishop claims the last time he saw Dillard was the day before. He has a bandage on his hand, which he claims is the result of a sailing accident.

Back at the new CSI offices, Stella and Mac discuss Hawkes' training and his progress. Hawkes is dissecting the mosquito while Danny and Aiden are in the lab, going over the diamond bra and dirt from the scene, respectively. Zack Shannon, the new lab tech, examines the bra for prints, but Stella brings them a bigger piece of the puzzle: the diamond from Price's chest. Danny notes that the smaller diamonds in the bra are marked and therefore can't be sold, but the larger one isn't marked. Aiden takes off when she gets a phone call, leaving Zack to take over her work. A print on the diamond is matched to Fred Becker, Price's a former jewel thief turned securities expert. The CSIs are surprised when the large diamond turns a shade of purple.

Mac questions Adam Sorensen, Lee Dillard's noticeably nervous assistant, who claims he hasn't seen Dillard since the day before. When Mac asks him a pen with the Dandridge hotel logo found in the conference room could have been his, Adam admits that it may have been, but most likely because his boss swiped it. He insists Eli Bishop is probably the one who killed Dillard.

Stella and Danny track down Fred Becker, who tells them he was the one who advised Price to wear the bra at all times, in order to keep it safe. He admits he was derelict in his duty the day Price was killed--he was flirting with some of the models at the shoot and Price left in frustration. He tells them Nicole Jordan is the only other person who handled the bra. Stella has her doubts; she shows him the now light purple diamond and tells him it's a fake.

Back at the offices, Hawkes confides in Stella, telling her Mac is always looking over his shoulder. Stella advises him to think on the offensive and not just react. Meanwhile, Aiden meets with Regina Moore, a woman whose rape case she handled eighteen months ago. Regina has been raped again, and she thinks it's the same man: D.J. Pratt. Regina refused to testify against Pratt at his trial, and he walked free as a result. She recalls smelling paint thinner, like she did the last time, and is convinced it's the same guy. At the morgue, Brenda Dillard, Jay's second wife, identifies his body but tells Hawkes they were separated temporarily. She says she was jogging alone at the time he was murdered. She says the only one who loved Lee was his first wife, Connie, but the only one who hated him enough to kill him was Eli Bishop.

Mac and Hawkes go through the suspects, but the list remains puzzling. Eli has an alibi--his secretary. They were the pair Paul spotted fooling around during his climb. Mac says the print from the EPT test is from Brenda Dillard, indicating that she is pregnant and lied about jogging that morning. But the blood in the mosquito is from Dillard and an unknown male, which suggests Brenda is not the killer. Mac tells Hawkes to epithelials from a palm print Eli Bishop left in the room to compare against the DNA of the blood in the mosquito. Mac goes back to the mosquito and finds GSR on its wings. Aiden is going over Regina's clothes, trying to find any trace of the person who raped her on the clothes. She asks Mac to reassign her to the case and he assures her it's already been done.

Zack tells Danny and Stella the soil sample found near Price is from Central Park, and Danny recalls that Nicole was at Central Park for a shoot before the shoot with the diamond bra. Danny and Stella track down Nicole and her bodyguard, who flees when he sees them. Danny and Stella give chase, and Danny finally catches the guy and takes him down. The bruising on his fist matches the mark under Price's skin. But where is the real diamond?

Aiden confronts D.J. Pratt who is mixing paint when she comes upon him. He sneers at her and dismisses her claims, but she tells him she knows he did it. Back at the labs, Aiden asks Stella what she should do. She can't find any evidence to link Pratt to the second rape. Stella tells her to keep at it and reminds her sometimes cases take a long time, but promises her that it will work out. Stella gets a break in her own case by studying the pictures from Nicole's photoshoot with the diamond bra. Stella and Danny confront the model: Nicole is the one who stole the diamond--she switched the real diamond with a fake and hung the real one on the Christmas tree used in the shoot, where it blended with the rest of the ornaments there. The CSIs arrest her, case closed.

Hawkes rules out Eli as the donor of the unknown blood, and he thinks Adam is the killer. Mac is stuck on motive, until he watches the tape Paul Gizner's friend made of Paul's climb and sees a flash from the room. The curtains were open--why? Mac realizes it was so someone could watch. He tracks down Connie--the woman in the hotel room who placed a phone call after spotting Paul on the side of the building--and finds her with Adam, paying him off for the murder. Connie was still on Diller's life insurance and wanted the payoff after being cast off for a younger woman. They almost got away with it, but Paul, who Adam took aim at when he tried to warn Diller by knocking on the window, not plunged to his death.

Back at the labs, Aiden gets the original evidence from Regina's case eighteen months ago. As she stands over the current evidence, she pulls a hair sample from Pratt taken in the original case and holds it above Regina's underwear, considering creating evidence that would help convict Pratt.

