Dead Reckoning
Season 6
Number 4
Writer John Dove
Director Scott White
Original Airdate October 14, 2009
Previous Episode: Lat 40° 47' N/Long 73° 58' W
Next Episode: Battle Scars

Dead Reckoning is the fourth episode in Season Six of CSI: NY.


What appears to be a slam-dunk crime of passion turns bizarre when the DNA evidence shows that a second woman was present. The case turns even weirder when the same DNA turns up on dozens of more crime scenes.


Deborah Carter’s murder of her husband Kevin appears to be an open-and-shut case. After Kevin returned from a business trip, Deborah cooked him his favorite meal for dinner and greeted him with passion—only to discover a ring and a card from another woman in the pocket of his jacket. Deborah made good on her vow to kill him if he ever cheated on her, stabbing him seventeen times. The next morning, Deborah turns herself in. When Stella discovers another woman’s DNA on swabs taken from a piece of bread Kevin took a bite out of and the murder weapon, she calls Mac to tell him Deborah had an accomplice. Mac and Flack vigorously question her, but Deborah vehemently denies that anyone helped her. After Mac leaves the room, Flack asks her if she regrets the murder, and she tells him she doesn’t. Danny struggles in physical therapy and gives up for the day—only to receive a lecture from Hawkes, who tells him he needs to push himself if he wants to get out of the wheelchair. Sid finds a partially digested dinner in Kevin Carter’s stomach, while Haylen Becall notices that the food Deborah made him was never touched. Stella and Mac surmise he was having an affair, which might explain the woman’s DNA on the bread, but not the knife.

Hawkes searches the database and finds a shocking 21 hits in CODIS from the DNA from their mystery woman. The team has a one-woman crime spree on their hands. Hawkes ties her to eleven homicides, eight burglaries, and two robberies—in seven different jurisdictions. Chief Brigham Sinclair urges Mac to come up with a suspect—he’s under pressure to give a press conference about the case. Stella and Flack search nearby buildings for Kevin Carter’s mistress and are surprised when a pretty young woman named Zoya tells them Kevin is her husband. When they question her, she’s shocked to find her husband of one year was actually married to someone else. Flack tells Mac he buys her story: Kevin used his dead brother’s social security number to create a second identity for himself. Zoya’s DNA proves to not be a match to their killer’s, forcing the CSIs to look elsewhere. Lindsay gets a lead when she finds three of the victims received packages from a company called World Send with cocaine from the same batch in them. All three were delivered by the same World Send employee: Marcia Vasquez, who has a criminal record.

Flack and Lindsay track down Marcia, only to have her flee. Flack corners her in a restaurant but she grabs a knife and holds him off. Despite her threat that he’d better shoot her or she’ll kill him, Flack is unable to pull the trigger. Lindsay tackles Marcia from behind, taking her down, but at the police station she tells Mac that Flack froze. While Stella interrogates Marcia, Mac confronts Flack, who insists he’s fine. Mac notices Marcia gets distinctly uncomfortable when shown the pictures of the drug dealers, but she doesn’t react to the photos of the other victims, and denies knowing the Carters. Haylen finds evidence that clears her of one of the other crimes: she was delivering a World Send package at the time. She couldn’t have been in two places at the same time. Stymied, Mac catches sight of a lab worker using a white cotton swab, and gets an idea. He heads to the factory in Brooklyn and discovers one of the young women working there touching the cotton without gloves. The “Phantom Killer” is nothing more than a factory worker contaminating the swabs the CSIs use with her DNA. Sinclair tells a relieved press that there is no serial killer. Haylen cleans up the Carters’ apartment and is confronted by a distraught Zoya, who tells her if Deborah hadn’t killed him, she would have. While Flack drowns his troubles in alcohol at a local bar, Lindsay wakes up to discover Danny in Lucy’s room, holding their daughter—and standing up.


Main Cast[]

Guest Cast[]

  • Sarah Carter as Haylen Becall
  • T.J. Hoban as Kevin Carter
  • Mia Kirshner as Deborah Carter
  • Rose Rollins as Beth Garrett
  • Mykelti Williamson as Chief Brigham Sinclair
  • McKenna Jones as Zoya Carter
  • Nadine Velazquez as Marcia Vazquez
  • Alison Woods as Jen Parker


  • The contaminated cotton swab story was inspired by the "Phantom of Heilbronn" case in Germany. Investigators concluded in late March 2009 that the conjectural female serial killer they had been looking for did not exist. The female DNA found on the swabs taken from numerous crime scenes in Germany, France, and Austria between 1993 and 2009, was already present on the swabs before they left the factory, due to mishandling of the cotton by one female worker who did not follow protocol.

See Also[]

CSI:NY Season 6
EpilogueBlacklistLat 40° 47' N/Long 73° 58' WDead ReckoningBattle ScarsIt Happened to MeHammer DownCuckoo's NestManhattanhengeDeath HouseSecond ChancesCriminal JusticeFlag on the PlaySanguine LoveThe FormulaUncertainty RulesPot of GoldRest in Peace, Marina GaritoRedemptioTales from the UndercardUnusual SuspectsPoint of ViewVacation Getaway