Thursday, October 6, 2011
Law & Order “Blood Brothers” Recap & Review
It’s clear that things are still tense with Olivia Benson, and it’s manifesting itself in many ways. Benson is unhappy with having to work with anyone, but Amaro seems to be able to put out Benson’s short fuse and keep things calm. He’s also smart enough to know when to make a quick exit; when Benson and Novak begin to butt heads, the safest place is anywhere but being in the same room. Later, Benson takes it out a vending machine. Benson’s argument with Novak is that she thinks Novak and the DA’s office have lost their nerve, and Novak thinks Benson is off. From a viewer’s perspective they are both right. Benson is clearly on edge, and Novak seems to be too quick to throw in the towel on a rape case. Hopefully their discord will blow over. At least Amaro was lucky that he managed to get a complement from Benson, which is a step in the right direction for her.
With an episode name like “Blood Brothers” it was easy to pick up on one element of the storyline – that Andrew Raines would be Arturo’s “baby daddy.” While I was hoping to see the smarmy Tripp Raines get knocked down a notch by being charged with rape, I was surprised to see him turn up dead at the end. I actually felt a little robbed with this turn of events – I think I was gearing up for a nasty trial. Guest stars Kyle MacLachlan and Paige Turco were excellent as the rich political family who thinks that they are above everything. They learn the hard way that money can’t buy a scandal free life.
The only downside was the last 6-7 minutes of the episode, which seemed to drag for me. It almost had the feeling of a Law & Order Criminal Intent episode, which sometimes had long interrogation scenes toward the end where I usually found myself drifting off a bit. The interrogation room is one of the most visually boring places in SVU, and that may be another reason why the scene seemed to go on forever.
Here is the recap:
Mariska Hargitay – Detective Olivia Benson
Ice-T – Detective Odafin “Fin” Tutuola
Richard Belzer – Sergeant John Munch
Dann Florek – Captain Don Cragen
Diane Neal – ADA Casey Novak
Kelli Giddish - Detective Amanda Rollins
Danny Pino = Detective Nick Amaro
Kyle MacLachlan:Andrew Raines
Paige Turco: Kathleen Raines
Judy Reyes: Inez Rivera
Anthony Keyvan: Arturo Rivera
In a church, while Ella Mendez watches a play teaching kids about the dangers of drinking and sex, she collapses to the floor. Her friend Arturo rushes to her aid as the teachers also race to help. Later, at SVU, Captain Cragen introduces the Monsignor from Blessed Savior church to Detectives Benson and Amaro, and Amaro already knows him. The Monsignor explains that a 13 year old at the school is pregnant and Cragen says they will look into everybody in her life. After the Monsignor leaves, Cragen tells the detectives that he had the girl taken to the child advocacy center. Benson says she will head over, and Cragen instructs Amaro to go with her. Benson voices an objection but Cragen says Amaro’s Spanish is better than hers and the girl lives with her Puerto Rican grandmother.
At the Child Advocacy Center, with ADA Casey Novak with them, Benson tells Novak the doctor said the girl showed no signs of abuse and her hymen is intact and there are no signs of external trauma. Novak sees the girl clinging to her grandmother. Amaro thinks he can get her to open up. When he walks over to speak with Ella, Novak asks Benson if that is her new partner, and she coldly responds, “Oh no. I’m just showing him the ropes.”
Amaro gets Inez Rivera into another room and questions her. Ella’s mother died when she was young, she was also pregnant at 15 and she didn’t want Ella to be like her. Meanwhile, Benson questions Ella who said she did not have sex and nobody did anything. Benson continues to press, and says whatever happened was not her fault. Ella explains that her grandmother told her how babies are made and she knows how she got this baby, but says Benson will not believe her. Benson says she promises whoever hurt her will not be able to do it again. Ella pauses, and then says it was God, she did not have sex, adding that the baby is a miracle.
Later, back at SVU, Benson informs everyone that Ella is confirmed 8 weeks pregnant. When Amaro questions the unbroken hymen, Benson said that is not that unusual. Fin thinks Ella is protecting the father or it is someone she knows, and either way it is someone that she knows. Amaro thinks the Monsignor is one of the good guys, but Cragen wants Munch to double check that. Rollins asks who are the adult males in her life, and Benson explains Ella’s grandmother doesn’t date and no other men have access to the apartment. Her father is estranged, but Cragen tells Fin and Rollins to talk to him anyway. He orders Benson and Amaro to go to the school to see if Ella confessed the secret to one of her friends.
