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Spin-Off from CSI: Miami, itself spun from CSI, that ran from 2004-2013 and set in New York City. The show's character work is probably its strongest aspect, with multi-season arcs for several of the characters, particularly Mac, Danny, and Lindsay. The cast is full of slightly messed up characters, all the way from Mac down to Adam. In fact, the coroner is probably the most well-adjusted person in the lab. In general this is handled well and doesn't devolve into Wangst territory.

Note: Due to the way TV Tropes' custom title database works, to link to this page, type Series/{{CSINY}}.


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This show contains examples of:

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  • A Handful for an Eye: In 'Point of View,' Det. Flack approaches a perp on a rooftop and the guy attempts to get away by scooping up a handful of sand and grit from the surface and flinging it in Flack's face. Fortunately Danny is sneaking up behind the guy and nabs him.
  • A Taste of Their Own Medicine: In season 7's "Vigilante," a serial rapist is found bound, gagged and injured in the same manner as he had done to his victims, complete with the gag being a purple cloth. Only difference? He's dead. The "vigilante" turns out to be someone avenging the survivors.
  • A-Team Montage: Fittingly, the first 22 minutes of 'Unspoken' contains no spoken dialogue. Shorter versions in all the other episodes as the team members process evidence.
  • A Threesome Is Hot: Played with. The committed threesome in 'Stealing Home' eventually get bored and add a fourth member. The original wife gets jealous of the new woman, sleeps with the new guy to get access to his gun, and shoots her husband for brushing her off. Also, Sid tells Sheldon from experience that it's not all it's cracked up to be. Sheldon leaves before Sid can squick him out with details.
  • A Truce While We Gawk: In 'Tales from the Undercard,' a fistfight atop freshly poured concrete screeches to a halt when one construction worker threatens another with a jackhammer and blood shoots up, spraying all over them.
  • Abandoned Area:
    • The Cabbie Killer lives in an abandoned firehouse and "works" in an abandoned brewery.
    • The Compass Killer is ultimately revealed to live in the mostly forgotten "Underground Home" exhibit from the 1964 World's Fair.
    • Another perp lives in the back of the now-closed funeral parlor where his mother was the mortician. When the team show up to question him, they enter through the front door and find everything covered in dust.
    • "Death House" centers around a booby-trap-filled penthouse that has been unoccupied for 80+ years.
  • Abandoned Catchphrase: In at least three episodes of Season 1, Mac says while interrogating suspects, "Let me start this story for you." Danny also does it once in an obvious attempt to emulate his boss. As time went on, it was reduced to the subtle use of the word "story" by various characters during the interrogations.
  • Abandoned Hospital: 'Where There's Smoke...": Leonard Brooks takes one of his victims to the now-abandoned hospital where his mother, who worked in the burn unit, used to take him with her when she couldn't find a sitter.
  • Absolute Cleavage: Many of Stella's outfits highlight her cleavage, but in episode 4.03, 'You Only Die Once,' she wears a scintillating black dress with a neckline that drops all the way to the top of her stomach.
  • Aborted Arc: Peyton's single episode return in the end of the sixth season was hyped as the beginning of a love triangle. The season would have ended with Mac trying to choose between the feelings he still had for Peyton and the early-stage relationship he was beginning with Aubrey. Who he picked would have been revealed in the beginning of season seven. However, Claire Forlani got a part on Camelot and couldn't return for more episodes, plus Melina Kanakaredes decided to leave the series, pushing the writers to put aside that plot to focus on the newly-arrived Jo.
  • Absurdly Spacious Sewer: The team trek thru a very large sewer hunting their suspect's living quarters in 'Manhattanhenge.'
  • Abuse Mistake: The motivation of the would-be killer in "Unspoken." His boss had accused him of being inappropriate with children.
  • Abusive Parents:
    • Adam's father. Full revelation doesn't come until season 9's 'The Real McCoy, but as early as season 3's 'Some Buried Bones,' he describes him as "a bully."
    • Shows up with the Victim of the Week a time or two. One example is the step-father in 'Sweet 16.' Mac, having just met his own step-son, doesn't take kindly to the man's attitude or conduct.
  • Accent Relapse: 'Yahrzeit'- A man pretending to be Jewish is revealed to be a German former Hitler Youth soldier. Even after 64 years of pretending to be a non-practicing Polish Jew, marrying a Jewish woman, and raising an Orthodox Jewish son, he reverts to his German accent when his crime is revealed.
  • Accidental Murder: 'Child's Play' and 'Fare Game,' to name a couple. In the former, a boy is shot because he's in exactly the wrong place at the wrong time; in the latter, a man doesn't realize blanks can kill at close range.
  • Accidental Pervert: In 'Right Next Door,' Stella finds a hole in her bedroom wall and mistakenly assumes one of her neighbors is a peeping Tom.
  • Accidental Suicide: More than once.
    • In the season 1 episode "The Fall", the crime scene investigators look into the death of Melvin Heckman, a Fat Bastard movie producer, who was apparently pushed from his apartment's balcony. After the investigation goes through a series of people who all had an axe to grind with him for ruining their lives, the team finally discovers that Heckman had been on the balcony eating chocolates and simply lost his balance, falling to his death.
    • In the season 3 episode "Cold Reveal", the team investigates the death of Toby Finch, who was found dead in a church with angel wings strapped to his back after seemingly falling from the sky. Initially, Toby's friend and girlfriend are seen as suspects but further investigation reveals what really happened. Toby, obsessed with becoming internet famous, drunkenly attempted to catapult himself off a roof, expecting that his artificial angel wings would help him soar across the sky like a hang glider. To ensure this, he pre-cut the bungee cords on his safety harness, thinking that the force of the catapult would fully disconnect them. Unfortunately, they held faster than he expected, giving him such severe whiplash that his neck snapped in two places killing him before he even fell through the church's paned window. Mac surmises that the only crime committed was the victim's misdirected ambition.
  • Accident, Not Murder: In 'The Fall,' after spending the whole episode researching the dozens of people who would have wanted to kill a truly big asshole of a studio executive, the investigators figure out that his death (from a fall off his balcony) was not a murder, but an accident that happened when he was eating from a stash of chocolates that was hidden there (his wife had forced him on a diet) and lost his footing.
  • Actor Allusion:
    • In 'Fare Game,' the perp is an aspiring actor, and to catch him off-guard Mac pretends to be trying out for Of Mice & Men; Gary Sinise directed and played George in the 1992 remake.
    • Detective Mac Taylor shares last names with Gary Sinise's most famous role, Lieutenant Dan Taylor of Forrest Gump. Sinise says he gave the character his last name in tribute to that character. The character's first name, by the way, is after Gary's son, McCanna, whose nickname is Mac and who, in turn, is named after one of his own uncles. The same brother-in-law of Gary's whom Mac's father, McCanna Boyd Taylor, is named for.
    • Also, in "Playing with Matches" the Quip to Black is "Houston, we have a problem." Referencing another movie Gary Sinise was in, Apollo 13. Although his character in that movie was not the one to say that line.
    • Mac playing bass in the jazz band is a direct reference to Gary Sinise's role in his own rock band, the Lt. Dan Band. Several Lt. Dan Band members played members of the jazz band, and Gary brought along his own guitars for those episodes.
    • Carmine Giovinazzo's backstory of having to give up an aspiring baseball career was incorporated into the backstory of his character, Danny Messer.
    • Mac helping with the Brooklyn Wall of Remembrance in 'Indelible' (episode 8.01) was based on Gary Sinise's real life help with the project.
    • In season 7, Jo tells the team she was a cheerleader in high school. Sela Ward had been one both in HS and at the University of Alabama.
  • Addiction Displacement: In season 8, Mac reveals to Christine that her brother, Stan, who was his partner back in the day and who had been killed in the line of duty pre-series, had been trying to quit smoking at the time and had taken up the habit of chewing on ink pens instead.
  • Adopted to the House: Sheldon, when Mac lets him crash at his place for a while beginning in 'It Happened to Me.'
  • Adoption Angst: There's a bit of it with Ellie Danville, Jo’s daughter. In her case, she knew she was adopted, but got upset at Jo for not telling her that her birth mom was in prison.
  • Adults Dressed as Children: A dark version of this occurs in 'Admissions,' when a guy in his 30's and his accomplice pose as a teenager in high school and his father, respectively, in order to prey on innocent young girls.
  • Advancing Wall of Doom: 'Death House' has a penthouse filled with booby traps including one particular room whose walls would close in or, depending on the trigger, cook you to death. Sheldon accidentally triggers them to close in on himself; Mac rescues him by shoving his forensics kit in the gap long enogh for Sheldon to squeeze out.
  • Adventurer Archaeologist: The first victim in 'The Cost of Living' who, as Stella says, appeared to have "fancied himself a real-life Indiana Jones."
  • Adventures in Comaland: In 'Near Death,' Mac is shot in the back and left, well, near death. While he is being operated on, he journeys through a limbo that looks like the crime lab where he meets and has conversations with his friends (and his dead wife).
  • Affectionate Nickname: Danny calling Lindsay "Montana." Sid tells her Danny does that because he has a crush on her.
  • After-Action Healing Drama:
    • In the season 2 finale, 'Charge of this Post,' Mac, Flack and an office worker are trapped when a bomb goes off. Flack has a very serious injury to his abdomen and Mac uses the other man's shoestring to tie off a profusely bleeding artery before tearing strips from his own shirt to staunch additional bleeding.
    • In episode 5.02, 'Page Turner,' the gang have to race to find out exactly what type of radioactive substance had caused two people to die and the coroner, Sid, to collapse, so they can tell the doctors what to do to treat him.
  • Afterlife Antechamber: 'Near Death.' It looks a lot like the lab. Mac wanders around the offices saying unofficial goodbyes to his colleagues and prepares to leave with Claire, but she tells him he can't go with her.
  • Ageless Birthday Episode: Mac celebrates his birthday with Peyton in 'Murder Sings the Blues,' but his age is not mentioned.
  • A God Am I: The Cabbie Killer believes himself to be the Greek god Charon, aka The Ferryman, thus it is his duty to transport the deceased across the River Styx.
    Cabbie Killer: The newly dead who have coins to pay for the ride must be taken across the river, or they'll wander the banks for a hundred years.
  • Agonizing Stomach Wound: The Native American victim in 'Communication Breakdown' is killed with a tribal technique used to injure wolves' intestines. It causes abdominal pain and death from sepsis, which can take a couple of days.
  • Agony of the Feet: In 'The Closer,' a barefoot woman clad only in lingerie darts into traffic and is hit by a truck. At autopsy, Dr. Hawkes discovers several puncture wounds on the soles of her feet. Turns out she escaped an assailant by climbing through her window and had stepped on spikes put there to deter pigeons from roosting.
  • Air-Vent Passageway: In 'Not What It Looks Like,' a trio of jewel thieves dressed as Holly Golightly escape via a ventilation shaft. Since Lindsay is approximately their size, it's her task to examine it for evidence.
  • Alice Allusion: 'Down the Rabbit Hole' and, to a lesser extent, its sequel episode, 'DOA for a Day.' There's even a white rabbit who does indeed disappear down a hole.
  • Alien Abduction: Inverted with a twist in 'Consequences.' A schizophrenic woman "captures" a badly injured paintball player, thinking he's an alien and that the green paint oozing all over his gear is his blood. She also has metal colanders hanging from her ceiling and offers them to Stella and Flack to wear so their thoughts won't be captured. Naturally, they decline.
  • All Part of the Show: In the opening of "Grounds for Deception," an audience is watching a production of a Greek tragedy in Central Park. During a pivotal scene, the shadows of two people appear behind the curtain at the back. As one stabs the other, the audience is enthralled...until a large pool of blood appears beneath the curtain.
  • All There in the Script: Mac's full first name, McCanna, was in an early script, but was never said onscreen.
  • All Your Base Are Belong to Us: The lab gets stormed by an Irish gang intent on reclaiming their seized drugs in 'Snow Day,' and the precinct gets it in 'Today Is Life' from a mob of rioters angry over the shooting of a young black man by a white police officer.
  • Almost Holding Hands: The episode in which Lindsey tells Danny she's pregnant ends with the camera focusing on their hands, the backs of which are barely touching each other as they stand side by side watching a pair of grandparents meeting their infant grandson for the first time.
  • Alone with the Psycho: Both Stella and Jo had to confront men out to kill them alone, and both lead to Killing in Self-Defense.
  • Alpha Bitch: 'Crushed,' episode 8.07: She pretends to be homely girls' friends, dolls them up, has her boyfriend have sex with them, rates the experience online, and gives each of the girls a big necklace so everyone will know what happened. The sister of her victims strangles her and then part of her house falls on her. Her name is Libby.
  • Alternative Foreign Theme Song: The ending theme for the Japanese version is "The First Day Without You" by Dreams Come True (the band behind the music for Sonic the Hedgehog and Sonic the Hedgehog 2).
  • Always Murder: Occasionally averted with accidents (ex; 'The Fall,' 'Tri-Borough') and suicides (ex: 'Blood, Sweat and Tears,' 'What Schemes May Come').
  • Amalgamated Individual: One episode ("Dead Recononing") where the twist is based on "The Phantom of Heilbronn", where a spate of crimes involving the same person turns out to be due to a woman in one of the factories where their swabs are produced not wearing gloves.
    "I am I in trouble?"
  • Ambiguous Syntax: A plot point in 'City of the Dolls:' The events started because the victim told the culprit about a recording found in her daughter's doll about her describing "them kissing again." The culprit realized that she witnessed her relationship with a younger male student and told him to try to get the recording deleted, leading to the victim's Accidental Murder. It's later pointed out to the culprit that she could've avoided the whole mess if she didn't do anything as, due to how vague the description is without any context, the daughter could've been talking about two students secretly kissing at school, but the culprit knew exactly what she was talking about.
  • American Series: This is The Big Apple after all.
  • Amicable Exes: Jo and Russ. Although he didn't like Jo being a career woman when they were married, they're still friendly and even have some UST in one of the episodes he appears in.
  • Amoral Attorney: These guys show up every so often as villains. Two examples are serial rapist D.J. Pratt's lawyer and a guy who irradiates a copy of the Tibetan Book of the Dead with thallium in an attempt to defraud the city; this leads to two radiation deaths and nearly gets Sid killed as well.
  • Anchored Ship: At first, Lindsay pushes Danny away because of her emotional problems with having survived an incident that took the lives of her friends. Then, he pushes her away while he grieves for Ruben.
  • And Another Thing...: Detective Flack does this once. When he makes to leave, the door gives him a "Eureka!" Moment; he realizes that the victim's door had been locked from the outside, so whoever killed him must have had a key.
  • And I Must Scream: The victim with Locked-In Synddrome in 'Blink.' Mac is so desperate to help her that at first he is convinced she's trying to communicate with him through her eyes.
  • And Starring:
    • Eddie Cahill gets an "And," Hill Harper the "With."
    • For the final two episodes, Megan Dodds and Natalie Martinez, respectively, got the "With" and "And," but without their images being shown.
  • And There Was Much Rejoicing: A crowd gathered around the first crime scene in 'Happily Never After' breaks into applause upon learning the identity of the victim, a much-hated woman.
  • Animal Assassin:
    • Subverted twice in 'Zoo York.' The first victim is eaten by a tiger, but turns out he was already dead before being thrown into the enclosure. The victim in the second case is killed not by the actual Brazilian Wandering Spider kept by one suspect, but by another using venom from the same type of spider.
    • Double subverted in 'Sweet 16.' The cobra is only meant to scare the birthday girl, but appears to have killed her father. Then it bites Lindsay, who has to be helicoptered to the hospital.
  • Animal Reaction Shot: Averted by the dog show beagle in 'Recycling.' His owner is insistent that Mac has almost driven him to tears. Cut to the dog...with a perfectly bland expression.
  • Animal Wrongs Group: Not a group, but the guy who kills someone for trying to kill a cockroach in 'A Daze of Wine and Roaches.'
  • Anonymous Benefactor: Sid, who gives away much of his pillow patent fortune to the families of 10 victims whose cases had deeply touched him after discovering he is most likely dying of cancer and wants to ensure it does some good.
  • Arc Number / Harassing Phone Call: 333. For a while, Mac keeps getting strange calls at 3:33 am. Eventually it leads to someone angry about an event from Mac’s teen years.
  • Arc Villain / Story Arc:
    • For season 4, there are two: The 333 Stalker (Drew Bedford) for the first half, and the Cabbie Killer for the second half.
    • In season 6, a shorter arc concerns the Compass Killer.
    • From season 3's 'Hung Out to Dry' up to the season 6 ending cliffhanger is the Shane Casey arc, which concludes in the 1st episode of season 7, 'The 34th Floor.'
    • A few episodes in season 8 deal with the serial rapist case that had prompted Jo's transfer from the FBI to the New York Crime Lab.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: From the season 5 opener, 'Veritas':
  • Artistic License – Biology:
    • 'What You See Is What You See.' The femur being the strongest bone in the human body, there's no way Sheldon could twist it to make the lodged bullet fall out.
    • 'What Schemes May Come.' The heart monitor hooked up to the (actual) lab rat is set for human heart rates, not those of rats which would have been many times faster.
  • Artistic License – Law: The episode 'Grand Master' deals with fugu being openly sold in a sushi bar. This is extremely illegal in the US. Even in Japan there are very specific laws strictly regulating the selling and serving of fugu.
  • Artistic License – History: The Native American tribe in 'Communication Breakdown' never existed.
  • As Himself:
    • John McEnroe, appears as himself, and portrays his own doppelganger, in 'Comes Around.'
    • Sportscaster Dick Enberg appears as himself, interviewing a football player in 'Super Men.'
    • Train's Will Dailey performs at a jazz club during the conclusion of 'Time's Up.'
    • Maroon 5 put on a free concert in Central Park during the opening of 'Page Turner.'
    • Kid Rock performs in the opening of 'All Access,' then portrays himself as a murder suspect throughout the rest of the episode.
    • Josh Groban performs in the venue where Mac & Christine eventually have their Valentine's date at the end of 'Blood Actually.'
  • As Long as It Sounds Foreign:
    • There are some odd choices for character names from time to time, like that one girl named Risa Calaveras ("Laugh Skulls" in Spanish).
    • The Egyptian suspects in 'Seth and Apep.' An Egyptian viewer posted on another site that their names aren't Egyptian at all, but from another Arabic-speaking area.
  • Asshole Victim:
    • In 'Who's There?,' the victim was purposefully destroying his family's company, liquidating every cent they had, destroying the future of his own daughter, just to spite his estranged wife.
    • In 'All Access,' Frankie, Stella's deceased ex-boyfriend, is revealed to be this after he shoots a sex tape between the two behind her back (and posts it online!). When Stella breaks up with him, he stalks her by entering her apartment and then after she refuses to accept him, he attacks her to the point of attempting to kill her, hence it ultimately ends with Stella killing him in self-defense.
  • As the Good Book Says...: Mac quotes relevant passages from memory in 'The Ride-In' and 'Taxi.' To specify the exact verses would require spoiler formatting.
  • At the Opera Tonight:
    • In "Murder Sings the Blues," Peyton takes Mac to the opera for his birthday. He gets called to a crime scene during the standing ovation, interrupting the rest of her plans.
    • Downplayed earlier in the series when Lindsay shows up to a scene in a formal dress, having been called in while seeing an opera herself.
    • Averted in the 9/11 10th anniversary tribute, "Indelible." Mac & Claire are shown in a flashback to that fateful morning. He had surprised her with opera tickets for that evening and held onto them after she died in the attacks, but finally releases them in the tide at the end of this episode.
  • Attack on One Is an Attack on All: Mac, in 'Heroes': "You attack one, you attack us all." It initially refers to the dead Marine in Central Park; Mac is a Marine himself. But it takes on a double meaning when Aiden is found as the episode's second victim.
  • Attack the Injury: Twice.
    • In 'What You See Is What You See,' Mac jumps in the ambulance with a suspect who has been shot. The EMT tells him he can question the guy as long as he doesn't get in the way. Suspect gets uncooperative. Mac gets angry and slams the guy in his shoulder where the GSW is. EMT yells at Mac.
    • In 'Seth & Apep,' Mac tries to get one of Christine's kidnappers to reveal her whereabouts by squeezing the man's arm where he had just been shot right before being apprehended.
  • Auction: 'Yahrzeit' opens with a murder during an auction. As the case unfolds, one of the pieces being offered is discovered to have been stolen from a Jewish family during the Holocaust.
  • Audit Threat: Flack does this a fair bit. Mac does & and follows through in "Pot of Gold." He and Stella walk away grinning while a Treasury Agency officer laundry-lists the perp's charges.
  • Authority Equals Asskicking / Everybody Was Kung-Fu Fighting: The 'Corporate Warriors' in season 2. They are all trained in martial arts. One uses their skills to kill another, only to be killed in turn by a third.
  • Author Tract: Gary Sinise, a noted veterans' advocate in real life, seems to have influenced Mac's dialogue about veteran-related issues now and then. His and Jo's discussion of the plight of homeless veterans in 'Clean Sweep' (episode 8.10) is a noticeable example.
  • Autopsy Snack Time: Sheldon admits to Sid that the rule against eating in the morgue "never stopped me from sneaking in the odd bag of microwave popcorn."
  • Awesome McCoolname: "Stella Bonasera", "Sheldon Hawkes", "Danny Messer"
    • Gary Sinise has stated that "Mac Taylor" is a tribute to his son, "McCanna," and to Lt. Dan Taylor.
  • Awkward Kiss: Downplayed with Mac & Christine at her parents' anniversary party in 'Flash Pop.'
    Christine: [referring to her family] Look at them. They're watching every move we make.
    Mac: Well then, why don't we give them something to talk about? [leans in and kisses her on the cheek]
    Christine: [slowly moves to kiss him on the lips, then realizes what she's done] Did I do that? I mean, I didn't mind doing that...lemme just get our coats.
  • Baby Be Mine: In 'The Box,' a baby is stolen by the desperate couple he'd been promised to after his mother changes her mind about giving him up.
  • Baby's First Words: Discussed twice.
    • In one episode, Stella expects Danny to utter his catchphrase "Boom" when they find a piece of evidence. He doesn't, and she asks why. He tells her Lindsay doesn't want him to use it anymore because she's afraid it'll be Lucy's first word. A few seconds later, Danny finds more evidence and can't help himself, "Boom!"
    • Later, in "Do Not Pass Go", the mother of a young man who'd gone missing tells Flack what her son's first word was. He replies that his own first words were "cookie and cake."
  • Back for the Dead: Aiden in 'Heroes.'
  • Back to Front: The entire opening of 'Nothing for Something' is shown in reverse.
  • Badass Crew: Yep, the whole team.
  • Badass in a Nice Suit:
    • Mac and Lindsay are called to a crime scene that Danny is already working. Mac shows up in a tux, having been at a benefit for the mayor. Lindsay arrives wearing a formal dress since she was at the opera. Danny makes a comment about being underdressed.
    • In a later episode, Mac chases down and arrests a purse snatcher while dressed in a tux again; he's about to attend another formal event.
  • Badges and Dog Tags: Mac keeps several photos and mementos from his Marine days in his office.
  • Ball Cannon: In 'Buzzkill,' a man attacks a group of models doing a live billboard display with a tennis ball launcher. The balls injure several of the models, and one of them smashes a neon sign and drops a live wire into the oversize glass a model is frolicking in. This would have electrocuted her, except she had already been poisoned.
  • Ballistic Discount: In 'Command+P,' a young inventor demonstrates his new process for 3D printing a gun to someone he thinks is an investor. He hands the gun to the guy, along with a bullet so he can see that the gun takes standard rounds. The "investor" loads the bullet into the gun, shoots the inventor, and steals the computer, printer and software.
  • Ballroom Blitz:
    • In season 1's 'The Dove Commission,' the author of the titular report and the woman he's dancing with at a party are taken out by a sniper using an armed drone-like device belonging to the TARU (Technical Assistance Response Unit).
    • The sniper in 'Hide Sight' (season 7) takes out a woman at an office celebration, complete with cake and party hats, in a high rise.
  • Bank Robbery: At least three. Chronologically:
    • 'Rain,' about valuables being stolen from safe-deposit boxes.
    • 'Hostage,' wherein a guy intending to rob a bank was beaten to it...and the manager was shot to death in the process, so he demanded a CSI prove his innocence. Mac volunteers and is eventually taken hostage as well.
    • 'Unusual Suspects,' where two brothers rob a bank on their way home from school, and get robbed themselves.
  • Baseball Episode: Season 1's 'The Closer,' where the killer is a player, and Danny gets to use the pitching skills from his aborted baseball career.
  • Bastard Bastard: The perpetrator in 'Manhattan Manhunt' is the illegitimate son of a multi-millionaire. He commits murders out of resentment towards his father and half-sisters.
  • Bathroom Break-Out: In 'She's Not There,' the team search a building where a sex trafficking ring held their victims and find a young woman hiding under a cot. She asks to use the restroom. Initially thinking her to be a victim, they let her. While she's taking her time, they deduce that she's in on it, break the door down, and discover that she has escaped through the window.
  • Bathroom Stall of Overheard Insults: A girl hiding in a bathroom stall who overhears two cheerleaders insulting her becomes a vital plot point in 'Do or Die.'
  • Batter Up!!
    • In 'Boo,' a guy who tries to fake his death to collect on the insurance by using blowfish poison to make him appear dead is betrayed by his spouse and buried alive. He manages to break out, so the spouse's lover kills him with a cricket bat (but not before the husband manages to inject both of them with the poison).
    • In 'Tanglewood,' the Tanglewood Boys kill a wannabe with an autographed baseball bat taken from a sports bar. The fragment of signature on the splinter left in the body provides the CSI investigators with a vital clue.
  • Battle in the Rain: Sort of. In 'Snow Day,' half the fight is done soaking wet because the perps set the sprinklers off in at attempt to blend in with first responders and get away.
  • Bear Trap / Caught in a Snare: See Alien Abduction above; it's how she "captures" him.
  • Beard of Sorrow: Danny probably qualifies after it is revealed in the season 6 opener that he is paralyzed from being shot in the season 5 finale.
  • Beggar with a Signboard: While investigating the death of a homeless man in "Crime and Misdemeanor," Danny and Aiden spot a man with a cardboard sign which reads, "Why lie? I have a huge cell phone bill." (Signs of the times, it originally aired in 2005.)
  • Belly Dancer: The birthday party in 'Sweet 16' has a Middle Eastern theme, complete with belly dancers. One of the girl's friends shows up dressed this way as well, complete with coins dangling from a gold chain belt.
  • Beneath the Earth: The Compass Killer lives beneath a park.
  • The Bet:
    • Danny and Lindsay in 'Snow Day':
      Danny: There's no way you're gonna make this shot, too, Montana.
      Lindsay: A Benjamin says I do. (shoots the billiard in the hole) Now you owe me $100.
    • Part of the second episode of season 8 is a betting pool about when Mac would return to the lab.
    • In 'Nine Thirteen,' the entire subplot is the group trying to figure out whether or not Lindsay is pregnant and when she's going to tell Danny, though they never explicitly state it until the end. After she tells Danny in the last scene, the others are shown paying up their bets to Sid. Mac & Christine have one going as well. Early on, he tells her she owes him ten bucks before he relents and agrees to get evidence.
  • Beware the Nice Ones:
    • After Danny jokingly asks Lindsay how she'd get away with killing him and suggests that she would use her forensic know-how to clean up the scene, she responds that she wouldn't clean up but would claim that Danny was a Domestic Abuser. Her "performance" is kind of eerie, to say the least.
    • Another time they're discussing what to do if the other dies: Danny wants a two-week long wake (first week for mourning, second week for partying) and Lindsay "jokingly" declares that she'll haunt him and any future girlfriends forever while eating all of his cannolis.
  • Big Applesauce: The CSI franchise finally makes its way to NYC with this show. Mac, who is from Chicago, tells Danny at one point that they are blessed to be working for the finest institution in the greatest city in America.
  • Big Bad: Several, including Shane Casey, the 333 Stalker, the Cabbie Killer, and the Compass Killer, all of whom have arcs of four episodes or more.
  • Big Eater: Lindsay, who gives Danny a Long List of food to bring her in 'Food for Thought,' prompting him to wonder if she's pregnant again.
  • Big Guy Rodeo: The victim in 'The Party's Over' is strangled by someone much smaller than him jumping on his back and strangling him from behind.
  • Big Heroic Run: Sheldon runs down the middle of the street with his game face on and carrying a rifle when he heads to the warehouse to help rescue Danny and Adam in 'Snow Day.'
  • Big Honking Traffic Jam: In 'Summer in the City,' Mac is one of those honking his horn in the middle of stopped traffic blocking the way to a crime scene. He gives up and says, "Grab your kit, Hawkes. We're walking."
  • The Big Rotten Apple: The series zig-zags this: overall, New York is presented as an amazing place to visit and live in...but it's a show that takes place in the CSI-verse, so you may want to watch out for all of the (mostly murdered) dead bodies.
  • Big, Stupid Doodoo-Head: Dets. Angell and Flack have nabbed a mouthy suspect:
    Angell: Shut up, you stupid idiot! [turns to Flack] Is that redundant?
    Flack: Not with this guy, no.
  • Billy Needs an Organ: 'Live or Let Die' is this trope, but it's the doctor's wife who needs the liver. He orchestrates a medical helicopter hijacking and kills several people in the process. Mac is naturally not amused, and tells the man he will likely be in prison when his wife dies.
  • Bird-Poop Gag: In season 2's 'Risk,' Stella and Flack are questioning a suspect who is feeding pigeons while standing up through the sunroof of his limo. They need his handkerchief for evidence and ask him to explain a large stain on it. He says the birds gave something back to him. A reference is made to that being considered good luck.
  • Birthday Episode:
    • Downplayed in 'Murder Sings the Blues.' Mac has his birthday off and goes to the opera with Peyton, who wants to celebrate afterward. He gets called in to work and the case keeps getting more complicated, keeping him there. They end up sharing a cupcake from a vending machine on another floor of the Crime Lab building. In the next episode, it is revealed that Stella had stopped by his place to drop off his gift, but no other mention of his birthday is ever made.
    • One of the cases in 'Sweet Sixteen' involves a murder at a teenage girl's birthday party.
    • The case in 'Unwrapped' is that of a man murdered on the way to his niece's birthday party and a missing gift holds a vital clue. Meanwhile the team are all making plans to attend 3-year-old Lucy's birthday party at the end of the episode. Mac uses the opportunity to invite Christine so she can meet everyone. Adam, seeing all the gifts she brought, mentions that his birthday is the next month and that she and Mac "are definitely invited."
  • Bizarre and Improbable Ballistics: 'Hostage' features a gun that fires two successive rounds so quickly and accurately that they pierce the victim through the exact same entrance wound. Played as a real thing in-universe, and may actually be a case of Aluminum Christmas Trees.
  • Black Comedy: Used from time to time, but Mac is not amused by it after his suspect dies trying to jump from one rooftop to another in 'Blood Out.'
    Robert Hicks: [grinning slightly] Heard you had a falling out with Carmen Vega earlier today.
    Mac Taylor: [frowning] Young lady made a bad decision. Paid for it with her life.
    Robert Hicks: [apologetically] Gallows humor. Occupational hazard, I suppose.
  • Bland-Name Product:
    • "World Send" delivery service is used throughout the series.
    • "Kiddie Clay" stands in for "Play Doh" in 'Happily Never After.'
    • Danny uses "Mighty Glue" to lift some prints during his 'Trapped' predicament.
    • There's some "Handi-Foam" insulation in the episode with the urban golfers.
    • Facebook accounts are referred to simply as "profile pages" in season 8. (Averted once in season 6, when Mac tells Stella, "Adam saw a quiz on Facebook: If you were the Compass Killer, where would you strike next?")
  • Blonde, Brunette, Redhead:
    • In 'Cavallino Rampante,' the carjacker's three daughters (blonde and brunette went into the family business, redhead went to law school).
    • Franchise-wide, we have the male version. In color order: Gil/D.B., Mac, and Horatio.
