The gang from the NYPD crime lab is back! To say they went out last season with a bang is an understatement. As they sat in a bar in memoriam to Det. Angell (Emanuelle Vaugier), somebody opened fire. Who fired was undetermined, but the whole place got nailed ("Pay Up").
The premiere opens with clips from last season's finale, just to make sure everyone is on the same page. Were people hurt in the shooting? The bartender gets killed and others are injured. I think they need medical attention, but only for things like scrapes, cuts, and bruises. Danny (Carmine Giovinazzo) is the most seriously hurt of the crime lab team present, since he lost feeling in his legs. It could be temporary, but Mac (Gary Sinise) now has a case to solve with a field investigator out of commission. At least Danny can work in the lab.
Giovinazzo pulls out the stops as his character attempts to deal with his new situation. For someone who works well on the streets, paralysis is a major blow. Danny knows his chances are dicey, and he's angry someone has the gall to do him harm. For her part, Anna Belknap has a huge job to do as Lindsay, a colleague who is now also Danny's wife. Life is hard enough with a new baby, but a cranky husband increases the tension. Watching her attempt to give Danny a well-deserved kick in the butt falls a little flat. Still, we're reminded that hope is not entirely out of reach.
The gang copes with the after-effects of the attack in different ways. Flack (Eddie Cahill), still grieving over Angell since they were dating when she got killed, hangs out at a bar to be among people. He later tells Mac it's better for him to be on the job, which is probably accurate. The chemistry between Sinise and Cahill is solid, and the concern versus determination talk is a touching moment.
Stella (Melina Kanakaredes) and Adam (AJ Buckley) have sex! I admit Adam is hardly unattractive. The pairing, though, is unusual. What will happen down the road? It's anybody's guess right now. Anyway, the quirky yet brilliant lab tech Adam has another issue to deal with. There's a new scientist in town – Haylen Becall (Sarah Carter). Becall is a crime scene clean-up technician, meaning she comes in behind the lab crew and puts things nice and tidy again. This woman is memorable for a couple of reasons. She has an unusual first name, and while it's a different actress, I cannot help but notice a resemblance to Kendall, a former colleague.
Carter and Buckley are going to be a fun pair to watch. She plays the eager beaver who wants more than anything to have Mac Taylor as her boss. He portrays the experienced pro whose job is shaky enough without having to fend off a competitor. Carter is supposed to be a regular cast member, although this seems to be more in line with a recurring role.
Hawkes (Hill Harper) takes his job to a new level by volunteering with an ambulance service of sorts. My impression is that he is sent on patrol to various parts of town when his turn comes up in the roster. As a former medical examiner, the training helps.
In a nice twist, Jake, one of the guest star characters, is played by Andrew Lawrence. Older brother Joey took on Clay Dobson, who jumped from a building with his hands cuffed to set up Mac on charges from Internal Affairs ("Past Imperfect"). The scene in the interrogation room between Jake and Mac is solid, just like the show itself.
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