Season 1
Number 12
Writer Timothy J. Lea,
Zachary Reiter
Director Alex Zakrzewski
Original Airdate January 12, 2005
Previous Episode: Tri-Borough
Next Episode: Tanglewood

Recycling is the twelfth episode in season on of CSI: NY.


Mac, Aiden and Flack investigate when Elaine Curtis is found dead at a dog competition, a knitting needle sticking out of her chest, and no shortage of suspects ranging from judges to trainers to contestants. Stella and Danny investigate the death of bicycle messenger Michael Starling, but the crime scene may have been anywhere along his route.


A bike messenger careens through the streets of New York, but his journey ends not with a delivery but when he crashes into a newsstand. When Stella and Danny arrive at the scene, Detective Thacker tells them the messenger, Michael Starling, was dead when the officers arrived. Stella notices both the fatal stab wound in his pelvis area and a high tech heart monitor. Danny finds his delivery manifest and goes to the messenger station where he questions the dispatcher. The man can't tell him much; he's more concerned about finding a replacement for Michael.

Across town, Detective Flack shows Mac and Aiden the body of Elaine Curtis, a dog handler for a prominent dog show. She was stabbed through the back with a knitting needle. Ross Howell, the on-site vet whose station is nearby, found her, but he tells the CSIs he didn't hear anything. After being pulled aside by an irritated owner, Howell complains that the dogs at the show are each on nine to ten different kinds of medication. Mac begins to go through Elaine's grooming kit. Aiden brings him a purse with a knitting needle that matches the one that killed Elaine. The purse belongs to Millie Hanford, but she seems surprised to discover her knitting needle was the murder weapon.

In the morgue, Dr. Hawkes pulls part of the murder weapon--half of a set of scissors from a pocket knife--out of Michael Starling and hands it to Stella. He theorizes that adrenaline kept Michael going for a while before he plowed into the stand and died from his wound.

At the dog show, Millie tells Mac that Elaine was not well-liked--Millie and others thought she was too 'showy' and that all the focus at the show should be on the dogs. Millie tells Mac that animal people are harmless--no one at the show would have hurt another person, she claims. Aiden notices paw prints leading away from Elaine's body. Elaine's own dog stayed with her after she died and was found by her, so another dog must have been present.

In the lab, Stella examines the pedals on Michael's bike and finds blood on the left one. Danny gets a granular substance off the tire. Stella finds two gray wool fibers on Michael's jacket and decides to take the blood to DNA for analysis. Danny notices red paint on Michael's jacket and thinks he can trace the bike messenger's path using the heart monitor.

Dr. Hawkes confirms that Elaine died from the stab wound: it ruptured her aorta. He finds skin under her nails but no defensive wounds. He finds foreign hairs under her clothes and a small piece of latex in her mouth. But it's a bite mark on her leg that draws Mac's attention: the teeth marks are from a human, not a dog. Mac and Aiden head back to the dog show to figure out which dog was with Elaine when she died. After careful examination of all of the dogs, Mac zeroes in on one who has blood in his paws. The owner admits he was involved with Elaine and that they had to keep it quiet because they worked for rival owners. He and Elaine play-acted during sex and he was pretending to be a dog when he bit her.

Danny and Stella trace Michael's path and, based on blood spatter on the street, determine exactly where he was stabbed. While a newsstand owner grumbles, they put up crime tape and begin searching the scene. Stella discovers a pocket knife in the gutter; back at the lab, Danny matches it up with the piece found in Michael and confirms that it was the murder weapon. DNA has a hit on the blood: Brett Stokes, a female bike messenger.

Aiden tells Mac that Elaine had two different kinds of anti-depressants in her system: one that she had a prescription for, and one that she didn't. Mac theorizes that the two combined could have caused a bad reaction in Elaine, making her nauseous and disoriented and causing her to fall on the knitting needle. Mac suspects she may have been poisoned.

Brett seems disappointed that Stella and not Danny has come to question her and she immediately suspects Stella will try to befriend her. Stella immediately dispels that notion and asks how Brett's blood got on Michael's bike. Brett complains that he slashed her tires after the dispatcher gave her Michael's route the week before. But she says her blood got on his pedal in an innocent way: they raced through the streets of Manhattan. Brett won when a cab door opened in Michael's path and that was the last time she saw him.