    • Mac's love interests, depending on one's personal belief about Claire. While he tells Reed in season 3 that she had brown hair, in 'Indelible' & 'Near Death' she's clearly shown to have dyed it red/auburn. Peyton was a brunette and Christine is blonde.
  • Blood Brothers: Stella and her foster sister. The foster sister still had some of Stella's blood in a necklace vial, which led to it getting found at a PA crime scene during the Cold Case crossover episode, 'Cold Reveal.'
  • Bloody Handprint:
    • 'Rain.' After a robbery, one of the robbers is found in a pool of blood with baby-sized ones leading away from it.
    • 'The Past, Present and Murder.' A body goes missing from a crime scene. Then, a bloody handprint is found on a "trash bag animal" that appears when airflow from passing subway trains comes up thru the grates. It really does make sense in context.
  • Bodily Fluid Blacklight Reveal: As is true for the entire franchise, investigators use blacklights quite frequently. One of the cases in 'Tanglewood' has Danny and Adien searching for clues in a seedy massage parlor. He aims his light in a waste basket and declares, "This is Chernobyl."
  • Body in a Breadbox: Probably the most prone to this of all the CSIs, because bodies found in generic NY alleys would get pretty dull after a few weeks. A prime example is the body in a 2x2x2 foot wooden box found on a beach.
  • Body of the Week / Victim of the Week: Goes with the territory, this being a Cop Show / Police Procedural.
  • Body Paint: A can of this laced with ecstasy leads to a model's death in "Wasted."
  • The Body Parts That Must Not Be Named: Played straight at least twice.
    • In "Uncertainty Rules," Danny says two female victims may have been hired "to blow out the birthday boy's candle."
    • In another episode, he whistles instead of using the word "penis" when telling Mac where some evidencece was found on a victim.
  • Body Sushi: A season 1 Victim of the Week is poisoned by this technique. The perpetrator is a young woman who had once worked for the victim as a personal assistant and is now working as a "table." The victim had fired the young woman and destroyed her career for refusing her sexual advances; once the victim learns of her former PA's new job, she specifically requests the young woman to be her "table" and continues to sexually harass her. Because refusing a customer request is likely to get herself fired, the former PA poisons her toenail polish to get her revenge (the victim liked to eat sushi off her former PA's toes).
  • Bolivian Army Cliffhanger:
    • The season 5 finale is a prime example with the entire team. The bar they're all in is sprayed with bullets in a drive-by. The episode ends with everyone having hit the deck.
    • The season 6 finale is with the Messer family and Shane Casey. The screen goes black before a gunshot is heard. Who shot who?
  • Bonding Through Shared Earbuds: 'Indelible' has a touching flashback to Mac & Claire's last morning together where they share earbuds on the bus to work before he gets off at his stop.
  • Booby Trap / Death Trap: An inventor's house, designed to gruesomely off his enemies. Stella narrowly avoids getting skewered by one of the traps, and Sheldon is in danger of being crushed by another.
  • Bookcase Passage: A closet Neo-Nazi in 'Yahrzeit' keeps his horde of Holocaust memorabilia behind a bookcase that slides in front of the entrance. The investigators find it after Mac notices scratch marks on the floor.
  • Born from a Dead Woman: In 'The Box,' an unwed pregnant woman promises her baby to a couple, then changes her mind in her last month. She gets pushed down the stairs during a fight in their home. The husband realizes she's dead, but cuts the baby out of her and hides her body.
  • Bound and Gagged: Chronlogically...
    • Camille in 'Smooth Criminal.'
    • The wife in 'Who's There?'
    • One of Brooks' victims in 'Where There's Smoke.'
    • Christine in 'Seth and Apep.'
  • The Boxing Episode: 'Tales From The Undercard.' Mac is revealed to be a fan of the victim, a retired boxer who got back into an underground version of the sport.
    • Not an episode, but Sheldon is also revealed to be a boxing fan in 'Cool Hunter.'
  • Brats with Slingshots: 'Commuted Sentences.' Country girl Lindsay uses one to simulate how a bullet would ricochet off a column.
  • Break the Cutie: Danny and Flack have both gone through this; Adam to a lesser extent.
    • Danny is involved in several fights with Mac, has been held hostage and had the shit kicked out of him by a gang of drug dealers, has been implicated in the shooting of another officer, his neighbor's 10-year-old son was murdered during a robbery-in-progress while under his care and he blamed himself for it, and his brother was put into a coma while trying to save him from (another) murder rap.
    • Flack has gotten blown up, was beaten to a pulp on the subway, had to participate in the investigation and arrest of his mentor, had problems with his sister, and his girlfriend was killed in the line of duty.
    • Adam came pre-broken but hides it well most of the time, but has also been held hostage and roughed up by drug dealers (with Danny, from above), among other things.
  • Break Up Demand: The fathers in 'Blood, Sweat and Tears' forbid their kids to see each other.
  • Breast Plate: In some episodes, Stella wears a rather low-cut Bulletproof Vest, exposing part of her cleavage—and the heart area.
  • Broke Episode: 'It Happened to Me.' Sheldon loses his life savings in bad investments. He is shown sleeping on a friend's couch after having to give up his apartment and sell his furniture. He spends most of the episode hiding this from his colleagues, but reveals it to Mac and a perp when said perp is about to jump from a building due to similar circumstances. Mac lets Sheldon crash in his spare room for several episodes till he can get back on his feet.
  • Broken Glass Penalty: In one episode, a group of boys are playing football in the street when their ball goes thru a ground-floor apartment window. They look in, see a dead body, freak out and run away, thinking they killed the man. Later, one convinces another to turn themselves in. Det. Flack locks them up just for fun.
  • Broken Pedestal:
    • Mac, Danny, and Flack have all had former partners &/or training officers turn up again and turn out to be bad.
    • Stella's mentor and pseudo-father figure turned out to be an art thief and smuggler of Grecian antiquities.
  • Broken Record: Bill Withers' "Ain't No Sunshine" is used in 'Manhattanhenge.' The "I know, I know, I know..." part plays at least twice.
  • Broken Tears: Danny weeps along with his neighbor, Rikki who is distraught, after he tells her that her 10 yr old son was accidentally shot to death.
  • Brooklyn Rage: Danny, at times. He's settled down a little since becoming a family man, but his short temper can still get him into trouble.
    • He wants to go Jack Bauer on the guy he thinks killed Aiden.
    • He slugs the guy who disses Rikki Sandoval after her son is killed.
    • He gives a beat-down to a neo-Nazi who spits on Sheldon.
  • Buffy Speak: Mild example. In "Rain," Stella finds "something gooey" on the first victim's face. Mac snarks, "Gooey. That's a good forensics word; we should use it more often." See also Techno Babble below.
  • Bullethole Door: The third season finale, 'Snow Day' features a group of robbers breaking into the lab vault in this way. Done slightly more realistically than most of the examples of this trope, involving a .50BMG sniper rifle (i.e. a BFG) and taking most of the episode.
  • Bullet Holes and Revelations: Having to wait until season 7 to find out who shot who in the finale of season 6.
  • Bulletproof Vest: The team wear them when they know a suspect is particularly violent and armed.
    • Danny forgets his in one episode, forcing Mac to tell him to stay with the SUV. Unfortunately for Danny, the perp runs out of the building and he chases him anyway.
    • The 333 Stalker's brother is given one to wear before confronting him.
    • Mac, Ray Langston, and all the other officers involved wear them while trying to apprehend Casey Steele, one of the human traffickers in the NY portion of the "CSI Trilogy."
    • At the beginning of season 7's 'Exit Strategy,' Mac and Danny are shown getting ready to apprehend a suspect. Danny kisses a picture of Lucy before sticking it in his vest pocket while Mac, also wearing a vest, kisses his crucifix before dropping it down his shirt. Half-way thru, the episode has a Call-Back scene.
  • Buried Alive: The first victim in 'Boo,' who escapes from a "green coffin" made of hemp and is mistaken for a zombie by bystanders due to his appearance and the fact that it is Halloween.
  • Burlesque: 'The Real McCoy' features a bar by that name which has a burlesque dancer. Jo mentions to Mac that she worked for a burlesque club during college and lets him think for a good while that she danced, before confessing that she kept their books.
  • Burn Scars, Burning Powers: During the first two episodes of season 9, the team deals with an arsonist who has a nasty burn scar on his right hand, courtesy of his abusive mother who, ironically, was a nurse in a burn unit. She had also repeatedly punished him by making him sit in the basement, where he would stare at the fire in a wood-burning stove for hours at a time. These things had contributed to him becoming a fire bug.
  • Bury Me Not on the Lone Prairie:
    • In 'Get Me Out of Here!', Danny tells Lindsay he wants his ashes scattered over the Mets' field. She says she'll flush them out of the lavatory of her new husband's private jet on their way to Paris.
    • In 'Misconceptions,' Flack discovers a letter from his father expressing his wishes to have his ashes scattered on the diamond at Yankee Stadium. He spends the rest of the episode persuading his sister to help him do this.
  • The Bus Came Back: Peyton in 'Point of View' and Reed in 'Pot of Gold', but just for one episode each.
  • Bus Crash: Aiden's death. Everyone expected a case of The Bus Came Back when the episode and Vanessa Ferlito's guest appearance were announced, but the character only appeared alive in flashback. She is found in a burned out car, dead and charred.
  • Busman's Holiday: A minor example with Mac in 'Greater Good.' He uses his day off to reinvestigate a closed case that has been bothering him...and also keeps checking in on Lindsay as she's in the hospital about to give birth to Lucy.
  • The Butler Did It: Discussed by Stella and Flack in "Trapped." He lists the wealthy victim's hired help and the following exchange ensues:
    Stella: That's it? No butler?
    Flack: No.
    Stella: Too bad. I though we could wrap up this one up quick.
    Flack: What?
    Stella: In a mansion like this, it's always the butler.
  • By-the-Book Cop: Mac, most of the time.
  • CPR: Clean, Pretty, Reliable:
    • Averted with Stella giving Sid mouth-to-mouth during her HIV-scare window ('The Ride In').
    • Also averted with the guy in the hibernation experiment who is later found to have bruising on his chest from someone giving him CPR ('What Schemes May Come').
  • Cake Toppers: The head of the bride from a wedding cake topper is found lodged in the throat of a victim in 'Murder Sings the Blues.'
  • California University: Chelsea University is mentioned quite a few times. Mac's stepson, Reed, is a student there beginning in Season 3.
  • Call-Back:
    • In 'Necrophilia Americana,' Mac and Danny each use the presence of beetles on the body to tease Lindsay about having eaten the bugs at the end of 'Fare Game' two episodes earlier.
    • In 'Can You Hear Me Now?' (ep 4.01), Mac and Danny find a victim who has had his tongue cut out, and Mac is visibly shaken when telling Stella that the man died at the hospital. He gets the same look on his face when Christine's kidnappers send him a tongue in the mail in 'Seth and Apep' (ep 9.15).
    • See also Bird Poop Gag and Bulletproof Vest above.
  • Calling Card: Left by both the Compass Killer (compasses, obviously) and Shane Casey (t-shirts with screen-printed clues).
  • Calling the Old Man Out: Adam, except his dad no longer remembers abusing him.
  • Camping a Crapper: The woman who gets locked in a high-tech public toilet and drowns when its self-cleaning feature kicked in.
  • Candlelit Bath: In 'Heart of Glass,' the first Victim of the Week breaks into the apartment of a guy she wants to get back together with, sets up the classic scenario with a bottle of wine, rose petals leading to the bathtub, candles, etc., expecting him to come home soon. Turns out, he'd sublet the place to someone else, but that's not the real problem. Upstairs neighbors hear a gunshot and call the cops, who find this woman dead in the tub along with a bullet fragment, but she has no gunshot wound so the team has to noodle out what really happened.
  • The Can Kicked Him:
    • The woman just above.
    • The guy who is accidentally killed when "blue ice" from a passing airplane conks him on the head.
      Flack: So our guy was killed by a crapsicle?
    • The high-school girl who is killed by a classmate bashing her head on a bathroom sink.
  • Can't Tie His Tie: Lindsay has to help Adam with his before they go to the 9/11 10th anniversary memorial program in 'Indelible.'
    Lindsay: By the time you're done, it'll be the 20th anniversary.
  • Can Only Move the Eyes: The victim of Locked-In Syndrome in the pilot.
  • Car Cushion: A few.
    • In 'Dancing with the Fishes,' a couple are driving underneath a tramway when the body of a young lady falls onto their windshield.
    • In 'Past Imperfect,' Clay Dobson falls (or did he jump...hmmm?) from a rooftop and lands on a squad car.
    • Downplayed in 'Happily Never After' when a dead woman slides of the top of a bus that came to a sudden stop in traffic, although it is later revealed that her body was dropped from an above window by her assailant.
    • In 'Nine Thirteen,' the victim lands on a parked cab after falling off the 10th floor balcony.
  • Car Fu: Lindsay takes out a suspect with her Avalanche when he runs off. She doesn't kill him, though.
  • Career-Ending Injury: Danny, who wanted to be a pro baseball player, but got hurt and ended up joining the police instead.
  • Carpet-Rolled Corpse: One of the victims in 'Jamalot' is found rolled up in an expensive rug inside a dumpster.
  • Carrying the Antidote: Played with. The perp in 'Personal Foul' fills one capsule with deadly poison and a second with its antidote. *She* swallows the antidote first, then crushes the poison capsule with her teeth...immediately before kissing her victim, thus transferring the poison to him.
  • Carved Mark:
    • The Cabbie Killer from season 4 carves "L2729" on the back of his victims' necks with a piece of gravestone. The last episode of his arc reveals that it stands for Leviticus 27:29, which refers to the irrevocable giving over of things or persons to the Lord, often by totally destroying them. He fancied himself the Greek god Charon, a.k.a. The Ferryman of Hades, whose duty it was to transport the newly dead down the River Styx.
    • The leader of the vampire coven in 'Sanguine Love' uses a sharpened ankh to carve the same symbol into the inside of all the members' left wrists.
  • Casting Gag: In 'Comes Around,' John McEnroe plays himself and his own doppelganger, who has taken to impersonating him. McEnroe can't believe anyone would mistake the two of them.
  • Catchphrase: Danny knows he says "Boom" a lot, and Adam knows he says "What up!" a lot.
  • Catfishing: In 'Who's There?', a woman makes a fake Facebook profile to lure her husband into an online affair so she can use it against him in their divorce.
  • Caught in the Bad Part of Town: In 'Blacklist,' the killer hacks the GPS of a CEO's car and sends him into the worst part of New York. He then activates the car alarm to attract the attention of the bad element.
  • Caught on the Jumbotron: One victim is killed because he kisses the man next to him at a baseball game and it gets shown on the big screen.
  • Cell Phones Are Useless: While the lab is being stormed in 'Snow Day.' Peyton is outside, knowing Mac is still in the building & tries to reach him, but the service has been tampered with.
  • Chairman of the Brawl:
    • In 'White Gold,' Flack and Lovato attempt to arrest a suspect in a bar. The suspect knocks Flack down and then uses a bar stool to knock Lovato's gun out of her hand and knock her down. Flack puts a gun to his head before he can finish her off.
    • Previously downplayed in Lovato's first episode, "Where There's Smoke." As she arrives unannounced at the precinct, still dressed in her undercover get-up, the cops are trying to restrain a very large, very aggressive perp who breaks away from them and barrels in her direction. Without even looking at him, she calmly slides a metal chair into his path with her foot, tripping him so they can recapture him, then plants her foot on his chest:
      Det. Lovato: Where do you think you're going?
  • Chain-Link Fence: In 'Unspoken,' the perp outruns Flack at one point, ducking down an alley with a fence at the end. He scales it, but injures his hand on a spoke at the top and his ball cap falls off, giving the team two pieces of evidence to analyze.
  • Chalk Outline: In a season 4 arc, a perp out for revenge for the death of his brother when they were kids invokes this by leaving a child-size outline as one of a series of clues to his motivation and identity.
  • Character Narrator: Two instances.
    • In season 5's 'The Box,' Danny tells the story of the case to someone off screen for most of the episode.
    • In season 9's 'The Lady in the Lake,' while waiting to file a report in the precinct, Adam tells two little girls about his case (see Derailed Fairy Tale below).
  • Cheated Death, Died Anyway: Mac's wife (who died on 9/11) made it out of the first tower, only to be crushed by falling rubble from the second.
  • Childhood Brain Damage: One of the victims in 'Super Men' suffered from this after trying to fly out a window as a child. At the time of his death, he is living in a group home and still thinks of himself as a superhero.
  • Christianity Is Catholic:
    • The opening scene of the series proper finds Mac trying to have a quiet moment in a Catholic church.
    • A few episodes later in 'Three Generations Are Enough,' Stella makes the sign of the Cross before beginning her search for evidence in a church. Later she asks Mac if he still goes; he replies, "Sometimes."
    • Danny takes his young neighbor, Ruben, to the "Blessing of the Bikes" at the boy's church in 'Child's Play.'
    • One of the firemen en route to a fire in the opening of 'Playing with Matches' kisses his crucifix before dropping it down the front of his shirt.
    • The street basketball player in 'Oedipus Hex' visits his church to make confession, light a candle, and obtain a prayer card (which he places in his sock) before an important match.
    • The gang leader in 'Sangre por Sangre' prays and makes the sign of the Cross before beginning his breakfast.
    • The perp in 'Life Sentence' kept his girlfriend's rosary after she died.
    • Mac is seen wearing and kissing a crucifix twice in 'Exit Strategy.'
    • After Mac prays over a deceased first responder in 'Indelible,' he makes the sign of the Cross...although he's so exhausted, his hand drops and he can't quite finish it properly.
    • Christine prays over Mac with a rosary in 'Near Death.'
  • Christmas Episode: 'Second Chances' from season 6: The team collect toys for children of fallen officers, Mac & Stella deliver a very large Christmas tree to the venue where they'll be handed out, a fellow officer of Flack's is recruited to play Santa, and several of the team dress up as elves and pass out the toys.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome:
    • Danny's brother Louie is left in a coma in season 2. He's only mentioned once again, in season 6's 'Redemptio,' and is referred to in the past tense then.
    • After The Bus Came Back for one episode in season 6, Peyton disappears again.
    • Dr. Aubrey Hunter, who briefly appeared to be a new love interest for Mac, vanished without a word after the episode following Peyton's second disappearance.
    • At the end of 'Pot of Gold,' Mac takes a rain check on Reed's offer to go "grab a green beer or something." They agree to get together later, but Reed is never seen or mentioned again.
  • Circling Vultures: All three branches of the CSI franchise have used the spot-the-vultures technique of finding human remains. Even New York, for a body on a rooftop in 'No Good Deed.'
  • Circus Episode: In 'Blood, Sweat and Tears,' a very small box is found on the beach with the body of a man curled nicely in it. What is amazing is that this box is only 2x2x2 feet. This leads the detectives to a circus where the man was working as a contortionist.
  • City of Adventure: Cultural festivals, abundant nightlife, magic acts in the street, Fleet Week, parades...there's no reason to be bored in NYC.
  • Clean Cut / Diagonal Cut: The second victim in 'Corporate Warriors' has been decapitated by a katana so cleanly that his head is still sitting atop his neck when his body is found.
  • Clear My Name / Clear Their Name:
    • Danny (twice - see Break the Cutie).
    • Hawkes is framed for a robbery/murder in 'Raising Shane.'
    • Flack is benched when a suspect dies in his custody...with no one but the two of them in the interrogation room.
    • Mac spends three episodes under suspicion of murder when a serial killer invokes Taking You with Me.
  • Claustrophobia: One of the perp's intended victims in 'Blacklist' is a nurse who is severely claustrophobic. He uses remote technology to trap her in a hospital elevator and send her to a floor that's temporarily empty. Mac and Sheldon barely get to her before she passes out from hyperventilating.
  • Close to Home: A case with a young female victim in 'Silent Night' upsets relative newcomer Lindsay so badly she deserts the crime scene.
  • Clothing-Concealed Injury:
    • In episode 2.05, 'Dancing with the Fishes,' Lindsay encounters a woman who exploits this. She uses makeup to fake a black eye, then wears sunglasses to cover it up.
    • Justified and downplayed by Mac, whose battle scar from the 1983 Beruit Marine Barracks bombing is naturally covered by his shirt. When Stella sees it while he's being checked out by the paramedics after the explosion in episode 2.24, 'Charge of This Post,' he merely comments, "Old injury."
    • Reed wears a scarf to hide his neck injury inflicted by the Cabbie Killer (season 4) when he returns (in season 6) to ask for Mac's help in 'Pot of Gold.'
  • The Coats Are Off: Justified on a couple of occasions:
    • Lab coats are normally worn while processing evidence and/or doing reconstructions, but in 'Corporate Warriors,' Mac is seen brandishing bladed weapons, including a katana, without one because it would impede his range of motion.
    • Also downplayed in 'Snow Day.' After the sprinklers kick on, Mac removes his jacket, quietly balls it up and sets it aside while discussing tactics with Sheldon & Stella. Ostensibly, it would be uncomfortable if soaked, but he'll need that range of motion again before it's over.
  • Cobweb of Disuse: In 'Death House.' While the team investigate a suspected murder in a penthouse that's been closed up for 80+ years, Flack sticks his head up through the attic door. The area is full of cobwebs and they're hanging from the door as he opens it.
  • Coca-Pepsi, Inc.: Subtle example. Apparently Goodyear and Firestone have merged, because one episode features GoodFire tires.
  • Cockroaches Will Rule the Earth: The killer of the week in "A Daze of Wine and Roaches", a Friend to Bugs who murdered a man to prevent him from killing a cockroach, delivers this tidbit of trivia as part of his Motive Rant. It only makes Danny think the guy is completely deranged.
  • Color Motif / Color Wash: See Mood Lighting below.
  • Comatose Canary: Subverted - it only looked like a Comatose Canary...twice: in 'Blink' and 'Damned If You Do.'
  • Combat Cue Stick: In 'Corporate Warriors,' two executives are kung-fu fighting in a bar. One grabs a broken pool cue & stabs the other in the heart, killing him.
  • Comforting the Widow: Danny has sex with the mother of Ruben Sandoval, a kid who was accidentally shot during a robbery and died. Not exactly a widow, but a single mom - pretty much the same idea, though.
  • Condensation Clue: In 'Unspoken,' Danny learns that a would-be killer has been in Lindsay's hospital room when steam from his coffee allows Jo to spot smudges on the room's window.
  • Confess to a Lesser Crime: Invoked with Aiden's case in 'Officer Blue.' She makes the perp believe they think he's guilty of stabbing the victim, as well as what he actually did. The guy balks, admits to what he did, but is adamant that he didn't stab anyone. What he doesn't realize is that what he did was actually lethal, so he's arrested anyway.
  • Connect the Deaths:
    • Inverted when a killer is identified because he'd turned on the lights in his downtown office suite, breaking the pattern of lights in which the victim had spelled out "Marry Me," as a grand romantic gesture.
    • Played straight in 'Sláinte' when Mac plots the three locations where a victim's body parts have been found, but whose head is still missing, and realizes that the sites are corners of the neighborhood formerly known as Hell's Kitchen. When they search the fourth corner, they find the missing head.
  • Constructive Body Disposal: In 'Tales from the Undercard,' the body of a retired boxer is found in freshly laid concrete on a construction site.
  • Content Warnings: The original airing of "Yahrzeit" opened with a notice that the episode dealt with the horrors of the Holocaust and was thus possibly disturbing to some viewers.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • Mac keeps folders of unsolved cases on the corner of his desk. In Season 1, he tells Stella there are currently nine but that there used to be 12. In Season 2, he tells an employee he has to fire that he'll add the case at hand to the pile. Throughout the series run, the folders are seen there but not mentioned again until the season 7 finale, when he solves the last one and moves its folder to a cabinet.
    • In episode 2.03, 'Zoo York,' on Lindsay's first day (see Welcome To the Big City below), she has to paw her way through a tiger's waste looking for evidence. Five episodes later, Mac has her dumpster diving. She tells him the rookie stuff has to stop. He responds with, "Beats sifting through tiger dung."
    • The death of Jessica Angell is referred to several times, including her father inviting Flack over for dinner on what would've been her birthday, and Mac's in-limbo conversation with Flack in 'Near Death.'
  • Continuity Overlap: See Crossover below.
  • Contortionist: The young man who dies after the box he is folded up in is buried on a beach.
  • Convenient Character Replacement: In the season 7 premiere, Jo is brought in to fill the position Stella vacated to head up the New Orleans Crime Lab.
  • Conveniently Placed Sharp Thing:
  • Cool Code of Source: 'Kill Screen' involves someone using a hack to cheat in a Gears of War 3 tournament. At one point we see the hack's source code. Apparently, it's coded in...HTML. The author of this article (in Polish) even tracked down the original website from which the HTML code was taken for the show.
  • Cool Shades: As seen in 'Zoo York' for example, Mac does have some; he just doesn't flaunt them the way Horatio does. Justified on a number of occasions when the team is out in bright sunlight. See 'Tales from the Undercard' where Stella and Mac have on shades but Lindsay doesn't. She's squinting and holding her hand up to block the sun as she's talking to them.
  • Coolest Club Ever: A number of clubs are mentioned, including 'The Real McCoy' in season 9.
    • Adam is familiar with a lot of them, and is quite surprised in 'Risk' that Mac knows all about one called "Wild, Wild, Wet" which features fighting Beta fish on its tables. Mac tells him he was there working on a case, but then smugly adds:
      Mac: The shrimp cocktail was *fantastic*.
  • Cop and Scientist: Flack works closely with either Mac, Stella, Danny, Lindsay, Jo or some combination thereof on just about every single episode.
  • Cop Killer, which of course leads to Cop Killer Manhunt:
    • One example is Flack's Love Interest, Angell, who's shot in the season 5 finale while protecting a Donald Trump/Rupert Murdoch expy's son (who was due to testify against him. The killers turn out to be kidnappers, who knew this would put immediate suspicion on their target's father). The episode also ends with the bar they're holding a wake for her in being shot up in a drive-by. Nobody's killed (although Danny ends up in a wheelchair for a while), but it fits the trope in spirit.
    • Aiden also counts, despite no longer being on the team. They are dead set on finding the perp and Danny is willing to beat up the guy he thinks did it. Mac's speech in the beginning has a double meaning. He's talking about the dead Marine, being one himself, but it clearly shows with Aiden too. "You attack one, you attack us all."
    • Mac himself is a variant in the season 8 finale, having been shot In the Back after stumbling into a drug store robbery. He only nearly dies, but the NYPD's reaction is largely the same as in a straight example.
  • The Corpse Stops Here: The woman caught with her hands in a dead woman's chest, making stabbing motions, turns out not to be the killer. She is a chronic sleepwalker trying to massage the woman's heart in an attempt to revive her.
  • Couldn't Find a Pen: There's a variant where the victim doesn't do it; the killer uses the victim's finger to write someone else's name in order to frame them. 'Air Apparent'
  • Counterfeit Cash: Central to the first season finale, 'What You See Is What You See,' as well as 'The Ride In' and 'Keep It Real.'
  • Country Mouse: Averted with Lindsay. She's just as at home in the big city as she was in Montana.
  • Courtroom Episode: Mac trying to clear his name in the Dobson fiasco in 'Comes Around.'
  • Covered in Kisses: When Mac finally finds Christine in 'Seth and Apep,' he can't seem to stop kissing her face and the top of her head. It's hard to blame him.
  • Creepy Cockroach / Friend to Bugs: 'A Daze of Wine and Roaches' has a live, bejeweled Madagascar Hissing Cockroach worn as a broach to a restaurant. Also one of the victims of the episode is murdered by a roach aficionado for trying to crush one.
  • Creepy Doll: The one in 'City of the Dolls' that sounds demon-like when they first turn her on and her first sentence drags out, making her sound like a spooky man, "Myyy naaame is So—phie."
  • Crime After Crime: In the two-parter with Mac's old partner, it is revealed that 17 years prior Bill Hunt had stolen a large amount of cash, then killed a witness to cover it up.
  • Crime and Punishment Series: A number of episodes end with a Perp Walk. Some of the guilty, including Shane Casey, Leonard Brooks and the guy from Lindsay's past, are shown in jail after being caught.
  • Crime Reconstruction: Pretty much every episode. Techniques include stabbing a pig to determine a type of weapon, digital simulations, acting out fights, and setting things (Mac's arm among them) on fire.
  • Crossover:
    • With the other CSIs, first with CSI: Miami pursuing a suspect wanted in both states, when a kidnapped girl is taken cross country; and more recently with the original when Mac's girlfriend is kidnapped by her shady employee's loan shark, and the girl who impersonates her in Las Vegas is killed trying to rob a jewelry store.
    • With Miami and Vegas in the "CSI Trilogy" which occurs in episode 7 of all three shows (originally airing during Nov of 2009).
    • Also with Cold Case. Stella's foster sister killed someone in PA, and due to their Blood Brothers thing, the necklace she still had with some of Stella's blood causes one of the Cold Case guys to come investigate it in NY. Ends up with Let Off by the Detective, when Stella finds that her friend had killed a man who had molesting her as a child.
  • Cross Player: Adam changes Mac's Second Life avatar in 'Down the Rabbit Hole' to female so Mac, who is clueless about such things, can go after the bad guy. Stella has to take over his dialogue because he's got no game, either... at least as a female.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: Leonard Brooks' post-arsonist M.O. He roasts one victim to death inside an elevator, and burns another one from the inside out using a chemical that mixes with stomach acid. Drinking water only makes it worse.
  • Cry into Chest:
    • Lindsay, with Danny at the end of 'Not What It Looks Like.' She's relived the undercover ordeal she volunteers for is over.
    • Christine, when Mac rescues her from kidnappers in 'Seth and Apep.'
  • Cut Apart: In 'Smooth Criminal,' Flack & Co appear to have found the apartment where Camille is being held by a hitman. But, they break down the door of a Red Herring, and the hitman has Camille open his... to find his building's superintendent.
  • Cut Himself Shaving:
    • Played straight by Henry Darius' psychiatrist who claims this is what happened after Mac spots a wide scrape on his cheek, but then admits Darius had just assaulted him and snuck out the back door of his office.
    • Lampshaded by a suspect in 'Turbulence' when Mac finds blood on his cuff:
    • Played straight when Sheldon gets beat up by thugs sent by a so-called friend of his who wants him to destroy evidence. At first he tells Mac he walked into a wall, then fesses up to him.
  • Cyberspace: In 2007, 'Down the Rabbit Hole' took place half in Second Life.
  • Daddy's Little Villain: Two of the daughters in 'Cavallino Rampante' follow their father into the car theft business, and the one in 'Identity Crisis' becomes a con-artist just like her old man.
  • Dance of Romance:
    • A variation. In the opening of 'Down the Rabbit Hole,' a janitor does a tango with a mannequin in honor of his and his late wife's wedding anniversary.
    • Mac & Christine slow dance to Josh Groban performing "Happy in My Heartache" as the Valentine's Day episode, 'Blood Actually,' ends.
  • Dark Secret: Often the motive for many of the crimes. Then there's the one suspect who postpones reporting his car stolen because he doesn't want his wife to find out he's having an affair... with another man.
  • Darker and Edgier / Shiny Vs Gritty: Initially, and especially compared to CSI: Miami (currently it's only slightly gorier than the Law & Orders).
  • Dead Animal Warning: In 'Dead Inside,' Stella receives a dead rat in the mail: a warning to her that the murder of the "rat fisherman" should remain an unsolved case.
  • Dead Man's Chest:
    • In 'Hammer Down,' the 2nd part of the "CSI Trilogy," the team discovers a woman's body stuffed in a barrel that fell off a semi during a traffic accident.
    • In another episode, a dead woman is stuffed into her own suitcase before being thrown into a lake.
  • Dead Person Conversation:
    • Mac talks to Claire twice in 'Near Death.'
    • The Compass Killer talks to his dead wife in 'Manhattanhenge.' Mac realizes this and uses it to his advantage in apprehending him.
  • Deadly Bath:
    • 'Heart of Glass' has a woman who fills a bathtub with rose petals and water ending up electrocuting herself.
    • In 'Flag on the Play,' the body of a lingerie football player is found in the whirlpool tub in the team's changing room.
