Season 4 Episode 17

Like Water for Murder

Aired Friday 9:00 PM Apr 16, 2008 on CBS
out of 10
User Rating
193 votes

By TV.com Users

Episode Summary

The team must figure out how a young woman and a shark end up dead on the beach at the same time. This case gets even more interesting when a second body washes up on the beach.

Quinn Shelby observes the team at work to determine if the lab should get their annual accreditation.


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  • The start of the Taxi cab killer

    This episode is the start of a new serial killer when a body turns up on a beach that has been chewed by a shark and before they know it they find another body further into the episode and then they know they are dealing with a serial killer and Mac makes the connection and finds out who the next victim is but its too late but they find out that the killer is a Taxi driver.This was an excellent episode full of twists and turns and now getting in a taxi in NY isn't safe.moreless
  • How can an episode that featured sharks, chocolate, and murderous cabbies be boring?

    There were plenty of twists and turns in this episode, and as usual with CSI:NY you're usually kept guessing, and just when you think that you've got it figured out, they throw another curveball (was I the only one that thought that the last minute client was the killer? I was pretty sure until he got gassed. oops.)

    Of course, they didn't leave out the drama. With the team being inspected, it would make sense that they would be on their best behavior. Of course, I have to wonder why Stella seemed a little irritated when Flack asked if Quinn was good looking. Stella also made sure that Quinn knew that she wasn't intimidated by her by letting her look at the microscope. There was also the obvious connection that Mac seemed to have with Quinn, and of course they couldn't leave out Danny and Lindsey.

    I know that some DL fans out there may wonder if this might be the end for the favored couple and ask how the writers could do something like this. First, Ruben's death causes a rift between them, then after spending the longest time questioning whether or not they're still together, Danny ends up forgetting Lindsey's birthday, and then makes it so much worse by cheating on her before she breaks up with him. Just when it looks like he's making some sort of effort by playing "Movie Quotes" and suggesting that they rent a movie together, she walks out and leaves evidence on the table, gets talked to by Mac about her relationship with Danny and she comes to regret getting involved with someone she works with. The way I see it (and of course I could be wrong) they're doing this to revitalize the couple. Although what they're going through is more like an axle grinding pothole than a bump in the road, I think that what they're going to do is either 1) Have Danny realize how much he has to make it up to Lindsey and work hard to get her back or 2) Have them decide to be professional, but then the long looks will start up again, and the banter, the flirting, and then they'll be back to they way they were before. At least, that's what I hope will happen.

    Good episode, can't wait til the next one.moreless
  • This epi was brilliant. I loved this cabbie killer storyline. Can't wait to see the rest of the story unfold.

    The episode was great. I love Mac's stepson Reed he is annoyin but i can see some good coming from him. The storyline is very gripping. Someone killing peole who are advertised across the city depending on the order of bilboards is great cant say i have ever heard of that 1 before.

    I wish Danny and Lindsay would hurry up and make up. I love them together. I think Danny loves Lindsay but he is scared of commitment.

    I was shocked to discover Mac kissed Quinn. I never thought he would cheat on his Wife. I know it was just a kiss but still its still cheating.moreless
  • Overrated

    It is really painful to watch this episode, because it reminds me of how CSI: crime scene investigation has fallen from my favourite show to something I am just desperate to avoid. Like water for murder is exactly what CSI is like now - really slow movements, disastrously slow pace, clumsy relationships (father and son? flirty ex-coworker? get involved with coworkers? Am I even watching a crime show?), unorganized plot, unmethodical murder (ya, blame it on a psychopath). The whole one hour is just sluggish repetitions of 3 steps:

    - they have a lead,

    - they check it out,

    - it leads to nowhere (the 'message', the chocolate, real estate agent, tomb stone, taxi, the ads),

    plus these repetitions separated by boring relationship issues, which again lead to nowhere. These sadly are all I could summarize about this episode. One hour of my life is lost over such torturous boredom. I would be so debastated if my beloved CSI:NY becomes another CSI. Do NOT let this happen!moreless
  • Overall a very good episode and very gripping. I loved the twist at the end of it.

    This episode starts off with a couple running along a beach and taking of their clothes. They then stumble across a dead shark and a dead body. At first it is thought that the shark killed the woman, but Flack soon points out that she has a broken neck. Stella thinks that she knows the victim as her face looks very familiar to her but she can not place her. Also in this episode Quinn Shelby observes the team at work to determine if the lab should get their annual accreditation.

