Saturday, November 29, 2008

Law & Order UK Cast Photo and Sneak Peek

A kind soul has put up some short preview clips on YouTube of the Law & Order UK series, and I have it below for your enjoyment. I also snagged a promotional picture of the cast. There hasn’t been much information made available on the series here in the US as far as I can see, but I plan on sharing everything I can get my hands on with Law & Order fans. Hopefully this series will also air on-line so US fans can watch. I have my fingers crossed.

And why do the prosecutors still wear those wigs when they are in court? One thing is for sure, I’m sure glad that Jack McCoy never had to wear them; we’d hardly get to see the famous Sam Waterston hair.

The cast, left to right:

Freema Agyeman as the "hard-working, strong-willed" prosecutor Alesha Phillips

Ben Daniels, who plays Senior Crown Prosecutor James Steel, a "man on a mission for justice".

Bill Paterson, as CPS director George Castle, "a man trying to balance his ideals with the bigger picture".

Harriet Walsh, as Detective Inspector Natalie Chandler.

Bradley Walsh as DS Ronnie Brooks, described as “a real 'East End' copper”.

Jamie Bamber as Matt Devlin, Brook’s partner. He must be a “copper” too!

Preview Clip

Check out my blog home page for the latest Law & Order information, here.

Also, see my companion Law & Order site,These Are Their Stories.

Law & Order, SVU Episode Information Update for Week of November 30

Here is the information for the new episodes of Law & Order and Law & Order SVU for the week of November 30. There are also some video promos and preview videos for both episodes. You’ll enjoy the extended clip for “Knock Off” but don’t watch it if you don’t want too much of the story to be given away. It looks and sounds like a great episode.

LAW & ORDER SVU “PTSD” Airdate December 2, 2008

Detective Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay) is put to the test when pregnant Corporal Jessica Crewes disappears from her post as a Marine, and is about to give birth to her rapist’s child. When Jessie is found dead in the trunk of her car, Navy Commander Grant Marcus (guest star Frank Whaley) attempts to take over proceedings, but Detective Benson and ADA Kim Greylek (Michaela McManus) must fight together and stand their ground to keep the case within the SVU squad. With flashbacks of sexual assault, Detective Benson soon realizes that her past may stir up painful emotions that threaten her ability to remain professional, and enlists the help of Detective Odafin Tutulola (Ice-T) to find Jessie’s killer. Also starring: Chris Meloni, Richard Belzer, Dann Florek, Ice-T, Michaela McManus, Tamara Tunie, and B.D. Wong

PTSD Promo

Law & Order “Knock Off” Airdate December 3, 2008

A tourist from upstate New York has come to the city to settle his past, but his trip ends quickly when he is suspiciously murdered. When Detectives Bernard (Anthony Anderson) and Lupo (Jeremy Sisto) travel upstate to New York they find more to the story. A.D.A Michael Cutter (Linus Roache) and Detective Lupo (Sisto) believe the town's crowned king of drug busting is Sheriff John Burkhart (Guest Star Clancy Brown) and his deputies are involved in the murder but have no way to prove it when the case becomes a game of dirty politics. D.A. Jack McCoy (Sam Waterston) faces new competition when a new District Attorney is nominated for the election. Also stars Katee Sackhoff as Dianne Cary.

My recap and review of “Knock Off “ can be found here.

Check out my blog home page for the latest Law & Order information, here.

Also, see my companion Law & Order site,These Are Their Stories.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Law & Order “Falling” Out Between McCoy and Cutter

First and foremost – Happy Thanksgiving to all my U.S. readers!

This episode of Law & Order, “Falling,” opens with a crane collapse, and ends with a possible collapse in the working relationship between DA Jack McCoy (Sam Waterston) and EADA Michael Cutter (Linus Roache).

The recap is first, and my review follows afterwards.

At a construction site, a woman who lives across the street complains about the jack hammering at 2 AM, and is told they will pass her complaint on. In her apartment, while she is complaining about the matter to her husband, they see a shadow of something large passing by their window. It’s the crane collapsing. Later, on the ground, Detectives Lupo (Jeremy Sisto) and Bernard (Anthony Anderson) examine the scene of the crane collapse. Carlos Lazaro, was just near the crane when it collapse, was killed. They see Mr. Wayne Hardy (Frank Converse), who owns the company doing the construction, being interviewed by TV people and the detectives question him. He says he is committed to safety. He is concerned that homicide detectives are there, and they tell him that it’s a crime scene because someone was killed,

Later, Hardy is telling Lupo these kinds of things never happen on his construction projects. When they ask who is running the project, they are told it’s Gary Talbot, junior foreman. In talking to one of the crew - Nolan - Bernard sees that they see he was supposed to use another crane that day, a T65 crane. When Nolan says that was correct, Bernard say the one that collapsed looks like a T35, which is a lot smaller. Nolan says the job called for a smaller crane, so that is what they used, and that the city inspector said it was safe. They ask to take the invoices with the crane information.

At the NYC Department of Buildings, Lupo and Bernard talk to the inspector Mr. O’Connor, who says in 23 years he’s never had a serious injury on his watch, and now he gets homicide detectives. Bernard tells him it’s standard procedure. Lupo tells him the building department has received over two dozen complaints about the site, but has only followed up on half of them. O’Connor says he issued violations for noise complaints but there were no safety issues.

Later, a woman explains how the crane was anchored to the building. When the collars failed, the crane came down, the one on the ninth floor failed first, and the rest failed like buttons on a shirt. She says the T35 has a load bearing capacity of 6 tons per lift, but there was a much higher lift average on that crane.

Back at the 2-7, Van Buren (S. Epatha Merkerson) reviews the matter with the detectives. Maybe someone was being paid to look the other way with safety issues, and she says the forensic accountants want to talk to the detectives. The forensic accountant tells them things don’t add up, that the petty cash kept in a safe was short several thousands dollars. Gary Talbot, foreman, was in charge of petty cash.

Talking to Talbot (Michael Kelly), he tells them some expenses can’t be receipted and have to come from petty cash., and he’s not the only one who has access. The night shift does as well. They talk about the overtime and the heavy crane loads. Talbot tells them they got the approval from the inspector every step of the way. He has copies of all the approvals. Talbot's wife enters,, and asks him to help with their daughter, Lacy. Lupo looks at the information and sees that Talbot did have the necessary approvals. But Bernard notices that the number that the approvals were faxed from does not match the number on the fax sheet. The area code is 613 – it looks like the inspector was faxing from the Hamptons on a weekday afternoon.

At a home in the Hamptons, the inspector is there, and he looks like he is packing to leave. He says he was lent the house by a friend, but it’s time to get back to the real world. Bernard asks if that friend is Hudson River Rentals, because they said his wife took a 3 month lease at $15,000 a month. Bernard notices his nice car, comments on the school for his kid, but when the inspector asks if they can do it tomorrow, they bring him in.

At the 2-7 he is being questioned, and he says he sees people take bribes all the time, but that’s not him. They tell him they can trace $200,000 worth of expenses back to him, and now there is a body. He said he never meant it, but Bernard says remorse with a confession is better. He tells them that Nolan the contractor was the one who first approached him about using a smaller crane for the loads. The foreman made the payment, and the night foreman - Talbot - was not in the loop. He also says Wayne Hardy was involved.

Later, they are watching Hardy being arrested on television, and he is protesting it as a miscarriage of justice. But Lupo says something isn’t adding up, the missing money from the petty cash that they thought the night foreman was using to bribe O’Connor, the night foreman got straight from Nolan. Maybe the petty cash was being used to pay off someone else?

Later, another detective brings Lupo and Bernard the content of the pockets from the crane fatality, Carlos Lazaro. They can’t get his next of kin, except for his wife, who is in the hospital in a coma. Bernard tells Lupes to check out the hospital bill for Lazaro’s wife Amelia and compare them with the record of payments. They match the amounts missing from the petty cash. Since they know Carlos probably can’t access the safe, it points them back to Gary Talbot, and maybe he is trying to help Carlos. But Bernard says no one is that nice, not even Robin Hood.

At St. Paul’s hospital, they are told there is no change in Mrs. Amelia Lazaro, who lays there comatose. When they talk to the doctor, it seems that the wife “dry drowned,” where a person takes in enough water in the lungs not to drown them right away, but it can occur later. During the process, the person can seem quite erratic before they lose consciousness. They ask if the doctor can pinpoint when she inhaled the chlorinated water, and he says it could have happened up to 12 hours before she came into the ER. When the nurse arrives and the doctor leaves, she comments that Carlos was there every day to see her. Sometimes some guy named Gary also came to see her. Lupo asks how often, and she says every week, Thursday late. Bernard says Thursday s late is when the payments were made from petty cash.

Back at the 2-7, they review the case with Van Buren, and suspect Talbot and Carlos’s wife Amelia were having an affair. Did Talbot pull down the crane on Carlos? She tells them that the Talbot is an important witness for the city inspector and the DA doesn’t want that case messed up. Bernard thinks she is asking them to bury the case of Carlos’ wife, but she says no, and tells him to just open another case, and the first item to do is to search Lazaro’s home.

At the Lazaro home, they question a neighbor. She tells them Mrs. Lazaro was afraid of the water. While they continue to check out the apartment, Bernard finds a prepaid cell phone with two numbers in the address book, one for Carlos, one for Talbot.

Back at the construction site, they confront Talbot with what they know. He says he loves his own wife and won’t talk to them anymore. They decide to talk to Talbot’s wife.

They talk to Talbot’s wife Sandra (Geraldine Hughes), she says the Amelia helped them care for Lacy, and they were paying her under the table. She seems unfazed when they tell her Talbot was paying her hospital bills, and she bristles at their suggestions of an affair. They see water wings there and ask if she takes her daughter swimming. She said it’s water therapy.

Back at the 2-7, they discuss Talbot’s pool access, but he also has an alibi for the time Amelia first took in the water. This leaves Mrs. Talbot. They also find a divorce petition Gary Talbot previously filed last year, which was withdrawn. They also discover that Sandra charged two metro cards, one for her and Lacy one for her. They track the cards and other credit card charges to a pool near the area where the charges were made.

At the pool, they are told that Mrs. Talbot and Amelia came in during a set time when no one would complain about the noise from the child. They are also told Emilia would stand near the edge of the water and hand Mrs. Talbot towels. She also said she heard a big argument and Amelia fell into the pool, but she couldn’t hear what the argument was about. Amelia was soaked and crying, Mrs. Talbot was dry.

Later, as the detectives conferred with ADA Rubirosa (Alana De La Garza) they suspect that maybe Amelia was pushed into the pool. The detectives arrest Sandra Talbot.

At arraignment, Sandra pleads not guilty and says her daughter’s condition requires full time care. Her husband has to work. They set bail at $200,000. Rubirosa and the defense attorney discuss the case afterwards and try to negotiate. The defense gives her an application for all evidence the police seized at the pool.