  • Deadly Prank: The victim of the exploding cigar meant for Laughing Larry in 'Child's Play.'
  • Deadly Road Trip: 'She's Not There' has the death of a tourist, who comes to NYC in search of his missing daughter.
  • "Dear John" Letter: Peyton does it to Mac, though she apologizes for it later during her one episode return visit.
  • Death by Falling Over: The episode "Recycling" features an unusual variant on this trope. The lady who is stabbed in the heart: Ssomeone who is jealous of her poisons her with Ipecac, which doesn't really kill you, but can make you deathly sick if given too much. She is walking across the floor when she starts to feel sick and tumbles forward, landing on an open bag of knitting needles, one of which fatally pierces her heart.
  • Death by Origin Story: Claire, who died on 9/11/01, three years before the show began.
  • Death by Sex: See Sex Equals Death below.
  • Death from Above: The construction worker victim in 'Tri-borough.' A frozen chunk of waste from an airplane toilet dislodges and hits him on the head.
  • Death in the Clouds: 'Turbulence.' A man is found stabbed to death in an airplane lavatory during a flight from NYC to Washington D.C.
  • Death of a Child:
    • 'Corporate Warriors': A 10 yr old boy dies from smoke inhalation.
    • 'Child's Play': Danny's young neighbor is hit by a bullet during a bodega robbery.
    • 'Unspoken': A little girl is accidentally shot by her best friend who had removed the magazine from the gun they were playing with so he thought it was empty.
  • Deceased Fall-Guy Gambit: In 'Party Down,' a semi-truck with 20 people locked in the trailer hurtles headlong into the Hudson and four victims drown. The killer tries to frame one of them for the crime.
  • Defective Detective/Dysfunction Junction/Standard Cop Backstory: Let's take it from the top, shall we?
    • Mac: 9/11 widower, has been framed for murder, blown up three times, taken hostage three times as well (once by a Stalker Without a Crush), seems to attract serial killers like flies to honey, shot nearly to death, his previous girlfriend left him with only a letter (though The Bus Came Back). He had to deal with having a Stalker with a Crush for quite a while. Spent several months struggling to overcome speech aphasia related to his gunshot injury and nearly lost his new girlfriend because he was too darn stubborn to let her in on what was happening. Then, said girlfriend was abducted and nearly killed before Mac found her.
    • Danny: Has been suspected of murder twice. The second time, his brother ended up in a coma while trying to clear Danny's name. He's gotten in trouble more than once for losing his temper with suspects. For a while he was suspected of shooting an undercover cop and it caused problems between him and Mac for almost a season. His neighbor's son got shot while Danny was looking after him. Was in a wheelchair from a motive-less shooting. Had his wallet (with ID, credit cards, and *badge*) stolen by Shane Casey. And then Shane Casey tried to kill him, fell to his death (not!), broke into his and Lindsay's apartment and threatened to kill their daughter, only stopped by Lindsay's shot. Later, he became a sergeant, only to have one of his rookies shoot the wrong man when two guys threatened the group, which had gone out for a drink.(One guy had a gun, but the rookie cop shot the other one.) On top of that, he was accused of having an affair because the same rookie was seen cozying up to him on a surveillance camera tape. She then lied and said Danny told her to lie, nearly costing him his job, though he was cleared when Lindsay pressured the rookie to tell the truth.
    • Stella: Orphan, with lingering if mostly well-hidden issues as a result. Had to shoot a stalker ex-boyfriend and had her apartment burnt out by a next-door neighbor. Discovers that the professor whom she regarded as a father figure is an art thief and kept the fact that he knew her mother a secret for years (and judging from his confession that he loved her mother gives the implication that he may have been her father). Then when she confronts him, the professor takes a bullet for her from his brother and dies in her arms.
    • Lindsay: Witnessed her friends' murder and has been dealing with the lingering trauma ever since. Married Danny who kept secrets from her and was in a wheelchair. Later became traumatized after killing Shane Casey in her own home. Had to listen to accusations Danny was cheating on her after the incident with Danny and his group of rookie cops, though it was untrue.
    • Flack: Alcoholic sister. Had to arrest his mentor for tampering with a crime scene, which caused problems between him and Mac and between him and the rest of the PD. Got blown up. Girlfriend was shot and killed, leaving him mentally screwed up for at least the first part of season 6.
    • Adam: Has hinted at past abuse (psychological, eventually revealed to be physical as well). Was held hostage and tortured so the criminals could get access to the lab. In the episode 'The Party's Over,' it's hinted that he may have OCD. His job also seems to be perennially in danger, first from budget cuts and then from one of the other lab techs. He also happened to be playing street hockey when a car bomb went off right next to him. His very secret shame is he slept through 9/11. He made up for it by going to "The Pile" the next day, although depending on how long he was there he could now be susceptible to cancer. Additionally his dad was/is an abusive jerkass who, thanks to Alzheimer's disease, doesn't remember the abuse or Adam (most of the time - he recognized Adam long enough to tell him what a disappointment he is and looked awfully shifty when Adam asked him about the abuse directly); he does, however, remember how much of an abusive jerkass his father was. Fortunately he has a very understanding girlfriend.
    • Sid: Changed careers for unknown reasons. Divorced at least twice. Inhabits a "creepy place" with dead body trivia. The woman he treated like a daughter was murdered after her husband, a former colleague, had to be fired, then murdered drug addicts, and turned out to have been stealing organs from corpses while he worked at the lab. And let's not forget having to go to the hospital: once for an allergic reaction, another time for getting radiation poisoning while examining a body, and finally the exploding bullet to the face that would have blinded him if it weren't for his glasses. And having survived all that, he was then diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma that may well kill him, as it's well advanced.
    • Sheldon: Lost a series of patients on the table, accused of robbery and murder, friend tried to bribe him to destroy evidence. Lost most of his savings in an insurance scam, resulting in him losing his home and having to sell a lot of his stuff until Mac offered him his spare room to give him time to get back on his feet. His sister was murdered, and his girlfriend left him some years back because she was raped and he ended up not being there like she needed. Got called out for having marijuana in his system after his new girlfriend was using it and spent time with him, causing him to breathe it in off her.
    • Jo: Forced out of the FBI after turning in a dirty agent that got a rape case she was working thrown out, attacked by the rapist after the victim's father tried to get him caught by framing him, and was forced to shoot said rapist in self-defense. Lost her sister to a drunk driver several years ago.
  • Defenestrate and Berate / Fake Kill Scare: 'The Lying Game' opens with a jilted boyfriend throwing his ex-girlfriend's belongings out of the window at her and her new boyfriend. The last item is her pet dog. When the new boyfriend's legs are covered in blood, the viewer is led to believe that the dog has just splattered on the sidewalk. The camera then pulls back to show the girl has safely caught the dog and the blood has come from a passing truck that was spreading salt on the icy street.
  • Derailed Fairy Tale: In 'The Lady in the Lake,' Adam begins telling two little girls in the precinct about the case, describing it as a "princess story." It derails when he overlaps it with telling them about the "piece of a spaceship" that he found at the scene.
  • Destroy the Evidence: In one example of many, Flack's mentor removes evidence that would incriminate his son in 'The Fall.'
  • Deus Ax Machina: Played with in 'Uncertainty Rules.' It's not the suspect with the ax who's guilty. He would most likely have been another victim had he not been strung out on LSD in the bathroom at the time.
  • Diamonds in the Buff: In 'Summer in the City,' Stella and Danny must solve the mysterious death of a famous designer found dead, wearing his latest creation which is a bra made of diamonds. In the course of the investigation, they interview the model who wore the bra for a photoshoot, and there are plenty of flashbacks to the shoot where she is wearing the diamond bra and nothing else.
  • The Diaper Change:
    • Joked about after Mac is asked to be Lucy's godfather.
      Flack: Godfather, you know that's code for "diaper changer."
    • Later, Danny jokes about it to Lindsay, too.
      Danny: You got your "I don't like what I see face." The one you get when I'm changing Lucy's diaper.
  • Did I Mention It's Christmas?:
    • The show's only mention of Thanksgiving is in season 3 when Sid asks Mac over if he doesn't have plans. Mac says he does, but won't tell Sid with whom...then walks away smiling.
    • That same year, in "Silent Night," the outside of the first victim's house is shown decorated for Christmas. The investigators remark that it should be on a greeting card, not in crime scene photos. The ep bookends with a grandmother giving her infant granddaughter a snow globe. It's implied, but never stated, that it's her Christmas gift.
    • In mid-December of season 7, Jo goads Mac into going window shopping with her so they can see a particular store unveil it's "holiday" window display. He spots a pickpocket in the crowd, and when the window is revealed, there's a dead body in it. Mac grumbles, "Now you know why I hate shopping." The word "Christmas" is never uttered.
    • The victim of season 9's "The Real McCoy" is found impaled by a stand at a Christmas tree lot. After the team leaves the scene, no further mention of the holiday is made.
  • Die Hard in a Crime Lab: The third season finale, 'Snow Day.'
  • Died in Your Arms Tonight: After getting caught in the crossfire during a shootout, Professor P dies while Stella cradles him.
  • Diegetic Soundtrack Usage: An alternate arrangement of an instrumental portion of Baba O'Riley is played by a violinist during a nighttime street party in 'Boo.'
  • Digital Deaging: During season 5's 'Blacklist,' CGI, lighting and sepia tones were used to make Sinise look 15-20 years younger in flashbacks to Mac visiting his parents right before leaving the Marines to join the NYPD.
  • Dirty Cop: Repeatedly. Danny, Mac and Flack have all had former partners or mentors revealed as this.
  • Disability Alibi:
    • In 'Cavallino Rampante,' a perp known for his electronic inventions is considered a suspect for a string of Ferrari thefts, until the cops arrive at his apartment and discover that he's aged, quite weak, and dependent upon a wheelchair.
    • Averted in 'DOA for a Day' when the Navy Seal son of a judge has motive for his father's murder. When the detectives arrive to question him, they discover he's a triple amputee, but he tells them he still could've done it...20 different ways.
  • Disappointed by the Motive: Danny's reaction to the murderer in 'A Daze of Wine and Roaches:'
    You killed a guy over a cockroach?!
  • Disappointing Promotion: At the end of season 7, Danny Messer secures a promotion to sergeant, which takes him out of the crime lab and down to the ground floor commanding beat cops. He's initially okay with it, until one of his subordinates screws up and tries to pin it on him, leading him to request a "demotion" back to the crime lab.
  • Discovering Your Own Dead Body: A variation during Mac's "limbo" period in 'Near Death.' When he visits Sid, he finds the man about to remove a sheet from a body. He asks Sid to wait and wants to know if that's himself on the table. Sid says, "Only if you've given up." They continue talking, but the body is never shown.
  • Disguised Hostage Gambit: 'Snow Day.' Two police officers are taken hostage and dressed up like the bad guys. Adam stops Flack and his team from shooting them.
  • Disgusting Public Toilet: 'Tri-Borough' finds Flack and Aiden with a victim who was subjected to Overturned Outhouse in a Porta-Potty before dying at a construction site. Flack makes her examine it since there might be evidence. She opens the door and is completely grossed out.
    Aiden: Ewww, what do you guys *do* in here?!
    Flack: I don't go in public.
  • The Dissenter Is Always Right: In one episode, Stella is adamant that the deceased is a murder victim; while everyone else, including ME Sid Hammerback, is convinced the woman committed suicide. The detective spends a good bit of time miffed at everyone (especially Sid) and trying to prove her point. Then, the ER doctor who had examined the victim makes an off-hand comment to Mac which leads to proof that Stella was right all along.
  • Disobeyed Orders, Not Punished: During her "Greek antiquities theft" arc, Stella goes against Mac's direct order to stand down because of a conflict of interest, saying he'll handle it himself. Later, he turns it over to a more appropriate department, but she keeps investigating behind his back anyway and goes so far as to involve another officer. The two of them discover a dead body and Stella reports it anonymously via a 911 call from a pay phone, completely against NYPD/Crime Lab policy. Mac is furious and tells her that her actions are grounds for a desk assignment, if not a full-on suspension. She angrily slams her badge down on his desk and heads to Greece. He and the team find more evidence, he follows her there, helps her instead of chewing her out again, and gives her badge back when they return to NYC. Far-fetched to how a real-life situation would go, but then again this episode was written by Melina Kanakaredes, who plays Stella, so there you have it.
  • Disposable Sex Worker: A call girl is murdered in 'Means to an End,' and Adam makes a joke about a possibly dissatisfied customer. Lindsay calls him out on it.
  • Disproportionate Retribution / Revenge Before Reason: Various victims were killed for comparatively minor offences such as:
    • trying to kill a cockroach in 'A Daze of Wine and Roaches.'
    • mocking an overweight basketball fan in 'Personal Foul.'
    • kissing someone of the same sex and having it shown on the Jumbotron at a baseball game in 'The Closer.'
  • Distressed Dude:
    • Adam and Danny are taken hostage in 'Snow Day.'
    • Sheldon is caught up in a prison riot in 'Redemptio.'
    • Mac is knocked out and placed in a Laser Hallway by the perp in 'The Thing About Heroes.'
    • Downplayed in 'The Untouchable' as Mac frees himself from zip ties after being tasered from behind.
  • Divorce Assets Conflict: In 'Who's There?' a divorcing couple are at such serious odds over who was to get what that their daughter stages a home invasion to get what she could because she wants to get out of their lives. Naturally, things go awry.
  • Dizzy Cam / Orbital Shot: Several times, but 'Hung Out to Dry' has a nice example of the symbols whirling around Mac when he's noodling over the cryptic messages on the various victims' t-shirts.
  • The Doll Episode: Two, with two VERY different types of dolls.
    • 'City of the Dolls' has a little girl's talking baby doll being stolen from a "doll hospital" where it had been sent for repair. The "doctor" is the Victim of the Week.
    • 'Sex, Lies, and Silicone' features life-size silicone women as "companions" for lonely, socially inept men. A very important piece of evidence for an ongoing arc is found inside one of them.
  • Dominance Through Furniture: In 'Hush,' Danny & Aiden go undercover as a couple looking to learn about BDSM techniques. The seminar they attend features a woman hanging upside down as a chandelier and a man posed as an end table. The detectives ask the leaders how long they have to stay like that and one replies, "until I tell them they can stop."
  • Don't Call Me "Sir": Mac.
    • Danny plays a joke on his future wife, Lindsay, on her first day on the job, telling her to call Mac "Sir." Mac tells her to stop after a few times, and she realizes Danny tricked her.
    • Averted with Adam, who calls Mac "Sir" quite often. Mac never says a word.
  • Don't You Dare Pity Me!: Mac is essentially reacting this way to the aftermath of being shot. He thinks it's his problem to get through, despite people starting to notice and his friend Kevin saying he should at least tell Christine. Fortunately, he finally does, though only when she's near to leaving him.
  • Double Standard: Rape, Female on Female: The motivation of the killer in the B-plot of 'Grand Master.' See spoiler under Body Sushi above for details.
  • Down the Rabbit Hole: 'Down the Rabbit Hole,' obviously. There's a white rabbit in the game who helps Mac/his avatar, and who disappears down a hole at one point.
  • Dramatic Gun Cock: Mac is on the receiving end in 'The Untouchable.' A rich guy tazes him, kidnaps him, blindfolds him and drives him to a bad part of town before doing it. He then drives off and leaves Mac bound and still blindfolded. Fortunately, Mac is not easily intimidated.
  • Dramatic Sit-Down: 'White Gold.' Mac & Danny go to a pizzeria to notify the victim's family of his death. Upon hearing the news, the uncle who had raised him since his parents were killed in an accident when he was nine is visibly shaken and his knees start to give way. Danny tells him to have a seat and he does so on the nearest stool.
  • Dream Intro: 'Rest in Peace, Marina Garito' opens with Stella dreaming that she gets in a traffic accident and is helped out of her vehicle by a young woman. She awakes with a start, and that day gets presented with a new case - the murder of the very woman she was dreaming about, whose missing twin brother Stella has been searching for for quite some time.
  • Drowning My Sorrows: Flack, after Angell died. Leads to his Heroic BSoD.
  • Drowning Pit: One of the illusionist's tricks in 'Sleight Out of Hand.'
  • Due to the Dead: Quite a number of examples:
    • 'Officer Blue:' Stella and Mac are seen wearing their dress uniforms, having just returned from the memorial service for the mounted officer who was shot in Central Park.
    • 'Heroes:' Mac tells Stella that Aiden's father will let them know when the arrangements for her service are finalized.
    • 'Yarhzeit:' The broach owner's aunt leads Mac through the titular service in honor of her niece and his father. Also downplayed when Adam quietly fills in for Sheldon who goes out of town for his uncle's funeral.
    • 'Pay Up:' The team hold their own private wake of sorts for Angell.
    • 'Indelible:' Mac participates in and the other team members attend the dedication of the Brooklyn Wall of Remembrance for first responders who lost their lives on 9/11.
    • 'Clean Sweep:' Mac uses his military connections to see that a deceased homeless Marine is laid to rest with full honors.
    • 'Flash Pop:' The lab techs, who are usually just background characters, hold a vigil at work for one of their own who gets murdered. Jo is particularly moved by this.
    • 'Reignighted:' Christine accompanies Mac to the funeral of Cap. Curtis Smith, a firefighter friend of his who is killed in the line of duty.
    • 'Civilized Lies:' Danny and Lindsay visit the family of an off-duty police officer who gets shot and killed. They give the man's son, who is going through the Police Academy, his father's badge to wear when he graduates. The young man proudly shows it to his mother and sister.
  • Dumpster Dive: Several, including 'Bad Beat,' while Lindsay is still a rookie:
    Lindsay: Ah, now, see? That's a shame.
    Mac: What's a shame?
    [She pulls something up out of the dumpster]
    Lindsay: Somebody went and threw away a perfectly good shotgun.
    • In 'White Gold,' Sheldon examines a corpse in a dumpster. Luckily for him, it had been emptied before the body was placed there.
  • Durable Deathtrap: The traps in 'Death House' are still working after almost 100 years.

    E-H 
  • Eagle-Eye Detection: When Danny spots something odd on a surveillance tape in 'Officer Blue,' he tells Mac, "They don't call me 'Eagle Eyes' for nothin'."
  • Ear Ache:
    • The younger brother of the victim in 'Trapped' had had his ear cut off as a child. It was sent to the family & the brother still keeps it in a jar.
    • The victim in 'Rush to Judgement' has cauliflower ear due to having been a wrestler.
    • The victim in 'Sanguine Love' and one from 'A Man a Mile' each have a part of an ear bitten off.
  • Easy Amnesia: Averted. It takes Mac eight and a half months of therapy to recover from his speech aphasia.
  • Eat the Camera: Done a few times with variations due to the nature of each episode.
    • In "A Man A Mile", in which the camera zooms into the victim's mouth to watch something be retrieved from her throat.
    • In both "A Daze of Wine and Roaches" and "Forbidden Fruit" explaining how poison affected the victims who unknowingly ingested it.
    • During "Page Turner" as a camera is used to inspect a woman who died at a concert.
  • Electric Torture: In 'Blood Out,' the team investigates a particularly brutal murder. Before being cut in half with a chainsaw, the Victim of the Week is tortured by having car battery jumper leads attached to his pecs.
  • Embarrassing Browser History: When former FBI agent Jo first joins the team in season 7, she freaks Adam out by telling him, "we know about those websites you visit."
  • Embarrassing Middle Name: In 'Near Death,' Christine reveals to Jo that her brother Stan, who was an early partner of Mac's, had picked on him unmercifully about his middle name of "Llewellyn."
  • Embarrassing Nickname: At first Lindsay hates Danny constantly calling her "Montana," but over time it becomes a term of endearment.
  • Encyclopaedic Knowledge:
    • Mac knows a lot about a lot of things, even stuff like the rules of Roller Derby, which shocks Stella:
      Stella: You can NOT know this.
    • See also his character page.
    • Averted in a late season 8 episode when Lindsay asks him about a certain type of rare wood. He's completely unfamiliar with it.
    • Sheldon impresses Mac with his knowledge of mosquitoes during his first outing in the field:
      Mac: Did you know that Hawkes is a walking encyclopedia of tidbit information?
      Stella: Good. We can go to him instead of Google.
  • Energy Weapon: The laser beam-equipped car in 'You Only Die Once.' The beam actually scalps a victim.
  • Engineered Heroics: The victim in 'Battle Scars' gets a friend to pose as an armed robber so he can be a hero to his girlfriend. It backfires.
  • Enhance Button: Used frequently, including getting an image off a reflection in someone's eyeball, and getting fingerprints when someone waves their hand in front of a security camera.
  • Episode on a Plane: 'Turbulence.' Mac has to get his flight to DC turned around when a murder victim is discovered on his plane.
  • "Eureka!" Moment:
    • Hawkes watches a Jennifer Lopez video during his lunch break in 'Grand Murder at Central Station.' While admiring her, um, assets, he remembers they are insured, helping him figure out the case - it's an insurance scam.
    • In another episode, Flack closes a door then realizes that the room im which the victim was discovered had been locked from the outside, meaning someone else had been there.
  • Even Evil Has Standards / Selective Slaughter:
    • A hitman turns himself in and spills the beans on his client in 'Greater Good' when said client switches targets from a man to a woman. This hitman doesn't do women.
    • The would-be killer in 'Unspoken.' Lindsay sees him shooting at his intended target and is injured in the chaos. He comes into her hospital room intending to dispose of her before she can identify him. But then he sees the drawing her daughter, Lucy, had made and backs off, realizing she is a mother. It ties into what he later tells the detectives about never wanting to hurt a child. Lindsay dying would have hurt Lucy.
  • Everyone Is Single: Although Mac is a widower before the series begins, the only team members to be married during the 9-year run are Danny & Lindsay (who tie the knot late in season 5) and Sid (who arrives mid-season 2), and even he's twice divorced by early season 7.
  • Everything Sounds Sexier in French:
    • When Stella speaks to Mac in Greek while he's brooding over a case in 'The Closer,' the following exchange ensues:
    Mac: I give, what was that?
    Stella: What the hell's wrong with you, Mac?
    Mac: Ugh, it sounds so much better in Greek.
    Stella: [smiling] Everything always does.
    • In 'Communication Breakdown,' Flack overhears Angell questioning a witness in the man's native French and whispers as he passes behind her, "Sexiest thing I've ever heard."
  • Evil Lawyer Joke: In 'Enough,' Mac visits a lawyer whose office has just been sprayed for bugs. The man kills a cockroach while complaining that his fumigators didn't do a good job, and says he and the bugs are from the same species. When Mac stares at him blankly, he asks: "What, you don't like lawyer jokes?" Mac replies, "I don't like lawyers." At the end of their conversation, Mac turns it on him with "What do they call a thousand lawyers at the bottom of the ocean? A good start." Pause. "What, YOU don't like lawyer jokes?"
  • Evil Stole My Faith: Alluded to in 'Yahrzeit.' A Holocaust survivor says that the soldier (Mac Taylor's father) who rescued him by carrying him out of the camp from which he was liberated and who gave him a Hershey bar to eat "put back some of the faith I had lost. My grandchildren put back the rest."
  • Exact Words:
    • '...Comes Around.' During the hearing about Mac's encounter with Clay Dobson, Danny is asked if he can read a portion of the autopsy report. He says, "Sure" and proceeds to do so...silently.
    • In 'The Ride In,' a man convicted of counterfeiting explains his motivation to Flack: since his father told him "Jimmy, everything I have is mine; you ain't got nothin' coming, so you got to go out and make your own money," he did just that.
    • In 'Hide Sight,' Mac is told "not to utter the word 'sniper'" during a press conference. He doesn't, but when a reporter says, "Sounds like a sniper to me," Mac, concerned that the public needs to know the truth, replies, "Me, too." Chief of D's Carver asks what he's supposed to tell their superiors. Mac says, "Tell them I never uttered the word 'sniper'."
    • In 'Seth and Apep,' Flack & DB buy time for Mac to find Christine by heading off Federal Marshalls at the pass, telling them the Egyptian murderer they're after is at another precinct due to a mix-up. As they lead the officers away to get coffee while they wait, DB says, "Why, I'll bet our guy's walking him out the precinct right now." Cue Mac *leaving* the building with the handcuffed man in tow.
  • Expensive Glass of Crap:
    • In 'A Daze of Wine and Roaches,' cheap wine was being passed off as expensive, though that wasn't ultimately why the vic was killed. It involved the killer trying to squash the guy's jeweled cockroach.
    • In 'The Real McCoy,' one of the speakeasy employees cuts corners with counterfeit vodka.
  • Exploding Cigar: A victim is killed by one meant for "Laughing Larry" in 'Child's Play.'
  • Exploding Fish Tanks: The male victim in 'Heart of Glass' falls into his aquarium, shattering it to pieces.
  • Eye Contact as Proof: During Mac's speech aphasia arc when he's not telling anyone about his memory problems, Christine becomes suspicious and asks him to look her in the eye and tell her nothing's wrong. He can't, and doesn't, so she gives him the silent treatment for a couple of weeks until he fesses up.
  • Eyepiece Prank: In 'Clue: SI,' Lindsay gets blue circles around her eyes from her husband, in a prank meant for Adam, the lab tech. She wears sunglasses the rest of the episode to hide them and spends most of the ep trying to determine the prankster. She tells Danny she'll find a way to get him back for it.
  • Eye Scream:
    • The eyeball that falls from the sky into Stella's coffee cup in 'No Good Deed' had been plucked from a dead man on a rooftop. The audience is treated to at least two close ups of it; first, floating in her coffee, then being examined in the lab.
    • The man who's nailed to a tree with railroad ties thru his eye sockets, and whose eyeballs Mac finds in his pocket in 'Hung Out to Dry.'
    • Clay Dobson's victims, whose eyelids he cut off so they'd have to stare at him as they died.
  • Face Doodling: In 'Get Me Out of Here!', Danny and Adam arrive at a frat house to investigate a murder. They wake up a pledge who has had a pair glasses drawn on his face and the word "TOOL" written on his forehead.
  • Face Palm:
    • At the end of 'Oedipus Rex,' when the Suicide Girls strut away and Danny realizes what he's lost out on by turning down one's offer for a date, you can clearly see him doing this in the background.
    • Mac does the face-wipe version a number of times. A notable example is while chewing Flack out for going A.W.O.L. in 'Cuckoo's Nest.'
  • Failure-to-Save Murder:
    • Mac's 333 Stalker is out to get him because Mac had failed to save the guy's brother back in Chicago when he was 14 years old.
    • Also the killer's motivation in 'Where There's Smoke.' He blamed his foster brother and sister for not saving him from his mother's abuse when they were children.
  • Fake Identity Baggage: In "And Here's to You, Mrs. Azrael", a pissed-off mother kills a comatose teen whom she blames for the drunken car crash that killed her daughter. However, Hawkes reveals to the mother that the girl she killed was her own daughter, who had exploited the fact that she looked almost exactly like the girl who died in the crash by carrying the other girl's ID when she drove that girl's car home from the bar where they'd been drinking because the other girl had also done drugs and was more wasted than her. The mother is left sitting distraught in the interegation room as she has a nervous breakdown over having killed her own daughter.
  • False Confession:
    • One episode has a man confess to murdering the quack doctor who milked him & his wife of all their savings while "treating" his terminal illness. It was his wife who killed her, but he wants to take the rap since he knows he doesn't have long to live anyway.
    • "Greater Good" sees Mac struggling over an old case on his day off. A man had confessed to fatally hitting a girl on her bicycle and had served his time. After his release, Mac realizes that the man's bruises from his seatbelt prove that he'd been on the passenger side. His daughter, who was studying to be a doctor at the time, was driving; he confessed so she could finish med school.
  • False Rape Accusation: The alleged victim of the DC Rapist in the three-part season 7 arc. The senator father of his earlier victim hired the woman to allege that the guy raped her, but Lindsay's forensic tests showed that given the rate at which GHB leaves the system, she would be dead if she really ingested the indicated levels at the time of the attack. The senator then kills the woman, hoping to frame the guy for murder, but that backfires as well.
  • False Roulette: Mac does this to one of Christine's kidnappers as he tries to force the guy to talk in 'Seth and Apep.' He fires point-blank at the guy's forehead three times before the man relents & tells Mac he'll take him to her.
  • False Start: Danny & Lindsay's romance, until she dealt with her past.
  • Family of Choice: Mac regards his team as his family, and tells Christine so in 'Unwrapped.'
    Mac: For the longest time, this place, those guys, were my whole world. They got me through some really tough times. Now I have you.
  • Fan Boy: Mac apparently idolizes Ronald Reagan judging by the framed picture in his office and "eight-hour documentary [he's] always watching."
  • Fan Disservice: The one time we see Flack without a shirt, he's got a whopping great hole in his chest where he was seriously injured in an explosion. Another time, he lifts his shirt to reveal severe bruising from a beatdown he took on the subway.
  • Fanservice:
    • Certain features of Stella are on display a bit.
    • Danny ends up shirtless or in a vest/wifebeater a lot.
    • Lindsay once took a walk in the rain and ended up in a Sexy Soaked Shirt.
    • Mac kicking ass while soaking wet in the season three finale.
    • Shirtless Mac in bed with Peyton in the s3 opener, whether you liked the ship or not.
    • Angell in Flack's button down shirt with a pair of handcuffs.
    • Mac swimming in the 100th ep.
    • Mac testing the weapons in 'Corporate Warriors.' Especially the katana...in a tight black t-shirt.
    • The episode about the lingerie football league. Must have been designed for the Male Gaze.
    • The Suicide Girls episode as well.
    • And the female roller derby team in 'Jamalot.'
    • The female lube wrestler in 'Trapped.'
    • The housekeepers wearing French Maid outfits in 'Murder Sings the Blues.'
  • Fashion Show:
    • In 'Wasted,' models are wearing *literally* painted-on swimwear. One dies on the runway and another is bludgeoned to death backstage.
    • In 'Like Water for Chocolate,' a fashion designer uses expensive chocolate and damiana flowers in his designs, which are presented by models on a runway. Det. Flack comments to Stella how cold it is in the venue. She tells him it's necessary because chocolate melts at body temperature.
  • Fantasy-Forbidding Father: 'Blood, Sweat and Tears.' Due to Feuding Families, a circus girl's father forbids her to see her boyfriend who's also in the circus.
  • A Father to His Men: Mac, particularly to Lindsay and Adam. See Character Page for more details.
  • Fatal Attractor: Stella Bonasera. Her boyfriend tried to kill her after she broke up with him and another guy she was seeing turned out to be Mac's 333 Stalker, who was out for blood as well.
  • Fatal Method Acting: Two in-universe examples:
    • The girl portraying Marie Antoinette in 'A Daze of Wine and Roaches' is discovered dead in the guillotine prop right after the group's picture is taken.
    • In 'The Formula,' a Formula One racer dies when his car explodes during an exhibition race.
  • FBI Agent:
    • FBI Agents offer their assistance and phone tracing equipment when a millionaire's son is kidnapped in 'Brooklyn Til I Die.'
    • Jo Danville is a former FBI agent, and her ex-husband, Russ Josephson who is also an agent, appears in two season 7 episodes. He provides intel that helps with cases in both. Two other FBI colleagues of hers appear in additional episodes.
  • Feeling the Baby Kick: Before Danny and Lindsay get married, she tells him at work that she felt their baby kick. He ushers her to a secluded area and tries to feel it, too, but there's no movement. He tells her to find him as soon as possible the next time it happens.
  • Fictional Painting: One of the three cases in "Tri-Borough" centers around a fictional early-American painting called, Immortality, by fictional artist Jacques de Suis.
  • Fiery Cover Up:
    • 'Right Next Door': Subverted by the "victim" of Stella's apartment building fire who, as it turns out, had died two or three days earlier.
    • 'Do Not Pass Go': Played straight with the perp tricking the mother of a missing college student into setting a fire to destroy evidence in return for information on the whereabouts of her child.
  • 15 Puzzle: A large scale floor version is one of the booby traps in 'Death House.' It is already solved when the team arrives, but still helps them figure out what's going on.
