Mac Taylor (Gary Sinise) gets a cell phone call from a man filled with guilt and anguish. The man says a murder of a teenager took place several years ago and the body is under an end zone of the New York Giants stadium. By the time Mac and Det. Don Flack (Eddie Cahill) get to the man’s location, he has killed himself with a gunshot to the head.
Once the man’s phone is traced to an owner in New Jersey, Mac notifies the CSI team there. The leader is not too impressed by what could be an “urban legend.” Mac tells him the rest of the story and says he will be the first to apologize if the digging was for naught.
Not only is a skeleton found, but a gun as well. Dr. Sheldon Hawkes (Harper Hill), newly arriving on the scene, mentions the death looks like an execution. Although the items are seriously decayed, they are taken back to the lab for testing.
When Dr. Sid Hammerback (Robert Joy), the medical examiner, looks at the body, and sees some sort of faint marking on his back. Using a microwave, Sid is able to raise the lettering — “Tanglewood.”
Anyone who is a fan of this show knows exactly what that word means. It is a gang which has potential ties to the Mob. They are a particularly nasty group of characters who always seem to stay one step ahead of the law. While it is easy to arrest them, keeping them in prison has been next to impossible. Could they be going away for good this time?
Mac finds Det. Danny Messer (Carmine Giovinazzo) who grew up where the Tanglewood gang hung out. He knows better than anybody how dangerous they can be. Even though they approached him about joining, he said no and ended up on the enforcement side of the law. Mac suggests Danny stay well away from the case, and Danny is only too happy to agree.
With one sentence, I saw Danny grow up. He isn’t always good at following orders, even if Mac is the one issuing them. After a confusing display of gunfire a while back, an undercover cop ended up dead in “On the Job.” Danny just might have been the one who shot him. Mac told him to sit tight and not to talk to Internal Affairs, the department’s police watchdogs. Danny got tired of waiting and talked to them anyway. Mac was not happy, and told Danny any evidence clearing his name might have been compromised.
Across town, Det. Stella Bonasera (Melina Kanakaredes) is with her boyfriend, Frankie, when her pager goes off. She is on duty if needed, and has to go. He is not happy about this.
When Stella arrives at the crime scene, Danny is there, processing the body of a dead man. A message written in Vaseline on the bathroom mirror suggests it has been a crime of passion.
The investigation showed the man was stabbed with an oyster knife. Stella questions a man who was trying to get a woman out of prostitution. He had rented the hotel room for a place for them to go when she was not “working”, but went there one day and ran into one of her johns. The client told him his money was paying for the prostitute to have sex with customers on her days off. Angry at being used, he lashed with the knife.
Mac finds Sonny Sassone (Michael DeLuise), the leader of the Tanglewood Boys. Sonny denies being involved in any crime, of course! Mac tells him he should be worried.
Det. Lindsay Monroe (Anna Belknap) finds DNA on a cigarette butt found at the stadium which links someone at the lab to the crime. She shows it to Danny, who realizes he needs to talk to Mac.
As he explains that the DNA is his, it’s obvious Danny is about to share something big. He needs a friend more than he needs a boss. Mac agrees to listen, but says Danny should tell him everything.
Talk about a whopper! Danny’s older brother, Louie, is one of the Tanglewood boys. The night the kid was killed, Danny made the serious error of being with Louie. When they arrived, the kid was in the trunk of a car, badly beaten and bruised. Danny tried to stop proceedings, but Louie forced Danny to leave the scene. Danny’s cigarette hit Louie’s chest, and Louie tucked the remaining portion behind his ear. Danny left before anything happened.
As I watched Danny pour out his heart, I understood just how much courage and strength of character it took for Danny to take action. Not only did he not destroy evidence implicating him of a crime, he went to his boss himself and owned up to it. Could this be a new beginning for the tough as nails cop?
Mac goes to talk to Louie to see if his version of events matches up with what Danny told him. Louie says he only wants to protect his brother. Mac tells him to be careful, since the Tanglewood boys would not be happy to learn he was talking to a cop.
When Louie is beaten up within inches of his life, he is rushed to the hospital. Did Danny meet him secretly? I’m not sure, but it would have been a lot easier for Danny to have called 911 and ordered an ambulance. Mac did this close to a year ago when a gunman opened fire on Mac’s favorite diner in “What You See Is What You See.” At any rate, Danny knows Louie could die at any minute.
The rest of the team gets to the hospital. Lindsay is sent after Louie’s personal effects, and Flack remains at the hospital to make sure Danny and the Tanglewood boys do not cross paths.
Louie was wearing a wire, and the resulting tape makes Sonny Sassone directly involved with Mac Taylor’s case. When Danny hears it, he understands the risks Louie took to clear his name, and why his big brother wanted him gone that night long ago. He tells Louie he knows the truth, he loves him, and he forgives him. There may be no coming out of a coma for the Tanglewood man.
When Danny leaves the hospital room, Mac is waiting. He asks how Danny is holding up, which is when Danny breaks down in tears. Mac lets him sob for a minute before grabbing him and holding him close. You know, Danny and Mac are more than friends and colleagues. They have enough of an age difference to be father and son. Carmine and Gary really have played this relationship well over two seasons! While their characters can be rough edged, they are good cops who have rubbed off on each other. Danny has learned well what it means to do solid police work with the proper procedures. Mac knows he can trust Danny.
Stella gets a visit from her boyfriend, Frankie. He brings a gift for her. It’s a statue which Frankie says means “soul of a woman” in Peruvian. When he leaves, she looks up the word on Google. Stella realizes the statue’s name is her last name, backwards. She clicks the website Google offers, and is shocked at what she finds.