Wednesday, March 3, 2010
Law & Order SVU “Savior” Recap & Review
Law & Order SVU “Savior” had lot of advance hype for guest stars Mischa Barton and Lee Tergesen – the latter having worked with Chris Meloni on the show “Oz.” While viewers had to know that they weren’t going to get any Meloni-Tergesen action as they got in “Oz,” fans may have expected a meatier role for Tergesen, who had to play the stereotypical religious lunatic Billy Skaggs. This episode seemed light on the investigation and legal action, (not much Fin and NO MUNCH!) and heavy on the soap opera-like story with the hooker, Gladys, played by Barton. The episode spent far too much time on Gladys’ baby issue, and it almost seemed as if the writers were going through the motions, especially with the canned Benson pep-talks to Gladys. Even the scenes where Stabler and Benson had a conflict about whether to try to save Gladys’ premature baby who had serious medical issues or to let the baby die seemed flat, lifeless, and devoid of any real feeling. Benson’s pep talks come back to haunt her when she tells Gladys that she knows Gladys will make the right decision, and Gladys decides the right thing is to let Benson decide the fate of her baby. Of course, Gladys, who doesn’t have two nickels to rub together, is able to get a lawyer to draw up the power of attorney and have it hand delivered to SVU in a nanosecond. I suspect the ending was to let viewers wonder whether Benson puts her money where her mouth is, or if she will change her mind and take the Stabler approach in deciding the fate of Gladys’ baby. By this time, my interest in the outcome has dulled to the point that I don’t really care.
Here’s the recap:
Detectives Benson (Mariska Hargitay) and Stabler (Chris Meloni) are called to the scene of a murdered young prostitute, Abby Mannion, and find a prayer card left with the body. It is identical to one found on the body of Maggie Ortiz, also murdered recently. When the detectives search Abby’s apartment, they find she was selling purses stolen from a store where her friend works, to supplement their coke habit. They also find that Abby was seeing a “weirdo” named Mike who paid her to lick his gun, and DNA found on Abby’s body matches a Michael Gallagher. The detectives storm Gallagher’s home, and bring him to the SVU interrogation where he denies knowing either girl or having a gun. But his wife Sarah said he did buy a gun three weeks ago and also found God, but lately he’s wanted her to do “things” like oral sex. Of course, confronted with this, Mike admits to meeting Abby on line and meeting her in person, but dropped her off in the alley, alive. Stabler continues to push Mike, but Mike is adamant that he did not kill either girl. Captain Cragen (Dann Florek) hands Stabler a surprise when he says the prayer card turned up again, but this victim is not dead.
Benson questions the hooker involved, “Sunshine” (Mischa Barton), and while her pimp distracts the detectives, Sunshine gets in a car and drives off. But Fin (Ice-T) is able to identify her as Gladys Dalton, and she has a long record. She apparently has been living with her aunt Shawna Grant in Murray Hill. They find Gladys at Grant's apartment. After Benson gives Gladys the usual SVU pep talk, Gladys admits that the man who attacked her asked he if she was “ready to meet your father” and she will never forget the voice. She also tells them that “Spud” heard the same thing from the guy and she got freaked out and ran. Later, when Benson and Stabler talk to Spud, her pimp walks in and Spud clams up. But when she moves to leave, she leaves a napkin with a note written on it – “Him, He drives a red Buick” and a quick sketch of his face.
While at the SVU squad, trying to identify the man, they get a frantic call from “Spud” saying the guy is driving around the area right now. The detectives get there at warp speed, in time to hear screams from the young girl. Stabler breaks into the car and yanks the man out, who says he was being robbed and spouts a bible verse. He says he was trying to save her when he said he wanted her to meet her father, but she cut him instead.
In the SVU interrogation room, Stabler is questioning Billy Skaggs (Lee Tergesen) who insists he was trying to save their lives via God. Skaggs denies killing any girls. He starts to pray and grabs Stabler’s arm, then puts his hands on Stabler’s shoulders. Stabler responds in prayer, and places his hands on Billy's shoulders, and then they pray in unison. (What, no kiss?) But when Stabler tries to get him to confess, Billy says he is willing to forgive and won’t press charges for being cut.
