Monday, July 27, 2009

TV Review Warehouse 13 "Pilot"


Warehouse 13 is not the first science fiction series ever made on television, but it DOES have the distinction of being the first show out of the gate this summer. To make sure people remember, the SciFi Channel changed a familiar moniker to SyFy. Ugh! At least with option #1, there was never a question about what type of viewing someone would see upon tuning in.

Name kerfluffle aside, this quirky drama helps put itself on the map with a simple premise. Federal agents, specifically Secret Service operatives Pete Lattimer (Eddie McClintock) and Myka Bering (Joanne Kelly) are sent to a South Dakota barn thingie to protect America's best kept, well, secrets. Yes, I know what the show is called. The storage facility still looks like a giant barn. Watching over the assortment of items is Artie (Saul Rubinek), who sends Lattimer and Bering out on assignment whenever a whatsis escapes. All they have to do is catch the thing and drop into a neutralizer. Easy, right? Hardly.

McClintock and Kelly do a decent job of back and forth banter without going so far as to actually hate one another. Audiences quickly get to know the people behind the suits. Insert X-Files joke here. While both have issues, they are holding onto the job with a firm grip. Bering's backstory alone is worth more viewing. Someone close to her died while she was on assignment in Denver. My best guess is a former partner. Exactly what happened remains to be seen.

Lattimer also has a death in his past. A firefighter father who never made it out of a burning building. I get the impression he is fighting a substance abuse problem. Specifically, alcohol. Both of these agents need the other in order to heal. More importantly, they need a fresh start.

Enter Mrs. Frederic (CCH Pounder), whose past is virtually unknown at this point. She takes care of the official paperwork and sends Ms. Logical and Mr. Cutup to Artie. This mad scientist type quickly gives our intrepid duo a present - one furry ferret. The longus rodentus kind. No, it doesn't talk. Thank heavens. Off to Iowa they go!

The case has to be seen to be believed, but Lucretia Borgia figures heavily into the plot. Fire is also a huge presence. For the record, Lattimer's dad is only mentioned, not shown.

The two hour pilot is a bit long, especially the stuff before the opening credits. With any luck, the rest of the season will improve. it has to, since more than a few actors from other science fiction shows are said to be guest stars. Look for cast members of Eureka, Battlestar Galactica, and Stargate Atlantis to pop up at various times.

Speaking of guest stars, somebody needs to fix those credits! No names of regular cast members are placed with faces. This would have helped with the female lead role, Joanne Kelly. Although she may have been in the business for a bit, her face is not instantly recognizable like McClintock and Rubinek. Worse yet, no actor names shown beyond recurring characters. Whoops. The visual impact won't be lost if the people in a particular episode are given their due.

Warehouse 13 has a gigantic obstacle to overcome in its time slot at 9pm Tuesday nights. Why? America's Got Talent airs then too. DVR's should help, but usually there is a repeat not far from the original. In any case, Internet users will find episodes online for the watching.

On Blogcritics.

Book Review Retirement Can be Murder by Susan Santangelo


Retirement Can Be Murder A Carol and Jim Andrews Baby Boomer Mystery, by Susan Santangelo, is the first book in a new series which talks about life changes as seen through a woman's perspective. Carol Andrews has known for a while about the unhappiness her husband, Jim, experiences as part of his work environment. Even though he's younger than the typical age when most hang up their career hats, he is nevertheless surprised to deal with a bigger problem.

A man who specializes in post retirement planning is found dead in his office one day. This wouldn't be an issue if Jim hadn't been the one to discover the corpse. Whoops! Hijinks ensue as Carol races to prove the police wrong and show Jim is not the culprit they seek.

For a first time author, Santangelo does not do too badly with this selection. She captures well the anxiety of a wife who must face the reality of her life turning upside down. Good thing she has her friends to help.

These three characters are perhaps the best part of the book. Mary Alice, Nancy, and Claire are as different as they can be. However, the bond is a long one forged over time. They have gone through all parts of life - sicknesses, widowhood, seeing children grow up to finally leave home for good. As long as they have one another, though, they have the strength to continue on no matter what comes up.

In Carol's case, she has the additional snag in seeing her daughter come home from California. The boyfriend did not work out, but Jenny finds out for herself just how rotten her guy is. Readers with offspring will understand the dilemma - does a parent stay out of the way and let the child learn or try and stop disaster before it strikes? It's not an easy choice, but it must be made anyway.

I also like the character of Mark Anderson, whose cop career is at odds with his liking of a family who has known him for many years. They have watched him grow up, too. Does he ignore evidence to let a criminal get away with homicide? Since there is not exactly another suspect around, the task is a daunting one.

