Here are advance photos for Law & Order SVU “Imposter” which will air on Wednesday, October 5, 3016 at 9PM ET on NBC. The photos feature Mariska Hargitay, Peter Scanavino, Raúl Esparza, Wallace Langham as Tom Metcalf, Vincent Curatola as Judge Al Bertuccio, Paula Marshall as Laura Collett, Conor Proft as Justin Collett, Chris Henrey Coffey as James Collett, and Callie Thorne as Counselor Katherine Drexler.
Photos by: Michael Parmelee 2016 NBCUniversal Media, LLC
The episode was inspired by the Netflix documentary series “Making A Murderer ” (which I highly recommend). The opening scene featured Vice President Joe Biden, who is at the SVU and explains his real-life advocacy for rape victims. The squad is dealing with a man who was wrongfully imprisoned for 16 years for rape – a case that Fin and the SVU worked - and who was eventually exonerated. The evidence that clears him came from a previously untested rape kit in Detroit. I’m a little confused about the connection to the rape kit in Detroit to Sean's original case. Did they have no DNA at the time for the rape 16 years ago? Did they have DNA from that rape but could not get Sean’s DNA to make a match? If they had DNA from the case 16 years ago, why didn’t Sean’s defense test Sean’s DNA to see if it was or wasn’t a match? Or, if they had no DNA from the original rape 16 years ago, how did they match it to the Detroit case? I could be over thinking this but hopefully someone can explain to my apparently feeble brain why I can’t connect all the dots here with the Detroit case and how it cleared Sean.
I have mixed feelings about this episode. The dialog was well written (I especially liked the “parsing degrees of deceit” line) and Kelli Williams acting was heartbreaking. Raúl Esparza brought his "A" game. It gave Ice-T a substantive contribution to an episode. But there was something that felt wrong about how Barba presented his case. By bringing in Dr. Singh’s testimony about how one could be affected by being wrongfully incarcerated for 16 years, I thought that he opened up a door to Sean for some sort of mental defect or insanity defense. Yet Buchanan never capitalized on that. By Barba not calling Fin to the stand, it would have appeared as an admission that Barba felt something was wrong with how Fin obtained the new evidence. I think that Buchanan would have eventually called Fin in an effort to challenge how Fin found the engagement ring, so I am perplexed as to why Barba wouldn’t want to frame Fin’s story first. (Barba got pushed into calling Fin to testify anyway.) If Barba prepped Charlie, how strongly did he push him during prep? Obviously not strongly enough, as Barba was blindsided about how Rollins obtained Charlie’s claim that he saw Sean.
And while we are on the subject of Rollins, Barba was 100% correct to call her on her “parsing degrees of deceit.” Based on what we saw, Rollins clearly was playing up to Charlie to get him to admit he saw Sean. Touching him was no accident. It was inevitable that how she obtained Charlie’s statement was going to come into play during the trial. Rollins deserved to be humiliated in court, but of course we had to hear how “attractive” that Rollins is during the process. Cringe-worthy.
In the opening, when Sean announces he will be going out drinking – legally – for the first time, and Benson tells him to have fun and “stay safe,” this is code for “trouble will quickly ensue.” When Ashley is being wheeled out after being raped, strangled, stabbed, bleached, and burned, I wondered how Melanie, who said she heard Sean's voice, heard none of the sounds that would have been associated with such a violent attack. I also question how they found no blood or bleach evidence on Sean. Did he throw all his clothes away and did they ever do a search in nearby trash bins for bloody clothes? Maybe I missed something but I thought that this part of the investigation was thin.
Here is the recap:
Mariska Hargitay - Lieutenant Olivia Benson
Ice-T - Detective Odafin “Fin” Tutuola
Kelli Giddish - Detective Amanda Rollins
Raúl Esparza - ADA Rafael Barba
Peter Scanavino - Detective Dominick “Sonny” Carisi, Jr.
Henry Thomas - Sean Roberts
Delaney Williams – Counselor John Buchanan
Kelli Williams - Melanie Harper
Cody Kostro - Charlie Dobkins
Jenna Stern - Judge Elana Barth
Vice President Joe Biden - himself
Alok Tewari - Doctor Ranjit Singh
Ryan Jonze - Jeff Nichols
David Spadora - Zach Brenner
Alexis Collins - Ashley Harper
Meredith Handerhan - Marie Dobkins
Haskiri Velazquez - Shyvon Stevens
Erica Camarano - Officer Rachel Ortiz
Sarah Malone - Woman
Jim Forsha - Doctor
Vice President Joe Biden is visiting the Special Victims Unit. He explains that his dad used to have an expression that the greatest sin any person could commit is abuse of power. As Benson stands nearby, he states that the greatest abuse of power was rape and it takes a woman a long time to heal. With other members of law enforcement watches, he explains that when the victim isn’t believed when she goes through the invasive process of having a rape kit put together, and then it is stuck on a shelf somewhere and then never tested, we fail her; we fail so many women. He is proud to say today that they did not fail, thanks to the dedicated efforts of law enforcement, the whole legal system and advocacy groups, and particularly his friend here, Lieutenant Olivia Benson of SVU. He congratulates her and shakes her hand as the others applaud. Benson thanks him and states they are so honored to stand her today with him to announce that in beginning to clear the national rape kit backlog, we have taken rapists off the streets, we have prevented future crimes, have given victims closure, and they have also righted a terrible wrong. She explains that 16 years ago, Sean Roberts (who is waiting in the background) was convicted of rape in New York City that he did not commit. By processing an untested rape kit in Detroit, they were able to identify the real rapist, and set Sean free. The crowd applauds.
