CSI: New York--'Prey'

Discussion in 'CSI Files News Items' started by CSI Files, Apr 10, 2009.

  1. CSI Files

    CSI Files Captain

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    <p><b>Synopsis:</b><p>An NYPD tip line receives a picture of the body of Marshall Baxter, who is found dead in the vocal studio at the theater where he gives lessons. Dr. Hawkes determines the man's body temperature was 86 degrees, putting his time of death at midnight the previous evening. Stella notices an indentation in the wall left by a fist, and Mac and Flack find the theater director, James Copeland, has a bruised, red hand. Copeland admits to scuffling with Baxter because the dead man always took his parking space, but adamantly denies killing him. The team pores over the evidence, including volcanic ash and a ceramic tile, while Sid determines that Baxter died of exsanguination from a gunshot wound, but notes that the killer pulled the bullet out of Baxter's body. Sid is perplexed by the fact that the body is still in rigor, and theorizes it was exposed to a cold temperature of some sort. Danny finds a spoke card from a member of the Brooklyn Bruisers, a local bike polo team, with a number written on the back of it in Baxter's pocket. When Stella calls the number, she reaches a "rejection hotline," leading her and Danny to question the spoke card's owner, Gavin Skidmore. Gavin tells them that he got the number from a cute Chelsea University student named Odessa, but that he never called the number--as soon as she walked away, an angry guy approached him claiming to be her boyfriend and ripped the card out of his hand. Back at the lab, Adam is able to determine that the photo of Baxter's body was taken with a Blackberry, and find traces of CO2 on the ceramic shard. Mac realizes the body was exposed to dry ice, which let off CO2 gas as it melted--and altered Baxter's body temperature, putting the time of death at 5 AM rather than midnight.<p>Mac assembles the team to discuss the bizarre evidence, and Stella puts it together: the connection is her. She gave a lecture two months ago at Chelsea University, discussing past cases and what evidence led the team to various murderers. Stella goes to her old professor to get a list of students in the class while Flack and Hawkes scour Baxter's messy apartment for clues. Hawkes discovers a hidden box filled with photographs of two women, who were clearly unaware they were being photographed. Hawkes realizes Baxter was a stalker, striking a nerve with the doctor and bringing back memories of the assault on his ex-girlfriend Kara. Flack is able to track down a record on Baxter, who was arrested four years ago for aggravated assault. The woman Baxter stalked in Rhode Island, Carrie Langdon, committed suicide six months ago. Flack pays a visit to her bereaved brother Phillip, who blames Baxter and the police that failed to protect Carrie for her death. After telling Flack about how he witnessed his sister's fatal jump, Phillip gives Flack his alibi and tells the detective to contact his lawyer if he wants more. Back at the lab, Stella is unable to tie any of the nineteen students from the Chelsea University class to Baxter, though she is able to tie the planted evidence to a museum near the university. Danny and Hawkes investigate the other woman who accused Baxter of stalking, Dana Melton. They obtain an MP3 of her testimony from Boston PD and listen to the young woman relate how Baxter followed and terrified her. Hawkes matches the picture of Dana the Boston PD sent to the ones he found in the box beneath Baxter's bed.