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TV Review: CSI: NY – “Grounds for Deception”

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It's almost ot the end of the fifth season, so of course Det. Mac Taylor (Gary Sinise) finds out what Det. Stella Bonasera (Melina Kanakaredes) has been up to. Nothing much, just disobeying a direct order and carrying on her own investigation of a smuggling ring with a focus on Greek antiquities. Either item is grounds for disciplinary action, but both are too serious to be ignored. The writers wisely let Sinise get into full Taylor bellow, using all of his Marine training as a way to really let Stella have it.

How does he find out? Simple — she finds the body of a man who works at the Greek embassy ("Point of No Return"). He once tried to attack her in a subway tunnel ("The Cost of Living"), so she has no trouble identifying him. In a blinding display of stupidity, she calls 911 and reports it! Honestly. For someone who has been trying so hard not to tip off her boss, this makes no sense at all. Audio technicians can easily track down voice recognition patterns. Cops catch most criminals one way or another, so surely a detective can figure out something else to do. Like let somebody else find the body, for example.

Kanakaredes wrote the script for this episode. She puts exactly the right touch into the opening scene as Stella hands her badge over to Mac and leaves his office. Viewers who think this is the end of the story (or should be) are in for a rude shock. There's much more to come.

Det. Don Flack (Eddie Cahill) is concerned as well. Flack's girlfriend Jessica Angell (Emanuelle Vaugier), a fellow homicide detective and his romantic partner, agrees to help Stella in her reckless quest for justice. Naturally, he wants to know if Angell is in danger. Not really, since Stella is the one who kicked off the investigation. Wisely, Flack is calm throughout the exchange. There is a look in his eyes which shows just how much he cares. Any member of law enforcement understands the inherent risks involved in the profession, although families have some adjusting to do. Both Flack and Angell are kids of cops. They handle themselves just fine, but there is always a chance of danger down the line.

The truly bad half of the smuggling ring might be dead, but the other players are a huge surprise. Or maybe not, depending on how closely viewers pay attention. Stella takes a lot more time than she should to discover who gets labeled the culprit. For a seasoned cop, credibility stretches a bit on this one. How many times does guilt extend to the least likely person? Oh wait. Stella is the woman who takes the word of a rape victim despite mounting evidence to the contrary. She even snaps at Det. Lindsay Monroe (Anna Belknap) for even suggesting a more logical approach to detecting. ("Open and Shut").

With only one more episode left in the season, the biggest surprises are still yet to come. Maybe. Early Internet chatter has more or less told anyone who wants to know just how the finale is set up. I'm not entirely convinced it's accurate, but what I read is hardly a complete shocker. Let me put it this way – the police department just might be affected by a whirling dervish with aftershocks felt for a long time to come.

Tune in May 14 at 10pm to see the season five finale!

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