Thursday, December 6, 2012
Law & Order SVU “Dreams Deferred” Recap & Review
Law & Order SVU “Dreams Deferred” had a very intense opening, with a man going on a shooting rampage and leaving many dead bodies in his wake. The shock value of the killings may have been even more intense had it not been done with James Blunt’s “I’ll Take Everything” playing in the background, which sometimes overpowered the dialog. I wish I could see the open without music; in my mind, I think it would have had even more impact.
The 4 minute opening was daring and powerful, but clearly this was no SVU crime. I felt like I was watching an open for a Law & Order or Criminal Intent episode. I haven’t decided if this is a good or bad thing. With those shows now canceled, it does give a broader palate of crimes from which SVU writers can chose. The question remains whether SVU can make a credible connection between non-SVU crimes to tell an SVU story. In this case, the excuse to bring SVU into the story was flimsy at best. I’m clearly not an expert in handling cases of a one-man killing spree, but I think an SVU squad working the case would be the last place I would go. If Benson was the only one that had a tie to Jeannie, I would think that Benson alone would be added to an NYPD task force (maybe with Vice, seeing that Jeannie clearly was arrested for prostitution many times) in order to work her to flush out the killer. FBI Agent Cantwell took the words right out of my mouth when he said Jeannie was not a victim.
Patricia Arquette was an excellent choice to play Jeannie and it was hard to take my eyes off her when she was on the screen. Her ample cleavage had nothing to do with it, although I wonder if that is why my husband was glued to the screen. Sadly, the last 10 minutes of the episode sucked most of the energy out of the shocking opening. While I did care that Jeannie would come out of all this OK, the last 10 minutes seemed like a rehash of all that we already learned from Jeannie, and the outcome predictable.
Don’t get me wrong, I really liked this episode and applaud the writers for such a risky and attention-grabbing opening.
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
Kelli Giddish - Detective Amanda Rollins
Danny Pino - Detective Nick Amaro
Patricia Arquette – Jeannie Kerns
Jason Gedrick – FBI Agent Cantwell
Anne Meara – Jeannie’s mom Irene
PJ Brown - Craig Rasmussen
Amanda Quaid - Angela Kerns
Gbenga Akinnagbe - Priest
Bridget Barkan - Prostitute
Kenneth Franklin - Johnny
Jasmine Carmichael – Yvette Jimenez
Tyson Hall – Clarence
Kendrick Reinsch – Twenty-Something Guy @1
Ben Martin – Manuel
Wendy Eaton – Beth Rasmussen
Patricia Norris – Ramona Clegg
Michael Mazzeo – Al
Darren Lipari – Uni
Ngo Okafor – Swat
Anthony Mazza – ESU
Marc Raco – Insurance Boss
Rebecka Ray – Female Employee
Jeannie is in church and as she leaves she dips her hand into the holy water. Meanwhile, Craig is in a bar drinking and he gets a call from his wife Beth and he tells her he did not forget and to tell her mother he is on his way. Jeannie is now on the bus and works on her eye makeup. Craig leave his car, arrives at his mother-in-law’s home and quickly shoots her twice in the head and then, as she lay dead on the floor, once in the chest. He pushes her feet inside the house and shuts the door. Jeannie exits the bus, and Craig is at his wife’s office and he quickly shoots her and her co-workers.
Jeannie exits a diner rest room and she is in full hooker attire, and Craig is dumping a body out of the trunk of a car. Jeannie starts walking the streets, and Craig arrives, Jeannie noticing he is in a different car than his usual. He tells her to get in and she asks if he is alright. He says he is and she does get in.