In EADA Cutter’s (Linus Roache) office, Rubirosa and McCoy (Sam Waterston) review the case. McCoy doesn’t seem happy about the case since there are no witnesses and no evidence. But Rubirosa tells him they found Sandra’s prints on a float pole. Maybe she used the pole to pull Emilia out of the water? This could mean she tried to help and would mean renunciation. McCoy cautions them that Gary Talbot is key in their crane case and to try not to muddy that up. Playing with his baseball glove and baseball, Cutter tells Rubirosa to retrace Sandra and Amelia's steps.

Rubirosa rechecks with the neighbor and she asks why Amelia didn’t go to the doctor as suggested when Emilia first seemed to become ill. Amelia didn’t want any help. She said Amelia was told not to go by her boss.

Later, Cutter and Rubirosa are meeting with the Talbots and the Talbot attorney Goodwin says it was renunciation when Sandra pulled Amelia out of the pool. But, he is told that she can’t talk renunciation if she talked Amelia out of seeing a doctor. The defense attorney adds that a problem with her meds caused Lacy to spasm and kick Amelia into the pool. But Sandra tells them to stop it right now; Lacy has been through too much. Cutter wants the truth now or she takes her chances with the jury. She admits she and Amelia argued about Gary, she got angry and pushed her in but it wasn’t to try to kill her. She begs for mercy. Cutter says assault 2, suspended sentence, Sandra must allocate, but he wants a portion of Gary’s salary to go to Amelia's long-term care. The defense attorney thinks this is agreeable. As they leave, Rubirosa calls Cutter a “pushover” for the suspended sentence.

At the allocution hearing, Sandra tells them the story and said she lost her temper and pushed Amelia into the pool. She told Amelia to leave her family and husband alone. When the judge asks Cutter if the people are satisfied, Cutter is looking at Gary and seems to be having some second thoughts, as he does not answer the judge right away. Cutter asks the judge for permission to inquire. He asks how she leaned about the affair. She said when Amelia was giving Lacy a bath, Amelia’s phone rang. She saw it was Gary, she knew the voice mail code for the phone since she programmed it, and found that Amelia and Gary were gong to meet later that day. Cutter presses, and states that meant she confronted her that day. Sandra says no, but says it was the next day when she took Lacy to the pool. When the defense attorney Goodwin questions what is going on, Cutter withdraws the plea offer and stands ready for trial. Everyone is perplexed, but the judge agrees to the trial. Cutter says to Rubirosa, ”Pushover my ass.”

Back at the DA’s office, McCoy tells Cutter, “Pulling the plug in the middle of allocution. I hope you didn’t snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.” Cutter tells them that there was no call from Gary to Amelia that day or any other day, but the night before Amelia drowned, Amelia made a call to a Dr. Lucas Ziering, endocrinologist , it was a one minute call, probably leaving a message The next morning, Sandra Talbot got a call from Dr. Ziering, and was on the line for 20 minutes. He thinks something about that call upset Sandra.

Rubirosa tells them that they found a police report filed by Dr. Ziering about anonymous threats made to his office voice mail. The report was dated two weeks before Amelia was pushed into the pool. Maybe Amelia was leaving another threat. McCoy tells Cutter “a bird in the hand” and the next time a defendant wants to plead guilty let them, and he leaves the room.

At the office of Dr. Lucas Ziering, they are listening to the threatening calls from Amelia, which say something about “changing Lacy’s nature.” Ziering says that the Talbots approached her about restricting Lacy’s physical development, which was estrogen therapy to permanently stunt Lacy’s growth, and the removal of her breast buds and ovaries so her sexual organs would never mature. He is not the first doctor the Talbots came to. He told them to be discreet, and after he got another threatening call he told Sandra that he could not continue Lacy’s treatment. Sandra begged him to reconsider, but he couldn’t risk the publicity. He had to hang up on her. Cutter thinks she found someone else to vent her anger on.

Cutter and Rubirosa confront Gary with the truth, but he doesn’t want to talk about it so other doctors don’t get scared off. Lacy is their little angel. Cutter thinks they came up with the idea for the treatment to avoid the divorce, and Gary tells them to butt out.

Back at the DA’s office, Rubirosa says they traced payments made right before Sandra was arrested and found that some were made to Dr. Emmanuel, so he may have been the next doctor lined up which is why she wanted to stay silent. Cutter wants to stop the treatment, calling it an assault on a handicapped child, but Rubirosa is not sure. Cutter states why he thinks this is horrible, but Jack asks what this has to do with their prosecution of Sandra Talbot. Cutter says it’s one assault to cover another, this latest one on a child. Cutter and McCoy argue, with McCoy saying that they already have Sandra, and the DA’s office focuses on established crimes. After Jack leaves, Cutter says he is amending the complaint to add conspiracy to assault Lacy Talbot. Rubirosa tries to bring him back down to earth, but Cutter is unrelenting.

Meeting with the judge and the defense attorney, they argue Cutter’s actions. The judge is not sure it is a crime but will give Cutter a chance to change the judge's mind. Later, in the court hearing, another doctor discusses the procedure, it’s not sanctioned and she is calling it a slippery slope, and where does it end? Cutter says the convenience of the parents should not be a relevant factor. Another doctor is questioned by the defense, and he explains why the treatment is not problematic, seeing that the child will never have sex nor need her sexual organs in the future. Cuter challenges that the procedure doesn't “cure sickness” which is what doctors are supposed to do.

Sandra also testifies to the care and treatment of Lacy and the costs. She would never intentionally harm Lacy. Under cross by Cutter, he asks if she had a million dollars would she still consider this treatment, and she says it’s about keeping their angel where she belongs, with her family. He talks about the inconvenience with Lacy when she grows older. He hits on the fact that if she had all the money in the world she’d still do the procedure and treatment, as it’s easier to love her now, when she’s small, like a doll. She gets upset on the stand, and the judge excuses her.

Later, Judge Bradley (Peter McRobbie) rules the court is not satisfied that Cutter showed an assault on a child, and the amendment to Cutter’s complaint is denied. The judge also hopes they can reach a plea settlement. Later in the hospital while Cutter sits with the comatose Amelia, Rubirsoa comes in and tells him that Goodwin has agreed to a meeting, and that she thinks the judge was right. Cutter says that since Sandra has pushed Amelia into the pool, she has done nothing but lie and obfuscate, and now her reward is a “green light” to treat her child. Rubirosa says there are no clean hands here. Cutter says sometimes it’s hard to know where justice is but you have to do something, and try to save who you can save.

Back at Cutter’s office, he offers the defense assault two, suspended sentence, 5 years probation. Same terms for Amelia’s care as with the original plea. But, there’s more. He wants agreement that she won’t consent to the procedure with Lacy. The Talbots are outraged, but he says take it or leave it, or they go to trial.

Later, McCoy enters Cutter’s office, clearly angry, and throws some paper on Cutter’s desk and asks for an explanation. Cutter says he’s guessing he already knows, but McCoy continues that because of what Cutter attached to the plea, he violated Mrs. Talbot’s rights. The judge will repudiate it, and when Cutter says he can sell the judge on it, McCoy yells, “I’m repudiating it! You’ve gone completely off the reservation here. “ Cutter counters “Just imitating the master!” and cites similar cases that McCoy handled. McCoy remembers the cases, but he also recalls the judge reaming him out for one of them, and the judge was right. When Cutter says they get paid to follow their instincts, McCoy says, “You get paid to follow orders.” He says it’s time for Cutter to turn the page, but Cutter says he’s moving forward and if he wants to take the case away, that’s McCoy’s call.

At the allocution hearing, the judge expresses that he has reservations with Cutter’s stipulation as parental control and care of their children is a right protected under the 14th amendment. Cutter counters that it is not absolute, it gives way to a compelling state interest. Meanwhile, McCoy has entered the courtroom. The judge says he has already ruled on this issue, and Cutter counters that he ruled the operation isn’t a CRIME, which doesn’t mean the state can’t still take an interest in stopping it. The judge sees McCoy, and McCoy asks for permission to approach. McCoy says he has just been made aware of the substance of the plea agreement. He says his office does not sanction that stipulation and will remove it. He says he would like to apologize to the court and to Mrs. Talbot for the error in judgment. The judge rules that with the removal of the stipulation they can proceed with the plea agreement, while Cutter walks way, clearly frustrated and probably angry.

Later in the office, Cutter stands there alone, waiting for the elevator. Jack approaches, and they stand there silently. He moves toward the elevator button and presses it. He comments on the case that Cutter had previously cited that he “overstepped back then” and “one day, you’ll thank me for yanking your leash, Mike. Sometimes I wish someone had been there to yank mine.” As they stand at the elevator, Cutter still silent, they fade to black.

I admit I was wondering how they were going to work in the ripped from the headline crane collapse and twist it into something else. In this case, we got another ripped from the headlines story where a family wants to medically keep their child in a childlike state so she is easier to manage. I have a family member – a nephew – who is now 20 years old who is severely mentally and partly physically  disabled, and I can’t imagine anyone treating their child for any reason to keep them small just so they are easier to handle. My nephew is almost 6 foot tall now, and yes he has major issues with his care, but the thought of stunting his growth just seems like it would be so barbaric to me. I am glad that Mike went ahead with trying to press the issue and I’m sorry that the law seems to not favor his approach. I’m also a little surprised that Connie and Jack were not completely in their corner. After all, when Jack got reamed for his case years before, things may have changed in the world where maybe people would not take so kindly on such treatment for a child. In a way, I think we are seeing Cutter in the same idealistic place that Jack was at one time, and now, Jack seems to have been hardened a bit by experience, and maybe even his desire to keep his job.

I also am a little perplexed about Jack’s comment at the end that he wished someone had been there to yank his chain. I don’t remember who was DA during the case that Jack was talking about, but the only DA who may have been easy on Jack was Nora Lewin. Schiff was always on Jack’s case, and he also butted heads many times with Branch. Even Lewin didn’t let him get away with murder (so to speak). I guess I would have to know more about the specific case where Jack felt he wasn’t given a proper leash pulling. Frankly, even when his bosses pulled his leash, Jack did what he wanted to anyway. Jack may think he is trying to save Cutter from himself, but maybe it would be better for Cutter to learn his own lessons as Jack did.

This was another case where the second half of the episode was much stronger than the first. Considering that the whole crane collapse was really a red herring, it seemed like the first 20 minutes or so could have been wasted. And since Lupo and Bernard are both low key and there doesn’t seem to be much drama in the first half, the first 30 minutes of the show still remain weak. I still liked the episode a lot; I just wish they could bring a spark to the first half in the same manner that they have the second.

Frankly, I am glad to see Cutter growing more of a backbone and taking charge. While I would like Sam Waterston to be on the show forever, that may not happen, and I think Linus Roache needs to establish a strong character for Cutter so he can become a new draw for the show. While I am disappointed in the stance that Jack took with this case, I can also see where it is necessary for McCoy to start showing the effects that his new job and new role are having on his approach to prosecuting criminals.

