What You See Is What You See
What You See Is What You See
Season 1
Number 23
Writer Andrew Lipsitz
Director Duane Clark
Original Airdate May 18, 2005
Previous Episode: The Closer
Next Episode: Summer in the City

What You See Is What You See is the twenty-third episode and Season One finale of CSI: NY.


While Mac dines at his local breakfast spot, a gunman opens fire, leaving a waitress critically injured and a man dead, and Mac having to choose whether to chase after the suspect or save the life of the young woman.


Mac walks into a coffee shop for his morning breakfast. Amy, the waitress, is chatting with her boyfriend and Mac takes a seat. After her boyfriend leaves, Amy starts to get Mac's order and the woman next to him, Rose, begins flirting with him shyly. Before Mac can respond, he's distracted: Amy has pulled a newspaper off a customer's table to reveal a gun. The gun's owner picks it up and aims it at the girl; another man rises and aims a gun at the first man. A shootout ensues; Amy and the second man are hit. Mac tries to stop the first man from fleeing but he escapes while Mac tends to Amy.

When the CSIs arrive at the scene, Danny and Aiden are sent to search for evidence in the shop while Mac fills Stella and Flack in on what happened. He recalls three shots being fired. The first ricocheted off a metal chair and hit a pastry tray; the second hit Amy; the third killed the second man. The first shooter got away, but he left behind a chewed up swizzle stick, which the CSIs bag. Mac also noticed a third man, who dropped a twenty-dollar bill on the table and left after the shootout. Stella questions Rose, who doesn't remember much. She confesses she was getting the nerve up to talk to Mac, and afterwards she approaches him and suggests meeting at a bar. Mac is noncommittal.

In the morgue, Dr. Hawkes tells Danny the second shooter is Adam Baxter, who had a short rap sheet. He retrieves the fatal bullet from one of the man's bones. Aiden is swabbing the swizzle stick in the lab. Danny tells her he ran the bullet and it matched a gun used in three unsolved robberies from 1999-2002; the owner is unknown. Aiden asks Danny if he's been to his mandatory psych evaluation after the shootout he was involved in, and he tells her he hasn't. She presses him to go and tells him she's just looking out for him. Aiden goes back to work and gets good news: a hit in CODIS on the DNA from the swizzle stick. It matches Steve Collins, who spent some time in Riker's prison. Mac identifies him as the shooter, and he, Stella and Flack head to his apartment. They find a bloody shirt with tape on it there as well as an envelope marked "rent" with several bills inside. Stella runs the envelope and matches the DNA to Steve's mother. The CSIs pay her a visit and she reluctantly allows them to search the premises for Steve. They find him in an RV trailer in back of the house and arrest him.

Amy's brother James tells Mac that Amy is hanging on though still in critical condition. He wants assurance from Mac that the man who shot her will be going away. Mac and Stella discuss the case outside the office: ballistics has confirmed that it was Steve's gun that Amy was shot with. To their shock, they see Steve leaving the police department, free as a bird. Mac moves to grab him but before he can react, a shot rings out and Steve falls. The shooter, mounted on a motorcycle, speeds away. Steve survives; the bullet hit him in the shoulder, and Mac tells Stella to call Aiden to help process the scene. Mac jumps in the ambulance and interrogates Steve. Mac has figured out from the tape on his shirt and his release from jail despite the evidence that he was an informant of some kind; he was wearing a wire at the coffee shop. Steve refuses to help him. Stella finds a 40-caliber casing while Aiden photographs the treads and notice a marking where the shooter planted his foot before taking the shot. Aiden brings Flack to a motorcycle shop where she has him try out the bikes and make tread patterns. She's able to match one to the picture: the Suzuki. Back at the lab, Mac has traced the gun to Amy's brother, James, who also has a license to drive a motorcycle. James denies any involvement, claiming the gun was stolen and that he sold the motorcycle. Flack searches James's place but finds no sign of the gun.