    During the autopsy it is also discovered that the victim was poisoned. Danny says to Lindsay that they should rent a movie together. Perhaps their relationship can be fixed after all. Another victim is found. Stella then realises how she knows the 1st victim, she is a real estate agent. Stella has met her, because she is looking for a new apartment after her last one was ruined in the fire from the previous episode. Also Claire's son Reid also re-appears in this episode as a reporter. Claire was Mac wife who was killed during the attacks on the twin towers. It is discovered that both victims had chocolate in their stomach and the blend of chocolate is only available in a new fashion show. They go there but everyone denies knowing them. Lindsay discovers that they were poisoned in a boot of a car but the 1st victim woke up and tried to escape and that was why she was strangled. Shelby lets Mac know that where she worked also had a similar case a few months ago.

    Mac also discovers that the scratches on the victims' necks may have been a message form the killer. Only problem is the 1st victim which was attacked by a shark in New York, has that part of her neck missing and also the team open up the shark to try and find the missing pieces. L2729 is carved into the victims.

    Charles from the chocolate show is called in as a suspect. We learn that Shelby & Mac kissed once and she still has a thing for him. Mac discovers that the killer picks his victims through ads on the streets (billboards) which say things like "Come home with me" etc. The signs even go in order of death and so the team believe that they have found the next victim. Before the team can get there, he is there.

    Mac & Stella pass the killer as they enter the building; he goes outside to try to get a cab. But she is still alive. When they enter the apartment where he next intended victim is, they find that she is still alive. They also discover that the stuff under the nails of the victims is from the passenger bill of rights. The killer gets into a cab, and when he tries to leave he finds himself locked in. Then the Passenger bill of rights is shown and what look like scratch makes can be seen on it. But was he the right killer. It then becomes obvious that the killer drives a cab; the person we thought was the killer is the next victim. And so we watch him die. They then find the body. Mac says any New Yorker could be his next victim. Will they ever solve the mystery of who the killer is, or will it never be solved for us the viewers. Overall a very good episode and very gripping. I loved the twist at the end of it.moreless
Anna Belknap

Anna Belknap

Lindsay Monroe

Carmine Giovinazzo

Carmine Giovinazzo

Danny Messer

Gary Sinise

Gary Sinise

Detective Mack "Mac" Taylor

Melina Kanakaredes

Melina Kanakaredes

Detective Stella Bonasera

Eddie Cahill

Eddie Cahill

Detective Donald "Don" Flack, Jr.

Hill Harper

Hill Harper

Dr. Sheldon Hawkes

Kristen Dalton

Kristen Dalton

Quinn Shelby

Guest Star

Theodore Zoumpoulidis

Theodore Zoumpoulidis

Charles Kohl

Guest Star

Breanne Racano

Breanne Racano

Jessica Hughes

Guest Star

Kyle Gallner

Kyle Gallner

Reed Garrett

Recurring Role

Robert Joy

Robert Joy

Dr. Sid Hammerback

Recurring Role

A.J. Buckley

A.J. Buckley

Adam Ross

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (13)

    • Why would the killer's fourth victim be a customer of the real estate agent, rather than the agent herself? Not only is this very coincidental, it is a serious change of M.O.

    • It sounds highly unlikely for the girl and the boy who are running in the beach at the beginning not to have seen the shark and the vic laying on the shore a few metres away from them. They've been facing them for a while but only realize about them after he trips.

    • Goof: Mac pushes barehanded the door of the house that is for sale. He should have tried to avoid removing prints even more when suspecting that someone might have broken in.

    • Stella likes Margaritas like Quinn, and she has been looking for a new condo to buy, which she seems to have done by now.

    • Goof: The actress who performs Louise Perry, victim #2, keeps blinking all the time while laying on the beach.

    • Goof: Eddie Cahill's stunt has way longer hair than him as it can be appreciated in 28:35 when he tackles Charles Kohl to the ground.

    • Mac is very strict about the protocol and procedures. However he was more concerned about Lindsay than about the fact that she left evidence unattended. Her carelessness should have been more stressed.

    • Goof: When the first victim's body is on the autopsy table, you can see her breathing.

    • Goof: The 'passenger rights' sticker shows only scratchmarks that go from top to bottom. To get almost complete words under your fingernails you would have to scratch from side to side.

    • Reed worked at the city desk for New York Weekly and now he works for New York 24/7 news.

    • Quinn specializes in this field of microscopy in her lab in New Jersey. Microscopy is the use of different microscopes to allow some one to view objects or samples better. The three branches of microscopy are optical, electron, and scanning probe microscopy.