  • Finger in the Mail:
    • 'Trapped' deals with the heir of a wealthy family whose little brother had been abducted at a young age. When the family was slow with the ransom money, his brother's ear was cut off and sent to the family; later, the brother was killed. The surviving man kept the ear, which Stella finds in a jar of preservative.
    • In 'Brooklyn Til I Die,' the estranged father of a victim receives a finger with a family ring on it from kidnappers, proving that the vic is indeed his son.
    • Mac gets a tongue in the mail from Christine's kidnappers in 'Seth and Apep.' It isn't hers, but it does freak him out for a while (see Call Back above).
  • Finger-Licking Poison: In 'Page Turner,' the killer coats the pages of a book in thallium to poison his victims.
  • Fingore: Danny getting his fingers stomped on and broken in the season three finale.
  • 555:
    • In 'All in the Family,' Flack tries to find Danny, who didn't show up to work. He resorts to calling dispatch to trace Danny's cell phone and gives them the number 212-555-0121.
    • In 'Blacklist,' a tech-savvy perp hacks into the lab's system and orders a surveillance camera to be installed in their hallway. Mac uses it to his advantage by holding up a hand-written sign that says, "Call Me, 555-0131" to get the man to call his office land line.
  • Five-Man Band:
    • The Hero: Mac Taylor
    • The Lancer: Danny Messer
    • The Big Guy: Don Flack
    • The Smart Guy and The Chick: Stella Bonasera and Lindsay Monroe/Messer trade these off frequently. (Once Stella's gone, it's Jo and Lindsay.)
    • Sixth Ranger: Sheldon Hawkes, who transfers from the morgue to the investigative team at the beginning of season 2.
  • Flashback: Aside from the ones used every episode to show how the crime(s) of the week actually went down, there are three major examples, chronologically as follows:
    • Near the end of season 3, Mac and Clay Dobson's rooftop confrontation is shown three times, once during each episode of Dobson's arc.
    • Beginning with the season 4 premiere, Mac spends several episodes explaining individually to various colleagues how his stalker situation began. Each time the audience is treated to repeats of him being woken up by 3:33 a.m. phone calls at two different hotels in London.
    • In episode 5.20, 'Prey,' Stella recounts a college forensics lecture she gave using some of the team's past cases as examples. Scenes from the three she chose are repeated, including the mummified body found in a building being demolished in season 3.
  • Flashback Echo: Flack's injuries in 'Charge of This Post' take Mac back to the 1983 Beirut barracks bombing:
    Smith: How'd you know what to do?
    Mac: I've lived through this moment before.
  • Flashed-Badge Hijack: Flack does it to a taxi driver in the beginning of 'You Only Die Once,' running up a $60 cab fare in the process. Between that and his unauthorized high speed chase, Chief Sinclair is not pleased.
  • Flash Mob Cover-Up: The killer in 'To What End?' puts out an ad for people to show up at the scene dressed as clowns, offering a bonus if they wear his same costume.
  • Flatline: Mac, after being shot in 'Near Death.' One of the operating room nurses shouts, "He's flatlining!"
  • Following in Relative's Footsteps: Detective Don Flack, Jr. follows his namesake into law enforcement because he looks up to him. His sister, Samantha, once states about police work, "You Flack men; it's in your blood."
  • Fleur de Lis: In 'The Untouchable,' a disturbed, homeless young lady seeks out Mac to report the death of "the woman with the purple flowers." The flowers turn out to be the tattoo of a fleur-de-lis on the dead woman's wrist.
  • Food Porn:
    • Quite literally, during the "food sploshing" in 'It Happened to Me.'
    • Also literally with the practically nude women serving as tables in the sushi restaurant in 'Grand Master':
    Stella: Oh, that can't be sanitary.
    Danny: Who cares if it's sanitary? I wanna see the menu.
  • Foolish Sibling, Responsible Sibling:
    • Don Flack and his party-girl sister, Sam.
    • Danny Messer and his gangster-ish brother, Louie.
    • Doctor Sheldon Hawkes and his sister, who had been a drug addict (before getting clean, unbeknownst to him).
    • Chief Carver and his sister (see spoiler under Sibling Yin-Yang below).
  • Forced Orgasm: A variation is used in 'Time's Up,' where an investigation reveals that a college student died in the middle of a restaurant after she climaxed to death. The autopsy reveals that she had used an experimental aphrodisiac that was being tested in a local university. At the end it was revealed that the girl told her sorority sister that she was still a virgin, so the leader of the chapter set up a romantic night between her and a fraternity member, and to ensure she enjoyed the night, swapped out her asthma medication with the aphrodisiac, which the girl kept using because her asthma got worse instead of better. When she got nervous and ran out of the room, the frat boy followed her to the restaurant and tried to talk to her, which is when the aphrodisiac kicked in and she had an orgasm that eventually led to heart failure.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • A few episodes after Lindsay's introduction and after impressing him with sports trivia, Danny jokingly remarks that he'll have to ask her to marry him if she keeps that up. Three seasons later...
    • In the same vein, in a season one episode, Mac says something about how Danny could fall in love one day. Danny laughs it off, but then Lindsay shows up in the next season and...
    • In 'Dead Reckoning,' a mystery woman is tied to several crimes and homicides which baffles the authorities. Anything familiar that shows up when she is mentioned? A Q-tip swab. It’s later discovered that the mystery woman is in fact an innocent worker at a Q-tip production facility which earned a contract to supply the city’s forensics department. She didn’t like how her gloves felt, so she took them off. This ends up contaminating the entire stock onwards which creates a fictional serial killer who commits crimes at a sporadic rate.
  • Foreign Cuss Word:
    • Stella occasionally curses in Greek, but the only translation ever given is the quote under "...Sexier in French" on this page.
    • After she is attacked by one of the Greek antiquities thieves, she tells Mac the man cussed at her in Greek.
  • Foreign-Language Tirade: An antiquities smuggler yells at and curses at Stella in Greek while attacking her in a subway stairwell in 'The Cost of Living.' No translation is given there either.
  • Forensic Drama: Obviously. Evidence is shown being processed in the lab more than once an episode.
  • Forged Message: Chronologically...
    • In season 7, Raymond Harris somehow sends Bill Hunt a text from Mac, luring him to Mac's office so he can shoot at them both from the building across the street. Jo says the guy must've cloned Mac's phone.
    • In 'The Lady in the Lake', the killer uses the victim's cell phone to text the girl's boyfriend that she's going out of town.
    • In the season 9 crossover with CSI, 'In Vino Veritas,' Christine's kidnappers put fake texts on her phone as part of a robbery scheme. Before they realize the sham, the Vegas investigators strongly hint to Mac that she's cheating on him.
  • Forgets to Eat: Seems to go with the territory.
    • In season 1's 'Till Death Do We Part,' Flack doesn't want Stella to drive because "when you drive, we don't eat."
    • In 'Love Run Cold,' Danny and Lindsay are working a case together and she doesn't want to break for lunch because "Mac wants us to solve the case." Danny replies that Mac wouldn't want them to starve to death in the process. She walks away oblivious; he follows reluctantly, while looking around for a pizza joint.
    • In 'Nothing for Something,' Jo has Flack take Mac to a diner after this exchange:
      Mac: I know what you're going to say. It's not the way it looks. I'm fine.
      Jo: It's exactly the way it looks. That's the same suit you had on yesterday, if not the day before. You haven't even been home in two days.
      Mac: This isn't the first time one case has rolled over into another. I'll be fine.
      Jo: When's the last time you had something to eat? I don't want to hear about that trail mix from the vending machine last night.
      Mac: (a tad defensively) It was a granola bar.
  • Formerly Fat:
    • One of the cheerleaders in 'Personal Foul' has too big clothes still in her closet and keeps an old picture from her heavy-set days on her fridge.
    • In 'Blood Actually,' Sheldon confides to Danny that he used to be very overweight & even shows Danny a picture of himself he carries around as a reminder. Naturally, Danny wants to keep it; Sheldon wisely refuses.
  • Foster Kid: Stella. She tells a suspect about it in one ep, it comes up as a plot point in "Cold Reveal," and is mentioned in her conversations with Prof. Papakota.
  • Frame-Up:
    • Evidence for robbery & murder is planted on Hawkes in 'Raising Shane.'
    • In season 3, Clay Dobson uses his suicide as a Taking You with Me gambit to make it look like Mac has pushed him off the roof.
  • Framing the Guilty Party:
    • Aiden considers planting evidence from serial rapist DJ Pratt's first case onto an item from his second one.
    • After he gets away the first time, the serial rapist from Jo's FBI case has people attempt to frame him for another rape and then for murder.
  • Freakier Than Fiction: See Ripped from the Headlines below. One of the IMDb reviewers of the look-alike girls' episode goes on a rant about how it could never have happened in real life (despite the actual situation being the basis of episodes of some other shows as well).
  • French Maid Outfit: The victim in 'Murder Sings the Blues' requires his maids to dress in this type of lingerie... and to be blue-eyed blondes.
  • Freudian Excuse Is No Excuse: See the "Awesome" page for Mac's retort to the serial killer in 'Manhattan Manhunt' whose motivation was his angst over not having been raised by his wealthy father and jealousy over his half-sisters who were.
  • Frivolous Lawsuit: The victim in 'Fare Game' made her living with these and gets murdered by her latest potential victim who recognizes her from an earlier suit against him. Wayne Knight plays her lawyer.
  • From Dress to Dressing: Various characters tear off parts of their shirts/use their own clothing to bandage victims from time to time. Including:
    • In 'What You See Is What You See,' Mac uses his jacket to stem the flow of blood from the waitress' gunshot wound.
    • In 'Charge of This Post,' he borrows a shoestring from a fellow victim of the explosion to bind a profusely bleeding artery in Flack's gut until the paramedics can arrive. Then he tears strips from his own shirt to stuff in the gaping wound to staunch additional bleeding.
    • 'Epilogue' has a variation. A perp stabs a security guard, hitting his femoral artery, then tears off one of the man's sleeves to use as a tourniquet on his own arm where the guard had injured him earlier.
  • Fruit Cart: Too many to list them all, but for example... There's a foot chase variant in "Unspoken." The suspect of the week shoots at a politician during a stumping speech. He then runs like heck, pushing a concession cart out of the way, slamming it into Lindsay, who ends up with a nasty concussion.
  • Gaia's Vengeance: The eco-terrorist bombers in 'Green Piece' are attempting to stop someone from sending electronic waste to Chinese landfills where toxins seep into the soil and cause illnesses and birth defects.
  • Games of the Elderly:
    • In 'Uncertainty Rules,' two friends take their introvert buddy out on the town for his 21st birthday. One of the places they visit is a retirement home where they join in on Bingo Night...and win the $25,000 pot.
    • In 'The Real McCoy,' Adam visits his father, who has Alzheimer's, at his senior care facility and plays dominoes with him.
  • Gangbangers: One of several gangs depicted in the series, The Tanglewood Boys are secong-generation Italian thugs who fancy themselves as Mafia. Danny, being familiar with them because his brother was part of the group for a while, says they're "more made than the made guys."
  • Gas Chamber: The Cabbie Killer turns his taxi into a mobile gas chamber and traps his victims in the back seat, poisoning them.
  • Gas Leak Cover-Up: In 'Snow Day,' the Irish gang infiltrates the lab by introducing a fake gas smell, setting the alarm off, and dressing like gas company workers.
  • Generic Ethnic Crime Gang:
    • The Greek antiquities smugglers Stella goes after in season 5.
    • Also the Trinitarios, a Dominican gang, in season 9's 'Blood Out.'
      Flack: Nobody loves a good dismemberment like the Latin street crews.
  • Genius Cripple: Dr. Leonard Giles, the wheelchair-bound forensics/DNA expert from season 1.
  • Genocide Survivor: In 'Yahrzeit,' Mac is shown a video of a woman recounting her days in a concentration camp, during which her niece's entire family had been executed. Later, he is sent a video of a man telling the story of his rescue by Mac's father from the camp in which he had been imprisoned. The episode ends with Mac visiting the woman to return a broach of her niece's that had been evidence in the team's current case.
  • Genuine Human Hide: Some of the evidence in 'Yahrzeit' is made from human skin.
  • Girls With Mustaches: A piece of evidence found in one case is a single strand of hair from a beard, but the DNA is determined to be female. Danny has an idea and takes Sheldon with him to question some Coney Island performers, one of whom is a bearded lady. Sure enough, the folks there put them on the right trail.
  • Give Me Back My Wallet: Averted in 'Nothing for Something.' Mac's pickpocket brings his wallet back to the Lab, but the case turns out to be much more complicated.
  • Given Name Reveal: Christine telling Jo that Mac's middle name is Llewellyn in 'Near Death.'
  • Glass-Shattering Sound: 'Not What It Looks Like.' It's used when glass counters in a jewelry shop are shattered during a robbery.
  • Going by the Matchbook: In 'White Gold,' Hawkes and Flack find a matchbook stuck to the victim's back with blood, having fallen out of the killer's pocket when he dumped the body into a dumpster. This leads them to the bar where he hangs out.
  • Going for the Big Scoop: News-blogger Reed Garrett pursues the Cabbie Killer so doggedly he ends up getting kidnapped by the guy and barely survives getting his throat slashed.
  • Good Cop/Bad Cop: In 'Civilized Lies,' Mac is extremely irritated and aggressive while interrogating a suspect when an off-duty officer is shot, and Flack tries a good-cop approach after Mac storms out. The suspect even asks if it's this trope.
    Suspect: Oh, are you gonna play good cop now?
    Flack: To tell you the truth, I don't quite know what to do. [gestures towards one-way glass] *He's* usually the good cop.
  • Gone Horribly Right: In 'Clean Sweep,' a cage fighter is so afraid of a stalker harming his family that when his friend, a homeless veteran, dies after an accident he decides to set the body on fire and fake his own death. The fighter is eventually found, but he burned the body so thoroughly that there's no proof the homeless vet wasn't murdered and the cops will be forced to charge him, although Mac does try to put in a good word (he also gets the vet a military funeral).
  • Gory Discretion Shot: 'Blood Out.' Kinda a requirement when the victim is being dismembered with a chainsaw. All the audience sees is the man's blood spraying up on his killer.
  • Gratuitous Italian: For the Greek name of Stella Bonasera, which means Star Goodnight.
  • Great Escape: Sheldon goes to PA to witness an inmate's execution in 'Redemptio' and gets trapped when the prisoners start a riot.
    Mac: We're gonna have to break Hawkes out of prison.
  • Greens Precede Sweets: Mac won't let the little boy in 'Necrophilia Americana' have a candy bar until after he gets him "some real stuff."
  • Grievous Bottley Harm:
    • Danny gets beaned with a beer bottle upon leaving a bar with his band of rookies after work one evening in 'Officer Involved.'
    • In 'Blood Actually,' one of the three victims is bludgeoned to death with a champagne bottle.
  • GPS Evidence: Many times played straight, once subverted because an enemy of one of the investigators figures out that the team chases this sort of evidence.
  • Hair Flip: While undercover trying to infiltrate a Latino drug gang that regularly hangs out in a pool hall, Det. Jamie Lavato wears a short, form-fitting, low-cut, silky red dress and flips her hair from one side to the other as she leans over to line up her cue for her next shot. The ploy works.
  • Half the Man He Used to Be: In 'Blood Out,' the Victim of the Week is cut in half with a chainsaw, after being subjected to Electric Torture.
  • Halloween Episode: Two.
    • Episode 4.06, 'Boo,' which originally aired on Oct 31, 2007, has a possible murder-suicide at the Amityville Horror house and what appears to be a zombie.
      Sid: He was dead before he was killed. Medically, that makes him a zombie. Happy Halloween.
    • Episode 8.06, 'Get Me Out of Here!' concerns a fraternity prank gone awry on Halloween...a pledge is missing and the pledge master, who is the only person who knows where the young man is, is found dead in an open grave himself.
      Jo: Not often you find a body where it actually belongs.
  • Hammerspace: Unintentional. During Episode 4.15, a Killer of the Week enters a building dressed only in heels, shirt and tight jeans. In the next scene, she brandishes large pistol with a supressor. After she is killed, the team finds a cell phone on her body as well.
  • Handy Cuffs: In 'Vacation Getaway,' Shane Casey uses the shackles around his wrists and ankles to strangle a guard and escape.
  • Hanging Judge: The Victim of the Week in 'Crossroads.' He is discovered to be a corrupt judge who got kickbacks from sending juvenile delinquents to a specific hellhole juvenile prison center. The Killer of the Week had had his whole life destroyed because he was sentenced to do time for stealing a pack of gum.
  • Happily Adopted: Jo's daughter Ellie (not to be confused with Ellie Brass from CSI), who knows she's adopted and only goes thru a brief period of angst over not knowing her birth mother.
  • Happily Married:
    • Danny and Lindsay, beginning in season 5.
    • Mac and Christine will be joining them now. Had the show continued to season 10, it would have had the most married team members in the franchise, with 3.
  • Harmful to Minors:
    • As a teenager, Lindsay witnessed the murder of several friends. In season three, she is called to testify at the trial of their murderer.
    • The little girl in 'City of the Dolls' who witnesses her mother, who is a teacher, having sex with a high-school student.
  • Hazmat Suit: The team has to wear them due to the thallium radiation Sid is exposed to in the morgue during 'Page Turner.'
  • Head-Tiltingly Kinky: 'Bad Beat.' Danny, Sheldon & Adam are viewing a home-made sex tape recorded over a wildlife documentary. Lindsay approches and tilts her head to match theirs while saying, "Who's the other walrus?"
  • Hedge Maze: In 'Some Buried Bones,' the victim, a friend of Reed's, is found in a hedge maze on their college campus. He belonged to a secret society which held rituals there.
  • Hero of Another Story: At least two.
    • Quinn Sullivan, head of the New Jersey Crime Lab, is featured in two episodes of the Cabbie Killer arc.
    • After Melina Kanakaredes left the show at the end of season 6, her character, Stella Bonasera, is revealed in the series 7 premiere to have left NYC to head up the New Orleans Crime Lab.
  • Heroic BSoD:
    • After seven episodes of teetering on the brink, Flack finally has one in episode 6.08, 'Cuckoo's Nest.'
    • Mac has one as well in episode 7.22, 'Exit Strategy,' after having his own gun misfire as a perp attempts to shoot him with it point-blank between the eyes.
    • Christine has a mild one in her walk-in closet while deciding what to wear for her Valentine date with Mac in 'Blood Actually,' along with flashbacks of her kidnapping.
  • Heroic Vow:
    Mac: There are three things that I'll protect at any cost: the honor of this country, the safety of this city, and the integrity of this lab.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: The perps in 'Charge of This Post' and 'Point of View' both turned into villains while trying to prove the same point, namely that NYC isn't prepared for another terroist attack.
  • Hey, That's My Line!: When Jo says "Boom" upon finding some evidence in the field, Danny turns to Sheldon and asks, "Did she just use my word?"
  • Hidden Wire: Several cases, including these:
    • Louie Messer wears a homemade one while trying to clear Danny's name in 'Run Silent, Run Deep' and gets beaten to a pulp when the Tanglewood Boys find it.
    • A suspect in 'Slante' agrees to wear one in order to get the real culprit to incriminate himself.
    • In 'Seth & Apep," Jimmy, the manager of Christine's restaurant, wears one (along with a button camera) to try and get the guys who kidnapped his brother along with Christine to reveal where they're being held.
  • Hiding Behind the Language Barrier: While in Greece during 'Grounds for Deception,' Stella and Mac don't let on to the local officials that she knows Greek until their investigation is complete.
  • Hiding the Handicap: Mac not letting on to anyone about his speech aphasia.
  • His and Hers: Played with. 'Stealing Home' has a "committed threesome" in whose bathroom Sheldon finds towels embroidered with "Hers," "His," and "Hers."
    Sheldon: Hey, Mac, there's three of *everything* in here...except the tub.
  • Hitbox Dissonance: Comes up as a plot point relevant to the motive in 'Kill Screen.' An Xbox used in a Gears of War 3 tournament had been hacked to give one player a hitbox half the size it should have been, and everyone else a hitbox twice the normal size.
  • Hockey Fight: There's one between the NYPD and FDNY teams in 'Reignited.' Danny, Don and Adam are on the NYPD's team.
  • Hollywood Blanks: Averted. A Victim of the Week is accidentally killed by a blank-firing gun going off point-blank in his chest. The murderer — a down-on-his-luck actor that was humiliated by the victim — makes clear as he confesses that he didn't think a blank could do that.
  • Hollywood Hacking: In one episode, Lindsay says, "I'll create a GUI interface using Visual Basic. See if I can track an IP address," leaving many tech-savvy folks groaning and shaking their heads in disbelief.
  • Hollywood Healing / Throwing Off the Disability:
    • Although it takes Danny several episodes to learn to walk again in season 6, he still goes from wheelchair to cane and then to walking unaided and even running a little too fast (like, two episodes), with only one instance of complaining that his back hurt.
    • A milder form with Mac...it is possible to recover from aphasia over a couple of months, but it still moved somewhat quickly. Not so fast as to make it impossible to believe (especially with the six-month time skip), but a little bit. And, in real life, it can still re-surface when the person is angry or afraid...and Mac seems fine the whole time he's worried about Christine in the crossover.
  • Hollywood Silencer: A perp in 'Turbulence' uses a teddy bear as a silencer for a Desert Eagle pistol.
  • Hologram: Adam finds one as a clue that leads them to the real killer in 'Air Apparent.'
  • Homage: The season three finale is clearly a Die Hard homage.
  • Honorable Marriage Proposal: Danny's first to Lindsay, after she tells him she's pregnant.
  • Honor Thy Abuser: In 'The Real McCoy,' it is revealed that Adam's father, Charles, had been verbally and physically abusive to Adam, his brother and their mother; that Adam's brother had left home because of it; and that later Adam had threatened to kill Charles if he ever hurt his mother again. Adam has moved Charles, who is suffering from Alzheimer's, to a nearby facility so he can keep an eye on him. When Mac asks Adam why he visits the man, Adam answers, "Because I'm his son," and explains that he feels no emotion towards his father and is concerned by that. Choked up and on the verge of tears he says, "You're supposed to honor your parents. What does that say about me as a person?" Mac tenderly replies, "Looks like you're feeling something now."
  • Hood Hopping:
    • A suspect in 'Dead Inside' wakes up in a house that's being transported via highway, freaks out and hood hops his way thru traffic.
    • In 'Hammer Down,' Mac jumps from car to car while he and Langston chase a perp thru a junkyard.
  • Hooks and Crooks: In 'Happily Never After,' the killer uses a longshoreman's hook (that someone else had been using as part of a Captain Hook costume) as a murder weapon.
  • Hostage Situation: Several, including:
    • 'Snow Day.' Adam and Danny are held by the Irish gang that want their drug horde back.
    • Reed is taken hostage by the Cabbie Killer and forced to use his blog to get the killer's message out.
    • 'Hostage' / 'Veritas.' Mac is taken hostage in the bank by "Joe."
    • Sheldon's girlfriend, Camille, is taken hostage by a hitman in 'Smooth Criminal.'
    • Christine is kidnapped during the 'In Vino Veritas' / 'Seth and Apep' crossover.
  • House Fire:
    • There's an apartment fire in the B-plot of 'Corporate Warriors.'
    • Stella's apartment suffers this when two kidnapped kids start a fire to try to get the police to rescue them, only for the flames to follow an air vent and an open window into an apartment that is a bonafide fire hazard (polyurethane foam furniture and an ignitable floor varnish caused a flashover to happen in there).
  • How We Got Here:
    • A minor example with the B-plot characters in 'Oedipus Hex.'
    • Several major ones, including what led to Mac getting shot in 'Near Death.'
  • Human Notepad: The second victim in 'Jamalot.' His killer suffers from a compulsion to write on any and all surfaces, including the young man's body.
  • Human Shield: Several perps use other people as shields throughout the series, including Suspect X and Shane Casey.
  • Hummer Dinger:
    • The Chevy Avalanches used throughout the series.
    • Averted by Mac and DB in 'Seth and Apep' when they take unmarked sedans to go look for Christine. Of course, Mac has Zane stashed in the trunk, so...
  • 100% Adoration Rating: The victim in 'Unwrapped' is a wealthy businessman from a poor background, and while many would expect the people of his old neighborhood to resent him for it, everyone (including the man who turns out to be his killer) respects him for it. Of note is one young man who picked up the victim's wallet after the killer discarded it, and took out some cash. After being informed whom the money had belonged to, he voluntarily gives it back to Mac & Danny, saying it doesn't feel right to keep it.

    I-L 
  • I Am Very British: Jane Parsons, Peyton Driscoll and the psychiatrist in 'Clue: SI' all have very strong British accents.
  • I Can See You: "Joe" the bank robber and Mac trade these off in 'Veritas.'
  • I Can't Feel My Legs!: Danny says this after he is shot in the back.
  • Icarus Allusion: A victim in 'Cold Reveal' is obsessed with internet fame and makes an angel costume to wear while he launches himself from a rooftop. He dies because his wing harness doesn't work the way he intended.
  • Iconic Items: Mac's Detective Bureau lapel pin and the picture of Ronald Reagan he keeps in his office, Sid's glasses, and Danny's dog tags that were his grandfather's from the Korean War.
  • I Didn't Mean to Kill Him: Several victims are killed due to accident or mistaken identity.
  • Idiot Ball: The criminals from time to time. Susan from "Turbulence" is a prime example. She very easily could have gotten away with murder, if only she had stuck with the lie that Greenway was a hijacker and her actions saved the plane.
  • I Don't Know Mortal Kombat: Averted by Mac in 'Kill Screen.' The others, particularly Adam, don't think he'll be too good at the video game they're playing ("Asteroids has got to translate."), but Mac and Jo both kick Adam's butt from the get-go ("Hey, who's shooting at me?").
  • I'd Tell You, but Then I'd Have to Kill You: How Sass Dumonde responds to Adam's request for her name when they meet on "LookinAtChu" in 'Unfriendly Chat.'
  • If Only You Knew: 'No Good Deed' opens with Mac & Stella having coffee on the street, when a vulture drops an eyeball from the Victim of the Week into hers. It ends with, Mac having a conversation with Ella McBride from 'Dead Inside':
    Ella: Hey, have you heard the latest urban legend? A woman goes to take a sip of her coffee and an eyeball falls right in the cup.
    Mac: [smiles] That's impossible.
  • If You Die, I Call Your Stuff: Danny, to Mac, in 'Sleight Out of Hand,' jokingly. Mac is testing coolant gel used by stunt performers during burn scenes:
    Mac: What other job allows you to set your boss on fire? Going once, going twice...
    Danny: Sold, but if you go up in flames, I get your office?
  • Ignore the Fanservice: Mac does a good job of this when roller-derby player Polly rips off her blouse after he asks for the team members' uniforms in 'Jamalot,' much to her dismay...she's got a crush on him. He tells them all that Lindsay will collect their items, and just walks away.
  • I Have No Son!: Inverted near the end of 'Yahrzeit,' where the killer's Orthodox Jewish son disowns his father after it is revealed the father was a Hitler Youth member and only pretended to be a Holocaust survivor in order to not be caught for his crimes.
  • I Have This Friend: After Lindsay gets pregnant; she uses this in a spectacularly transparent attempt to ask Stella if she needs to worry about any of the chemicals in the lab affecting the baby.
  • I Have Your Wife: Well, serious girlfriend anyway. Christine's kidnappers make her call Mac and talk to him before they do in 'Seth and Apep.'
  • I Just Shot Marvin in the Face: The guy who kills someone with a gun loaded with blanks and the boy who accidentally shoots his friend after thinking he'd removed all the bullets but forgot the one in the chamber.
  • I Lied: In 'Point of No Return,' Stella promises George Kolovos that she won't send him to Cyprus (where he's a wanted criminal) in a shipping container if he gives up his partner. He does...and she locks him in the container anyway.
    Kolovos: Wait, we had a deal!
    Stella: I lied.
  • I Like Those Odds: In the opening of 'Crime and Misdemeanor,' a sheet-wrapped victim is delivered to a laundry facility that handles hotel linens. Flack snarkily comments that there are only about 70,000 hotel rooms in NYC. Mac's response? "I'll take those odds." Ten minutes later, the team has it narrowed down to the right hotel. Cut to them entering the correct room.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: An odd variation with Dr. Marty Pino in 'Point of No Return.' Instead of being cannibalistic, he's harvesting organs to extract unmetabolized drugs to sell.
  • The Immodest Orgasm: In the B-plot of 'Time's Up,' the Victim of the Week suffers a fatal immodest orgasm while seated in a deli.
  • Immoral Journalist: Two.
    • Robert Murdock appears in a few season 5 episodes. He runs a sleazy newspaper and revels in printing stories that make the NYPD look bad, particularly when the "blue flu" hits. Although, he subverts it himself later when he prints a tribute to a fallen officer.
    • In season 8's 'Clean Sweep,' Mac is approached by a reporter named Jennifer Walsh who openly flirts with him, trying to get him to corroborate/comment on things she's speculating about...even going so far as to ask if he would compromise his own values in order to close a case.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: Every so often the CSIs will be faced with someone who was killed by something pointed.
    • A woman is stabbed to death with an icicle ('Love Run Cold').
    • A man is stabbed to death with a swordfish ('Dancing with the Fishes').
    • Another victim falls off a balcony and lands on a spike in an awning ('Sangre por Sangre').
    • Yet another is pushed over a railing and lands on a spiked piece of artwork in a hotel lobby ('Open and Shut').
    • Another time, Mac & Flack work a case with a dead murder suspect who had scaled a high fence, only to land on a long piece of rebar sticking out of some concrete on the other side ('Forbidden Fruit').
    • In season 9's 'The Real McCoy', the victim is impaled by a Christmas tree stand at a tree lot.
  • Impersonating an Officer: Shane Casey steals an NYPD uniform and uses it for several episodes.
  • Implausible Synchrony: The 333 stalker will time certain events to happen exactly at 3:33 a.m., and he can rest assured that Mac will be freaked out when he looks at his watch.
  • Improvised Weapon / Improvised Weapon User:
    • Adam defends himself with a fluorescent bulb he grabs from a pile of trash in the parking garage in 'Unfriendly Chat.' Cue ribbing from Danny and Sheldon, who call him Obi-Wannabe-Kanobi for starters.
    • Murderers throughout the series intentionally use such things as a cricket bat, a Statue of Liberty key chain, a baseball, etc., on their victims.
    • Other victims are unintentionally killed with a knitting needle, a pool cue, a swordfish, and a guitar...to name a few.
  • Improvised Umbrella: In 'Rain,' while the team are staking out a newspaper box where kidnappers have instructed their ransom to be placed, a woman hurries up to the box, buys a paper and uses it to shield her head from the rain.
  • Incredibly Obvious Tail: Subverted in that there isn't anything obvious from the viewer's perspective, but in 'Commuted Sentences,' Flack and Angell are tailing a suspect, and not only does she catch on, she gets into their car and gives them her itinerary for the day (and her cell phone number in case they lose her).
  • Informed Self-Diagnosis: Sheldon, diagnosing his own fracture after his and Danny's scuba diving mishap in 'The Deep.'
  • Initialism Title: Two initialisms for the price of one!
  • In-Series Nickname:
    • Danny starts out calling Lindsay "Montana" as an Insult of Endearment, but drops it after they're married. He picks it up again briefly while she's hospitalized in season 9's 'Unspoken.'
    • Once Sheldon joins the team in the field, Danny calls him "Doc" all the time; some of the others occasionally do too.
    • Danny, Adam and Sheldon all call Mac "Boss" quite a bit.
  • The Inspector Is Coming: The episode with Quinn. The lab stays accredited, but Lindsay is warned not to let Danny distract her into leaving evidence unattended again. And Quinn flirts with Mac a bit, reminding him about the time before Claire died that they kissed at a party. Mac can't deny liking it, but is firm about loving Claire and that he wouldn't have done anything further. Quinn seemed to hope she might strike up something with him again, but he isn't interested.
  • Instrument of Murder: In 'Stuck on You,' a guitar handle is used to crush a victim's larynx so badly that he can't breathe.
  • Insurance Fraud: The motive of the main storylines in 'Grand Murder at Central Station,' 'Boo,' and 'Second Chances.'
