|Original Airdate||March 15, 2006|
|Previous Episode: Fare Game|
|Next Episode: Necrophilia Americana|
Cool Hunter is the sixteenth episode in season two of CSI: NY.
A doorwoman is found dead in the water tank of her apartment. All the evidence which is readily available points to a doctor who lives in the building. However, the man swears that he had nothing to do with the dead woman. The other case is of a man found dead on a playground in Washington Heights.
After blood mixes with the water supply to a Manhattan apartment building, the CSIs are summoned and discover the body of Stacie Avida in the building's water tower. Lindsay recalls visiting the building on a “grave line” tour of Manhattan--there have been six suspicious deaths there in the last ten years. Stacie's boyfriend, the building's superintendent, tells Flack that Stacie was the building's doorman. Mac photographs Stacie's body while Lindsay documents photographs footprints in the rooftop flower gardens. Back at the morgue, Dr. Hammerback tells Mac that Stacie drowned before she bled out. He also noticed a puncture mark on her chest, indicating she was injected with something before she died. He sent both sample of her blood and a sex kit to be analyzed, as well as glass shards he found in a gash on her arm.
At a playground in Washington Heights, Stella and Dr. Hawkes kneel by the body of a young man named Ben Hatfield. Ben leans against a pole, bruises covering his face and a heavy chain around his neck. Hawkes examines the marks on his face and chest and concludes he was hit by someone with boxing experience, possibly a while before being strangled--while he was strangled less than six hours ago, the bruises appear to be eight to ten hours old. Stella collects blood samples from the sandbox. They return to the lab with Ben's clothes, and Stella enlists Danny to go over pictures with her from Ben's camera phone. All the photos are of one woman in various outfits and styles. Was Ben stalking her? Stella finds the woman, Jennifer Rodriguez, in the Washington Heights neighborhood. Jennifer doesn't recognize Ben, and she tells Stella she doesn't know the man in one of the photos with her--he's just some guy who wanted to buy her coffee. Stella returns to the lab, where Hawkes has identified a substance on Ben's shirt as tar. Stella looks at his business card, for a company called NHT. She looks it up--the letters stand for 'Next Hot Thing.' Ben was a cool hunter--he was following Jennifer to copy her style.
Lindsay shows Mac the stories about the suspicious deaths in the apartment building Stacie worked at, but Mac urges her to stick with the science. She's been to Stacie's apartment, where she discovered blood on the doorframe and a used condom in the wastebasket, as well as flowers with mucus on them. The sperm in the condom doesn't match the mucus on the flowers, leading Mac to suspect Stacie may have been cheating on Joe. Mac questions Joe, who confirms his suspicions--he saw the condom in Stacie's trash and assumed the worst. Mac is puzzled when Joe doesn't seem to know that Stacie had a daughter, and suspects there's a lot Joe didn't know about his girlfriend. When the glass in Stacie's arm is identified as stained glass, Mac and Lindsay return to the apartment building, where each unit has stained glass windows by the door. The dark gold color of the glass from Stacie's arm matches that belonging to a doctor named Craig Zimmer.
Looking at the pictures from Ben's camera phone, Danny is able to get the license plate of the car the man who approached Jennifer was driving, which leads Stella and Danny to Rico Cerda, a Washington Heights businessman who runs a business that rivals NHT. The car in the picture belongs to his company and was being driven by Elliott Stanton, one of his employees. Rico has pictures of Jennifer, too, and claims he was scouting her first. He dismisses the idea that Ben was a threat to him--his company was there first, and Rico is ahead of NHT, or so he claims. He reluctantly tells Stella and Danny how to find Elliott. When they track the young man down, they notice he has bruising on his hands and face, but it's not enough to bring him in. Back at Craig Zimmer's apartment, Mac and Linday question the doctor about the broken stained glass in his apartment, and he claims one of his kids probably did it. The CSIs search his apartment and find morphine, blood on the door and even a hair in a picture frame--it seems like it all adds up. But why did Zimmer kill Stacie? Mac wonders.