Analysis:

CSI: New York's second season gets off to an exciting start with an episode that highlights the major overhaul the show has undergone. Did it need an overhaul? Probably not, but as long as ratings are more important than quality or artistic vision (read: forever), expect to see the show tinkered with until the ratings stabilize. That's not to say the changes are bad, because they're not. But that doesn't mean what came before was bad, either.

The most noticeable changes are the visual ones. Even after the producers got rid of the bluish cast that washed out the show's first few episodes, the show had a natural look to it, not unlike rival Law & Order. "Summer in the City" is all about bright colors, from the glaring sun to the colorful new offices. Even the characters are dressed in vivid colors, with Stella sporting a bright teal tank top and Hawkes wearing a deep red shirt. Visually, it manages to impress without overwhelming.

The brightness also adds an energy to the show. All the characters seem charged, with the sole exception of Aiden. Even normally sullen Mac has cheered up; he's cast aside his tie and seems more relaxed than he ever did last season. That's not to say he's gone soft; he's not going easy Hawkes, the former Medical Examiner turned CSI. I'm still trying to wrap my head around that one; why would someone with a medical degree leave a cush, challenging job that interests him to gather evidence? Don't get me wrong--being a CSI is cool, but I'd like to know more about Hawkes' motivation.

The other noticeable change to the show is the added layers of sexuality. CSI shows have never been prudish when it comes to sex, but NY is sexing up its main characters, not the stories. From Mac's undone button to Stella's tank top to Hawkes and Danny's form-fitting, muscle-revealing polo shirts, the characters aren't just acting more energetic--they're looking fresher and younger, too. The best thing about this particular change is that it isn't one-sided; if anything, because of the predominantly male cast, the change in the men's wardrobes is more noticeable. That's not unwise, considering the large female audience that tunes into all three CSI shows.

The two primary cases in the episode are both entertaining and interesting. The climber's sad plight is a novel way to introduce the shooting of Jay Dillard, and the framing of the story by having it begin with Connie and come back to her in the end is inspired. Astute viewers probably figured out that she wasn't calling 911 when she was frantically saying, "Pick up, pick up," into her cell phone, but it's not until the end that we're able to put it all together. Everything is connected indeed, but thankfully Mac didn't feel the need to whip out the line.

The mosquito that proves instrumental in solving the case is a bit more of a stretch. That it would have the blood of victim and killer in it is plausible, but that it would sit patiently on the table waiting for Mac and Hawkes to find the body of Jay Dillard and come back is decidedly less so. Later in the episode, Mac finds GSR traces on its wings, but it's never spelled out if that actually would weigh the bug down enough to keep it in one place. A throwaway line would have been helpful since the mosquito is so key in solving the case.

The mystery of the dead jewelry designer is equally compelling. It also introduces two new characters, Dr. Evan Zao who is replacing Hawkes in the coroner's office and Zack Shannon, the cute but geeky lab tech. Both are clearly in tune with NY's call for higher energy levels. Zao approaches his job with a clear zesty enthusiasm, not unlike the kind Hawkes displayed towards the end of the first season. Zack is less quirky and off-kilter than predecessor Chad--he leaves a less distinctive first impression but still charms.

But it is the third case that promises to be the most interesting in the long run. Aiden seems somewhat burnt out and uninspired in this episode. In contrast to her teammates, she appears troubled and pensive from the very first scene, when Danny's jokes, which usually bring a smile to her face, fail to register with her. Her mood is brought down even more when it appears that the Regina Moore rape case isn't going anywhere. The evidence just isn't there. In one of the most thrilling endings to any CSI episode, Aiden is contemplating falsifying the evidence so that she can send the man she knows raped Regina away.

The preview pretty much gives away what Aiden's choice will be, and what will happen. Ever since the news broke that Vanessa Ferlito would leave CSI: NY (story), there's been speculation about how her character would depart. I'm relieved it won't be because Aiden gets raped or murdered. Having her falsify evidence is daring and interesting. We've seen CSIs worn down by their jobs, but they always pick themselves back up and do what needs to be done. But Aiden is young, and it's clearly eating at her that this rapist might walk free again. While falsifying evidence isn't the right decision, it is an action that it's possible to sympathize with. I look forward to seeing how it will all unfold.

I'm cautiously optimistic about Hawkes' development as a CSI as well. The mentor/trainee relationship is less original and therefore less interesting than Mac's complex relationship with Danny, but it is a more normal relationship and will give viewers a peek into what it takes to become a CSI through Hawkes' eyes. It's something we've seen on the other shows, through Eric in CSI and Ryan in Miami, but given Hawkes' background it will be interesting to see him blend his old area of expertise with his new training.

Stella seems different this season as well, lighter and more dynamic. It is significant that both Hawkes and Aiden approach her for advice. In both cases, the advice she offers is sound and yet sympathetic. Not unlike CSI: New York itself, Stella has come a long way from where she started in "Blink". I for one can't wait to see where she, and the show, will go in season two.

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Find more episode info in the Episode Guide.


Kristine Huntley is a freelance writer and reviewer.