Saturday, October 31, 2009

Law & Order “Human Flesh Search Engine” Recap & Review

All Photos from NBC

This episode of Law & Order “Human Flesh Search Engine” highlights the ability of the Internet to harm and to help. The Law & Order franchise often paints the big bad Internet as a haven for nut jobs and crazies, and rarely highlights the positive side. The bottom line is that it’s still people who kill people. In this case, one organization used the power of the Internet to kill, just as if they handed someone a gun and helped him or her point and shoot it at someone. I am not sure if Internet vigilantism is out there to the degree that the franchise seems to portray. Sure, I see people on various web sites who rant and rave, and I know that there are some sites out there that promote and provoke the darker side of human beings. (I steer clear of those at all costs.) But there is also a very informative and collaborative side where people can share ideas and build positive communities. It was good that Lupo was able to tap into a side of the Internet to use it to help win the case. But, it can be a little unsettling thinking of the amount of information that one can find on the Internet about oneself.

The Lupo/Bernard partnership is becoming very enjoyable and I think both actors seem to be having fun with their roles as well. Some of the joking that goes back and forth between them seems as credible as if they were real. I have to admit that I enjoyed the line where Bernard said, “What about Lupo? He’s juicy!” This was a great feature episode for Anthony Anderson and it was nice that they were able to squeeze in a little backstory for him.

The issue with Bernard’s credibility, regarding a comment that Leary made to him that Lupo did not hear, was reminiscent of an episode (the name escapes me) where Lennie Briscoe got a confession from a guy but Ed Green didn’t hear it, and Lennie’s credibility was dragged into the mud. At least in this current case, while Bernard's credibility is being questioned, we find out that he has a son that he doesn’t get to see.

My heart is breaking for Van Buren. For me, having lost two siblings at a very young age to cancer, it still pains me to watch her go through the illness. Anita’s wig scene choked me up a bit. My oldest sister died of cancer in 1968 at 16 years old and I can recall very clearly when, as a teenager, she had to put on her wig for the first time. She had a look of fear mixed with dread in the fact that the hair loss and the wig made the disease seem even more final and more obvious to everyone else. Anita had that very same look, and it was good to see that her man seems to be standing by her with love, affection and support. It was also good that in this episode, we saw Anita doing her job and still staying in the thick of things.

Maybe people in law enforcement out there can answer this question, but how many criminals actually have their whole rooms plastered with photos and articles and such? It seems like this is standard fare for crime shows when they try to portray people who are half crazy and half obsessed.

The episode brings up the issue about what is free speech - and what isn’t – on the Internet. What is private and what is not? What can people get away with saying on the Internet about others under the guise of anonymity? The one good thing about the Internet is that it really does provide the perfect haven for free speech. The bad side is, it is the perfect haven for free speech, but some of it is very ugly, hateful speech. The Internet allows people to share all kinds of information in a split second, but does that mean that it should be like the Wild West out there, with no repercussions for what people say? This episode makes the statement that words can kill, whether said in person, or behind an anonymous identification.

Here is the recap:

A photo shoot is underway with a woman scantily clad in underwear who is lying provocatively on a bed. But Sid Maxwell (Rene Ifrah), the owner of a fashion company, isn’t happy with how the photos are coming out, and gets annoyed at all the other people hanging around, and says if they are not being paid to be there, to get the hell out. One of the guys says he is one of the DJs who spins records at one of his stores, and Sid says that since he is the one who put the song on, he is fired. He tells everyone but the model to get out, takes the camera, and says he will finish the shoot himself.

Later, Detectives Cyrus Lupo (Jeremy Sisto) and Kevin Bernard (Anthony Anderson) arrive on the scene, the police tell them that Sid Maxwell was found dead, the neighbor found the door propped open at 3 AM. It looks like he is dead from autoerotic asphyxia, but it appears Sid miscalculated. The detectives realize there was a photo shoot going on, and the tripod is there but the camera is missing. The camera tag was marked the properly of Terry Clark. Bernard quips, “Yeah, looks like he missed the best shot.”

Meanwhile, at the home of Lieutenant Anita Van Buren (S. Epatha Merkerson), she is there with her lover (Ernie Hudson) and she prepares to put on a wig. She calls it the first day of the new me. She puts on a straight haired wig. She turns to him and asks what he thinks, and he says he always had a thing for Grace Jones. He leans over to her and says, “You’re beautiful” and he kisses her. She smiles.

At the photo studio of Terry Clark (Jeremy Beiler), he tells the detectives that Sid seemed fine yesterday – manic, a total prick like always. He says that Sid got rich by starting “Skin Tight Apparel” and he was the sexy underwear king of the lower east side. Sid threw everybody out around 6, including him. When Lupo questions that Sid threw the photographer out of the photo shoot, Terry says that Sid liked to do things himself. The girl stayed behind. When Lupo confirms he means the model, Terry said, “Model, hooker, girlfriend, employee of the month, it was kind of a fluid position.”

They meet with the model, who says that she met Sid when she was working three jobs and sharing a loft with six roommates and he hired her on the spot. She keeps walking as she is talking, but Lupo stops her, asking her to hold up. She did anything Sid wanted, working in the store, modeling. Bernard asks if she was spying for him or doing S&M sessions. She says Sid said he wanted to try something new and she didn’t want to seem like a prude, he just wanted her to watch. Lupo asks, “So did you?” She told Sid she had to get cigarettes at the store and she was weirded out so she just went home. Bernard asks if she just left him hanging there with his hands tied behind he back, and she says his hands were not tied when she left. Bernard asks if any of his staff had complaints, and she said there was one girl who got pretty freaked out and she thinks she sued him.

They speak to this other woman, Bonnie Allman, who says Sid pulled her top off at a photo shoot at the St. Patrick’s Day parade with no warning. She adds that her job descriptions doesn’t say getting raped by leprechauns. Sid’s lawyer said she should have understood she was working in a highly sexualized work environment. Lupo thinks she had a good case, but she tells them Sid’s lawyer buried hers in so many motions she could not afford to keep going. She lost and Sid won. The last time she saw Sid was 6 months ago, she told herself the one good thing is that she would never have to hear his voice again, and she says she didn’t, and with a smile she says now she never will.

Back to the 2-7, Bernard reads looks at a photo of Sid and then says Sid had a way with the women, adding “All Sex All the Time.” Lupo responds that “His company sells $5 t-shirts for $40, sex is part of the brand.” Van Buren asks if his "model/girlfriend/whatever" was fine with that, and Lupo indicates yes. The building surveillance camera shows her leaving his building at 10, and then it stopped working, Van Buren makes note of the coincidence. Bernard says she left the apartment door ajar so she could get back in; the building door had a keypad lock and Sid gave her the number, but she took off for Brooklyn instead. Lupo adds that an ATM saw her withdrawing cash at 10:30 and the time of death was after midnight. Bernard offers Van Buren some food, but, with a tissue to her mouth, she declines, saying, “Me and food aren’t getting along that great.” Lupo comments, “You are a hideous pig” to which Van Buren glares at him, and Lupo points to what he is reading and clarifies that the comment was from a text messages from Sid to Bonnie Allman, and Sid asked her now that her lawyer quit, how she was going to pay for the boob job she needed. Bernard recalls that Bonnie said she hadn’t seen Sid in 6 months, but Lupo says she said she hadn’t heard his voice. Lupo notes that Sid sent her the text last Monday, and Sid filed a complaint that his car was vandalized. Van Buren quips, “Bonnie Allman strikes back.”

At the impound lot, Lupo reads the words written on Sid’s car, “Text this scumbag” and Bernard adds, “Love Bonnie”. Lupo says she saved the 10 cents it would cost her to reply by text and this was so much more satisfying. The crime scene officer at the NYPD impound says the car doesn’t look like it has been driven since the incident as the driver’s window has been smashed with shards of glass embedded in the seat. She thinks whoever did this used some force. She also got some prints where the basher leaned in to slash the upholstery, and she will get the print to latent.

Back at the 2-7, Lupo finds the prints did not match Bonnie’s. He did get some hits for a guy name Todd Bissell, who had been arrested 12 years ago. When Bernard puts the name into the computer, they are both surprised to see a picture of a young Sid Maxwell appeared. He had changed his name. When Bernard searches further on the name, it leads him to a website called, a site dedicated to righting social wrongs. Flashposse caught Todd/Sid texting with both hands behind the wheel of a car, and site members were mad about it as Todd veered into someone’s lane while texting while driving. Someone else on the site commented that someone needs to kill him before he kills someone else. It seemed members of the site used information from the photo to track Todd down and get his address, which they posted on the site. Someone on the site put the address on there in case anyone wanted to drop by and “teach this jerk some manners.” Lupo adds, “Somebody did.”

At the home of Jim Leary (Rob Corddry) of He tells them it is not a blog it is a forum for corrective social action. Bernard says it was like a well-chummed shark tank. He says it is their way of striking back, and uses the example of people with dogs who crap on the sidewalk, saying it is an offense to everybody. They post people’s addresses and phone numbers so people can tell them what they think. He says they get the personal information from the thousands of visitors to the site as they have a lot of expertise and connections. Lupo tells Bernard in China, they call it a “Human Flesh Search Engine.” Leary tells them of a woman who posted a video of herself stepping on a kitten and killing it, and people blew up the video, was able to identify her from they saw, and Lupo finishes that the woman lost her job and had to go into hiding. Bernard tells them they are here for Todd Bissell, who didn’t massacre any cats. Leary says Bissell is just as bad, citing how dangerous it is to text and drive. Bernard brings up the death threat from the site, saying he didn’t think Todd deserved the death penalty. Leary asks him if he has ever heard of hyperbole, and Bernard says it wasn’t hyperbole, Todd was murdered, Lupo adding it was under his other name, Sid Maxwell. Lupo asks for the names of his members who posted threats against Todd, and Leary refuses. Bernard says it is their job as police to take corrective social action. But Leary will not budge, getting in Bernard’s face as he repeats, “No.”

Later, they consult with ADA Connie Rubirosa (Alana De La Garza). She tells them the comments on the web site are probably free speech. Lupo shows her Todd’s vandalized car, and Bernard admits they can’t prove a connection. She tells them if they can show that the Flashposse has real world consequences she may be able to convince a judge to give them the site’s members names.