Later, back at SVU, Cragen addresses the team, telling them there is a task force, which consists of the SVU squad, NYPD, State Police, and the FBI. FBI Agent Cantwell explains Craig, a bus driver laid off earlier this year, shot his mother –in-law, wife and her co-workers, and left the scene in a stolen car and then fatally shot a gas station attendant. Rollins asks how SVU can help, and Cragen informs then that after Craig’s cell phone went dead, he made two calls to Jeannie Kerns, a prostitute working Hunt’s Point. He asks Benson if he remembers her, and refreshes her memory that in 1992, she intervened is a dispute between Jeannie and one of her johns – and that john is the shooter. Benson reads that Jeannie has been on the streets since the late ‘80s with 79 arrests in the last 25 years. Cantwell also explains a long history of calls from Craig to her. They do not know if she is still alive; she is not at home and not answering her phone. He asks SVU to flood the Hunt’s Point zone and to find her. Amaro notices ballistics shows 3 different weapons used, and Cantwell notes that Craig’s cell phone records show he was at a gun show 3 days ago. Fin thinks Cantwell is putting the NYPD in the line of fire, and he says the FBI is handling this, adding that SVU will have an ESU team and FBI Swat team on site. Cragen adds when they find her to take her into custody and secure her phone, and if they find him, not to take independent action and call for backup. He says he does not need to tell them to wear their vests. Fin questions against and AK-47, and Cragen tells them to wear them anyway. He tells them to remember time, distance, and cover are their friends.
At East Bay Avenue and Faile Street, the detectives question the others who work the street and one woman recalls that Jeannie got into a car with someone and took off about 2 hours ago. She says Jeannie can take care of herself and will be alright. While they are talking, a car drives up and Jeannie is a passenger. Benson radios this information and the team stops the car and the police drive in to circle the area, Jeannie steps out of the car as the detectives order the driver out. But the driver is not Craig. Jeannie tells Benson the man was just giving her a ride. She asks what is all this, and Benson tells her they need her to come down to the station to ask a few questions. Jeannie says if they have the money she has the time.
At SVU, Jeannie thinks Benson arrested her before, and Benson admits it was 20 years ago, a john was getting rough with her in the car and she would not press charges. The shooter is the same guy. Benson asks her if she saw Craig tonight and Jeannie is evasive. Amaro mentions all the calls Craig has made to her over the years. She says they know everything so why are they asking her questions and asks what he did. As Benson explains Craig is a person of interest, Jeannie admires Benson’s necklace. Amaro says Craig is on a killing spree, and Benson shows her the photo of the 5 people shot. Amaro adds that Craig lost his job and started drinking and went down the hole. Benson said he was laid off 9 months ago and Jeannie questions it as she has been seeing him every Thursday at payday. Amaro thinks he was keeping up appearances until he couldn’t. Jeannie explains he is a lousy drunk and he was in a bad mood and she could smell it on his breath. She scans the photo and picks out the one of his wife. She does not know where he is, but she did see him, he picked her up in a different car than his regular, a Honda. Cragen and Cantwell are observing and Cantwell calls in the info on the car. Jeannie explains Craig wanted to go to a motel, the Yankee Motor Inn off the cross Bronx. He went to get the room and came back saying it was $20 and he wanted a “round the world” and he will pay her later. She said it doesn’t work that way, $20 gets him a jack because they are friends. He got pissed and he was in a mood and she just walked out. She thinks he stayed in the room and got himself off. Amaro thinks he may still be up there.
Fin and Rollins, along with ESU support, arrive at the Yankee Motor Inn. Craig is not in the room and Rollins notices a blood trail. They move to the next room and find a dead hooker in the bed, another man dead on the floor, and a third man in the bathroom, shot but still alive. The man explains that “he” banged on the door saying they were too loud and then started shooting. Fin tells him not to try to talk, and the man asks Fin not to tell his mom.
Afterwards, Rollins chastises the motel clerk for not hearing the gunshots and calling the police. Rollins says they will need to see his security footage. An officer explains another car was stolen, and Fin gets in his face, asking for the make, model, and license number, asking if the officer asked. He does not answer.
Back at SVU, Cantwell tells Cragen, Benson and Amaro that Craig left the motel in a stolen Subaru, last seen heading south towards Hunt’s Point. They suspect he is looking for Jeannie and there were three bodies with no money in the wallets to Craig is flush. Benson notes that Craig has known Jeannie for a long time through his marriage and he let her go, Amaro noting Craig took out his anger on the strangers next door. When Cantwell mentions having the FBI interrogate her, Benson objects, saying she would be more comfortable talking with SVU as they handle sex victims every day. Cantwell reminds them she is not a victim, she is a prostitute. Benson asks if he is kidding her, and he says it is FBI protocol, SVU has their and the FBI has their own. Benson counters if he takes that attitude in there he will shut her down. Amaro adds Jeannie wants out as it is and they can’t hold her. Cantwell suggest they arrest her and Benson objects again, saying they can forget about her cooperation. Cragen explains to Cantwell that SVU has a rapport with Jeannie and Cantwell will get what he needs.
