Season 5 Episode 19

Communication Breakdown

Aired Friday 9:00 PM Mar 25, 2009 on CBS
out of 10
User Rating
163 votes

By TV.com Users

Episode Summary

When an Indian Chief ends up dead on a commuter train, the team is continually surprised by the direction in which the evidence takes them.

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  • An insight into the variety of cultures in New York.

    While I enjoyed the episode and I do applaud the concept of looking at other cultures that exist within New York, I was a little disappointed with this. As per usual the various groups were depicted in fairly sterotypical ways. As an Irish speaker it is frustrating to hear it being pronounced badly and then even more annoying to have it translated incorrectly. Also there is often a suggestion that Irish people have a tendancy towards fighting. Amazing then that we are one of the countries that is neutral and didn't send our army to Iraq. Politics aside it was nice to see the colour festival and something about the Native American Indians. I wasn't aware they had tribes that lived in Manhattan before it became such a metropolis. I know its impossible to avoid annoying someone when you make a tv show but maybe try and avoid the obvious sterotypes. Generally though I enjoy the show.moreless
  • Entertaining

    I quite liked this episode, there were lots of plot twists and turns, and we got to see some Flack/Angell, which is always good in my book. Loved the end scene with the translator.

    I felt bad for the Chief though, it was the first time I really felt sorry for a victim. he was trying so hard to protect his people and his culture, and he did the right thing in the end only to be murdered for it. Sad.

    On the flipside, I did not love the Oirish theme. Maybe it was in homage to St Patrick's Day or something, but it was pretty terrible. The guy playing Finn Wexford (oh dear, what a name) was Scottish I think, certainly not an Irish accent I've ever heard anyway! And then the chattering in Irish, and Flack knowing the lingo??? Not convinced!moreless
  • Really ok, not great!

    Really an ok episode in my book. Not good but definately not bad. One thing about CSI Las Vegas is that they focus on the crime, rarely their personal lives. While Miami focuses more on the personal lives, and some on the crime. NY is half and half. NY is known for it's diversity and other things. Which makes the city and the show unique. As none of these people speak english, the team needs to understand. And investigate a culture that is unfamiliar to them. Meanwhile Danny tries, to get new baby names for his offspring. Neat how Sheldon got his name. Really an unusual but, awesome name.moreless
  • Intriguing, enjoyable and well done overall, but a bit overdone on some elements.

    There were a number of things overdone in this episode. Danny's seemingly endless quest for a name for his offspring was cute the first two times, but then rapidly got old. That said, I would not have missed the end scene for all the tea in China, even if the final "revelation" was as predictable as the sun rising in the morning. And I absolutely loved his reaction to Hawkes' story of his own parents' 6 week search for a name, which resulted in Sheldon. SHELDON! Yep, every time I hear that name it reminds me of the Sheldon conversation in When Harry Met Sally. The focus on ethnic diversity and the polyglot culture of New York City seemed a bit overdone as well. Everywhere the detectives turned there were more folks speaking anything and everything except English. But wonder of wonders, we've got a Greek woman who grew up in an orphanage, but still speaks the Greek of her heritage and who reads Native American Indian languages besides; another detective who speaks French, along with a third who is apparently fluent in Gaelic simply from occasional conversations with his grandfather. Amazingly, the one character whose Italian roots have been emphasized since nearly day one spoke not one word of Italian. Lastly, we get it already. The loss of native cultures is a tragedy. Just as two weeks ago we were subjected to a tirade on environmental issues. Both are serious issues, but when CSI mounts the pulpit and gets preachy they tend to go just a few steps too far. Fortunately, within all of this was a rather clever murder weapon that proves that ancient peoples could be incredibly ingenious and had an amazingly extensive and scientific knowledge of their world. Add to that some interesting glimpses into the variety of ethnic communties in New York, beyond the stereotypical Italian, Jewish and Chinese. I loved the scene with the Hindu Festival of Colors, which I'd seen a news story on just a few days ago. And I did enjoy the insight into the Native Americans of New York, in spite of the preachiness of the delivery.moreless
  • Mac and the team investigate what looks to be the open and shut case of an indian chief shot and killed on a commuter train. As the investigation progresses, Mac soon learns the case won't be as easy as originally expected.moreless

