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|Original Airdate||May 13, 2011|
|Previous Episode: Life Sentence|
|Next Episode: Indelible|
Exit Strategy is the twenty-second episode in the seventh season of CSI: NY.
Mac tries to find a little girl who has been missing since 2002 and who witnessed some murders that took place at the time of a burglary.
Mac, Danny and Flack prepare for a raid. They bust into an apartment and separate to chase down drug dealers. Mac rushes out onto the roof after one of the men, and they get into a fight. The man grabs Mac’s gun and fires, but the gun doesn’t go off. Mac knocks his hand aside and struggles with the man, getting the upper hand just before Danny and Flack rush out to arrest him.
Later at the lab, Mac is preoccupied during a meeting; he keeps thinking back to his near-death experience on the roof. He heads into his office, which has just been put back together after the shootout in “Life Sentence”. He approaches the final unsolved case folder on his desk and picks it up. It was the first case he was assigned when he became the head of the crime lab. Kenny Hexton killed two people during a bodega robbery nine years ago, and they were never able to catch him.
Mac meets Flack at the bodega where the murders took place, and they walk through the night of the botched robbery. Hexton shot the bodega owner and a young employee, but the owner was able to wound Hexton before he died. Logically, Hexton and his accomplice should have fled out the closest door, but instead they took the far door out of the bodega. Hawkes finds the reason when he re-tests the evidence from the original case. In addition to Hexton’s blood, Hawkes locates a secondary DNA sample on a child’s change purse found at the scene. They know it isn’t just a casual transfer because the DNA matches a little girl named Olivia Dalton. Her mother reported her missing the morning after the robbery. Hexton and his accomplice discovered Olivia in the bodega after the two men were killed, and they took her with them.
Mac speaks to Olivia’s mother, who was drunk the night Olivia disappeared. The little girl left the apartment to buy some aspirin from the bodega for her mother’s “headache”, and she was in the wrong place at the wrong time. Olivia’s mother turned her life around, but it was too late.
Jo speaks to Hexton’s ex-girlfriend, Jackie. At first, Jackie demands that Jo leave, but she changes her tune when she sees a picture of Olivia. Jackie remembers hearing Hexton and his accomplice talk about the little girl, but she had no idea the child was standing right outside the door. She gives Jo a postcard Hexton sent her, but the writing is faded. She suspects the accomplice penned the note since Hexton wasn’t a great writer. Last she heard, Hexton was heading to Boston to meet up with a friend.
Mac takes Danny and Flack to Boston, where they locate Hexton and arrest him. Hexton says he barely knew his accomplice, Wes, and he has no idea where he and Olivia might be. After four days of running with Olivia in tow, Hexton demanded that Wes get rid of her. Instead of shooting the little girl, Wes pistol-whipped Hexton and left him on the side of the road. He got in the car and took Olivia with him, and that’s the last Hexton saw of either one of them.
Adam enhances the postcard and reveals Wes’s unique handwriting. Mac tells him to use the postcard in place of a police sketch, sending it out to media outlets in the hope that someone will recognize the handwriting. They get lucky, and a woman in Georgia tells the CSIs that Wes and Olivia stayed with her for a few years before leaving abruptly nine months ago. The woman, Samantha, is shocked to hear that Wes is on the run for murder, and she’s even more surprised to learn that Olivia isn’t his daughter—he was such a good father.
Olivia was diagnosed with a heart condition a year ago, and Samantha gives them a bottle of medication she’s supposed to take every day. They are able to use the medication to track down a girl fitting Olivia’s description in Shelby, North Carolina. Mac heads down with Flack to pick Wes up, and Wes tries to take Olivia and run. He reaches for his car keys, and the local cops open fire when they think he’s pulling out a gun. Olivia watches Wes die, and she grabs a gun out of fear and grief. Mac puts his gun away and tells the other officers to stand down. He speaks to Olivia and gets her to put the gun down, promising to take her home to her mother in New York.
Jo read about what happened to Mac on that roof, and she wonders why he put the incident in the case report but neglected to tell anyone else about it. Mac says he’s faced death a lot of times, but this was different. He wanted to get some closure by solving that final case, and he wonders if it’s time to leave the NYPD. The other characters go about their daily lives as Mac leaves the lab, contemplating his future.
- Gary Sinise as Mac Taylor
- Sela Ward as Jo Danville
- Carmine Giovinazzo as Danny Messer
- Anna Belknap as Lindsay Messer
- Robert Joy as Sid Hammerback
- A. J. Buckley as Adam Ross
- Hill Harper as Sheldon Hawkes
- Eddie Cahill as Don Flack
- Shaya McCord as Olivia Dalton (5 Year Old)
- Allison McAtee as Jackie Thompson
- Jeannette Sousa as Samantha Rogers
- Kayla Carlson as Olivia Dalton (14 years old)
- Michael Irby as Kenny Hexton
- Lisa Sheridan as Natalie Dalton
- Clayne Crawford as Wes Dillon
- Peter Kim as Jae Kwon
- The title of the episode makes a reference to the fact that it was filmed before having confirmation if it would be the last of season 7 or the last of the show. Hence, the producers tried to do both: offer some closure while at the same time providing with a lot of story to come back to. Four days after it aired, CBS confirmed that the show would be back for an 8th season.
- "Holding On And Letting Go" by Ross Copperman
Mac: What am I doing? How much longer can I do this?
Jo: So that's why you went back to the bodega homicide, the last unsolved case. You wanted to see if you could find some closure.
Mac: I've done a lot of good.
Mac: Maybe I've done my part.