Wednesday, May 12, 2010
Law & Order Criminal Intent “Love Sick” Recap & Review
I know that some fans were worried that Law & Order Criminal Intent was going to turn into a “fluff” show when Jeff Goldblum became the main star, and I think with this week’s episode “Love Sick" coupled with last week’s “Abel and Willing” that they can rest assured Law & Order Criminal Intent is not going to be a fluff show. In fact, the show has taken a very dark turn with criminals more reminiscent of the truly weird people we saw in earlier seasons of the show. That darkness, though, is what I always felt made Law & Order Criminal Intent the weakest of the shows in the Law & Order franchise, even when D’Onofrio and Erbe were at the helm. I have never been a fan of overly dark crime shows. Criminal Minds, for example, is one that I watch only rarely and then hate it when I do, and even CSI has become too dark and depressing over the last few years that is isn’t often enjoyable to watch anymore But, my opinions on the darkness of Law & Order Criminal Intent does not mean that I think the show, or this episode, is bad. On the contrary, I think that this season the show seems to be back on track as far as the storylines and the acting, and that “Love Sick” was an interesting snapshot into the minds of two crazy people.
The only major criticism that I have with the episode is that Nichols and Stevens are too low key and too cerebral. I was glad when they had the scene where Damon and Maya were being lured in to a trap, with Nichols, Stevens, and the police waiting to nab them. That short burst of action and surprise drew me back into the episode, which, up that point seemed like a dull and routine investigation. No complaints from me about the guest stars, they all did a fine job. I do wish, though, that the show would go back to getting an ADA with some presence, as they had with Ron Carver (Courtney B. Vance).
I know I ask this question frequently but I always wonder how they define a major case. This one only seemed to be a major case because it happened in a rich neighborhood. Does this mean that in New York City, the rich get special treatment? Not only is that unfair, but it seems the waste of time for what should be a specialized team of detectives. This seemed like a plain case of homicide, and I would think that your average every day detectives should be called in first. But who knows, maybe there is no rhyme or reason to how the New York City police force works as to how they assign cases.
Here is the recap:
A guy, Jan, is selling drugs outside a club and Rachel isn’t happy about it. Another man, gives this guy a hassle over his drug dealing in his territory, they fight, and Rachel is hurt in the process. Meanwhile, Randall (Michael Gladis) flirts with Maya (Caroline Dhavernas), a nurse at a hospital and gets almost harassing over it. Rachel gets medical help for the cut on her face from Maya. Elsewhere, Damon (Dash Miwok) is working on a fire and gets a phone call, and tells the caller he will be there in a few. Outside the hospital, Randall seems to hit on Rachel but Maya comes up and rescues Rachel and walks off with her. Later, Rachel’s body is discovered laying on the street, and she is dressed like a hooker.
Detectives Zach Nichols (Jeff Goldblum) and Serena Stevens (Saffron Burrows) arrive on the crime scene and are told that the calls started after dawn. There is no purse or ID on the body. ME Rodgers (Leslie Hendrix) is already there. Stevens notices the spiked heels and the “bridge and tunnel” make up job which was very carefully done, but she had mousy brown hair. Nichols thinks it’s more college girl than working girl. Rodgers notices ligature marks which indicates strangulation with a strap of some time, and thinks she was killed sometime between 4:00 – 5: 00 AM. Nichols notices what he thinks is an offensive wound on her cheek that had been covered by makeup. Stevens says her wrists were rubbed raw as if she had been bound. Stevens suspects her makeup was done after death and thinks her clothes were more his choice than hers.
At the morgue, ME Rodgers tells the detectives that there were signs the woman was raped and sodomized but there was no semen. She found traces of a medicinal cleanser. Here lingual bone was broken after her death as if someone wanted to be sure she was dead. Stevens gets her ID, her name is Rachel Mehlan and is in the system for a loitering charge, and they have her address.