    This episode is good. Just good. While I did like the way the story is written and thought that it came to a plausible conclusion, there are flaws with this episode which prevent me from saying that it is just "good." The first flaw is the indian chief being shot on the train. It's even mentioned in the episode that the odds of that happening are incredibly remote. The other big flaw is Danny deciding on names for his unborn child. Danny should focus on the case. Second, it was obvious right from the beginning that his child is female.moreless
Gary Sinise

Gary Sinise

Detective Mack 'Mac' Taylor

Melina Kanakaredes

Melina Kanakaredes

Detective Stella Bonasera

Carmine Giovinazzo

Carmine Giovinazzo

Danny Messer

Anna Belknap

Anna Belknap

Lindsay Monroe

Robert Joy

Robert Joy

Dr. Sid Hammerback

A.J. Buckley

A.J. Buckley

Adam Ross

Jackie Quinones

Jackie Quinones

Puerto Rican Woman

Guest Star

Daniel Tatar

Daniel Tatar

Israeli Guy

Guest Star

Andreas Lyon

Andreas Lyon

Danish Man

Guest Star

Emmanuelle Vaugier

Emmanuelle Vaugier

Detective Jessica Angell

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (21)

    • The French spoken in the train at the beginning of the episode by a man over the phone says: Tu rigoles! Avec cette économie, la voiture. Non, la voiture, non, non. Même mon patron... which means You kidding! With this saving, the car. No, the car, no, no. Even my boss...

    • The Bulgarian spoken in this episode says:
      -Гледай какво правиш бе
      -Не съм го направил аз
      -Човекът седеше там и след това го намерихме мъртъв на пода
      -Watch your step man!
      -I didn't do it!
      -The man was sitting there and then we found him dead on the floor.

      However, the language that comes on Flac's device is not Bulgarian, but Russian.

    • Ceart go leor which is said by Don Flack when he arrests Wexford actually means Alright or Okay. In the episode, it's been translated as My pleasure.

    • Several cast members get to speak a language different than English in this episode. Eddie Cahill speaks Irish, Emmanuelle Vaugier speaks French, Robert Joy speaks Lithuanian and Melina Kanakaredes speaks Greek. It is shocking that Carmine Giovinazzo doesn't get any line in Italian.

    • Emmanuelle Vaugier's French bits say: Qu'avez-vous vu dans le train? and Passez à mon appartement plus tard et je vous montrerai le sens véritable des relations internationales, meaning What have you seen at the train? and Stop by my place later and I'll show you the true meaning of international relations.

    • The Hindu bits spoken by Leila Vara say Namaste and Hai Bhagwaan, meaning Hello and My God.

    • The Spanish spoken in the train at the beginning of the episode says Mira que fresca que tu eres con esos zapatos tan lindos!, meaning look how cheeky you are with such pretty shoes! which actually doesn't make any sense.

      The Spanish spoken as witnesses are being interrogated says Entonces estaba caminando..., meaning then I was walking... .

      The Spanish spoken by the hotel manager says Señora, para por favor el limpiar para ahora, meaning Miss, stop please the clean for now which is grammatically incorrect. It should be Señora, por favor deje de limpiar por ahora being Miss, please stop cleaning for the moment.

    • The Danish spoken in the train at the beginning of the episode says Hvad er dit problem?!, meaning What is your problem?!.

    • The street festival depicted when Flack and Angell go to talk to Leila Vara is the Festival of Colors. During its main day, called Holi, people throw coloured powder and coloured water at each other. Traditionally the powders are made of medicinal herbs, which aren't toxic, but they are often substituted by synthetical ones.

