CSI: New York--'What You See Is What You See'

By Kristine Huntley
Posted at May 20, 2005 - 10:40 PM GMT

See Also: 'What You See Is What You See' Episode Guide

Synopsis

Mac walks into a coffee shop for his morning breakfast. Amy, the waitress, is chatting with her boyfriend and Mac takes a seat. After her boyfriend leaves, Amy starts to get Mac's order and the woman next to him, Rose, begins flirting with him shyly. Before Mac can respond, he's distracted: Amy has pulled a newspaper off a customer's table to reveal a gun. The gun's owner picks it up and aims it at the girl; another man rises and aims a gun at the first man. A shootout ensues; Amy and the second man are hit. Mac tries to stop the first man from fleeing but he escapes while Mac tends to Amy.

When the CSIs arrive at the scene, Danny and Aiden are sent to search for evidence in the shop while Mac fills Stella and Flack in on what happened. He recalls three shots being fired. The first ricocheted off a metal chair and hit a pastry tray; the second hit Amy; the third killed the second man. The first shooter got away, but he left behind a chewed up swizzle stick, which the CSIs bag. Mac also noticed a third man, who dropped a twenty-dollar bill on the table and left after the shootout. Stella questions Rose, who doesn't remember much. She confesses she was getting the nerve up to ask Mac, and afterwards she approaches him and suggests meeting at a bar. Mac is noncommittal.

In the morgue, Dr. Hawkes tells Danny the second shooter is Adam Baxter, who had a short rap sheet. He retrieves the fatal bullet from one of the man's bones. Aiden is swabbing the swizzle stick in the lab. Danny tells her he ran the bullet and it matched a gun used in three unsolved robberies from 1999-2002; the owner is unknown. Aiden asks Danny if he's been to his mandatory psych evaluation after the shootout he was involved in, and he tells her he hasn't. She presses him to go and tells him she's just looking out for him. Aiden goes back to work and gets good news: a hit in CODIS on the DNA from the swizzle stick. It matches Steve Collins, who spent some time in Riker's prison. Mac identifies him as the shooter, and he, Stella and Flack head to his apartment. They find a bloody shirt with tape on it there as well as an envelope marked "rent" with several bills inside. Stella runs the envelope and matches the DNA to Steve's mother. The CSIs pay her a visit and she reluctantly allows them to search the premises for Steve. They find him in an RV trailer in back of the house and arrest him.

Amy's brother James tells Mac that Amy is hanging on though still in critical condition. He wants assurance from Mac that the man who shot her will be going away. Mac and Stella discuss the case outside the office: ballistics has confirmed that it was Steve's gun that Amy was shot with. To their shock, they see Steve leaving the police department, free as a bird. Mac moves to grab him but before he can react, a shot rings out and Steve falls. The shooter, mounted on a motorcycle, speeds away. Steve survives; the bullet hit him in the shoulder, and Mac tells Stella to call Aiden to help process the scene. Mac jumps in the ambulance and interrogates Steve. Mac has figured out from the tape on his shirt and his release from jail despite the evidence that he was an informant of some kind; he was wearing a wire at the coffee shop. Steve refuses to help him. Stella finds a 40-caliber casing while Aiden photographs the treads and notice a marking where the shooter planted his foot before taking the shot. Aiden brings Flack to a motorcycle shop where she has him try out the bikes and make tread patterns. She's able to match one to the picture: the Suzuki. Back at the lab, Mac has traced the gun to Amy's brother, James, who also has a license to drive a motorcycle. James denies any involvement, claiming the gun was stolen and that he sold the motorcycle. Flack searches James's place but finds no sign of the gun.

Mac and Stella are called to another crime scene: Steve's mother has been murdered in her house. Dr. Hawkes tells the CSIs that Mrs. Collins was beaten and then strangled. A CSI brings Mac the murder weapon, a lead pipe, and Hawkes recovers a rolled up piece of paper in Mrs. Collins's mouth. Mac decides to approach DA Latham to find out about Steve's case and tries to convince the DA to turn over Collins' murder case, but the DA won't budge. He leaves to meet his wife as a forlorn Mac looks on. In the lab Stella analyzes the paper from Mrs. Collins' mouth. Danny approaches Aiden and tells her he did the psych exam, but when she presses him for details he clams up. Aiden turns her attentions to the trace from the shoe print at the scene of Steve's shooting. The trace contained glucose, fructose, acids and caffeine, which Mac realizes puts the shooter in the coffee shop on the morning of the shootout between Steve and Adam. He must have stepped on the broken pastries and spilled coffee on his way out. Stella and Mac discuss the paper found in Mrs. Collins' mouth, which is very similar to the money paper made by the U.S. Treasury. Mac turns to the bill left by the third man at the coffee shop and analyzes it. He and Stella notice the ink doesn't match that of the U.S. Treasury, but given that it uses Cholesteric Liquid Crystals, it's still pretty sophisticated.