Jeannie lights up a cigarette and Benson enters the room, telling her she can’t smoke. Jeannie wants to go as she is losing money and she has been taking care of herself for years. Benson reminds her of her broken wrist 20 years ago and Jeannie recalls it, saying they had a fight and she withdrew the complaint. Amaro says Craig is not the Craig she knows, he snapped. Benson adds that after Jeannie left the motel, Craig shot three more people. Jeannie is shocked, and she knows one of the hookers – Yvette - saying she was just a baby. She says they can’t put this on her and she has to work, she has rent to pay and bills. When she moves to leave, Amaro explains that they think Craig is looking for her and he was last seen heading back to Hunt’s Point. She explains her daily dangers and says she goes to mass every day, holing up her cross. Amaro sarcastically said God protects her but what about Yvette? Benson thinks Jeannie knows something that may help, something she may think is not important. Jeannie asks if she helps, what does she get out of it. When Benson says they will work something out, Jeannie says she wants dinner right now, saying she wants a steak and a baked potato, Amaro adding a side of creamed spinach and a cup of coffee. He goes to get the food. When Amaro leaves, Jeannie asks Benson if Amaro always does what she asks him to, and Benson says it is not like that, they are partners. Jeannie replies that Benson is the boss.
Meanwhile, Cantwell gets on Amaro about the generous food order and suggest they maybe draw her a bath. Amaro tells him to back off, they are getting somewhere. Cantwell thinks not fast enough and when Amaro voices agitation, Cragen stops him.
Jeanne mentions to Benson a previous encounter Benson had with another hooker who was beaten who said Benson was nice. Benson continues to work her about Craig and Jeannie explains how long she has known him. She admits seeing a court ordered therapy and it was a total waste of time. Benson thinks there are better counselors and Jeannie can’t keep doing this. Jeannie’s phone rings and Benson tells her to pick it up. Cantwell races into the room. Jeannie says she does not recognize the number. Cantwell tells her to answer it and as Jeannie does not know who he is, Benson explains. Cantwell says they have a trace on her phone and to keep him talking. He tells her not to say she has seen the news or that she is with police. Jeannie answers the phone, it is Craig, and she continues to talk to him until they can trace the call. Just as they get the location, Craig hangs up. He’s in a building with another dead body nearby. Benson tells Jeannie she did great.
Fin and Rollins race to the location and find 2 bodies but no Craig.
At SVU, Cantwell tells Benson, Amaro, and Jeannie that Craig is gone and he shot a security guard and a night employee. Amaro though the FBI had his workplace under watch, and Cantwell says they did, the Port Authority office. Amaro questions not the maintenance yard? Jeannie says she did everything they wanted and Amaro tells her no one is blaming her. Jeannie wants to leave to take her mom grocery shopping and Benson suggests she stay there and they can protect her there. Benson notices her hands are shaking and says if she needs a drink she may be able to get her something. Jeannie says she can get her own she has an ID.
Afterwards, Benson tells Cantwell they can’t let Jeannie back on the street as she is a target but the FBI thinks it is their best hope. Benson is appalled they will use her as bait, and Cantwell replies it is more like a lure. When Amaro says she won’t cooperate, Cantwell says they threaten her with holding her as a material witness and she won’t make a dime. Benson objects and Cragen explains they need Jeannie to get Craig; she is a working girl so let’s pay her, suggesting he gets her registered as a confidential informant.
Later, Benson and Amaro explain to Jeannie she is now on payroll, giving her $20, l and explain she has to wear a wire with GPS. Amaro gives her a crucifix to wear which contains the wire.