Will this matter have any long-term effects on the working relationship between McCoy and Cutter? Let’s hope their small falling out won’t have lasting effects.

Check out my blog home page for the latest Law & Order information, here.

Also, see my companion Law & Order site,These Are Their Stories.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Law & Order SVU “Persona” A Riveting Episode

Now this is what Law & Order should be about – the story, not the actors or the guest stars. And in this case, they delivered an episode that was compelling and filled with drama. We also got a special appearance of the hard-nosed, and apparently hard-hearted Elizabeth Donnelly, which greatly enhanced the story.

First the recap, my full review follows afterwards.

The episode opens with a woman going to a drug store pharmacy to get the morning after pill. When the pharmacy challenges her request, she causes a scene, which brings out security. During her outburst, she claims she was raped. Detectives Benson (Mariska Hargitay) and Stabler (Chris Meloni) are called in, and Stabler instructs security to release the rape victim from the handcuffs. The pharmacist says she is going to press charges, and Stabler tells her not to press her luck.

The detectives take her to the hospital where she is examined. The doctor (Didi Conn) shows them photographs of her injury. The victim, Mia Latimer (Clea Duvall), describes her attack, saying she was threatened with a knife. She describes her attacker as “tall, white, big.” She was told not to look at him. She and her husband were trying to get pregnant and she knew she was ovulating, and she did not want to have the rapist’s baby.

Benson and Stabler arrive at the crime scene where Forensics Tech O'Halloran (Mike Doyle) has already arrived and said the rest of the team already left. He said all he could do was set up the crime scene tape. Someone dumped oil over the area where the attack occurred and if the attack happened where Mia actually said it had, she would have oil all over her clothes, which she didn’t. She lied to them. But, she was clearly injured from a beating, so they concluded the perp was her husband.

At the Latimer residence, Mia answers the door and when asked, says her husband is not home. They confront her with the fact that she lied, and while they are talking, her husband Brent (Nathaniel Marston) arrives home, carrying flowers. They tell him they are investigating burglaries in the area, he says he has good security, back up by several guns. He gives his wife the flowers and kisses her. When Stabler cautions him on keeping his weapons secure, Latimer seems agitated and tells them he can take care of his own home. The detectives decide to talk to the neighbors to get info as “the walls have ears.”

Wheelchair-bound downstairs tenant Jonah Malcolm (Mike Farrell) says he’s a crime buff and makes references to the Hitchcock movie “Rear Window” as his wife Linnie (Brenda Blethyn), joins them. Jonah seems to want to talk; Linnie doesn’t want to get involved. He describes fights at the Latimer’s; also saying Mia had a broken arm last spring. But Linnie is worried that they will get kicked out of their rent-controlled apartment by talking about the matter. When Linnie walks away, Benson follows her and continues to discuss the Latimers. She says she’s afraid of Brent Latimer – he’s a monster, nice on the outside, nasty inside.

Later, we see Mia coming in to Linnie’s place, saying she got her message. But Benson is there, and Mia doesn’t want to talk to her. She says she doesn’t need protection, but Benson offers to help. Benson forces Mia to look at her injuries. Mia says he always says he’s sorry and brings her flowers. Benson tells her that her husband won’t change, and she needs to tell her what really happened. She says he wanted to have sex and to make a baby. He tracks her ovulation, takes her temperature every day. She doesn’t want to have a child with him, but he called her a selfish bitch and beat her. Linnie offers to take care of Mia and tells the to go “arrest the bastard.” They take him off in cuffs.

Latimer is being arraigned, with Benson present. He pleads not guilty, of course. ADA Greyleck (Michaela McManus) argues the case with Latimer’s attorney Trevor Langan (Peter Hermann). The judge sets bail at $50,000, and Greyleck asks for an order of protection for his wife. Benson whispers something to Greyleck, who comes back to the judge and asks for Latimer’s firearms to be surrendered to the NYPD. The judge agrees.

Mia s worried because they let him go, thinking even taking away his guns won’t stop him. Her parents are dead and she has no friends, and Brent cut her off from all the money. Linnie suggests going a shelter, but she refuses. When Benson says she should be OK financially after she files for divorce, Mia tells her she signed a prenup, she married him at 19 and never had a job. Linnie says she deserves someone better. But Mia agrees to go to the a shelter.

At the Domestic Violence Safe House, Benson is telling Mia not to disclose the location to anyone, and tells her the rules. She can have no contact with Brent. Mia feels like she’s in prison, and she knows all about rules – Brent has lots of them.

Back at the squad, Benson mentions to Stabler that going to the safe house should have been Mia’s choice and she pushed her into it. When Stabler mentions that Brent will be going to jail, Langan arrives, and tells them that Mia recanted her charges against Brent – on video, so Brent will be released.

Later, Benson goes to the Latimer residence, and is greeted by Brent. He tries to blow her off, but she says she has a right to see Mia. He lets her in, and calls out to Mia, who arrives looking fresh, perky, and happy, and says everything is fine. She wants to be home with her husband, and says she made a mistake, and Brent forgives her. He says goodbye to Benson, and says to tell her partner he wants his guns back.

Benson goes downstairs in the laundry area to see Linnie, and Linnie is annoyed that Mia doesn’t seem to care. Benson sees a doorway, and Linnie says it’s the old servant’s steps that were left there after they converted the apartment, and they also share the laundry. When Benson looks like she has an idea, Linnie tells her that she can’t stay there, but Benson stays it’s the only way she can protect her. Linnie is unsympathetic, but relents under pressure from Benson.

While she is staying there, Benson hears Brent yelling at Mia. She kicks in the door and tells Brent to put his hands on his head, Mia standing there with a knife in her chest. He says she attacked him. Benson yells for Linnie to call 911, but Mia bleeds out.

Later, at the Latimer home, Cragen (Dann Florek) tries to reassure Benson. As she leaves the apartment with Cragen, Linnie is there, and asks Benson if it was worth it, and she chides her for pushing Mia. But Jonah asks Benson to not let Brent get away with it.

At the crime lab at One Police Plaza, it appears that Brent’s claim of self-defense won’t stand up. But, they did find prints on the kitchen phone that matched an old homicide from 1974. A man named Vincent Cresswell was killed in his sleep by his wife, shot 6 times. His wife Caroline was arrested at the scene, but she fled just before trial and has been a fugitive ever since. The face of that killer is a young Linnie Malcolm.

At the Malcolm residence, Linnie says she has been dreading this for 34 years. She also never told Jonah about it. She said when she escaped, she had nowhere to go, and had no money, spending her last dollar on a bowl of soup. At the squad with Stabler, Jonah recalls meeting her that day, and Linnie is also at the squad, telling Benson that Jonah saved her life as she had no money or friends and was thinking about suicide. She had no family to go home to. They tried to have children but Jonah said she was infertile, but she said she was on the pill, as she could not risk her identity being discovered. Jonah wonders if their marriage is even legal.

She says she met her first husband at an anti-war protest, and after the war ended the world moved on but Vincent was still angry. No one wanted his “bitter poems” and he blamed Linnie for “stifling his muse”. He was into drugs and booze and beat her all the time. He bought a gun and when he was drunk he talked about suicide, one day he said he was going to shoot her and kill himself, and she knew he meant it. She was planning to leave, stashing away change and had almost $50 dollars, and he found it and accused her of selling herself for the money. He raped her, over and over. When he went to sleep, she took the gun from under his pillow and shot him. She still had the gun in her hand when the police broke down the door. She never told anyone he raped her.

Looking from behind the glass, Cragen muses to Greyleck that marital rape wasn’t a crime until 1984 and today this would be ruled self-defense. Greyleck says Linnie will have to face the original indictment but if they can corroborate her story, she is probably looking at probation. A voice from behind states “Over my dead body” and Greyleck says, surprised “Judge Donnelly”. Donnelly (Judith Light) says “Not any more.’ She’s taken a leave of absence to return to the DA’s office for “unfinished business”, meaning Linnie Malcolm AKA Caroline Cresswell.

She enters the room and says “Hello Caroline, remember me?” Benson looks stunned, and Linnie says she knows she was the prosecutor on her original case. Donnelly orders Benson to arrest Linnie for escape in the first degree, and when Benson balks, Donnelly says if she won’t do it, she’ll bring in a detective that isn’t personally involved. Benson arrests her, under her original name.

At arraignment, Donnelly requests remand. The defense requests home confinement with electronic monitoring because Jonah needs her for his care. She is remanded but the defense adds they will be presenting an affirmative defense because Caroline was a battered woman. The judge allows the defense.

In Donnelly’s office, Benson confronts her with the fact that she spent her entire career protecting abused women, and now she is going after one. Donnelly comments “You don’t know, do you?” and asks Benson if she ever asked how Caroline escaped. (She hadn’t.) Caroline asked for a meeting to plea bargain, and then escaped out of the bathroom, Donnelly taking the blame. Her colleagues continue to refer to her rookie mistake as “doing a Donnelly” and said Benson has no idea how it was working in law enforcement back then for a woman. Caroline made her look like a fool, but this is not why she’s going after her. She tells Benson that Linnie “snowed her” but that she snowed her too. Donnelly pulls out a letter fro Caroline and read it, Caroline asking for her help. She wanted to plead guilty but had a problem that she could only speak to her about in private. It was ruse to get her down to her office, she thought. She says Linnie is a smart and manipulative woman.

At Rikers, Benson is talking with Linnie, saying she wants the truth. Linnie says she did not plan to escape, it just happened. She asked why she wrote the letter to Donnelly, but she says she doesn’t remember. She says she deserves to go to jail, but Benson said it was self-defense. She won’t tell Benson why she ran away. Benson says she should help herself for Jonah, he deserves to know the whole story.

She says that after Vincent raped her, she was crying, and he told her to shut up so he could get some sleep. He put the gun under the pillow, and said he knew she liked it, and if she was a good girl she would give him more in the morning. Now on the stand, Linnie continues her story. It didn’t bother him what he did to her. Hurting her was the only thing that made him feel good. She pulled the trigger, and kept seeing him slap her and kick her and rape her, and she kept shooting until those images went away. She only remembers the blood everywhere.

Donnelly begins her cross-examination, and brings out the she never told the police about the rape and the beatings. She says her story is very convenient, and there is no proof. When asked why did didn’t tell that to a jury 34 years ago, she balks. Donnelly states she ran because she was guilty and she knew it. But Linnie counters that she was pregnant. Donnelly challenged that the hormones made her do it, did they make her run, too? She said she ran so she could get an abortion. She said she could not get an abortion in prison, she could not bear the thought of having his child. She came to see Donnelly to see if she could get an abortion, then she would plead guilty. This causes Donnelly to seem to show some concern on her face. Linnie says that Donnelly was so strong and self-confident that she was ashamed of her weakness. She couldn’t tell her, how could a woman like Donnelly ever understand a woman like herself?