Santangelo, in additional to being a professional writer, is a breast cancer survivor of ten years. she helped found the Breast Cancer Survival Center in Connecticut. This facility gives support as well as education about cancer to those who have had treatment. A portion from each book sold goes to this group.

On Blogcritics.

Book Review Chicken Soup for the Soul Empty Nester's by Jack Hansen et al.


Chicken Soup for the Soul Empty Nesters, by Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen, Carol McAdoo Rehme,and Patricia Cena Evans, is exactly what it sounds like. A collection of short stories, poems, and whatnot which talk about life after children leave the house and start their own lives.

So what does the typical parent go through? It depends on the individual. Sometimes there is heartbreak one can no longer be responsible for the actions of an offspring. Relief might come into play as the young adult is finally leaving the house. Many parents find themselves starting completely over on a fresh journey of their own.

For Rehme, this book is stories which she can easily relate to. As a mother of four who flew the coop and started families, she is well experienced in the empty nest syndrome. Evans also understands this topic. She is a midwife by profession as well as a mentor to the women.

Wisely, the tales are taken from all sides. Those who had a child (or several) show just what being newly independent means. Offspring give readers glimpses inside a college dorm room or what happens after a relationship moves one into the realm of moving on.

"My Nice Surprise", authored by Cheryl Pierson, recalls a time when her daughter is three. Jessica gets a new baby brother, and Mom agrees to get her a gift when she buys him clothes. Suffice it to say Mom does not exactly plan on meeting Jessica's adopted buddy Simon that day, nor would she anticipate the effect he would have on their lives by the time Jessica is ready to move out.

"Send Cookies" from Jean Davidson shows a different kind of leaving. Jean's baby, now a teenager, informs his parents he wishes to join the military. The change he goes through to become a man is much further than any dream anybody could have for him.

"The Christmas Rose" and "Coming Home" are two sides of the same story. Keith Kilby has issues with illegal substances. Karen R. Kilby, Keith's mother, sees the trouble he's in and knows he is the only person who can get him on the path to redemption.

"Adam's Place" by Jean Padgett, is from the perspective of raising a child who has developmental problems. Adam must take a risk, but one small step enables him to thrive in his own unique way.

"For Better or For Worst" is a charming tale passed along by BJ Jensen. A son returning home is more than one might think. He must move in, and his pregnant soon to be wife comes along for the ride. Add in five dogs, aka the Bumpus Hounds, and one gets a recipe for smiles. Talk about an alarm system....

Sally Kelly-Engeman takes on a new challenge in "A Different Kind of Drummer" once she and her husband are once again living by themselves. Let the belly dancing begin! First things first. Some lessons are in order, which involves finding a group of fourteen (plus Sally) whose interest in the sultry movements is peaking so an instructor can be brought in. The results peak her husband's interest too.

Change is imminent when Stephanie Welcher Thompson talks about being "On Edge". The cause has to do with her mom. After both daughters grow up and get going, there is the business of starting a new chapter in life. What better method than to fall in love once more? Thompson has to reconcile her feelings with a newly found

This short essay collection is divided into sections so a reader can start at the point where the heart resonates the most. However, there is something inside for each person who picks it up and sits down to peruse it.

One hundred and one bits of whatnot means also there will be some parts which do not appeal. Skipping those pieces should not detract from enjoyment in the least. When one has finished, just pass it along to someone else to read through.

Published on Blogcritics.

TV Review Eureka "Insane in the P-Brane"


Now that Jack Carter (Colin Ferguson) officially has his job back, the time is right for something go wrong in Eureka. This is quickly seen as a scientist named Drechmeyer (Brendan Baiser) refuses to let his partner get work done because he does not want to disturb the ghosts residing therein. How is he so sure they exist? The gadget he holds is glowing with green lights.

Okay, so there is a scientific explanation for what is taking place. Time Travel has something to do with it, which means a re-opening of Section 5. While Jack does not get to be fully briefed on the reason (security clearance, he is not on staff on Global Dynamics), Allison (Salli Richardson-Whitfield) agrees to introduce him to Tess Fontana (Jaime Lynn Newman) who is the department chairman.

The lady is a new character who is rumored to be a love interest for Jack. I find it a little hard to believe right now. She stands out with her red hair, but talks way too much. Viewers will more than likely see her again before the season is out.

Lexi (Ever Carradine) has her own encounter with a newcomer, albeit a slightly unwelcome one. Duncan, the guy who apparently gets her pregnant. I tend to doubt he is around simply to try and work things out. Doesn't the fact she left without telling him she was going or looking back say anything? My antennae went up as he promises to go only if he can meet the new guy in her life. Enter Fargo (Neil Grayston)! Well, this is clearly a red herring. Jack needs to know about Duncan's showing up in town, but at least Jo (Erica Cerra) is aware.

