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The One Episode Of CSI: NY That Did Not Age Well

"CSI: New York" lasted for nine seasons and almost 200 episodes on CBS, making it the second-longest lived "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation" spin-off thus far, with only "CSI: Miami" outlasting it. "CSI: New York" introduced memorable characters such as Mac Taylor (Gary Sinise), Stella Bonasera (Melina Kanakaredes), and Don Flack (Eddie Cahill) to the pop-cultural lexicon. It also put a city-bound, East Coast spin on the "CSI" procedural formula of gristly crimes and forensic science. While it isn't quite the cultural landmark that "Miami" has proven to be over the ensuing years, it still notched a niche of its own in the hearts and minds of the viewing public.

The show ceased filming in 2013, per IMDb, and in the nearly 10 years which have passed since the program exited the small screen, many social mores have changed. One might wonder which episode of "CSI: NY" might have aged the most poorly.

Vigilante struck a sour note for fans

Characters who permeate the "CSI" franchise often find themselves trying to solve crimes committed by those to abuse others through predation. So it is with "Vigilante," the 15th episode of the show's 7th season. "Vigilante" tries to make a point about the folly of vigilante justice, but instead it tries to have it both ways. The entire episode looks antiquated as a result, making it the "CSI: New York" episode that's arguably aged the most poorly.

In "Vigilante," the team investigates the murder of serial rapist Garland Clarke, who is found bound in the same manner in which he employed to tie up his victims. The team is conflicted about searching out the person who murdered the victim, but they ultimately choose to pursue the case, with Lindsay Monroe (Anna Belknap) and Mac leading the investigation. The perpetrators prove to be Annie Cartland (Megan Ward) and Heather Marist (Eve Mauro). Marist and Cartland were enraged by the story of one of the rapist's victims, Kate Price (Lindsay Price), which they heard during a meeting of a sexual assault survivor's support group. They decide to lure Garland using Heather as bait and then kill him as a form of (you guessed it) vigilante justice. Mac declares that they got "retribution" instead. But Kate, who had become a suspect in the case, is ultimately relieved and grateful to both women.

Often, police procedurals struggle while trying to stay in stride with always-evolving public attitudes about policing. While "CSI: New York" often attempts to approach their cases in an evenhanded manner, "Vigilante" mostly takes an old-fashioned "the law is the law" approach to Clarke's death.

Vigilante doesn't sympathize with all victims of assault

The episode expresses sympathy for Kate but little for Heather and Annie, who also have been assaulted. This lack of kindness definitely feels dated, and it extends to people the crew knows personally. Prime example: Lindsay declares that she's a cop first and would even jail Sheldon Hawkes' (Hill Harper) former girlfriend, a victim of rape who was so traumatized by her assault it changed her relationship with Hawkes, were she to claim revenge on the person who hurt her. But these attitudes are contrasted with the sight and sound of multiple characters admitting they'd gladly kill anyone who hurt a relative of theirs in a similar way. Strangers do not get a similar benefit of the doubt, making half the show's characters look hypocritical. That Lindsay, who on more than one occasion disobeys Mac's orders, is suddenly a strict by-the-book cop for the benefit of the episode is also galling. This lack of sympathy for all victims of assault most likely wouldn't make the air in 2022.

Fans commenting on the episode's IMDb page noted this flaw. User MysteryRidah gave the episode only one star out of ten and pointed out the character's hypocrisy. "You couldn't pay me any money in the world to play in this episode, I would quit," they wrote. I know its [sic] TV, but geez is everyone stupid. What were the writers thinking? Are women suppose to just let someone raped [sic] them and killed them?"

All of these reasons make "Vigilante" well worth skipping during your next "CSI: New York" rewatch.

If you or anyone you know has been a victim of sexual assault, help is available. Visit the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network website or contact RAINN's National Helpline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).