The verdict comes in. Murder in the second degree – not guilty. Escape in the first degree – guilty. When the judge says they will meet later for sentencing, Donnelly stands up and declares the people will be recommending probation. The judge will hear her reasoning, and adds she tends to agree with her.

As Donnelly goes to leave, Linnie asks her why. Donnelly says back in the days when she was trying so hard to be one of the boys, she forgot why she became a lawyer. Linnie also thanks Benson for her help. Linnie calls to Jonah saying it’s over, but Jonah asks when she had the abortion. She says it was when he went to Seattle, he left her money. He’s angry that all the decisions they made were based on a lie. He wanted children and grandchildren and now he will never have them. She says she is sorry, but he says he doesn’t know her. She asks for his forgiveness, but he can’t, and he leaves., leaving Linnie standing alone.

I was surprised how quickly I was pulled into this episode. At first, when the pharmacists gave the woman a hard time about wanting the day after pill, I thought that we were going to get dragged into another preachy episode. But when the woman asking for the drug says she was raped, and it turned into a case of spousal abuse, the story got interesting. By the way, my own opinion is that pharmacists should just dispense what they are instructed, and if they have problems with that then they shouldn’t be in that line of work. In this woman’s case where she was raped, she shouldn’t have to explain to anyone, least of all a pharmacist, why she needs the drug. I also thought that this didn’t give the woman the right to get violent with the pharmacist, so Stabler really shouldn’t have been going off on them for restraining her after she became violent. Stabler shouldn’t be assuming that the woman, just because she said she was raped, was a victim.

I’m also not sure why they leapt at the assumption that it was Mia’s husband who was abusing her. I can understand where they may have assumed she knew her attacker, seeing that he rape claims didn’t match the crime scene. But, these annoying details aside, I was pleasantly surprised to see Nathaniel Marston pull off a decent performance as the over-controlling husband.

Olivia, of course, still seems to meddle when maybe she should not have. I can see that by seeing victims of abuse on a regular basis would make her push hard to get the victim away from her abuser. In this case, it backfired, because the victim herself wasn’t ready for a new life away from her abusive husband and an otherwise stable life and home. I can see where someone who has never worked and is living in a nice home, with financial security and nice things would not want to leave it for an uncertain life, even when it’s an abusive household. Olivia didn’t seem to take this into account, and as a result, Mia left the safe house to return to a more certain life, albeit one with abuse.

I also am amazed that the detectives always seem to have so much time to work a case that they are able to even go so far as to stay in the victim’s building in order to catch the abuse. I suppose it’s no different from a stakeout, only staying inside the home and not outside. Lucky for Olivia that the abuse happened quickly afterwards, but with a sad ending. It’s also nice to see that it takes more than one kick to knock down a door in New York City, even from someone as tough as Olivia.

But, since the previews highlighted the guest star Brenda Blethyn, I knew that something more was coming, and was bracing myself for a twist that would ruin what seemed like a decent story. I’m glad to say that this time I was wrong. For a change, even though the guest star becomes the center of the story, I thought that Blethyn turned in a riveting performance as a woman who herself was the victim of abuse, and also someone who committed a murder years before because of that abuse. Unlike the appearance a few weeks ago with Ellen Burstyn, Blethyn was completely believable in her role, and, in a way, kept viewers hanging on whether she killed because of the abuse, or if it was just a con.

Also a great addition to the show was the hardened Elizabeth Donnelly, played perfectly by Judith Light. I didn’t realize judges could take a leave to be a temporary prosecutor, but I really didn’t mind, seeing that I think Donnelly is 1,000 times better than Greyleck, who I don’t care for as a prosecutor. I really miss Judith Light on the show and I am always pleased when they bring her back even if only for short appearances. Since Donnelly has worked Special Victims for so long, I can understand why Olivia was puzzled that Donnelly seemed to be going so doggedly after Linnie. I though that putting the question in the viewers mind about Linnie’s motives, though, was the one thing that gave the show some much needed drama, something that has been absent for quite some time.

It was interesting that Linnie was faced with the same problem that Mia was faced in the beginning of the episode – unwanted pregnancies from abusive spouses. In this day, Mia can fix it with a pill, where Linnie was faced with having to bargain away a justifiable murder in order to attempt to get it. When Linnie mentioned that this was the real reason she wanted to plea bargain with Donnelly, and the chance to escape just seemed to present itself, the realization of the real mistake Donnelly made was apparent on her face. Had Donnelly been able to stand up to the ridicule of having someone escape from her, maybe she would not have assumed all those years that Linnie was guilty. In a way, her own verbal abuse from men made her take it out on someone else, and maybe she wasn’t the strong woman she thought she was.

It was also heart wrenching to see Linnie’s husband Jonah decide to leave her because of her lies to him. I suppose that was expected, but still, Mike Farrell and Blethyn played the scene very powerfully.

This wasn’t a traditional case – no Munch and Fin, either – but at least we didn’t get sucked into some sort of Stabler or Benson melodrama or cheesy contrived situations or evidence. This case was all about the crimes and the people involved in those crimes. For a change, it was about the special victims.

Check out my blog home page for the latest Law & Order information, on All Things Law And Order.

Also, see my companion Law & Order site,These Are Their Stories.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Dick Wolf Honored at the International Emmys

As I mentioned a few weeks ago on my companion blog, ,These Are Their Stories, Dick Wolf was presented with the International Emmy Founders Award at last night’s International Emmys in New York City. It was originally announced that Jeff Goldblum would attend, but I don’t see any evidence he was there. But there were quite a few of other Law & Order franchise cast members available. There were also some members of the franchise who were also presenters for other awards.

Sam Waterston presented the special International Emmy Founders Award to Wolf, and was joined onstage Monday night at the New York Hilton Hotel by his co-star Linus Roache, plus Dann Florek, Tamara Tunie and Michaela McManus from Law & Order SVU.

Here are a few pictures from the event. Hopefully more will be available to share with you soon.

Dick Wolf and Judith Light

Julianne Nicholson

Sam Waterston (Reuters)

Check out my blog home page for the latest Law & Order information, here.

Also, see my companion Law & Order site,These Are Their Stories.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Law & Order, SVU Episode Information Update for November and December

There have been quite a few schedule changes and additions for the Law & Order franchise for the months of November and December so I thought I’d update the whole list. Not all of the episode information is available and I will update this listing as quickly as information is released. An episode titled “Falling” has appeared on the NBC listings for November 26, but no episode information can be found anywhere. The December episode titled “Zero” which was originally scheduled to air on December 3 has been replaced in the schedule by “Knockoff”, and “Zero” has been moved to December 17. A new L&O episode named “Sweetie” has been added to the December schedule. (Are you still with me?)

I should start publishing these listings with the disclaimer “subject to change without notice.” I sympathize a bit with NBC, seeing that they decided to start the L&O season earlier than originally planned, but they are making fans like me a little crazy trying to help keep other fans informed. If anyone can help fill in the blanks for me on “Falling” I would be grateful.


LAW & ORDER SVU “Persona” Airdate November 25, 2008
Note: The episode originally scheduled for this date and time, “PTSD,” has been moved to December 2.


Mia Lorimer (guest star Clea Duvall) claims to have been raped in attempt to hide being abused by her husband, Brett Lorimer (guest star Nathaniel Marston). Their tenants, Joanh (guest star Mike Farrell) and Linnie Malcolm (guest star Brenda Blethyn), are aware of the abuse, but in fear of being evicted, do not report it. With the help of Linnie, Detective Benson gets Mia to confess to being beaten by Brent, and sends her to a battered women’s shelter. After Brett is arrested and makes bail, Mia returns to her husband and drops all charges to Detective Benson’s dismay. Devoted to Mia’s safety, Detective Benson hides in the secret stairway of the Lorimer, leading her to come across another case of spousal abuse and murder. Also starring: Richard Belzer (Detective John Much), Dann Florek (Captain Donald Cragen), Ice-T (Detective Odafin Tutuola), Michaela McManus (A.D.A Kim Greylek), Tamara Tunie (Dr. Melinda Warner), and B.D. Wong (Dr. George Huang).

Show Cast: Chris Meloni, Mariska Hargitay, Dann Florek, Richard Belzer, Ice T, Tamara Tunie, Michaela McManus

My recap and review of “Persona“ can be found here.

LAW & ORDER SVU “PTSD” Airdate December 2, 2008

Detective Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay) is put to the test when pregnant Corporal Jessica Crewes disappears from her post as a Marine, and is about to give birth to her rapist’s child. When Jessie is found dead in the trunk of her car, Navy Commander Grant Marcus (guest star Frank Whaley) attempts to take over proceedings, but Detective Benson and ADA Kim Greylek (Michaela McManus) must fight together and stand their ground to keep the case within the SVU squad. With flashbacks of sexual assault, Detective Benson soon realizes that her past may stir up painful emotions that threaten her ability to remain professional, and enlists the help of Detective Odafin Tutulola (Ice-T) to find Jessie’s killer. Also starring: Chris Meloni, Richard Belzer, Dann Florek, Ice-T, Michaela McManus, Tamara Tunie, and B.D. Wong

My recap and review of “PTSD “ can be found here.

Law & Order SVU “Smut” Air Date December 9, 2008

Kelly Sun (guest star Kelly Hu) is found wandering Riverside Park, beaten and raped, and has no memory of what happened. Detective Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay) discovers Sun was on her way to Korea, but never boarded her flight and instead is found leaving the airport with mystery man, Eric Lutz (guest star Michael Trucco). Lutz becomes an immediate suspect, and with further probing, the detectives find amateur pornographic videos on Lutz's computer. Detective Elliot Stabler (Chris Meloni) and Detective Benson search for incarcerating evidence against Lutz, but each of his victims from the videos suffer from memory loss from the attack. Attempting to trace the other women in the videos, the detectives must re-inform each victim of their attack in order to get their testimony to catch Lutz. Struggling to remind each victim of their rape, Detective Benson must face the fact that she still thinks like a victim, and get the testimony of one victim in particular, Laurel Andrews (guest star Christy Pusz), to put Lutz away for good. Also starring: Richard Belzer (Detective John Much), Dann Florek (Captain Donald Cragen), Ice-T (Detective Odafin Tutuola), Michaela McManus (A.D.A Kim Greylek), Tamara Tunie (Dr. Melinda Warner), and B.D. Wong (Dr. George Huang).

My recap and review of “Smut “ can be found here.


Law & Order “Falling” Airdate November 26, 2008

No episode information as yet. This seems to be a late addition to the schedule, as originally no episode was scheduled to air on this date.

Update 11/24 - here is some sketchy information: The detectives investigate the mystery of a falling construction crane in the city and that leads them to something much more sinister.