The sliding saltshakers are a nice touch. In what might be my imagination, I should point out a flying blue box appears to not be tied down. The reference to Dr. Who comes up fast. Especially since Duncan works for the World Health Organization, and has his Ph.D. This moment makes me smile. A guest star from the huge hit of a series would be nice. Say, David Tennant or perhaps Catherine Piper. Someone from the cast of Torchwood could also work. Schedules can always be worked out.

This last half of the third season is going on the premise 'something is coming'. So far, these first three episodes are a bit slow in regards to explanations. Global Dynamics is gathering its forces, though. Which makes Tess and Duncan arriving seem like perfect sense. Zane (Niall Matter) is not always around. I prefer his company over either of the others. He's the closest thing to a sex symbol since Ed Quinn left. Besides, his charm is delightful to watch.

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TV Review Eureka "Your Face or Mine"


Jack's back! Sort of. When Jack Carter (Colin Ferguson) finds out he cannot be fired without written consent of the mayor, he is relieved ("Welcome Back Carter"). Henry Deacon (Joe Morton) won't let him be sent packing out of town. There is however, one small issue left.

Carter must be reinstated by passing a series of tests which, in the words of Dr. Allison Blake (Salli Richardson-Whitfield), head of Global Dynamics and link to the Pentagon, will 'push him to the limit'. He does get a panic button of sorts to stop if things get too hairy. Now, this also disqualifies him from service. Talk about an incentive. Jo Lupo (Erica Cerra), Carter's deputy, gets a perfect score. I have a feeling her military training has something to do with it. She has to take over for forty eight hours while he goes through a test designed to fit his personality. Sure enough, he just has one task. Push a button against an opposite wall. Leave it to the special effects team for a disappearing floor! Don't worry, Carter is safely stuck in the middle.

Colin Ferguson directed this episode, and it worked okay. I find it a little odd he would not use the opportunity to focus on just how critical he is to Eureka. After all, he's the lead role. The one character viewers are guaranteed to see each week. Ferguson decides, however, to give someone else a chance. Lupo has to step up. Hmmm....

It seems both Carter and Lupo are street smart but not necessarily science oriented. How in the world does he not figure out the simplest solution to his puzzle? The answer is already in his hand. Or, to be more specific, his pocket. She manages to arrest Larry Haberman without evidence, only a lame excuse - he enjoys stealing.

Zane Donovan (Niall Matter) is more than a little confused as well. Why would Jo suddenly take an interest in Fargo (Neil Grayston)? Opposites attracting happens to be an understatement in their case. The strong independent woman and the nerd whose greatest asset is in the lab. Beauty versus serious brains. The tipping point is when Jo actually kisses Fargo! Somehow, I doubt Grayston never kisses before this episode is taped. Any actor who has been in the business for a while learns a trick or two down the line. Especially since more than a few spend time on a soap opera as part of a resume.

DNA plays a major role in this episode. So does identity theft. I know the easiest way to handle the job - have Cerra play two roles. The twist is only the beginning. My favorite part? Seeing Matter's face as he questions someone he may care very much about. He isn't stupid enough to completely trust. After all, he just possibly caused the stock market to crash ("Bad to the Drone"). I get the impression this has never been quite proven to beyond a reasonable doubt. Otherwise, he would have been fired long ago. Still, he gets a response only one other person would know. I won't tell what happens next, but it works.

Fargo, in his own way, discovers even more of the puzzle. Only he would get himself trapped with the prime suspect. Painful secrets are shared, by both of them. A bond is made. Whether or not this relationship goes the same way Lupo and Donovan remains to be seen. The whole storyline may just pop up later.

Any big plot similar to say, the Artifact, is on the back burner for now. Which may change as soon as next week now that Carter is securely in position as Sheriff. Whatever takes place, Jordan Hinson needs more singing opportunities! Being Zoe, Carter's daughter, gives her little screen time. Even with a few words, though, I can tell she has solid vocal qualities. Christopher Gauthier, who plays Vincent, is pretty much there for comic relief. He could use an episode focused mostly on him. Perhaps something which involves Dr. Jim Taggart (Matt Frewer)? The animal guy in Global Dynamics has been away ever since Henry was arrested for creating a fake crisis which could have killed Kevin, Allison's son ("A Night at Global Dynamics").

