CSI: New York--'The Lying Game'

By Kristine Huntley
Posted at January 25, 2007 - 9:55 AM GMT

See Also: 'The Lying Game' Episode Guide

Synopsis:

A drag queen is discovered dead in a men's bathroom at a hotel, leaving the CSIs with a plethora of suspects. After Sid Hammerback determines the victim was drowned, the CSIs discover she was part of a drag show that performed at the Taxes and Trades banquet at the hotel. Quentin "Misty" Conrad had a public spat at the dinner with Congressman Eric Garth. Before that, she was drinking with a hotel guest named Frank Clark and some of his friends, and he admits he helped her get into the dinner and was shocked when she went up to the congressman and got into a spat with him. The CSIs discover the connection: Garth was accused of raping Quentin's sister, Sarah, eight years ago in Connecticut. Flack and Stella interrogate the oily statesman, but he offers them only platitudes--and no DNA. They obtain his DNA off a baby rattle belonging to a constituent, and are able to link him to the rape, but not the murder.

Mac and Danny work the case of a man found dead in a salt truck. Hammerback determines blunt force trauma was the cause of his demise. The CSIs are able to get an ID off a business card: Robert Gallagher. They take a trip to his company and meet his partners, Jackson Rudnick and Stephen Cross, both of whom have alibis, as does Dana Haynes, a woman whose golf ball was discovered close to the body. When Danny looks into the alibis, Jackson's and Dana's don't check out, leading them to the Alibi Network, a company that provides alibis for people involved in clandestine goings on. Jackson and Dana were having an affair, and the location they claim they actually were, the Soho Regency, checks out. Danny discovers traces of epson salts on the skateboard he determines was used to kill Robert, and that leads them back to Stephen, who was in the floatation tank at his gym shortly before Robert's murder. Mac interrogates him: Stephen saw Jackson's alibis--receipts indicating he was at advertising seminars--and erroneously thought he was being forced out the company. He killed Robert in a fit of anger when Robert denied knowledge of the "seminars."

With Stella's encouragement, Lindsay tells Mac she's going home to Montana to testify at the trial of the man who killed her friends. She leaves a card for Danny, and watches him come back to the lab before leaving in taxi. Going back to the scene of Quentin's murder, Stella and Hawkes follow a trail of bleach from the toilet Quentin was killed in to the hotel room door of Frank Clark. His print is a match to one on Quentin's earring. When he found out Quentin was a man, his friends made fun of him. Later, he ran into Quentin in the bathroom and was ticked off when Quentin flirtingly rejected him. Flack, disgusted by his lack of remorse, arrests him.

Analysis:

Lying is now officially a commodity. Yes, that's right, The Alibi Agency actually exists. While watching the episode, I wondered if the concept was a clever one invented by the writers, but the CSI shows are fastidious in drawing from real life and building their episodes around things that sound like they couldn't possibly be true, but are.

Like the Alibi Agency. For a fee, they'll help you cover up an affair, escape a boring meeting or even fake employment. It's a fascinating service, and a great building block for an episode. It's used well in the storyline--Jackson and Dana aren't covering up a murder but an affair--and also played for laughs, as an increasingly perplexed Danny searches for an advertising institute and a mediation center and instead finds a beauty parlor and a bar. We're as perplexed as he is until the CSIs pay a visit to the sophisticated alibi network, which looks more like a government control room than an agency that creates elaborate fictions.

Mac, Mac, where is your bite? Here's a golden opportunity: a man sitting in front of you admitting he killed his business partner because he thought the man was paying for advertising seminars--seminars you knew didn't exist--and the best you can come up with is, "I guess you figured out how to get his attention"??? Mac, where's your sense of disgust, and irony? Yes, so it's what the audience was thinking and might have been an obvious jab, but part of the fun of a CSI episode is watching the CSIs drive the stake in at the end.

Thankfully, Flack doesn't disappoint. He's full of snarl and vitriol for Frank Clark, the loathsome hick who killed Quentin. Flack is at his tough-guy best, asking Frank if he's ever seen Brokeback Mountain when suggesting that Frank was intimate with Quentin, and then telling Frank he was going to make the world a little better by putting him away after Frank suggested that's what he did with his murder of Quentin. Few characters express their disgust as colorfully and passionately as Flack does, or mirror the audience's reaction as well.

It would have been nice to see the slimy congressman get his as well on screen. Sure, we see Mac telling Stella and Hawkes that he's turning over the evidence they've found to the authorities in Connecticut, but it's still not quite as satisfying as it would be to see Stella and Flack tear into him. Watching the two question him is fun, and the fact that he seems completely unfazed by their line of inquiry is a testimony to his arrogance and self-assurance.

This episode also marks the departure of Lindsay for several episodes, as Anna Belknap begins her maternity leave. This absence is explained by Lindsay's backstory--she's going back home to Montana to testify in the trial of the man accused of shooting four of Lindsay's friends. Thankfully the scene requires no histrionics on Lindsay's part, and we're spared the sight of watching Belknap try to cry convincingly. Because we have so few details, there's little audience connection to Lindsay's plight, and she's dispatched rather painlessly. She won't be missed.

There is of course the requisite silliness between Danny and Lindsay: he watches her walk off after she leaves Mac's office! She leaves him a card rather than calling to say goodbye! She stops the taxi she's leaving in to stare at him as he walks across the street! If I weren't aware of the characters' ages, I'd swear I was watching a teen drama. To see adults, who are supposedly attracted to each other, acting this way is just plain laughable. Please, CSI: New York, do away with this absurdity--all it does is undermine characters we're supposed to take seriously.

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Find more episode info in the Episode Guide.


Kristine Huntley is a freelance writer and reviewer.