At the apartment of Jay Linnet, the detectives show him the picture of the body and Nichols asks if this is his girlfriend. He says that is not his Rachel. He shows them a picture of her, and she is on a farm, he says it was in Council Bluffs, she came to the city about a year ago to start at CUNY. He says it does not make any sense, they went to a club last night and she had to leave early – a little after 9:30 - to study for some tests. He stayed to talk to a few buddies, he called and called and left messages – nothing. He was worried. They ask if he hit her, as she had the deep cut on her cheek. He said there was a fight at the club with somebody he was involved with and Rachel got hit, but not by him. He admits that is why she left. Nichols asked who Jan pissed off, and he says it was Andre Lanier.
The detectives speak with Lanier and he plays dumb about the whole matter. When Stevens comments that the ring on his hand could have done some damage, he says Rachel may have gotten in the way. After he left the club he was with his people.
Back at Major Case, they tell Captain Zoe Callas (Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio) that neither Lanier or anybody in his crowd have sexual assault or rape charges. Stevens says their priors involve protecting their drug trade. They tell her the tox screen shows lots of valium and alcohol, plus there were small amounts of something on her skin – a medicinal cleanser. Callas thinks whoever did this was precise and thorough and didn’t want to leave a trace. Callas thinks her activity that night points to the boyfriend, but Stevens says he made 7 calls to her last night, some calls coming in right at the time of the murder. Callas says he would not be calling her if he was killing her. Nichols said when they talked to Jan he seemed genuinely upset, and Stevens said he even shed a few tears. Callas said there is an old saying in her family, a man only cries when his mother or his dog dies, adding “well, for sure over the dog.” Nichols comments, “Tough family.” She shakes her head and says, “Nah, just Greek.” She then wonders about the valium, the cleanser, and the stitches, and wonders if there is a medical connection. Stevens thinks with a cut that deep, she may have gone for immediate help. Callas will order a city-wide canvas of all ERs, hospitals, and clinics. She looks at the clothes and makeup and asks if they are sure she is not a working girl, and Nichols says that her record is clean, plus in her apartment, photos and clothing didn’t point to a streetwalking lifestyle. Stevens adds that there is nothing that indicates she was ever a prostitute, the killer just wanted her to look that way. When Callas asks about her being cleaned and left out in broad daylight, Nichols says that sends strong message – and Callas says that all women are prostitutes and he is proud of what he’s done.
Back at the hospital, Randall apologizes to Maya but she says her father has a name for people like him as she walks off. He punches at a cabinet and Damon approaches and tells him “easy there buddy” and when Randall blows it off, Damon asks if they are not friends anymore. Randall says he doesn’t know what they are but friends isn’t the right word. Damon says it wouldn’t work, he’s FDNY engine 12, and Randall wears a smock, and not to purse his lips, it’s unbecoming. Randall walks off to help a woman with a cut hand. Later, we see that same woman in a bathtub, dead, with someone with gloved hands painting her toenails.
Later, ME Rodgers is at the scene where a woman – the same one seen walking in the ER with the cut hand - was murdered and left in the same manner as Rachel and blocks from the location where Rachel was left. They wonder if they have a serial killer. The see the cut on her finger and see it has been treated. Stevens gets a message that a Mrs. Carol Felix just reported her 19 year old daughter missing, and it matches this girl’s description.
At the morgue, the detectives speak with Mrs. Felix, who says her daughter Isabelle caught her hand in a drawer, she spoke to her about 9:00. She said she was going to a hospital or clinic and it was the only place where they didn’t need insurance.
At East Side Community Hospital, they find she was x-rayed and a split was applied, and they also see Rachel Melhan was there on another day. A nurse’s aide, Maya Sills, talks to them about the two girls. She helped treat Rachel. Isabel went to the nurse on duty, buy Maya seems reluctant to talk about it, she wants to know she is safe. She tells them Randall Ames treated her, a night nurse. He has a reputation for liking young girls. Rachel complained to her about Randall.
They speak with Randall, and he knows Maya told them. He said they dated for a while and broke up, she had another guy, and said she is a head case. He said he offered to walk Rachel home because it is a bad neighborhood. He said Maya left with Rachel. He was on the overnight shift the days both girls were there, and they can check the time cards and surveillance cameras.
