After a young woman is involved in a drunk driving accident, she is rushed to the hospital. Although she survives, she is murdered days later. Det. Mac Taylor (Gary Sinise), Det. Stella Bonasera (Melina Kanakaredes), and Det. Don Flack (Eddie Cahill) start processing the scene. Det. Danny Messer (Carmine Giovinazzo) and Det. Lindsay Monroe (Anna Belknap) help, along with Dr. Sheldon Hawkes (Hill Harper). Hawkes has the additional burden of figuring out if one of his former colleagues is guilty of murder.
Meanwhile, Mac talks to the victim's mother, sobbing in the arms of a hospital volunteer (Mel Harris, "thirtysomething"). The distraught father shows up later, complicating matters when he tries to get past crime scene tape. Mac and Flack step in, and Stella confirms the death.
Back at the station, Danny comes across Hawkes in the locker room. He asks Hawkes why he left an emergency room career to be the medical examiner. Hawkes replies he hated standing over a patient when death occurred. Danny suggests he is still a doctor, even though the hospital is no longer part of his life. Before he can go further, Adam Ross (A.J. Buckley) enters and says all hospital staff are accounted for.
Stella gets a fingerprint from a bar of betadine soap in the victim's room. After the ID comes back, Mac and Flack talk to a possible suspect. He tells them he and the victim once made an assisted suicide pact should either end up in a wheelchair. However, he found he could not go through with the deal. Mac later wonders if the victim could have made the same pact with another.
He talks to the young woman's parents. Although they both could have killed the victim, evidence does not support that theory. A DNA test shows a female was in the room when the victim died. It was someone besides the mother, though. Mac and Stella interrogate the hospital volunteer, who admits she killed the victim because she thought she had been driving when the accident occurred. Not only did she have to suffer her daughter's dying before her, but the driver remained alive.
In a cruel twist, Mac and Stella have something to share. They re-examined the car, and found out hospital staff got the identities of the two teens wrong. Due to serious trauma, it was nearly impossible to tell who was who. The driver had her license in a back pocket rather than the usual place: her purse. Both young women left fingerprints on the ID, and their positions tell Mac it was handed over to the one less impaired. The hospital volunteer suffocated her own daughter with a gift shop bag. Doubly heartbreaking is hearing the mom say the girl woke up briefly and said "Mom", trying to tell her the truth. She is devastated, and Mac and Stella leave her alone with her grief. The rest of the team has been watching, and they leave together.
Not long after, Hawkes comes upon an accident scene, and administers aid until paramedics arrive. He tells them what he did, and one asks him if he's a doctor. Hawkes answers yes, and he learns he probably saved the man's life.
This episode was a twist on a real-life news story. I thought the fact it was shown the week before Thanksgiving was telling. Two families were destroyed, and one did not have to happen. However, the episode title makes little sense. Usually, it ties into the main theme. In fact, this season has taken the titles to a much deeper level than in prior years. Azrael, at least the one I'm familiar with, is a cat! Specifically, the pet of Gargamel, who was on a quest to destroy the Smurfs. I will say, though, the work by Hill Harper showed off his acting chops, but lalso revealed his deeper character. Despite his link to the hospital, he was willing to do whatever he could to find the killer. Thinking about it later, I realize his work cracked open the case. Was Lindsay revealing yet another piece in the puzzle as she looked at the victim dead in her bed? I can't be 100% sure, but her past is slowly but surely opening up to viewers.Powered by Sidelines