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TV Review: CSI: NY – “It Happened to Me”

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A man lying dead in the crosswalk probably should not be entirely unexpected for a place like New York. With all of the people trying to get around, someone is bound to get off balance at some point. The extent of his injuries, however, changes things a bit. Blood covering the face makes a call to the crime lab a must. Granted, head wounds bleed with the slightest injury. Just to be on the safe side, the professionals need to take a look.

Mac (Gary Sinise) and Stella (Melina Kanakaredes) therefore arrive, along with Flack (Eddie Cahill) for good measure. Hawkes (Hill Harper) is there too, although he isn't strictly needed. A former forensic pathologist makes sense to analyze crime scenes just for a quick idea of what killed somebody. Cops, though, can pretty much tell when a death occurs as a result of homicide rather than by one's own hand. Everything just looks different, no tire marks, so this is not a hit and run. A fall? Doubtful. A quick glance at the angle of the body shows tripping would not put the man in that position.

As it turns out, Hawkes came into contact with the victim, Martin Stafford, earlier in the day. How? Hawkes might not be cutting up dead people anymore, but he still is using his skills by volunteering with a type of first responder group to help the injured when an ambulance might not be able to arrive in time. Hawkes tells Mac it seemed as though the victim was intoxicated, so Hawkes did not stick around too long. A hospital visit might have helped. Then again, as Mac points out, perhaps not.

I doubt anyone would ever tell Hawkes that Stafford died as a result of Hawkes' being neglectful. The weapon of choice is not something one would easily detect unless tests are run. The cause is basically poison, don't bother trying to remember exactly what. It's tricky enough to understand what it is anyway. Suffice it to say the name is not among the usual suspects.

Even more compelling is the substory behind Hawkes this week. He's acting bizarrely, but he won't tell anyone why. Harper gets the deep emotions down without trying too hard. One question – did the writers honestly believe a member of the crime lab would get away with odd behavior? Even when Flack confronts Hawkes, the doctor clams up. Cahill handles the scene well, refusing to let things slide even if the person he's talking to is supposedly a friend.

AJ Buckley also has a nice scene. Adam, the quirky lab tech played by Buckley, has been under pressure due to budget cuts for months. With the arrival of new lab geek Haylen Becall, there is a competition to see who can survive the year. Adam gets his nose out of joint and Stella has to remind him the argument is pretty much pointless. The fireball only seconds before is a great visual image.

Next up on the CSI scene is a trilogy — one storyline among all three shows in the franchise. The easiest way to make it work is to have the leads interact on each other's turf. The last time this happened, Mac wound up in Miami and Horatio Caine went up to New York when Mac flew home. I'm not quite sure how in the world this is supposed to work with all three shows being part of the same episode. Still, things should get interesting quick!

Tune in to the trilogy starting Nov 9 on CBS at 10pm!

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