So far, these past two episodes have been a bit lackluster. Ed Quinn pretty much left the show, which means Nathan Stark and Jack Carter are not butting heads. Eva Thorne (Frances Fisher) left town, so the "Fixer" is not creating conflict. This opens the door to a new character or two, yet nobody has stepped up to the plate.

Tune in Fridays at 9pm for all new episodes of Eureka!

This article can also be found at Blogcritics.

TV Review Eureka "Welcome Back Carter"


"Welcome Back Carter"

When we were last in Eureka, Jack Carter (Colin Ferguson) has been removed from his position as town Sheriff. Why? Apparently, he disobeyed an order to hand Dr. Eva Thorn (Frances Fisher) to Department of Defense authorities since she engaged in a scheme to alter historical records ("From Fear to Eternity"). While the door has been left open to her return down the road, odds are that the town of smart people who have seience on the brain are not too likely to hear from her in the immediate future.

Depending on how one counts, this episode either kicks off the remainder of the third season or starts the fourth. Considering the stick-it-in-summer and be done with the thing, I see no problem with a fresh start. The term 'mid season premiere' works best when a show either starts in January and runs until May (think 24) OR it splits into chunks, like Monk and Psych do.

Carter now has to do something to earn a living. What better way than to interview with the Department of Homeland Security? After all, he was a U.S. Marshall prior to being hired as Sheriff. Daughter Zoe (Jordan Hinson) might not appreciate moving in the midst of the school year, but she goes where dad does. Jo Lupo (Erica Cerra) takes on the temporary responsibilities as lawperson in charge until a final decision can be made.

In ordinary circumstances, an underling without any other competition would be the natural replacement. However, Cerra has always played her character as someone with little in the way of people skills. She makes a great cop, but a sheriff position requires a different skill set than what Lupo has. Enter Andy! An android who looks remarkably human.

Ty Olssson does a nice job as Andy, the machine who does the job with almost too much efficiency. Some comic moments come as Olssson has to take on various things collapsing on top of him. These are sight gags one has to view to understand. At least Dr. Doug Fargo (Neil Grayston) is around to help get Andy working properly. For an android, that is.

I'll let you watch to see for yourself if what Carter's ultimate fate is. The interesting part is how things play out.

As Dr. Allison Blake, Salli Richardson-Whitfield has the dual responsibility of running Global Dynamics and being pregnant. I expected her to pop at any moment during this episode. I realize several months went by by airtime and where things ended previously. However. The only explanation I can think of Richardson-Whitfield being preggers onscreen and off. With both Allison and Lexi, Carter's sister (Ever Carradine), in the family way, it just appears a bit odd to have the one carrying twins with less poundage.

Yes, the baby is the offspring of Nathan Stark. Ed Quinn left the show, but it's not entirely unreasonable to think Stark might return when Allison breaks water. Assuming, of course, True Blood wrote into Quinn's contract an option to act in other shows while filming the one which the actor is currently working on.

Allison and Lexi aren't the only ones with new responsibilities. Dr. Henry Deacon (Joe Morton), newly elected mayor, also now has a job which requires him to deal with the public on a regular basis. Perhaps the writers should consider adding town council members into the script at some point. It would help with a plausible storyline for Henry.

About the only cast member who did not show up this week was Zane Donovan (Niall Matter). With such a sizable cast, a person not around is hardly surprising. Besides, I get the impression Matter has a contract which puts him equal to a recurring star. You know the ones, those not there each week, but often enough to be recognized immediately by regular viewers.

Now that Thorn appears to be gone, it's possible Dr. Jim Taggart will be back at the lab again at some point. Matt Frewer is adept at playing wacky, which he proved with his portrayal of Max Headroom a few years back. Exactly when has not been determined yet. Beverly Barlowe, played by Deborah Farentino, may or may not return. Anything is possible with this show.

I do have a small nit to discuss. Watch those promos! They serve a purpose in showing what is coming up so viewers will be sure and turn in. For me, they work to let me know what to focus on next time. BUT. Too much revealed, and there is little reason for anybody to tune in. Low ratings are a problem, folks.

Tune in Fridays at 9pm for more Eureka! Yes, the day is new. DVR's might be in heavier use because of this. Remember, you can always click on the Syfy website to watch online should you miss an episode.

Can be found on Blogcritics.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

TV Review CSI:NY "Pay Up"


Incredible. That, perhaps, is the only word to describe the Season 5 Finale of CSI:NY. Considering how much Internet buzz has been out there regarding the episode "Pay Up", I am pleasantly surprised to find the writers pay attention to what is being said. Why? A few things were left off shows in reserve for next time around. Timelines were switched, and doors were opened in a major way.