In the chambers of Judge Colin Gerard, Rubirosa brings a woman who talks about how Flashposse harassed her after her husband committed suicide. The judge isn’t buying Rubirosa’s argument, saying he feels sorry for the woman but doesn’t see what she had to do with Sid Maxwell.

(Lupo, looking "juicy")

Back at the 2-7, Van Buren tells them that Rubirosa was not able to get the subpoena for the names. Bernard gets a phone call and gets angry with the caller, and says, “screw you” and hangs up. It appears he is starting to get harassing calls. He then finds that Flashposse has posted something about him, including his unlisted cell phone number, telling people to call and tell him what they think. One poster called Bernard a cop bully. Lupo thinks that if they are set up right, they can trace the posts as they are made, and Van Buren realizes they would not need a subpoena. Lupo says they would need, “just a big juicy target to get the ranters ranting.” He looks at Bernard, and so does Van Buren. Bernard says, “What about Lupo? He’s juicy!” Lupo thanks him, but doesn’t think his 4 years in intel should be coming out. Van Buren says Bernard seems to be the one they like.

At the Computer Crime Squad NYPD War Room, they have things set up to trace people as they post, and Bernard signs in and eggs them on. A whole host of names pop up for them to track down, singling out those who also were people who also threatened Sid.

Later, they have a few of the guys who made posts of Flashposse in the 2-7. They all seem to minimize that they did. One woman, Miss Sands (Tina Benko), tells Van Buren she is embarrassed at what she did, and says her daughter was killed three years ago by a taxi driver who was texting while driving and he was never caught. When she saw the photo of Todd, she was worried another child would be hurt. Van Buren seems sympathetic, and tells her they will check into her daughter’s death. Lupo and Bernard continue to question the other two guys, who seem unconcerned. But as Miss Sands moves to leave, someone brings in a file to Van Buren which indicates Sands’ daughter was not killed, she was taken away from Sands as Sands offered her daughter to a Catholic Church for human sacrifice. She denies anything, but when Van Buren continues to question her, she says “he was getting messages from the devil” saying he tells him who to kill. When Van Buren tries to get a who is telling whom to kill, Sands calmly asks if she can see a lawyer now. (Yes, she's a nutball.)

In interrogation, along with her lawyer, the lawyer says Miss Sands has nothing else to say. She adds, “Except that people who get texts when they drive are servants of the devil.” The lawyer says, “Except that.” The lawyer says he was not there when Sands mentioned Sid was one of those people. She goes on to say he was evil. As Van Buren and Rubirosa watch from the observation area, it is clear that Sands is crazy, but all they have are her rants against Sid. Rubirosa thinks it is enough for a search warrant.

The detectives head to Sands’ apartment, and the walls are covered with clipping and photos. Clearly she is obsessed with texting while driving. Lupo sees a picture of the girl from the photo session when Sid was killed, and this puts Sands on the scene. They wonder how she got into his place, and they see the entry code on her wall and a picture of his keypad from the Flashposse site, taken from the security camera that mysteriously went dark. They think that someone from Flashposse hacked into the system. The detectives want a warrant for Flashposse.

At Flashposse, Leary calls his lawyer while they execute the warrant. Leary says this is harassment, but Bernard says calling his cell phone is harassment. He and Leary begin to argue, and Bernard tells him this is about a murder and a woman named Kerri Sands and asks if he knows her. Leary says, “The woman who’s kid wasn’t killed by a taxi? Yeah, we’re open to the public, we take all comers.” Bernard picks up one of Leary’s computers and smiles at him and says, “Bye!”

At the DA’s office, the detectives bring Rubirosa a full dump of material from the Sid Maxwell section of Flashposse. The “good stuff” was in a password protected area for people who had a special interest in Maxwell. The code to his front door was listed with a note that it was there just in case someone wanted to drop by. Sands accessed the photo just after midnight and she took a car service to Maxwell’s. The driver remembers her well as she told him she doesn’t take taxis because of their link to the devil. Rubirosa tells them to arrest her for murder and she will apply to the court for a 730 exam.

In a Bellevue Hospital examination room, Sands speaks with Dr. Elizabeth Olivet (Carolyn McCormick). Olivet confronts her on the fact that her daughter was not dead; the taxi hit a garbage can. Sands wants Olivet to help her stop the killing and stop the evil. She thinks Sid Maxwell was sending messages on whom to kill. She thinks there was no point in calling the police; she had to take care of him herself.

In DA Jack McCoy’s (Sam Waterston) office, Olivet tells McCoy, EADA Michael Cutter (Linus Roache) and Rubirosa that Sands is a well managed schizophrenic who thought people texting others in their car are telling others who to kill. But McCoy comments that Sands tried to have her own daughter killed for sacrifice, and Olivet says Sands did it for purification, and her delusion was different then. When the state took her daughter, it rattled her reality. That same day she saw a taxi hit a garbage can and that garbage can became her daughter, and the taxi driver became evil. She does not think Sands is competent to stand trial, she needs to be locked up. McCoy tells them to call the judge and Sands’ attorney and work out a plan for institutionalization. After Olivet leaves, Cutter says he will book time in the grand jury, he wants to go after When McCoy says, “That place on the world wide web?” Rubirosa says,” Actually, they don’t call it that anymore.” McCoy responds, “Excuse me, should I have said wireless telegraph?” and Rubirosa grins at him. Cutter thinks Flashposse stirred up a virtual lynch mob, but McCoy asks if it was a virtual lynch mob sitting at computer typing things. Rubirosa tells him of the threats and instructions on how to get into Sid’s apartment. Cutter says a person is guilty of murder when they recklessly engage in conduct which creates a grave risk of death to another person and thereby causes the death of another person. McCoy says, “I know the law” but Cutter goes on to say that the shoe fits. Kerry Sands was the bullet and the web site was the gun. McCoy asks if he really wants to do this, trying to make new law, but Cutter brings back McCoy’s cases of going after gun manufacturers and justice department torture memo writers. When McCoy asks who at Flashposse Cutter plans to indict, he says all of them.

At Supreme Court, there is a crowd of people there for the defense, and the defense attorney Nick Margolis (Ben Shenkman) tries to argue that Kerry Sands killed Sid Maxwell, and these people just posted comments on a website. Cutter says they incited Sands to kill, and Margolis says if he yells kill the umpire and some psychotic does it, he is not guilty of murder. But Cutter says the web site went beyond exhortation, it gave instruction on how to do it. The judge rules that any comments against Maxwell are protected speech, and they cannot be used in any way in his prosecution. Cutter brings out the first amendment exception of shouting “fire” in a crowded theatre. The judge asks I any of those people were in physical proximity to Sands or the victim, and they were not. The judge says then the theatre wasn’t crowded. She tells Cutter he is free to proceed in accordance with her ruling, if he still has a case.

Back at the DA’s office, McCoy says they are lucky the judge didn’t throw the case out. Cutter says she is living in the 29th century; words on the internet have consequences. McCoy says actually she is living in the 18th century, when the bill of rights was written. Rubirosa says that if it weren’t for that the people said and did on the web site, Sands would not have murdered Sid. McCoy tells her now they will have to forget about the “said.” Cutter says he is dropping the charges against the cheerleaders but he is still moving against the guy who ran the site and the people who sent out the photos and the door code. McCoy says they will say they never intended Sid to be killed, but Cutter argues they were dealing with a crazy woman. They did not have to intend for her to kill him if the recklessly disregarded the likelihood that it would happen. McCoy tells him “good luck” with a smirk.

Back in Supreme Court, Olivet is on the stand, talking about Kerry Sands’ messages, she posted over 400, and another person only posted 22 messages. Her messages also mentioned Satan and vengeance on Maxwell. Olivet reads back more of Sands’ messages; one saying death shall be answered with death.

Bernard is on the stand, talking about the search warrant which showed Mr. Keegan hacked into the security cameras at Maxwell’s apartment, and Mr. Mason posted the code to the front door. Sands got the information from the web site an hour before she killed him. He adds that Leary made a point of sending private emails to Sands alerting her to new information. Bernard says Leary knew of Sands’ delusions because when they executed the warrant and asked if he knew Sands, he referred to her as the lady whose kid was not killed by a taxi.

Margolis cross examines Bernard, and brings up the fact that the web site had posted information about Bernard, and that Bernard accused Leary of harassing him. He accused Bernard of making up the comment that Leary made about Sands. Bernard says he is not lying. Margolis shows Bernard an old photo of himself and a woman, Rosemary Franklin, that they got off the internet, and then brings in evidence that they uncovered which says that Bernard has a child with her and he missed paying child support for three times in the first 6 months. Margolis says if he lied to the mother of his son about paying child support, why should they believe anything he says now?

Outside the courtroom, Bernard is livid with Cutter that he couldn’t stop it. He says that he just finished the academy and busted loose a little bit, there were a bunch of cop groupies in the bar and once the blood test came back he paid every month. Rubirosa says they will bring that out on redirect, but Bernard says he does not want to talk about it. But Bernard sees Leary and Margolis walking out and gets in Leary’s face about dragging people and a ten year old boy through the mud. Lupo tries to coax Bernard away from Leary, and when Bernard begins to really yell, Cutter yells out, “Detective!” Leary smirks and walks off, and Bernard walks away, silent and angry. Cutter tells Lupo that didn’t help, but Lupo asks him what did he expect? Cutter replies that a thin skinned cop doesn’t destroy his case. Now it’s Rubirosa’s turn to try to calm Cutter, who asks if Lupo realized how much Bernard’s testimony is worth. Lupo says that Leary told him about Kerry Sands and her daughter and Lupo believes it all they have to do is find out how Leary knew it. There has to be something somewhere, and Cutter says it is a pretty big haystack.

With Leary back on the stand, he testifies about Sid texting while driving and almost running someone off the road. He said Sid deserved to be exposed and they wanted to change his ways before he killed someone. They are just a bunch of well meaning nerds trying to make the city a better place. Under cross, Cutter asks why he posted the address and the code to Sid’s door, and while Leary answers him, Rubirosa gets a message and tries to signal Cutter to look at it. Leary says they never intended Sid to be physically harmed. He says the internet is full of ranting and raving and exaggerated threats and it is a place for letting off steam. He says he did not know Sands was deluded and denies making the comment to Bernard. Cutter looks at the message Rubirosa received from Lupo, and then asks Leary if he was with Kerry Sands August 20th when she physically assaulted a cab driver who she accused of being the evil spawn of Satan? Leary is squirming, and Margolis asks to see the evidence, as this is the first they have heard of it. Cutter said new information just came to their attention. The judge tells Cutter to share it with the defense, and they recess until tomorrow. Cutter glares at Leary and Leary looks like he is in trouble.

