Thursday, April 15, 2010

CSI:NY “Redemptio” Recap & Review

Photo from CBS
Last night’s episode of CSI:NY (CBS) was fittingly titled “Redemptio” which is Latin for “redemption through suffering” and can also mean a request for forgiveness. Both translations can apply to Dr. Sheldon Hawkes (Hill Harper), who has kept a secret for many years: he had a sister who had a drug problem and she was murdered, Hawkes being ashamed of her drug addiction. But Hawkes gets his forgiveness and redemption in a strange way – via a death row prisoner and a prison break.

The CSI franchise knows how to use music to complement the story, and in this case, the music of Ozzie Osbourne was featured. I have never been much of an Ozzie fan, but the music certainly fit the theme of the show.

Hawkes finds himself called to witness the execution of a man that he does not know, Reggie Tifford (Harold Perrineau), who, as he is being led away to his execution, admits to Hawkes that he killed Hawkes' sister Maya. Things take a major turn when a prison guard at the execution suddenly drops dead, giving Reggie a temporary stay. Hawkes calls Mac Taylor (Gary Sinise) as he believes this was a murder. Meanwhile, one of the other guards attacks one of the security people, kills him, and in the process, opens all the prison cell doors. A riot ensures, and Hawkes is trapped.

Lucky for Hawkes, Reggie helps him find cover, and also arranges for Hawkes to disguise himself as an inmate so the others don’t find out Hawkes is with the police. Hawkes also spots incarcerated killer Shane Casey (Edward Furlong) and sees Casey walking away with a guard. Hawkes wonders if it wasn’t Reggie that killed the guard in order to delay his execution, but instead thinks Casey did it in order to stage a prison break. As Hawkes and Reggie hide in a storeroom to plan their next step, Reggie tells Hawkes that his sister was clean of the drugs, something that Hawkes did not know.

While the CSI NY team tries to figure out how to break Hawkes out of there, Hawkes and Reggie work to figure out who was behind the murders and the prison break. When Hawkes realizes that Casey is behind the killing of the guard by poisoning him with arsenic derived from peach pits, Casey manages to get Hawkes and Reggie locked inside his cell. Hawkes has to be creative, using sulfuric acid from a cell phone battery, in order to eat through one of the cell bars so they can squeeze out.

A dangling storyline from a previous episode gets brought to the forefront when Danny Messer (Carmine Giovinazzo) is forced to admit that his ID and shield were stolen weeks ago. He admits that when he recovered his grandfather’s dog tag that was stolen at the same time, it had Casey’s fingerprint on it, and it is likely that his shield is now being used to impersonate a prison guard in order to get Casey out. We also find that Casey has an accomplice outside the prison that is holding the guard’s family hostage unless the guard did what Casey wanted in order to get him out. After the guard gives Casey a police uniform and a gun, Casey rewards him by shooting and killing him. But as Casey tries to make his exit, Reggie catches up with him and Reggie gets shot and killed by police waiting outside, as they assume that Reggie is fighting with a cop, not another inmate. When Hawkes tries to tell the waiting police that Casey is not a cop, Casey identifies himself as Danny Messer and makes an easy exit, while Hawkes is cuffed. Later, presumably after Hawkes identity is made clear, Hawkes is welcomed back by his team, and then visits the grave of his sister.

Despite the improbabilities in this episode – the ease that the prison was overtaken, the ease in which Hawkes was able to break out of the cell, the coincidence that Hawkes was even called there by Reggie at the same time Casey was planning his break – the episode was fast paced and provided an interesting look into the background of Hawkes. It also was a great feature for Hill Harper, who doesn’t seem to get a big share of the limelight as often as he should. It was also a rare episode in the CSI franchise which wasn’t overwhelmed by the glitz and flash of special effects, instead using music to enhance the frenzy of the situation in the prison. Now that Shane Casey is out, I am sure that we will be seeing him again in another case somewhere down the road. I am sure Sheldon Hawkes will be waiting.

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1 comment:

Sara said...

Thanks for reviewing what has to be the best of the CSI franchises. An admitted former-fan of CSI Miami, I have changed loyalties to CSI NY. Unfortunately, I missed this episode. CSI NY's writing, acting and directing is hands down the best. Nothing cheesy and I much prefer the NY shooting locales to those of Miami. I also admire Gary Sinise's off-screen activities with our U.S. troops.