Thursday, October 9, 2008

CSI NY “Turbulence” A Smooth Ride

The episode of CSI NY which aired last night, "Turbulence", was probably one the better episodes in the CSI franchise that I’ve seen in a while. Detective Mac Taylor (Gary Sinise) is on a fight from New York to Washington DC. It seems that someone murdered an air marshal in one of the plane lavatories. The problem is, the person is not really an air marshal, the real air marshal having been murdered back in his New York hotel room.

There were several things that made the episode interesting. The most obvious was the fact that the crime scene was outside their normal realm of the city. Mac also had to improvise to collect evidence and document the scene. I do question being able to use lipstick, an airsickness back, and a camera phone to get viable fingerprints, or at least any that can be easily identified from a camera phone picture. Still, I didn’t find it too bothersome because it seemed like a very creative way to try to get the murder victim identified in the absence of an ID.

The episode also succeeded because it focused more on the story and less on special effects. Every show in the CSI franchise seems to get caught up in stylizing the forensics; CSI Miami is the worst offender of the bunch, and CSI NY seemed to be adding more of it. But in this episode, there wasn’t as much of it as usual and I think it helped make the story seem more credible.

I have to admit, though, that I noticed early on that the flight attendant Susan Montgomery (Michaela McManus) wasn’t wearing her airline wings on her blouse, so when it was determined that Anton Greenway (Ben Youcef) was stabbed, I concluded she likely committed the murder. It does seem a little hard to believe that she didn’t get more blood on herself while doing so, though, and I wonder if those wing pins are really sturdy enough to do the job. And why didn't they make the connection sooner that she had also worked for the same place that the victim and other suspect had previously worked? It seemed that once they found money stashed on the plane, an inside job would have been the logical conclusion, and anyone working on the plane should have rapidly moved up high on the list of suspects. A side note on McManus: she is the new ADA on Law & Order SVU, and I wasn’t surprised play the role as the flight attendant in the same wooden fashion she plays the ADA on SVU.

There were a few funny interludes. One was with Ed Riley (Justin Shilton) who was the quirky guy sitting next to Mac on the plane with his “wig lock” invention. Another was when Adam (AJ Buckley) had to sift through the airplane lavatory waste to find evidence. I’m sure his statement “I hate poop” will go down as being one of his most memorable lines.

The show even had a few decent red herrings. One was in nightclub owner Terrence Davis (recording artist Nelly). He had peripheral involvement in the crime, but he may have set himself up for repeat appearances since he now sold his soul to Flack (Eddie Cahill) as a confidential informant, in order to get away from harsher prosecution. I suspect we will see him again in another episode, either as informant, criminal, or murder victim. The other red herring was the guy who seemed to be married to two women in two cities. Mac seemed to hone in on him a little too quickly though, which made me discount him as the murderer just as quickly.

Mac also seemed a little too surprised that he couldn’t hold the passengers longer than 24 hours. It does seem odd to me that if a murder occurs in such an enclosed, isolated environment like an airborne airplane, it isn’t enough for the detectives to get a warrant faster or hold people a little longer. I guess that's just the way the law works.

All in all, a decent episode. And while I used to not like CSI NY so much, it’s rapidly moving up on my list as one of may favorite shows. In fact, I see little turbulence ahead for CSI NY.

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