Wednesday, January 19, 2011
Law & Order SVU “Dirty” Recap & Review
Law & Order SVU “Dirty” was an episode that had nothing to do with a special victim. It also only featured about half of the regular cast. Missing in action was Chris Meloni (Stabler had the flu), Richard Belzer (no explanation for Munch’s absences) and BD Wong. Melissa Sagemiller, who is not one of the cast regulars, also did not appear. The only people who seem to appear every week is Ice-T and Dann Florek. I have no problem with Mariska carrying an episode on her own (she was great as always in this episode), but I have to admit that as a viewer, I sometimes feel cheated when I don’t see all the detectives working a case.
“Dirty” failed as an SVU case, as it was determined very early on that the victim wasn’t sexually assaulted. Still, that didn’t stop SVU from working it, even when the death of a Brooklyn ADA that initially looks like a suicide turns into a homicide, and with the ADA being suspected of stealing seized drug money. The ADA may have had a mental illness but I don't think that qualifies her as a special victim. And, the one time that Internal Affairs should show up and get involved, they are mysteriously nowhere to be found. The Feds do get involved in the case, but Benson steamrolls over them when she arrests Detective "Sunny" while Sunny is being questioned by the Feds. Could a detective get away with doing this in the real world? Granted, when Benson made the arrest, Sunny was not under arrest by the Feds, but can a detective just walk into a Federal office and cart someone off? It would be nice to see different sides of law enforcement actually work together for a change.
In addition to the non-SVU case and the missing cast members, the episode was also visually boring with what seemed like endless head shots filling the screen. This includes tattoo-faced man, who looked horrific when viewed on a 50+ inch HD television screen.
All in all, “Dirty” probably would have better fit a L&O case or even Criminal Intent, but it just did not work for me as an SVU case.
Here is the recap:
Detective Saliyah "Sunny" Qadri ( Shohreh Aghdashloo), searching for Brooklyn ADA Page Ferguson, hears she’s left hours ago yet her glasses are still on her desk. Sunny seems concerned. She finds her car is gone and her purse is still there. Sunny continues to track her down and finds her car, and she calls out to Page. She hears a sound and looks up to see Page flying off a building, crashing into the car.
Later, Detective Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay) arrives on the scene, along with ME Warner (Tamara Tunie). Stabler is laid up with the flu and is not there. Page appears to have been raped, cut, and they wonder if she was thrown off the building. It appears some items were taken from the crime scene.
Benson goes to the roof of the building from which Page fell and speaks with Sunny. Sunny says she removed nothing from the crime scene, and tells Benson she was there to look for Page. Benson gets on her about taking Page’s ID and registration. Benson wants to know why.
At SVU, Sunny explains that Page Ferguson is the unit chief for the major narcotic bureau and says Page feared Angel Rivera, a member of the Latin Kings who threatened Page in open court. Sunny suggests that Benson check Page’s files, and also says Page had no boyfriend. Her parents are dead and she has no husband She had breast cancer last year and the treatment almost killed her but she rallied. She had an office fling which ended with Page getting cuts and bruises. She did not know who the man was, and Sunny gave her a gun. Sunny is convinced that Rivera is behind it, and he is Rikers with other Latin Kings. Sunny describes the horrific manner in which he killed the Drexter family.
Later, Sunny further explains this crime to Fin (Ice-T) and Benson. Damon Merced flipped on Rivera and will testify against him and the trial starts in two days. She thinks with Page dead they will ask for a continuance. Fin finds that Page got a call from a burn phone 10 minutes before she left the building and Page was with her boss DDA Ian Wofford. They think the caller was someone she knew that she did not consider a threat. They traced where she drove to and then to her return and Benson wonders if someone was in the car with her. Captain Don Cragen (Dann Florek) is on the phone with someone from the press and it seems the press found out Page was an ADA. Benson does not think the Latin Kings did it and she thinks it is personal as she showed all the signs of a battered woman. Cragen tells her to talk to Rivera to cover her ass.
At Rikers Island, Benson and Sunny question Rivera (Doug Drucker), his attorney present. He denies any involvement. Benson gets a phone call and Sunny and Rivera trade threats. Benson tells Sunny that ME Warner has something and they leave.
At the morgue, Warner tells them Page's hands show no defensive wounds and she only had anti-depression drugs in her system. The cuts appear self inflicted and Warner thinks she is a cutter. She may have sodomized herself with a knife. She had a penknife that belonged to her father but no knife was found in the car or on the scene. Sunny denies taking the knife, but saw no one flee the scene. Warner thinks it is suicide. Benson suggests they talk to her boss who was with Page when she got the call to see where her head was. Sunny says DDA Ian Wofford is her boss too and Benson will have to talk to her by herself.