Back at the DA’s office, Lupo tells Cutter and Rubirosa that they knew Sands had a thing for cab drivers, so they assumed she interacted with cabbies before to they could check the logs. When Rubirosa comments that there are 13,000 taxis in New York City, Lupo brushes it off as labor intensive but goes on to say that 209 reported violent behavior by women in the last year, 102 were on the street in range of ATM or security cameras. When Cutter comments that is still a lot of cameras on a lot of systems, Lupo goes on to say he found a cabbie that saw Sands and Leary together, and produce a photo of Sands and Leary in the same shot, where Leary’s face is clear in the reflection in a store front window that he is facing after he walked away from Sands. When Cutter asks if Lupo had a subpoena for the cameras, Lupo says no. He used the power of people on the internet; Chinese people, the human flesh search engine – he had a contact in Shanghai from his days in intel – to get all this information, playing Leary’s own game. None of the pictures came from Leary’s home or office so they are admissible.

Back in Supreme Court, Leary is back on the stand, and when Cutter shows him the photo, Margolis asks to approach. He is not satisfied with the origins of the material. Cutter tells him it came from a lamppost security camera. Margolis says there is no record of any process being served, and Cutter says Leary has no expectation of privacy in the middle of 42nd Street. Margolis says there is no context explaining what is happening, and Cutter says if Leary can’t explain it, they have the taxi driver. The judge says that works for her and he may proceed. Cutter goes on and continues to poke at Leary about the photo, and he finally admits he never told her to kill anyone. Cutter said the woman was out of control, what did he reasonably expect? Leary says nothing, looking over to the jury.

Later, in a bar, Bernard is having a beer and Lupo enters and tells him Leary and the others took pleas and they are going away for manslaughter. Bernard says good. Lupo tells him if they would have known, he would have put himself out there as a target. Bernard says he never thought they would dig that up. Lupo asks how is the kid, and Bernard says his mother married her actual boyfriend and they thought it was better and less confusing if he didn’t see his son. Bernard says, “I guess I could look him up on the internet.” He takes a swig of beer as we fade to black.

All Text Content (Recaps, Review, Commentary) © unless otherwise noted

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

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

Friday, October 30, 2009

Law & Order “Human Flesh Search Engine” Video Clips

Here are a few just released video clips from tonight’s episode of Law & Order, “Human Flesh Search Engine.” These clips feature Anthony Anderson, Jeremy Sisto, and S. Epatha Merkerson. Don’t forget to tune in on Fridays at 8 PM (7/C) on NBC! Note: This video will be removed within a week of when the episode first airs!

My recap and review of Law & Order "Human Flesh Search Engine" can be found here.

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

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

Law & Order SVU “Perverted” Episode Information

NBC has released the information for the November 18th episode of Law & Order SVU, “Perverted.” Benson as a suspect? It could get interesting!


While in the park, a family stumbles upon the sexually mutilated body of Clyde Vandyne, a member of a biker gang known for prostitution and contract killing. To everyone's surprise, incriminating DNA evidence points to Detective Benson (Mariska Hargitay) as the prime suspect. Munch (Richard Belzer) and Fin (Ice-T) investigate the murder, while Stabler (Christopher Meloni) fights to prove his partner's innocence. The detectives must find the missing link to both Vandyne's murder and Benson's involvement. Also starring: Dann Florek (Captain Donald Cragen), and Tamara Tunie (Dr. Melinda Warner).

My recap and review of Law & Order SVU "Perverted" can be found here.

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

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

Law & Order, SVU Episode Information, Week of November 1, 2009

Two new episodes for Law & Order and one new episode for SVU are scheduled to air the week of November 1st. Law & Order SVU “Users” will air on its normal day and time (Wednesday at 9 PM/ET, 8/C). Law & Order will have a rare double header on Friday night, the first episode starting at 8 PM/ET (7/C), the second starting at 9 PM/ET (8C). (Please note – with 2 episodes of Law & Order airing on one night, the recaps for one of the episodes will be delayed.)

Here are the details:

Law & Order SVU “Users” Air Date 11/04/2009 (9 PM ET/ 8C Wednesday NBC)

After a crime scene photo of a murdered teenage girl rapidly becomes an Internet phenomenon, the police initiate an investigation with the victim's father, Greg Dunne (guest star James Colby). When Greg points the detectives towards Martin Gold (guest star James Frain), his daughter's suspicious therapist, it turns out that Gold's alibi is airtight. While Fin (Ice-T) and Munch (Richard Belzer) are busy tracking down the girl's stolen credit card, Dr. Melinda Warner (Tamara Tunie) and Detective Elliot Stabler (Chris Meloni) discover that one of Gold's other patients has broken into the morgue. The case takes an unexpected turn, revealing a sinister prescription for murder at the hands of unlikely suspects. Also starring: Mariska Hargitay (Detective Olivia Benson), Dann Florek (Captain Donald Cragen), B.D. Wong (Dr. George Huang) and Stephanie March (ADA Alexandra Cabot).

My recap and review of Law & Order SVU "Users" can be found here.

Law & Order “Boy Gone Astray” Air Date 11/06/2009 (8PM ET/7 C Friday NBC)
When a young woman is found dead in her apartment, a few tell-tale signs quickly lead Detectives Cyrus Lupo (Jeremy Sisto) and Kevin Bernard (Anthony Anderson) to believe that the killer was not after her wealth. After finding suitcases filled with money and drugs in one of the victim's apartments, the detectives watch a security video from her lobby. The video exposes two potential suspects leading the
detectives to a drug cartel. Also starring: S. Epatha Merkerson (Lieutenant Anita Van Buren), Sam Waterston (District Attorney Jack McCoy), Alana De La Garza (Connie Rubirosa), and Linus Roache (Michael Cutter).

My recap and review of Law & Order "Boy Gone Astray" can be found here.

Law & Order “Doped” Air Date 11/06/2009 (9PM ET/8C Friday NBC *NOTE SPECIAL TIME)
A deadly drunk-driving car accident brings Detectives Cyrus Lupo (Jeremy Sisto) and Kevin Bernard (Anthony Anderson) to the scene when a suspicious nasal spray is found. After the medical examiner realizes the nasal spray is a powerful anesthetic that could easily disorient its user, the detectives become suspicious of the victim's boss, Zach Marshall (Guest Star Rich Sommer). Also starring: S. Epatha Merkerson (Lieutenant Anita Van Buren), Sam Waterston (District Attorney Jack McCoy), Alana De La Garza (Connie Rubirosa), and Linus Roache (Michael Cutter).

My recap and review of Law & Order "Doped" can be found here.

Promo for “Users”

NBC Sneak Peek “Users”

Preview Clip "Boy Gone Astray"

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

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

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Law & Order SVU “Spooked” Recap & Review

All photos from NBC

There were lots of twists and turns in this very intense episode of Law & Order SVU, “Spooked.” I liked the episode a lot, despite the fact that it was far too predictable. It was enjoyable because it took characters out of their comfort zones. Like what ADA Paxton did for Elliot Stabler (Chris Meloni), Agent Dean Porter (Vincent Spano) gave Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay) a chance to add a bit of a spark to her life – even if that spark happened to be in the form of a “rat bastard.” I think it’s great when the show adds a character to the mix that seems to have great chemistry with the cast and adds a bit of tension to the story. It also gave Mariska a chance to show her smile, which she rarely seems allowed to do on the show. Her whole face lights up and she almost looks like a different person when she smiles. It was wonderful to see Benson turn the tables on Porter and play him in order to catch the murderer, but I felt horrible for her when Cragen had no choice except to let Porter and the killer go.

The one character who is always true to form is Munch (Richard Belzer), and his whining about the telephones was classic Munch. I think I must be watching too many crime shows because I thought it was obvious from his first appearance that the phone guy was not just there for installing new phones, and we would see him later as being involved in the case. Maybe the NYPD is different, but most companies would not let someone come in and just install new equipment without someone verifying that the new equipment was, in fact, properly authorized and legit. I suppose in Cragen’s thrill to finally get new phones he never thought to verify that the person they let into the squad room had the proper authorization to be there.

Besides being a bit of an anger boy the last few weeks, Stabler can add jealous boy to his repertoire of personality traits that are very ugly on him. Meloni plays acting like an immature boy very well when he gets a little rattled at Porter's appearance at SVU. It is a shame that Stabler continues to regress as a character and his behavior is becoming more annoying. Sometimes I think Stabler is too insecure and his smart-assed comments are the only way he knows to help him feel superior. Meloni did an excellent job in this episode of playing a wide range of emotions – jealousy, worry, anger, and his affection for his work partner.

As the previews made it evident that Olivia was going to be a damsel in distress in this episode, it was no surprise at all when she finds herself held at gunpoint. I wish that the previews wouldn’t show as much as they do because I believe it ruins the suspense. I understand the promo people walk a fine line between showing enough to get viewers to want to tune in, and showing too much, and giving a key element of the plot away. In this case, I wish that they had been a little more secretive about Olivia being held hostage and at gunpoint. When the gunman is taking her down the escalator and he pulls her gun out of her holster, I thought that most law enforcement people who carry guns use a holster with a security feature that prevents someone else from pulling out their gun. I would think in the line of work that Benson and Stabler do, they should have their holsters equipped in that manner.

I also wondered why they were so quick to believe Terri wasn’t involved as they showed no initial concerns about her possible involvement in the case. I would have expected them to run a check on her first before they went back with a search warrant for her apartment. For some reason I cringed when Benson was so concerned about Terri being safe when I just had a feeling that she was involved. Yes, I do watch too many crime shows.

Another week and another one of my pets peeves: Olivia walks right up to a suspect and calls her name, giving the suspect ample opportunity to flee. Olivia could have waited until the suspect came around the corner to her, and then stopped her from behind so the woman could not use he shopping cart to deter Olivia. There was no need to Benson to approach the suspect as she did. Do they never learn?