  • Intercontinuity Crossover: The season 3 episode, 'Cold Reveal,' crosses over with Cold Case.
  • Internal Affairs: Mac, Stella, Flack, Danny and Sheldon all have run-ins with IA at various points.
  • Internal Homage: The title of the 100th episode, "My Name Is Mac Taylor," is spoken by several characters with that moniker, since it involves a killer looking for someone who goes by that name. Curiously enough, Det. Taylor does NOT utter the line, although introduces himself that way quite often over the series' 9-year run.
  • Interservice Rivalry:
    • NYPD vs FDNY in 'Reignited.' It involves the two sides playing each other in a hockey game. A fight naturally breaks out.
      Mac [snarking to his FDNY buddy, Curtis]: I guess there's no truth to the rumor that the departments hate each other.
    • Regular detectives vs the lab team. Flack and Danny both admit at times that the pure detectives see the lab guys as nerds.
  • In the Back: The mounted policeman in season 1's 'Officer Blue,' Danny in the season 5 finale, and Mac in the season 8 finale.
  • Ironic Name: During 'Indelible,' Flack and Jo interview two street thugs nicknamed "Black Mike" and "White Mike". Black Mike, who is black, is really named Mike White; and White Mike, who is white, is really named Mike Black.
  • Is It Always Like This?: Jo's reaction at the end of her first day on the job after finding a dead pregnant woman in the Lab and dealing with a premeditated murder, a crime of passion, and a high-end thief...all of which are connected.
    Jo: Are all your cases like this?
    Mac: [nodding] Pretty much.
  • ISO-Standard Urban Groceries:
    • Played straight in 'Nothing for Something.' Mac's old partner, William Hunt, goes after a perp they put away who's out of jail and up to his old tricks. He carries your standard-issue brown bag of groceries complete with baguette into an alley he knows the guy will be walking through. When the guy gets there, the bread, an orange, some paper towels, etc are scattered around and Hunt is nowhere to be seen. Hunt jumps out, beats the guy to a pulp, calmly gathers his groceries and walks away.
    • Downplayed in 'Slainte.' After having cancelled another dinner date, Mac tries to make things up to Christine by showing up at her restaurant with what appears to be a plain, medium-sized gift bag. It has handles and nothing is seen sticking out of it. She offers to fix him something to eat; he says he thought they'd fix something together. A minute later, they're in the kitchen and he's slicing up a small baguette which he uses to make bruschetta for her.
    • Slightly more downplayed in 'Today Is Life.' Mac is waiting for Christine on her steps and sees her coming up the sidewalk with a brown bag of groceries. The only identifiable object peeking out is a roll of paper towels. He takes the bag from her and sets it on the steps. It is neither dropped, spilled nor emptied on screen; it's just used to show where she's been.
  • Is That What They're Calling It Now?: In 'Rush to Judgment,' Flack discovers that a murder victim had been secretly taking dance lessons to surprise his wife for their anniversary. When Flack tells Mac what he was doing but before he can explain, Mac asks:
    "Private salsa lessons? Is *that* what they call it these days?"
  • It Is Not Your Time:
    • Mac, with Claire telling him so during his "limbo" period in 'Near Death.' Near the end he's packing up his office, apparently ready to head to the afterlife with her, but she tells him he can't come because he's "not invited."
    • Stella tells Danny this after he recovers from his paralysis. He's wondering why he survived being shot and she says, "It wasn't your time." He replies, "Yeah, let's go with that."
  • It's Personal:
    • Mac was in the Marine Corps; once a Marine, always a Marine, and he takes that very seriously. He refers to himself as a Marine (in the present tense) in several episodes, including 'Officer Blue' and 'Tanglewood.'
    • Also the reason why Flack kills Angell's murderer in the Season 5 finale.
    • The reason why every member of the team is out for justice first after Aiden is killed...
    • ...and then in the season 8 finale. A perp shoots Mac, and when you do that, they all come after you. Luckily, they don't kill her over it.
    • If you kidnap Mac's girlfriend, it gets personal real fast ('Seth and Apep').
  • I Want You to Meet an Old Friend of Mine: Mykelti Williamson, who plays Chief Sinclair, famously portrayed Bubba Blue in Forrest Gump alongside Gary Sinise.
  • Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique:
    • Averted in 'Heroes.' Danny wants to do this to a suspect, but Mac tells him they have to do things right for Aiden's sake.
    • In 'Life Sentence,' Mac's first partner, William "Wild Bill" Hunt, returns and beats the snot out of a recently released perp the two of them had put away 17 years earlier, who's out to get both of them.
  • Janitor Impersonation Infiltration: In 'DOA for a Day,' Flack dresses as a Parks Department employee sweeping up trash as part of the group's attempt to nab Suspect X.
  • Jaywalking Will Ruin Your Life: The boy who had been sentenced by a Hanging Judge to years in a juvenile detention center for stealing a pack of gum in 'Crossroads.'
  • Jurisdiction Friction:
    • Several times, including with the NJ police (in 'Tanglewood'), the FBI on occasion, UN officials (in 'A Daze of Wine and Roaches'), and Barcelona law enforcement (in 'Holding Cell').
    • Somewhat averted with the Department of Homeland Security in 'Charge of This Post.' The officer in charge agrees to let Mac lead while insisting that her team be involved.
    • Mac has a bit of personal friction with Quinn from the NJ Crime Lab when she wants to subpoena Reed for his blog info's source during the Cabbie Killer arc in season 4.
    • Averted with Russ, Jo's FBI agent ex-husband, who helps them out in season 7.
    • And with Cade, her FBI boyfriend, with whom they cooperate, in '2,918 Miles.'
    • Also averted by the FBI agents in 'Brooklyn 'Til I Die' who show up to help with the kidnapping even though the case hasn't crossed state lines. Mac welcomes the assistance.
  • Justice by Other Legal Means: In 'Pot of Gold,' when the episode's main perp denies having any connection to the murders, Mac calls in a Treasury Agent who informs said perp of the laundry list of charges against him.
  • Justified Criminal:
    • Two middle school aged boys trying to pay the rent, who are themselves robbed by a much more conventional robber.
    • Carver's nephew, who, as a young boy, had killed his abusive mother when she started beating his younger siblings.
    • The guy who steals a clown's costume to kill the drug producer who sent a hitman after him. He even gives the clown his day's pay.
  • Just One Little Mistake: The only mistake the second killer in 'Criminal Justice' makes is planting the evidence after Hawkes had sprayed for footprints at the scene. The distribution of chemicals on the evidence alerts the team to the fact the evidence was planted afterwards. Otherwise he nearly commits The Perfect Crime. Which makes sense, because he's a DA, and has fifteen years of experience with criminals and the crime lab to know how they work. Also a case of Murder the Hypotenuse because the planted evidence was a lighter that belonged to a guy whom his wife was banging; he kills that guy and grinds down his body to invoke Never Found the Body.
  • Katanas Are Just Better: 'Corporate Warriors' features one of these iconic swords. Mac is shown brandishing it as he tests it to see if it is indeed the murder weapon he's looking for.
  • Keeping the Enemy Close: Mac alludes to this trope once when speaking to Lindsay:
    Mac: You know what they say: keep your friends close and your enemies closer - and if that doesn't work, kill 'em.
  • Kicking Ass in All Her Finery:
    • In 'Risk,' Mac and Lindsay are called to a crime scene that Danny is already working. Mac shows up in a tux, having been at a benefit for the mayor. Lindsay arrives wearing a formal dress since she was at the opera. Danny comments about being underdressed.
    • In 'The Party's Over,' Stella is in a revealing Little Black Dress when the deputy mayor is found dead at the fundraiser she's attending with a date. She starts processing the scene immediately & doesn't change until Mac brings her something else to wear from the Lab.
  • Kill and Replace: To fake her own death in 'DOA for a Day,' Suspect X is revealed to have kidnapped a young woman, forced her to have multiple plastic surgeries to look exactly like herself, then held her hostage so long she got bed sores. When the time is right, she kills the young woman and leaves her body where it can be found, figuring law enforcement will believe it's her and drop their pursuit.
  • Killer Outfit: This trope and an urban legend based on it are used in 'Til Death Do We Part.' The first victim is a bride on her wedding day. It turns out that she had bought her wedding gown used, and it was severely contaminated with formaldehyde. (The gown's original owner had been dressed in it for her funeral, but the gown was stolen so it could be resold.)
  • Kill It with Ice:
    • One victim is stabbed to death with an icicle.
    • Another has her heart frozen when she is impaled by the valve on a tank of liquid nitrogen.
  • Kinda Busy Here: It's bound to happen with cops. In fact, the series opens with Mac's phone ringing in church. Sometimes blends with Interrupted Intimacy.
    • Mac's phone goes off once in the middle of watching an opera with Peyton, and once during sex.
    • In 'Snow Day,' she finally gets reception again and calls him while he's trying to sneak up on the BigBad.
    • Happens with Stella and Frankie in bed as well.
    • Also with Flack and Angell.
    • Happens in the final season with Mac & Christine enjoying a quiet moment on "their" bench in Central Park.
  • Kinky Role-Playing:
    • A woman who left her "boring" husband gets her new lover to fake-kidnap & fake-rape her for the excitement. Unbeknownst to them, her ex spies on them sees the "rape" happening, rushes in & kills the guy. The woman gets so turned on by his heroism, that she immediately has sex with him, too, then helps cover up the crime.
    • One of the dog owners at the dog show in "Recycling" has a dog fetish. She likes for her and her partners to pretend to be dogs when they have sex, even to the point of having one of them bite her on the thigh during the act. She lets her real dog watch, too.
  • Kiss of Death: The killer's M.O. in 'Personal Foul.'
  • Knight in Sour Armor: Just about everyone.
  • Kung-Shui: After the martial arts showdown in the bar in 'Corporate Warriors,' the owner bemoans the fact that she'd just refurbished the place and now it has to be done all over again.
  • Labcoat of Science and Medicine: Whenever the characters are analyzing evidence, they're wearing labcoats.
  • Lampshaded Double Entendre:
    • Det. Maka states in 'Til Death Do We Part' when a bride falls dead at the altar:
      Gives a whole new meaning to the term "cold feet."
    • Flack repeats her comment word-for-word when referring to the dead groom in 'One Wedding and a Funeral.'
  • Lampshade Hanging:
    • Sid knows he has a tendency to find weird things while doing autopsies. For example, in 'Nine Thirteen,' the "Curse of Building 913" is referred to when the team is called to the scene of yet another suspicious death; 37 people have died in various ways there since the original owner committed suicide by jumping from the building decades before. Then Don realizes something:
      Flack: Hey, Sid, how come they only ever call you out for the really strange ones?
      Sid: They...didn't call me. But, uh, this was one I was not going to miss.
    • Late in season 9, some of the team lampshade the Quip to Black puns so prevalent in the franchise. Sheldon has placed some evidence in the super glue chamber:
      Jo: I think your cake is done.
      Sheldon: Then let's hope it'll be the icing on the case.
      Danny and Lindsay moan, make faces, say "Ew," and such.
      Jo: [off camera, as Sheldon grins] I dunno, I kinda liked that one.
  • LARP: The murder victim and her kidnapped boyfriend in 'Brooklyn 'Til I Die' are participating in a live-action role playing game involving spies. Their code names are Boris and Natasha.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: Really laser-guided with Mac...he can't remember a lot of random words for things after being shot. It's a real condition called speech aphasia.
  • Laser Hallway:
    • Mac creates a laser barrier in front of the perp he captures in 'Snow Day.'
    • The 333 Stalker creates one around him in 'The Thing about Heroes.'
  • Last-Minute Baby Naming: After Lucy is born, Danny and Lindsay don't agree on one right way, leaving fans until the next season to find out whether it was Lydia or Lucy.
  • Lawman Gone Bad: Mac discovers that his first partner, Bill Hunt became one of these. Having stolen a large amount of money from a crime scene (he was nearing retirement and didn't think he was being paid enough) and having murdered the girlfriend of the guy who has a vendetta against him and Mac. (The guy doesn't know, then doesn't care that Mac wasn't responsible.)
  • Law of Inverse Recoil:
    • Played straight in 'Stealing Home.' The shooter isn't used to firing a gun and suffers from "limp wrist."
    • Averted in 'Stuck on You,' where Mac has Lindsay fire a crossbow to see what kind of effect it has on her since she's the same size as their suspect. She handles it very well and wants to keep firing it.
  • Left for Dead: Mac, twice. "Joe the bank robber" thinks he's dead when he pushes an SUV with an unconcious Mac in the driver's seat into the Hudson, and the accomplice in 'Near Death' obviously thinks he's dead after being shot in the back during the pharmacy robbery, too.
  • LEGO Genetics: The goats that produce spider silk and the rat with a human ear on its back in 'What Schemes May Come,' although as it turns out, they actually fall under Aluminum Christmas Trees.
  • Le Parkour: Featured in 'Tri-Borough.' One of the three victims is discovered to be an avid participant of this sport. He also uses his skills to evade his girlfriend's father while sneaking in and out of her second-story bedroom.
  • Let Me at Him!: Danny, when he sees Mac with the guy initially suspected of killing Aiden (although it was really a recurring serial rapist/killer and not even him). Mac warns Danny off, telling him they have to do it right.
  • Let Off by the Detective:
    • Stella with her foster sister in the Cold Case crossover. She goes to the woman's house and says she was there as a friend, but will be back as a detective the next day, knowing her friend will likely be gone.
    • Several of the team in another ep involving a stalking victim who kills said stalker out of desperation.
    • Mac with Chief Carver and Carver's nephew in 'Justified.' The nephew, who had killed his abusive mother as a young boy, feeling he had no choice, will have to stand trial for manslaughter but likely won't get prison time, and Carver won't be tried, just forced into early retirement and stripped of his pension. Not a complete let off, but still showing leniency.
  • Let Us Never Speak of This Again: After the death of a colleague, Stella and Adam have a one-night stand. Things being awkward at work later, they hastily agree that it should never, ever happen again.
  • Let X Be the Unknown / Noun X: The team refers to the suspect in the 'Down the Rabbit Hole' / 'DOA for a Day' arc as "Suspect X." The don't learn her real name until 10 episodes after she's introduced.
  • Life-or-Limb Decision: A kidnap victim in 'Til Death Do We Part' resorts to severing his own hand in an effort to escape.
  • Life Will Kill You: Proof that it's not Always Murder. For instance, the overweight guy who falls off a balcony when he loses his balance trying to reach for his hidden stash of candy while intoxicated.
  • Lipstick-and-Load Montage: 'Cavallino Rampante' opens with a montage of a beautiful young woman getting ready for what appears to be a night at a club. She is actually a car thief getting ready to boost a Ferrari.
  • List of Transgressions:
    • See Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking and Justice by Other Legal Means above.
    • Adam says of one suspect, "The penal code is his personal to-do list. Pick a section, he's violated it."
    • Don says of Hector "Toasty" Mendez in 'Blood Out,' "This guy should get a gold medal in the felony Olympics. He's got 17 arrests so far this year, and two open drug charges to boot."
  • Little Black Dress:
    • Stella, on several occasions. Fixing to go on a date at the end of 'What You See Is What You See' and attending the mayor's event in 'The Party's Over,' to name just two.
    • The trio of thieves dressed as Holly Golightly in 'Not What It Looks Like.'
    • Christine has at least four. She wears different ones to her parents' anniversary party in 'Flash Pop' and when she fixes dinner for Mac for the first time in 'Sláinte'; then chooses between two others for their Valentine's date in 'Blood Actually.'
  • Living Statue: 'Crime and Misdemeanor.' The guy in the misdemeanor case earns a living as one.
  • Locked in a Freezer: Sheldon confines one of the perps who infiltrates the lab in 'Snow Day' to a drawer in the morgue.
  • Locking MacGyver in the Store Cupboard:
    • 'Trapped' has Danny and Stella investigating the death of a millionaire inside his mansion's panic room. Danny accidentally trips the room, locking himself inside without a forensics kit. While he's waiting to be rescued, he uses the items found in the room to finish processing the crime scene.
      • Lampshaded by Danny addressing Stella as "Miss MacGyver" as she's walking him through said processing.
    • 'Snow Day' has Mac and Stella stuck fighting robbers who are trying to steal the Lab's confiscated drugs. Thank God Mac can build a bomb and laser trip wires from the stuff found in the lab.
  • Lodged-Blade Recycling: Played realistically in 'Epilogue.' A security guard is stabbed, pulls the knife out and uses it to stab his attacker. He then bleeds to death from the wound he had suffered which he might have survived if he had left the knife in.
  • Logging onto the Fourth Wall: The series has three examples, but all are now defunct.
    • "aresanob.com" had a link to "see what Stella saw" that Frankie had posted.
    • At the time, there was a site based off of the Edoc Laundry t-shirt line used in 'Hung Out to Dry.'
    • "Lookingatchu" from 'Unfriendly Chat' was made real for a while.
  • Look Both Ways:
    • Thought to have happened in the b-case of season 1's "The Dove Commission" where the body of a young boy is found under the front of a taxi, but it's later discovered that the boy died before the taxi hit him. Unfortunately, this isn't determined until after an angry mob beats the taxi driver to death.
    • Played straight later that season in "The Closer" when a young woman running from her angry boyfriend while clad only in lingerie darts out from an alley and is hit by a delivery truck.
    • Played with again in season 5's "Page Turner" after a young lady runs away from a riot that breaks out during a free Maroon 5 concert in Central Park. Looking back over her shoulder, she runs in front of a bus that was just pulling away from the curb. Turns out not to be what killed her...the bus wasn't moving fast enough yet.
    • Played straight again late in season 6 during "Unusual Suspects." Flack is chasing a guy who's wanted for questioning in the shooting of a 14-yr old kid. The guy runs straight into the street without looking either way and is mowed down by an oncoming truck. Flack drags him out from underneath it, but he's already dead.
  • Loose Floorboard Hiding Spot: In 'Admissions,' the victim is a high school guidance counsellor. When Mac and Lindsay search his office, they find a loose floorboard in the closet. Mac removes it and discovers a box filled with money and a few laundromat tokens. Curious, Mac and Flack go to the laundromat and discover a heavily taped off machine. They insert the tokens, revealing the door to a hidden gambling den.
  • Love Confession:
    • Lindsay is the first; she tells Danny in season 4 out of frustration, after he sleeps with Rikki Sandoval. He eventually reciprocates and they later marry.
    • Mac is the second; his telling Christine is a big step for the guy who grieved for so long. She responds by kissing him passionately.
  • Luke, You Are My Father / Long-Lost Relative: Slightly sideways example: Reed Garrett, the biological son of Mac's dead wife, whom she gave up for adoption, comes looking for her. She died on 9/11, but he and Mac establish a sort of tenuous (Mac's not a people person) father-son relationship when Mac opens up and shares some memories of her.
  • Lying to the Perp: Detectives occasionally employ what Mac refers to as "The Rule" during interrogations, i.e. police are allowed to lie to suspects in order to obtain a confession.
    • In 'Officer Blue,' Aiden resorts to this in a pizza shop that's a front for money laundering.
    • There's also Stella's "I Lied" moment with the Greek smuggler referred to above.
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    M-P 
  • MacGyvering:
    • Danny taking fingerprints with pen ink and so forth in the panic room, coached by Stella, in 'Trapped.'
    • Mac making the lazer wall, with Stella's help, during the storming of the lab in 'Snow Day.'
    • Mac & Stella use a candle, the local fountain, a Greek/Turkish coffee pot, and one of her pewter earrings (as a catalyst) to test a soil sample while at an outdoor cafe in Greece during 'Grounds for Deception.'
    • Sheldon using sulfuric acid from a recyclable battery to weaken the prison cell bars in 'Redemptio.'
  • Mad Bomber: 'Charge of this Post.' The perp blows up a building to draw attention to his belief that "WE'RE NOT READY!" for a terrorist attack.
  • Madness Mantra:
    • 'Three Generations Are Enough' features a document on a hard drive wherein the episode title is repeated over and over.
    • When one of the suspects in 'Jamalot' is given a legal pad to write out his statement, all he fills the page with is "He plagiarized me. He plagiarized me. He plagiarized me..."
  • The Main Characters Do Everything: As shown in the photo montage on this trope's main page, even tho Mac is the head of the Lab and should be delegating and supervising, he frequently analyses evidence, pursues criminals and interrogates suspects.
  • Major Injury Underreaction: In 'Recycling,' a bike courier pedaling at top speed is stabbed, resulting in a severed artery and a hairline fracture of the pelvis. He's so high on adrenaline he doesn't even notice he's bleeding out.
  • Making Love in All the Wrong Places:
    • Danny & Lindsay on his pool table in 'Snow Day.'
    • The nude bungee jumpers in 'People with Money.'
    • The victim in 'Turbulence' who joins the Mile-High Club (see below) shortly before his demise.
  • Malevolent Architecture: The booby-trapped penthouse in 'Death House.'
  • Malevolent Masked Men:
    • The bank vault robbers in 'Rain.'
    • The muggers in 'Civilized Lies.'
  • Mama Bear: Lindsay. Threaten Danny and/or Lucy at your peril.
  • Mama Didn't Raise No Criminal:
    • Played straight by the perp's mother in 'What You See Is What You See.' She does, however, relent and gives Stella and Mac permission to search her property for him...knowing he's in a camper in her back yard.
    • Averted in 'Damned If You Do' in that the mother is right about her son being innocent.
  • Man Bites Man:
    • One of the miners in 'A Man a Mile' bites off part of another's ear. Danny says he got "Tysoned."
    • The female victim in 'Sanguine Love' has part of an ear bitten off as well.
    • In 'Uncertainty Rules,' a little person who wrestles for a living is known to bite his opponents on the shin.
  • Maneki Neko: Counterfeits are used as a vehicle for smuggling cocaine in 'Unwrapped.'
  • Man on Fire:
    • Luke Blade, during his magic trick, and the guy he kills replicating the trick. Followed by Mac & Danny recreating it in the lab, although it's just Mac's left arm, not his entire body.
    • The victim in the cigarette costume in 'The Ride In.' The perp doesn't realize until it's too late that the costume is flammable.
  • Marked Bullet: The rival gangs in 'Sangre por Sangre' carve their gangs' initials into their bullets as a way of taking credit for their kills.
  • Married to the Job:
    • Mac, for most of the series. Re-connecting with and eventually (presumably, given the proposal) marrying Christine pulls him out of it a bit.
    • Stella, too, sometimes. In 'Blink' she reveals to Danny that she listens to the police scanner even while showering.
      Danny: Why does that not surprise me?
  • Marrying the Mark: The fiance of the dead perp in 'Identity Crisis' is told he would likely have been her next victim.
  • Matrix Raining Code: At least once, in 'The Thing About Heroes,' when the team is trying to analyze data on a broken MP3 player.
  • Meaningful Name: The last name of "Laughing Larry," the joke shop owner in 'Child's Play,' is Gelachter, which is German for "laughter."
  • Medal of Dishonor: How Lindsay feels about hers at the beginning of season 7.
  • Medication Tampering:
    • In 'Blood Actually,' the killer swaps a diabetic victim's insulin for sugar syrup, so that when he goes to inject himself with insulin, he is in fact shooting up more sugar.
    • In 'Time's Up,' a college student has her asthma inhaler switched for a drug that enhances sexual arousal, causing her to suffer a fatal asthma attack while orgasming.
  • Mercy Kill: Averted by Mac, who tells Sheldon (in 'Here's to You, Mrs. Azreal') he was unable to pull the plug when his father, who was in severe pain from the final stages of cancer, had asked him to.
  • Mid-Suicide Regret: One of the teenagers in the Suicide Pact in "Blood, Sweat and Tears" decides not to go thru with it immediately after trying and later tells Mac, "Suddenly I realized everything that was wrong in my life, I could fix."
  • Mile-High Club: 'Turbulence' has Mac discovering a dead body on a plane. It turns out this guy was a fugitive who was trying to flee and was told by his flight attendant girlfriend to tie up and rob an air marshal. He murdered him instead. They then had sex in the lavatory before he threatened to hijack the plane, and he was killed for it.
  • Miranda Rights. Most, if not every episode, with some variations.
    Mac: You have the right to remain silent; use it.
    Flack [to the girl who shot Mac in 'Near Death']: Shut up! That's short for "You have the right to remain silent."
    Flack [to a suspect in 'Blood Out']: Hey, Moron, one more word outta you and I'ma duct tape your mouth shut!
  • Mistaken for Aliens: An urban paintball player is mistaken for an alien by an insane woman in 'Consequences'. He mauled by a Bear Trap she set in the alley to catch aliens and spends most of the episode convalescing in her apartment's bathtub.
  • Mistaken for an Imposter: The victim in 'Boo' who escapes from being buried alive is at first mistaken as simply being dressed as a zombie. It is Halloween after all.
  • Mistaken for Cheating:
    • Danny. When one of his rookies shoots an unarmed man instead of the armed man who confronted them, she deflects attention from herself by saying Danny was cheating with her and told her to lie. A video from the bar shows her cozying up to Danny and makes Internal Affairs more suspicious, though Danny denies it and insists she came on to him. Lindsay eventually pressures the rookie to admit the truth and clear Danny.
    • The Ugly Guy in the Ugly Guy, Hot Wife couple in 'Blood Actually.' His wife, who is intensely in love with him, thinks he is cheating so she gives her diabetic husband regular chocolates disguised as sugar-free ones and replaces his insulin with sugar water. Turns out the "other woman" is a travel agent he was using to plan their 5th anniversary dream vacation.
    • The victim in 'Rush to Judgement' and two of the suspects in 'The Formula' are suspected of cheating as well. The assumptions all turn out to be incorrect.
  • Mistaken for Junkie:
    • Hawkes. His girlfriend is the actual (casual) user; he just inhales marijuana residue from her while they're getting it on. But it shows up in his random NYPD-mandated drug test and Mac is anxious to know what's going on.
    • A victim is found with a syringe stuck in her arm. Everyone assumes she's a heroin addict until Mac recognizes her and insists she's not. Sid finds three things to confirm Mac is right: only a small amount of heroin in her system, not a single other needle mark on her, and calluses on her fingers suggesting her dominant side is the one with the needle.
  • Mistaken for Pedophile:
    • The episode 'Rush to Judgment' centers around the Victim of the Week, a high school wrestling coach who supposedly sent an email containing child pornography to his students. It is revealed that one of his students, upset that being moved up a weight class guarantees his defeat and the loss of a college scholarship, hacked the coach's unsecured wifi signal, and used his laptop to send the child porn to several members of the team. The boy's father sees the email, confronts the coach, kills him, hacks him up, and discards the remains all over town.
    • 'Unspoken' has a former teacher shooting up a political rally to get revenge on a former principal who disliked his caring manner towards the kids he worked with. In flashback, we see the shooter hugging a student of his after she scrapes her knee, and getting fired for "inappropriate behavior."
  • Mistaken for Pregnant: A light version has Lindsay talking to Danny about being hungry and listing a bunch of foods she wants him to bring her. He gives her a look, wondering if she's pregnant again, and she quickly responds that she isn't, she's just hungry.
  • Mistaken for Spies: In 'Brooklyn 'Til I Die,' a rich young man is kidnapped and his companion is found killed. At the beginning, the CSI team believes that they are dealing with spies but shortly after it is revealed that the couple was taking part in a group role-play game and were in the wrong place at the wrong time. One of the actors is questioned and plays it smooth up until he finds out that the cops are real and instantly starts to freak out.
  • Molotov Cocktail: How the perp blows up the food truck in 'Food for Thought.'
  • Moment Killer: Quite a few throughout the series run. See also Kinda Busy Here above.
    • When Danny follows Lindsay to Montana for moral support, they find themselves alone in the courtroom after the trial and almost have their first kiss...but reporters burst in, snapping pictures and shouting questions.
    • Ellie and a friend walk in on Jo and her boyfriend in various states of undress once.
  • Money to Throw Away:
    • In 'Brooklyn 'Til I Die,' a man tosses handfuls of high value gambling chips into the crowd to create a distraction to allow him to escape the casino. This turns out to be part of a role-playing game.
    • In 'Pot of Gold,' a bartender throws the cash from a tip basket into the crowd to hinder the cops from getting to him while he runs out the back door.
  • Monochrome Past:
    • 'Charge of This Post,' 'Yahrzeit,' and 'Blacklist (featuring Grave Digger)' all use sepia tones for significant flashbacks (to the 1983 Beruit bombing, the Holocaust, and Mac's memories of his parents just before his father's death, respectively).
    • In 'Flash Pop,' scenes of a case from 1957 are shown in black & white and muted colors.
  • Monster Clown: 'To What End?' episode 7.11: A guy dressed as a clown shoots a baker in his own shop. He's just trying to protect himself from a hitman.
  • Mood Lighting:
    • The show started out rather dark and gloomy. After taking a lot of flak (although not a lot of Flack) for it, the lights were turned up for the second season onward.
    • Added to this is the harsh blue lighting used for the first season (used to make New York look slightly 'colder'), which was eventually found to be too cold and phased out during the second season.
  • Most Definitely Not a Villain: Sort of, with Lampshade Hanging. When they find a victim wearing an "It's the big APPLE" sweatshirt, they immediately assume it's a tourist. They're right.
  • Motive Misidentification: Among others, 'The Dove Commission.' For most of the episode, the investigators are convinced the author of the titular Commission's report on dirty cops is killed for revenge by someone he outed. The motive turns out to be *much* more personal.
  • Mouth Cam: During the episode "Recycling", when the victim is tasting the liquid in her dog's water-filled baby bottle.
  • Mouth To Mouth Force Feeding: The killer at the basketball game in 'Personal Foul' invokes the classic capsule/kiss technique to poison the victim.
  • Mud Wrestling: A variation with a flashback of the lube wrestler victim in the B-plot of 'Trapped.'
  • Murder by Mistake: 'Here's to You, Mrs. Azreal' features a girl who gets smothered to death by her own mother while recovering from a drunk driving accident that claimed the life of her look-alike friend because her killer believes her daughter was the one who had died in the crash and doesn't think it was fair for the other teen to survive after having caused it. Maybe they shouldn't have swapped driver's licenses before she got behind the wheel.
  • Murder by Remote Control Vehicle: 'Blacklist' features a Serial Killer whose gimmick is remotely sabotaging computer systems (e.g. changing the ordering system of a restaurant so a victim with an allergy has their meal loaded with allergens and then blocking the emergency call). His first kill is a variation of this trope; he hacks the GPS of the victim's rental car so it takes him to a bad part of town, locks up the doors and engine and then sounds the car alarm to lure in crooks.
  • Murder the Hypotenuse: In 'Criminal Justice,' someone plants evidence at a crime scene to get the team to find fingerprints proving who his wife is having an affair with so he can off his rival.
  • My Card: The detectives are constantly giving their cards to potential witnesses in case they remember more details. When Sheldon gives one to a victim's mother on one of his first cases in the field, Don chastises him because if he keeps this up, his phone will be ringing off the hook.
  • My Death Is Just the Beginning: A woman makes her suicide look like murder in an effort to frame the doctor who negligently caused her daughter's death so that he'll finally get the punishment she feels he deserved.
  • My God, What Have I Done?:
    • The reaction of the girl's killer aka her own mother at the end of 'And Here's To You, Mrs. Azrael.' To explain, her daughter trades licenses with her inebriated look-alike friend in order to drive home after a wild night of partying. They get into a crash, the friend is killed, and the daughter is put into a coma. Due to their facial injuries, all the responders/med personnel have to go by are the switcherooed licenses. The daughter comes out of the coma and her mother, thinking she is the other woman and had caused her daughter's death, smothers her out of revenge, with the daughter briefly crying out to her but the mother thinks this is the other girl calling for her mother, and only realizing her mistake when Mac explains the mix-up while charging her with the murder.
    • Also that of the would-be assassin in 'Unspoken' when he realizes a child was killed with the gun he threw in a dumpster.
    • Frank Waters has the same reaction in 'Means To an End' when he realizes his latest attempt to bring John Curtis to justice resulted in someone else's death.
  • My Little Panzer: The cardboard submarine that is behind a motive in 'Child's Play.'
  • Nasty Party: In 'Party Down,' a killer locks 20 party goers in the back of a tractor trailer truck and deliberately drives it into the Hudson River.