<p>When shown the pictures of Dana, Gavin Skidmore confirms she's the woman he knows as Odessa, and recalls that she had a singing gig somewhere nearby. Stella overhears Mac listening to the MP3 of Dana's testimony and recognizes her voice from the Q&A session of her guest lecture. Going through Baxter's receipts, the CSIs canvass a neighborhood that he frequented in the hopes of finding Dana. They get lucky when a mailman recognizes her and points them in the direction of the building where she lived. The building manager shows Mac, Flack and Hawkes to her apartment, but they find it completely cleaned out. Mac and Hawkes turn back to Baxter's possessions, which unsettles Hawkes further, leading him to point out that Dana was driven to kill Baxter. Hawkes finds a flier for the Lemon Drop Room, and Mac recalls that Dana had a singing gig. Mac and Hawkes go to the Lemon Drop Room and find Dana finishing up her set. When she steps off the stage, Mac flashes his badge. He regretfully arrests her, even though she pleads with him to let her go. Hawkes points out to her that without a formal confession from her, it will be very hard to win a conviction.<p><b>Analysis:</b><p><i>CSI: New York</i> slyly addresses the "CSI Effect" in an episode that also delves into a serious failing of the law. Ever since <i>CSI</i> and its spin-offs became popular, we've been hearing about the "CSI Effect," where juries expect copious amounts of evidence in order to convict someone of a crime. In this case, it's something of the reverse: Stella gives a course on how various criminals nearly got away with crimes and the evidence that finally led the CSIs to them. Astute longtime viewers will recall the cases Stella references from several second and third season episodes: Pauline Rayburne's mummified body was discovered in <A class="link" HREF="http://www.csifiles.com/episodes/newyork/season3/not_look_it_looks_like.shtml">"Not What It Looks Like"</a>, Sara Jackson met her sad fate in <A class="link" HREF="http://www.csifiles.com/episodes/newyork/season3/open_and_shut.shtml">"Open and Shut"</a>, while Stella and Hawkes investigated Lauren Redgrave's death in <A class="link" HREF="http://www.csifiles.com/episodes/newyork/season2/city_of_the_dolls.shtml">"City of the Dolls"</a>. Dana didn't pull any punches: rather than lifting one or two ideas from the lecture, she took them all, gathering a variety of substances such as volcanic ash and hair from a yak to plant on the body in order to mislead investigators. She didn't stop there: she took the fatal bullet from Baxter's body and covered his body in dry ice in order to throw off the time of death determination. Of course, she didn't take into account the fact that in the absence of physical evidence leading them to a concrete conclusion, the CSIs would look to Baxter's life to determine who might have a connection to him--or a reason to want him dead. Changing her name may have slowed the CSIs down, but what Dana should have taken from Stella's lecture was that the CSIs will find a way to connect the dots from victim to killer.<p>That being said, Dana did a pretty job of eluding the team and in the end it was really Baxter's only crime--his relentless stalking of her--that led the team to her, via the pictures in his apartment and the complaint she filed against him in Boston. Like <A class="link" HREF="http://www.csifiles.com/episodes/newyork/season4/commuted_sentences.shtml">"Commuted Sentences"</a>, "Prey" delves into issues of crimes against women that aren't adequately addressed by the law. In "Commuted Sentences," the perpetrators were rapists who managed to beat the system; here it is a stalker whose crimes aren't covered by the letter of the law despite the fact that they most certainly violate its spirit. It is Hawkes who proves to be the most vocal critic of the inability of the law to protect victims of stalkers. This is in part because of his personal experience with his ex-girlfriend, Kara, first introduced in <A class="link" HREF="http://www.csifiles.com/episodes/newyork/season5/help.shtml">"Help"</a> who was the victim of a rapist who wasn't caught until years after the crime was committed. The investigation of the murder of Baxter brings those demons back to the forefront for Hawkes, but it's safe to say that Hawkes speaks for the audience as well when he points out that "no one has the right to do this to another person."<p><HR ALIGN="CENTER" SIZE="1" WIDTH="45%" COLOR="#007BB5"><p>To read the full reviews, please click <A HREF="http://www.csifiles.com/reviews/csi/prey.shtml">here</A>.<center></center>
     