Okay. Yes, there was a death. I won't name who since there is a chance some may not have seen the episode. This was inevitable, but honestly, there is at least one other person who could have been in the same position. While I am no mind reader, it could easily have to do with the designated status of the actor or actress involved. I'm talking contract terms, not talent.

The biggest shocker? It comes in the final two minutes or so just before closing credits. Let's see, gunfire from a serious weapon, little clue as to the shooter. Seriously. The vehicle used to transport said person had the window so far up it is impossible to see in. Here's the kicker - everyone in the opening credits has the potential to suffer consequences. The team Mac Taylor (Gray Sinise) heads and others who work closely with them. Having said this, one person highlighted just before the shot. To be fair, doesn't mean much. This character is front and center, but anybody else can work with the scene. Cliffhanger? Heavens yes.

I won't rule out Sinise coming out of this as a hurt Taylor, but killing off the lead role does away with the show. So does a switcheroo, as anyone who watches CSI:Crime Scene Investigation knows. Lawrence Fishburne, as successful as he is, does not do what William Petersen did. He can't, they're two different people. The title's the same, but show now not what it was. And it won't be again.

Craig T. Nelson returns as Robert Dunbrook, the newspaper magnate who is a clear nemesis for Mac. Not only does this take care of Nelson's contractual obligations, but the storyline focuses on Dunbrook's son Connor (Thad Luckinbill) being kidnapped. Problem is, he is planning to testify against his father for past misdeeds. Of course, Mac suspects Dunbrook has something to do with the crime in question. I'll let you see for yourself whether or not he does, since Mac must explain something both for Dunbrook and viewers.

The question posed at the end of the episode is whether Dunbrook is in the car. Personally, I doubt it highly. He's not stupid; a corrupt deputy mayor gets skewered in Dunbrook's paper easily enough ("The Partys Over"). This looks like a revenge thing, where somebody has a problem with the cops and lashes out. Dunbrook will wait to be vindicated in court. If he comes back, that is.

Some rather nice moments occur between characters. Det. Don Flack (Eddie Cahill) reacts to loss by letting the tears flow down his face, he cares about people. A lot, although he might not aways show it. Cahill is generally given the snarkiest lines, which he delivers with perfect wisecracking humor. Not this time, though. The situation is too serious. On the other hand, Det. Danny Messer (Carmine Giovinazzo) punches a wall. Classic moves for both, and absolutely perfect.

Emotions always run high when a crisis is involved, which is dangerous for a cop. Judgment gets affected and cases are too simply compromised. Somebody might just have crossed the line with the latest case. For the record, it's hard to tell if my hypothesis is correct from what is shown. One could assume so, but no evidence or offhand mention backs me up. It's a really scary thought if I turn out to be right, just because it goes against the character's work onscreen. Five seasons, and the same persona is around. Justice not served is another reason I open myself up to other possibilities.

Robert Joy, who plays Dr. Sid Hammerback, the medical examiner, gives a quiet understated performance which gives rise to his talent. It's not what he says, but how and to who. Should he perform the autopsy? No, he's too close. Somebody else needs to, with him to supervise. This is one case where everything needs to be done by the book.

Gary Sinise and Hill Harper have a nice moment during a warehouse raid. Sinise, as Mac, tells Hawkes, the former medical examiner portrayed by Hill Harper, to wait with the medical crew so he can help tend the wounded. Mac expects casualties, even if nobody ends up dead in the process. This makes good sense. A dead doctor is not exactly useful to anyone.

Even AJ Buckley, the delightful comic relief as Adam Ross, shines when he has to put a GPS in Dunbrook's car. The nerves of potentially being caught by Dunbrook himself bring smiles to viewer's faces. Thank heavens Det. Stella Bonasera (Melina Kanakaredes) is there for backup.

Nelly (yes, THAT one) puts in a turn as Terrence the club owner - slash- informant. He opens the case wide up with news of a lead. This is helpful, but the kidnappers have military training. Why? I have no idea. It's yet to be explained. While I can often infer, clues aren't always available to pick over.

The airport hangar puts Mac, Danny, and Flack against a sniper. I have to smile at the shot accuracy. Yes, the point is not to injure anyone. Nobody gets hurt, though? Yikes.

Danny and Lindsay (Anna Belknap) have a name for their baby! It's Lucy. A future team member perhaps?