My other pet peeve: I think this ceased to be a special victims case when they realized that there was no sexual assault involved and the scene was staged. I would think they would have kicked it over to homicide, but I admit I don’t know where the NYPD draws the lines.

But don’t let my criticisms give the impression that I didn’t like the episode. I thought it provided an interesting case and gave the cast a great chance to show some range and was one of their better episodes this season.

Here is the recap:

Two guys in a truck see another truck parked along side the road and decide to rob it. They cut open the padlock on the back door of the truck and find two bodies inside, a man lying on top of the woman. One of the guys says they have to call the cops, but the other guy says they have to get out of there.

Later with Detectives Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay) and Elliot Stabler (Chris Meloni) on the scene, ME Warner (Tamara Tunie) says they were alerted to the bodies by an anonymous 911 caller. There is no ID, both are young and Hispanic, their throats slit, but by looking at the blood spatter, it appears the bodies were repositioned after the killing. The woman’s breasts were mutilated after she was killed. When brighter lights shine into the truck, they see a bra and panties hanging toward the front of the truck. It looks like the perp did it, to wave the murder in their faces.

Back at the morgue, Warner has been unable to identify the victims. It appears the rapist was careful not to leave any evidence. They think the killer caught the two having sex and killed the guy to get him out of the way so he could rape the woman.

Back at the SVU squad, Captain Don Cragen (Dann Florek) talks with Detective John Munch (Richard Belzer) about the murders. Cragen thinks this is not the killer’s first time, Munch says VICAP shows nothing close to this pattern. Cragen tells him to check other SVUs in the boroughs and every police agency in the northeast, and asks who owned the truck. The truck has 5 partial VIN numbers plus stolen plates, and Munch is working on it. Munch sees a phone man (Juan Hernandez) at his desk and asks what he is doing. He tells Munch he is installing new phones, the new Green Tech 8800. Munch complains that he just figured out how to use the old one. Cragen tells Munch to use the phone in the media room, pulling him away. He asks if they have anything from missing persons, and Munch says there is no match to the description of the victims. The 911 call was made from a pay phone around the corner from the scene, Munch thinks it was by the same low lifes who broke into the truck, and there are no useable prints. The 2-5 canvassed and came up empty.

Back at the morgue, Warner says the cut on the woman’s throat was made by a thin curved blade, like a scalpel. She says it was just what he needed to talk out her breast implants, she found healing incisions from them that were only a few weeks old. Stabler seems surprised he took the time to steal implants

Back at SVU, Munch tells Cragen he thinks the guy wanted trophies, but Cragen thinks the guy knew the woman could be ID’d from the implants serial numbers. Cragen tells him to send Jane Doe’s photo to every plastic surgeon within a 100 miles radius.

Back at the morgue, Warner says there are two identifying marks on the man, the initials LZ on his arm with an image above it. Back at SVU, Munch says it is a “death bride” ,the patron saint to Mexican drug dealers. He checked the database and no Mexican gangs came up with the LZ initials and wonders if it is Jane Doe’s initials. Cragen tells him to send the ink and the fingerprints to the FBI as if the couple was in the country illegally, the FBI can squeeze the Mexicans for their records.

Back at the morgue, Warner thinks both victims are American, based on their dental work. CSU also found hundreds of brown fibers mixed in with the blood on the truck floor.

Back at SVU, Munch tells Cragen the lab identified the fibers as polyester fiberfill, and Benson, now back at SVU with Stabler, asks if it is from the victim’s clothing. Munch says it is too low grade, this is used for stuffing pillows and cheap plush toys. Stabler thinks the fibers must be from whatever the truck was hauling before it became a “mobile slaughterhouse.” Meanwhile, the phone guy is still working, and Munch asks why he can’t just continue to use his own phone. Phone man says it won’t work on the new system. Munch says, “I long for the days of rotary dial.” Cragen says, “And I’ve been badgering One PP for new phones since Clinton was president so get over it, John.” Phone guy hands Munch a huge manual and says that the quick start guide is in the front. Stabler, seeing Munch is getting quickly distracted, asks if he traced the truck. Munch found that a fax just came in, it’s owned by a rental company in the Bronx.

Stabler and Benson are at the truck company, and a man tells them the truck went out last week and was supposed to be back last night. Benson sees the driver’s license belong to a Carlos Martinez of Laredo, Texas, who was 18. When Stabler asks if their insurance company lets them rent to 18 year olds, the guy says to screw the insurance company, the kid left a nice car for collateral, and the car registration matches his license. While Stabler gets into the car, Benson tells the guy the car will be impounded as evidence in a murder. Stabler finds that the last place Carlos was searching for on his GPS was a house out in South Ozone Park.

In Queens, they are at the address where Carlos was looking for and it looks like a likely drug house. They stop a kid who is running out of the house with a boom box. He said the people there moved out last night and left the boom box, they were loading a truck. Stabler shows them a picture of Carlos and the woman and the kid verifies that’s who was moving out. The kid says they were there for a week, a bunch of them went in every night and they were gone by morning. Benson calls out for Stabler and he takes the boom box from the kid. Benson has found a mental trash can with what looks like burned drug preparation materials. Benson also sees Jane Doe’s driver license in there, partially burned, and her name was Ramona Rodriguez of East 57th street.

They head to this address, and a woman who lives there, Terri Banes (Paola Mendoza), who says Ramona lives there, and they tell her she was murdered. She says she barely knew Ramona, she rented her second room and was hardly ever there. She put an ad on Craig’s list and Ramona gave her six months rent in advance. They go to check out her room, and it looks hardly lived in. Her passport is still there, and it looks like she’s done a lot of traveling recently to Mexico City and Bogotá. They think she was a drug mule, and Benson thinks she was smuggling drugs in the breast implants. Stabler sees a brown teddy bear on the bed, and wonders if this is what was being transported in the truck. Terri bursts into the room, and says someone is trying to get in her front door. He tells her to lie down in the tub, and he and Benson go off to check it out. Guns drawn, Benson and Stabler enter the room and see the front door knob opening, The door opens and Benson yells out for the person to drop the gun. But the man answers, saying, “Detective Benson” and Agent Dean Porter (Vincent Spano) steps into the light. Benson recognizes him and drops her gun, and so does Stabler.

As they exit the home, Porter asks Benson what they are doing there. She says they are trying to solve two murders and asks where is his warrant. He says the landlord let him in. He adds that the teddy bear carried half a kilo of Mexican black tar heroin, and their confidential informant said Carlos Martinez was holed up in the apartment. Stabler tells him Martinez is dead. They show him Ramona’s passport and he does not know her, but adds Martinez was going to make their 10 most wanted list.

Back at SVU, Porter shows them a video of Carlos and Ramona and say he is a professional hit man, adding that the LZ on Carlo’s tattoo stands for Los Zetas, the Gulf cartel’s assassination wing. Carlos has 22 confirmed kills in Mexico and 4 in the US. He says Carlos is the tip of the iceberg, the cartel plucks them as young as 13 from Texas border towns and promises them cash, cars, women. Carlos wasn’t sent here to kill anybody, he was protecting Ramona and her shipment of heroin filled teddy bears. Porter thinks a rival crew slit their throats, cuts out the heroin filled implants, takes the shipment and leaves them there to rot. Stabler sys, “So you’re pulling all this out of your ass based on what?” Porter says it is based on their “rape tree” saying that coyotes who smuggle Mexican illegal into the US often gang rape the women and hang their victim’s panties on trees to symbolize their conquest. The rape currently in question was not the motivation and the killer staged it to look like that. Cragen doesn’t want to start a turf war between SVU and the FBI, so Porter says SVU should take the bodies and he will take the dope. While Benson watches Porter leave, Cragen tells Stabler to get on the phone with narcotics to see who is moving the black tar heroin, but when he goes to give Benson an assignment, she asks him to give her a minute, and she follows Porter.

At the elevator, she comments that the elevators have been slow. He says it’s been a while, and she says, “Yes it has.” They make small talk, and he steps into the elevator, saying, "You have my number.” Stabler pipes up “Yeah, we all do.” Benson pleads to Stabler to give Porter a break, but Stabler wants to see if he gives them one first. He tells her that he spoke to narcotics and Cragen wants them to get a warrant to finish tossing Ramona’s place.

Back at the apartment of Terri Banes, the tell her they looking for any leads to Ramona’s killer, and she seem worried they may come there after her. Benson says they need her to be safe and suggests she stay with someone until this blows over, and Terri agrees. One of the CSU guys finds a small short wave receiver, and Stabler sees a baseboard that has been altered, pries it off the wall, and finds a key to a safety deposit box at Commerce Bank of Manhattan.

They head to the bank to get the box, and find Ramona last accessed the box two weeks ago. Benson finds a plane ticket for Ramona, one way to Mexico City for tonight. When Stabler says they will give the bank a voucher as the owner of the box is dead, the bank representative asks if they are both dead. Stabler shows her a picture of Carlos but the woman said it was another man, he came there 2 days ago, his name was Juan Pablo. The CSU guy found fingerprints on the box. Benson notices writing on the ticket: MIA 256 and JFK 3:16 PM.

On the phone, Munch tells them that there is a Mexican Airways flight in from Miami this afternoon flight 256. Cragen tells them to hustle over to Kennedy and he will have Porter meet them there. He tells them to call the airline and get the cargo manifest for flight 256 and alert customs and asks them to allow anything suspicious to get through to baggage claim.