Afterwards, Jeannie meets up with her mother, Irene, who complains she is late as Benson and Amaro listen from a van nearby. As Jeannie talks with her mother, her daughter Angela , and her sister’s baby daughter, approaches. She is there because Jeannie stood up her mother. When Jeannie tries to get close to the baby her sister warns her to get away because of her second hand smoke. Clearly Angels is agitated with Jeannie and Jeannie’s mother rebuffs Jeannie to go with Angela, saying Jeannie looks tired.
Elsewhere, Fin, Rollins, and Cantwell are on scene of an abandoned car taken from the security bus depot, there is nothing in the trunk. The body of a cab driver is located nearby and they assume Craig hijacked the cab.
While Amaro sits in church, Jeannie goes to confession. She tells the priest she was last in confession 34 years ago and she want to be absolved before she dies. She explains she sinned a lot and she is cursed. She abuses drugs and alcohol and she hurt her family. She sold her body to others. Benson listens in the car as Jeannie continues to confess. He admits to lying to her son, who thinks she is a good person. She wants to try to right the wrongs. The priest tells her to recite 20 hail Marys, 10 acts of contrition, and to fast for 5 days to purify herself. She thanks him. He says she has the Lord’s forgiveness, he is with her now as he has always been.
Afterwards, as Jeannie lights a candle, Amaro speaks with the priest and he explains he is on duty. When the priest asks if Jeannie is in danger, Amaro shows him Craig’s photo and asks if he sees this man following Jeannie to give him a call. The priest recognizes Craig as the spree killer. He says he will pray for his soul – and his victims. Amaro thanks him and leaves, making the sign of the cross.
Later, Jeannie is in her apartment, and she speaks into the wire, saying if anything happens to her, there are a bunch of toys there for her granddaughter. She goes to eat a cracker but stops, and instead pours herself a drink. Later again, she is in the diner getting coffee and she adds a little alcohol. Benson is there and she tells Jeannie she heard her about the toys; if she is worried she does not have to go back out there. Jeannie reminisces about how she was back in the day and there was so much money and she had fun. Benson counters that it was dangerous then and it is dangerous now. Jeannie says the Internet and escort services ruined the place. Jeannie’s phone rings and it is her son Johnny who is in the Army. She asks Benson for a second to talk to him. Benson walks off and Jeanne speaks with her son. Amaro walks in and tells Benson they found the cab in long term parking at LaGuardia. They are checking security tapes for Craig.
A SVU, they see a video of Craig from a half hour ago and Fin thinks he is long gone. Cantwell says the town car she stole has a EZ Pass which shows the car going over the Triborough bridge.
Back at the diner, Jeannie wraps up the call and Benson explains where Craig was last seen and if Craig shows they have her covered. Benson says whatever she does to keep her distance and under no circumstances should she get in the car with him. Benson explains she will get the check and Jeannie says she knows what to do when a car pulls over. Benson asks Jeannie to be careful.
Later, as Jeannie services a man in a semi truck cab, Amaro listens and comments about Jeannie’s 25 years of this. Benson sighs, saying “give or take.” Jeannie exits the truck cab, takes a drink to clear her mouth and spits it out. Her phone rings; it is Craig who asks is she is working tonight. She says yes. He says he has money now and she owes him. She replies whatever he wants, she’s here. She speaks into the wire, asking the detectives if they got that, it was him. They flash the car headlights to acknowledge. A white car pulls up and it is Craig, and he tells her to get in. She asks for a second but he has a gun on her and he orders her to get in. She complies. Benson radios that they have him and tells them not to shoot, she is in the car. Jeannie tells Craig it does not have to be this way, and he tells her to shut up, and not to tell him what to do. The police arrive en masse with guns drawn. Benson tells them not to shoot, he has someone in the car. Craig tells Jeannie he did not want to do it, she wouldn’t shut up. He points the gun at Jeannie and said he just wanted both of them to stop yelling, like her. She knows when to be quiet. As a rifle’s laser is pointed at Craig’s head, he says every9one just needs to shut up, and the bullet from the rifle goes clear through his head and splatters blood on Jeannie’s face. She recoils and then quickly exits the car, screaming, Benson trying to calm her.