They check the surveillance video and see that Maya did leave with Rachel. They wonder about the guy who Maya ditched Randall for. Stevens sees a fireman talking to Maya and they seem cozy, and it was the night of Isabelle’s murder.
Later, at FDNY Engine 12, Ladder 63, they speak with Damon Kerrigan about Maya and he says she thinks Randall is a creep, and he knew they dated. He says Randall is still obsessed with her. He said Maya was with him after her shifts. One night they were at his place and the other night he was at Amy’s birthday party, and he asks his Uncle Joe, standing nearby to verify this, and he says. “Yeah sure.”
Back at Major Case, the detectives tell Callas they think Damon is lying. They think he has access to the victims because of access to the girlfriend, Maya. She wants them to check out Maya.
Meanwhile, Maya is spending some intimate time with Damon and he tells him to touch her the way he touches them. He restrains her to the bed.
Back at Major Case, Stevens said Maya was made a ward of the state when her father died when she was 13, she was in an out of foster care. They lived in Queens. He was into archery and Maya had a bow hunting license. They had belonged to a group of weekend hunters in Jefferson County, and Stevens got a photo of them taken at that time. She is holing game shears in her hand, for dressing deer. Her father had a single arrest for soliciting a prostitute. Nichols comments that her father killed the deer and she helped clean, and maybe she is repeating that dynamic. He thinks Damon and her father have similarities, both working class and had issues with sex. Damon had a felony rape charge but he was not convicted as the girl withdrew her testimony and Damon’s Uncle Joe was listed as a witness in Damon’s defense.
Meanwhile, Maya is at home obsessively scrubbing the bathroom floor when Damon enters. She says she keeps seeing her face, and he is out wandering. She is upset. Saying she was supposed to be their first and he let her go. She asks if he loved her but said he wasn’t ready. She asks of they are bonded and he says yes, and asks her to come back to bed. She tells him to finish it, and he says she was months ago. She says again “Finish it.” She goes back to scrubbing.
The detectives speak with “Uncle Joe” about Damon’s felony rape charge, and he resents their implication he covered for Damon. He admits Damon wasn’t at Amy’s party as he said and was with Maya. He says Maya calls him 20 times a day and has a hold on him. He thinks Damon is no killer. As they walk off. They wonder if Damon is the predator, what is Maya? Nichols thinks she has a borderline personality, and he explains borderlines are dominated by an overwhelming fear of abandonment and are needy and desperate to belong. He says the two of them together is the “dovetail of neuroses.” They wonder if there has been a near miss where someone didn’t get killed, and decide to check with someone who has strong opinions of Maya.
They speak with Randall again who says he warned Maya about Damon and Maya thought he was just trying to get back with her. Maya always seemed freaked out that Randall would leave her. Maya also knew that Damon was seeing another nurse’s aide. Maya and her used to be friends, she used to steal drugs for her and he thought they were more that friends, as in “threeways” but the one woman, Janine Lutz, split off. His friend in Human Resources said Maya is still trying to reach her but they don’t have a current address.
Back at Major Case, Stevens finds that Janine filed a civil action against Damon and Maya, for a restraining order. She tried for another TRO which was turned down and she moved.
Back at Maya’s, she tells Damon that the union came through with another address, but Damon seems silent. He then tells her to let it go, she is being paranoid, but she gets upset that he let her get away. He said it never happened again and to let it go. She embraces him and says she put all her faith in him, and she gave him a life. He made her part of something only they can share.
Janine Lutz walks out of a market with her groceries and freezes when she sees Maya and Damon walking nearby. She covers he head and runs off, and gets to her apartment, slamming the door. In the car, Maya tells Damon that she stalked her and now she is yours. He steps out of the car and knocks on Maya’s apartment building door, telling a man standing inside that he is with the fire department and they have a report of a gas leak. The man lets him in and he knocks on Maya’s door, saying he is with the fire department and they need to evacuate. When he hears the door unlock he bursts in and grabs Janine and pushes her, but is shocked with Nichols and the police jump out of a back room and restrain him. Meanwhile, outside, the police arrive to block Maya’s car and Stevens holds a gun on her and orders her out of the car and she arrests Maya. In Janine’s apartment. Nichols consoles Janine.