At Wright Brother Park, Fin and Rollins question Ella’s father, who doesn’t know much. He seems unfazed that his daughter is pregnant, saying he barely knows her and is not even sure that it is his.
At the school, Benson and Amaro speak with one of the sisters who insists if something happened it did not happen there. She did say Ella seemed happier and heard her signing to herself in the stairwell a few weeks ago. They speak to a friend who says Arturo follows Ella like a puppy and when Ella passed out, he freaked. Nick, meanwhile, speaks with another boy who says Arturo likes Ella but she is not into him. He adds Arturo was always puffing in to an inhaler. He adds that Arturo has been absent since Ella got sick.
At the co-op of Inez and Arturo Rivera, Inez says Arturo was up all night with asthma. Benson asks for a glass of water to get Inez out of the room and Amaro questions Arturo. He says Ella is his best friend. She never talks about a teacher or a friend’s father. Arturo is having problems breathing and says he doesn’t know anything, then looks for his inhaler. Afterwards, Amaro thinks Arturo knows something as his chest tightened up when he began to push him. Benson thinks Ella and Arturo are both scared. Amaro gets a message that Munch got a hit off the database for one of her teachers.
Back at SVU, Munch tells them that Luis Cordova was the science teacher for the past 5 years at the school and that he “rose from the dead”. Munch leads Amaro into the interview room and tells him to “watch and learn.” When Munch tells Cordova according to city records he has been dead for 15 years, Cordova says Luis Cordova is his uncle and his real name is Diego Ramirez. Amaro thinks that Diego couldn’t get a job because he has a record, and Diego says he shouldn’t have one but his is on the sex offenders registry. When he was 19 he had sex with his girlfriend on prom night 2 days before her 17th birthday and her father knew somebody and pressed charges for sexual misconduct. He used up all his savings to pay lawyers to get his name removed from the list and he could not get a job. Munch tells him he just lost another one.
Munch and Amaro exit the room and discuss Ramirez with Benson and Cragen who were observing the questioning. Munch says he does not like Ramirez for this, there are a hundred ways on to the list but no way off. Benson said he is a convicted felon who used another name to get a teaching job to minors, including Ella. Cragen tells her to talk to Ella, and that Ramirez will wait.
At Ella’s home, Benson asks her about her teacher, showing her a photo of Ramirez. She says he likes talking about gross stuff like bugs. She says she has been alone with him and he is the one, and that she was scared to tell them. It was a few months ago at his house. Benson asks if she got there in his car, and she said yes. Benson tells her that he doesn’t own a car and he can’t drive, and presses Ella that he is not the one. Benson sees a vase of dying roses in the room and Ella says she got those for herself. The card says, “To Ella, still dreaming of you” with no name. Ella says the man she is going to marry is rich and handsome and she will be his princess.
Afterwards and outside, Benson tells a waiting Amaro that Ella got the roses from a Madison Avenue florist, A Fleur de Tois.
At A Fleur de Tois Florist, Benson and Amaro question the florist who says he doesn’t have record of that delivery. Benson tells him to check again, but he says even if he could find the record he can’t reveal the client. Benson says there is not florist/client privilege, and the flowers were sent to a 13 year old girl. He asks don’t they usually need a subpoena? Benson tells him to have it his way, but they will also call the department of finance and they will be combing through his bosses taxes for a few months. As she begins to walk off, Amaro says they are trying to do their job and her is trying to do his. Amaro tells him he doesn’t have to see the name, all they have to do is see it on a screen and it will never come back to him. The florist brings up the name on the computer and walks off, and Benson tells Amaro “very nice.” The screen shows the name of Andrew Raines at 39 E 76th St. in NY for 2 dozen long stem roses for $209.99. Amaro seems to want to jump at this but Benson says they need to loop in the Captain on this one.
Back at SVU, Cragen and the SVU team discuss the roses sent by Ambassador Andrew Raines to Ella. Cragen comments that Raines is about to announce for his father’s old Senate seat and do they really think he is having sex with a 13 year old. Cragen says it has been a bad month for the NYPD and the DA’s office, adding that this is a very sophisticated family with unlimited resources, so be thorough, but be discreet.