Words of constructive criticism are in order. All season long, episodes end and promos begin. These highlight what is coming the next time. A repeat or pre-empt means nothing aired until much closer to the airdate, whatever that is. Some shows take a bit before getting back for audiences. I realize there is an attempt to make sure people watch, especially at specific points. BUT. When certain scenes air, a major problem exists. Take for example, the baby of Danny and Det. Lindsay Monroe (Anna Belknap). The news of her pregnancy was announced before the episode aired! Whoops. Now why in the world would anybody watch later? We already know the score. Think, production crews. Also, what goes out to online sources should be carefully considered. Some people have no problem letting the cat out of the bag early. This cannot be helped. The online official (say Michael Ausiello of Entertainment Weekly) and fan sites need to prove they can keep their mouths firmly shut on the big stuff. People should respect a "we're still in contract negotiations", for example. What is sent out via print, like, say, email, should have be free of descriptors which again, tell major plot points. Take Stella and the smuggling ring. A major confrontation between her and Mac occurred. By the time the episode aired, the outcome was already known. Oops.

Viewers are smart, but there is no need to make things easy.

Season 6 of CSI:NY should start up come fall past Emmy presentations. Usually, the premiere is the week of these, but scheduling is a little tricky. There has to be one episode anyway, since lives are now in jeopardy.

On Blogcritics.

TV Review CSI:NY "Grounds for Deception"


It's almost to the end of the fifth season, so of course Det. Mac Taylor (Gary Sinise) finds out about what Det. Stella Bonasera (Melina Kanakaredes) has been up to. Nothing much, just disobeying a direct order and carrying on her own investigation of a smuggling ring with a focus towards Greek antiquities. Either item is grounds for disciplinary action, but both are too serious to be ignored. The writers wisely let Sinise get into full Taylor bellow, using all of his Marine training as a way to really let Stella have it.

How does he find out? Simple, she finds the body of a man who works at the Greek embassy ("Point of No Return"). He once tried to attack her in a subway tunnel ("The Cost of Living"), so there is no trouble identifying him. In a blinding display of stupidity, she calls 911 and reports it! Honestly. For someone who has been trying so hard not to tip off her boss, this makes no sense at all. Audio technicians can easily track down voice recognition patterns. Cops catch most criminals in one way or another, so surely a detecrivre can figure out something else to do. Like let somebody else find the body, for example.

Kanakaredes writes the script for this episode. She puts the exact right touch into the opening scene as Stella hands her badge over to Mac and leaves his office. Viewers who think this is the end of the story (or should be) are in for a rude shock. There's much more to come.

Det. Don Flack (Eddie Cahill) is concerned as well. Flack's girlfriend Jessica Angell (Emanuelle Vaugier), a fellow homicide detective and his romantic partner, agrees to help Stella in her reckless quest for justice. Naturally, he wants to know if Angell is in danger. Not really, since Stella is the one who kicks off the investigation. Wisely, Cahill is calm through the exchange. There is a look in his eyes which shows just how much he cares. Any member of law enforcement understands the inherent risks involved in the profession, although families have some adjusting to do. Both Flack and Angell are kids of cops. They handle themselves just fine, but there is always a chance of danger down the line.

The truly bad half of the smuggling ring might be dead, but the other players are a huge surprise. Or maybe not, depending on how closely viewers pay attention. Stella takes a lot more time than she should to discover who gets labeled the culprit. For a seasoned cop, credibility stretches a bit on this one. How many times does guilt extend to the least likely person? Oh wait. Stella is the woman who takes the word of a rape victim despite mounting evidence to the contrary. She even snaps at Det. Lindsay Monroe (Anna Belknap) for even suggesting a more logical approach to detecting. ("Open and Shut").

With only one more episode left in the season, the biggest surprise are still yet to come. Maybe. Early Internet chatter has more or less told anyone who wants to know just how the finale is set up. I'm not entirely convinced it's accurate, but what I read is hardly a complete shocker. Let me put it this way - the police department just might be affected in a whirling dervish with aftershocks felt for a long time to come.

Can also be found at Blogcritics.

TV Review CSI:NY "The Greater Good"


With only two more episodes left in the season past this, one would think the scripts would be potent. I agree, but this week's episode is a little lackluster. Yes, there were some guest stars who are well known by many. They only partially make up for the writing. Personally, I thought the substory is better viewing. There is a lighthearted feel to it which helps the show not be heavy handed.

Mac Taylor (Gary Sinise) is not a police officer who can simply let a matter go, even if it appears to be not a matter for his concern. Take the case of Adam Ross (AJ Buckley), for example. A long lasting budget crunch means some of the department is simply going to have to find other work. Since Adam is one of those who is hired last, he is on the short list for termination. Mac could have another month or so before he seeks out a new hire. Does this work? Of course not! He intervenes with the chief detective, Sinclair, played well by Mykelti Williamson, and buys time. So far, so good.