In Major Case interrogation, Damon is there with his lawyer and Nichols, Stevens, Callas, and ADA Emma Niles (Brenda Withers) are also in the room. Damon remains silent and his attorney thinks that Janine’s history of substance abuse makes her a better witness for Damon than for them. Outside the room, Niles says they need Maya on their team to make the case, but the detectives see Maya on Damon as a team and both guilty. Niles thinks Maya looks like and angel and jurors will see innocence. She says Maya gets a deal and Damon goes away and everyone is happy. But Callas says that is not her call, the case is still theirs. Niles asks Callas if she really wants to take a stand on that attitude and Callas says on basic procedure she does. The rules haven’t change and when the case is suitable for prosecution she will get it and not before. Niles storms off. they decide to start with Maya.
The detectives have Maya in interrogation, who says she won’t be safe until Damon is put away. She shows them marks on her wrists from being tied up, saying Damon ties her up and makes her do sexual things, and says she was scared. He beat her up and it excited him. Stevens asks them to talk about Rachel and Isabelle and she says he picked up who he wanted and he brought them home but she never stayed, and she never came back home until he was done, she then cleaned and dressed them. He made her do that, and he said all women are dirty whore who had to be punished and then cleaned. But Nichols looks at Maya as he moves her hair off her face nonchalantly.
Outside, Nichols says the DA is right, Maya’s testimony would be perfect accomplice testimony. Stevens sees it a self serving lies. Nichols thinks her fear of abandonment would have pushed Damon to the next step.
They speak with Janine, who says there was consensual sex with both of them but one night was weird. They made some kind of pact before she got there, she got wasted and said they gave her something and she didn’t like it. She got scared with Damon and she got scared as he got rough and she thinks Maya was watching, and Damon called Maya “Diana.” Someone whispered in her ear that now she knows who killed you, and she knows that was Maya. She asks the detectives to make them pay.
In Callas’ office, she says she believes Janine put it only supports a rape charge and Maya is the only person who can give them murder and she knows that. Callas moans that she was hoping when she left internal affairs it would give her a break from moral dilemmas. Nichols asks her to give them some time with Maya, this is what they do. Callas says if it goes bad, they will be back in here to take her name off the door. Nichols comments that she doesn’t want to risk it, and Callas confirms that with a no, but then says to do it.
Nichols and Stevens have Maya in interrogation and they talk to her about Damon, and Nichols says understanding how he worked her can help them. They tell her Damon was using her then they bring up her devotion to her father. She says her mother abandoned them and all they had was each other. She seems proud of her hunting with her dad and Nichols gets her to talk about how she hunts, and she seems exited talking about the hunt and the killing of the deer. Her father told her after they killed the deer to go over to it and whisper in its ear that “now you know who killed you.” Steven tells Maya she whispered that to all the victims, and then brings up the fact that her father called her Diana, goddess of the hunt. When Stevens tells her that Janine said Damon called her Diana, Maya says Janine is a dope fiend and they can discredit that kind of girl. Stevens comes back with “that kind of girl” like the ones her father liked. Maya says they were whores who were diseased and disgusting, and when Stevens says her father died of a heart attack, Maya says their disease destroyed them, he was all she had and they took him away. They bring up the fact that her father betrayed her and left her, and equate that to Janine. They also point out the same with Rachel and Isabelle, and she said they liked her and trusted her - like the deer - and admits to whispering in their ears that know they know who killed you, with a weird smile on her face. When Callas enters, Maya moves her hair back off her face and smiles, and asks if there is anything else. Callas says they think they are finished. Nichols says, “Yeah, we’re finished” and we fade to black.
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