CSI: New York--'Stuck On You'

By Kristine Huntley
Posted at February 2, 2006 - 10:39 PM GMT

See Also: 'Stuck On You' Episode Guide

Synopsis:

An show for up and coming artist James Golden at a Tribeca loft that Stella and her boyfriend, Frankie Mala, are attending turns deadly when the host, Carlo Franchetti and Mirabella, the woman he is fooling around with on the roof of his building, are shot with an arrow from an unseen assailant. Mirabella is killed instantly but Carlo survives and is cut down and taken to the ER while Mac, Stella, Dr. Hawkes and Flack examine the scene. Hawkes notes that the arrow pierced Mirabella's heart, causing massive bleeding. Mac follows the trajectory of the arrow with his eyes and sends Hawkes to a neighboring rooftop to hunt for the weapon. In Greenwich Village, Danny and Lindsay look down at the body of Gideon Epps, a freelance music promoter whose face is entirely covered in glue. The CSIs discover a box cutter with blood on it and posit that Gideon may have fought back. Danny follows glue-coated footprints into a neighboring club where manager Gus Drood is coaching the female rock band Rough Sects on their playing. Gus has glue on his shoes and admits to stepping past the body, claiming he assumed the guy was just sleeping.

Hawkes discovers the murder weapon, a state of the art Bowtech Allegiance Bow, in an air-conditioning vent and is lowered in by cable to retrieve it. Back at the morgue, Dr. Hammerback withdraws the arrow from Mirabella's body and gives it to Mac. He then turns to Gideon, who he determines died from a crushing blow to his larynx. There's blood on his jacket from an unknown donor, and Danny notices a powder on his eyes. Hammerback also recovers a bullet from Gideon's throat and notes three slashes on the side of his neck. When Hawkes returns with the bow, Mac tells him he was able to get two prints off the arrow--a partial from Carlo and an unknown print, possibly from the killer. There's also jaguar blood on the tail of the arrow, indicating the killer was likely a hunter. Flack brings Carlo's day planner, complete with pictures and detailed schedules of a myriad of women, to Stella. They track down Sienna, a young woman Carlo spent several hours with before the party. She tells Flack and Stella that she had sex with Carlo but that it was nothing more than a fling. Flack is skeptical and asks for her prints.

In the lab, Danny determines the bullet from Gideon's throat was never fired, and Lindsay identifies the substance on his face as pepper spray. The examine the posters Gideon and his competition were putting up and wonder if there was some sort of turf war going on between Gideon and another promoter. Danny tracks down Patrick Thompson, a rival promoter, who admits to a scuffle with Gideon but nothing more. Mac has Lindsay, who has never fired a bow before, test the murder weapon and she fires it perfectly, leading Mac to conclude that even an amateur could have used it to kill. Sienna's print isn't a match, but Hawkes has followed another lead--blood on Carlo's watch inoculated against typhoid fever--and takes the investigation to Rick Smith, a tour guide to exotic South American locales who led Carlo around Peru just a week before. His wife Cassie was on the trip, too, but she and Rick are separated now: she cheated on him with Carlo. Rick admits to confronting Carlo and fighting with him, but denies killing him. He tells the CSIs the bow and arrow belonged to Carlo himself.

Danny and Lindsay go over the glue mask around Gideon's face and discover a shirt button and a guitar pick with the name Runyon on it. They pay a visit to Damon Runyon, the man whose store Gideon was found dead outside of. He tells them he gives away the picks with the guitars he sells or repairs. The CSIs confiscate the guitars brought in the day before for sale or repair, including one with the name Stephanie on it. They run into Gus on the way out and Danny notices a button missing on his shirt and matches the button from the glue mask to his buttons. Gus is flip about it, but Danny's suspicions about him are growing. Back in the lab, Mac helps Lindsay print the guitars and discovers a print on the one with the name Stephanie on it that isn't consistent with holding the guitar to play it. He tells Lindsay to look for epithelials. Danny tells Lindsay the blood from Gideon's jacket is female and he puts together the guitar with the band Gus manages, Rough Sects, who have a lead singer named Stephanie. They track down the Rough Sects and the case comes together: Stephanie, the singer, has bullets in her guitar strap and a cut on her hand, but her print doesn't match the one on the guitar. Lindsay notices a pepper spray rash on the face of the lead guitarist, Elva. When the band came across Gideon putting up posters over theirs after a particularly grueling rehearsal, they got into a scuffle with him and Elva lost it, striking him repeatedly with her guitar. Gus participated, too, pouring the glue on the dead man's face. The CSIs arrest both Elva and Gus.

The CSIs return to Carlo's loft where they discover where he was keeping the bow along with trace elements of another substance and a palm print. Back at the lab, Stella examines one of James Golden's mosaics which turns out to be a composite of pieces of pictures of women Stella recognizes from Carlo's long list of conquests: Sienna, Cassie and Mirabella. Carlo was using James' mosaics to track down and bed women. The murder was a crime of passion: James, the artist, tells the CSIs that Carlo was using his art to bed women and that the party he thought was a party in his honor was just an excuse to lure Mirabella into Carlo's embrace. The cases closed, Lindsay has one more revelation for Danny: she invites him to a jazz club to reveal Mac's secret hobby to him: playing the bass guitar.

