CSI: New York--'YoungBlood'

By Kristine Huntley
Posted at November 3, 2005 - 10:20 PM GMT

See Also: 'YoungBlood' Episode Guide

Synopsis:

Wealthy real estate mogul Jason Kinsey rides the elevator up to the penthouse suite he lives in, and he's not alone. He passionately kisses the teenage girl with him. But when the doors to the elevator open, a blast to the stomach kills him. The girl screams and the elevator doors close. When Mac, Stella and Flack arrive at the scene, the girl is gone, though she left behind a bloody shoe impression. Mac and Flack find GSR, but they can't figure out what kind of gun Jason was killed with--the blast is like nothing they've ever seen before. Mac also notices a few older blood drops in a corner of the apartment.

Stella is called away to another case--a body has been found in Central Park and Hawkes is already on the job. Hawkes is underwater in a pond where the body of an unidentified man has been discovered. Hawkes recovers the body and brings it to the morgue, where he and Dr. Sid Hammerback estimate that the man has been dead for anywhere from 24 hours to three days. Hammerback determines that he was asphyxiated, but there are no strangulation marks around his neck. Hawkes thinks he was dead before he was thrown in the pond, and he notices paint stains on the man's hands.

While Mac and Flack puzzle over the weapon, Danny and Lindsay go over the evidence in the hopes of finding the woman who was with Kinsey when he was killed. They unwrap a pair of chopsticks held together with a hairband and a piece of paper to make them easier to use. There's writing on the paper with the words 'Delmore, audition, after third period' written on it. Elsewhere in the lab, Stella and Hawkes go over the clothes from their victim. Hawkes thinks he was homeless because of his mismatched shoes, while Stella believes he's rich because of his designer clothes. The CSIs are at odds--was he rich or poor?

Mac and Flack go over the GSR pattern made by the weapon and determine it wasn't any conventional firearm that they can identify. Hammerback shows Danny and Lindsay that Kinsey suffered from Paget's disease--a bone softening disorder--and points out the partial impression of a plaque in his skull. The CSIs track down the plaque, which is located right near a parking garage with Kinsey's name on it--one of his properties. They speak with the attendant, Mike Adams, who recalls seeing Kinsey get into an altercation with Oscar Bowers, a rival property owner. Oscar claims they fought over a girl and admits to hating Kinsey--he wanted to buy the garage Kinsey owned--but has an alibi. He was at a club called Nabakov's.

Stella traces the victim's shirt to the designer who made it, and from there to Ben Lowell, who owned the shirt. He and his friends, Nigel Ballantyne and Abby Kirhoffer, are in the middle of a party. Ben identifies the victim as Wesley Harding, but he and his friends are dismissive of him, saying that Wesley kept to himself. Stella takes note of the color Abby's lipstick before they leave. Hawkes gets the results of Wesley's stomach contents and discovers that he ate soup and lobster just ten minutes before he died. An allergic reaction could explain the asphyxiation. Hawkes looks up restaurants in the vicinity of where Harding was found and determines that the only one he could have dined at was Preston's. Hawkes also recalls the paint, and a key he found in Harding's things and thinks they might be significant.

Danny and Lindsay go over the surveillance tape from Kinsey's building, and find two people that they are not able to identify as residents: a teenage girl and a shady looking man. They get a break in their case when Lindsay recognizes the music from the iPod found at the scene as being from the musical "Wicked." Putting it together with the evidence on the slip of paper in between the chopsticks, they realize the teenage girl was the one with Kinsey--she's a student at Delmore Prep was going to an audition for the musical. Danny and Lindsay head to Delmore Prep where they spot the girl, Melanie Dobson. She admits to being with Kinsey but is flippant when the CSIs interrogate her. She says she is a good student who just likes to go out and have a good time. She tells them she saw an explosion when the elevator doors opened the night Kinsey was killed, but before she can say more the interrogation is interrupted when Melanie's father, Brad, steps into the room. Danny suspects the dried blood at Kinsey's apartment was Brad's and confronts him, asking if he killed Kinsey for preying on his daughter. Brad admits to confronting Kinsey and getting into an altercation with him, but denies killing him. He claims his wife--a much younger woman herself--is his alibi. Danny and Lindsay turn to Nabakov's next, where Lydia, a bartender there, tells them she recalls a sleazy guy hitting on Melanie. The man wasn't Kinsey or Oscar Bowers, whom Lydia admits to being with the night of Kinsey's murder.

While Hawkes tracks down the lock that goes with Wesley's key--a freshly-painted shed in Central Park--Stella goes to Preston's. The waitress recalls seeing Wesley with two young men and a young woman, and remembers the men were making fun of Wesley. She recalls Wesley was allergic to shellfish, but when she looks up what they ordered, she confirms both of the other men ordered lobster bisque. The girl left, and Wesley soon followed. The young men followed Wesley. In the shed, Hawkes finds clothes and evidence of someone living there, and also finds several yearbooks with the name Alex Weston on them. Stella tracks the man down and he recognizes Wesley as Richard Collins. He and Richard grew up together, but Alex got a scholarship to a prestigious private school. Richard yearned for that kind of life, and made Alex tell him all about his friends at the school--Ben and Nigel. Stella has them brought in and focuses on Ben, telling him Nigel made a statement denying his involvement. Ben gets upset and claims Richard was a phony. He says they weren't trying to kill him--just playing a practical joke on him after finding out he was allergic to shellfish. But Stella isn't buying it--they followed him after he began to swell up and after he collapsed, sunk him in the pond by weighing him down.