When a young woman is killed in a biking accident, the case looks pretty much cut and dried. Talmadge Neville (Charles S. Dutton) confesses, and all evidence points to his guilt. Eighteen months later, Mac finds him and thinks someone else might be responsible. Here's where the storyline runs into problems - only after Neville gets out of prison is when Mac decides he has the wrong guy? Time is skewed on television, I realize, but this is hard to swallow.

Sinise has long played a detective who is easily considered by plenty of others to be a workaholic, and does it nicely. He is charming every so often. Few are strong enough to call him out when he's wrong, but I like the way Eddie Cahill does.

With a pointed barb, Cahill shows off just how good he is when portraying Don Flack, the homicide detective who teams up with the crime lab week after week. For the sake of clarity, I probably should mention Flack (or any other homicide person) is most likely the one who confirms a death is suspicious. He then makes a request to have the crime lab team sent out. Mac knows which people are available for a fresh assignment. Only Flack could mention the insanity of Mac trying to resurrect a case on his day off. He says it in such a way that his head is not bitten off the way another person's might.

Oh yeah, Lindsay (Anna Belknap) has her baby! This might be an afterthought except for a good bit of sense towards the comic relief. When her water breaks, at work no less, poor Adam is forced into getting her to the hospital, quick. The horrified expression on Buckley's face as he realizes just how desperate the situation is makes me smile. I really enjoyed the bit as he runs the wrong way to get keys for a vehicle.

Carmine Giovinazzo also steps up to the plate as he plays Danny Messer, the husband and father who has life happening too fast. At least he has enough sense to let Hawkes (Hill Harper) drive straight to the emergency room. Actually, I think Hawkes grabbed the keys out of Danny's hand before two people got in trouble. Wise move.

By the time labor kicks to high gear, the entire gang is in the room. This illustrates well just how much this is a family, despite not being related in a genetic way. Although Adam and Hawkes are not at the wedding of Danny and Lindsay a short time ago, they make it this time. So does Flack. The most touching moment of the episode is when Mac is asked to be the godfather. Of course, he agrees.

I get the feeling the last two episodes are going to try and be edge of one's seat thrilling. Since there is a confirmed sixth season of CSI:NY, the pressure is off a little. The biggest moments will be in the finale, but there is already Internet speculation with regards to a potential character change come fall. While I tend to agree with what most are saying, I also think a few have jumped the gun. Therefore, I am holding off on assuming anything prior to airtime. With cop shows, it's possible for lots of different scenarios. Crime and otherwise.

The last episodes this season are May 13th and May 14th at 10pm. Although the finale is on the same day as the Vegas version of CSI, this also gives CBS time to wrap up one of their popular hits before the next presidential news conference.

Previously published at Blogcritics.

TV Review CSI:NY "Yahrzeit"


Season Five of CSI:NY has always promised to be a year of amazing storylines, both character and crimewise. After all, the is the Big apple being discussed. Anything which can happen generally does. This week is no exception. A top name guest star, a cameo by one well known character actor and a substory which relates the hidden message without conking viewers over the head with its importance.

First to the major guest star. Ed Asner is a jeweler with a secret. This is hardly news, since most characters who are part of a crime investigation do at some point or another. Let me back up a little. A man dies in the midst of an auction. Literally. The case leads Mac (Gary Sinise) to have a chat with Asner, who plays the role of Abraham. Now, out of all the guest stars, Asner is the most recognizable. It stands to reason the writers would not have him on to simply twiddle his thumbs.

Sinise and Asner play against each other well. The acting experience of both men is extensive, although there is not the same antagonism between the guises they assume as compared to the arrogance of Robert Dunbrook, played by Craig T. Nelson. From the first time Dunbrook greets the deputy chief of detectives at a charity function ("The Partys over"), one senses immediately he is going to be trouble. So does Mac. Dunbrook isn't the one who kills the deputy mayor, nor does he purposely kill the intruder who breaks into his office ("The Past, Present, and Murder"). The word choice on the last sentence was deliberate. Dunbrook plays another role the second time. The true identity of the baddie, however, is probably not a shock to this show's fans.

Abraham is different. He shows Mac a tattoo on his arm from his days in Auschwitz. Can he be believed? Asner is potentially old enough to at least have had relatives die there, even if he didn't. The sincere overtones in Asner's voice while recalling a time of religious persecution help seal the deal. Yes, he and the victim interact. By itself, this is hardly enough to take someone into custody. A perfectly reasonable explanation is offered, as a matter of fact. Abraham wants a piece of jewelry appraised, and the victim works at the auction house where he dies. Simple enough.