  • Native American Casino: Figures into the plot of 'Communication Breakdown.'
  • Nazi Grandpa: One is discovered in 'Yahrzeit.'
  • Near-Death Experience: Mac has two.
    • In the Cold Open of 'Exit Strategy,' a perp grabs Mac's gun and tries to shoot him between the eyes. Fortunately, the gun jams, but Mac walks around in a daze for a while, then finally has a heart-to-heart with Jo about his feelings of having done enough good and the possibility of moving on.
    • In 'Near Death,' he gets shot in the back and is left in a coma for a while (see Adventures in Comaland above).
  • Neck Snap: COD of victims in 'Super Men,' 'The Cost of Living,' and 'Forbidden Fruit.'
  • Needle in a Stack of Needles:
    • The clown killer tries to hide in a flash mob of similarly dressed clowns in 'To What End?'
    • Sheldon refers to this trope in 'Unfriendly Chat:'
      With a constantly changing IP address, we're looking for a needle in a stack of needles.
  • Nephewism: The Victim of the Week in 'White Gold' was raised by his uncle after his parents were killed in a car crash when he was nine. The uncle refers to him as "my boy" and "my Paulie."
  • Never Found the Body (or even DNA): Mac's wife Claire along with hundreds of real-life 9/11 victims although the fall 2011 premiere reveals she escaped her tower before it fell... It IS implied that she returned to help others.
  • Never Going Back to Prison: Clay Dobson's motivation for suicide.
  • Never Say Goodbye: Jo makes Sid promise this at the end of 'Command+P.'
  • Never Suicide:
    • Stella is very (bordering on insanely to the rest of the cast) certain that a young woman who had been searching for her missing twin brother for over a decade didn't kill herself — the fact that her GSW is in the stomach instead of her head or heart is a telling clue.
    • Inverted in 'Holding Cell' where the deceased, who is suffering from severe depression, asks his girlfriend to dispose of the weapon he uses thereby making his suicide look like a murder.
  • New Media Are Evil: Zigzagged in two episodes.
    • In 'Unfriendly Chat,' Adam witnesses a murder on a Chatroulette-like site. Jo and Mac both try out the site and find it interesting rather than dangerous. Jo even uses it to show the NYC skyline to a soldier in Afghanistan.
    • In 'Who's There?', a woman makes a fake "profile page" to entice her husband into an online affair so she can use it against him in their divorce. Lindsay and Jo take cues and set up a page for Mac, who ends up reuniting with Christine when she sends him a friend request.
  • New York Is Only Manhattan:
    • Averted by the series as a whole. Crimes happen in all five boroughs throughout the 9 year run. Season 1's 'Tri-Borough' has cases spread across the city. Also, Aiden is from Brooklyn, Danny is from Staten Island and Don is from Queens.
    • Invoked by the owner of the Manhattan Minx roller derby team in "Jamalot:"
      New York isn't Queens or the Bronx; it's Manhattan!
  • Night Swim = Death: Too many episodes to list. It's usually signaled by finding the body floating in the swimming pool.
  • Noah's Story Arc: A scammer/crazy guy uses this and builds an ark. He offers rides to four couples for $100,000 each, fills the ark with animals, claims the world is going to end that Sunday, but is found dead in his house on a huge pile of cash before the date arrives. The detectives find the eight people holed up in the vessel in the man's backyard.
  • No Badge? No Problem!: Usually averted since, unlike the original, the CSIs are also NYPD detectives.
    • However in 'The Thing about Heroes,' Mac follows his stalker to Chicago, and tries to throw his badge to get into the Tribune building. Chicago PD has to remind him that badges only work in their jurisdictions and he has no power in Chicago.
    • Averted in San Francisco in '2,918 Miles' since Mac and Jo are helping FBI agent Cade.
    • In the season 9 crossover, Mac asks Jimmy Boyd "Do you know who I am?" Jimmy says he does but that he also knows Mac's NYPD badge is no good in Vegas. DB steps in at that point and lays down the law.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed:
    • In 'Sleight Out of Hand,' illusionist Criss Angel plays an evil version of himself named Luke Blade.
    • In 'Comes Around,' John McEnroe plays himself and his own doppelganger who are both murder suspects at first, but both turn out to be innocent.
  • No-Dialogue Episode: 'Unspoken.' The first half of the episode is backed by Green Day music and has no speech.
  • No Full Name Given: Mac, whose full first name has never been said, at least onscreen. (Mac can be a name in itself, though Gary Sinise and an early script said otherwise [see Actor Allusion].)
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown:
    • Danny's brother, Louie, gets one from The Tanglewood Boys while trying to clear Danny's name in 'Run Silent, Run Deep.'
    • Flack is the recipient of one while on the subway during his A.W.O.L. period in 'Cuckoo's Nest.' Terrence Davis, his former C.I., comes to his rescue.
  • Nonfatal Explosions:
    • Mac, Flack and an office worker survive the bomb in 'Charge of This Post.'
    • Mac survives the lab explosion in 'Snow Day,' (although two of the gang members do not).
    • Adam survives a van exploding near him while playing street hockey in 'Green Piece.'
    • Mac survives the restaurant explosion that propels him in 'Sangre Por Sangre.' When he gets up, he's clearly having trouble hearing for a moment.
    • Sheldon and Camille survive the food truck explosion in 'Food for Thought.' They come to and start helping other victims.
    • Flack survives a car bomb exploding barely a block in front of him in 'Sláinte.' He's pretty stunned by it.
  • Noodle Incident: Christine asks Mac if he recalls a time during a vacation when they all got drunk. Mac doesn't want to talk about it.
  • No One Could Survive That!: Used in the 'Vacation Getaway' / 'The 34th Floor' cliffhanger when Shane Casey falls off a lighthouse.
  • No Periods, Period:
    • Averted in 'Crime and Misdemeanor.' At the scene of a woman's murder in a hotel room, blood is found in the mattress coils. The man to whom the room is registered, who is obviously the first suspect, tells investigators, "Menstrual blood never bothered me," and that the woman left after they had sex.
    • Mildly averted in 'Nine Thirteen,' when Lindsay is seen counting on her fingers upon leaving the ladies' room and later tells Danny that she's pregnant again.
  • No OSHA Compliance:
    • 'Point of View' has Mac pursue a suspect in a stairway. They pause on one of the landings when the suspect protests his innocence. He then gives Mac a big push, which causes him to fall backwards off the landing, the railing of which isn't high enough to guard against falls. Mac's knocked unconscious and ends up off work for a month with some broken ribs, his arm in a brace and a sprained ankle.
    • In 'Nine Thirteen,' the Victim of the Week is attacked on the 10th-story balcony of a highrise. After the villain leaves him for dead, he gets to his feet, stumbles around and easily falls over the way-too-short ledge, landing on a parked taxicab.
  • Not Good with Rejection:
    • The original wife of the threesome in 'Stealing Home' kills her husband for disregarding her feelings when he continually favors the "new" woman.
    • Stella's boyfriend Frankie stalks her and tries to kill her after she breaks up with him.
    • Ella McBride in 'Forbidden Fruit' resorts to attempting suicide to try and gain Mac's attention after all her other effors to get close to him fail.
    • The first wife in 'Dead Reckoning' immediately kills her husband when she discovers there's another woman in his life.
  • Not Listening to Me, Are You?: Mac is preoccupied with being railroaded over Clay Dobson’s death in 'Comes Around' and stops listening to Peyton as she talks about autopsy results on a current case. She gets irritated and says she made a patê with the dead person’s liver then served it to her co-workers, and Mac finally starts listening again.
  • Not-So-Fake Prop Weapon: Variant in 'Fare Game.' It is a blank gun, and the killer just wants to scare the victim with it, but he didn't realize that at point blank range, it's still a deadly weapon.
  • Not My Driver: The MO of the "Cabbie Killer."
  • Not Quite Dead:
    • The body stolen from the coroner's van in 'What Schemes May Come' turns out to be a man in a hibernation experiment. He is revived, but dies shortly thereafter anyway.
    • At the end of 'Vacation Getaway' it is revealed that Shane Casey survived his fall from the lighthouse.
  • Not That Kind of Doctor: Averted with Hawkes, who was an MD/surgeon before changing careers.
  • Not the First Victim:
    • 'Blink', the first episode after the backdoor pilot has a downplayed example. The team discovers a woman whose body was dumped after her neck was snapped, and subsequently finds another victim with much more brutal injuries. At first, hey assume their killer is escalating, but then realize that the least injured victim and another who's been left brain dead are the most recent. The killer's a Control Freak who's been refining his technique to put his victims in a state of "locked-in syndrome".
    • The episode 'Right Next Door' has Stella's apartment building burned down in an arson attack. Stella discovers that the perpetrator is a little girl who was kidnapped by one of Stella's neighbors. As the CSI team race to find her, they also learn that the neighbor's son isn't actually her son either and was kidnapped four years earlier.
    • In 'Admissions,' Inspector Gerrard's daughter is a victim of date-rape. Turns out the perps (one of whom looked much younger than his real age) had been posing as a high-school student and his father to prey on young girls for a number of years.
  • Not with the Safety on, You Won't: 'All Access.' Frankie doesn't know enough about guns to take the safety off when he tries to shoot Stella, giving her the chance to grab it, take off the safety, and shoot him as he continues to try attacking.
  • Off Bridge, onto Vehicle: In 'Taxi,' Mac & Flack have apparently cornered the Cabbie Killer near the top of a grain bin at a brewery, but the guy jumps before they reach him and lands on the canvas top of a passing semi truck, eluding capture for a bit longer.
  • Officer O'Hara: Averted with Flack. A great example in 'Pot of Gold' is him calmly contrasting himself with the off-duty officers who are particularly angry with the perp for having to come in to work instead of enjoying the St. Patrick's Day parade/festivities.
  • Office Romance:
    • Danny & Lindsay (both work in the Lab, often on the same case)
    • Mac & Peyton (Lab Chief and Medical Examiner, work a number of cases together)
    • Flack & Angell (partners in Homicide, so work side-by-side on a daily basis)
    • Flack & Levato (also partners in Homicide)
  • Official Couple:
    • Danny and Lindsay.
    • Mac has been one half of three official couples: first with Claire (though it's all shown in flashback and referred to in past tense because she died before the series' start), then with Peyton, then finally in earnest again with Christine.
  • Official Couple Ordeal Syndrome:
    • Danny & Lindsay
    • Mac & Christine, to a lesser extent, but probably only because the show ended.
  • Official Kiss: Mac & Christine, when he finally admits he loves her.
  • Offing the Offspring: Late in season 6: What really happened to the Never Suicide girl and her twin brother: stepdad killed bro and years later kills sis when she finds out.
  • Off with His Head!: 'Corporate Warriors,' has a beheaded victim, and the trope is actually voiced by Sid during an autopsy in 'Hung Out to Dry.'
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • The look on the face of the rapist whose case ruined Jo's FBI career in 'Means to an End' when he realizes he left a bullet in the chamber of Jo's gun before tossing it back to her as a taunt.
    • Danny also does this in 'Food For Thought' when Lindsay's wanting a ton of food and Danny thinks she's pregnant again.
  • Older Than They Look: The 32 yr old perp posing as a high school student so he and his older partner (posing as his father) can prey on teenage girls.
  • Once for Yes, Twice for No: Inverted by Mac, who asks the victim in 'Blink' to indicate twice for yes and once for no.
  • Once More, with Clarity!: Done a number of times throughout the series. One example is season 7's 'Sangre por Sangre.' In the opening, it appears that a gang leader is shooting at Mac and barely misses him. At the end of the episode the event is shown from a slightly different angle, revealing that the leader is aiming at - and kills - another gang member, who actually *is* aiming at Mac.
  • Once per Episode:
    • Danny will say "Boom!" and/or Adam will say "What up!"
    • Det. Flack and/or Danny will chase a suspect on foot.
    • Mac will make a military reference, and/or (particularly from season 2 on) a US flag will be prominently displayed somewhere in addition to his office.
  • One-Hit Kill: One of the victims in 'Super Men' is killed by a single martial arts blow to the back of the neck.
  • One of Our Own:
    • 'All Access': Mac and Flack spend most of the episode proving Stella shot Frankie in self-defense.
    • 'Near Death': A mild example with Sid preparing to do Mac's autopsy (in one of the limbo sequences) after he gets shot.
  • Only a Flesh Wound: Played more realistically than a lot of examples in "Sangre por Sangre." Righthanded Mac is shot in the left arm while trying to apprehend a gang leader. While clutching it and wincing in pain a few times, he continues hunting the guy down and shoots another gang member in the process.
  • Open Mouth, Insert Foot: A classic from LV lab rat Hodges in the first part of the season 9 crossover when he encounters Mac for the first time and then D.B. surprises him:
    Hodges: [to Mac] This is a crime lab. You can’t just wander around without an escort.
    D.B.: [from behind Hodges] I think the head of the New York Crime Lab knows what a crime lab looks like.
  • Opening the Flood Gates:
    • A high tech public toilet is rigged to fill up with water when its automatic cleaning feature kicks in. When a woman opens it from the outside, she and a bystander are knocked clean off their feet...and met with a drowning victim.
    • 'Death House': Another victim is confined in a hidden room slowly filling with cold water in a booby-trapped penthouse. When the team busts a hole in the wall, all the water crashes thru, almost sweeping them off their feet. Thankfully, this victim survived.
  • The Ophelia: At least two.
    • A season one episode has a female suspect who refuses to speak for a while & when she does, she rambles about law procedures. Turns out she is a law clerk who suffers from sleepwalking which led to sleep depravation.
    • 'The Untouchable' has a lovely young murder victim, shown in flashback to have searched out Mac to personally report a crime to him because she trusted him due to reading about him in the paper. She always speaks in confusing non-sequiturs, refers to the perps as various members of the infamous Chicago Black Sox scandal, and abruptly leaves without ever giving Mac all the details. Jo notes that, with her other symptoms, she probably suffered from a severe case of OCD. Danny later finds her daily pill sorter...full and covered with a thick layer of dust.
  • Opposites Attract: City boy Danny and country girl Lindsay.
  • Orange/Blue Contrast: During the crossover episodes with CSI: Miami the Miami scenes use their regular orange and yellow hues, while the ones in NY use bluish tones.
  • Organ Theft: 'Live or Let Die' (a liver), 'Point of No Return' (various organs of drug addicts), and 'Hammer Down' (kidneys).
  • Orgy of Evidence: In 'Prey,' the CSI team investigates a murder with a large amount of strange evidence, all of it designed to simulate evidence encountered at early crime scenes and throw them off the perp's trail.
  • ...Or So I Heard:
    • In 'It Happened to Me,' Adam gives a detailed explanation of what a "sploshing" party is before playing this trope hilariously straight. Adam does this a lot.
    • Flack does it as well in 'Vigilante:'
      Flack: Pole dancing is good cardio.
      Lindsay: [gives him a look]
      Flack: So I've heard.
  • Our Vampires Are Different: One case involves members of a vampire cult/religious group. They exchange blood with consensual donors, sometimes file their teeth to points, and have a mark carved on the arm when they join the group.
  • Outranking Your Job: Although Mac is the head of the lab, he's frequently seen analyzing evidence alongside his subordinates or chasing down and interrogating suspects as opposed to delegating everything except his own paperwork to others.
    • Subverted in one episode when Lindsay asks him to help her out with the mountain of evidence she needs to process.
      Mac: [grinning for once] Sorry, I get to be the boss this week. [walks away]
  • Out Sick: In 'Point of View,' Mac is stuck at home after cracking his ribs falling over a railing. It turns into a Rear Window Witness plot when he spends time watching the apartment building across the street.
  • Out with a Bang: In 'Enough,' one Victim of the Week is shot in the head while having sex with a prostitute in the back of his car. The prostitute then pushes his body out and steals his car.
  • Overdrawn at the Blood Bank: The amount of blood shed by both the first victim in 'Cool Hunter' and the second victim in 'It Happened to Me' is obviously more than a single human body would contain.
  • Overprotective Dad: Danny says Lucy will never have a computer and won't date until she's 30. He won't even let one of the male lab rats talk to her the first day he and Lindsay bring her to work...Lindsay's first day back from maternity leave.
  • Overturned Outhouse: In 'Tri-Borough,' the victim is inside a port-a-potty when it is tipped over by a construction worker as revenge for replacing him. This isn't actually what kills the guy: It's a falling block of airplane toilet water, aka "blue ice".
  • Painful Body Waxing: 'Point of No Return' opens with a scream coming from a cheap motel room. As the shot zooms, the viewer discovers that this is not a horrible crime but a group of women holding a bikini wax party. The actual murder takes place in the room two doors down.
  • Paintball Episode: 'Consequences.' Two men are playing in the streets. Both get shot. One dies and the other is abducted by a schizophrenic woman who mistakes him for an alien.
  • Panicky Expectant Father: Downplayed by Danny. He's fine until the day of Lucy's birth when he starts getting nervous and says to Adam:
    What if it's twins? I mean, you've seen Lindsay, she's huge!
  • The Paralyzer: The perp in 'Blink' who attempts to force his victims into Locked-In Syndrome, finally succeeding on his third try.
  • Paranoia Fuel: In-universe (and probably real life) example in the form of the Cabbie Killer. The city's mass transit system is stretched to its limits due to everyone being afraid to take a taxi.
  • Paranormal Episode: Mac going into the Afterlife Antechamber in 'Near Death' and seeing his late wife, Claire.
  • Parental Sexuality Squick: Evident with Ellie after she and a boy sneak into the apartment and Jo thinks there's a burglar and confronts them, with an FBI agent/old friend (whose shirt is open) right behind her and herself not fully dressed.
  • Passed-Over Promotion: The killer's motive in one of the cases in 'The Lying Game' because he thinks a newer employee is getting the position he believes he deserves.
  • Password Slot Machine: A pair of car thieves use a custom-made device to crack the security code on Ferraris in 'Cavallino Rampante.'
  • Pay Evil unto Evil: The core of both Luke Blade in season 3 and Leonard Brooks in season 9, both due to feeling betrayed by their respective "families," whether blood-related or not.
  • Percussive Pickpocket:
    • The guy who lifts Mac's wallet in 'Nothing for Something.'
    • Also how Shane Casey sneaks a cell phone *into* Mac's pocket in 'Raising Shane.'
    • 'Shop Till You Drop' has Mac catching a pickpocket (who manages to hide his stash before they grab him) just before running into the Victim of the Week. They later find a security camera video of said pickpocket bumping into their suspect and realize that he stole her camera with vital evidence on it.
  • Perma-Stubble: Danny seems to have settled into this after losing the Beard of Sorrow.
  • Photo Op with the Dog:
    • In one episode, a politician just implicated in an unsolved sexual assault case immediately turns from the accusing officers and heads for a woman with a baby. While photographers snap photos, he kisses the child's rattle, which Det. Flack talks the mother into giving him so the team can obtain the man's DNA.
    • Mentioned in another where Flack has just learned why Mac is working a specific case.
      Flack: The mayor asked for you personally?
      Mac: Uh huh.
      Flack: Ya know, I've never even had a little old lady ask me to help her across the street.
  • Phrase Catcher: By the fifth season, every other character has picked up Danny's "Boom!" Catchphrase. Once Jo arrives in season 7, it doesn't take her long to pick it up as well.
  • Pillow Pregnancy: The professional shoplifter in 'Some Buried Bones.' When Danny causes two stolen items fall out of her shirt by knocking on her stomach, Stella congratulates her on twins.
  • Pillow Silencer:
    • In season 5's 'Turbulence,' a teddy bear is used as a silencer for a Desert Eagle 50.
    • The titular victim in 'Rest in Peace, Marina Garito' (6.18) is killed in this manner. The perp is caught after he over-thinks things and returns to the scene to steal the matching throw pillow from the couch.
  • Pinned to the Wall: A couple making out outside a party in 'Stuck on You' are impaled and pinned to a wall by a crossbow arrow.
  • Playing Sick:
    • Danny gets the "blue flu" during the Robert Dunbrook arc.
    • Sheldon calls in sick in order to spend time with Camille in 'Food for Thought.'
  • Plot Allergy:
    • Flack is allergic to cats; it comes up twice.
    • Sid goes into anaphylaxis in 'The Ride In' from an unrevealed ingredient on his meatball sub.
    • There's one victim who's allergic to shellfish, one to flowers, and another to peanuts.
    • Mac's severe allergy to blueberries is (harmlessly) revealed in 'Clean Sweep' thru a prank of Flack's.
  • Plot-Powered Stamina:
    • On more than one occasion, Mac works 48+ hours straight. Whenever one of their own is murdered, he expects everyone around him to do the same for the sake of the officer's family (Aiden in season 2 and the off-duty officer in season 9).
    • In 'Risk,' Danny spots a body on the subway tracks on his way home after a double shift and goes back to work to help with the case.
  • Police Brutality:
    • Stella gets called out for it in season 1's 'Supply & Demand,' for what is revealed to be her fourth time, after she shows a sheltered college girl pictures of a victim who was brutally beaten to death.
    • Danny get suspended for beating up the Neo-Nazi suspect in 'Yarhzeit' who spits on Sheldon.
  • Police Brutality Gambit:
    • Subverted, a suspect slams his head into the table and says he'll sue. Mac cheerfully explains how easily his injuries could be proved to be self-inflicted and says he injured himself for nothing.
    • The serial killer who kills himself to frame Mac for murder is a much more extreme example.
  • Potty Emergency: One of these leads to the discovery of a victim in a public toilet in 'Playing with Matches.'
  • Powerful Pick: One of the victims in 'What Schemes May Come' is killed by an ice pick to the neck.
  • Pregnant Hostage: One of the bank tellers in 'Hostage' is three months pregnant.
  • Prison Episode: 'Redemptio.' Sheldon is there to witness an execution.
  • Prison Riot: 'Redemptio.' again. Shane Casey uses it as part of his escape plan.
  • Private Profit Prison: The juvenile detention center in 'Crossroads' where a judge was getting kickback to send those he found guilty.
  • Professional Maiden Name:
    • While Lindsay does change her name to Messer, she is sometimes still referred to as "Officer Lindsay Monroe Messer," such as when being presented with her medal in 'The 34th Floor.'
    • Conversely, Jo Danville had stuck with her maiden name while she was married to Russ. Otherwise, she bemoaned, her name would've been "Jo Josephson...please."
  • Product Placement:
    • Dasani water is on prominent display in several episodes.
    • The team's vehicles are constantly referred to by model. An example from 'My Name Is Mac Taylor':
      Mac: Who has a set of keys to the Avalanche?
    • Hasbro gave the show the rights to use the titular game quite prominently in 'Clue: SI.'
  • Promotion to Opening Titles: Sid and Adam in season 5.
  • Proud Papa Passes Out the Cigars: Exploited in 'Child's Play.' Someone out to get a joke shop owner poses as a new father and gives the man a cigar loaded with a powerful explosive. The shop owner unwittingly passes it on to another man, who lights it up in a crowded bar and dies when his bottom jaw is blown off.
  • Pulled from Your Day Off: Quite often.
    • Mac is called away from the opera with Peyton; they're both interrupted while in bed together; and he tags along another time when she's called to a scene during a dinner date...then Flack calls him to yet another scene.
    • Happens to Stella once when she's in bed with Frankie.
    • Lindsay comes in on her day off to help determine the poison Sid is exposed to in 'Page Turner.'
    • Mac's called in while on a date in Central Park with Christine in 'The Real McCoy'.
  • Pun-Based Title: Quite a number of episodes over the 9-year run, including 'Outside Man,' 'Zoo York,' 'Fare Game,' 'Oedipus Hex, 'Raising Shane,' 'A Daze of Wine and Roaches,' 'What Schemes May Come,' 'Happily Never After,' 'Unfriendly Chat,' and 'Clue: SI.'
  • Put Off Their Food: On Lindsay's first day on the job, she assists Mac with an experiment that involves stabbing a pig carcass to determine the murder weapon. When they're through she says she's done eating bacon for life.
  • Put on a Bus:
    • Peyton Driscoll and Reed Garrett in season 4, although they each came back for one episode during season 6 ('Point of View' and 'Pot of Gold,' respectively).
    • Haylen Becall in season 6. Granted, she had only been promised a year of employment, but she still left without saying goodbye.
    • Aubrey Hunter also disappeared without a goodbye in season 6.
    • Stella in the season 7 opener.
  • Pyromaniac: The season 9 premiere and second ep are centered on one of these.

    Q-T 
  • Quip to Black: Usually Mac or Stella (succeeded by Jo) but everyone has their turn.
  • RPG Episode: 'Down the Rabbit Hole;' and to a lesser extent, 'DOA for a Day,' the beginning of 'The Box,' and 'Brooklyn 'Til I Die.'
  • Rage Against the Legal System: The young man who kills the Hanging Judge above.
  • Rage Against the Reflection: The woman with the brain condition that prevents her from recognizing her own reflection. She accidentally kills someone after seeing her reflection once, and in the interrogation room she attacks the one-way mirror, yelling that it's the killer.
  • Rags to Riches: Sid. He wasn't exactly poor before, but he wasn't wealthy either. Now he's made a bundle on his pillow invention. And then he gives most of it away after being diagnosed with cancer.
  • Rain of Blood: The "Where did that drop come from?" version is used in the opening of 'Hung Out to Dry.' Blood drips on college students about to have sex during a frat party. This leads to the discovery of the first victim, a beheaded young woman who's been hung upside down from the ceiling fan.
  • Rank Up: Danny, briefly. He takes the sergeant's exam and passes, then is assigned to train a group of rookies. Unfortunately, when he meets them out for a drink after hours, they are attacked by three men, one of whom is armed. Danny is knocked out, and later finds that one of the rookies had shot one of the unarmed men, rather than the one with the gun. She gets scared and tries to cover by implying Danny is having an affair with her and says he told her to lie. Lindsay eventually pressures her to tell the truth, and Danny is cleared of any wrongdoing, but decides not to keep the job. He didn't like the long hours away from his family and never felt really at home with the rookies like he does with the team at the lab.
  • Ransacked Room:
    • 'Supply and Demand.' The college student's apartment is trashed by the guys looking for their stolen drugs.
    • The entire house is trashed in 'Crushed,' from the living room to the upstairs landing, to the entire deck crashing down in the front yard.
    • The trashed hotel room of Christine's impersonator in Las Vegas.
  • Rape and Revenge / Sisterhood Eliminates Creep: The woman who kills an attacker and then starts attacking other rapists because she felt they weren't getting enough jail time.
  • Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil / Serial Rapist:
    • There is one specific rapist in the second season named D.J. Pratt who goes out of his way to rape the same woman twice, the second time after he was acquitted of the first rape. This turns him into Aiden's Arch-Enemy when the rape victim comes to her, and turns him into a Smug Snake Arc Villain for the season; her pursuit of Pratt leads her to consider tampering with evidence, gets her fired, and eventually gets her killed by Pratt. That murder is how they bring him down after he and his lawyer show arrogance towards the CSIs and after he rapes a promiscuous woman in another episode (said woman, in an attempt to get away from him, tripped and fell onto a spike. Pratt is one of the most stuck-up enemies on the show.
    • Two seasons later, during the Cabbie Killer saga, the team discovers that a student at an Ivy League prep school and his father are in fact two-fully grown men who are using the school and parties to prey on female students. One of the rape victims is the daughter of one of Mac's antagonistic comrades from the previous season. Bonus points for them having records. They are arrested for both the rapes and for the "son" having killed a counselor who confronted him about the issue when the daughter informed him of the rape and a new attempt. Upon learning of his daughter's attack, Mac's comrade shoots him dead offscreen; all we hear is the gun shot. Mac, Flack, Stella and other officers go running to the interrogation room and find the perp dead on the floor.
    • The murder victim in 'Vigilante.'
    • John Curtis in 'Crossroads' and 'Means to an End.'
  • Reading Tea Leaves: In 'Grounds for Deception,' Stella realizes that the overturned cup in Professor P's apartment means that he was reading someone else's coffee grounds. The fact that he wasn't alone adds to their suspect list. Later she reads grounds for Mac in his office, in spite of him being skeptical.
  • Real Men Hate Affection: Danny, observing a "cuddle party" in season 2's 'Grand Murder at Central Station,' (although Lindsay eventually changes his mind).
    Danny: I don't cuddle.
  • Rear Window Witness:
    • 'Point of View' pays homage to the classic Alfred Hitchcock film Rear Window. Mac has been severely injured during the pursuit of a suspect and is confined to his apartment, where he wiles away the time observing his neighbors. Mac witnesses a shady deal similar to L.B. Jeffries and becomes suspicious of his murderous neighbor.
    • In 'Unfriendly Chat,' Adam is on a video chat with a woman he has never met before when she is strangled.
  • Rearrange the Song: Unlike the other shows in the franchise, this one adopted a remixed version of the song (from the fourth season onward).
  • Recruited from the Gutter: The Victim of the Week in "Second Chances", is an up-and-coming musician who had been a homeless drug addict until his girlfriend and her band took him in. It turns out that they'd been invoking this trope; rescuing a drug addict to join their band and arranging a relapse/overdose death when their victim's life insurance had "matured" enough to give them a big payout.
  • Red Herring: In both episodes where an in-universe Neo-Nazi named Michael Elgers appears ('Green Piece' and 'Yahrzeit'), he is not the killer. In 'Green Piece' he is framed, while in 'Yahrzeit' his alibi is confirmed.
  • Reduced to Ratburgers: The Rat Fisherman from season 5 claims he might eat his catch if he were hungry enough, although he may be yanking the investigators' chain.
  • Rejected Marriage Proposal: Lindsay turns Danny down, reasoning that he's only asking out of a sense of duty because she's pregnant.
  • Reliably Unreliable Guns:
    • In 'All in the Family,' an old shotgun is thrown off a roof by the villains, hits a gargoyle on the way down and bump-fires into a passerby, killing her and leading the team to the villains' original crime.
    • Averted in 'Point of View,' in that Mac's revolver does not go off despite falling 30 or so feet with him and bouncing on the metal grate he lands on.
  • Remember the New Guy?: The character of Detective Flack does not appear in the 'MIA-NYC Nonstop' "pilot" because the character was not conceived until after the episode aired. In 'Blink,' the series premiere, however, Flack seems to have been part of the team for some time. It's possible that Mac had just been working without Flack in the pilot, but that never happens on any other case. Alternatively, it could've been his day off; he actually had one in 'Misconceptions.'
  • Remember That You Trust Me: Mac is horrible about letting people in, even Stella, his closest friend. This has come back to bite him in the ass more than once, including being a huge factor in the failure of his relationship with Peyton, and the huge disaster that resulted after he was implicated in a murder (see Taking You with Me). Stella calls him on it in the season 6 premiere, when he's obsessing over figuring who opened fire on the team at the end of season 5 and acting as if he's the only one on the case. He does seem to be improving a bit by the time Christine starts romancing him, but then he slips into it again with his aphasia condition in Season 9. Jo calls him on it once, but he rebufs her and has to apologize later. It takes Christine several episodes and very nearly walking away from him for him to finally get the message and open up to her. How much he opens up to the rest of the team, with the cancellation of the series at the end of Season 9, will remain a mystery.
  • Required Spinoff Crossover: Chronologically, "Manhattan Manhunt" (with Miami), "Hammer Down" (as the second part of the "Trilogy,") and "Seth & Apep" (with Las Vegas).
  • Rescue Romance: One episode has a woman who, it initially appears, gets back together with her ex after he saves her from being kidnapped and assaulted. It turns out that the "abduction" is a fetish game she and her current partner had knowingly staged, and her ex kills her lover in a fit of jealousy - she just finds it hot that he would go that far for her.
  • Resignations Not Accepted: Averted with The Tanglewood Boys. Their official gang tattoo includes room for two dates: the date when someone joins the gang and the date when he leaves it. And while Danny says that leaving the gang alive "hardly ever happens," his own brother, Louie, had managed to do so.
  • Reverse Polarity:
    • Justified when Mac actually does this to show Stella the color-changing ink used by the counterfeiters in 'What You See Is What You See.'
    • Adam also does this when he shows Lindsay how the magnetic apparatus used to hijack the armored car in 'The Triangle' works.