    • Amos Delaware is killed in the 7 train, which is referred to as the International Express since its route goes across several ethnic neighborhoods, especially on its way along Roosevelt Avenue. It explains why there are so many different cultures depicted among the travellers.

    • The translator devices depicted in this episode are Ectaco electronic translators (the company logo can be seen on them), that can be purchased online.

    • Adam explains about Sliotar and Caman, both pieces of equipment needed to play the Gaelic game of hurling. It is a nice touch that A.J. Buckley is the one to get those lines, since he is Irish.

    • Flack's grandfather taught him some Irish.

    • PokerNative.com is a fictional gambling site.

    • Danny's family members have names similar to those of the characters depicted in The Grandfather, Part II such as Louie, Clemenza and Alfonse.

    • The Korean bit spoken in this episode says:

      Mother: Honey!
      Father: Don't tell him anything.
      Daughter: We have to tell him.
      Father: You be quiet!
      Hey, you btch!
      (End of flashback)
      Mother: What have you done?

    • The Tagalog exchange spoken by the Philippines includes the expressions minamahal kita and iniibig kita, both meaning I love you and rarely used as such.

    • Sid had a Lithuanian grandmother and he can actually speak Lithuanian. During the episode he says: kame yra sviesos ten ir seseliu esti which means where there is light, there must also be shadows.

    • Even though Louie Messer is mentioned, we still don't get to know if he is dead or alive.

    • The Montiquans, featured as a native American tribe, are actually fictional.

    • We learn that Sheldon's parents waited six weeks after he was born before giving him a name.

      Meanwhile Danny searches for the 'perfect' boy's name for his baby... only to find out that he and Lindsay are having a girl.

  • QUOTES (28)

    • Mac: (Emulating Danny's 'boom') Bang!

    • Korean daughter: Last night, my boyfriend spent the night. So, this morning, my father tried to kill him.
      Stella: Was your boyfriend hit?
      Korean daughter: No, thank God. Why?
      Mac: Someone else was.

    • Sid: Our victim was dying for several days before he finally expired from acute bacterial infection on that train.
      Hawkes: Hang on, you're telling me that a bullet managed to hit the one man on a speeding train who was already dead?
      Sid: I know. Worse odds than Atlantic City.

    • Sid: In my own gut, his death doesn't feel self-inflicted.
      Hawkes: Is that your way of asking for help?
      Sid: Well, if there is something in his body too radiolucent for an X ray to pick up
      and you did decide to run a high-res 3D-CT, it would help save me the extra time and trouble of poking through 30 feet of gastrointestinal tract.
      Hawkes: I'll take that as a yes.

    • Hawkes: You got plenty of time on this name search. I mean, the kid's not even here yet. My mom and dad waited six weeks after I was born to name me.
      Danny: Oh, they waited six weeks to name you Sheldon?
      Hawkes: Yeah. What's wrong with that?
      Danny: No, that's cool. That's a great name. I'll see you later, Sheldon.

    • Stella: Danny, at some point, you might want to consider the possibility that you and Lindsay could have a girl.
      Danny: My mom had two boys, her mom had three boys. I'm gonna have a boy.
      Stella: Otan asprisi o kokoras. (When the rooster whitens, a saying similar to When pigs fly).

    • Stella: It just looks like Delaware had some big plans for his little tribe.
      Danny: Yeah, and if that's true, how come it all ended up in a wastebasket?

    • Mac: I hope you can sew this button back on.
      Hawkes: I've had some practice with stitches.

    • Leila Vara: How can I help you?
      Angell: Maybe you can tell us about your property dispute with Amos Delaware and the Montiquan Indian Nation.
      Leila Vara: That matter has been resolved.
      Flack: I guess death has a way of doing that.

    • Angell: We're going to have to confiscate every piece of baleen that you're selling in the store.
      Leila Vara: Look, you can take everything that you want, but you're gonna have to take my word along with it. I was angry at a lot of people over what happened to my family's property, but I believe deeply in karma, and somehow, I think that man did, too.