At JFK Airport Terminal 4, Stabler sees 8 boxes marked for children’s toys, and radios Benson who is elsewhere with Porter who is waiting in his car. Stabler sees someone picks them up and radios the description to Benson. Porter goes off to follow the shipment, and Benson’s phone rings. It’s Cragen, who tells them they got a print hit off the safe deposit box, Juan Pablo’s real name is Manuel Rojas (Jose Yenque), a lieutenant in the Gulf cartel and that Munch texted his photo to Benson and Stabler. Back at the airport, Stabler acknowledges receiving the photo, and then radios that the boy and a friend are loading the packages into a red minivan and neither of them are Rojas. Porter confirms he is in position, and tells Stabler to get with Olivia. Stabler then spots Rojas , and they wonder if he wants to make sure the shipment is there before he leaves town on the flight that Ramona was supposed to take. Stabler tells Benson that he thinks Rojas made him and asks her how fast she can get up there. She pulls something out of her car and makes her way to the area where Rojas is waiting at the counter. Stabler radios that her backup is on the way. Rojas walks to Benson, and asks her if she can help him. He whispers that his cell phone is a 22-caliber gun, and she can either come with him or he will start shooting. She walks along with him and Stabler looks worried. He radios to the Port Authority that his partner has been made. Rojas takes Benson down an escalator and takes her gun. She tells him there is nowhere to go. He walks out a door and opens it to find a police officer, and when Benson yells, “Look out,” Rojas shoots the police officer. As they continue to walk, Benson tells him they are going to come, but Rojas says not while he has her. Stabler, meanwhile, catches up with the police officer who is not dead, he was wearing a bulletproof vest. He tells them the man has a woman with him, and Stabler tell him to radio for backup. Stabler sees Rojas and Benson and follows them into the parking lot. He catches up with them and calls out for Rojas to drop his weapon. More police arrive, and Rojas has a gun to Benson’s head. Stabler tries to calm him down, and Rojas, seeing all the police arriving, says he wants a car and his shipment or he will kill Benson. She asks, “Like you killed Ramona and Carlos?” But Rojas calls her a lying bitch. She says, “You have a gun to my head Manuel. Why would I lie to you now?” She accuses him of lying, saying she thinks he found Ramona with Carlos and killed them both. He seems shocked, and we hear a shot fired and Benson and Carlos drop to the ground. Stabler comes running to her, but she is fine, the blood is Rojas’. He holds Benson to him and she is justifiably shaken. He turns to see that it was Porter who fired the shot that killed Rojas.

Later, Porter shows Stabler and Benson that Rojas' cell phone was in fact a gun, and it can shoot four 22-caliber bullets through the antenna. It fires by pressing 538 on the keypad. Benson tells them the Rojas said he had a gun and would kill others if she did not go with him, and dos not know how she was made. She asks Porter that she thought he was following the drugs, but he says the guy in the minivan spotted them and got them at the airport exit. When he heard the call to the Port Authority cops on the radio, he came back. The detectives have to make statements to the police, so Stabler decides to go first. He says to Porter, sounding like he didn't want to say it, “Nice shot.”

Porter asks Benson if she is ok and she says she will be. He says they got their murderer, but she doesn’t understand why Rojas double-crossed Ramona and Carlos and killed them. Porter says Rojas wasn’t the double crosser and she asks how he knows.

Back at SVU, Porter says their informant told them Ramona and Carlos got greedy and stole the teddy from one of their loads. She and Carlos sold the heroin inside it. Rojas got to them before they could hijack the shipment they seized today. But Benson said they had the teddy bears, why would Ramona smuggle heroin inside her implants. Porter says that these are people who build disposable submarines to smuggle drugs and they are always looking for new ways to smuggle in dope. Cragen says that is the FBI’s turf and the bottom line is that this is over for SVU. Porter says he will forward him copies of all his reports. He moves to leave and asks Benson if she needs a lift home, but Stabler answers instead, saying, “Naw, I’m good, thanks.” Benson looks at Stabler and then at Porter and smiles at Porter, who leaves. Cragen says neither of them are going anywhere, the chief of Ds wants their fives on his desk at 8 AM.

Later, Munch comes in with coffee for Benson and Stabler, calling it the breakfast of champions. Cragen asks for an update and Stabler says they got their stories straight, but ME Warner comes in and says it is not the whole story. She found a third DNA profile in the blood from the murder, and she says the perp was not a man, the mystery DNA was from a female and that as far as she knows Rojas was never in the truck but a second woman was. There was also brown hair found as well. Benson suspects that it is Terri Banes, Ramona’s roommate. Benson begins to call Porter to keep him in the loop, and he suggests to wait until they have something and to let it play out.

Back at Terri’s place, they speak with the landlord and he says he will call them when he sees her. They see a man at her door saying he is from satellite TV and is removing equipment from her apartment. But the man’s face is hidden by a post on the porch. Stabler seems suspicious, and when the landlord says he will be right there, the guy say no rush, he left something in the van. To Benson’s surprise, Stabler runs after the man and asks him how much for the football package. The man keeps moving and Stabler yells that he is police and to stop, and he gets the guy and pushes him against his van. It’s the guy who installed the new phones in the squad room, and Stabler says they’ve been set up.

Back at SVU, the phones are being removed, and Cragen tells them to sweep every inch of the building twice. He gets a cell phone call from Munch who says that they found a fourth mic buried in Terri’s kitchen landline. CSU Tech Morales (Joel de la Fuente) tells Cragen says that the mics can be bought off the Internet or “friendly neighborhood spy shop” and picks up phone and room conversation within reasonable distances and transmits it through the phone line. The series numbers cannot likely be traced. The phone guy is in an interrogation room, and his name is Michael Garcia who spent 15 years with the El Paso police force, the last three in their tech support unit.

Benson is in interrogation and had read Garcia his rights. He has nothing to say. Porter is also there and tells him every device he planted equals five years in federal prison and he is up to three decades. He won’t talk.

Outside the room. They realize the phones were installed right after the murder as someone wanted to make sure they weren’t getting too close to the heroin. Porter says the cartel routinely recruits rogue Texas cops and they must have hired the guy to bug the place. They heard everything they were doing and the cartel warned Rojas, that’s how they made the detectives at the airport. Cragen wonders how Terri Banes connects to all of this, and Porter says when he finds out, he will call them, he assumes she is part of the cartel, which makes her his problem now. But Stabler says in his books, Terri Banes is a suspect in a double homicide. Porter and Stabler argue about to whom the case belongs, and Stabler gets pissy. Porter says the cartel bugged their phones, and asks if Stabler sees the reach these people have, adding, “Are you getting it now?” Stabler doesn’t respond, and Porter says he will take the wiretapper too, and Cragen agrees.

When Porter walks off, Stabler says to Cragen, “So that’s it? Big shot Fed pats us on the head , we’re supposed to bend over and take it?” Cragen tells both of them to go home. Benson asks Stabler what is his problem, and Stabler says, “Porter’s not gonna tell us dick.” But Benson thinks Porter has kept them in the loop. Stabler says, “Yeah, until he didn’t. He wants to cut us out until he can get to Terri before we do. No way. C’mon.”

In the car, Stabler asks if Benson thinks he is misleading Porter, but she just tells him not to go to Terri’s. When he asks whose side she is on, she says she means to pull over, and points out that Terri is on the move. Terri goes to a pay phone, and when Stabler says he doesn’t blame her for not trusting the phones, Benson reminds him Terri was not home when they found the bugs, so how did she know? He notices she never even spoke on the pay phone, and they see her wiping down the handset. She gets in a cab and they follow.

She stops at a grocery store 40 blocks north, and Benson exits the car, telling Stabler to stay in the car in case Terri comes out. She watches Terri shop. Terri stops a man and asks him if he can reach an opener for her. He does, and he hands it to her and she puts it in the cart, but she has switched carts in the process. Benson radios Stabler and tells him it is a drop. When Benson calls out to Terri, she pushes her cart toward Benson and runs. Benson radios to Stabler that Terri is going out the back, and he tells her to grab the guy with the bag and he will get Terri. Benson catches up the guy who says in Spanish that he does not speak English, but Benson answers him back in Spanish, asking him if the bag is his. He says no. He says he must have accidentally taken the wrong cart, so she says then he won’t mind if she looks inside the bag. He shakes his head no, and she looks in and sees Ramona’s breast implants. While she arrests him for murder, Stabler enters and says he lost Terri. She tells him to look in the bag, she bets the guy knows where she is going. While Benson continues to read the man his rights in Spanish as they exit the store, we see Agent Porter sitting in a car, watching.

Back in interrogation, Benson questions the man in Spanish. He says he does not need a lawyer. She tells him the implant he had was cut out of a woman who was murdered. He feigns ignorance, and she reminds him it was in his shopping cart. He insists his cart was taken by the woman. She tells them the woman intentionally switched the carts. He tries to fall back on the constitution and says she can’t force him to say anything. He swears he is telling the truth.

Meanwhile, Cragen enters the observation room where Stabler is watching and listening to Benson’s interrogation. He’s been in there with Benson for two hours and they have nothing, there is nothing on his prints and he had no ID. Cragen tells them to put him in the cage and head over to TARU, Morales has something and he wants to stay off the phones.

At TARU, Morales tells them that the call Terri made from the pay phone went to a untraceable pager. The lab found something that was waterproofed and sealed inside the breast implant. It was a SIM card from a smart phone, and he already cloned it. On the card there is a text message that says, “see you at the museum at 5:00” but it is in code. Imbedded in the dots in the colon an period looks like a binary sequence, but Morales realized the number groups corresponded with the letters of the alphabet. There are lists of names and numbers and it appears to be a contact list of names and addresses. When Stabler asks what country, Morales wipes his screen as Porter has just entered the room, telling him he thought he told the to stay out of this. He hands Morales a warrant for any and all of the evidence in the murder of Ramona Rodriguez. Morales sees it is signed by a federal judge. He hands Porter the SIM card, saying this is all he had. Stabler asks what the hell is going on, and Porter coldly says it is not their concern. He adds that he is telling them for the last time – back off. Benson looks stunned. After Porter leaves the room, Morales says that now he gets it, he examined the bugs in the squad room phones and found that the serial numbers were sanded off. It bothered him because normally the cartel would not bother to remove them. He says that they’re standard procedure for the FBI. He thinks Porter bugs the phones but removed them before he found them here. They realize Porter has been surveilling them.

Going back to the squad, they comment that the phone guy was working for Porter and he concocted the whole story about the cartel killing Ramona. Benson adds that that “rat bastard” knew all along that Terri murdered Ramona to stop her from smuggling the SIM card to Mexico. But Stabler wonders why Terri was trying to get the card to the guy in the supermarket, so Benson says they should go ask him. But Cragen pipes up and says good luck, he’s been sprung by the State Department. He also asks for them to guess who is getting paid $61K a year by a company that only exists on paper? It’s Terri Banes. Munch says Terri’s employer is “The Company”. She works for the CIA. Munch says she is a spook, but she is spying on them – for Cuba. Munch suspects the names on the SIM card are American agents there that she was going to give up to the Cubans. When Stabler asks how he made a Cuba connection, Munch mentions the short wave radio found in Terri’s apartment – that’s how the Cuban spies get their instructions from the “mothership.” He adds that they also make coded messages from pay phones and drops like the shopping cart switcheroo like Terri. Terri did know Ramona, they graduated together from Laredo High in 1998. The think Porter bugged them to see if they were getting close to Terri’s secret. Cragen thinks Porter knows where Terri is.