  • Rhyming Title: The episodes 'DOA for a Day' and 'Shop Till You Drop.'
  • Ripped from the Headlines:
    • 'And Here's to You, Mrs. Azrael' is based on the mistaken identity case of Whitney Cerak and Laura VanRyn.
    • 'Hide Sight' draws from the cases of Steven Stayner ("I Know My First Name Is Steven") and his brother, Cary.
    • 'Misconceptions' is based on the disappearance of Etan Patz.
  • Rise from Your Grave: The opening of 'Boo' plays this one as straight as a show based on science can. A man buried alive in a coffin made from hemp breaks free and digs his way out, startling two grave diggers.
  • Roaring Rampage of Rescue / Unstoppable Rage: Mac goes dangerously close to the edge when Christine is taken. At least two guys get shot, and Mac appears to play Russian Roulette with one of them; though it's later revealed that he only pretended to put the bullet in the revolver.
  • Rule of Three: The Plot Device from the "333 Stalker" arc.
  • Rooftop Confrontation:
    • Mac & Clay Dobson go at each other on a rooftop in season 3.
    • Mac & Flack have verbal confrontation followed by a brief shootout with the perp at the end of 'The 34th Floor.'
    • Mac & the unnamed perp's tussle on a rooftop in the rain in the opening of the season 7 finale leads to his BSOD moment.
  • Roofhopping:
    • In 'All in the Family,' Mac, Don & Sheldon travel from one crime scene to another two buildings away via the rooftops. Downplayed in that the first gap is covered by a large board and the second is easily jumped by all three of them.
    • A female perp attempts, unsuccessfully, to scale the distance between two rooftops in 'Blood Out.'
  • Room Full of Crazy:
    • 'Jamalot:' The second Victim of the Week is murdered by someone with a compulsion to write on any surface including the walls of the room in which he kills the guy.
    • 'The Ride In:' The man calling himself "Noah" has written quotes from various religious texts, from the Bible to the Koran to Nostradamus, all over his walls.
    • Mac turns his office into one by writing all over his glass walls while trying to figure out who's behind the shooting that happened at the end of Season 5.
  • Run for the Border:
    • In 'Turbulence,' the hijacker and his accopmlice are planning to take the plane to Canada before their plan goes awry.
    • The season 5 premiere has the perp try to escape to Canada before Mac catches up with him. Needless to say, he fails.
  • Rustproof Blood: The most blatant example is the 30 yr old blood-stained T-shirt that the 333 Stalker sends Mac. While not bright red, it's certainly not rusty enough for its age.
  • Saw a Woman in Half: The first victim in 'Sleight Out of Hand,' is severed in two - with your garden-variety hand saw, no less - while still alive.
  • Scaramanga Special: One perp makes a gun out of a steering wheel lock; another assembles one from various items including a souvenir ink pen.
  • Scars Are Forever:
    • Mac's wife's son, Reed, still bears scars on his neck from his ordeal with the Cabbie Killer; he hides them with a scarf.
    • Mac still has a scar from being burned by hot shrapnel after a bomb blast in Beirut. Granted, we can't spot it when he's swimming in 'My Name Is Mac Taylor,' but makeup is really hard to manage during a water scene, so it's justified. It is visible in the scene where he's shirtless in bed with Peyton, though.
    • Chief Carver's adult nephew still has scars from his mother's abuse of him as a child. The make-up department did a flawless job of matching the scars on the two actors portraying him at both ages.
    • When Mac gets out of the shower in the season 9 opener, the camera focuses on the bullet wound scar on his back from the season 8 finale.
  • Scary Surprise Party: In 'Uncertainty Rules,' a college student is abducted by two men in scary clown masks who force a gun into his mouth. It turns out to be a squirt gun filled with tequila, and the two clowns are his friends who are dragging him out to celebrate his 21st birthday. However, the party goes horribly wrong.
  • Scenery Censor:
    • 'Time's Up' opens with a naked man running through the streets of New York. While there are a lot of close-ups showing him from the waist up, there are several long shots where strategic areas are blocked by traffic, bystanders, etc.
    • Also used with quite a number of bodies in autopsy, as is the case franchise-wide.
  • Screaming Birth: Classic example when Lindsay gives birth to Lucy. Don even asks Danny over the phone if that's her screaming in the background.
  • Sdrawkcab Alias: Frankie does this to Stella by calling his sculpture (and website) "Aresanob." She's intrigued for a moment upon realizing it's her last name spelled backwards, but is shocked when she clicks the link.
  • Second Episode Introduction: Flack. His character wasn't conceived until after the pilot on CSI: Miami and made his first appearance in 'Blink,' the first actual NY episode.
  • Secretly Dying: Sid, most likely. Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma isn't *always* fatal, but he did tell Jo that his was pretty advanced. Jo knows, but he asked her not to tell anyone else.
  • Secretly Wealthy: Sid, after selling his pillow patent for $27 Million. He told Jo but asked her to keep it to herself. See also Wealthy Philanthropist below.
  • Secret Snack Stash: A victim literally falls prey to his own supply of chocolate, hidden in the mouth of a gargoyle above his balcony in 'The Fall.'
  • Seduction-Proof Marriage: Danny after marrying Lindsay. In 'Out of the Sky,' his old partner ribs him about the pretty nurse in the hospital when Danny visits him, and Danny replies that he's married with a kid.
  • Seinfeldian Conversation: Mac and Stella have a short conversation about the winner of a hotdog eating contest while digging up the wooden crate with the corpse in 'Blood, Sweat and Tears.' It's kind of a "What's that got to do with the price of eggs?" moment.
  • Self-Immolation: A distraught perpetrator in 'My Name Is Mac Taylor' attempts suicide by setting himself on fire. He is rushed to the hospital, but his fate isn't revealed.
  • Self-Made Orphan: Attempted by the villain in 'Damned If You Do,' but subverted by a case of mistaken identity. Turns out he broke into the wrong house and thus attacked the wrong couple.
  • Semper Fi: Mac often mentions his time in the Marines. And the episode 'Heroes' incorporates the annual Fleet Week celebration in NYC.
  • Sequel Episodes:
    • The various arcs: Cabbie Killer, Compass Killer, 333 Stalker, Shane Casey.
    • 'Run Silent, Run Deep' ends with Stella discovering what Frankie put online; it isn't revealed to the audience until the next episode, 'All Access.'
    • "Suspect X" alludes capture in season 5's fifth episode, 'Down the Rabbit Hole' and doesn't show up again until the fifteenth, 'DOA for a Day.'
    • The original suspect in the arson case in the season 9 premiere shows up again in the next episode.
  • Serial Killer: Several. Mac seems to attract them somehow. The show even starts off with the killer in the first episode being refered to as "a serial," although his third victim survives.
  • Serial Killings, Specific Target: In 'Page Turner,' the killer poisons his wife with thallium and then coats a book in the library where she works with it, knowing that others will be exposed. After two more people die, he launches a lawsuit against the city and the library.
  • Series Continuity Error:
    • Mid-run, Danny mentions being from a family of cops, but early episodes like 'Tanglewood' and 'Run Silent, Run Deep' cast doubt on that. The producers tried to retcon by saying it was extended family, but many still don't buy it.
    • Mac tells the victim in 'Blink' that he used to sit with his wife in the hospital just as he was sitting with her. This indicates a probable intent to have Claire found near death after the towers fell and then to have died of her injuries later. In season 4, though, he tells Reed her body was never found.
    • The novel with Mac visiting Claire's grave and the one where he recalls not being able to contact Claire on 9/11 were published before the respective revelations (of the body never being found and the fact that they did have a cell phone conversation, albeit one that was cut off in the middle) and novels aren't usually canon anyway, so it's easily excused.
    • Stella tells a suspect in 'Til Death Do We Part' that she lived at Saint Basil's Orphanage until age 18, but in season 3's 'Cold Reveal,' there is a big plot about her and a girl she shared a foster home with. She could have gone in and out of foster homes when she was a child, always going back to the same orphanage. In that case, it'd be easier just to say, "I grew up in an orphanage."
      • In season 5's 'Grounds for Deception,' she tells Flack & Danny that Professor P had "rescued me from foster care" & that's when she went to St. Basil's. Must've been so bad she didn't want to think about it.
    • In 'Supply and Demand,' Mac mentions having hired Danny 5 years earlier, while in both 'Outside Man' and 'A Man a Mile' they had discussed the fact that Danny is "3 years in" and thus up for promotion to CSI Level 2. (Three years also jives with the revelation in 'Exit Strategy' that Mac had become head of the Lab sometime in 2002.)
    • Christine's brother, Stan, is referred to as Stephen in the captioning of a flashback in one episode. (And there is a character called Corporal Stan Whitney in a season 2 episode, but he is rather minor, and the writers may just have missed it, even with the early intention of the military storyline for Stan.)
    • In a season 1 episode, Danny swears to Mac "on my mother's grave." In season 2, he tells Louie that both of their parents are coming to visit him in the hospital. In a later season, Mrs. Messer is referred to as babysitting Lucy.
      • However unlikey, it could've been just an expression to him.
    • Flack mentions a brother in an early season, who is literally never spoken of again, but his sister shows up quite a bit in later episodes.
    • Minor one: One episode has Danny appearing to be a Yankees fan, but another indicates him as a Mets fan. That's rare in two team towns for those not into baseball or in the US; people who follow the game usually stand by one team or the other, but not both.
  • Series Fauxnale: The format of the finales of seasons 7, 8, and 9 are this, because of the uncertainty over renewals. Of course, 9 turned out to be the actual finale.
  • Sex Equals Death: It is blissful, unwed and not in the missionary position. Of course Angell was going to die.
  • Sex for Solace:
    • After a 10-yr old in his care is killed in a case of wrong place/wrong time, Danny and the boy's mother begin sleeping together as a way of comforting each other.
    • After the death of a colleague, Stella and Adam have a one-night stand. Later at work as things are a bit awkward, they hastily agree that it must never, ever happen again.
  • Sexual Extortion: The department store manager/victim in 'Shop Till You Drop' propositions an employee he catches stealing from the registers. She thinks it'll just be a one-time thing, but when he keeps on coming after her it doesn't end well.
  • Sexy Coat Flashing: Hawkes' girlfriend Camille knocks on his appartment door at the end of 'Food for Thought' and drops her coat. She isn't wearing anything else. He hastily ushers her inside when he hears the elevator bell.
  • Sexy Discretion Shot: Peyton is introduced by showing her in bed with Mac. The two have obviously just had sex, but the audience is not privy to the actual encounter.
  • Sexy Shirt Switch:
    • Not Stella or Lindsay, but the mother of Ruben Sandoval, with Danny.
    • Also Angell with Flack's.
  • Shady Real Estate Agent: The burned victim in 'Death House' is guilty of cheating his clients.
  • Shaped Like Itself: When Mac questions a suspect in the B plot of 'Trapped,' he suggests that things got out of hand between the guy and the victim. The guy tells Mac to "define your definition of 'got out of hand.'"
  • Shirtless Scene:
    • Danny on occasions.
    • Mac, three times: being checked by paramedics in 'Charge of this Post,' in bed with Peyton in 'People with Money' and swimming in 'My Name Is Mac Taylor.'
  • Shoddy Knockoff Product: A street vendor tries to sell Stella a knockoff Rolex, only it's spelled with two L's and a Z. Bonus points for him trying this right outside the Lab.
  • Shoot Him! He Has a... Wallet!:
    • One of the kidnappers in the season 7 finale, 'Exit Strategy' is shot while reaching for his car keys. The SWAT team thinks he's going for a gun.
    • The innocent victim in the series finale. He is reaching for a jewelry box in his pocket and has the added misfortune of being dressed in the same type of coat as the perp.
  • Shopping Cart Antics: In 'Obsession,' one of the murders centers around a race run using shopping carts and where it is customary to sabotage the other teams.
  • Shopping Cart of Homelessness: 'Obsession' again. One of the teams steals a cart from a homeless man...and damages it. This upsets the man so badly he kills one of the team members with a mannequin leg he has in his possession.
  • Shotgun Wedding: Zigzagged. Danny wants to marry Lindsay after the pregnancy reveal, but she initially says no, only saying yes several episodes later when he does a surprise proposal.
  • Shout-Out:
    • An episode involving a "time machine" has the TARDIS materialization sound effect and a Doctor Who reference.
      • The first victim in that episode is named Dr. Martin Browning. A combination of the names Martin (Marty) McFly and Dr. Emmett Brown from Back to the Future. The giant clock on the building that houses the time machine is prominently featured in a few scenes as well.
    • The third episode of Season 4 is a giant love letter to the James Bond franchise, which actually is in the episode's plot with a pair (actually a trio) of high-tech thieves who break into apartments in tuxedos. They're even called "James Bond wannabes" by a radio DJ, and Mac refers to one of them as "a Q-wannabe."
    • The fourth season Halloween episode involves a "zombie" whose cause of death is a cricket bat to the head.
    • Several to The Matrix and Oz in an episode that features Harold Perrineau as an inmate who's spared from execution when a guard dies. He had also killed Sheldon's sister a decade ago, although he isn't on death row for her murder since it's officially unsolved who helps Sheldon escape when Edward Furlong's character sets off a prison riot. (He even gets to say a variation of "Come with me if you want to live!") while the rest of the Five Man Band uses computerized blueprints on a touchscreen table to aid Sheldon.
    • Possibly the overly-serious head of, essentially, the guild of New York clowns.
    • 'Civilized Lies': This is either a shout-out or a funny coincidence: A hood nicknamed "Mookie" winds up dying under the Deegan expressway. The Punny Name title a la "Fated Fatal" or "A Nimmel House" and the main characters manipulating Mookie's accomplice with faked videos (Deegan is a manipulative seer; the detectives manipulated the suspect's sight) could also count.
    • 'Blood Actually,' a set of three short stories, to Love Actually and Valentine's Day, but unlike the films there's no connection between the characters (unless Sid autopsying the three victims counts).
    • Stella is apparently named for Stella Kowalski.
    • 'Super Men' has a guy in a superhero costume, and as many Superman references they could possibly cram in including glass with traces of krypton, and the guy's street clothes and glasses left in a phone booth.
    • 'Unspoken' shouts out Green Day by using tracks from their 2012 album trilogy for the backing music and building the plot partially around the songs, especially when the first half doesn't contain any spoken dialogue.
    • 'Snow Day' is an obvious homage to Die Hard. Among other things, Mac writes "Find the Bullet" on a dead perp's forehead before sending him down the elevator to Sheldon in the morgue.
    • In 'Trapped,' Danny not only calls Stella "Miss Macgyver," but also tells her he thinks he saw one of the old-school techniques she guides him through on an episode of The Flintstones.
    • 'Blood, Sweat and Tears' includes a "Romeo and Juliet" story and uses quotes from the play.
    • Episode 4.12, 'Happily Never After,' features two different cases referencing classic children's literature.
      • The first is the death of a woman who is found crushed under an ice castle (or house), who is the owner of a hotel called 'The Dorothea' known as "The Wicked Witch of the Upper East Side". She is also wearing red heels and owns a dog named Otto, talks about a melting ice sculpture ("It's melting. It's mel-ting."), and her real surname is revealed to be "Gale" (like Dorothy's). And she's from Kansas.
      • The other is a young woman in a nightgown with the name "Wendy" written on her chest, and she gets killed with a hook prop. Sid actually reads the book in the morgue.
  • Shower of Angst: Stella, in 'Creatures of the Night' due to her rape case being full of dead ends, including semen with no sperm and thus no DNA.
  • Shown Their Work:
    • As with the other shows in the franchise, all the lab equipment is fully functional and the actors were taught how to use it.
    • Real life NYPD Det. John Dove served as a writer and producer. He also appears as Det. John Scagnetti in three episodes of season 2. Since he was on duty on 09/11/01, the set designers consulted him — and episode co-writer Zachary Reiter, who was living in NY at that time — for the flashback scenes in 'Indelible.' Dove said the finished product looked "too good."
  • Sibling Yin-Yang: The Carver siblings: The brother became Chief of Detectives, while the sister became an abusive, drug-addicted prostitute who was eventually murdered by her own son who got away with it since he was trying to save his younger siblings.
  • Sickbed Slaying:
    • Invoked for revenge in 'Here's to You, Mrs. Azrael.' The victim is smothered in her hospital bed with a plastic bag from the gift shop.
    • The killer in 'Unspoken' intends to do this to a hospitalized Lindsay, but ultimately doesn't go through with it.
  • Side Bet:
    • Danny and Mac in 'Fare Game.' Danny bets Mac $5 that Lindsay won't eat the bug cuisine he brings back after a case involving it. Lindsay eats it and Danny has to pony up to Mac.
      Lindsay: You bet I wouldn't do it?
      Danny: Dunno what I was thinking, betting against a country girl.
    • In season 1, Mac & Stella bet on the outcome of the dog show in 'Recycling.' Stella takes that one.
    • Danny & Flack bet $50 on whether or not the basketball fan in 'Personal Foul' will make the million-dollar shot. Flack pays up, but tells Danny, "I owe you ten."
    • In 'Greater Good,' there's an office pool on how long Lindsay will be in labor.
    • Mac and his fireman buddy, Curtis, have a standing bet on the outcome of the ice hockey matches between NYPD and FDNY; loser buys the winner dinner.
    • Near the end of Lovato's first episode, Flack tells her the guys in the precinct have a pool going about which will last longer, her or the fern on her desk.
  • Significant Name Overlap:
    • Central to the plot of "My Name Is Mac Taylor." When two men who share the same name as detective Mac Taylor are killed, detective Taylor rounds up all the other Mac Taylors in New York and tries to figure out who will be the next victim. Adam discovers 23 people with the titular moniker.
    • In 'Command+P,' a case of Mistaken Identity leads to two murders all because the first victim runs into the wrong guy named Andy.
  • Significant Name Shift: When Lindsay joins the team in early season 2, Danny starts out picking on her by consistently calling her "Montana" after her home state, which annoys her to no end. Then they begin dating and by the middle of season 3, she's come to accept it as an Insult of Endearment, and even signs a note to him with the nickname. By the time they're expecting a child in season 5, he has dropped it and only calls her "Lindsay," "Linds" or "Babe." He does call her "Montana" one final time, though, but it's lovingly then, to get her attention while she's hospitalized and groggy from a concussion early in season 9.
  • Silent Treatment: Christine does this to Mac for at least an episode and a half when he refuses to tell her about his speech aphasia. When he tires of her not answering or returning his calls, he finally goes to see her at her restaurant.
  • Single-Episode Handicap: A few.
    • Sheldon is injured while scuba diving in 'The Deep,' gets his ribs taped, and spends most of the episode out of work...except for showing up at the very end just to check on the team and to thank Danny for saving his life. No mention of his injury is ever made again.
    • Similarly, in 'Point of View,' Mac is injured in the opener and out of work (see Out Sick above), then is back the next ep with no further reference to the incident. (But to the writers' credit, there is a month-long time-skip within this ep itself.)
    • At the end of 'Sangre por Sangre,' Mac gets shot in the left arm. He's fine the next episode.
  • Sinister Shiv: In 'Nine Thirteen,' the Body of the Week has his throat slashed with a shiv made from a melted coffee cup lid and sharpened to an edge by grinding it against a prison cell wall.
  • Sinister Subway:
    • 'Tri-Borough': has a body dumped on the tracks.
    • 'The Cost of Living' has a guy being chased down at night in an area with abandoned subway cars.
    • 'Risk': A young man is beaten and thrown from a train. Danny is on the one behind it and barely manages to get it to stop before running him over.
    • 'Murder Sings the Blues': A young woman dies from being poisoned during a rave party held on a subway car.
    • 'The Thing about Heroes': Mac's stalker kills an engineer, then hijacks the car remotely while Stella, Flack, Sheldon and Lindsay are processing the scene. Later, he holds Mac captive in a little-known area off of one fot the tracks.
  • Sleepwalking: 'Night, Mother,' where a sleepwalking woman is suspected of stabbing another woman with a wooden stake. It is found that the real killer stabbed the victim, then the sleepwalker goes through the actions she'd seen used to try and save her young son, who died in a car crash years earlier. She does CPR, then tries to reach in and massage the dead woman's heart.
  • Slipping a Mickey:
    • Two girls slip LSD into the drinks of the guys they're with, intending to rob them, in 'Uncertainty Rules.'
    • The serial rapist in season 8 is accused of this, but he has been framed.
  • Snow Means Love: In 'Happily Never After,' a couple arrive in a "winter wonderland" and start kissing. Then an ice castle collapses and they find a corpse.
  • Soap Opera Rapid Aging Syndrome: Mild case with Lucy Messer. There is a 6 month skip in the last ep of season 8, but Word of God stated she was being aged up another few months to a year. She is referenced as being 3 at the end of season 8. When she appears in season 9, she should be about 4 or maybe four and a half but Danny says she is 5 early in season 9, and the actress who played her in 'Unspoken' was 6 years old at the time.
  • The Sociopath: The manipulative 16 year old girl in 'A Daze of Wine and Roaches.'
  • Soft Water: The only way Shane Casey could've survived his fall from the lighthouse at the end of 'Vacation Getaway.'
  • Solar-Powered Magnifying Glass: The arsonist does this in his cell with his glasses and a book he's reading at the end of 'Where There's Smoke.' The screen goes black just after the page starts smoking.
  • Sommelier Speak: Happens in an episode involving counterfeit wine — mostly played for laughs, although the actual experts get some respect.
  • Spanner in the Works: Many a killer has seen their plan for the "perfect" crime undone by anything from bad weather to an unexpected wrinkle to a tiny detail they thought would never be noticed.
  • Speak Now or Forever Hold Your Peace: The point at which Mac interrupts the second wedding in 'Til Death Do We Part.'
  • Spiked Wheels: The team run into such a car (using lasers to evade the police), and James Bond is explicitly referenced, in 'You Only Die Once.'
  • Spikes of Villainy: Subverted in 'No Good Deed.' A tall, muscular, tattooed, head-shaved suspect has a row of flesh-colored spikes implanted in his head, ala a mohawk. He has means and opportunity due to being caught on camera in the victim's apartment. Turns out he's the landlord there to finally address a complaint. He also moonlights as the announcer for women's wrestling and has good rapport with them. His body modification is just him asserting his individuality.
  • Spiteful Spit: Hawkes gets it from a notorious racist in 'Yarzheit.' Danny tries to talk him out of tagging along when he goes to question the guy, since Hawkes is black, but Hawkes won't be intimidated. The guy spits on him, then makes a remark about there not being a law against spitting on an animal. Hawkes stays calm, but Danny, who always did have a quick temper, punches the guy and gets suspended for it.
  • Spree Killer:
    • Henry Darius in the two-part crossover with CSI: Miami (as Mac says, "12 people in two states over the last 72 hours").
    • Deranged magician Luke Blade in 'Sleight Out of Hand' (two murders and a third attempt in as many nights).
    • Shane Casey in his several-season arc, in a futile attempt to clear his dead brother from a murder charge.
    • The sniper in 'Hide Sight' whose motivation was to make a name for himself.
  • Squirting Flower Gag: Flack does not like this trope and averts its use twice.
    • In 'Child's Play,' a murder investigation leads to a joke shop run by a guy called "Laughing Larry" who is wearing a fake flower. While questioning him, Flack says that if he squirts him with it, he'll be arrested for assaulting an officer. The guy gets a dejected look on his face and refrains.
    • Again in "To What End?" While questioning a guy in a flash mob of mostly identical clowns, Flack notices him touching a fake flower on his chest and exclaims, "If you squirt me with that thing, I will shoot you; I'm not kidding!" This guy refrains as well.
  • Stab the Scorpion: 'Sangre por Sangre' opens with Mac chasing a gang member with whom he has a respectful rivalry through an abandoned building. The other man raises a gun in Mac's general direction and fires, then the scene cuts back to some days earlier. The scene is revisited near the end, revealing that he had been aiming at another gang member, whom he'd been trying to kill earlier and who was sneaking up on Mac.
  • Stage Magician: One is played by Criss Angel in 'Sleight Out of Hand.'
  • Stalker with a Crush: Ella McBride, to Mac. She engineers a "chance" meeting with him in a grocery store, manufactures evidence to bring to him at the Lab - which he angrily calls her out on - then slits her wrists and calls him instead of 911 to regain his attention. She even makes one of her confession cards to add to her wall, which says, "I will make him love me."
  • Stalker Without a Crush:
    • Stella takes Reed to be a stalker when he's following her around trying to get up the nerve to talk to her, thinking she's his birth mother.
    • Mac's 333 caller. The guy carries a grudge for 30 years, definitely no love lost there.
  • Starting a New Life: The chef in 'Fare Game' and the cage fighter in 'Clean Sweep' had both done this, and the cage fighter is trying to do so yet again.
  • Stay in the Kitchen: Jo's ex-husband, while he loves her and the kids very much, would rather she be a stay-at-home-mom, and they're both too stubborn to give in.
  • Stealing from the Till: One of the employees at the department store in 'Shop Till You Drop' swipes small amount of cash from every register she can.
  • Stepford Smiler: Detective Flack after Angell's death.
  • Stock Animal Diet: Averted in two episodes, both involving rats that are fed poisoned scrambled eggs (one is part of the plot, the other a small throw-away scene).
  • Stock Footage:
    • The aerial establishing shots over NYC.
    • Also, the shot of a bullet being test-fired into a water tank is re-used throughout the run, flipped at least once.
  • The Stoic: Mac is the embodiment of this trope. Even Gary Sinise once said of his character, "He smiles once a season."
    • During the episode where Lindsay gets pranked and is trying to figure out who's to blame, Danny is doing process-of-elimination and says it couldn't have been Mac because the word joke "doesn't seem to be part of his vocabulary."
    • He did start to loosen up toward the series' end, tho, with the introduction of his new girlfriend, Christine. Even the producers noticed, "Mac is smiling!"
  • Stood Up: Lindsay does this to Danny early on, while she's privately dealing with the trauma from her past.
  • Storefront Television Display: In the opening sequence of "Right Next Door," the first Victim of the Week stops in front of an appliance store to freshen her lipstick via her reflection in the window. As she does so, an Amber Alert for a missing little girl is playing at volume on one of the tv sets. The woman continues on her way and is killed off-screen. The little girl's case becomes entangled in a more elaborate one later in the episode.
  • Story Arc: Shane Casey's story ran from early in season 3 thru the season 7 premiere, probably the longest arc in the entire franchise.
  • Strange Cop in a Strange Land: Mac in Chicago. The CPD does not like him waving his badge to get into a vacant floor of the Tribune building.
  • Straying Baby: Lucy wanders off from Lindsay in a crowd during 'Unspoken.'
  • Stuff Blowing Up: Several times: the bombs in the season 2 & 3 finales and the booby-trap in the season 9 premiere all blow up buildings, car bombs go off near Adam and Don, a restaurant blows up near Mac, and a food truck that Sheldon & Camille visit also explodes.
  • Stuffed in the Fridge: Aiden The team are all stunned when they realize who the victim is.
  • Subculture of the Week: Vampirism, Gaming, Life-Size Dolls, Circus Life, Cuddle Parties, Food Sploshing...the list goes on.
  • Sudden Name Change: Jessica Angell was called Jennifer in one episode.
  • Suicide Pact: The teenage couple in 'Blood, Sweat and Tears' and a group of friends in 'What Schemes May Come.'
  • Sundial Waypoint: 'Manhattanhenge.' Sheldon figures out where the sunlight will hit at a certain time, which leads the team to the killer's location.
  • Super Intelligence: In 'Time's Up,' the autopsy of a brilliant physicist reveals a sewing needle embedded deep in his brain, that'd been there since an unnoticed accident in his early infancy. It's speculated that its presence caused his neural wiring to develop differently from most people's, which may have made his groundbreaking insights possible.
  • Suspect Is Hatless: In the B case of 'Buzzkill,' Angell presents Mac with an incomplete composite sketch of the perp, which looks like it's from a very cheap coloring book. His snarky reply:
    Mac: So all we have to do is find everybody with two eyes, a nose and a mouth.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Times two. Jessica Angell is this for Aiden Burn, after the former was Put on a Bus. After Angell is Killed Off for Real, Jamie Lovato is brought in, and now is the Suspiciously Similar Substitute for the original Suspiciously Similar Substitute. She's even becoming Flack's love interest.
  • Sword Sparks: The LARPers' makeshift swords throw off sparks during their battle in the junkyard in the opening of 'The Box.'
  • Swordfish Sabre: In 'Dancing with the Fishes,' one of the cases is that of a fish merchant who gets stabbed with one of the swordfish he was selling.
  • Take Me Out at the Ball Game: A number of deaths occur during sporting events:
    • A fan in the parking lot of a MLB game.
    • A runner in the Big Apple Marathon.
    • Another fan during a million-dollar shot at halftime of a basketball game.
    • A Roller Derby team member during a match.
    • A Formula One driver during an exhibition race.
  • Taken Off the Case:
    • Mac took Danny off a case because it turned out the dead guy wasn't murdered. Danny didn't buy it easily and kept at it, only for Mac to chew him out later.
    • Mac pulls Sheldon off one case where the former doctor's ex-girlfriend's rapist resurfaces, and another where Sheldon knew the victim but neglected to tell the team about it.
    • Due to Stella's personal connections, Mac tells her she's off the Greek antiquities theft case and that another department is handling it, but she keeps investigating anyway, to the point that it reaches Turn in Your Badge status.
    • Mac tells Adam not to hack into a company's system in "Unfriendly Chat." He does so anyway, the FBI gets wind of it, and Mac puts Adam on three days' unpaid suspension.
  • Taking the Bullet:
    • Stella's mentor and father figure shields her with his body from a gunfight between his brother and Mac in Greece. He's fatally shot, while Stella's uninjured.
    • Danny, for Lindsay in 'Pay Up' / 'Epilogue.' Danny is closest to the bar's window anyway, but it's clear as the shooting starts and chaos erupts that he throws himself on top of Lindsay to protect her.
  • Taking the Heat:
    • The episode 'Greater Good' revolves around a woman who hires a hitman to kill the man who ran over her daughter a year before, believing that his sentence was too lenient. Mac also wants to know why the man insists on taking the blame when the evidence points to him being a passenger, and not the driver. It's finally revealed that the man and his daughter had celebrated her becoming an M.D., and after drinking several glasses of wine, she got behind the wheel of her car and ran over the victim. Knowing that her career, and her life, would be ruined, her father told her that he was willing to take the blame for everything.
    • In another episode, a guy walks into the police station holding a gun and claims to have shot a doctor. He turns out to have been taking the heat for his wife: the guy had a terminal illness and the doctor had conned the couple out of their savings with a quack treatment involving leeches leading the wife to shoot her. He wants to be sent to jail in her place seeing as he doesn't have long to live.
  • Taking You with Me: When Mac corners a serial killer on a rooftop, the guy jumps off rather than go back to prison. But he does it in such a way that it looks like Mac pushed him, and since Mac didn't wait for backup, there's no one who can say that he didn't.
  • Tampering with Food and Drink:
    • In 'Blood Actually,' a woman murders her diabetic husband by giving him a 2-lb box of chocolates with a sugar-free label on it. Actually, they are normal chocolates. She also replaces his insulin with a sugar syrup, so when he injects himself, he just shoots up more sugar.
    • In an earlier episode, a guy dies when two others sneak lobster broth into his soup even though they know he is allergic to shellfish.
  • Tastes Like Chicken: Alluded to, but subverted by Danny while he eats a centipede in 'Fare Game.'
    The Chef: Tastes like chicken, right?
    Danny: [shaking his head] No.
  • Tattoo as Character Type:
    • Subverted by the villain in 'Yarhzeit' who's only pretending to be a concentration camp survivor. He had faked a prisoner number on his left arm and tells Mac he had been in Auschwitz.
    • Played straight with the in-universe neo-Nazi ex-con from that episode and 'Green Piece.' He looks pretty much just how you'd picture him.
  • Tattooed Crooks: The "mobbed-up" Tanglewood Boys don't take it very well when a poser gets one of their membership tats.
  • Techno Babble:
    • Flack calls various members of the team out for using big words. From 'Indelible' for instance:
      Jo: That ring around the blood spot is called skeletonization.