    • Flack: You've got some shmutz on you (Brushes it off).
      Angell: Oh.
      Flack: (Being thrown coloured dust himself) Hey!
      Angell: (Laughs) Yeah. You, too.
      Flack: (He's got blue dust on him) NYPD blue.

    • Danny: (Thinking about baby names) I'm kind of just doing my homework.
      Mac: (Thinking about the case) Me too.
      Danny: Right. Right. I'm sorry.

    • Danny: Brushing up on your ABCs?
      Stella: Uh, actually, I'm trying to learn Chief Delaware's.

    • Flack: Didn't the chief of the Montiquan Nation tell you that you needed to find a new practice field?
      Finn Wexford: He doesn't belong.
      Flack: I think he got that message loud and clear.
      Finn Wexford: Meaning?
      Flack: He's dead.

    • (Finn Wexford pushes Flack)
      Angell: Okay, now that you've harassed an officer, why don't we head back to our playing field downtown? Sound good to you, Flack?
      Flack: (Handcuffing Wexford) Ceart go leor! (My pleasure)

    • Stella: Centuries ago, the Montiquans carved and folded sharp strips of baleen, tied them up tightly with catgut cord, and tucked them into chunks of raw meat. Then they deftly scattered their murder weapons in the wilderness of Manhattan to kill wolves, wild boar and bears.
      Hawkes: Not to mention Indian Chiefs.

    • Hawkes: You think Chief Delaware might have actlly been killed by one of his own?
      Mac: Well, I can tell you this much. Whoever took this weapon from his room not only knew how to use it, but who they were using it on.
      Hawkes: Sounds like a pretty painful betrayal.
      Stella: Maybe the Montiquans weren't such a peaceful tribe after all.

    • Adam: We did a little packet sniffing.
      Stella: Packet sniffing?
      Danny: What our little bearded friend from the Tech Republic is trying to say is that we use a subpoena to, uh, analyze the data between the servers and the network users. It's basically like bugging a phone except we digitally figured out what was going on inside the warehouse without actually going.

    • Hawkes: I thought it was against the law to run online gambling operations in the U.S.
      Mac: It is, but some Native American tribes have started taking advantage of their sovereign land status to build sites like this instead of expensive brick and mortar casinos.

    • Stella: Tehonzuk. Cheater. That's what it means, doesn't it? It's the best translation I can offer for the combination of game and easel.
      Mac: Sounds about right to me.
      Liam Connover: You don't know what you're talking about.
      Mac: Then, why don't you educate us?

    • (About Chief Delaware)
      Liam Connover: He asked me to set up a gambling site as a means
      to an end.
      Stella: He just wanted to raise the funds to renovate that warehouse into a cultural center for the tribe.
      Mac: Except you moved in and got greedy.

    • Mac: (To Liam Connover) Unfortunately for you, sepsis takes a little while to kill someone.
      Stella: So, Chief Delaware used that time to try to make
      things right, while your actions caused him a slow and painful death.
      Liam Connover: He was already ancient history.
      Mac: Listen to me. You didn't just betray a good man, you betrayed your heritage. I promise you it'll be many years before you find the peace that your people once knew.

    • Flack: You got something in mind?
      Angell: As a matter of fact I do (Records into the translator device) Passez a mon appartement plus tard et je vous montrerai le sens veritable des relations internationals. (Hands it to Flack)
      Flack: (Listening to translation) Stop by my place later and I'll show you the true meaning of international relations. (Looks up to a grinning Angell) Oh la la.

    • Stella: I just got off the phone with the Museum of the American Indian in Battery Park. They are gonna take in all of Chief Delaware's collection.
      Mac: So the Montiquan Nation lives on.
      Stella: It's funny, you know? We ride trains, share sidewalks, row boats with so many different kinds of people in this town from some many different places and sometimes we don't notice a culture until some is gone.
      Mac: In order to be a true New Yorker you gotta keep your eyes, heart and mind open at all times.