TV Guide: The probe of a fatal construction-crane collapse becomes an investigation into an attempted murder.

My recap and review of “Falling “ can be found here.

Law & Order “Knock Off” Airdate December 3, 2008

A tourist from upstate New York has come to the city to settle his past, but his trip ends quickly when he is suspiciously murdered. When Detectives Bernard (Anthony Anderson) and Lupo (Jeremy Sisto) travel upstate to New York they find more to the story. A.D.A Michael Cutter (Linus Roache) and Detective Lupo (Sisto) believe the town's crowned king of drug busting is Sheriff John Burkhart (Guest Star Clancy Brown) and his deputies are involved in the murder but have no way to prove it when the case becomes a game of dirty politics. D.A. Jack McCoy (Sam Waterston) faces new competition when a new District Attorney is nominated for the election. Also stars Alana de la Garza and S. Epatha Merkerson.

My recap and review of “Knock Off “ can be found here.

Law & Order “Sweetie” Airdate December 10, 2008

Detectives Lupo (Jeremy Sisto) and Bernard's (Anthony Anderson) search for "Sweetie Ness'" killer leads them to Lauren Claiborne (Taylor Gildersleeve), part of the entourage at the club where "Sweetie Ness" was last seen alive. Janice Dunlap (Guest Star Heather Matarazzo), a stalker who had sent "Sweetie" poems and had followed him that night and Kate Tenny (Guest Star Vivica Fox), "Sweetie's" agent, who has her own motives. Seeking the identity of the blond man forces Lupo and Bernard to dig deeper into victim's past and the possibility that "Sweetie Ness" was an imposter killed by the real "Sweetie Ness." With a defense witness willing to perjure herself to protect the prime suspect and a web of lies and deceit to untangle, A.D.A.'s Michael Cutter (Linus Roache) and Connie Rubirosa (Alana De La Garza) face one of their toughest challenges in bringing the real killer to justice. Also stars S. Epatha Merkerson and Sam Waterston.

My recap and review of “Sweetie “ can be found here.

Law and Order “Zero” Airdate December 17, 2008


Detective Lupo (Jeremy Sisto) and Detective Bernard (Anthony Anderson) are called to a crime scene where Nancy Hartwig (guest star Leah Curney) has been found murdered. They find out her husband insisted the family live environmentally friendly to avoid leaving a heavy carbon footprint. However, Nancy’s support of her husband is soon called into question when the detectives discover that she used her car to chauffeur her sister and had drinks at a bar one evening, which her husband wouldn’t allow. The victim’s missing car turns up with a dead passenger and drugs inside, sending the case in a completely different direction that leaves the detectives scrambling to piece everything together. During the trial, ADA Michael Cutter (Linus Roache) also begins to suspect an old friend, Judge Reynolds’ (guest star Ned Beatty) clerk Carly (guest star Sherry Stringfield), and even the judge himself of obstructing justice, creating even more turmoil in the case. Also starring: Sam Waterston, S. Epatha Merkerson and Alana De La Garza.
My recap and review of “Zero“ can be found here.

Check out my blog home page for the latest Law & Order information, here.

Also, see my companion Law & Order site,These Are Their Stories.

Jeremy Sisto, Anthony Anderson Video Interview

Here’s a short interview where Law & Order’s Jeremy Sisto and Anthony Anderson talk about being the new detectives on the show.

Check out my blog home page for the latest Law & Order information, here.

Also, see my companion Law & Order site,These Are Their Stories.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Law & Order “Lost Boys” A Fundamental Case

This is the second week in a row that the simplicity of the Law & Order mothership seemed to succeed over its SVU counterpart in telling a better story. “Lost Boys” took some of its story from previous real-life headlines of life in a polygamist sect. In this case, Law & Order added a murder and a possible kidnapping.

First the recap, and my review will follow afterwards.

The episode opens with two young men outside a storefront. They are conservatively dressed. One says to the other he is going to get them get home. We then see one of the boys dead in the park from an apparent stab wound to the chest. He looks too groomed too be homeless.

Back at the 2-7, Detectives Lupo (Jeremy Sisto) and Bernard (Anthony Anderson) listen to the 911 call where the murder was reported. The caller’s voice is female, and she didn’t stick around for help to arrive. They have no ID on the boy, but the 911 records indicate the caller was Monica Vance from the East Village. When the talk to Monica, she said someone borrowed her phone to make her call. Lupo sees blood on the phone and says they have to take it. When she complains about them taking her phone, Bernard says they will be taking her along too to get more information on the person who borrowed her phone.

ME Rogers (Leslie Hendrix) tells the detectives that the boy wasn’t stabbed with a knife, but something thicker and wider. Lupo finds a key stamped “Hudson Hardware” in the victim's belongings. They pay the store a visit. A man at the store identifies the key as a front door key for the Sherman street lofts. He’s made 8 of those keys already this week, but does not recognize the victim. They go to the lofts and one of the guys they stop didn’t know the girl from the artist drawing but says the guy hangs out with a kid who helps the super. They approach the kid, Patrick, and he identifies the victim as Caleb (Colton Parsons), who he said hasn’t been home since yesterday. They tell him he was found dead in Central Park. Caleb’s brother Luke (Tolan Aman) is there. Bernard says he is sorry for his loss, and when he touches Luke, Luke flinches. He asks Luke to identify the body, and Patrick asks to go with him.

At the 2-7, Patrick says Caleb said he was going to the movies with Luke and doesn’t know why he’d be in the park. Lupo shows him the picture of the girl, and Patrick doesn’t know her. He says Caleb and Luke have only been there two weeks, and they are from a place in Arizona called Boyd Canyon. He knows them from there, but Patrick has been in the city for 3 years. He doesn’t know how Lupo can reach Caleb's his parents.

Bernard is questioning Luke separately, and Luke said Caleb told him to wait for him after the movies. He’d never been to a movie before. He also doesn’t want to talk anymore. Bernard asks him if he’s seen the girl before, and he says no. But he wants to leave, and Bernard tells him they have to call his parents. Luke wants to talk to the other policeman. When Bernard asks why, Luke says it’s because Lupo is more like him. Bernard says you mean slim, but he knows it’s because Lupo is white. He thinks Luke is afraid because Bernard is black. Luke tries to flee, but Van Buren (S. Epatha Merkerson) helps Bernard to stop him. In doing so, Bernard rips Luke’s shirt, and sees some sort of clothing underneath his shirt with markings on it.

Later. Van Buren is on a web site talking about the “Garments of the Holy Priesthood” that describes the markings having a backward right angle over the right breast, a backwards V over the left breast, and a dash at the navel, same as the markings on the boy’s . It appears to be like Mormon sacred undergarments, but the markings appear to have been made by hand by the kids. Bernard thinks it fits because Luke had never been to a movie and was fearful of him because he was black. Van Buren reminds them that Mormons go to movies like everyone else and have accepted blacks long ago. But they could be Mormon fundamentalists, living in isolated compounds. ‘With homemade magic underwear” Bernard adds.

They are back to questioning Patrick, and he doesn’t respond. Lupo tells him he hope he doesn’t mind sleeping next to rapists and murderers. Patrick says “True Path”; that they were in the church of the True Path. But he doesn’t know the girl. He wants to take Luke back but Lupo tells him that Luke has to go to foster care. Patrick says he’s 21, and he’s his brother. He says his father is Josiah Friendly, and his mother is Leah Friendly. He mentions other women’s names, and Lupo asks if they are polygamists. Patrick says, “that’s what YOU call him. “ But Luke still can’t go with Patrick, and Lupo says Luke has to go back. But Patrick says they don’t want him back, he’ll just get sent away again. They were all sent away because Wyatt Landon, the prophet, said they were all sinners. He told a girl in the church he liked her. A boy is not allowed to talk to the girls; the adult men want the girls all for themselves. He then asks for a phone call for a lawyer.

Bernard has found that the ticket taker at the movie theater who remembers Luke going in but not coming out. Lupo gives Bernard and Van Buren them the news on the big happy polygamist family. The call to the lawyer places him in Sloatsburg, and Van Buren sends them there.

Visiting the home of Joan and Brian Weimer in Sloatsburg, they tell the detectives they are not lawyers, they just help boys who have been thrown out of the True Path. They call them the lost boys, growing up isolated. Caleb and Luke stayed with them only a short time, but then they sent them to stay with Patrick and John because they didn’t have room. They did not recognize the girl in the sketch, and specified they only take in boys. But Bernard asks who the pink blouse on the laundry line belongs to, and Brian tells Joan they have to trust the police.

In the house, Joan calls from behind a closed door to Michelle (Jena Malone), telling her not to be afraid, the police just want to talk to her. It’s the girl from the park. She admits to the 911 call, and says she has to come with them. But Joan tells them Michelle is in great danger; she’s one of Wyatt’s wives who ran away.

At the 2-7, Michelle says Caleb was already hurt when she found him. He couldn’t talk and she went to get help. She left because she was afraid if she talked, Wyatt would find out where she was. She was supposed to meet Caleb and said he had a way to get her babies back, Eric who is 3, and Ephraim who is 18 months old. She had to leave them behind as Wyatt would not let them go. She was 16 when she married Wyatt, who was 52. She was his sixth wife. And she was expected to make babies for him and she did not want to. She did not want that life.

Caleb said Wyatt was saying Michelle's children were sick to received state assistance and she says they were not ill. Caleb had papers to prove this and if she showed them to a lawyer they could be used against Wyatt to get her kids back. She was supposed to meet Caleb to get the papers but missed her bus, and was late. Caleb was already hurt when she arrived. She told no one she was meeting him. The papers were not with Caleb when she found him.

The detectives and Van Buren assume someone may have taken the papers. They think Caleb’s brother may know something. But, when they talk to Luke, he said Caleb didn’t say anything about the Michelle, just to wait for him after the movie. Lupo tells Luke he is going to go home to Boyd canyon, and Luke resists. He says Caleb is the one who wanted to go home. He was going to fix it so he could go home by giving the prophet what he wanted – Michelle. Caleb was going to do something to her, and then “the Prophet” would take Caleb back. When asked if he told anyone about this, he said he told Patrick, because Michelle is why Patrick was sent away. Patrick wanted to marry Michelle but the prophet threw him out.

They get back to the home, but Patrick seems to have taken off. They lost their "lost boy.” Lupo asks to check the computer’s history; it seems Patrick has been checking buses to West Virginia; there is a safe house there.

They get Patrick back in the precinct. He denies knowing anything. Lupo throws the bible at him and asks him to swear he was not in the park that night and asks him to swear on the good book. He says nothing. Bernard takes his hand, and said if he went there to help Michelle it was the righteous thing to do. He admit he followed Caleb into the park to talk to him and make sure he didn’t hurt Michelle but he wouldn’t listen to him. Patrick said Caleb fought him. He did not have a weapon on him, but Bernard said maybe it was a “persuader” in case he had to stop Caleb from hurting Michelle. Again, he says it was a righteous thing. Patrick admits he had the wood chisel from the super’s toolbox.

