Holding Cell
Season 7
Number 12
Writer Bill Haynes
Director Scott White
Original Airdate January 14, 2011
Previous Episode: To What End?
Next Episode: Party Down

Holding Cell is the twelfth episode in Season Seven of CSI: NY.


Mac is forced to work with a Barcelona detective to find out if the death of a Spanish man in New York City was a homicide or suicide.


Miguel Martinez, a 23-year-old club promoter, is found dead on the floor of his apartment. The team learns about the death 10 hours after the body is discovered, when they get a call from Hector Vargas—a crime lab supervisor with the Barcelona Police. Miguel was a Spanish citizen, and he’s been in Manhattan for two years. His girlfriend, Natalia Sanchez, found the body, and the first thing she did was call Miguel’s mother, who is a diplomat of foreign affairs in Spain. Vargas only alerted the NYPD about the case after he arrived in New York, and the team discovers that he’s Miguel’s uncle.

Miguel’s empty wallet is on the floor next to his body, and there’s no sign of a murder weapon. There are footprints all over the room, but they only belong to Miguel. Sid says that the young man was stabbed three times, and the third wound was made with the blade upside down. The coroner also finds evidence of what appear to be bedsores on Miguel’s back, with various degrees of healing—but there’s no record of hospitalization or chronic illness.

Mac isn’t ready to rule this a homicide just yet. There’s no evidence of forced entry and no sign of a struggle. Mac shows Vargas a picture of the phone, which has no blood on it even though Miguel got blood all over the desk inches away—why didn’t he try to call 911? Mac doesn’t know what happened, but he isn’t convinced it’s murder. Vargas is adamant, however, and he says there must be an explanation for all of the strange evidence.

Miguel was taking clonazepam, an antidepressant and antianxiety medication, but he didn’t have a prescription. He also had a 0.19 blood alcohol level when he died, but there was no alcohol in his stomach. It got into his system through his lungs in the “mist cube” at the club he was promoting the night before, Mystify. Danny and Flack speak to a bouncer at the club, who says Miguel got into an argument with a man named Leo the night before. They see Leo selling drugs to someone nearby and bring him in. Tiny chemical burns on Miguel’s shirt came back as a mixture of sulfuric acid and formaldehyde: Marquis reagent. It’s used for drug testing, and Leo has been testing drugs for people in the club. He says he wants people to be safe, but it’s really a scam to get them to buy drugs from him instead. Leo admits that he got into a fight with Miguel, and that’s when the Marquis reagent got on his shirt, but he swears he left after that.

Miguel’s mother arrives in New York to take his body back to Spain, but the embalming process revealed new evidence. She doesn’t want to give his body back, but she finally agrees. Sid sees marks around Miguel’s neck consistent with him being strangled from behind a week ago. A shard of solar panel material found at the scene contains a microscopic drop of blood, which leads back to Vern Jackson, a vagrant who has been arrested for stealing solar panels. Vern tells the team that Miguel came up to him on the street and offered money for Vern to kill him. He tried to strangle Miguel a week ago, but he couldn’t go through with it. He felt Miguel’s life slipping away and had to stop.

Vargas reveals that Mac may have been right about Miguel’s death not being a homicide. He tells Mac about the death of Miguel’s father 12 years ago, when the man’s body was found at the bottom of the pool. There were rumors that the man killed himself or was murdered by his wife, and it was a high profile case. There was a lot of pressure on the coroner, who ruled the death an accident. Now Vargas is wondering if history may be repeating itself, and if Miguel killed himself like his father.

There’s half of a gravitational blood drop on the murder weapon, which matches half of a blood drop on the floor. A fingerprint next to the blood drop was left by the person who picked up the knife to deliver the third, fatal stab wound—and the fingerprint matches Miguel. Somehow, the murder weapon was removed from the crime scene, and the team brings Natalia back in to tell the whole truth about what happened.

Miguel tried to hide who he was and present a fake image to the outside world because he didn’t want people to look down on him. Eventually, it all became too much, and he asked Natalia to help make his suicide look like a murder. He didn’t want his mother to know his death was self-inflicted. He finally convinced Natalia, but she changed her mind and tried to get there in time to save him. She was too late, so the only thing she could do was follow his wishes and stage the scene. She took the money out of his wallet and got rid of the knife.


Main Cast[]

Guest Cast[]

  • Jsu Garcia as Hector Vargas
  • Karina Lombard as Eva Martinez
  • Reynaldo Pacheco as Miguel Martinez
  • Melina Lizette as Natalia Sanchez
  • Kavan Reece as Leo
  • Michael Cory Davis as Bouncer
  • Andrea Ramírez as Carmen Martinez
  • James C. Victor as Vern Jackson
  • Julie McKinnon as A/V Lab Tech
  • Rachel Ann Mullins as Licking Girl

See Also[]

CSI:NY Season 7
The 34th FloorUnfriendly ChatDamned If You DoSangre Por SangreOut of the SkyDo Not Pass GoHide SightScared StiffJustifiedShop Till You DropTo What End?Holding CellParty DownSmooth CriminalVigilanteThe UntouchableDo or DieIdentity Crisis (NY)Food for ThoughtNothing for SomethingLife SentenceExit Strategy