Analysis:

There was an ambiance of lightheartedness pervading the entire episode, and we got to see a more lighthearted side of each of the CSIs this time around which made the episode downright fun. Stella was on a date, Hawkes got to play Mission: Impossible, Lindsay and Danny got to giggle over their boss's secret nightlife, and oh yes, Mac plays the bass! I have to indulge in a moment of immodesty and admit I've been expecting that detail would pop up since I wrote the review for "The Closer" when I wondered, "So when will we learn that Mac secretly plays the bass in a cover band on the weekends?" Okay, so it's Wednesday nights, but I was close.

I'm especially grateful to writers Eli Talbert and Timothy J. Lea for finally giving me a reason to like Lindsay. I'd tried to warm to the character prior to this episode, but her focus and drive often came across as humorless and dour and she paled next to more vivacious characters like Stella and Danny. Thankfully, Talbert and Lea give her a sense of fun this week--Lindsay is downright lovable when she hits the target with the bow and arrow and lets out a victory cry. She showed a bit of humor when she kept talking in mock frustration as Danny wandered off into the club following the glue footprints and also when she told Danny that Mac was laughing to be nice at Danny's admittedly dumb joke. She also went to a great deal of trouble to prove Danny wrong in his assertion that he knew Mac better than her by picking up on Mac's knowledge of the bass and following that piece of information to discover an interesting tidbit about Mac's personal life.

Mac and Lindsay have a nice dynamic that transcends the mentor/student relationships so many older and younger CSIs fall into, like Mac with Danny or Stella with Lindsay. When Lindsay was shooting the bow to test Mac's theory and later when he was helping her examine the guitars, I felt a genuine mutual respect between the two. Mac didn't condescend or talk down to her at any point, and Lindsay talked to him as a colleague, not as a trainee trying to learn from a master. It's particularly refreshing given that the mentor/student relationship is somewhat overdone, and while an interesting and natural way of watching people relate to each other on the job, it's also enjoyable to see this relationship being written differently. I hope the trend continues: Gary Sinise and Anna Belknap have a nice chemistry together.

I can't see anyone but Lindsay prying into Mac's personal life to discover he plays bass every Wednesday night at a jazz club. Stella might know, but she'd never say; Lindsay has no such reservations. She boldly has Danny meet her at the club to witness the fact that Mac does indeed have a private life. That implies a high level of comfort and familiarity--not only did Lindsay feel at ease going to the club herself, she didn't have any problems sharing with Danny what she'd learned. It's nice to see Lindsay finally fitting into the team--joking with Mac and investigating his personal life, asking Danny to meet her at the club and ordering a beer for him.

By now, most people know Sinise plays bass in the Lt. Dan Band, but that band is much more rock and roll than it is jazz, so I appreciate the attempt to make the bass playing fit in with Mac's character rather than just sticking the detail in because it's something Sinise does. I was less sold on the revelation that Danny played for a while--with his art expertise, baseball experience and possible gang affiliation, he's been an awfully busy little bee before becoming a CSI. I like seeing the character's pasts filled out, but with depth as opposed to details crammed in just to progress a plot point (and not a very big one in this case).

We barely get more than a minute of Stella's boyfriend Frankie--just enough to see he takes her to swanky art shows (he's a sculptor) and is smooth enough to know when to whip out a choice line, telling her that the art is almost as beautiful as she is. I wasn't sold on their chemistry in "Grand Murder at Central Station" and there's not really enough screentime here for me to judge if it's improved, but it is wonderful to see a CSI in a healthy relationship. And I have to tip my hat to Talbert and Lea again, for not making Frankie a suspect in, or worse guilty of, the murder. I was impressed that clichť was sidestepped, and so seamlessly that I didn't even think of the possibility until after the episode had ended. I'm also glad Stella isn't saddled with bad taste in men; it really wouldn't fit her character.

The cases themselves are not the strongest of the season, particularly the A-case. Why wasn't the artist, James, one of the first people the CSIs questioned? I guess like Carlo, they forgot about him, too. And while the idea that Carlo picking the women out of James' mosaics and tracking them down and sleeping with them was interesting, it was also far-fetched. Did Carlo reassemble the photographs like Stella did? How did he find out the names of the models? He didn't seem all that close with James. The murder at the beginning was an eye-opener, but the case petered out after that, and doesn't hold together on close examination.

I liked the B-case much better, with the band that gets pushed too far by their slick jerk of a manager. Gonzalo Menendez exudes a cocky arrogance as Gus Drood, and he's so forceful a personality that even Danny seems a little cowed by him. Unlike the crime in the A-case, this one did come together rather neatly, with a little incident--Stephanie trying to stop the guy from pasting new fliers up over their posters--escalating into dangerous violence rather quickly. Gus's act of pouring the glue over Gideon's face totally fit his disdainful snob of a character, too. And in the end, it's clear Danny's pretty happy he has an excuse to arrest the guy, which satisfies both the CSI and the viewer.

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Find more episode info in the Episode Guide.


Kristine Huntley is a freelance writer and reviewer.