In court, Patrick is being arraigned. The defense lawyer says the police said his actions were righteous, but ADA Rubirosa (Alana De la Garza) says they were just working a suspect. Bail is set at 1 million dollars.

At the precinct, Rubirosa tells them the defense will claim justification and asks if Patrick had a weapon. But nothing was found near the body. Bernard sees an object in a crime scene photo and sees a can of Sinclair motor oil. Sinclair’s’ headquarters is in is Salt Lake City, the home of the Mormon church. Was this a signal?

Bernard and Lupo are checking what appear to be park surveillance tapes, and see two male adults parked in a van near where Caleb is killed. The plan may have been to walk her out of the park and let the van snatch her. They check the plate numbers on the van, and it leads them to a car rental company. They arrive at some sort of RV park, and Lupo sees an RV with a plate for Greentree county, where Boyd Canyon is located. Lupo and Bernard question two men sitting outside an RV, and they say they are on a pilgrimage and say Palmyra is the birthplace of the Mormon church. Bernard asks them about the van, and they said they did drive into the city but parked a car and took a nap, But Bernard says the van was registered to Wyatt Landon and no one else was authorized to drive it. Wyatt Landon (Colm Meany) opens the RV door and identifies himself as Wyatt and asks what is the problem. They ask him if he knows Caleb and he does - he spoke to him three weeks ago when he asked to leave, and denies he spoke to him about Michelle. Lupo says Michelle is cute – and young – and he understands why Wyatt would want her back. He is clearly trying to agitate Wyatt. Wyatt tells the two men to go back into the RV, but Bernard informs Henry and Levi they are being arrested for unauthorized use of a vehicle. Bernard also tells Wyatt not to leave Palmyra. Wyatt says "Persecution and harassment are nothing new to me. Have a blessed day.”

EADA Cutter (Linus Roach), Rubirosa, and DA Jack McCoy (Sam Waterston) are outside snacking and talking about the case. They are looking for ways to get Landon and Palmyra is holding them. Cutter says if Landon put the kidnap scheme into motion, it’s why Caleb was murdered, so they could charge Landon with felony murder. Jack tells him that Landon’s fingerprints need to be all over this. Rubirosa say there was a 16-minute phone call 2 days before the murder from a public phone in the RV park to a public phone near Caleb’s loft. Jack says that’s not evidence. Cutter says Landon has to be the mastermind but a frustrated McCoy says that is not evidence. They need an overt act by Landon.

Cutter and Rubirosa tell Michelle that Caleb seems to have been in on trying to kidnap her. They ask if Wyatt threatened her, and she said he told her she would suffer celestial punishment if she didn’t come back. He had a vision of it. Michelle is worried about Patrick's case and is told his chances are not good. But Michelle said what Caleb said about Wyatt stealing money from the state just sounded so right. Caleb said Wyatt told the state her son Eric had asthma, but he doesn’t, and Wyatt faked it to aggravate Eric’s allergy to make it look like asthma to the state nurse. She says only she, and Wyatt, know about Eric’s allergy. Cutter says, “we got him.”

In arraignment court, Rubirosa is arguing the charges against Wyatt, Henry, and John, with Cutter standing by. She says they are polygamists with no ties to the community. The defendants are remanded. But the defense lawyer throws in a wrench when he says the wife of Wyatt (Michelle) is a flight risk and asks she be produced before the trial. Wyatt should be able to confront the witnesses against him. The judge reminds Cutter it is in the 6th Amendment, and she orders her appearance. Rubirosa says to Cutter, “ We just delivered the lamb to the lion.”

Back at the Cutter’s conference area, Patrick’s attorney argues that their actions support that Patrick did save Michelle from danger. She asks if a plea offer is coming. Cutter expects help from Patrick for his deal, and Patrick’s lawyer whispers to him and he begins to talk. He says that Caleb said "we won’t hurt her,” they just wanted her back. Cutter fixes on the word “we” and asks him if he was certain Caleb used it. He is.

In jail, Cutter and Rubirosa are talking to Landon, who says he was in Palmyra at the time of the his friend’s activities. But Cutter thinks his friends won’t keep lying for him. Cutter also threatens to educate the jury about what really goes on with True Path. But the defense throws out a motion to exclude the testimony, based on his client’s religious practices. He hopes Cutter has a “plan B.”

Back in the judge’s chambers, the judge grants the defense motion, and there will be no mention of polygamy. In McCoy’s office, he tells Cutter the judge did him a favor, that it’s a murder kidnap case. Rubirosa think he did Jack a favor by sucking the controversy out of the case. Jack states dryly, “Did he? Never occurred to me.” But Cutter and Rubirosa argue the point, with Rubirosa calling polygamy abominable. But Jack thinks some anthropologists thinks that men are hardwired for multiple partners and maybe polygamists are just “steering into the skid.” (Yeah Jack, you just keep telling yourself that. We know how YOU are wired.)Rubirosa counters that Jack must be kidding, but all he wants them to know is that the issue is a hornet’s nest, and to make the case without it.

Talking to Michelle, Cutter explains the recent events. She hates being in the hotel but it is for her safety. Rubirosa arrives and tells Cutter that Greentree County issued an arrest warrant for Michelle for child abandonment and the DA is there to take custody. Michelle is concerned, but Rubirosa says it’s only to the county and they have to fly her back to testify. But she is worried because the police will do whatever Wyatt says. He thinks she will never get back.

At another motion hearing, they are fighting the extradition. Cutter argues that they are only trying to prevent her from testifying. The DA thinks Cutter is implying his office is corrupt. But despite the arguments the judge is finding them hard to take at face value. Cutter says he is ready to present evidence about the compound, but the defense argues the court already ruled that testimony on his religious practices is prejudicial. But Cutter reminds him that was before a jury, and there is no jury there now. The judge agrees with Cutter and he will hear Cutter’s witnesses before he rules on the motion. Rubirosa is displeased, though, because Cutter did exactly what Jack told him not to by bringing in the religion issue. But, she also has no objection about his actions.

At the hearing, Michelle is on the stand. She describes having to make her wedding dress in the middle of the night and get married that next day because he mother told her to. She wanted to get out. Her life with Landon was horrid, until she made peace with it that there was no way out. She describes her first sexual encounter. She also says she loves her children. But she justified leaving them as she knew her sister wives would take good care of them until she could get them away. Cutter asks about being safe with Greentree's DA McAllister, but she says she will never be seen again, and she is worried what Wyatt will make her do in his bedroom.

Under questioning from McAllister, she says she didn’t want to marry Wyatt, it as more like rape. But then he twists things and says that she left her children in a community of rapists. He says the county is just asking her to be a good mother.

Wyatt takes the stand, and says he filed the complaint because her children need her. She will be forgiven. He says she hid on her wedding night because she wasn’t good enough to be the prophet’s wife. Under cross from Cutter, Cutter makes comments that Wyatt may have a predilection for young girls. Wyatt denies it, saying his wives just have to be healthy enough to bear children. Cutter tries to get at what will happen to Michelle if she refuses to live according to what Wyatt says is “God’s Plan.” He brings up Patrick Friendly, and why Patrick was really banished.

The judge is ready to rule. His is concerned for her human rights, and he says he doubts Greentree county would make her available to testify. He quashes the arrest warrant from Greentree County.

When it’s over, Michelle is slow to get up, and Rubirosa asks what’s wrong, and Michelle says she’s happy, but her stomach is bothering her. Rubirosa realizes Michelle is pregnant, and Michelle said she just told Patrick yesterday.

Cutter gloats to McCoy, but McCoy reminds him that he only won the motion - the trial is another matter. Rubirosa walks in and drops the bomb that Michelle is pregnant by Patrick Friendly. McCoy says Landon’s lawyer will use it to impugn Michelle’s credibility. Cutter is handed paperwork from Landon's lawyer to force her to get an ultrasound to determine the age of Michelle’s fetus. Later, in Judge Landsberg's chambers the defense argues their point with the judge and the judge agrees with the defense.

The test shows it is Landon's baby. Michelle says she will go home with Wyatt and have the baby. She wants to raise all her kids together. Now she thinks she needs Wyatt, and thinks it’s God’s plan. She thinks she is letting them down, but Cutter gets on her, saying she is letting down all the young girls who will get married off like her. Rubirosa urges him to back off.

In McCoy’s office, Jack says that “Landon is the devil she knows” and Cutter says Landon will annihilate her. Rubirosa says Michelle is doing this for the kids, and Cutter counters that they can’t let her. McCoy says, “yes, we can. This may be the last decision she makes of her own free will. And we’ll honor it. “ Since they have Caleb’s murderer, Jack tells Cutter to dismiss the charges against Landon and his co-defendants. “It’s over,” Jack adds.

The judge dismisses the charges. As Cutter and Rubirosa leave the courtroom, Michelle is there, waiting. Landon calls for he and says, “Let’s go. We’re leaving,” and gives a cold stare to Cutter and Rubirosa. Michelle trails behind.

I liked this episode. It wasn’t an action packed thriller, but it was a simple case with a story that was easy to follow. In contrast with the SVU episode from the night before (”Wildlife) which had too many twists, turns, and contrivances, “Lost Boys” seemed to be more grounded and direct in its story. Granted, it wasn’t very exciting, in fact, it was rather dull. But I thought Colm Meaney was a great choice for the role of the creepy prophet Wyatt Landon. The supporting cast as a whole seemed to do a great job with their roles. What I like about Law & Order so far this season is that it doesn’t seem to need to bring in bigger stars to prop up a story.

It is also interesting to see Cutter and Rubirosa become a little more independent. While they still consult with Jack – he is, after all, the ever-wise DA – Cutter seems more comfortable in making choices that may be counter to Jack’s advice when he has the right opening. His opportunity to bring religion into the mix was the right choice, even though Rubirosa reminded him it’s not what Jack wanted. Of course, she seemed to be in Cutter’s corner on the issue as well. But, I almost choked with laughter when Jack seemed to try to rationalize his own many marriages by saying that maybe men are hard wired for polygamy.

The religious references were not overpowering to me. Usually they like to take religion and beat everyone on the head with it. While this did attempt to offer commentary on what is considered the strange side of Mormonism (“magic underwear”), more specifically the fundamentalists, I thought that the real horror was not the faith in this case but the creepy Wyatt Landon, who Cutter tried very hard to portray as a pedophile who likes young girls, hiding behind a cloak of religion. Of course, a faith that allows something like this to occur seems like it would deserve scrutiny.

Jack played a back seat again, but I still think that they are giving him some of the better lines in the episode. It could be because his character is so developed that the lines come more naturally, or it could be because he’s now the big boss and he’s supposed to be the guy with all the smart answers. Still, I am not sure how the second half of the show would be without Jack McCoy peppered in here and there.