Jane Parsons has DNA results for Mac from under Elaine's fingernails: the skin belonged to Ross Howell. When Flack and Mac bring Howell in for questioning, they make note of his gambling history. He admits he was gambling on the results of the show and that he tried to get Elaine to help him throw the show, but she wouldn't play ball. When he grabbed her arm, she scratched him. He admits he wasn't in the vet station when Elaine died; he pretended he didn't hear her so that no one would know he had been absent from his station.

Stella and Danny trace DNA on the pocket knife to a convicted child molester named Theodore Gates. They find Gates in a cafe with a child, whom Stella promptly sends back to his mother. Danny immediately takes a hostile tone with the pedophile, asking him about the knife and where he was at the time of the murder. Gates claims he lost the knife and has an alibi for the time of the murder: he was at a model airplane convention and produces a receipt from a store there to corroborate his story.

Mac and Aiden use Elaine's stomach contents to determine that the medication must have gotten into her system in liquid form. They find a baby bottle she used to give water to the dog she showed and determine that someone put the medication in the bottle. Elaine, who would have sucked on the bottle to get it ready for the dog, must have ingested the medicine that way. A dog hair stuck in the bottle cap gives Mac a major clue.

Danny is going over beauty magazines looking for lotion he found on the knife. The lotion is only available in magazine samples--it hasn't yet made it to the market. Danny and Stella head back to the man who runs the newsstand where Michael was killed. As they arrest him, Danny notices his wool gloves. Stella asks why the vendor did it, and he rails against bike messengers. Stella rolls her eyes, even as she curses a bike messenger who cuts her off as she tries to cross the street.

Mac brings Millie Hansen in; her dog's hair was found in the bottle top of Elaine's bottle. She admits she put some anti-depressants in Elaine's dog's bottle to slow her down. She protests that it wasn't her intention to kill Elaine. Their cases wrapped up, Mac asks Stella when the last time was that they had a sit down dinner. Stella warms to the idea, but is surprised when Mac takes her to the dog show. Mac is in his element and suggests he and Stella bet on the dogs. When Stella's choice wins and she makes him pay up, he balks.


Main Cast

Guest Cast

  • Sonya Walger as Jane Parsons
  • Zach Grenier as Dr. Ross Howell
  • Aisha Hinds as Brett Stokes
  • Robert Costanzo as Frank Meadows
  • Julia Duffy as Millie Hanford
  • Steve Hytner as Alvin Marbert
  • Neil Giuntoli as Mark Stutz
  • Brad Greenquist as Theodore Gates
  • Marc Lynn as Dog Owner #1
  • Marcia Firesten as Dog Owner #2
  • Paul Carafotes as Det. Charlie Thacker
  • Desi Lydic as Elaine Curtis
  • Hira Ambrosino as Angie Soon
  • Tiger Mendez as Detective


(The Magazine Vendor, Mark Stutz, just explained he stabbed the messenger because he was sick and tired of bikers acting like they own the area)
Stella: (disgusted) Pedestrian rage. Why do I even ask?
(At that moment, a bike messenger speeds by giving little warning, almost running over Stella)
Stella: Son of a bitch!
Mark Stutz: Makes you want to murder 'em, don't it?
Stella:(Not commenting on it) Get in the car.


  • Give It Away by Red Hot Chili Peppers.
  • Water From a Vine Leaf by William Orbit & Beth Orton.
  • Alpha Beta Gaga by Air.
  • Change Down by Bonobo.
  • Diplo Rhythm by Diplo, Pantera Os Danadinhos, Sandra Melody & Vybz Cartel.


  • Before Danny and Stella walk into the cafe to talk to Theodore Gates, the little boy takes the straw. However when the scene changes after Danny and Stella walk in Gates has the straw again.
  • The owner of the knitting needle stated that she knitted for her dog the blanket the animal is sitting on. However, that blanket is crocheted and not knitted.
  • When Stella finds the murder weapon – a Swiss army knife – the scissor blade still attached to the knife is clean. When Danny looks at the knife in the lab, the blade is still clean. Once he puts it under the microscope to compare it with the other blade found in the victim's wound, the blade is bloody. When he next inspects the knife for other traces, the blood is gone again.

See Also

CSI:NY Season 1
BlinkCreatures of the NightAmerican DreamersGrand MasterA Man a MileOutside ManRainThree Generations are EnoughOfficer BlueNight, MotherTri-BoroughRecyclingTanglewoodBlood, Sweat & Tears'Til Death Do We PartHushThe FallThe Dove CommissionCrime & MisdemeanorSupply and DemandOn the JobThe CloserWhat You See Is What You See