  2. mandy9578

    mandy9578 CSI Level Two

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    Great review Kristine. :D

    I think Dana would have gotten away with murder (excuse the pun :lol:) if she just didn't use everything Stella taught in that lecture. It was overkill that set alarm bells in Stella's mind.

    I liked how the episode flashbacked to previous cases and somehow doing an effort at continuity.

    I loved how this episode let Hawkes shine. :D He was really great in conveying that frustration with an imperfect legal system. He's not alone. A lot of people share the same sentiment, especially in my profession. Sometimes, people feel like it's a losing battle.

    I loved how subdued Flack was in this one. To me, it was as if Flack was carrying the weight of the world on his shoulders when he was interviewing Phillip, showing just how grave and dire the situation was.

    When I heard that Katherine McPhee was doing a guest appearance on New York, I was pretty wary. I don't like stunt casting but I've got to say, she made the most of her screen time. She was quite convicing in her performance of a woman at the end of her tether. However, I just wish TPTB would minimize doing stunt casting.

    I just thought that whole F/A scene at the beginning was pretty superfluous and unnecessary. Sure, Flack and Angell have chemistry; Sure, I'd love to see the characters when they're off the clock...But an unnecessary make out session? No thanks. You are right in pointing out that the light moments were few and far between. All in all, this episode was pretty much subdued but definitely quite sobering.
     
  3. Faylinn

    Faylinn Adam Fangirl Super Moderator

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    Excellent review, as always. :)

    I definitely loved the personal moments with Hawkes and Flack in this one, particularly their scene together. They're two interesting characters who don't interact nearly as much as they should.

    The moments of continuity were also nice to see - they at least remember season 2, even if they've completely blocked out season 1. :p Now, since they're thinking about season 2, maybe they'll give us some Louie continuity. I know, I know - I ask for too much, but I can't help it. ;)

    The scene with Flack and Angell was hot - not strictly necessary, but hot nonetheless.

    And it's pretty obvious that they're really building up their relationship so that Angell's death will have more of an impact. If she wasn't dying, I doubt they'd have put that scene in - at least not so soon.

    Granted, I would have liked the scene regardless of what I know happens later this season, but knowing why they're pushing it makes it easier to forgive them for including several minutes of romantic time. :p

    Yeah, the overkill was...well, overkill.
     
  4. Carrieattheprom

    Carrieattheprom Lab Technician

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    There sure were an unusual amount of Continuity Nods in this episode. I was surprised to see so many in a show that's unsually more sporadic about such things.

    Yeah, that was overkill using all of the examples that Stella had given. Just one or two would have been fine.(Removing the bullet and altering the time of death, though I wonder how the dear girl carried around that dry ice.)

    Flack and Angell: HOT HOT HOT! That was very fun to watch!
     
  5. csi addict

    csi addict Civilian

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    I believe you are correct that arresting Dana was not something that Mac took any pleasure in doing but I also don't think that look he gave to Hawkes was a 'high five way to go buddy" look either. I think he was a little miffed with the way Hawkes stepped up and basically told Dana to keep her mouth shut.
    Oh and by the way if Hawkes hadn't said anything about the picture on the post outside of Dana's apt. Mac wouldn't have gone to the club and Hawke could have done exactly what Stella did when she went and warned her foster sister that she was going to have to come back the next day as a cop.
     
  6. Ceindreadh

    Ceindreadh Pathologist

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    It was being used in the theatre where she killed the guy, so she wouldn't have had to carry it all that far, and likely as not, there would have been gloves/tools etc available to handle it with.

    Meh to her acting though. When Mac was there to arrest her my first thought was "please, charge with bad acting at least"
     
  7. church2001

    church2001 Witness

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    I can't help but wonder if this episode came up a couple minutes short in the editing booth. The flashbacks seemed to pad out the length of the episode especially since we see one flashback (the suicide) twice.

    I think Katherine McPhee's appearance worked but it may have to do with the fact she's had acting experience (even though the movie was The House Bunny).
     
  8. recoba__20

    recoba__20 Victim

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    Nice Review as always .. :p .. !!
    I didnt like Hawkes when he crammed in his situation with Kara his ExGf .. when talking to Flack .. it seemed so random and out of the bluee .. !!
    Y3nee we dont hear about her for 4 seasons .. and now we hear about her alot .. :p .. !!
    It didnt seem right .. !!
     

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