The first half of the show still is missing a bit of a spark. Sisto and Anderson both seem to do well in their roles, but they are both so low key that as a pair, they seem somewhat lifeless. They need one of those two to come out of their shell and liven things up a bit. I think Anderson could do it better than Sisto.

The series does need a little more life. The episodes are good but they could be better. The season opener was a great example of what the show can do and what they should do. But, I don’t want them to become like SVU, where SVU focuses on bringing in stars, or focusing only on Meloni and Hargitay at the expense of the story. Law & Order is good, but it doesn’t seem to be delivering the drama in some cases. I think we need to stir up some trouble in the Law & Order universe. Maybe we can get Lupo or Bernard to do it? They seem ready for some action. Right now, the show can use it.

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Also, see my companion Law & Order site,These Are Their Stories.

Law & Order SVU “Wildlife” A Wild Turkey

OK, how about this for a recap. Pretty twins come to the big city to be models. One gets hit by a car, gets a scar and can’t model, the other helps smuggle endangered animals to make money. Smuggler twin is killed, pointing them to hip hop boy who likes wild animals. He gets eaten by a hyena that vomits his bling. Stabler goes undercover, makes wife angry. Benson plays hooker and she and Stabler appear semi-clothed. Stabler gets made as a cop, gets shot by bad-aiming smuggler, recovers, wife never seen at his side while he is in hospital. A million dollar primate is smuggled in via basketball and Cragen saves it and gets a hug, while Stabler gets one bad guy and Benson finds out the other bad guy is really not a bad guy but also working undercover to catch the real smugglers who are in prison, so she decides to save him from falling off a building. Elliot goes home to a crying baby.

Did I miss anything? Now really, if you saw this episode and tried to put it into a paragraph, it would sound just as silly as what I wrote above. All kidding aside, I really did do a recap, and I also have my review at the end of this train wreck, so stay with me.

The episode opens with a group of people standing over someone. We are seeing the scene through the person’s eyes as they lay on the ground. We see, from that person’s eyes, as they are rushed into the hospital for treatment. We see Benson at the door of the hospital room, whispering, “I’m his partner” as the camera pans to show Stabler on the gurney, being tended to.

Go back one week earlier, Detectives Stabler (Chris Meloni) and Benson (Mariska Hargitay) arrive at a crime scene. A woman has been shot dead, but she also has strange slash wounds. ME Warner (Tamara Tunie) finds saliva in the cuts, which she sends to DNA. They find photo head shots of the victim and assume she may be a model. They find a dead bird in the victim’s purse. Is it a mob message, as Stabler says “Dead birds don’t sing?”

At the morgue, Warner tells Stabler and Benson that some of the saliva appears to be from a dog bite, but the other can’t be identified so she sent it off for further identification. She also shows them a club stamp on the victim’s body, a circle with an S, which is for a club called “Supple”, a nightclub owned by mobster Michael Solano. Stabler will take Fin to the club since he knows the club scene; Benson will show the victims head shots to modeling agencies to help identify her.

Stabler and Fin (Ice-T) arrive at the Supple Nightclub, and after the owner makes a derogatory comment about police, they show him the victim’s picture. He denies seeing her, but thinks his “wrangler” who keeps the place packed, knows her. He points them to Oscar Assadorian (played by Carlos Leon, in the probably quickest appearance of a Law & Order franchise “repeat offender”, as Leon played a murder victim in the previous weeks Law & Order episode ”Challenged” ).

When Stabler and Fin question Assadorian, he identifies the victim as Natalie Bleer, and he takes them to her apartment, where many of the girls share a place to crash. When one of the girls who lives there finds out Natalie is dead, she makes a move to claim her clothes, and tries to take a large duffel type bag. Fin stops her, saying it’s evidence. But Stabler sees a cell phone, and said they already found one at the scene. They assume Natalie had one cell phone for personal use, and one for “business.” One number is repeatedly dialed on the cell phone, and Stabler calls it but when it’s answered, no one speaks and they hang up when Stabler says hello. Since they can track the cell phone while it’s in use. They go back to the squad and it’s discovered the phone has stopped at the Pounding Ezra Café.

Arriving at the café, they come upon a weird looking blond guy chatting on a phone outside the café. They show him a picture of Natalie and he says he just saw her. When the detectives look skeptical and ask where, he points inside the café, and a Natalie look-alike. They stop her, and discover she is Natalie’s sister, Anna Bleer (Caitlin Fitzgerald).

Later, at the squad, they talk to Anna about her and her sister, It seems they came to New York to be models, but Anna was hit by someone who ran a red light and got a scar on her face, so they decided Natalie would model and Anna wound manager her. The wrote out checks to themselves for a million dollars as a reminder of how successful they wanted to be. But Natalie was hanging with a hip-hop artist called “Gots Money” who scared Anna. In fact, Anna hung up when Stabler called because she thought it was Gots calling. Natalie said, though, that a big payday would be coming to them. Anna breaks down, and she thinks Gots killed Natalie.

Stabler and Fin head to the recording studio where they break up a session with Gots Money (Big Boi, AKA Antwan André Patton). He says he only sings about the life, he doesn’t live it any more. When he asks the group of people in the studio “What do Gots got?” they reply in unison “Gots Money!” Stabler, showing a picture of Natalie, says “Yo YO! How about Natalie Bleer? You gots her?” Gots knows Natalie, she’s just one of the girls he has for every day of the week. He says he has no gun, he says Natalie had "more nuts than a can of Planter’s” and that he “hit it and quit it” and kicked Natalie to the curb. Stabler, who just got a phone call, tells Fin that Warner has something for them.

At the morgue, Warner tells them that the foreign saliva belonged to a tiger. Back at the squad, the detectives discuss the “Scarface” movie posters that they saw in Gots’ recording studio, and that in the movie Scarface, after he struck it right, Scarface got a tiger. They think Gots has a tiger, and they suggest needing a warrant to get into Gots’ apartment. But ADA Greyleck says a judge won’t see being a movie buff as probable cause. Warner comes in; she identified the bird that Natalie was carrying as an exotic macaw, extinct in the wild. Could Natalie have been involved in animal smuggling with Gots? Cragen (Dann Florek) says as long as they’re on the outside they can’t do much. Greyleck suddenly gets helpful and says maybe a judge will issue a warrant as there could be a public health risk.

With warrant in hand, Stabler and Fin enter Gots apartment and ask to see the tiger. Gots enters a room and says the tiger must have gone for a walk. Stabler cautiously looks around the door, but must have been blind, as he walks in and is faced with a tiger, who, despite being restrained, leaps up at him, They arrest Gots.

At the squad, Gots said Rocco (the tiger) is his pet. Fin has Gots CD and Fin remarks that he listened to it, and Gots sang of being in a drug ring in Brooklyn. Fin worked narcotics and said he never heard of Gots. Gots admits that he had two career options, either take an office job or play the role. He says Natalie helped get him the tiger. Benson interrupts the questioning, much to Stabler’s dismay since he thought he was close to getting information from Gots. Benson says that Gots is on the level. Rocco’s saliva apparently does not match the saliva found on Natalie’s body. Fin asks them to hold on a minute, he needs to get something off his desk.

Back in interrogation with Gots, Fin takes out the dice and asks Gots if he knows how to play “Getting’ the Dice.” Fin rolls a nine, and tells Gots that his cellmate will roll the dice and what comes up is how many days Gots gets to play his “friend.” Gots doesn’t seem interested in cooperating, and Stabler rolls the dice, and says, “I gots an eleven!” This gets Gots to talk, and he says that a man by the name of Bushido is who gets the animals, and he’ll make the call but he won’t go in with a cop. Stabler says he won’t be one.

We then see what looks like a warehouse of various wild animals. Gots introduces Stabler to Bushido (Andrew Divoff) and Tybor (Reg E. Cathey) as Mike, a US customs agent from JFK. Stabler/Mike says he’s currently into smuggling extasy but looking for his next move. Bushido says his next move is to get out of his face. While Stabler sees a caged tiger and Bushido is distracted, he takes what looks like some hair off the tiger’s cage, Bushido tells Gots that he doesn’t trust him and punches him. Stabler calls out in order to break it up, and says if they want the access he has, to just give him a call.

Back at the squad, Cragen chastises Stabler for posing as a customs agent without getting clearance from him. But Stabler tells him that the DNA he got off the cage matches the DNA on Natalie’s body. Olivia breaks in, telling Stabler he has a call from Kathy, she’s been calling her line and his, she wants to know when he will be back. He tells Benson to tell Kathy he is in the field. While Cragen verbally spanks Stabler, an agent from Fish and Wildlife (Vanessa Aspillaga) walks in and interrupts. She tells Cragen that Stabler has to back off, their agents have already been working Bushido crew for almost a year. Stabler says he’s already in there, but the agent said says he’s in like a bull in a china shop. Benson, concerned, asks how she made Stabler. She said “a little birdie told me.” Cragen says murder trumps smuggling, but the agent says 14 murders trumps one. That’s how many Bushido has killed.

Cragen asks what she can give them. She said Bushido is Russian/Italian, and he used to traffic young women but switched to wild animals because the money is just a good and the penalties half as bad. Tybor is an American-born Kenyan, former enforcer for the Albanian crime syndicate, and before he hooked up with Bushido was smuggling nuclear parts. The agent thinks they killed Natalie because she wanted a little extra on the side so they took her out. Benson informs them that a call just came in from Gots Money’s neighbor, there are dogs fighting in the apartment, animal control is on the way. Stabler leaves to check it out, with the Fish and Wildlife agent saying she will join him.

At Gots place, a caged hyena is being removed, covered with blood. Stabler and the agent enter the room, which is covered in blood. They assume Gots was killed by Bushido when they find Gots “bling” in hyena vomit. Stabler gets a message in his cell, it’s from Bushido and he wants to meet him in an hour.

At Bushido’s warehouse, Stabler claims traffic as a reason he’s late, and when Tybor questions it, he said Tybor must have just missed the jackknifed 18-wheeler. Bushido motions for Stabler to join him (he’s eating). He tells him that Gots is “all good now.” A woman comes in wrapped in irradiated turtle eggs worth $5,000 each. Stabler asks if that’s how Bushido does it – uses beautiful women to smuggle. Bushido says the problem comes when they get stupid, he said the girl he replaced opened the tiger cage the other day to pet the tiger. The tiger tore her apart in two seconds, and he’d never seen so much blood before. When Stabler asks what happened to the tiger, he is surprised to find out that they are eating it as they speak.

Bushido tells Stabler they want him to help smuggle out a white-breasted highland gibbon; they will get a million dollars for it. When Stabler asks why someone would pay a million for a pet, Bushido tells him that they kill the monkey and its breastbone makes expensive chopsticks for the man who has everything.