At DDA Wofford’s (Joe Urla) office, Benson asks him about the phone call Page received while in his office. He says she took the call, hung up, and ran out. He admits that Page is being investigated into her unit regarding missing drug money that was never logged in. The dealer they arrested claims the cops stole a lot of the money. Page, along with Detectives Sean Riggs, Michael Walden, and Sunny Qadri got the collar. Briggs and Walden passed polygraph tests, Page showed some deception and Sunny refused to take the test. He thinks Page and Sunny were in on it together and tells Benson to follow the money.
Back at SVU, Cragen shows Benson the New York Ledger with the headline “Nose Dive” and says the Brooklyn DA is cutting their losses so they leaked Page’s death as a suicide. Fin shows the surveillance tapes from Brooklyn office which tracked Page’s movements in the building, and then exiting the building and leaving the parking garage. It does not appear anyone else was in the vehicle. Benson says Page was drowning in debt, including medical bills. She paid off half of those bills from money orders purchased from a post office box in Red Hook and check cashing places all over the Bronx. Fin wonders, since Sunny refused the lie detector test, if she is dirty too. Benson says it’s time to talk to the rest of the unit about it. Fin traced the disposable phont used to lure out Page, and it was shipped to a store in mid town and he asked for the security tapes.
Later, Fin is at the store and is told that the original tapes were given to another cop that fits Sunny’s description.
At the office of the Kings County DA's conference room, Benson speaks with Detectives Riggs (Kenneth Johnson) and Walden (Mason Pettit). The deny involvement, but Walden seems slightly uncomfortable. They don’t seem to know with whom Page had the office romance. Walden adds that Page and Sunny were not getting along, and when Walden looks like he is going to explain, Riggs says to ask Sunny. Walden says maybe one of them had a guilty conscience, and Riggs retorts that Sunny would never cross the line. Benson gets a text message from Fin that says Sunny took the camera tapes. When Benson asks where Sunny is now, Walden says with the Feds.
At the office of the Feds, with Sunny being questioned and Assistant U.S. Attorney Christine Danielson (Gloria Reuben) present, Benson barges in and arrests Sunny. When Danielson objects, Benson says it is not up to her because Sunny tampered with the body and lied to the police and stole surveillance tapes. Danielson continues to object but Benson isn’t having any of it and takes Sunny away in cuffs.
At SVU in interrogation, Sunny says she found the phone was sold to a hood rat named Lakeisha Watkins. Benson asks what set Sunny off, but Sunny says there was nothing to confess, neither of them took the money. Sunny insists this is a set up. Benson accuses Sunny of being a crooked cop but Sunny denies everything, Benson asks why not take the polygraph, and Sunny says it was a slap in the face and if they thought she was guilty they would have to prove it. Taking the polygraph now is the only way to prove things right. Benson gives Sunny a hard look and then walks out of the room to talk with Danielson. Danielson says Sunny passed the poly and as Riggs and Walden also passed, this only leaves Page. Fin enters and says that Lakeisha Watkins has a record and seems to like knives. Danielson says to pick her up.
When Benson and Fin find Lakeisha, she is with a local snitch, Damon Merced. As Benson identifies herself as the police, Lakeisha comes at her with a knife and Benson moves to disable her. Merced holds a gun to Benson’s head, and Fin pulls out his gun and orders Merced to drop it. Quickly 2 other detectives are there and also yell for Merced to drop the gun. Merced drops it but Fin and the other cop wind up pointing their guns at each other until Riggs gets out of the car and gets them all to drop their guns. He said his local cops were moving a witness to a safe location. Benson says they came to question Lakeisha about Page’s murder since it was Lakeisha’s phone who lured Page out, and Benson wonders why Lakeisha is now there with Rivera’s rat. Riggs says he is taking Damon to court and if they have a problem with that to call the Brooklyn DA.
When Riggs gets back to his precinct with Benson following, he sees Sunny there waiting. She shows him photos of Page’s body. Sunny says someone drove page across state lines, tortured her, and threw her off the roof. She thinks Damon Merced did it. Riggs turns Damon over to SVU.
Meanwhile, at SVU, Fin is interrogating Lakeisha and Benson and Sunny question Damon. Damon knew that Riggs and Sunny were a couple and denies involvement. Afterwards, Sunny wants to question Riggs because she thinks he was beating Page. But Riggs was in the office at the time she went missing. If it was Damon, they don’t know how he would benefit by Page’s death. Fin says he got Riggs phone records and there were no calls from Lakeisha’s burn phone to Riggs. Since there was no evidence at the scene, Benson wonders if the killers were sitting in a heated car.
At the CSU garage, CSU Tech Judy (Caren Browning) says they found some blood belonging to the victim behind the driver’s seat and under the mat. If the killer forced Page into the back seat, she was probably placed on plastic. It looks like homicide. She has a faded toll receipt which shows blood, not belonging to the victims, at a toll booth at 2 AM. There are no hits on the blood in CODIS. Benson thinks they should get the camera footage from the toll booth for that time to find the killer.
