|Writer||Aaron Rahsaan Thomas|
|Director||Matt Earl Beesley|
|Original Airdate||February 10, 2010|
|Previous Episode: Sanguine Love|
|Next Episode: Uncertainty Rules|
The Formula is the fifteenth episode in the sixth season of CSI: NY.
The team tries to figure out who rigged a race car to go up in flames and leave its legendary driver in critical condition.
An exhibition race between drivers Liza Gray and Davi Santos ends in tragedy when Davi’s car ignites and slams into a wall. The driver escapes with his life, but his lungs are badly burned and he falls into a coma. Flack and Mac arrive at the racetrack and learn that Santos was receiving threatening letters. The team owner, Connor Wells, tells Mac he didn’t see anything unusual, while Dwight Bernard, Santos’ crew chief, describes Davi as “hell on wheels.” Mac decides to put the New York 400—the first car race the Big Apple has seen in a while—on hold while he conducts the investigation. Danny, Lindsay and Adam go over Davi’s car, which Adam points out was designed to be fireproof. Danny finds the car is covered in gasoline, indicating the car itself was the bomb. In the lab, Hawkes matches the handwriting on the notes to Davi to a threatening letter sent to a congressman by a disgruntled political science professor, Josh Weaver. Flack questions the man, who had a beef with Davi’s sponsor, Cietro Spirits. Weaver’s brother and his family were killed by a drunk driver who was drinking Cietro at the time of the crash, but Weaver insists he was simply trying to get Davi to stop driving for Cietro—he never would have actually hurt the man. Danny, Lindsay and Adam dismantle Davi’s car and discover a single yellow wire that doesn’t seem to be hooked into anything. Adam also discovers tool marks on the fuel line, indicating someone wore it down, allowing the gas to leak out. Danny finds a print on the gas tank, which belong to Reece Turnball, the team’s test driver. Reece tells Mac and Flack that he was in charge of inspecting Davi’s car, and that he idolized the older driver. He inspected the car four hours before the race. The two detectives go to examine the trailer where the car was kept and find signs of forced entry. Mac finds a set of tools in the trailer and takes them, suspecting one of them might have been used to wear down the fuel line.
Back at the lab, Hawkes tells Stella that oil trace on the car is a unique blend used by Liza Gray’s team. Santos last raced Liza Gray two years ago, and her car crashed, putting her in the hospital with revenge on her mind. Mac and Stella question the young woman, who admits to breaking into Santos’ trailer, but only to get a look at what was under the hood of his car—she wanted to inspect his engine. She reluctantly turns over her cell phone with the pictures of Davi’s engine on it. Stella gets a call that Santos has woken from his coma, but when she gets to the hospital, he goes into cardiac arrest and dies before she can speak with him. She talks with Santos’ widow, Tanya, who tells Stella that Davi had promised her he would quit last season, but when the time came he went back on his word. Danny comes to Lindsay with the news Liza was most likely not the one who tampered with the fuel line: she had an interview fifteen minutes after she broke into the trailer, and wouldn’t have had time to wear down the line. Lindsay notices a picture of a generator among Liza’s pictures and wonders if it had something to do with Davi’s car going up in flames. In the morgue, Hawkes gives Mac the rundown on Davi, who was full of painkillers and had apparently been injured many times while racing. Danny identifies the the generator as a VIC engine, which would have given Davi extra speed, but when Davi pushed the button to activate it, it short circuited, causing the explosion.
When the CSIs discover video footage from the hotel Team Cietro was staying at revealing Tanya Santos meeting Dwight Bernard in a room and Dwight leaving the hotel thirty minutes later, their suspicion falls on the duo. Tanya and Bernard deny an adulterous relationship, but admit that in their desperation to get Davi to retire for his own good, Dwight went to short circuit the VIC engine, hoping it would slow Davi down and convince him to retire. Tanya insists the plan was simply to slow Davi down, not kill him. Hawkes comes up with evidence that exonerates them: team owner Connor Wells’ prints are on the wrench used to sabotage Davi’s fuel line. Mac questions the team owner, asking why he wanted to get rid of Davi. Wells tells the CSI leader that he thought Davi was getting slow—Reece was faster, but Davi refused to retire gracefully and give Reece the opportunity to step up. When he saw Dwight go into the trailer, Wells saw an opportunity and seized it. He insists he was looking out for the best interests of his company, to Mac’s disgust. With the case closed, Mac indulges a personal dream: heading to the track and driving one of the cars himself. Stella gamely joins him.
- Gary Sinise as Mac Taylor
- Melina Kanakaredes as Stella Bonasera
- Carmine Giovinazzo as Danny Messer
- Anna Belknap as Lindsay Messer
- Robert Joy as Sid Hammerback
- AJ Buckley as Adam Ross
- Hill Harper as Sheldon Hawkes
- Eddie Cahill as Don Flack
- Danica Patrick as Liza Gray
- Antonio Sabato Jr. as Davi Santos
- Marisa Ramirez as Tania Santos
- Kevin Kilner as Dwight Bernard
- Timothy V. Murphy as Connor Wells
- Erik Eidem as Reece Turnball
- Rick Peters as Josh Weaver
- Tyler Ashman as Young Mac
- Bjorn Geske as Reporter
- Monique Stines as Reporter