Hammerback brings Hawkes trace from a tooth implant in Ben's mouth, and Hawkes sets to analyzing it. Danny and Stella have hit a roadblock--Elliott seems like the most likely culprit, but they need an eyewitness to testify that Elliott and Ben fought. Danny comes up with a novel idea to get a witness to talk. Returning to the Washington Heights neighborhood, Danny challenges a local kid to a game of handball. If Danny wins, the guy will tell Danny what he saw; if Danny loses, he'll release the crime scene. After a long game, Danny returns to the lab triumphant, with the much-needed eyewitness testimony. The CSIs now have enough to get a DNA sample from Elliott. Hawkes has also gotten trace results on the substance on the tooth implant: reptile skin. In an interrogation room, Flack and Lindsay confront Zimmer with the damning evidence against him. The man, clearly suffering from morphine addiction withdrawal, can't explain the evidence against him. Lindsay is troubled by Zimmer--his name came up in connection with three of the seven suspicious deaths in the building: his children’s nanny, a young girl who choked to death on the roof while Zimmer tried to save her and Stacie's. Mac tells Lindsay they need to put him on the roof to prove he killed Stacie.
After a print on the photo frame proves to be almost a month old, Lindsay turns to the footprints in the dirt in the rooftop garden. Lindsay enlists Danny in an experiment. He's about the same size as Zimmer, so she has him put on Zimmer's shoes and carry her across the dirt, and then she compares the depth of the two sets of footprints, thinking Joe Green, the superintendent, may have tried to frame Zimmer. But to Lindsay's surprise, the prints made by the killer are actually shallower than the ones Danny made. Mac and Lindsay look at the shoes again and Mac discovers an aqua fiber that matches the color of the socks Stacie was wearing when she died. Why was Stacie wearing Zimmer's shoes? Stella interrogates Elliott while his lawyer looks on, but Elliott denies killing Ben. When he goes so far as to tell Stella when he left Ben, Ben was alive, the lawyer cuts off the questioning.
Lindsay has gone back to the past deaths at the building and to her surprise has discovered the girl who choked to death was Stacie's daughter, Gina. Zimmer had been high on morphine and inadvertently killed the girl when he tried to save her. Two months after Gina's death, Stacie quit her job in publishing and took the doorman job in Zimmer's building. Elsewhere in the lab, Stella and Hawkes turn to the blood in the sandbox. They can't find a match in the system, but a specific, unusual allele in the blood is unique to people from the Dominican Republic, leading them back to Rico Cerda. Danny and Stella go to arrest Cerda--he sent Elliott to kill Ben, but when Elliott couldn't do it, Cerda went back to finish the job. Rico resented the new company's intrusion into his neighborhood, and he wanted to teach them a lesson. Mac and Flack tell Joe and Zimmer respectively how Stacie died: she went to great lengths to frame Zimmer, the man she held responsible for her daughter's death. The men are shocked: Flack tells Zimmer it's time for him to get help for his addiction, while Joe tells Mac he still loves Stacie.
Main Cast Edit
- Gary Sinise as Mac Taylor
- Melina Kanakaredes as Stella Bonasera
- Carmine Giovinazzo as Danny Messer
- Hill Harper as Sheldon Hawkes
- Eddie Cahill as Don Flack
- Anna Belknap as Lindsay Monroe
Guest Stars Edit
- Robert Joy as Dr. Sid Hammerback
- Daniella Alonso as Jenny Rodriguez
- Michael DeLorenzo as Rico 'Ricky' Cerda
- Brian Bloom as Dr. Craig Zimmer
- Bryan Dattilo as Lucas Garlobo
- Nick Offerman as Joe Green
- Challen Cates as Stacie Avida
- Yan Ruiz as Elliott Stanton
- Mati Moralejo as Handball Player