The premiere will touch on a global catastrophe close to the hearts of viewers and especially so for Detective Mac Taylor (Gary Sinise) – the 9/11 attacks which took place in New York in 2001.
For the first time in eight years, fans will get to see Mac’s wife, Claire, (Jaime Ray Newman/ General Hospital, Eastwick) appear in the series through flashbacks in the Season 8 premiere, which honours the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. Mac lost Claire on that fateful day as the planes crashed into the Twin Towers where she worked and her body was never found again. With Mac considering retirement in last season’s finale, the tragedy has prompted him to leave the crime lab for the DNA lab, where he pitches in to identify the remains of 9/11 victims. He also sets up a memorial that honours the first responders that were killed – the Brooklyn Wall of Remembrance.
“We’re taking all of our characters back to that day,” executive producer Pam Veasy explained. “You will get to see them together. You see why Claire loved Mac, and why Mac loved her.” Indeed, the premiere episode brings us back to a very different Mac Taylor, from a hardened detective who has seen the world; to a man who had much more joy and hope, a man who was in love. Viewers get a glimpse into where the sentimental Mac came from, the one who could not bear to get rid of a beach ball his late wife had blown up, simply because ‘her breath is still in there’.
There is an interesting crossover between reel and real in this tribute episode, as Gary Sinise (a recipient of the Presidential Citizen’s Medal who has been involved in several 9/11 charities) had a personal involvement in setting up the Brooklyn Wall of Remembrance. His band, Lieutenant Dan Band, raised money to complete the memorial back in 2006. Sinise, like millions of people all over the world, had his life changed by the tragedy in a profound way.
In the aftermath of the attacks, Danny Messer (Carmine Giovinazzo) and Don Flack (Eddie Cahill) meet for the first time amidst the rubble, while Jo Danville (Sela Ward) shows her perspective from the FBI office in Washington D.C.
Beyond the premiere, Jo will have to face demons from her past in Washington. A former crime lab agent Frank (Michael Weston, House) reappears in her life again, following their fallout over the rape case of a US senator’s daughter. This was Jo’s last case before she moved to New York, and Frank’s mistake in processing the evidence resulted in the serial rapist going scot-free.
Danny and Lindsay (Anna Belknap) also face new trials in their relationship as Danny’s promotion to Sergeant puts him back on the streets, as well as some extra distance between them. And who knows, Mac might be ready to love once again, for it is New York, the land of new seasons and new beginnings…