New York may be known for providing activities any time of day, but crime accomplishes the task without any help. For the NYPD evidence team led by Det. Mac Taylor (Gary Sinise), this night will keep them up for a long time.
A bartender is shot during a robbery. Even though she is not killed, a crime scene still exists. Mac, Det. Stella Bonasera (Melina Kanakaredes), Det. Danny Messer (Carmine Giovinazzo), and Det. Lindsay Monroe (Anna Belknap) arrive and begin processing evidence. Det. Don Flack (Eddie Cahill) has already put out an All Points Bulletin for a suspect. When he is brought back for the bouncer to ID, the team is shocked to discover the man is Dr. Sheldon Hawkes (Hill Harper), the newest member of the evidence team.
To say this isn't good is an understatement. All team members are pulled off the case, avoiding conflict of interest.
While the team is frustrated, to put it mildly, another case happens at an adult entertainment facility. Mac tells Stella to go, and orders Danny there as well. Danny is a good cop, but his temper is the last thing needed now. Danny goes, yet continues to consider how the bouncer could be so positive about Hawkes.
Det. Jessica Angell (Emanuelle Vangier) is the homicide detective handling things, and their victim is lying on the floor. The cause of death is easy enough: gunshot. The man is a junkie, and he was probably killed by another one.
Back at the lab, the team has to stand by while others do the testing needed to clear or prosecute Hawkes. It is especially hard for Stella, who goes to the morgue to find neither Dr. Sid Hammerback (Robert Joy) or Dr. Peyton Driscoll (Claire Forlani) in charge. They have both worked with Hawkes, and Peyton asks Stella to leave to avoid malfeasance. Stella is upset, but realizes Peyton is right. If Hawkes is to have any chance, emotions need to be kept out of it.
Mac, meanwhile, goes to the interrogation room where Hawkes is, and locks the door so the two can talk. Hawkes claims innocence, but guilty parties tend to say so frequently. The captain in charge is not happy, but Flack says Mac is only doing what the captain would if Flack was in Hawkes's shoes. Unfortunately, he is also the one who tells Mac the bartender died.