    • (As Danny is thinking about boy names for the baby)
      Stella:: Why don't you throw Mac into the mix?
      Adam:: Yeah! (Laughs)
      (Mac gives Adam a look)
      Adam:: (Babbling) Yeah, it's a great name. I... I like your name.
      Danny:: Mac's not good. That was Lindsay. She's fine and so is the baby girl in her belly.

    • Flack: (passing by Angell hearing her speak French on the train) Sexiest thing I've ever heard.

    • Danny: What do you think about the name Louie?
      Hawkes: I think he's going to grow up to be a bookie.
      Danny: How about Clemenza?
      Hawkes: Influenza. The kids on the playground are going to call him a virus.

    • (Sid and Sheldon doing autopsy on dead Indian Chief)
      Hawkes: You find anything?
      Sid: Yeah, but what the hell kind of murder weapon is this?

  • NOTES (5)

    • Original International Air Dates:
      Turkey: May 25, 2009 on CNBC-e.
      Spain: May 26, 2009 on AXN.
      Czech Republic: July 8, 2009 on AXN.
      Sweden: September 28, 2009 on Kanal 5.
      The Netherlands: October 19, 2009 on RTL4.
      Norway: October 21, 2009 on TVNorge.
      New Zealand: December 29, 2009 on TV3.
      Germany: January 25, 2010 on Vox.
      Australia: February 11, 2010 on Channel 9.
      Slovakia: February 13, 2010 on JOJ.
      Finland: June 16, 2010 on MTV3.

    • Sam Page, who plays I.T. Guy/Liam Connover, also appeared in the CSI: Miami episode Prey.

      Kavi Ladnier, who plays Leila Vara, also appeared in the CSI: Miami episode Smoke Gets in Your CSIs.

    • Music featured:
      Bohemian Mud Strut by Munk.
      Beauty's running wild by Scars on 45.
      Ghost Dance by Robbie Robertson.

    • Although credited, Anna Belknap (Lindsay Monroe) does not appear in this episode.

    • Eddie Cahill does not speak Irish even though Flack can be seen speaking some in this episode. The actor was assisted by several Irish speakers while shooting those scenes.

      In order to audition for this episode, Ben Morrison had to learn the basics of Gaelic pronunciation overnight. According to the actor: "I hopped on Twitter and sent a message asking if anyone out there could pronounce Gaelic. An hour later I had more incoming Gaelic than the Dublin airport. I was floored." As a result of this unexpected collaboration, Ben Morrison got the role and posted a thankful comment to those who had helped him together with a picture of himself with Eddie Cahill on the set.


    • Danny:: What's wrong with Cosmo?
      Adam:: I mean, it's great if you are a superhero.

      Captain Cosmo is a Marvel comics superhero.

    • Flack:: What you need is a tough tv cop name. How about Crockett?

      Sony Crockett is one of the leading characters in the late 80's NBC show Miami Vice.

    • Danny: What our little bearded friend from the Tech Republic is trying to say...

      Tech Republic is a CNET Networks online community for IT professionals which provides with advice on how to make technology work in business.

    • Stella: Come on. You're trying to tell me something. It's just lost in translation.

      Lost in Translation is a 2003 movie directed by Sofia Coppola, starring Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson.

    • Stella: I ran a Lexis/Nexis search on the address from those blueprints that we found at Delaware's place.

      LexisNexis is global searchable database providing with products and services for academic, legal, business, and government professionals.

    • Danny: LeBron James couldn't hit that shot.

      LeBron Raymone James (1984-) is a Cleveland Cavaliers American professional basketball player.

    • Hawkes: What'd you do, go through the cast list of Godfather II?

      The Godfather, Part II is a 1974 American movie directed by Francis Ford Coppola and starring Al Pacino, Robert De Niro and Diane Keaton.

    • Episode title: Communication Breakdown is a song from Led Zeppelin's first album of the same title.