Keep It Real
Season 8
Number 2
Writer Bill Haynes
Director Alex Zakrzewski
Original Airdate September 30, 2011
Previous Episode: Indelible
Next Episode: Cavallino Rampante

Keep It Real is the second episode in Season Eight of CSI: NY.


When an awkward teen is found dead, the team discovers that his efforts to win a sexy punk rock chick's heart may have gone a step too far.


Mac has returned to the New York Crime Lab, and he jumps right back into his old role as the team investigates the death of Michael Schaefer. The young man spent the night with a beautiful woman named Miranda, and she was sleeping in his room when she heard a gunshot. The noise woke her, and she found Michael on the floor when she ran out into the living room. They’ve only known each other for a few weeks, since he and his roommate Josh came into the music store where she worked. They hit it off immediately.

Michael was shot at close range, and he struggled with the killer first. Robbery doesn’t seem to be a motive because the body is surrounded by $300 worth of $20 bills. Miranda says Michael didn’t owe anyone money. In fact, he was doing pretty well. He bought her an expensive guitar recently, after she admired it the day they met in the music store. He was a sweet guy, she says, and she can’t imagine anyone wanting to hurt him. Meanwhile, Josh is nowhere to be found, and the team tries to track him down.

Adam analyzes Miranda’s clothing and finds tears consistent with catching the fabric on broken glass-like the busted window from the fire escape into the apartment. Michael lost his keys, Miranda explains, and she broke the window so they could get into the apartment. She didn’t mention this because she was in shock, and she doesn’t appreciate the insinuation that she killed Michael.

The team starts to look more closely into Josh when they discover that he has $12,000 in his savings account. That’s a lot for a college student, and he was throwing money around at the club where Miranda plays. The team finds a tub of tattoo aftercare lotion in the apartment. Michael didn’t have a tattoo, so it must belong to Josh. They are able to track down the tattoo parlor, and the man recognizes him. Josh paid $1000 for a large back tattoo, and it took several hours. During that time, Josh mentioned that his best friend got a new girlfriend who started coming between them.

A smudge on Michael’s cheek contains a combination of ink, mineral oil, glass cleaner and auto degreaser. This leads Lindsay to figure out that the money next to Michael’s body is counterfeit. Josh was using a combination of auto degreaser, mineral oil and glass cleaner to remove the ink on $5 bills, and he reprinted them as $20 bills with his inkjet printer. Josh loaned Michael several hundred dollars in counterfeit bills to buy the guitar for Miranda, but that’s the only place where Michael was seen spending any of it. He had no idea it was fake. Meanwhile, Josh is using some of the counterfeit money to buy a gun.

A piece of reptile skin belonging to a boa constrictor is found on Michael’s clothes, and it has been discolored by fingernail polish. The team realizes the owner of the music store, Randy, is the killer because they remembered his nails being painted with black gel polish. They rush to the store to find him and Josh having a standoff. Michael was Josh’s best friend, and he had no idea what Josh was doing. He didn’t deserve to die. Randy tells Josh that Michael’s death was an accident, but he owes money to a bookie who doesn’t appreciate being given counterfeit bills. The team comes in and stops them from shooting each other, and both men are arrested for their crimes.


Main Cast[]

Guest Cast[]

  • Arthur Angeles as Punk Rocker
  • Jake Busey as Randy Davis
  • Shakti Dam as Alex Kirkland
  • Sean Davis as Michael Schaefer
  • Preston Jones as Chad Henricks
  • Cody Longo as Tyler Josephson
  • Sean Marquette as Josh Herman
  • Aly Michalka as Miranda Beck
  • Julie McKinnon as A/V Lab Tech


  • Blitzkrieg Bop by Ramones.
  • Packard by Plastikman.
  • Michal by Suck Shaft.
  • My Shadow by Keane.


  • Mac is back leading the CSI team after he decided to quit on Exit Strategy. He has been absent from the lab (albeit not from the show) for just one episode, but the time frame is stated to be four months (due to the summer hiatus).

See Also[]

CSI:NY Season 8
IndelibleKeep It RealCavallino RampanteOfficer InvolvedAir ApparentGet Me Out of Here!CrushedCrossroadsMeans to an EndClean SweepWho's There?Brooklyn 'Til I DieThe Ripple EffectFlash PopKill ScreenSláinteUnwrappedNear Death