Afterwards, Sean Roberts states he wants to thank everyone who tested the kits; he has only been out of prison for a month but it already feels like a second chance at life. While Benson and Fin look on, Sean adds he bears no ill will towards Melanie Harper, she is as much a victim as he is. He explains it is a fresh start for him, Melanie, and her daughter Ashley. Melanie says they are looking forward to the next chapter, and Ashley adds she and her mother want to make amends and have Sean in their lives. She happily announces she is getting married next month and has invited Sean to the wedding. Benson looks on with surprise. Melanie thanks the reporters and then approaches Benson and Fin and thanks them for everything. Benson comments it seems like they have all gotten close. Melanie explains she is just glad Sean has forgiven her. Fin says it was an honest mistake; at the time, she was sure it was him. She says she was wrong – they were both wrong. Fin nods. Ashley approaches and asks if they are ready to go. Fin comments that the last time he saw Ashley she was 6 years old and now she is getting married, and he congratulates her. Ashley thanks him and Melanie says they are taking Sean out for his birthday tonight and Sean adds it is the first time he can legally drink. Benson smiles and tells them to have fun – and stay safe. Sean nods and they all walk off. Afterwards, Benson asks Fin if he is okay with all this, and he replies he’s good, he is just glad Sean in out of jail. Benson agrees.
Later, Fin and Rollins arrive at a scene, and Fin tells an officer that Melanie Harper asked for him. She directs him inside, adding she is a mess. As Fin heads in, Rollins asks the officer what they are looking at. The officer says the mother was sleeping and smelled smoke and called it in. The girl was raped, strangled, stabbed, doused in bleach, and burned.
Inside, as the EMTs load Ashley onto a gurney, Melanie tries to console her. Fin asks Melanie what happened, and she explains she came down and found Ashley like this. Fin asks if she saw or heard anybody, Melanie says she heard a man. When Fin asks if she would recognize his voice, she says she thinks it was Sean. Rollins looks at a surprised Fin and asks if it was Sean Roberts, the guy they just got out of prison. Fin says, with concern, “Yeah” as he looks around the scene.
At the hospital with Fin and Rollins, Benson asks Fin that Ashley Harper was raped and stabbed and if Sean Roberts was involved, and Fin explains Melanie said she heard Sean’s voice in the house. Benson states they know they went out together last night, asking if they talked to him yet. Fin replies that considering the history, they figured they should talk to Benson first. Benson says alright, asking what they have. Rollins says there was no sign of forced entry so Ashley probably did know her attacker, and there is a kitchen knife that is missing. Fin adds that CSU is running the scene; whoever did this, they used bleach on her and they burned her, and got rid of all DNA. Benson questions who else was in her life, she just got engaged. Rollins explain they are tracking down her fiancé and they are going through her texts and social media. Benson tells them to run down every single angle: security cams in the house and neighborhood, traffic cams, canvass the neighbors. They need to be sure about every single detail on this. Benson gets a message; she says Carisi is here and asks them to loop him in and have him talk to the fiancé, and she asks Rollins to talk to Sean. As Rollins walks off, Fin asks if he is being pulled off the case, but Benson says no, she needs to keep him on, saying it is optics. Fin asks what that means, and she says if he steps away from the case, it will look like he has something personal with Sean and give credibility to his lawsuit, adding to let Rollins take the lead. Fin says “got it.”
Here are the details for a new episode of Law & Order SVU, “Heightened Emotions.”
Law & Order SVU “Heightened Emotions” Air Date October 12, 2016 (9 PM ET/8C Wednesday NBC)
An athlete is the victim of sexual assault, but her secret double life could ruin both the case against her attacker and her Olympic future. Meanwhile, Rollins (Kelli Giddish) reconnects with her sister Kim (guest star Lindsay Pulsipher) after she's released from prison on parole. Also starring Mariska Hargitay (Lt. Olivia Benson), Ice T (Det. Odafin Tutuola), Raul Esparza (ADA Rafael Barba) and Peter Scanavino (Det. Sonny Carisi). Also guest starring Brit Morgan (Jenna Miller), David Alpay (Chad Miller), Hari Dhillon (Atty. Sunil Varma), and Theo Stockman (Michael Wheeler).