The gang from the NYPD crime lab is back! To say they went out last season with a bang is an understatement. As they sat in a bar in memoriam to Det. Angell (Emmanuelle Vaugier), somebody opened fire. Who was undetermined, but the whole place got nailed ("Pay Up").
As the premiere opens, viewers are shown clips from the previous season's finale just to make sure everyone is on the same page. Were people hurt? No kidding. The bartender gets killed, and others slightly injured. I think they need medical attention rather than the morgue or an extended hospital stay. Danny (Carmine Giovinazzo) has his legs shot, causing paralysis. It could be temporary, but Mac (Gary Sinise) now has a case to solve with a field investigator out of commission. At least Danny can work in the lab.
Giovinazzo pulls out the stops as his character attempts to deal with his new situation. For someone who works well on the streets. This is a major blow. He knows the chances are dicey, and he's angry someone has the gall to do him harm. For her part, Anna Belknap has a huge job to do as Lindsay, a colleague now his wife. Hard enough with a new baby, but a cranky husband increases the tension. Watching her attempt to give Giovinazzo's character a well deserved kick in the butt falls a little flat. Still, the reminder of hope not being entirely out of reach is a credit to the writers.
The gang copes with the aftereffects of the attack in different ways. Flack (Eddie Cahill), still grieving over Angell since they were dating when she got killed, hangs out at a bar to be among people. He later tells Mac it's better for him to be on the job, which is probably accurate. Chemistry between Sinise and Cahill is solid, and the concern versus determination talk is a touching moment.
Stella (Melina Kanakaredes) and Adam (AJ Buckley) have sex! I admit Buckley is hardly unattractive. The pairing, though, is unusual. What will happen down the road? It's anybody's guess right now. Anyway, Adam's quirky yet brilliant lab tech persona has another issue to deal with. There's a new scientist in town - Halen Becall (Sarah Carter). Becall is a crime scene clean up technician, meaning she comes in behind the lead crew and puts things nice and tidy again. This woman is memorable for a couple of reasons. She has an unusual first name - Haley would have worked just fine. While it's a different actress, I cannot help but notice a resemblance to Kendall, a former colleague. Did she get hit by the budget cuts? Bess Wohl must have decided to move on at any rate.
Carter and Buckley are going to be a fun pair to watch. She plays the eager beaver who wants more than anything to have Mac Taylor as her boss. He portrays the experienced pro whose job is shaky enough without having to fend off a competitor. To his credit, Adam gives Halen the recognition she deserves after an important discovery is made. Carter is supposed to be a regular cast member, although this sounds more in line with a recurring role.
Hawkes (Hill Harper) takes his job to a new level by volunteering with an ambulance service of sorts. My impression is that he is sent on patrol to various parts of town when his turn comes up in the roster. As a former medical examiner, the training helps.
In a nice twist, Jake, one of the guest star characters, is played by Andrew Lawrence. Older brother Joey took on Clay Dobson, who jumped from a building with his hands cuffed to set up Mac on charges from Internal Affairs ("Past Imperfect"). The scene in the interrogation room between Jake and Mac is solid, just like the show itself.
Tune in Wednesdays at 10pm for all new episodes of CSI:NY!