There was a lot about "Exit Strategy" that felt more like a series finale than a season finale. The way it ended, with Mac Taylor's speculation about whether he had done his part, felt like a wave goodbye from.
But let's not dwell too much on what could be and focus on what was a very good episode.The opening was shot like a dream sequence, replete with a foreboding mood. Mac managed to keep his life after a suspect got the drop on him, and the gun being used miraculously jammed. The escape from death prompted Mac to reopen the one remaining unsolved case on his desk, and in true CSI:NY fashion Mac reached his goal.
There were so many moments that defy mere summation. A look, a glance, the way sound was used to heighten what Mac was feeling as he trudged forward on this case all made for excellent storytelling. I've always been a fan of Mac, and this story had me completely invested in the final outcome.
Jo used her super power of being able to read people well, except in one instance. She said she knew Mac pretty well, and while she may have the basics of his character down I can't quite believe she knows him that well. The character really hasn't been around long enough for that. Other than that, the way Jo was able to get the suspect's girlfriend to open up was an excellent example of how she can be skilled and still be believable.
The dynamic between Wes, one of the robbers, and Olivia, the young girl he kidnapped, was quite moving. It's hard to say exactly why Wes kept Olivia with him for so long, but it was nice to see that he was good to her. I did get a little choked up when Wes was dying and told Olivia that she shouldn't be sad because she finally got to go home.
There wasn't a lot of room for side plots, but in a couple of scenes Danny's future plans took shape. He took the sergeant exam and passed. The promotion would likely mean he wouldn't get to work at the lab, so it became a telling moment.
The banter between Lindsay and Danny was very amusing, even if Danny's Pacino impersonation could use some work. It was a nice break from the heavier drama.
It's too bad the rest of the cast couldn't have had a few more moments. Sheldon and Sid only really appeared in the ending montage. Flack was present for a good chunk of the case, but only in the most meager supporting rolls. And poor Adam basically had a momentary sight gag.
I hope this isn't the end of CSI: NY. However, if it is, it's an ending I can live with. There aren't really any loose strings, only the melancholy of wondering what could have come next.