Danny reports that Brad Dobson tested negative for GSR. He and Lindsay go back to the video and Danny notices the man seems to be carrying a steering wheel lock on the way in, and concealing it on the way out. Could it be the murder weapon? In the lab, Mac tests Danny's theory and confirms it. Danny recalls seeing several steering wheel locks in the garage Kinsey owned. Mac, Danny and Flack confront Mike Adams at the garage and discover the murder weapon in his own car. Mac interrogates Mike, who was the man who hit on Melanie in Nabokov's. She scornfully turned him down after he bought her several drinks, and condescended to him every time she was with Kinsey. Mike, who had no love for Kinsey either, took Kinsey's keys after parking his car on the night of the murder and snuck up to the penthouse to wait for him. His intended target was Melanie, but he hit Kinsey instead, and the elevator doors closed before he could reload. Mike is unrepentant--Melanie didn't even recognize him after the shooting. Rich people have no regard for anyone else.

Analysis:

What is it with CSI: NY and juvenile behavior? A few episodes ago, a woman killed her friend's daughter because the friend stole her high school boyfriend. Last week one guy killed another because his kid didn't get into the elite school and the other guy's kid did. And this week a guy kills a man for picking on him and two guys play a fatal prank on a guy who is just trying to fit in. If we go by New York, it looks like no one really ever does outgrow high school.

The pretty, popular girl turns down the poor guy from the wrong side of the tracks...so he sets out to kill her? Over a few drinks? And then there's Jason Kinsey who made the workers pay for their own parking spaces. It's insulting, sure, but worth murder? That said, the primary case in this episode was by far the stronger case, and the class issues come across in a more poignant way, especially with Mike's lament at the end of the episode.

The name of Nabakov's (the author of Lolita, the most infamous book about an affair between an older man and an underage girl) is clever, but the concept itself is unbelievable. A bar where underage girls go to get picked up by older men? Oh, I'm sure the girls have fakes, but Nabakov's has to have a reputation in addition to its none-too-subtle name, which just screams "get your underaged girls here!" The police would be at the door of that bar every night.

The secondary case this week was woefully underdeveloped. The victim got the worst shaft--we knew so little about Wesley/Richard that it was very hard to care about his case. He wanted to hang with the rich and successful--the in crowd--so he dressed up and tried to play the part. That's about all we know about Wesley/Richard. And we know even less about his killers, other than the fact that they decided to play an immature prank on him that turned deadly.

It's nice to see that Danny is still the show's emotional center. He's the only one who seems to react to cases emotionally anymore, aside from a little righteous anger here and there from Stella. Danny again brings up families in relation to a case, this time puzzling over what kinds of families that produce these girls who go to Nabakov's in search of older men (a reference to the effect Brad Dobson and his much-younger wife must have had on Melanie). Danny's emotional reaction to any case where children are affected in any way is perhaps the most intricate and complex character work in all of CSI: NY.

Lindsay's dominant trait remains her penchant for showing off--this time she gazes smugly at Danny after finishing her analysis first. I hope she's thorough, because analyzing the evidence quicker than your partner isn't necessarily an accomplishment. After showing Danny up, she seems to be content to work the case with him. I suppose she must feel like she's got something to prove, but the more that she loses that smugness, the more likable she'll be.

Hawkes finally gives an explanation for wanting to go out into the field: he wants to see the bigger picture, not just the dead bodies. It goes a long way to explaining why someone like Hawkes, who is obviously extremely intelligent, would put aside his medical degree to do fieldwork. To put it simply, he's up for the challenge and clearly curious. The newest coroner, Sid Hammerback, adds a bit of quirky eccentricity to the show, but I hope this doesn't mean we've seen the last of Evan Zao. His exuberance and enthusiasm for his job livened up the lab and was reminiscent of Hawkes in the latter half of season one.

Is Flack jumping on the wannabe CSI bandwagon now? I'm completely in favor of seeing more of Flack--he's one of the best things about this show--but putting him in a lab coat and having him assist Mac doesn't seem to be the way to go. Wouldn't it have made more sense for him to be searching for the girl with Lindsay or Danny?

The high school theme continues with Stella getting calls from her new boyfriend, but not picking up. Hawkes, clearly all ready to gossip, notices right away and is suspicious. I used to think the later Star Trek shows were unrealistic and awkward about romance (save for Deep Space Nine), but the CSI franchise has them beat. Is Stella an adult or a teen having her first romance? Would it be so weird for Stella to answer her phone and ask Frankie if she can call him back when she's not at work? Is this really the best way to introduce a mature relationship for one of the show's main characters? It just seems a little silly. The flowers at the end would have been enough. Even if Hawkes is so headed straight to the breakroom to spread the news....

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Find more episode info in the Episode Guide.


Kristine Huntley is a freelance writer and reviewer.