Later, Benson opens her apartment door (4D) and it is Porter. She is dressed in a dark red dress, and he hands her red roses and thanks her for the invite. He complements her and her apartment. She tells him to get comfortable and she’ll get him a drink. Meanwhile, Stabler lurks in the other room with Morales, who says that Porter has to get closer for the software to transfer. Morales is accessing Porter’s cell phone information, Meanwhile, Porter is looking at his cell phone and Benson asks him if everything is OK. He says it is weird, he was checking his phone and suddenly his bluetooth kicked in. Benson asks him if he is going to Twitter this. She brings him some wine and tells him to put it away. In the other room, Morales says the software is uploaded, and he wants to see if it works. Benson continues to talk with Porter, mentioning the case, and he asks if she is apologizing. She says no, he helped him out of that mess with her brother, he saved her life 3 days ago, and she thinks it is time she properly thanked him. They kiss. In the other room, Morales whispers to Stabler that they are good, now do it. Stabler sends a text to Cragen to tell him to make the call, and he takes a deep breath. Things are getting hot and heavy with Benson and Porter, and her phone rings. She says she has to answer it because it is Cragen’s ring tone. He tells her they have a line on Terri, and she says she is on her way. She tells Porter it is a rape/murder in Chelsea and she has to go. She apologizes and asks for a rain check. Porter leaves and she rushes into the bedroom, and Stabler asked her if Porter heard Cragen say Terri’s name. She says she hopes so, she had the volume maxed out. Morales said he did, his software track every call that Porter makes, and he just called the Midtown Manor hotel, they think to warn Terri.

We then see the detectives breaking down the hotel room door and Terri is there, looking like she is packing to leave. She says he is unarmed, and Benson arrests her for the murders of Ramona and Carlos. She says she is not a killer.

Down at the SVU interrogation, they confront Terri with all the facts. She says they have it all wrong. Terri said the card was going to the Cuban resistance so they can feed intelligence back to the US. She could not take the card herself because she is an analyst on the CIA Cuban desk and if the Cubans knew she was there they would kill her. She did not know Ramona had been a drug mule. She said she had no idea Ramona was doing the cartel’s business. Ramona wanted breast implants so she offered her $50K plus the surgery paid in full to put the SIM card in and take it to Cuba. Ramona jumped at the chance. She started to blackmail Terri for more money and she told Ramona there wasn’t any more but Ramona did not care. She had no choice but to cut the implants out. If the Cubans would have gotten the card their agents would have been killed and an entire intelligence network compromised. But Ramona did not care she just wanted the money. That night, she fought with Ramona and she had no choice. Ramona was her cousin and they were like sisters but she got involved in drugs and she changed. The guy in the supermarket was a Cuban attaché stationed at the east side mission. He is a double agent and she knew he could get the card to the resistance. She says Porter knew everything. She called him and he told her how to stage the body and the underwear. But Porter burst in and tells her to shut her mouth. Benson says it is too late, and adds, “You prick.” He tells Terri “let’s go” but Stabler says she isn’t going anywhere. Benson starts to arrest Porter for accessory to murder. But Cragen walks in and says no he is not, and when Benson tries to object, Cragen says Porter is leaving with Terri. He tells Porter there is a stairwell down to the alley behind the precinct and she will be waiting for him down there. When Stabler asks if Cragen is letting them walk, Cragen says it is out of their hands, and tells Benson to take her downstairs. But when Benson objects, Cragen forcefully says he just got an order, the same one he is giving her – let them go. When Stabler and Benson don’t move, Porter says, “You heard him.” Stabler say, “Go to hell” and walks out. Terri turns back to Benson and says she is sorry. When Terri and Cragen walk out, Benson asks Porter if Terri is lying or did he help her cover up two murders? He tells her this is a matter of national security. Benson says it is murder. Porter responds that she did what she had to do. She asks, just like he did with Manuel Rojas? Porter says he had a gun to her head. She asks if that is why he shot him or was it to stop him from telling them the truth, which all leads back to Porter. He tells Benson no matter what he tells her, she will never believe him. When he moves to walk out, she says she trusted him, and asks why didn’t he tell her? Why didn’t he trust her? He says their feelings don’t matter, and he turns and walks out, leaving Benson to stand there alone as we fade to black.

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“Spooked” Two Minute Replay

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Law & Order SVU “Turmoil” New Episode Information, Schedule Updates

NBC has released information for a new episode of Law & Order SVU titled “Turmoil”. The information is listed below. They have also updated their official schedule for SVU and here is how it looks for the next few weeks:

November 4 - Users
November 11 - Turmoil
November 18 - Unofficially this is supposed to be an episode titled “Perverted” but there is no episode information as yet.
Dec 9 – Unofficially, this is the new date for “Anchor”

Law & Order SVU “Turmoil” Air Date 11/11/2009 (9 PM ET/ 8C Wednesday NBC)

After risqué photos of a fifteen-year-old rape victim (guest star Shana Dowdeswell) are leaked onto the internet, Detectives Elliot Stabler and Olivia Benson’s (Mariska Hargitay) case becomes much more complicated. As the detectives’ case slowly morphs into an investigation by the State Bar, Stabler’s son (guest star Jeffrey Scaperrotta) becomes entangled in a streak of compromising events at the hands of his best friend, a recovering drug addict (guest star Joshua Page). As Benson takes charge of the rape case, Stabler is forced to set his personal opinions aside and deal with the potentially life-threatening situation his son and his friend have so carelessly gotten themselves into. Also starring: Dann Florek (Captain Donald Cragen), B.D. Wong (Dr. George Huang), Richard Belzer (Detective John Munch), Ice-T (Detective Odafin Tutuola), Tamara Tunie (Dr. Melinda Warner), and Stephanie March (ADA Alexandra Cabot).

My recap and review of Law & Order SVU "Turmoil" can be found here.

NBC Promo for "Turmoil"

NBC Sneak Peek for "Turmoil"

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

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

Monday, October 26, 2009

EW’s Ausiello Reveals Anita Van Buren’s Mystery Man

Super scooper Michael Ausiello reveals that the recently revealed “mystery lover” for S. Epatha Merkerson's Law & Order character Anita Van Buren will be played by Ernie Hudson. Viewers may best know Ernie from his Ghostbusters role, trying to slay a giant marshmallow man. At least, that’s what I think of when I see Ernie. Ernie is scheduled to first appear in this Friday's episode. You can read Michael’s full story at EW’s Ausiello Files web site.

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

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

Law & Order CI: Someone Dies When Stars Exit

The Hollywood Reporter says that one of the main characters who plan to exit of Law & Order Criminal Intent – Vincent D’Onofrio, Kathryn Erbe, or Eric Bogosian - will be murdered. This same episode where the dead occurs will mark the exit for the other two characters.

This will not please Law & Order Criminal Intent fans, I am sure. I for one am somewhat speechless on the issue right now.

Read the full story here.

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

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

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Law & Order “Dignity” Recap & Review

All Photos from NBC

Law & Order “Dignity” tackles an issue where everybody has an opinion – abortion. I was going to criticize the writers for the stereotypical opinions dished out in this episode but then I gave it more thought – those dialogues sound very much how real life arguments take place on the issue. This episode tackled the even tougher issue of late term abortions, which brings on a whole host of more impassioned and emotional arguments from both sides. I thought this episode was very well done and did a good job reflecting how a single issue like this can be divisive between colleagues and have possibly lasting ramifications, not to mention how it can cause people to do irrational things like murder.

Acting somewhat out of character was ADA Connie Rubirosa (Alana De La Garza), who is usually the most rational when it comes to finding ways to win a case. This time, she sabotages the case and sells out EADA Michael Cutter (Linus Roache) and DA Jack McCoy (Sam Waterston), going against McCoy’s explicit orders not to inform the defense of information she uncovered. She got teary-eyed during one witness’ testimony, but says that she released information to the defense against Jack’s wishes because she wanted to stay true to her ethics. I think she didn’t want to admit that she was shaken by the woman’s testimony. Cutter, who was very vocal about his opinion early on, seems to lose his desire to win by soft-pedaling with that same witness. Still, Cutter towed the line and did as Jack said, and continued to press the case despite the fact that his personal feelings on the issue of abortion supported pro-lifers. While Cutter won the case, his prosecution was poor and he didn’t seem to bring up the fact that this was a cold blooded murder until the very end during closing arguments. Cutter seemed to forget that he was prosecuting a murderer, not trying the right to have an abortion.

It seems that Anita’s (S. Epatha Merkerson) cancer was shoehorned in again this week, with the Lupo’s comment “Chemo must be a real picnic” sounding hollow and almost insensitive. Lupo is old enough that he should already know chemo is not a picnic. I would think he would have said something that showed a little more concern for his colleague. We also see a scene wedged in that Anita’s tumor is not responding to treatment and they will stronger drugs. I hope that Anita will be able to have meatier scenes in future episodes than these short references to her illness – like maybe something that involves a case? Having seen too many of my own family members die from cancer, I admit that I am a little anguished over watching even a fictional character go through treatment.

Lupo (Jeremy Sisto) and Bernard (Anthony Anderson) were clearly at odds about the abortion issue, but unlike Connie and Cutter, they seemed to be able to get past it to do their jobs. I laughed when Lupo said people should need a permit to have kids, and I have a tendency to agree with that thought. Of course, that is a whole separate messy argument.

McCoy is the only one who seems to have his sights clearly on the case at hand, despite his story about his own daughter and his grandchild to be. He’s fought many of these same hot button issues before and I think he realizes that if he wants to keep his sanity – and his job – as district attorney, he knows how to keep his focus.

