When a mother erroneously kills her own daughter, you should clasp your hands to your mouth and shout, "Oh my God!". Without A Trace can get that reaction, every time. But this episode of CSI:NY doesn't pull that off – there's just not enough time spent forging an emotional bond with mother and daughter. And so the twist falls flat.
Instead, the episode busies itself with a leaden-handed examination of the right to die (c.f. House to learn how to do this properly), and a potted biography of Sheldon Hawks. It all adds up to "shotgun plotting" – ram enough ammunition down the barrel and hope something hits home. But a single theme, better targeted, would have been more effective.