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''CSI'': A wannabe gang member gets whacked

On ”CSI: NY,” the detectives get to play in the snow while hunting for clues to the vicious murder of a wannabe gang member

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Gary Sinise
Gary Sinise: Timothy White

”CSI”: A wannabe gang member gets whacked

The CSI well has been a little dry recently. This week, only CSI: NY offered a new episode. (You can read my take on the Vegas rerun here and the Miami one here.) Fortunately, next week we’ll be drenched in new shows — February sweeps are starting.

Crimes There are three story lines in the New York episode, which are easy to follow but hard to take notes about. In the first, a lonely young man is beaten to death in the snow by members of the Tanglewood Boys, which is a gang and not, as I thought at first, an offshoot of the Tanglewood Music Festival. Next, a convenience-store clerk is shot to death; this case is also tangled up with Tanglewood. And finally, a hit-and-run case lures the CSIs to a massage parlor staffed, apparently, by dragon ladies from old comic books.

One thing New York has over Miami and Vegas Snow! What a pleasure to see Mac and Stella cooking CSI chemicals on an outdoor stove in a snowy park. Then they pour the chemicals into the suspects’ footprints and magically peel away the resulting shoe molds. I bet Grissom and H. don’t know how to do that.

No más! No más! I mean it — no más! Whenever a case slows down, all three CSI shows like to remind us what it looks like to be beaten to death. Usually, they make us watch lovely young women getting bashed around. This week it’s a man’s turn, but that doesn’t make it any better — especially since he’s killed with a baseball bat.

Worst line ”These kids don’t give a f—,” says Danny. I mean that literally: he says ”fffffffffff.”

Worst behavior toward CSIs When the meanest of the Tanglewood Boys is questioned (he’s not exactly a ”boy” — he looks about 46 — but never mind), he says knowingly, ”I have a pretty good idea who’s behind this, and when the time is right, it’ll be taken care of.” Once again, a suspect is saying the exact wrong thing to a cop — and once again, that suspect is a stereotype (heavily Italian-American, in this case). On these shows, only white middle-class citizens speak politely to the police.

Best visual Blood inside a bobble-head Derek Jeter doll!

Ouchiest visual A fake Tanglewood tattoo being belt-sanded off the poser who was stupid enough to show it to a girl in a bar. I levitated with horror.

I rest my case Finally, a CSI’s back story that links logically to the show. Turns out that Danny — who told Mac he knew about the gang but had never been a member — may have closer Tanglewood ties than he pretended. A CSI with a possible criminal past has a lot more story-line potential than a CSI who has a crush on another CSI. Poor Danny! There’s nothing more painful than watching a character’s past catch up to him. I hope it turns out that he was just an informer or something.

What do you think? Are the Tanglewood Boys going to come back? Will Danny get tangled up with them again? And can you enjoy CSI reruns, or are these shows strictly one time only?