Mac and Stella are called to another crime scene: Steve's mother has been murdered in her house. Dr. Hawkes tells the CSIs that Mrs. Collins was beaten and then strangled. A CSI brings Mac the murder weapon, a lead pipe, and Hawkes recovers a rolled up piece of blank paper in Mrs. Collins's mouth. Mac decides to approach DA Latham to find out about Steve's case and tries to convince the DA to turn over Collins' murder case, but the DA won't budge. He leaves to meet his wife as a forlorn Mac looks on. In the lab Stella analyzes the paper from Mrs. Collins' mouth. Danny approaches Aiden and tells her he did the psych exam, but when she presses him for details he clams up. Aiden turns her attentions to the trace from the shoe print at the scene of Steve's shooting. The trace contained glucose, fructose, acids and caffeine, which Mac realizes puts the shooter in the coffee shop on the morning of the shootout between Steve and Adam. He must have stepped on the broken pastries and spilled coffee on his way out. Stella and Mac discuss the paper found in Mrs. Collins' mouth, which is very similar to the money paper made by the U.S. Treasury. Mac turns to the bill left by the third man at the coffee shop and analyzes it. He and Stella notice the ink doesn't match that of the U.S. Treasury, but given that it uses Cholesteric Liquid Crystals, it's still pretty sophisticated.

Mac and Stella go to the lab of Professor Newlin who is researching the crystals. The CSIs ask for the names of the research assistants, past and present, that he's employed, and he runs through their pictures. Mac recognizes one of them, Dennis Sporco, as Amy's boyfriend from the coffee shop. His last known address in the system is under construction, so Mac talks Amy into calling his cell phone so that they can trace the call and locate him. She reveals that she gave her brother's gun to her boyfriend to get rid of it. She agrees to make the call and places it, leading the CSIs to Dennis' door, where they find Dennis, along with counterfeiting equipment and the third man from the diner, Clark Boyd. In the interrogation room, Mac tells Dennis he has it all figured out: Dennis was meeting Steve to buy genuine U.S. Treasury paper, but he sent Clark in to scope out the situation first. Dennis came in and chatted with Amy; he didn't notice Mac but Clark did and realized Mac was a cop immediately. Clark signaled for Dennis to leave and he did, and the shootout ensued afterwards. When Dennis denies involvement in any of the murders—he tells Mac that Clark killed Mrs. Collins and shot Steve outside the police department—Mac tells him he's a means to an end: Mac will trade Dennis to the feds so that he can get Steve. Afterwards, Mac stops by Steve's cell to tell him his deal with the Feds is off and he'll be tried for the murder of Adam Baxter.

After it's all over, Mac sits in his office, deep in thought. Danny stops by to tell Mac he did the evaluation and thinks it went well. When Danny asks him if things are okay between them, Mac gives him a noncommittal reply: "We'll see." Danny accepts it and leaves as Stella, dressed for an evening date, enters. She asks about Danny, and Mac acknowledges that he's trying. Then he shows Stella that Dr. Hawkes has submitted an application to work in the field. Mac tables the issues until the next day; he's got somewhere to be. Stella offers to fix his tie and instead removes it. She tells him to loosen up and sends him off. Mac heads to the bar Rose named, his wedding ring nowhere to be seen. He spots Rose, who seems surprised to see him. She shyly asks him his name and he tells her.


Main Cast[]

Guest Cast[]

  • Penelope Ann Miller as Rose Whitley
  • Raphael Sbarge as District Attorney Latham
  • Garret Dillahunt as Steve Collins
  • Emily Harrison as Amy Madoff
  • Dave Power as James Madoff
  • Sandy Martin as Mrs. Collins
  • Wil Horneff as Dennis Sporco
  • Ben Bodé as Professor Newlin
  • Jesse Colliver as Paramedic
  • Pinky Villasenor as ND Tech
  • Tim Sitarz as Adam Baxter
  • Danny Wynands as Clark Boyd
  • Danielle McKee as Lab Tech


  • Players of Knights of the Old Republic 1 and 2 may recognize Raphael Sbarge (District Attorney Latham) as the voice of Carth Onasi.

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