Back at SVU, Fin and Benson are looking through the images from the toll booth camera, and Danielson enters. Fin says there is no sign of Page’s car – but then quickly sees Damon Merced driving Page’s car. Benson wonders why, as Page’s office was protecting him, why would he kill her? Danielson tells Benson to ask the rat bastard.
When Benson and Fin get to Damon’s location, Riggs and Sunny are already there. Fin sees the door has been kicked in, and they enter and find Damon and Lakeisha dead on the floor, both shot. Sunny accuses Riggs of killing them and they argue. Riggs walks out and Benson tells him not to go to far.
Later, with more investigators on the scene, Fin tells Sunny she should not be there. She suggests they check the dumpster, she got some info from the neighbor’s son. Fin talks to the boy, who says his dad is upset because he saw the man who dumped the gun. Fin says he will not let anything happen to her. Inside the apartment, there are many bullets but they believe there was only one shooter. Fin brings in the automatic weapon located in the dumpster. Fin told the boy not to talk and assures Benson he has it covered. Page’s penknife has also been located – in Lakeisha’s purse. Benson comments that they had him and they let him go, and she races out.
Back at SVU, Fin says the lab report shows the blood sample on the toll receipt belonged to Lakeisha. The kid at the apartment saw a Latin King dump the gun but they want to keep the kid out of it. As Damon and Lakeisha were in a secret location, someone had to feel the killer the address, and it is probably the same person who arranged Page’s murder. Benson looks at Merced’s record and the number of charges vacated, and it seems someone is looking out for him. Benson thinks it’s his handler, Sean Riggs. She also thinks that Damon lured Page out and Lakeisha cut of Page in the back seat and then later pushed her off the building to shut her up. Riggs may have let it slip about Page and the drug money and that he needed her to take the fall.
Later, Riggs comes into SVU interrogation with Benson and finds Danielson also there. Benson questions him about the Latin Kings finding his informant, and Danielson said Damon was his weakest link. He says he loved Page and said he could not go public with the relationship because she was the head of their unit. He never beat her. He said she bruised herself and self harming herself for years. He said she was in and out of therapy and constantly hurt herself but no one could tell her why. She had personality disorders and depression. Police thought Page was a battered woman, but stress triggered her need to cut and she said it relieved the pressure. She swore she would resign after the Rivera trial and focus on her heath. He took the polygraph so she would not have to, but said it didn’t matter in the end. Cragen bangs on the window and Benson and Danielson step out. He tells them that Angel Rivera had a visitor the same day Damon and Lakeisha got killed, and he shows them the information.
Later, at Rikers, Danielson and Benson speak with Rivera, who seems to think the charges against him will be dropped. But Benson says she came to throw away the key, that he and his girlfriend will be in there a long time. The police bring in his girlfriend Gina, who says they made her tell everything. Benson states that Rivera called Gina there yesterday and gave her the address of Damon and Lakeisha and told her which one of his Latin Kings was going to kill them. He denies is and says she is lying. Danielson said it is a tragedy that his kid will be born in prison. They tell him it doesn’t have to be that way, and ask him who told him where Damon and Lakeisha were hiding. Danielson says if he tells them, Gina will walk. He says that the bitch said if he cleaned up her mess, she would clean up his. Benson asks, “Which bitch?”
At Sunny’s apartment, Benson accuses her of lying, that Sunny did know Damon because she arrested him in ’95 and that he was her snitch and she bailed him out for years. Danielson serves Sunny with a warrant to search her apartment and the police enter with a dog. Sunny gets flip about the matter and says she took the cash and hoped they wouldn’t catch her. Benson says Sunny inserted herself into the investigation from the beginning, and that Page figured out Sunny stole the money and she ordered her to turn it in. Benson accuses Sunny of selling out Page for the drug money, but Sunny says she cannot prove that. She adds that Page owed her. Benson says that Sunny told her snitch that Page lifted the drug money and he killed her for it. Sunny asks her to as her why – but Benson says she doesn’t need to, Sunny is like every low life looking for an easy payday. The dog barks and moved to a wall and begins to sniff. Sunny picks up a candlestick and begins banging a hole into the wall with it and money appears. She says she and Page watched out for each other, and they had a deal. She says Page used her to make unit chief – her contacts, her snitches made her career. Sunny was supposed to be made captain but then Page gets sick and wanted to bail – for a man. Benson comments that Sunny was jealous, and Sunny says Page owed her and that she doesn’t walk until her debt is paid. She goes on to admit that she took the money, saying she earned it. Benson asks her if it was worth it, and Sunny tells her to talk to her in 10 years when Benson has nothing – no family, no future, and a dead career. Benson glares back at her and shakes her head, saying to Sunny that she is not her, that she is nothing like her. Sunny grins and asks then why is Benson so scared? As Danielson reads Sunny her rights, Sunny continues grinning at Benson, but then the smile falters and Benson continues to glare at Sunny..and we fade to black.
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