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TV Review: CSI: NY – “Blacklist (Featuring Hangman)”

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Technology can be a great thing. For example, cell phones are often used to call for help when it is needed the most. Emergency crews know ICE, or In Case of Emergency, can connect them to someone who can answer questions about prescriptions or medical history should the actual victim be unable to communicate. The Internet opens the world up to everyone by web sites and email. A global positioning device can guide those who require direction.

However, the same technology can also be potentially hazardous for anyone who is involved in some sort of wrongdoing. Det. Mac Taylor (Gary Sinise) finds this out the hard way when a dead man is discovered in the Bronx. All in a day's work? Maybe, except the victim was a hospital CEO. The possibility of a revenge killing is not out of the question — especially after an oncologist at the same hospital nearly dies of anaphylatic shock. Somehow, a special request to leave salad dressing off due to its containing peanuts never made it to the chef. There's a reason, of course. A clever culprit named Victor Benson (Greg Germann, Ally McBeal) sets everything up, but the true mystery is why.

Sinise does a nice job of portraying his character with the tension of a law enforcement professional who knows not where Benson will strike next. The story for Mac, though, is even more stressful. Benson identifies to an extent with Mac's father. The Taylor patriarch fell ill with cancer, and so Mac resigned from the Marine Corps to be at home in Chicago with him. Astute viewers will notice the woman playing Mac's mom is Gail O'Grady. How fitting that a former cast member of NYPD Blue is a part of this show. Mac makes a promise to his dad to join the ranks of NYPD and start performing another kind of service.

I have to admit, my first thought of the killer was focused on Sid (Robert Joy). He wasn't in this episode, which hardly helped. Even though the chance of the current medical examiner breaking the law is pretty much unthinkable, it still took me a minute to decide he was out of the running. A crime show without some sort of autopsy makes little sense, but the focus was on cyber-security rather than the victim himself.

On a more positive note, Danny (Camine Giovinazzo) is showing progress after getting paralyzed from the waist down in a random shooting incident ("Epilogue"). Lindsay (Anna Belknap) tells Stella (Melina Kanakaredes) that Danny can feel movement in a toe. This is not full strength, but at least he can still be part of the lab. Seeing Danny and Adam (AJ Buckley) work side by side as they use facial recognition to try and track down a criminal is a delightful view. I cannot say for sure just how long Danny is going to be in the wheelchair. Marriage and a new baby are difficult enough without adding illness on top of things.

Flack (Eddie Cahill) is back at work, but barely hanging on since his girlfriend, Det. Jessica Angell (Emanuelle Vaugier) was killed in the line of duty ("Pay Up"). He's sure he would be worse off if he were to simply stay home day after day. Mac is wise to be concerned right now, but there could come a time when Flack goes off the deep end and nobody will be able to stop him.

The only people who seem sane are Stella and Hawkes (Hill Harper). The season's early yet, so this could change later. Considering how much of last season focused on them, the writers probably figured to move the meatiness elsewhere.

The episode title has a caveat. It features Hangman, which I assume refers to the music. Haunting, it well sets the stage for working through memories fresh and therefore painful.

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