The episode was a bit preachy but it is hard to cover the topic of abortion, especially later term abortion, without people getting on their soapbox. The issue is far more complex than just dignity, a word that was thrown around quite a bit to justify a person’s choices or opinions. I thought this episode did a great job in outlining how one issue can be divisive with friends or colleagues, and clearly a rift formed between Cutter and Rubirosa. I thought it was interesting to see Cutter's personal opinions on a controversial issue, and then watch as he got on Connie's case for her behavior. She came back with an excellent retort, and I find I am liking both Connie and Michael more with each episode. I loved it, though, when Jack put Cutter in his place at the end, saying that people weren't lining up for the "exalted position" of Cutter's second chair. That Jack, he always knows how to close.

Here is the recap:
Dr. Walter Benning (Matthew Boston) is greeting people as they enter the church. He watches as a young man walk into the church. Benning then walks inside himself, and moves to a room off the vestibule, and checks for his gun. He walks into the church where services have already begun. Benning is looking around somewhat uncomfortably, staring at the young man sitting a few pews away, and he unbuttons his suit jacket. A shot is heard, and Walter Benning is dead from a bullet in the head. The man he was staring at stands up and looks back at Benning and Benning’s wife screams.

Later, Detectives Cyrus Lupo (Jeremy Sisto) and Kevin Bernard (Anthony Anderson) arrive on the scene. They are told by the officer on the scene that a man on a cigarette break saw a white man run out of the church and drive away in a dark blue sedan. Bernard says, ‘Thank heaven for smokers.” There is one 9mm shell casing there, but no weapon. But Bernard sees the doctor’s gun on his body, and notices he is wearing a bulletproof vest. Lupo comments that he has reason to be careful, he has taken a bullet before. Bernard adds, “It has to be said, can I get a witness?” Lupo thinks the minister was facing the congregation when the shot was fired, but the minister (Michael Hollick) says he had his eyes closed, and hit the floor upon hearing the shot. He said that he didn’t have Benning’s courage, and tells the detectives that Benning performed abortions and specialized in the toughest cases, third trimester. He adds Benning was one of the few to risk his own safety. Bernard says a lot of Christians would consider what Benning did as murder, and asks if any church members believed in an eye for an eye. The minister says that the church advocates tolerance, and that Benning has been coming to services there without incident for the last 10 years. Bernard adds, “A devout abortionist.” The minister said Benning believed he was doing the Lord’s work and he prayed to the same God as the rest of them. As they watch Benning’s body being carried out, Lupo says, “He should’ve prayed a little louder. “

On the steps of the church the detectives speak to Mrs. Benning, who indicated she begged her husband to stop with the abortions. He had a private office in Manhattan but did the abortions in Riverdale, which is where a pro lifer shot him last year, and the person is in prison. Lieutenant Anita Van Buren (S. Epatha Merkerson) arrives, looking ill and wiping her mouth as if she had been vomiting. She introduces herself to Mrs. Benning and says they will do everything to find his murderer. Mrs. Benning comments that these people call themselves godly but they shot a man where he prays. She leaves to begin making arrangements. After Mrs. Benning leaves, Van Buren, wiping her mouth often, asks if they are taking about the usual suspects, and Bernard says that they are the only suspects, according to the wife. She tells them to check with Benning’s staff as maybe the shooter tipped his hand. When Van Buren walks away, Lupo says, “Chemo must be a real picnic.”

At Benning’s “Woman’s Health Clinic” the detectives speak with a security guard, who is marking a tire on a parked car with a blue chalk line. He mentions that protesters we hogging the parking spots so the landlord asked them to enforce the 2-hour parking rule. He indicates the protesters “Mission for Life” just gripe and chant, but adds that security cameras were put up by the landlord and they are mostly for show.

Inside the clinic, they speak with a who seems like a head nurse or administrator, who said the Mission for Life people seemed to have a grudging respect for Walter. The person w ho tried to kill him last year was not from Mission for Life. When Bernard asks what kind of threats Benning had been attracting, she is annoyed that he made it sound like Benning is doing it on purpose. When Lupo tries to soften what Bernard just implied, Bernard continue to harp on her, saying late term abortions is a lightning rod for troubles. But she isn't having any of it, she pushed back that the law allows it, and they continue to push back and forth about the issue of late term abortions. She says she is proud to work there and unless they can find another doctor who is brave enough to step up, they will have to close the clinic. Bernard smiles smugly. Lupo asks who Jonah Leland is, seeing his name on a message list several times. She says his girlfriend is scheduled to come from Pennsylvania tomorrow for a procedure but she didn’t know what he wanted, but he did sound angry.

At the office of Dr. Valerie Knight, she is consulting with Van Buren, and tells her that her first round of chemo did not shrink the tumor. She suggests other drugs that they can try and the side effects may be worse. Van Buren says, “The nausea I can handle, dying’ no so much so bring it on, doctor. Whatever it takes. “ She smiles nervously.

Elsewhere, at a lumberyard in Yardley, Pennsylvania, Jonah Leland (Evan Enderle) says he never called Benning, his ex girlfriend Blair would have been mad at him. She broke up with him, he is a born again Christian, but there was something wrong with the baby and he didn’t have insurance. It was a genetic abnormality. She decided to have the abortion when he told her he couldn’t deal with it. When he goes back to work, we get this exchange:

Lupo: Forget the abortion debate, you should need a permit to have kids.
Bernard: Ah, in your world a kid hardly has a chance to be born
Lupo: You know what about that, not to step on your freedom of speech or anything, but we’re not here to get into arguments with witnesses.
Bernard: Hmm, I don’t know Lupes, that nurse at the clinic basically admitted that Benning was performing illegal abortions.
Lupo: That’s not the crime we’re investigating and if you think forcing an 11 year old rape victim to give birth is okay then you and I got nothing to talk about.
Bernard: You got it backwards, man! The horrible thing is the rape! Not the bringing of a life into the world.
Lupo: All I know is an unwanted child’s already got two strikes against it.
Bernard: That unwanted child could change the world. Cure cancer! Be president!
Lupo: Yeah, or put his finger on the button and blow up the world.
Bernard: It’s not for us to decide. (Lupo starts up the car but Bernard grabs the keys and shuts the car off) I was born two months premature. My mother was unmarried, poor, 7 months pregnant, she panicked, threw herself down a flight of stairs.
Lupo: So I almost had another partner.
Bernard, handing the car keys back to Lupo: That’s all I’m sayin’.

At Blair Morton’s (Jessica Varley) home, she tells them that her baby will have fragile skin disease that will mean around the clock medical care. Jonah freaked at the news and Dr. Benning said he would help her. When Lupo notices the baby things she has, she said her father got her a crib because he wanted a grandchild. She says she can’t have this baby, and who will help her now.

At the school where Blair’s father Kevin (Bill Sage) teaches, he tells the detectives about the disease which makes the baby’s skin so delicate the slightest touch will cause tearing and will require constant care. He told Blair he would work three jobs if he had to find the money. He said she is too far along and that is no fetus it is a child. He admits to calling Benning claiming to be the baby’s father. He denies doing anything to Benning. He said he just went for a long walk because things were tense at home. He wanted to take responsibility but not with a gun. When he gets called to class, the detectives decide to check faculty parking to see if his car has an EZ Pass that would help them to see if he drove to Manhattan. When they get to the lot, they see his car has a blue chalk mark on it from the lot from Benning’s clinic.

With Kevin Morton in interrogation, he denies killing Benning. One of the crazies there followed him to his car thinking he was am abortion doctor, but he told the man he was trying to prevent one. The man told him not to worry, that his grandson would be fine. They ask him to look at some videotape.

At Mission for Life, they show a woman a picture of a man that has been hanging outside the clinic, but she tells them he is not from Mission for Life. Roger Jenkins (Richard Thomas) comes up and introduces himself as the their executive legal advisor. He says murdering abortion doctors does not help their cause. When Bernard says they could help by telling them who the man in the picture is, Jenkins says it is a public space and they can’t dictate who comes or goes. Lupo says “disclaimer noted” and expects an answer. The man’s name is Wayne, and he bragged about being arrested for breaking into a nuclear power plant in Buchanan.

The find Wayne Grogan’s ex wife, who has no idea where he is. She calls to her son Will (Tolan Aman), who was with Wayne Saturday night. Wayne told Will he wanted him to know that he loved him, no matter what happens, and they are cops so they can figure it out. When Wayne’s wife asks what this is about, Bernard says it would be better to straighten these things out with him in person. She tells them when Will broke his leg a year ago she emailed him and he came to the hospital within an hour.

Later, at the Hackensack Memorial Hospital, with Lupo and Bernard dresses as an EMT and an orderly or nurse, and clearly having set up Wayne to show up, they wait for him to arrive. Instead they get Roger Jenkins, who is there on behalf of Wayne but wants to speak to the DA, he is there as his attorney and to negotiate terms for his surrender.

Back at the 2-7, Van Buren says the DA thinks Jenkins is stalling for time until he can get to Grogan. She wants to know who tipped Jenkins off to the ruse, and they think it was Grogan’s son. Later, at Grogan’s ex’s, she is yelling at Will for hacking into her email to see the email she sent to Wayne. He admits he warned Roger Jenkins as he saw him on TV. Lupo sees a picture of Will with his father and Wayne’s girlfriend, who says she cared about stuff that is important. When Lupo asks for her name, Will says his dad says never trust authority. Lupo says, “No argument here.” He adds that sooner or later his father will get caught maybe by cops who like to shoot first.

At Wayne’s girlfriend’s cabin, she says she has not see Wayne for a year. She lives off the grid and prefers the simple life. But when the detectives enter her home with her, Bernard notices a flashing light, and moving something covering it up, sees it is a computer with a low battery light flashing. Lupo calls through a locked door for Wayne to open the door, but then kicks it open as Wayne (PJ Sosko) is fleeing out the window, Bernard catches up with him outside, knocks him to the ground and cuffs him.

At a later date in prison, EADA Michael Cutter (Linus Roache) and ADA Connie Rubirosa (Alana De La Garza) hear Jenkins request for Grogan as 10 years for manslaughter. He says he was seduced by pro life rhetoric, but Cutter says no deal. Jenkins tells Wayne was he has to do now and brave men must take a stand. Grogan says Benning was killing babies and somebody had to stop him. He admits to the killing, and Jenkins says they are asserting justification as an affirmative defense. Wayne killed Benning in defense of other persons.