Benson and Amaro are at the townhouse of Andrew and Kathleen Raines, and the housekeeper tells them if this is about Tripp, he is still at school. Amaro sees Andrew Raines inside and calls out to him, moving past the housekeeper. His wife Kathleen is also there and Benson says they need to speak with Andrew and it would be best in private. He says they have no secrets. Benson asks him about the roses sent to Ella Mendez. Kathleen scoffs at a floral delivery scandal on the day they announce. Benson tells her Ella is a 13 year old girl who is pregnant. Amaro shows him a photo of Ella and asks if he knows her, and Andrew asks if she said she knows him. He says he meets a lot of people and dozens of staffers have access to the floral account. Kathleen asks if the maid has their card, then pulls Andrew away, saying if they hear anything they will call them.
As they leave the townhouse, Benson comments that the housekeeper assumed they were there about their son Tripp, and says maybe they are, She makes a phone call.
At the Dowland School, Fin and Rollins wait for Tripp to leave. They approach him and he tells his friends to wait by the car. Fin asks about Ella Mendez and Tripp says she will never forget about him. He said he “threw her some charity”. Tripp’s driver approaches and tries to break up the conversation. Fin recognizes him as someone who used to work Major Case, and asks if his name is Briggs. Briggs asks if Tripp is in custody and when Rollins says no, he tells them they are done now. Tripp grins and walks off. Fin is annoyed, saying the little punk thinks he can’t be touched, and Fin makes a call.
Benson gets off the phone and tells Amaro that Tripp is Ella’s prince. Amaro comments Tripp is about the same age as Ella so there goes statutory. Benson says he is a sophisticated player and she’s a pregnant little girl. While Benson and Amaro wait in their car outside the Mendez home, they see Ella's grandmother pulling a resistant Ella into a waiting town car. The detectives get out of their car and pull Ella and her mother apart. Ella says he does not want to go, and sobs to Benson that she wants to keep the baby. Benson consoles her.
Later, Benson speaks with Ella privately, and Ella tells her that he said if she got the abortion they could be boyfriend and girlfriend. She tells Benson that Tripp is the only boy she had sex with, once at the 4th of July party and she went to a party at his house, adding that Arturo was invited as his mom was the Raines’s maid. She had never been in a house that big. Tripp was so nice, and everyone was drinking jungle juice and she said she doesn’t drink so he got her lemonade. He showed her his parents’ room and it was like a palace. Meanwhile, Amaro and Novak are watching and listening from the observation area. Tripp showed her his room and he had a king sized bed, and she got dizzy so he brought her more lemonade and told her she should rest on the bed, It got fuzzy and he was kissing her and put her hand on her shirt. She told him he shouldn’t as her grandmother would be mad, and he told her not to tell her. He said she was hot and that he liked her. He pushed her down on the bed and pulled down her skirt and put it inside. She did not want him to do that and it hurt. She told him no and was crying and he got mad, saying it was her fault that he couldn’t stop. When he was done he told her to clean herself up, and she tried to find Arturo but he was gone. She took the bus home. She said the next day he sent her the rose and asks if he would not just do that for anyone.
Afterwards, Benson comes in to the observation room and when Amaro says there is not much doubt there, Novak says she does not know. Benson said Ella is describing a rape, but Novak thinks a jury won’t think so. She thinks it is sexual misconduct if they are lucky, and with his legal team, consensual. Benson is stunned, saying Ella is 13, and Novak reminds her so is Tripp. Benson argues Tripp got her drunk and the lemonade was spiked. She said it hurt and she said no. Novak said there was no outcry afterwards a and he sent flowers and Ella told Benson she thought they were going to get married. Amaro says that is his game, he knows how to take advantage of girls like this. Novak asks Amaro if he can back that up, saying Ella has changed her story 3 times and they can’t prove she’s carrying his baby unless they want her to compel a fetal DNA test. Benson said it took a long time to earn her trust, and Novak sarcastically comments that she is sure it did/ Benson glares at Novak, and asks what the hell is that supposed to mean. When Novak doesn’t answer, Benson asks the question again. Novak glares right back and looks over to Amaro, who picks up on the signal for him to leave. He exits and Novak says she understand Benson has been going through a lot. Benson snaps back, saying “Oh. No. Don’t you patronize me.” Novak tells Benson she’s “off” and that Benson’s anger pushed her disclosure. Benson can’t believe it, saying that she sees an ADA that’s too afraid to follow the facts because the family has too much muscle, adding she and her office have lost their nerve. Benson storms out.