Mac and Stella go to the lab of Professor Newlin who is researching the crystals. The CSIs ask for the names of the research assistants, past and present, that he's employed, and he runs through their pictures. Mac recognizes one of them, Dennis Sporco, as Amy's boyfriend from the coffee shop. His last known address in the system is under construction, so Mac talks Amy into calling his cell phone so that they can trace the call and locate him. She reveals that she gave her brother's gun to her boyfriend to get rid of it. She agrees to make the call and places the call, leading the CSIs to Dennis' door, where they find Dennis, along with counterfeiting equipment and the third man from the diner: Clark Boyd. In the interrogation room, Mac tells Dennis he has it all figured out: Dennis was meeting Steve to buy genuine U.S. Treasury paper, but he sent Clark in to scope out the situation first. Dennis came in and chatted with Amy; he didn't notice Mac but Clark did and realized Mac was a cop immediately. Clark signaled for Dennis to leave and he did, and the shootout ensued afterwards. When Dennis denies involvement in any of the murders--he tells Mac that Clark killed Mrs. Collins and shot Steve outside the police department--Mac tells him he's a means to an end: Mac will trade Dennis to the feds so that he can get Steve. Afterwards, Mac stops by Steve's cell to tell him his deal with the fed is off and he'll be tried for the murder of Adam Baxter.

After it's all over, Mac sits in his office, deep in thought. Danny stops by to tell Mac he did the evaluation and thinks it went well. When Danny asks him if things are okay between them, Mac gives him a noncommittal reply: "We'll see." Danny accepts it and leaves as Stella, dressed for an evening date, enters. She asks about Danny, and Mac acknowledges that he's trying. Then he shows Stella that Dr. Hawkes has submitted an application to work in the field. Mac tables the issues until the next day; he's got somewhere to be. Stella offers to fix his tie and instead removes it. She tells him to loosen up and sends him off. Mac heads to the bar Rose named, his wedding ring nowhere to be seen. He spots Rose, who seems surprised to see him. She shyly asks him his name and he tells her.

Analysis:

New York's freshman season concludes neither with a bang nor with a whimper; it hits all the right notes without trying to pull out all of the stops that its siblings are this year. It's a wise choice; after only one season, NY doesn't need to go for fireworks or dire situations for its characters just yet. There will be time for that, but this episode, which sees Mac finally making an attempt to move on from the death of his wife, hits all the right notes.

The shootout in the teaser provides for a bang-up opening, with Mac in the middle of it all. Even in the midst of the chaos, Mac keeps his cool. He subtly motions Rose to stop talking and pushes her to safety and when he's leaning over Amy trying to stop the bleeding from her wound, he remains calm. Mac's a good man to have around in a crisis. The case itself moves along at a decent clip, and all though it's a little more action-packed than most New York episodes with two wounded and two dead by the episode's end, it manages to stay on the right side of believability. There's some nifty science along the lines of the paper analysis in "Tri-Borough" when Mac and Stella analyze the counterfeit money. What does stretch credibility is Mac’s involvement in the case; wouldn’t he, as a witness, be prevented from any participation? To be fair, having Mac sit on the sidelines probably wouldn’t have made for as interesting episode, but having him work the case does present a problem.

Unsurprisingly, given Stella's comment about it in the last episode, Mac's wedding ring comes off at the conclusion of this outing. I would have preferred a little more time between seeing Mac finally open up about Claire's death in "The Closer" and the moment he finally decides to move on, but it's nicely handled in this episode nonetheless. The strongest moment is probably the most subtle, when Mac watches Latham greet his wife. The longing and loneliness he feels are evident in his expression. Gary Sinise is a master of the subtle: he expresses Mac's emotions in understated ways, in the look in his eyes or the set of his mouth.

With the exception of Aiden and Flack, the last five minutes set up some intriguing storylines for the characters for the next season. Mac has Sheldon Hawkes' field application on his desk--no doubt this means we'll be seeing more of the coroner next season. I'm somewhat curious as to what exactly Hawkes will be doing in the field--will he simply being making more field visits, as Alexx does on Miami, or will he be participating in the investigations? I'll be interested to see Hawkes get a piece of the action in the field.

Danny is doing his best to make amends; for once he takes someone's advice rather than following his own misleading counsel. Of all the people in the lab, Aiden probably has his best interests at heart. It's not completely clear why yet, but Aiden is always "just looking out for" Danny. Stella and Mac's relationship is paralleled in Aiden and Danny's: both women are emotionally tougher than their male counterparts, and both feel the need to look out for the men. Mac's vulnerability comes from the loss of his wife, while Danny's remains a mystery. Hopefully next season we'll learn the contents of that psychological evaluation.

Danny also tries to patch things up with Mac, but after so many missteps, Mac's clearly not ready to forgive and forget yet. His comment to Stella that Danny is trying doesn't sound very assured, and it's difficult to tell whether that's spurred by his frustration with Danny's cumulative behavior or the contents of his evaluation. Danny wisely doesn't push the matter, though it's obvious from the dejected way he trudges out of Mac's office, without even a word to Stella, that he didn't get the answer he wanted.

Stella and Mac have a nice chemistry throughout the episode (as they have had for most of the season), and their longstanding friendship is as evident in the penultimate scene in this episode as it was in the final one of "ReCycling" when the pair took in a dog show and made a good-natured bet on the outcome. Here, the tone is a little more serious, as Mac is about to make a major move and go on a date--presumably his first since Claire's death. Stella keeps it light by offering to fix his tie and then removing it entirely with a bit of sage advice: "Loosen up." I'm not sure Mac will follow it entirely on this first date, but he's making a step in the right direction.

Coming soon: A season one analysis of CSI: New York!

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Find more episode info in the Episode Guide.


Kristine Huntley is a freelance writer and reviewer.