At the Supreme Court, there is a motion hearing, Cutter argues against the whole claim of justification for violence against clinics as they have historically been denied by the courts. Jenkins argue Wayne was only protecting one baby, the baby of Blair Morgan, who Jenkins claims was viable, and insists that he syndrome the baby had is survivable with a normal life expectancy. Jenkins will prove that Grogan was aware of this when he took action against Benning. The judge seems sympathetic and allows the defense to proceed. By Cutter says she is opening Pandora’s box, but she says it will go to a jury.

In DA Jack McCoy’s (Sam Waterston) office, they discuss the hurdles facing them with this case. When Cutter refers to the fetus as a baby, Rubirosa calls him on it, saying that won’t help matters.

Rubirosa: Referring to this fetus as a baby isn’t gonna help matters.
Cutter: An unborn child is a life and a soul to me. I…I can revert to PC in the courtroom because it’s my job, but I’m not gonna do it in my own office.
McCoy: You’re in my office, and we’re not debating the abortion issue.
Cutter: Well the jurors will be, and it’s time to face the facts. The tide has turned. Most Americans are pro-life now.
Rubirosa: Most Americans don’t live in New York. I doubt we’ll draw and anti-choice jury here.
McCoy: You might be surprised. My daughter was pro choice until she taped a sonogram of my grandchild to be on her refrigerator. Now…..

McCoy says that the crux of Grogan's defense is he was aware of Blair Morton’s abortion, so they have to prove that he intended to kill Benning before he heard of the Morton’s.

Back at Benning’s clinic, Rubirosa speaks with the nurse who says Grogan was louder than the other protesters but she was not aware of any threats. They already had one nurse quit a few months ago over the threats, she just stopped showing up to work. Later, at a neonatal ICU, Rubirosa speaks with the nurse, Jennice Morrow (Kristina Kirk) a nurse who said she did no quit over the protesters. Rubirosa says the woman left a late term abortion clinic to work in neonatal unit, wondering what changed her world view. She says a woman came in for an abortion in her 7th month when she found out the baby had generic markers for anencephaly and a sonogram confirmed a large part of the fetus’s brain wasn’t developing. During the abortion something went wrong and the baby was delivered live. When Benning asked the woman if she wanted to complete the procedure…and when Rubirosa hears this she is shocked, asking if she means terminate the baby. The woman told the doctor yes, to finish it, and he did. After that, she could not go back to work there. Rubirosa asks for the name of the patient.

Later, Rubirosa is at the front door of this woman, and she asks her about her experience with Benning, and the woman gets very upset and says the information is confidential. She says it was the hardest thing she even went through in her whole life. When Rubirosa continues to press for information, the woman gets even more upset, saying she has no right to pry into her medical history, she says to leave her alone, and she slams the door in the face.

Rubirosa is back in McCoy’s office and tells McCoy and Cutter what Benning did. She says they have to report this to the Bronx DA. But McCoy says Benning is dead and they should wait to after the trail. Rubirosa says at the very least it is Brady material and they have to tell the defense. But Cutter says it is not relevant to the trial. Rubirosa seems surprised at their response, saying Benning killed a human being, and didn’t Grogan shoot him to prevent him from doing just that? Cutter argues it is not exculpatory ad Grogan knew nothing about it when he killed Benning and if Jenkins gets his hands on it he will exploit it. McCoy tells them they both best pretend they never heard it. Rubirosa stares at Cutter, who gives her a look back as he walks out the door.

At trial, Kevin Morton is on the stand saying that he went to Benning to ask him not to give his daughter an abortion but he could not get in. Grogan approached him and Morton told him about the situation with this daughter, and adds that Grogan got red in the face and said his grandson would be okay. He took this to mean that somehow the abortion would not take place. Under cross, Jenkins gets Morton to admit that he felt Blair’s baby was viable and he had a chance at life and it wasn’t about Blair any more.

Cutter has another doctor (Mark Blum) on the stand, who say Benning was caring and heroic doctor. He concluded that Blair's child is doomed to a life of suffering and agreed it was reasonable to about the baby and it was the only responsible thing to do. But under cross, Jenkins gets under his skin, and the doctor says the life of Blair’s child is without dignity. Jenkins asks if he would have volunteered to about Blair Morton’s baby, and he says if she asked him, yes he would. He starts to get on his own soapbox about providing abortions to the women who want them, saying they won’t be stopped by the politicians who bow to the hypocrites and fools. Cutter and Rubirosa do not look happy at that comment.

As McCoy is walking in the hallway of the elevator with Cutter and Rubirosa, he says know they know there are fanatics in both camps. Rubirosa thinks Jenkins is betting he can sway enough jurors to force a deadlock, and Cutter adds if not an outright acquittal. The first defense witness is Lisa Barnett, whose child was diagnosed with a genetic disorder, but she chose against abortion. McCoy asks, “And how is that relevant” and he storms off.

In court, Jenkins argues that a person who asserts justification must prove he was acting reasonable and saw Mrs. Barnett on the talk show discussing the birth of her daughter and what he heard influenced his state of mind. Rubirosa argues this is just another attempt by Jenkins to prejudice the jury against Benning and his lawful work. The judge allows the witness but warns Jenkins if she hears any nonsense she will stop it.

Lisa Barnett (Jessica Dickey) gives an emotional testimony about the condition of her baby, which a doctor said was “incompatible with life.” She did not have an abortion and carried the baby to term, she knew the baby would die but wanted it to happen naturally and do it with dignity. She was happy when they put her in her arms and looked normal. The baby died soon afterwards in her arms after being alive for 21 hours. She did not regret not having the abortion. She and her husband were honored to have her and that she died with dignity. While all this is going on, the jury looks uncomfortable and some of the women look teary eyed. Rubirosa also looks on the verge of tears as well. When it is Cutter’s turn to cross examine, he treads carefully and tells Barnett she is a brave woman. He gets her to admit that she may have made a different choice at another time in her life, and also that doctors who perform later term abortions to women in her condition are providing an essential medical service.

Back in McCoy’s office, Cutter tells him half the jury was in tears. When McCoy says that doesn’t mean they will acquit, Cutter tells him he is deceiving himself, and all it takes is one vote. McCoy stands firm and will not offer a plea bargain. Cutter tells him to substitute slavery for abortion and John Brown for Wayne Grogan, and in it’s day Roe V Wade conformed to what we know then about human life and science. Contraception was limited and most birth defects were untreatable. Thirty five years later, birth defects can be corrected and the disabled children are protected by the bill of rights, and contraception of every kind is available. McCoy says yet people who don’t want to still get pregnant. Cutter gets angry, and asks if their rights should reign supreme, adding cats and dogs have more rights than the unborn. He says Roe V Wade can stand another look. McCoy says if the jury wants to send that message let them do it but he is not cutting any deals. Someone bring in a notice to Cutter, it seems that Jenkins found out about the woman, nurse Jennice Morrow whose baby Benning killed after a botched abortion that McCoy told them to pretend never happened. McCoy wants to know how they found out, and seem to think Cutter did, which he denies. Cutter is incredulous, saying “You’re kidding! You’re the one who thinks I like winning too much. Why would I sabotage my own case? “ McCoy thinks it’s principles, and as Cutter continues to object, Rubirosa walks in and admits she was the one who told them. She decided it was an ethical violation if the defense was informed. Cutter is livid, commenting she did this despite the explicit instructions to the contrary. She says she can’t be instructed to violate her ethics. McCoy pipes in saying they will deal with this later, and tells them to put their heads together to see how they can keep nurse Morrow off the stand. AS Cutter glares at Rubirosa, she walks out the door.

Back in Supreme Court in the hallway, Cutter argues the testimony is not relevant as Grogan was not aware of the matter. Rubirosa said the testimony violates the privacy of Benning’s patient and she also wants no part of this. The judge allows the witness but that says the patient will be referred to as Jane Doe.

Jennice Morrow outlines the botched abortion and the subsequent killing of the delivered baby. There is gasping and looks of horror or disgust on everyone faces as she testified that Benning took the surgical scissors and drove them into the baby’s skull. The child’s body was disposed of as medical waste. Under cross, Cutter confirms it was Miss Doe’s decision to terminate, and Morrow admits that the baby would have survived only a day or two after being carried to term.

Back in his own office, Cutter is hot under the collar:

Cutter: It was a rout. I don’t know what got into you to tell the defense about Janise Morrow.
Rubirosa: I felt they were entitled to know. It was up to the judge to disallow it
Cutter: Now it’s up to us to convince the jury to ignore it. (Pauses). I mean you of all people Connie, I thought you wanted to win this case.
Rubirosa: I grew up thinking Roe v Wade was gospel. And that a woman’s privacy was inviolate. But after hearing that woman on the stand talk about her baby dying in her arms….I don’t know, I don’t know where my privacy ends and another being’s dignity begins.
Cutter, coldly: You want moral clarity? How about just doing your job, put the bad guys in jail.
Rubirosa, quiet and controlled: I’m glad it’s so clear cut for you, Mike. Unfortunately, I can’t leave my soul in the umbrella stand when I come into work in the morning.

Back at Supreme Court, closing arguments are underway. Jenkins shows a picture of Blair Morgan’s newborn baby. Cutter moves to show photos in Walter Benning’s wallet when he was shot, and moves to show photos of his children and grandchildren are stained with blood.. But, he backs off, saying he can’t do this, there is too much heartbreaking testimony. He goes on to say they are dealing with greatest mystery of what is life and when does it begin. He goes on to say people want to do the right and just thing, and want reason and empathy to lead us to an answer and we struggle to find the answer. Despite all our differences, we are joined in the belief that every life is special and imbued with unalienable rights, and that belief compels them to reject the violence and the unreasoned chaos that Wayne Grogan’s act represents.

The jury comes back, and finds Grogan guilty.

Later, while Cutter sits in his office deep in thought. McCoy comes in and tells him to walk with him. They head over to Rubirosa’s desk, and McCoy tells Cutter that Rubirosa has been asked to be transferred to the white collar crime bureau. Cutter says if that’s what she wants, and she says that’s what she wants. But McCoy says it is not what he wants, and outlines all the moves he’d have to make to accommodate her. He digs a bit at Cutter, when he says that “ Then I would have to find someone to second chair with Mike. Much as you would like to believe otherwise, people aren’t lining up for that exalted position.” He adds he used to expect people to be consistent, but he doesn’t expect that any more, saying it is a big messy world. He tells them to work it out, and leave the two of them sitting there, staring at each other, as we fade to black.

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

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