Say what you will about city crime, but it always comes down to the person or persons responsible. It's one thing for someone to defend against a home invasion, yet quite another if death comes to a criminal for reasons less clear cut.
For Det. Don Flack (Eddie Cahill), being a cop has an advantage — those who break the law are required to deal with consequences. As the son of a law enforcement officer, he gladly followed in his father's footsteps. A badge means more to him than it simply being a job identification symbol. After a teenager dies while in his custody, the resulting investigation leaves him breathless.
This just might have been Eddie Cahill's best work in the past five seasons. He aptly portrayed a full range of emotions as the episode unfolded. Should there have been a double-check of what happened? Of course there should have. For all the department knew, they could have had a bad cop on their hands who crossed the line one too many times. However, having one's guilt assumed at the outset is hard for an innocent person to take, and I was glad to see the depth of Flack's worry explored.
How could someone who was fine when first questioned be dead not long after he got to the police station? Gary Sinise played his part to perfection, gathering evidence so doubt could be quickly laid to rest. Mac Taylor is loyal to his friends, but is willing to take down anyone if he finds them to be a bad apple. I find it hard to imagine what the scene would have been if Flack had to be arrested, but I also realize these two actors are experienced enough to handle the job.
Emmanuelle Vaugier came back to play Det. Angell again, and her acting chops shone as she defended her partner with a take no prisoners style. My only problem was when she got upset over people knowing about their relationship. Did she honestly believe no one would notice?
Mixed in with all of this was the death of a coach. You'll have to watch for yourself, but the truth was a tad lackluster. Themes from previous seasons are starting to repeat themselves. This is New York, one would think the writers could be more creative with their storylines. I will say this — using plots with a focus on the city is a smart move. It helps remind viewers of why they should be watching.
I get the impression the toned down approach of this episode is in preparation for February Sweeps. Ratings are really looked at then (and in November and May too), so expect to see some of the biggest challenges taken care of during that period.