The scene when Mac discovers the truth is electrifying. Sinise tends to be at his best when he can come on strong, and there is not much stopping him. It's not the secret itself which is so surprising, but how it finally comes out. I'll put it this way - another character puts into words succinctly where to put the blame.

What is more compelling takes place with Dr. Sheldon Hawkes (Hill Harper). As the only person of color on the entire team, Hawkes stands out. Period. For most of three seasons, this has never been an issue. The former medical examiner brings his knowledge as a valuable aid. Even though he has never gone through the police academy, forensics is a good fit for someone with his skills. The level of caring he shows week to week makes him want to seek justice for the crime victims, and it's never a bad thing for people employed by the police department. This being said, there are those who do not feel the same way about Hawkes as his colleagues.

The focus of this storyline is racism. What beater way to deal with it than to bring back Michael Elgers, the neonazi implicated in a house explosion ("Green Piece")? Matt McTighe really makes his persona loathsome this time as he displays complete and utter ignorance. For Mac and Det. Don Flack (Eddie Cahill), they handle Elgers by failing to respond to his taunts. Also, they will wait on evidence before they haul him in. No need to waste the paperwork.

So who takes Elger's bait? Det. Danny Messer (Carmine Giovinazzo), naturally. Giovinazzo has played the role of his street smart cop well ever since coming on screen five seasons ago. The same rough edges Danny has with his colleagues help him to understand the criminal mentality. Considering his older brother, Louie, is a man with ties to a gang ("Run Silent Run Deep"), it's amazing Danny has stayed on the legal side of the law for so long. Becoming a cop has been one of his greatest achievements.

Still. More than once, Giovinazzo is required to get Danny into trouble by not exactly following proper procedure. The last time is dangerous as he runs after a ruthless killer without a bulletproof vest ("The Point of No Return"). Mac tends to stand behind Danny, although he cannot professionally approve of his actions. I have to hand it to the writers, they have Sinise remain calm as he reminds Giovinazzo even the worst offender is allowed the same rights as any other citizen.

The earlier scene by Giovinazzo and Harper is much more revealing. Harper shows his strength by saying the problem of judging another by the color of his or her skin is just that, but someone else's. Who would go willingly into the comfort zone of hatred? Giovinazzo is simmering just below the surface while talking to McTighe, but Harper is pretty much cool as a cucumber. Anger, though, can be felt without ever showing it on one's face.

Giovinazzo and Harper are a decent team on their own. It's not the same as the one with Cahill, but it shouldn't be. When Hawkes loses a favorite uncle to a heart attack, Danny is the one reassuring. Giovinazzo channels sympathy well, and perhaps even a reminder in the back of his head when Danny saw Louie in a coma ("Run Silent Run Deep"). Harper is clearly shaken, and it fits.

Before this episode starts, a warning is given so viwers can use their own discretion as to whether it should be seen. I have to agree with the decision. Since this is at an hour right before the news, one can expect more than a little bit of grit each week. Crime is messy, and those involved have complicated lives. So do the ones who investigate. In a single show, though, CSI:NY brings front and center an issue (or two) which some may find uncomfortable.

Three more episodes are left in the season. Lindsay (Anna Belknap) should return to work at some point, having been home in Montana on materninty leave. Stella (Melina Kanakaredes) has a new man in her life, but he may or may not be back. Sometimes things get set on the back burner to simmer a bit longer before they show up again.

The Greek smuggling ring storyliine has gone throuh more than a few episodes, and perhaps it will be over and done by finale's end. It should be. When the guy who attacked Stella in the tunnel turned up dead ("Point of No Return"), an end would have been fitting. No such luck. Mac is now trying to figure out who killed him. Is the Greek Ambassador involved? Maybe, but he has avoided implication thus far.

Craig T. Nelson has one episode left on his contract. To see the sizzling chemistry between Nelson and Sinise is interesting to watch, but I think most viewers will enjoy the fresh air once Dunbrook goes for good.

The finale, by the way, has been moved to May 14th at 10pm, right behind CSI:Crime Scene Investigation. While this should boost ratings, more than likely Sinise and company will have a Season Six. Oh, rumors suggest one less person makes it there. All I can say for sure is a well known character is affected. I won't even try to guess, but chances are, Sinise isn't it.

Why not? The lead role tends to stay until the series finale. Most of the time, anyway. Lose the main person, there goes the the show. While this is not called the Mac Taylor show, he's easily picked out as the lead actor. Not only does he carry many of the scenes, he has most of the lines.

The thrills of the Big Apple crime fighting team are most likely not over yet. Keep watching....

Also can be found at Blogcritics.