Despite Skaggs’s attorney’s attempt to intimidate Gladys while she getting ready for the lineup, she easily picks him out when he refuses to recite the line given to him and instead spouts more religious babble. Gladys, terrified, flees the room and runs down the stairs, where she falls nd lays unconscious as Benson calls for a bus. Benson also notices Gladys is pregnant.
As Gladys recovers in the hospital the doctor tells the detectives that Gladys and the fetus will be okay. But the detectives need the ID from Gladys.
Skaggs is being arraigned for the murders, and he pleads not guilty. The prosecution and defense attorneys argue over the tainted ID, but the judge remands Skaggs pending a review of the ID.
When the detectives return to see Gladys in the hospital, she is well and happy with her pregnancy. But her aunt seems shocked to hear about a baby, and gets very upset with both Gladys and the detectives, telling Benson and Stabler to get their “do-goody asses” out of there.
Later, ADA Cabot (Stephanie March) tells Benson and Stabler that the judge rejected the identification and orders a Wade hearing so Gladys can make an official ID. She needs Benson to be Gladys' “best friend” to help her through the process. But Benson finds Gladys has been kicked out of her aunt’s place. After Benson lectures her, Gladys' aunt tells Benson before Gladys left she posted an ad on Craig’s List.
At SVU, CSU Tech Morales (Joel de la Fuente) finds the ad with a provocative photo of Gladys, and she seems to have a taker already, living in Red Hook. When the detectives get to the location, the find her there, barely conscious, and it seems her water broke. As they call for help, Gladys has a seizure. Later at the hospital the detectives are told that Gladys had to have a crash c-section and Gladys will be fine but the baby has major issues. The doctor thinks they should not take action but Stabler thinks that is murder, and they argue the point. Benson goes off to see Gladys and the baby to reinforce what the doctor told her. Gladys, clueless, wants to do all they can to save the baby.
At the SVU squad, Benson and Stabler argue the point whether the baby should be saved or not, and Stabler comments that if Benson had kids she wouldn’t be asking the question, which ticks off Benson. When she seems to push back, Stabler walks out, and Cabot comes into the room and sees the tension. She tells Benson they need Gladys to testify to keep Billy off the streets, and says Gladys should be arrested for prostitution and to cuff her to the crib if she has to, to keep her from running until after the hearing. Cabot and Benson continue to argue the point.
Back at the hospital, Benson sees Gladys with the baby and tells her about needing her to testify and if she doesn’t she will have to arrest her. But Gladys gives Benson no choice and arrests her and takes her away.
At the Wade hearing, Gladys testifies against Skaggs and identifies him. The defense attorney tries to ruin her credibility so Cabot asks more questions about Gladys’ life as a prostitute in order to gain sympathy. Cabot states that Gladys has been raped 13,000 times, a fact which causes Skaggs to fly into a rage and he moves to attack her but he is tackled. The judge rules Gladys’ identification is admissible. Skaggs continues to spew religious babble as he is hauled out of the courtroom.
Later, Benson tells Gladys that Cabot dropped the prostitution charges. Gladys says that life will never be behind her and worries what she will tell her baby when she grows up. Benson gives her a pep talk about making the right decision now that her baby will understand. Gladys hugs Benson and then walks off.
Later, Cragen comes to Benson’s apartment with an envelope left for her at the station by a lawyer. It seems Gladys left Benson power of attorney over her daughter. There is also a note from Gladys saying Benson was right, and that she (Gladys) must make the right decision from now on and she has decided to go away to figure things out. Benson rushes into the NICU ward to find the baby is critical and they need permission to operate immediately, and even if it is a success she child will be brain damaged for life. As the doctor pushes Benson for a decision, Benson seems frozen in thought as we fade to black.
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