      Flack: Why don't they just call it a ring?
      Jo: Okay, that's it. Forget it. I give up.
      Flack: Sorry, it would be much more interesting if you guys used smaller words.
    • Adam tries this in 'Damned If You Do' when Jo has him impersonate a polygraph examiner:
      Adam: I understand there's a question to the veracity of certain statements that you may or may not have made and/or heard during your confinement in the fine institution known as Rikers Island. Is that correct?
      Perp: I have no idea what the hell you just said, man.
      • But it morphs into Buffy Speak when he refers to the needle as "the pen thingy."
  • The Taxi: The backseat of a taxi is converted into a mobile gas chamber by its driver in the Cabbie Killer's four-episode arc at the end of season 4.
  • Team Dad: Mostly Mac to Hawkes, including letting Hawkes stay at his place when Hawkes lost all his money to an insurance scam. Mac to Danny at times too (in 'Green Piece' to name one), and to Adam in 'The Real McCoy;' he has heart-to-heart talks with both of them over personal issues, much like a father would to a son.
  • Tell Me About My Father!: Gender flipped twice.
  • 10-Minute Retirement:
    • Mac's retirement at the beginning of season 8. He's only away from the crime lab for the first episode (although it's stated that he was away for four months...so he must have left right after the season 7 finale and was gone throughout the summer hiatus).
    • Danny's promotion to police sergeant (and thus away from the crime lab) only lasts four episodes before he voluntarily demotes himself and goes back to being a detective.
  • Thanatos Gambit: Aiden manages to make her murder into one of these by leaving a clue she knows Mac will recognize as the same type from a case they worked together years before.
  • That Came Out Wrong: In 'No Good Deed,' Adam finds grainy footage of a possible suspect with flesh-colored spikes embedded in his skull. Mac asks him to try to identify the guy. Adam says, "I'll call Flack to see if he's had any reports of a horny prep in the area." Mac and Stella give each other a look and stand there grinning as Adam immediately realizes what he said.
  • That One Case:
    • DJ Pratt, who is finally caught due to his having killed Aiden.
    • The bodega robbery from two years before the series began is solved in 'Exit Strategy' (7.22). It was the last of the open case files Mac kept on the corner of his desk.
    • The case of the kidnapped boy in 'Misconceptions.' Mac had been a rookie detective when it occurred and he's kept it in the back of his mind for decades, finally solving it in episode 9.05.
  • That's an Order!: Mac plays into the bomber's delusion that he's a Marine in 'Charge of This Post,' taking on the role of a superior officer to get him to secure the BFG he's holding.
  • Theme Serial Killer: The t-shirt killer uses Greek mythology and numerology in his clues.
  • Theme Tuneless Episode: Subverted with 'Indelible.' The song is played, but *after* the first break instead of right before it when simple title card is shown instead as a subtle moment of respect for the 10th anniversary of 9/11.
  • There Will Be Toilet Paper: At the beginning of 'Indelible,' Mac has a flashback of Claire's last morning, during which he had nicked himself while shaving and had asked her to hand him a cotton swab. It is brought on by him nicking himself again on the current morning.
  • They Look Just Like Everyone Else!: The perp in 'Party Down' is described as a male with "dark hair, light skin and a bit of a stutter."
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Sandwich: A number of times, including:
    • When Mac has his first get-to-know-you meeting with his stepson, Reed has a soda in front of him. Halfway through their conversation, he pulls the paper off the straw and takes one sip. As he thanks Mac for it upon leaving, the full glass is in plain view.
    • Justified in season 6. Mac has introduced Dr. Aubrey Hunter to his idea of the perfect slice of pizza. As they're walking down the street discussing it's merits (she doesn't exactly agree with him), a young boy across the street is shot. They take off running to help and she tosses the slice, with only one bite missing, into the nearest trash can.
    • After Ellie skips school to find her birth mother in season 7, Jo takes her for a walk to talk about it and buys her a milkshake. Ellie takes one sip, declares it to be terrible and hands it back to Jo who throws it away.
  • This Bear Was Framed: The tiger in 'Zoo York' didn't kill the victim; he was already dead before being eaten.
  • This Is the Part Where...: (See also Cut Himself Shaving above.)
    • Flack and Stella are questioning someone on the street in 'Second Chances':
      Lisa Williams: Is this the part where I look at the bloody crime scene photo, break down in tears and confess to murder?
      Don Flack: Only if you did it.
  • Thoroughly Mistaken Identity: The mother who kills her own daughter in the hospital because she thinks the bandaged girl is her daughter's friend whom she believes to be responsible for her daughter's death.
  • Those Wacky Nazis: 'Yahrzeit' has three flavors of Nazis - an original, a skinhead street punk, and a businessman who keeps his affiliation secret.
  • Three Shorts: The season 9 Valentine's Day episode, 'Blood Actually,' tells the stories of three victims in sequence, complete with title cards (although the team's personal situations are interspersed throughout).
  • Through His Stomach:
    • Downplayed when Mac calls Christine to cancel a date because of the car bomb in 'Slainte.'
      Mac: I really hope I haven't put you out.
      Christine: Oh don't be silly, I was just going to whip something up when you got here.
      The camera pulls back to reveal that she has indeed prepared an elaborate meal which is spread all over the counter where she's standing.
    • Flack's grandmother invokes the maternal version with him and Sam in 'Misconceptions.' She lures them to her place with pleas for help with a (non-existent) leak under her sink, then plies them with homemade Italian food until they can't eat any more...yet continues to offer them more servings.
  • Throw-Away Guns: Done by a perp in 'Civilized Lies.' He fires two shots at Jo and Lindsay, finds his gun empty and then discards it before trying to flee...and runs straight into Danny.
  • Time-Delayed Death: A few, including the young man from the pizzeria in 'Officer Blue' who doesn't collapse until after he leaves the establishment, and the Native American Chief in 'Communication Breakdown' who dies on the subway after swallowing a deadly object that was slipped into his food.
  • Time-Shifted Actor:
    • In flashbacks during 'The Thing about Heroes,' Walter Curry plays Mac Taylor as a 14-yr old in Chicago.
    • In flashbacks during 'Cold Reveal,' Stella is portrayed at age 8 by Brenda Radding, and at age 14 by Cait Fairbanks.
  • Time Skip: Six months in the end of the season 8 finale, to give Mac time to heal from being shot.
  • Tin Foil Hat: A variation. When Stella and Flack encounter a schizophrenic woman in 'Consequences,' she offers metal colanders to them so their thoughts won't be captured. They decline.
  • 'Tis Only a Bullet in the Brain: The female victim with a severe headache in 'Heart of Glass' turns out to have been shot while sleeping.
  • Title Drop: Episode titles. Fairly often, usually justified. To name a few...
    • Episode 1.05: "You know how a Sandhog measures progress? A man a mile. 'Cause that's the death rate down there. Electrocutions, cave-ins, decapitations. Every mile of rock we move, we lose one of our own."
    • Episode 1.09: Officer Blue is the name of the horse which has a bullet needed for evidence lodged in his neck.
    • Episode 1.13: Tanglewood is the name of the gang involved.
    • Episode 2.04: "Guess that's what they mean when they say corporate warriors."
    • Episode 2.14: Necrophilia Americana is the scientific name of the flesh-eating beetles found at the crime scene.
    • Episode 3.24: Danny takes Lindsay's shift and leaves her a note saying, "Enjoy your snow day."
    • Episode 4.01: Exaggerated by the killer who screams at Stella, "CAN YOU HEAR ME NOW?!"
    • Episode 7.07: While the team is searching for a sniper, Mac asks, "Have you found his hide sight yet?"
    • Episode 9.13: "Nine Thirteen" is the name and street number of the building in front of which the Victim of the Week is found.
    • Episode 9.17: Heartwarming in the series finale during Mac's voice-over monologue which includes the words of the victim:
      Mac:...Sometimes, the good comes when we most need it and least expect it. If we are lucky enough to notice it, set our eyes upon it and appreciate it, it can almost make us forget all of the bad. "Today is life. The only life you're sure of. Make the most of today." Words of wisdom. A slice of goodness passed on by an innocent soul whose life was cut short by an errant bullet. These are words that will always stay with me, words that are about to change the course of my life forever.
  • To Absent Friends: The team toast Aiden near the end of season 2, and Angell in the season 5 finale.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Adam, three times.
    • Redeeming himself by coming to the rescue of the disguised hostages in 'Snow Day.'
    • Taking out his assailant with a fluorescent bulb in 'Unfriendly Chat.'
    • Taking it upon himself to search for more evidence at the crime scene, then braving the angry rioters to deliver it to Mac at the precinct in 'Today Is Life.'
  • Tongue Trauma:
    • In the season 3 premiere, 'Can You Hear Me Now?', the perp cuts out the tongue of one of his victims for not reporting a crime he'd witnessed.
    • In 'Seth and Apep,' before Christine can be rescued, Mac receives a tongue in a box at the precinct and naturally gets freaked out thinking it's hers.
  • Toplessness from the Back:
    • Camille, at the end of her Sexy Coat Flashing scene.
    • Gender-flipped with Mac exiting the shower at the beginning of 'Reignited,' clearly showing his bullet wound from 'Near Death.'
  • Torso with a View: Played realistically with Flack's gruesome abdominal injuries in 'Charge of This Post.'
  • Tragic Keepsake: Mac's beach ball, which he couldn't let go of because Claire's breath is still in it. He held onto their 9/11 opera tickets for 10 years as well, but lets them go in the season 8 premiere.
  • Trans Tribulations: The mid-transition victim in 'The Lying Game' had faced this and gets killed for coming on to a homophobic man.
  • Trap Master: In Death House,' the CSIs find a nearly 100 year old corpse when responding to a 911 call. When Stella is almost killed by the same trap that killed the victim, the CSIs realize they are in the abode of a long dead trap master, and must then figure out the riddles of the penthouse to locate the 911 caller and the caller's girlfriend.
  • Trapped in a Sinking Car:
    • An unconsious Mac is dumped in the Hudson River in the SUV he was driving after being kidnapped in the season 4 finale/season 5 pilot two-parter.
    • Twenty party goers are locked in the back of a tractor trailer truck which is then deliberately driven into the Hudson in "Party Down".
  • Trash the Set: "Snow Day." The place gets shot up, soaked by sprinklers and finally blown up by a pipe bomb. According to series creator Anthony Zuiker, Sinise jumped in between takes to help the crew squeegee the floor because three inches of water rained down every time, and he was having so much fun filming that he couldn't wait to get back at it. And this was around two or three in the morning.
  • Trauma-Induced Amnesia: With Mac after being shot, a really selective Laser-Guided Amnesia thing. His Truth in Television condition is called speech aphasia and causes him to forget the names of everyday objects.
  • Trial Run Crime:
    • The perp in 'Love Run Cold' poisons a cat before the "real" victim.
    • The perp in 'Point of View' does the same with a canary...but he has plans for many more victims.
  • Trophy Room: Two, both containing Holocost memorablia and both belonging to Neo-Nazis in 'Yarhzeit.'
  • Tuckerization: Throughout the series, names of people close to Gary Sinise and names of previous characters he's played are used in episodes:
    • His wife, Moira's, maiden name of Harris shows up in several episodes as character last names ("Unusual Suspects" for one) as well as in names of businesses.
    • His oldest daughter's name, Sophie, is the name of the doll in episode 2.09, 'City of the Dolls.'
    • As noted elsewhere, "Mac" is his son's name as well as that of his brother-in-law whom his son was named after. Mac Taylor's father is named "McCanna Boyd" after the same gentleman. And "Taylor" came, also at Sinise's own suggestion, from Lt. Dan.
    • His youngest daughter's name, Ella, is used several times during the run, including as that of his Stalker with a Crush in season 5.
    • His mother's nickname, Millie, is used as Mac's mother's name in 'Blacklist.'
    • "McQuinn," the last name of his character in the Hallmark Hall of Fame Christmas movie, Fallen Angel, is used in episode 3.07, 'Murder Sings the Blues,' as well as a few others. A shortened version, "Quinn," shows up fairly frequently as well. The phrase "fallen angel" is used in 'Death House' when Mac & Stella are discussing the floor puzzle.
    • "Austin," his character's name in True West, is used in episodes 3.18 and 4.16, "Sleight Out of Hand' and 'Right Next Door' (which is also a Danza as it's the first name of the young actor who plays the character in question, Stella's neighbor who accidentally sets her apartment on fire.)
    • "Redman," the last name of his character in the 1994 mini-series of Stephen King's The Stand, is the name of the family in episode 5.17, 'Green Piece.'
    • "Milton," the last name of his character in Of Mice & Men, is used in at least one episode.
    • Possibly a coincidence, but the pawn shop owner in episode 1.03, 'American Dreamers,' is named Bruno. Sinise played the police officer father of the titular character of the little known 2000 film, Bruno, (a.k.a. The Dress Code).
  • Turn in Your Badge:
    • Danny, when he's suspected of murder in 'Run Silent, Run Deep.'
    • Don, when a suspect dies in his custody in 'Rush to Judgement.'
    • Stella angrily turns hers in to Mac when he orders her to stand down from her investigation during the Greek antiquities theft arc.
    • Narrowly averted with Danny in 'On the Job' and 'Officer Involved.'
  • Two-Faced: Twice.
    • The opener of 'Cold Reveal' is narrated by a pretty young blonde woman. Only the left side of her face is shown until the end of her statement, when she turns to reveal that the right side is horribly disfigured, and she begs for the madness to stop. The cause is never explained.
    • The Compass Killer in season six had one side of his face disfigured by a shotgun blast.

    U-Z 
  • Ugly Guy, Hot Wife:
    • The overweight movie producer in 'The Fall' has a beautiful, tall, thin, and blonde trophy wife.
    • The second of the three Valentine's Day stories in 'Blood Actually' features this kind of couple, although from the hot wife's perspective she is the lucky one to find such a great guy which makes her husband's "betrayal" that much worse; unfortunately the only thing he is guilty of is acting suspicious in front of his apparently insecure wife while planning their surprise dream vacation.
    • Also the couple in the 'Compass Killer' arc, due to his injuries from a guy who'd gone postal in his office.
  • Unbroken Vigil: Twice.
    • Mac watches over Don while he's in a coma after being severely injured by a bomb blast in 'Charge of This Post.'
    • Christine keeps vigil with her rosary at Mac's bedside after his surgery to remove a bullet that fragmented when he was shot in the back during 'Near Death,' then stays with him at the hospital for 16 hrs a day for the entire 6 months he's in recovery/rehab.
  • Uncatty Resemblance: A witness in 'Not What It Seems Like' recalls a dog whining at the crime scene which involves glass breaking due to high frequency sound waves. Danny brings a shaggy little dog into the lab to see if he can recreate the "noise," which he knows he himself will not be able to hear. Sheldon and Stella each comment on how much his dog looks like him. He grumpily tells her the dog's "a loaner."
  • Unintentionally Notorious Crime: The drive-by shooters at the end of season 5 don't have any idea that there are cops in the bar, or that they have seriously injured one of the team; they're just shooting at random businesses.
  • Unnaturally Blue Lighting: First season, even worse than usual.
  • Unprocessed Resignation: When Mac returns to the Lab in 'Keep It Real,' he tells the team that Sinclair pulled his retirement papers upon his request.
  • The Unreveal: In "Clean Sweep," Mac receives a lovely flower arrangement at his office. Just as he begins to open the accompanying card, a wily female reporter who has been harassing him for an interview arrives, interrupting his progress. He tells her he can't accept the flowers; she denies sending them, saying it's not her style. Later, Lindsey point-blank asks Mac if the woman sent them. He doesn't give her a straight answer but since he kept them (knowing Mac's integrity), it probably wasn't her. The true sender is never revealed.
  • Unsettling Gender Reveal: The first victim in 'The Lying Game' is revealed to be a mid-transition transgender woman who is killed due to a violent reaction by someone she was hitting on.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: In 'Rush to Judgement,' a wrestling coach moves a boy up a weight class. This effectively ends the boy's chances for a scholarship, so he tries to get the man fired by hacking into his wi-fi and sending child pornography to himself and some of his teammates. His dad sees it, kills & dismembers the coach. Also, a teammate is implicated, takes a bunch of pills, then dies while Flack is interrogating him, causing the detective to be suspended for a while.
  • Urban Legends: The following legends turn up in various cases:
    • A bride is killed by her dress on her wedding day.
    • A construction worker is killed by "blue ice" falling from an airplane.
    • A corpse is found buried in the end zone at Giants Stadium.
    • The show creates one of its own when an eyeball falls out of the sky into Stella's coffee cup.
    • A college student kills his roommate in order to get an automatic 4.0 for the semester.
  • Valentine's Day Episodes: There's one, 'Blood Actually,' broken down into three successive cases, each with a couple and/or love story aspect. The three canon couples all have their own romantic moments as well. Adam and Ellie are also revealed to have dates for the evening.
  • Vapor Trail: In 'Second Chances,' the Victim of the Week is doused with gasoline when he is run over by a car and the fuel tank punctures in the collision. The trail of gas is then ignited by a cigarette discarded by a passerby (who is on his way to commit another crime) and it burns back to set fire to the victim.
  • Vehicle-Roof Body Disposal:
    • In 'American Dreamers,' a skeleton is placed on the open upper deck of a double-decker tour bus.
    • In 'Hush,' Mac and Stella investigate when half of a crushed body is found underneath a shipping container on a truck. The other half is eventually located in a shipping yard. It turns out that after the murder, the person who helped the murderer clean up placed the body on top of a shipping container, hoping it *would* be crushed and look like an accident.
    • In 'Happily Never After,' a killer drops one of the Bodies of the Week out of a window onto the top of a school bus. The body isn't found till the driver slams on the brakes in traffic and the body slides off the roof.
  • Vehicle Vanish: In 'Vacation Getaway,' Shane Casey holds a hostage at gunpoint and drags her across the street. A bus drives between the two of them and Mac and Stella. After it passes, the hostage is there but Casey has vanished.
  • Vehicular Sabotage: A race car is tampered with in 'The Formula.' Unfortunately for the sabotuer, this causes the driver's death instead of just injuries as inteneded.
  • Verbal Tic:
    • Danny Messer's "Boom."
    • Mac identified a perp who repeated a sentence in front of him that the guy had just used (with voice distortion) over the phone to him. The bomber in 'Charge of This Post' said, "They're gonna need all the help they can get."
  • Very Special Episode:
    • Stella's HIV-scare arc was done in cooperation with KnowHIVAIDS.org, and a PSA aired after each episode.
    • 'Indelible,' done in tribute to 9/11 and featuring the Brooklyn Wall of Remembrance, also had a PSA at its conclusion.
  • Vigilante Execution: Several, including:
    • In season 4's 'Admissions, Gerrard bursts into an interrogation room and fatally shoots his daughter's rapist.
    • In 'Taxi,' disgruntled cab drivers kill the man they believe to be the Cabbie Killer and dump his body in front of the precinct.
    • It is heavily implied that Flack shot Angell's killer in cold blood in the season 5 finale. This is later verified during Mac's limbo period in the season 8 finale.
    • It's the motivation for the murders in season 7's 'Vigilante.'
  • Vigilante Injustice: In "Taxi", three taxi drivers kill another taxi driver, believing him to be the elusive cabbie killer. Not only is he revealed to be innocent, but he turns out to be a police officer who was moonlighting as a cab driver.
  • Villain-by-Proxy Fallacy: The entire motivation for the Compass Killer.
  • Villain with Good Publicity: The serial rapist in one episode is a respected owner of nightclubs not only in NYC but also in Brazil.
  • Violently Protective Girlfriend: Okay, wife, but still. Lindsay, given her shooting of Shane Casey and her altercation with the rookie cop who caused Danny's job to be threatened.
  • Violin Scam: The M.O. of the perp/victim in 'Identity Crisis.'
  • Voiceover Letter: Several, including:
    • Classic version in 'Time's Up.' When Mac reads the Dear John letter from Peyton silently, only her voice is heard.
    • A variation when Lindsay gets a congratulatory note from Stella in 'The 34th Floor.' The audience hears only Lindsay's own voice as she reads it.
    • The fade-in/fade-out version is used with Mac reading Reed's real-time blog aloud in 'Taxi' to analyze the clues he knows Reed is leaving for him.
    • Fade-in/fade-out is used again in 'Misconceptions,' when Lindsay reads the last entry in the original suspect's journal (which explains his intentions for his actions).
  • Vomit Discretion Shot:
    • Just before Lindsay reveals her first pregnancy to Danny in the locker area, she throws up off-screen in the ladies' room.
    • Don throws up off-screen in Terrence's bathroom after being beaten to a pulp in 'Cuckoo's Nest.'
  • Vorpal Pillow: In 'Risk,' a victim is smothered with a pillow before the death is staged as a suicide-by-hanging.
  • Wacky Cravings: In 'Forbidden Fruit,' Lindsay (who is pregnant) has a whole bunch of weird food laid out on the lab table as part of an investigation into a poisoning. Mac walks in and comments that he hopes this isn't one of her cravings.
  • Wait Here: Mac tells Danny to stay with the vehicle in 'Point of No Return,' after Danny reveals he forgot his bulletproof vest. Danny obeys at first, then ends up chasing the suspect anyway when the guy runs outside and into another area. The result is Danny trying to survive a shootout until the others can catch up.
  • The Walls Are Closing In: In 'Death House,' the team are investigating a penthouse that has been converted into a series of elaborate deathtraps. Hawkes gets trapped in a small metal room where the walls start closing in on him.
  • Wannabe Secret Agent: The couple code-named "Boris" and "Natasha" in 'Brooklyn 'Til I Die' are portraying spies in a Role Playing Game.
  • Water Guns and Balloons: 'Fare Game,' which uses the real life Streetwars game as "Water Gun Wars." It's a tournament where people try to "assassinate" each other with water guns or balloons to become the last person standing and win a cash prize. The victim is killed when the guy he knocks out of the game tries to scare him with a blank gun, and doesn't realize that even blanks are lethal at close range.
  • We All Live in America: In 'Unfriendly Chat,' Adam slacks at work by chatting with a French girl who is promptly murdered on camera. The only clue as to where the murder took place is a TV in the background noting the temperature outside, so the team checks climate reports from all over the world to find what place had that temperature at that time. At no point do they notice that the temperature is in Fahrenheit, which is only used in the United States and four small island countries. (The murder turns out to have happened in Manhattan).
  • Wealthy Philanthropist: Coroner Sid Hammerback turns into a philanthropist after getting rich off his pillow invention. He's been diagnosed with lymphoma and is possibly going to die, and decides that since it can't buy a cure and he can't take it with him, he'll help the families of some of the victims that came through the morgue. Jo finds out it's him, but he askes her not to tell anyone else. (It's ambiguous as to whether Mac finds out as he's revealed to know during his 'Near Death' experience, but that could be a case of paranormal omniscience.)
  • Weaponized Ball: In 'The Closer,' the murder weapon is revealed to be a baseball thrown by a free agent pitcher.
  • Weapon Twirling: In 'Corporate Warriors,' Mac twirls the katana he's testing while Lindsay observes.
  • Wedding Ring Removal: In the season 1 finale, Mac finally takes off his wedding ring. He had been unable to bring himself to remove it before then, as he was still struggling with the loss of his wife on 9/11. He continues to struggle for a while, but taking off the ring is symbolic of him being ready to start dating again.
  • We Have to Get the Bullet Out!: Averted in a variation. In 'Officer Blue,' Mac needs the bullet lodged in the horse to help make his case, but he knows the animal isn't likely to survive. Fortunately, he manages to stall the surgery long enough that the horse makes it.
  • Weird Trade Union: In the second case in 'The Ride In,' a man is trying to form a union for costumed mascots. He accidentally kills a man when he flings a cigarette at him to prove that people in costumes get bullied and the union is meant to provide protection, not knowing that the man (who was part of a publicity stunt for a new brand of cigarette) had made his costume with flammable materials.
  • Welcome Episode:
    • Lindsay, in episode 2.03,'Zoo York.' (see quote under next trope)
    • Jo in the season 7 opener, 'The 34th Floor.'
      Jo: [referring to the victim she discovered upon her arrival] My first thought was it's a practical joke. You know, "Welcome to the New York Crime Lab."
      Mac: We usually sabotage a pair of latex gloves or have a tech pose as a dead body in Autopsy, then suddenly pop to life. But murder? Not our style.
      Jo: Good to know.
    • Just a reference, but in 'Epilogue,' Sid reveals to the team that he'd had someone pull the dead body prank on Angell when she'd attended her first autopsy.
  • Welcome to the Big City: Lindsay, essentially. Her first case upon arriving from Bozeman, Montana involves a man devoured by a tiger. Her job?...
    M.E. Evan Zau: [walking into the lab] Whoa. What is that smell?
    Lindsay: [searching for human remains that the tiger swallowed] Tiger dung. The zoo just made a fresh delivery. Everyone else just happens to be conveniently busy.
    Zau: You know what they say: It's a dirty job, but...
    Lindsay: The rookie's gotta do it.
  • West Coast Team: Inverted, along with CSI: Miami, spinning off of the Las Vegas-based original.
  • We Will Not Use Photoshop in the Future: Double subverted. On discovering a plaster cast of a dagger supposedly buried with Alexander the Great, Mac initially assumes that it must have held a forgery. When carbon dating of a fragment of ivory from the dagger reveals that it's old enough to be the real thing, the trope is played straight and everyone acts as if it must be for real; the possibility that a forger might re-use ivory from some less-valuable or damaged antique from the same period never rates a mention.
  • Wham Line: "Aiden." Mac, in the episode 'Heroes,' when he realizes the identity of a body found earlier is a former CSI.
  • Wham Shot: In the episode 'Flag on the Play,' Danny finds his grandfather's dog tags that were stolen in the previous episode in a pawn shop. He brings them back to the lab and checks them for prints to see who stole them. The perp: Shane Casey, whom Danny locked up three seasons earlier and who had been serving a life sentence in prison.
  • What Did I Do Last Night?: The 21-year-old whose beer gets spiked with LSD in 'Uncertainty Rules' has a very hard time remembering details from the night in question.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?:
    • Louie Messer is left in a coma at the end of 'Run Silent, Run Deep.'
    • Reed Garrett, who pursued info on Mac's cases for his blog with a vengeance, is last seen in season 6's 'Pot of Gold,' and is never even mentioned again.
    • Peyton Driscoll, after The Bus Came Back for one episode, disappears into thin air.
    • Aubrey Hunter. Even after she tells Mac he's the reason she's staying in Manhattan, she disappears without a trace as well.
  • White Gangbangers: The Tanglewood Boys. Most, if not all, of them are Italian.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: While searching Central Park at night in 'Scared Stiff,' Flack reveals to Danny that he's afraid of deadly black widow spiders. Danny explains that while they will make you quite sick, they won't kill you, and ribs his friend about it.
  • Widowed at the Wedding: 'Til Death Do We Part.' The first bride dies from a formaldehyde-laced dress that she didn't know was taken off a corpse. Later, Mac has to stop a groom from suffering the same fate from his tux.
  • Wipe the Floor with You:
    • Frankie drags Stella by her ankles all over her apartment in 'All Access.'
    • Mac does a table variation of this to one of the Neo-Nazis in 'Yahrzeit,' wiping a counter in the guy's automotive shop clean of car parts with him.
    • The wife in 'Who's There?' is drug from her living room to her bedroom by a home-invader.
  • Witness Protection: An old case of Flack's pops up again in 'To What End?' when someone he helped get into the Witness Protection program returns.
  • Workout Fanservice:
    • Mac's swim in ep 100, 'My Name Is Mac Taylor.'
    • The pole dancer class in season 7's 'Vigilante.'
  • Working with the Ex: Jo and Russ, twice, in 'To What End?' and 'Identity Crisis' which involve Witness Protection and a con artist, respectively.
  • Worthless Treasure Twist: In 'White Gold,' two crooks kill a young pizza chef because they think he is transporting a fortune in drugs. However, what they assumed to be bricks of cocaine are actually blocks of mozzarella cheese.
  • Would Hurt a Child: The guy who killed three of Lindsay's then high-school classmates back in Montana.
  • Would Not Hurt A Child:
    • The shooter in 'Unspoken' changes his mind about killing Lindsay when he discovers that she has a small daughter because he knows that losing a mother would be devastating to a child.
    • The robber/kidnapper in 'Exit Strategy' who takes off with the girl rather than shoot her as his accomplice demands.
  • Wounded Gazelle Gambit:
    • The guy who slams his head on the table in the interrogation room with Mac & Flack. Mac is delighted to inform him that they can easily prove his injury to be self-inflicted.
    • In 'The Untouchable,' a young woman darts out in front of Mac's Avalanche at night, then falls to the pavement. When he gets out to assess her injuries, she jumps up and her accomplice tazes him in the neck from behind.
    • The woman that Lindsay discovers had faked being abused by her husband in order to get her brother to kill him.
  • Writing Around Trademarks:
    • In 'Sanguine Love,' a tube of ChapStick is found at the crime scene and the name is shown in plain view on screen, but the detectives consistently refer to it as "dry lip balm."
    • The reference to Facebook pages as "profile pages" in 'Who's There?' and 'Brooklyn Til I Die,' without saying the name of the site.
  • Writing Indentation Clue:
    • 'All in the Family': When Danny fails to show up for work, Don goes to his apartment and finds indentaions on Ruben's funeral bulletin. He uses the classic pencil-rubbing technique to determine where Danny is.
    • 'Late Admissions': The victim's notebook is discovered with a page torn from it. The team analyze the next page and figure out that he was writing an expose on illegal activity at his school.
  • Written-In Absence:
    • Lindsay was written out for a few episodes during season 3 so Anna Belknap could go on maternity leave.
    • Done again in season 5, where Lindsay ends up pregnant with Danny's baby.
  • X Called; They Want Their Y Back: When Jo is going over some videotapes of a suspect's therapy sessions.
    Danny: Jane Fonda called, she wants her workout videos back.
    Jo: They're not Jane's, they are Cher's.
  • The X of Y: At least nine episode titles follow this pattern.
    • "Creatures of the Night"
    • "City of the Dolls"
    • "Charge of This Post"
    • "Heart of Glass"
    • "A Daze of Wine and Roaches"
    • "The Cost of Living"
    • "Point of No Return"
    • "Pot of Gold"
    • "Point of View"
  • Yandere:
    • Stella's boyfriend Frankie Mala, who stalks her, breaks into her appartment and tries to kill her after she breaks up with him.
    • Ella McBride, who stalks Mac in a grocery store, fakes evidence to get close to him, then slits her wrists to regain his attention after he berates her for compromising his case.
  • You Remind Me Of Her: Mac tells Reed that he reminds Mac of Claire, Reed's mother and Mac's late wife. He mentions that Reed has the same stubbornness Claire did, and that he looks like her.
  • You See, I'm Dying: Sid, to Jo. The phrase isn't said verbatim, and his condition isn't always fatal (though his is advanced), but you can tell it's what he's telling her all the same.
  • You're Not My Type: Aiden, to Danny.
    I'm way outta your league, Messer.
  • Your Favorite:
    • Flack picks on Mac by telling a reporter she could sweet-talk him into an interview by bringing Mac his "favorite" breakfast foods...except he was severely allergic to one (blueberries) and abstaining from the other (coffee).
    • Adam brings his Alzheimer-suffering father a chocolate malt. Mr. Ross takes a big sip and, not recognizing his son at this point, exclaims, "My favorite! How'd you know?" Adam replies, "Lucky guess."
  • Your Head A-Splode: In 'Hide Sight,' a sniper uses explosive bullets. One explodes as Sid tries to remove it from the victim's head, tearing a big hole in it and dazing Sid, whose eyes only survive intact due to his glasses.
  • Your Princess Is in Another Castle!: 'Hung Out To Dry.' The plot seems resolved, until Lindsay comes in and announces that Shane Casey has escaped.
  • Zero-G Spot: Not quite genuine Zero-G, but a couple in one episode get busted for public indecency because they're having sex while bungee-jumping off bridges in the city. It's strongly implied that this is the female jumper's personal favorite kink.

Alternative Title(s): CSI New York

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