    • Inspector Shelby and Mac exchanged a kiss while Mac was married. They never pursued it further; for Mac it was a mistake made in a moment of weakness, although it left her wondering. Actually, Quinn admits to Mac that still has a thing for him.

    • Inspector Quinn applied for the same job Mac has.

  • QUOTES (17)

    • Mac: Our killer's a cab driver. Any New Yorker could be his next victim.

    • (About the kiss they shared in the past)
      Mac: Quinn, no matter how good they are, some memories need to be forgotten.
      Quinn Shelby: I get it.

    • Quinn Shelby: I still have a thing for you. Why didn't you ever call me?
      Mac: Quinn, I was married.
      Quinn Shelby: It was just a kiss, Mac. I know... a moment of weakness.
      Mac: It was a mistake. I loved my wife.
      Quinn Shelby: Don't I know it? Every day I worked alongside you, you never let me forget that.
      Mac: It wasn't my intention to make things difficult.
      Quinn Shelby: You know, I've thought about this moment so many times, about what I would say to you when I finally got the chance. And here I am, and all I keep thinking is... does he ever wonder "what if?"

    • (Mac confronts Lindsay about having left evidence unattended)
      Mac: You were in the lab with Danny. Inspector Shelby...
      Lindsay: Oh, but Danny was right there. I mean, I'm sure that he put it away. (She makes a brief pause) Oh, that's a bad excuse. Mac, I... I'm sorry. I know it's my responsibility. I know we're talking about evidence that could convict somebody of murder...
      Mac: Lindsay, to tell you the truth I'm more concerned about you.
      Lindsay: I'm okay, Mac.
      Mac: You put up a good front, but whatever is or is not going on between you and Danny, you cannot let it affect your job.
      Lindsay: I should never have gotten involved with somebody I work with. It was stupid, really stupid.

    • Quinn Shelby: I'd say you've got a tough job ahead of you, Mac. You're hunting a land shark.

    • Sid: I've often said we don't get enough guests down here in Autopsy, although there's been quite a few people by to see the shark. I've still got it on ice if you...
      Mac: Sid, Inspector Shelby is here to document the chain of evidence.
      Quinn Shelby: Thanks, Doctor. Maybe later.

    • (Reed acuses Mac of going to another paper with the story)
      Reed: If they have information about this, that means you must have known. I trusted you.
      Mac: Look, you shouldn't have promised something you couldn't deliver.
      Reed: This is my career we're talking about.
      Mac: Reed... your expectations of our relationship do not and will never dictate when or with whom I reveal evidence in a murder case. Is that clear?
      Reed: Yes.

    • Mac: (To Reed) You remind me of your mother. When Claire wanted something, she went after it. She wouldn't let go till she got it.

    • Quinn Shelby: Detectives Messer and Monroe. They're obviously a little more than just co-workers.
      Mac: I don't get involved in my team's personal lives.
      Quinn Shelby: Mac, I'm just giving you a heads-up. As a result of what was obviously a personal exchange between Monroe and Messer, Monroe got distracted and left her evidence out, unattended. We can all try and compartmentalize, but nobody can help the fact that sometimes life gets in the way. And when things get messy, mistakes are made. And I believe I'm quoting you on that one.
      Mac: Point taken. Got your message.

    • Flack: I hear you have an inspector in house.
      Stella: Yeah, I think at some point she worked with Mac. They were both up for his job.
      Flack: He doesn't mind her looking over his shoulder?
      Stella: Actually it's weird, he seems to be fine with it.
      Flack: Is she pretty? This inspector?
      (Stella gives him a look)
      Flack: (smirking) I'm just sayin'.

    • (After Danny and Lindsay quoted Jaws)
      Danny: We should rent it sometime. (He looks at Lindsay and she stops what she's doing and stares at him.)
      Lindsay: This is hard. (Lindsay takes off her gloves and leaves the room, Danny watches her go.)

    • Flack: What kind of shark strangles his meal before he takes a bite?

    • Charles Kohl: (holding out a box of Damiana chocolates) You sure, you won't want a sample?
      Stella: Hm, I was taught never to take candy from strangers.

    • Hawkes: Could this be two failed attempts at suicide? Poison, a hanging, and finally she jumped?
      Mac: Or, one failed attempt at murder. After the poison didn't work, she was strangled then dumped.
      Sid: And then there's the poor shark. (Hawkes and Mac look at him) Well, if you see it from his point of view, he's noshing on the finest prime rib he's had in months, and dies of food poisoning? There's a chance she killed him!

