After processing an accident, Det. Mac Taylor (Gary Sinise) reminds Det. Stella Bonasera (Melina Kanakaredes) she has been working a lot of overtime recently. Homicide Det. Don Flack (Eddie Cahill) assures her they have control, and Stella heads home to her apartment building for a long rest.
It doesn't take long before she starts coughing. Yelling in the hallway jerks her awake, and Stella realizes a fire has broken out. Once the fire department lets people back inside, the enormity hits hard. Mac soon arrives with a cup of coffee and a warm hug. They both understand what could have been lost.
Dr. Sheldon Hawkes (Hill Harper) and Det. Lindsay Monroe (Anna Belknap) assist in the effort to figure out the fire. Flack tells them arson is suspected, and a corpse has been found in the ashes. Due to incineration, there is not much to work with. However, an ID is found nearby for Sean Nolan (Ron Melendez General Hospital: Night Shift). Flack discovers a history of arson, which makes Sean the prime suspect. He is ruled out, but questions remain.
Lindsay calls Det. Danny Messer (Carmine Giovinazzo), who says if there is anything he can do for Stella, he will. The abruptness of his tone confuses Lindsay, but he hangs up before he can question him. She doesn't realize he has had an overnight visitor - Rikki Sandoval (Jacqueline Pino Lincoln Heights), the mother of Ruben, Danny's young neighbor, who died during a bodega robbery. Danny felt responsible when it happened, since he was supposed to watch Ruben at the time.
Only now have Danny and Lindsay gotten to talk about it. Lindsay is upset Danny did not try and share his feelings with her. After all, she lived through seeing several friends die ("Silent Night"). Worse yet, she fell in love with Danny. Now she has to walk away from the relationship.
Adam Ross (AJ Buckley), a CSI technician, helps crack the case wide open. He does a chemical analysis of a note Stella found behind her dresser. It is a link to the people living next door. Mac, Stella, and Flack rush to a rooftop where two children are sound asleep.
Both Bailey O'Dell (Destiny Grace Whitlock October Road) and Austin Tanner (Austin Reed Whitlock) were abducted by Bonnie Dillard (Kimberly Quinn Two and a Half Men, House M.D.) who thought she could do a better job of raising them than their parents.
Clearly, the production team of CSI:NY is making up for time lost during the writers strike. Not only did an extra death get put in at the start, the Ruben Sandoval storyline popped up again. A little cluttered, if you ask me. Perhaps the best thing is to see Lindsay and Danny start the road to breakup. These two have never been the best team in the world. In fact, the only intimacy they've had is sex after a game of pool ("Snow Day"). Rikki slept with Danny because she knows he feels guilty? Sheesh, talk about disappointing.
I realize Mac and Stella are close, but I would have liked to see Flack come through the door to Stella's apartment. For this reason - the impression has been Flack joining the force because law enforcement runs in his family rather than helping people.
Nice to see Adam again! He and Dr. Sid Hammerback (Robert Joy) always provide the comic bits during the show. The elevator scene was a decent touch, but the relief at not seeing Stella hurt showed off AJ Buckley's acting chops.
Also published on Blogcritics.