Stabler seems eager to help, and he says he’ll walk the guy through holding his hand if they want. But Bushido says it is not that easy. Stabler asks what they want him to do, and Tybor says he can start by handing over his wallet and cell phone, slowly. They must have dummied up some credentials for him because Tybor only notices that his driver’s license says he lives in Queens. Bushido says, “Let’s go on a play date.”

Meanwhile, Kathy (Isabel Gillies) is at home with Eli, trying to call Elliot. She looks out the window, and thinks she sees Elliot exiting a car, and she seems happy. Meanwhile, Stabler is apparently in another location, and now Bushido and Tybor both have guns on him, and he’s opening an unlocked door. Viewers were apparently made to think initially that Elliot was arriving home, but when Kathy opens the door, she sees Benson, and when Kathy asks her “where’s Elliott”” Benson replies, “he’s not with me, Kathy.” Kathy asks, “did something happen?”

Elsewhere, Stabler is entering the home with Bushido and Tybor, and they check the place out. When Stabler tells them to relax and Bushido indicates the place is a mess, it’s clear that this is just a place set up for Stabler to use for his “undercover” identity. Bushido wonders how stupid the government is to employ someone like Stabler, and then says they will check him out, then talk money.

Back at the Stabler household, Benson tells Kathy that Elliot is undercover, and it happened very fast. Kathy is clearly angry that even though it happened fast that Elliot did not call his family.

At “Mike’s” place, Bushido and Tybor are still checking things out. While things seem to check out, Tybor warns him that he should be worried if Mike is not who he says he is. Tybor opens up a case, and as Bushido tells "Mike" he can get 5% off the top, Tybor is clamping on a watch on Stabler’s wrist with a GPS tracker in it, and if he takes it off, he’s dead. They also give him a phone and to only use it to make calls. Stabler jokes “you guys want to give me a special toothbrush too? “ They tell him they will be getting the gibbon soon, and to go to work, come home, and do nothing else.

Back at the Stabler household, Kathy is packing to leave. Benson tries to convince her to stay, and tells her that Elliot would call if he could. She promised she will have him call her. Kathy seems to decide to stay put.

Even this can't save "Wildlife"
At “Mike’s” place, Stabler, in bed, gets a knock at the door. It is Olivia. (What part of working undercover does she not understand???) He rushes her inside and tells her they could be watching. She is concerned because they lost contact with him, and he is not answering his cell phone. He explains they took it away from him, along with his wallet. She gives him her cell phone and he hides it, and he tells her to tell Kathy he has it. She says that Kathy is mad, but Stabler doesn’t know what he was supposed to do. She tells him if he goes undercover again and doesn’t tell Kathy, he’ll be safer here than home.

Suddenly, they hear rattling at the door. It’s Tybor, yelling for them to let him in. Benson runs to hide, and he lets Tybor and Bushido in. They look annoyed. They ask who he was talking too, and he denies taking to anyone. Tybor picks up Benson’s jacket, and asks Stabler if he’s wearing ladies panties too. They hear a toilet flush, and move toward the bedroom. They push Stabler down on the bed, and Benson, wearing just her bra and panties, steps out of the bathroom, saying “Are you ready for me daddy?” And when she sees more people there, says that it will cost more if they want to have a party. As she wraps herself around Stabler, he says, “guys gotta eat, huh?” Tybor complements him on his good taste, but Bushido says to get her out of there. Benson says they still have to pay, but she shown a gun and is ushered out. Bushido gets the call, everything’s ready, and tells Stabler he will be coming with him.

In the car, Bushido asks “Mike” what gives, after being told no visitors he still brings over a bimbo. Stabler says he just has needs. Bushido tells him you can never be too careful and pay more attention. Stabler asks why Bushido stopped the car, and he tells him to go inside and get a cage. He says to knock twice. As Stabler steps out of the car, Bushido says, “Oh, and Mike? Take this with you.” He shoots Stabler twice, and Stabler drops to the ground. Bushido speed away as Stabler lies there.

As Stabler lies there, not moving, you can hear voices and a man stops his car and gets out, and tells him to hold on, an ambulance is coming. We also hear a siren, and Benson pulls up in her car, shouting on the phone that there is an office down, running to Stabler. He talks to him, but he doesn’t respond.

Now, at the hospital Benson is waiting outside his room and stops the doctor and asks how he is doing. He tells her one bullet was a through-and-through, missing vital organs. The other was in his bicep and it was removed. She asks if he will make a full recovery, and the doctor says he has already asked to go home, twice. She enters his room, and , we see Stabler sitting up in bed, his arm in a sling. He asks how they are going to play it and she says Cragen released a story saying a customs agent was shot and killed by his house, probably a robbery. When he asks what will happen to Bushido and Tybor, she tells him they are about to pay them a visit.

The police are entering the warehouse, guns drawn. Cragen and Fin are with them. The animals are all gone and there is no sign of Bushido and Tybor. When they try to figure out where they have the animals, the realize the animals need food, and Fin, overturning a cooler, finds the name Bifero Stock and Feed.

At Bifero Stock and Feed, they are told that Bushido and Tybor were his best customers. They paid be credit card, and he has a receipt. Back at the squad, the credit card has a charge for a one way ticket from Jakarta, which lands in JFK in a couple of hours. Cragen has clearance for TSA and customer to grab the smugglers when they get off the plane. When Stabler arrives, they are shocked he’s shown up to work, but he wants to finish this. (So do I.)

At the airport, Fin is working at ground level with his eyes open, Cragen and Stabler have their eyes on binoculars, scanning from higher above. They look for any indication someone has something like a bag that is “squirming.” They spot a guy with a “magic basketball” that seems to roll funny. Stabler alerts Benson, also working at ground level, to the guy with the basketball. She and Fin follow.

They are lead to the Kuan Tool and Die Factory. We hear Bushido and Tybor making the 1 million dollar deal for the gibbon, and they hand over the basketball. Stabler yells “Police! Don’t move!” Bushido pushed down Tybor, and throws the basketball at Cragen, who catches it. Stabler chases Bushido, Benson chases Tybor, and Fin holds a gun on Mr. Kuan, saying, “Please run. Please.”

Cragen opens up the basketball and out comes the gibbon, and it embraces Cragen. Stablr and Benson give chase. Benson struggles with Tybor on the roof, Bushido gets his leg trapped in a conveyor. Tybor swings at Benson, misses, and falls over the edge, hanging from the ledge. Bushido eggs Stabler on to shoot him. Stabler says ‘I’d rather see you in a cage.” Bushido is enraged, and says when he gets out, Stabler’s family is dead. Stabler tells Bushido he’s never getting out.

With Tybor still hanging on the ledge, Benson calls for a bus and a jump team. When he comments that she was the hooker, she says she is a cop. Tybor says he is a cop too, but she doesn’t believe him. He says he has been working undercover for a year, and that he told the Fish and Wildlife agent about Stabler. He say he has a wire, to pull him up he will show her. She pulls him back onto the roof. He shows her the wire in his belt buckle, and apologizes for not being there for her partner. When she says it’s over, he says not for him, the real target is a prison gang who is running the smuggling ring, and he needs a high profile conviction to infiltrate. He turns around and let her cuff him.

Back on the ground, Bushido is still threatening Stabler, who says “yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah, you already killed me once.” Benson tells Stabler Tybor is a cop, undercover. Tybor is in the back seat of the police car. He asks Tybor if he wants him to call his family. Tybor says his family is gone, the life proved too much for them. As the car pulls away, Stabler gazes off, with a concerned, troubled look.

Back at the Stabler house, the clock says it’s 12:42. Eli is crying. Kathy wakes up, and when she turns on the light, Elliot grabs her arm and says he’ll get it. She looks surprised to see him as he moves too take care of the baby. Kathy turns out the light, and Elliot gazes out the window as he tries to calm Eli.

Ok, here’s my review. This is another “kitchen sink” episode, meaning that the writers threw just about everything in there BUT the kitchen sink when they wrote this.

My first question – how do they rationalize this case being handled by special victims? They were called in at first because it looked like a sexual assault, but when it was determined it was not, why did they continue with it? Are animals now special victims? I also don’t understand why Stabler seemed so intent on going in undercover as a customs agent. Did he think that he world just waltz right in with Gots and crack the case? When you think about it, Stabler is the one who got Gots killed, because they seemed to have lost trust in Gots. And I don’t understand why he didn’t pass this back to Fish and Wildlife when it was clear they already had someone working it on the inside for a YEAR? I suppose Stabler thinks he’s so good he can crack it in a day?

Which brings me to the whole undercover operation. Doesn’t Olivia understand what it means to be working undercover? She should, since she did it herself. Still, she didn’t seem to think twice about possibly blowing her partner’s cover by showing up at the front door of the house. I guess they needed an excuse to get her caught in Stabler’s undercover lair so she could remover her clothes and she and Elliot could touch skin-to-skin, probably exciting SVU shippers all over the country. It seems like we are seeing these two in a state of undress more often, and it’s a little sad that the show needs to stoop to this to attract viewers. I found the whole scene funny because it was just so contrived. Even Stabler in just his little black undies couldn’t save this episode. But let’s be honest here. Benson’s visit to the apartment while he was undercover is probably one of the dumbest things she’s ever done.

And can someone explain to me, how does one get a monkey inside a basketball – and allow it to breathe? And how can someone carry a basketball through customs without someone noticing it was squirming?

Why do these detectives never seem to go in with backup, or when they do, the backup seems to disappear? It would have made more sense had they had more backup in the area when they went to arrest Bushido and Tybor, otherwise there wouldn’t have been a chase. But, I suppose that Bushido throwing the monkey ball distracted them so much that they just couldn’t shoot? Why exactly do these detectives carry guns for?

Now really, who didn’t figure out early on that Tybor was the guy that Fish and Wildlife already had in there. It seemed obvious to me the minute the agent mentioned they had someone inside. Don’t undercover people have a way of communicating, and couldn't they tell Elliot who it was right away? Clearly, Tybor was able to tip off his agent of Elliot poking around, so he knew Stabler was a cop. Why couldn’t they tip off Stabler? I don’t get it.

You would also think that with Kathy being married to Elliot for so long that she would understand what “undercover” means and wouldn’t be so quick to leave him. Sure, he should have called her and I am sure he could have made the time. But she knows what he’s like and that work is important. For some reason though – I guess it’s a fussy baby – she has no tolerance for him again. Please will they just make Kathy go away once and for all?

We should all be grateful that Bushido is such a viscous criminal who seems to have killed so many people, but he can’t apparently aim a gun well, and doesn’t deal any fatal shots to Stabler. I guess Bushido didn’t have his killer hyena handy, which is probably a better shot than he.

I could go on and on, but frankly, I don’t want to. As a matter of fact, I may do more abbreviated recaps of SVU in the future because full recaps don’t seem to be a good use of my time.

The bottom line is “Wildlife” certainly was wild – a wild turkey, that is!

Two Minute Replay


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