Later, at a vending machine that doesn’t seem to be working, Benson kicks it out of frustration and then pauses to simmer down. Amaro approaches her and Benson asks him what is wrong with these people and how can they not see? She comments that Novak is not going to press charges, but Amaro suggests that they should pay the Raines a visit before they find that out to get Tripp to tell his side of the story. She nods.
At the Raines home, and dressed in formal attire, Kathleen says if she said he forced her, she is a liar and girls throw themselves at her son all the time. She adds the abortion story is also a lie. Amaro says unless they talk to Tripp, Ella’s story is the only version they have. Andrew says he told them to talk to his lawyer. Benson asks if he trusts his son, and he says yes. Benson suggest they let them talk to him before the DA digs in. Andrews agrees over Kathleen’s objection, giving the detectives 5 minutes with Tripp, with them in the room and it is off the record. Benson says it is a deal.
As Andrew races up the stairs to get Tripp, Kathleen looks uncomfortable, saying her husband is a politician and he wants everyone to like him. She doesn’t. She adds if they think they are going to take this girl’s fiction and hurt her son, they are going to go down, hard. Andrew comes back down the stairs and says Tripp is out, studying with his friends. But Kathleen is alarmed, saying he should be up in his room. Andrews says he will call the DA’s office in the morning, and tells the detectives to have a nice evening.
Benson and Amaro watch as the Raines leave the townhouse, and Benson comments that Kathleen seems worried about Tripp. Amaro thinks that Andrew is too, that he is just covering. He thinks Tripp is on the run.
Back at SVU, Fin says there is no sign of Tripp, he never came home. Cragen said the family has not reported him missing, and asks what about the other residences. Rollins says there has been police presence in all other locations and so far Tripp has not showed. Novak walks in saying she just got a call from the Raines family lawyer who is worried she is about to indict Tripp. Benson asks if that leverage upsets her. Novak says yes, and Cragen asks them to back up. Cragen asks if this means his folks know where he is, and she doesn’t know what Cragen is talking about. Fin tells her Tripp is AWOL and Novak said the lawyer never mentioned that. Kathleen Raines arrives.
In Cragen’s office with Benson and Amaro, Kathleen says something has happened to her son, no one knows where he is, even her husband. She think it is hard on Tripp growing up in the spotlight but he is not a bad kid. Briggs brought him to his 4:00 fencing lesson the day before and told Briggs he was going to walk back. Cragen says they will find her son.
Rollins shows Fin Tripp’s cell records from yesterday and at 3:45 he made an outgoing call to Inez, Arturo’s mother. Fin says he will call, but Munch says he will, he’s Sergeant.
At Arturo’s, Amaro speaks with him about Tripp’s call the day before. Arturo said he wanted to come visit and he waited for him and he never showed. Amaro asks for more details on how Arturo knows Tripp, and Arturo says he lived in that house his whole life, and now he’s here. Amaro thinks now he knows why Arturo is covering for him. He thinks Arturo didn’t tell them about bringing Ella to the house and asks if he is still lying. Arturo says he is done helping him because he is a jerk and is done helping him.
Benson speaks with Inez about her years in the Raines household and she doesn’t know where Tripp is. Benson asks if there was any place they used to go when they were scared, and Inez says he and Arturo used to play cowboys and Indians in the park. Benson gets a call from Fin saying the Tripp’s Amex was used in 3 retail stores on Bleeker and for the last hour he has had an open tab at Pistols and Petticoats and he and Rollins are on their way.
Fin and Rollins are at the club and call out for Tripp, and after a few calls out, one boy turns around and it is not Tripp. They take him in. Later, at SVU, they question him and show him Tripp’s photo, and he says he’s never seen him before. Fin asks if he saw his body, and the kid swears he found the stuff in Central Park at the ramble under a bridge. He said he was giving the “tug and chug” to a middle aged breeder in a Grateful Dead T-shirt. He has no proof. Fin says he is going to show them where the bridge is. Benson, Cragen, Amaro, and Munch are observing, and Munch says the guy has plenty of ways to make money than to roll a kid and Amaro thinks if he know how hot that card was he would not have opened up a bar tab. Munch says you’d need an Army to the into the ramble and Cragen tells him to get one, to have the Central Park sergeant call a level 1 mobilization. Cragen wants aviation, K-9, and divers in the lake.