    • Quinn Shelby: Don't worry, Mac, I'll stay out of the way and quietly observe.
      (Mac laughs)
      Quinn Shelby: What's so funny?
      Mac: I've never known you to do anything quietly... and staying out of the way? It's not your style.

    • Stella: (after taking out a suspect that Flack had been chasing who had offered her a chocolate sample earlier) How's that for a sample, huh?

    • Danny: (In response to the auditor looking over their shoulders during the case) I feel like I'm in detention or something.

  • NOTES (2)

    • Original International Air dates:
      UK: May 3, 2008 on Ch5.
      Denmark: May 26, 2008 on Kanal 5.
      Australia: July 20, 2008 on Network 9.
      Turkey: June 23, 2008 on CNBC-e.
      Spain: June 24, 2008 on AXN.
      Sweden: August 11, 2008 on Kanal 5.
      New Zealand: August 12, 2008 on TV3.
      Czech Republic: September 30, 2008 on AXN.
      Norway: Wednesday, October 22, 2008 on TVNorge.
      Germany: Monday, January 12, 2009 on VOX.
      Finland: Wednesday, July 8, 2009 on MTV3.

    • Music Featured:
      Down By The Water by PJ Harvey.
      Fashion by Airship Rocketship.

  • ALLUSIONS (12)

    • Hawkes: I identified the additional trace in Chrissy Watson's lacerations: sycamore and ash, rich in copper, zinc and silicon. Those last components were major players in the ash from September 11. And there was a story in the paper a couple days later about a sycamore tree that fell on some church. The branches actually protected the structure from the debris.

      It is later stated that the church is St. Angelo's Church. However, it was St. Paul's Chapel the one saved by the sycamore tree.

    • The method of the Taxi Murderer is similar to that of the killer in The Bone Collector (1999). In that movie, the killer kidnaps some of his victims by pretending to be a taxicab driver and powerlocking the back doors, trapping them inside.

    • In addition to the other quotes mentioned, there were several other name references to Jaws (1975): Chrissy Watson, one of the Taxi Murderer's victims, is similar in name to Chrissy Watkins, the first victim in the movie. The evaluator's name Quinn Shelby is a variation on the Quint character in Jaws. Lastly, Matt Cooper is a play on the Matt Hooper character.

    • Hawkes: I was never that good at Wheel Of Fortune.
      Danny: It's real easy, doc, you just got to keep buying the vowels.

      Wheel of Fortune is a game show based on hangman where letters are put in the right place to form a word.

    • Flack: Hey Project Runway, who did your dress?

      This is a reference to the reality show, Project Runway, which airs on the Bravo network. This show is a fashion design competition hosted by Heidi Klum.

    • Mac: (looking at the crime scene on the beach) Shark attack victim. Sounds like a job for Chief Brody and the Coast Guard, not my forensics team.

      Hawkes: Okay, so that's what killed Jaws.

      These are some of the many allusions to the movie Jaws in this episode. Mac refers to Police chief Martin Brody played by Roy Scheider, and Hawkes refers to the shark as Jaws.

    • Hawkes: Could this be two failed attempts at suicide? Poison, a hanging, and finally she jumped?

      Reference to the urban legend about Jacques LeFevrier's suicide attempt. He tried to hang, poison, burn and shoot himself at the same time and failed, but later died of hypothermia.

    • Hawkes: Who found him?
      Flack: The Abercrombie twins over there.

      Flack is talking about Ambercrombie & Fitch which is a clothing store founded in 1892.

    • Danny & Lindsay: Ten thousand dollars for me by myself. For that you get the head, the tail, the whole damn thing.

      This is a quote from Jaws (1975), a movie about a great white shark that terrorized the New England town of Amity.

    • Mac: This is psychological. You yell murder in this city, people don't even blink. Yell serial killer, we've got a panic on our hands.

      Mac paraphrases a line from the movie Jaws:

      Mayor Vaughn: Martin, it's all psychological. You yell barracuda, everybody says, "Huh? What?" You yell shark, we've got a panic on our hands on the Fourth of July.

    • Flack: Chocolate factory aside, Charlie is lying!

      Flack is referring to the children's book Charlie and the Chocolate factory, by Roald Dahl, which was made into a movie in 1971 starring Gene Wilder and in 2005 starring Johnny Depp: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

    • Episode title: Like Water for Murder.

      It's an allusion to the book Like Water for Chocolat by Laura Esquivel. The book is about Tita De la Garza, a young Mexican woman whose family's kitchen becomes her world after her mother forbids her to marry the man she loves.