Thursday, October 1, 2009

CSI: NY - A Deadly “Blacklist”

Mac Taylor - Computer airbrushed, or spackled? (Photo CBS)

A hacker who uses his skills to murder is the theme behind CSI: NY “Blacklist.” His murderous intentions include a personal ‘cat and mouse” game with Mac Taylor (Gary Sinise). One thing is for certain, one can always count on the CSI franchise's incredible manner and speed in which they solve crimes. Before I chop the episode apart, I want to state that despite its flaws, I found it to be an enjoyable hour of television.

The murders start when a man finds himself in a bad area of town because he put all his faith in his GPS, which lead him to the Bronx instead of mid town Manhattan. For me, whenever I travel someplace new, I always look at an on-line map first just to be sure I know where I am headed. But not this guy. Not only had someone hijacked his GPS, but his emergency calls, and the operation of his car. When the hacker turns on the car alarm that caused the horn to blare and the lights to flash, he becomes a sitting duck for robbery and murder - because we know that everyone in a "bad neighborhood" will rob and murder at the slightest chance.

The second murder involved the hacker managing to access a restaurant ordering system so he could make sure that his targeted diner would be eating something that included peanut, which drove the diner into an allergic shock. The hacker was also able to hack into the 911 call and have it diverted to his own phone.

Meanwhile, the CSI lab uses all the electronics at its disposal in order to not only use facial recognition to pick out the identities of suspects from grainy security video, but also to attempt tot track the location of the hacker. It all looks so easy, that for a minute I think I am watching an episode of CSI Miami.

But things get personal – you know, criminals out there always want to make it personal – when the hacker – who was called the Grave Digger, decides to taunt Mac. During this process, we are given a diatribe on all the ills of the health care system these days. I don’t mind when shows insert some political commentary in their themes, but I think I like them to be a little less obvious or flagrant. We also see flashbacks of Mac when his own father was dying of lung cancer, and I found myself laughing at what was either a computer enhanced face, or makeup done by a mortician, on Mac Taylor to make him appear younger. His face looked either electrically airbrushed, or filled with spackle - you decide. It was both funny and creepy to say the least. So while Mac is recalling coming back from the service to be with his dying dad, I was distracted by that weird looking face they gave him.

By the way, it seems that Danny (Carmine Giovinazzo) is back to work, but still in his wheelchair, Lindsay (Anna Belknap) is back to work but the baby (I think) spit up on her clothes, and Flack (Eddie Cahill) is still trying to work through Angell’s death. But all three of these stories take a back seat to Mac in this episode, seeing that criminals always seem to want to target the boss.

While they make the connections to the first two murder victims, they realize who will be the next target: Lisa Kim, who worked at the medical facility where Grave Digger had been turned away for health care after his insurance ran out. Despite the fact that she is described as extremely claustrophobic, she gets into an elevator, and freaks out quickly when she realizes that she is trapped. If she was that claustrophobic, I can’t see her even stepping in to an elevator in the first place. She began to panic quickly and seemingly neared death from her own fright within seconds. It was hard to believe. But of course, the CSI NY team had managed to track her down and Mac got there with Hawkes (Hill Harper) to save her before she died of fright.

Eventually they catch up to the Grave Digger and get him to the hospital before he dies on them. Mac has saved the day again.

While this episode kept me entertained for an hour, I wouldn’t say it was one of their best. I don’t understand why crime shows have to create criminal characters that always want to target someone on the law enforcement team and make it personal. CSI NY is not the only show that does this, which is why it seems like such an overused theme. Another overused theme is flashbacks, especially when they try to make the person who is flashing back look a lot younger. It’s distracting, and a younger Mac Taylor looked a little creepy. Otherwise, it’s nice to know that the CSY NY, like all the others in the CSI franchise, can solve crimes with lightning speed. Maybe we should let Mac Taylor and his CSIs loose on the health care system?

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