As all the detectives assist in the search in Central Park, they hear the K-9 bark – and Tripp’s lifeless body is located.
The news media flocks to the Raines household, one of them broadcasting that the body was found in the gay cruising section of Central Park. The media floods Andrew Raines as he tries to leave his home. At the morgue, Andrew sees Tripp’s body. He comments to Benson that the media said Tripp’s body was found in the gay section of the park and his son is not gay. She tells him they don’t think that’s the reason he was there. She tells him there were a lot of blows to Tripp’s head and asks if he can think of anyone that may be angry at Tripp. Amaro asks about Arturo. He says Arturo is a sweet kid. Amaro says Arturo was the last person to see Tripp, and asks Raines if he fired Arturo’s mother. Raines replies that there were immigration issues and with his campaign he has to be above board. He cleared it up and gave her a generous settlement. Benson wonders if Arturo carried some resentment, but Andrew says there is no way Arturo did this. He adds that Arturo is small for his age and slow and doesn’t have the physicality. He said Tripp is an athlete and everything he did was…he was a star. Andrew walks off and Benson tells Amaro that Arturo looks good for this, and all that rage. Amaro comments over a girl… he doesn’t see it. Benson thinks something else put him over the edge. Amaro questions the story about why Inez was let go, and asks if that rings true. Benson says no.
Back at the SVU precinct, Rollins tells them she did some digging at INS and Inez has been a naturalized citizen for over 15 years. Cragen said Andrew was lying, but Fin adds not about the settlement. Six months ago Raines wired a quarter of a million into her savings account. Benson adds that her co-op was purchased for her last March, all cash, and was purchased by a Raines family trust, Fin wonders if Inez stumbled onto something that Raines did not want to get out. Benson thinks Inez is not a blackmailer. Munch says on Arturo’s birth certificate that a Ricardo Rivera is listed as the father and they were divorced 5 years ago. They both stated on the certificate that they had no children together. Benson thinks the settlement is child support.
Later, with Arturo in interrogation with his mother, Amaro and Benson question him and mention the cell phone call. Arturo said Tripp wanted to talk to Ella and wanted Arturo to bring her. Tripp started yelling at her and Ells starting crying and that her makeup started running and Tripp said she looked like a cheap whore. Arturo told Tripp to leave her alone, but Tripp said it was Arturo’s fault, he should have never brought that girl to his party in the first place. Tripp tried to give him money but he would take it and Tripp pushed him down and shoved his face into the dirt. He said he did not care how much it costs, he just wanted Ella to get rid of the damn baby. He threw the money down and started to walk away. Arturo said you can’t just give people money to pretend they didn’t exist. Amaro comments that is like how Tripp’s father paid him and his mother to go away. Arturo nods yes, and his mother asks what did he do. He says he is sorry. He says he picked up the rock and threw it at him and it hit his head and he fell down. He picked up the rock and hit him again. His mother lets out a gasp. He told Ella to run and made her promise not to tell. He said he could have made her a princess, he is a Raines just like Tripp. Inez asks what he is talking about, and he says he knows all about it. He admits he found out after New Years, he thought he heard them in his bed, and he got a home paternity test at the drug store. He used a toothbrush and got the results in the mail. He showed it to Andrew and he got really mad and that is why they moved away. He asked her mother why she didn’t tell him, and she said she did not want him to get hurt. He said he was told if he told anyone he would lose the new apartment. But he didn’t care, he was the only one he wanted to talk to about it. Amaro tells him to tell him now, his daddy is out there behind the mirror. Arturo says to Andrew he just wanted him to call him son and say he loved him, and why couldn’t he? He is his son too.
Kathleen, who is also watching along with Andrew, angrily asks him what did he do. Andrew said it did not mean anything, but Kathleen says their son is dead. He moves to embrace her but she pulls back, saying “No! Don’t! Don’t touch me.” Andrew says he couldn’t tell her but she says to stay away from her. As she moves to leave, Andrew says he could not hurt her or their family. As she runs off he says he is sorry. Meanwhile, Arturo is crying and being hugged by his mother. As Andrew watches from behind the mirror, we fade to black.
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