Later, in the ER, Benson checks on Jeannie, who says she will be OK. Benson offers her French Onion soup from the diner and Jeannie says she does not fell like eating anything. Benson counters that she can’t fast for 5 days. Jeannie is not thrilled they heard that. Jeannie says she will ask the priest to pray for Craig, he really wasn’t so bad. She thinks she could have talked her into giving himself up. Benson reminds Jeannie that Craig beat her. Jeannie says that was her fault, he was in a bad mood and she should have seen it coming. She adds she went to hairdressing school and knows how to keep the chatter going and keep it upbeat. Amaro walks in and says he talked to Cantwell and he says there was no reward posted but Cragen says they may be able to come up with a few hundred dollars. She is shocked they are offering her only a couple hundred dollars as she was the one that got in the car with Craig and his brains were blown all over her. Benson explains what she did was heroic and Amaro adds the press wants to talk to her. But Jeannie does not want her son to know what she does for a living. Benson apologizes for the reward money but suggests there are other ways they can help her. Amaro suggests counseling and rehab and gets her off the street. She asks what else is she going to do, and what will she write on her resume, whore? Benson reminds her she said she studied hairdressing, but Jeannie says she did not graduate. Benson says they will figure something out, but that Jeannie just had a very close call and almost died. Jeannie says thanks to her. Amaro says she has been out of the street a long time and maybe it is time to come inside, but she says she likes her job, she is her own boss and makes her own hours. Benson tells her to stop, she can’t do this forever. Jeanne reminds Benson she has been doing her job as long and what does she have to show for it. Jeannie says not thanks to the rehab and pulls of the cross and returns it to Amaro, she wants her real one back as it protects her more.
Back at SVU, Cantwell congratulates the team on nice work, adding his bosses are taking credit for Craig. Benson reminds him they got Craig because of Jeannie. Cantwell says nobody at the FBI likes the fact they used a street hooker to get this guy. Benson asks if they are supposed to just forget about her, use Jeannie and throw her away, adding how is that different from her johns? Cragen reminds her Jeannie has been on the street 25 years, and Cantwell adds it is too late and she had made her choices. Rollins suggests getting her treatment for PTSD, but Fin says Jeannie has been working it longer than they have been on the job and she will not quit now. Benson wonders if they leave her out there to die, and Amaro suggest they book her and get her off the street as they heard her on t he wire committing prostitution. Cragen says the DA will not go for that as she was working for them at the time. Amaro suggests playing hardball – searching her as she is probably holding, and get the DA to throw the book. Benson finishes the idea, saying unless Jeannie goes to rehab. Rollins reminds Benson that Jeannie has family. Benson explains that her daughter won’t talk to her. After a pause, Cragen says he will make the call, and to go pick her up.
Later, Benson and Amaro arrive at Jeannie’s apartment and arrest her. She says she is going to sue all of them.
At SVU in the holding cell, Benson offers to get something for Jeannie even though she knows she is not eating. Jeannie says no, in three days she will be absolved. Benson tosses her an NYPD hooded sweatshirt and tells her to hang on to it. Afterwards, Cragen tells Benson and Amaro that he just spoke to the DA, and he said “Are you kidding me?” They will recommend time served. Amaro says they found cocaine in her purse and illegal prescription drugs . Cragen replies that the DA took one look at her rap sheet and said there was no upset to pushing her through the system. Benson counters that they don’t have to tell her that, and Cragen tells her to send Jeannie down to arraignment. Benson comments that it is late and can’t they keep her until morning? Cragen asks if she really thinks one night can make a difference? Benson replies maybe,, to which Cragen approves one night.
The next morning, Benson wakes Jeannie in the cell, who is wearing the sweatshirt. She offers Jeannie coffee and says there was a delay due to paperwork. She takes Jeannie out of the cell to the interview room where her mother and the priest await. She asks what they are doing here, and Benson says unless the DA sees there are people in her corner that are willing to help her she will go away. Jeannie asks her mother to tell her that she is but her mother says she is not. The priest tells Irene to tell Jeannie what they talked about. Irene says she can’t do this anymore, and she prays every night for her and that she does not sleep. Jeannie asks Benson if this is a half-assed intervention and barks that she wants her arraignment. Benson says she is not going anywhere right now.
Meanwhile, Fin tries to get Jeannie’s daughter to help and he explains Jeannie was a prostitute to help put food on the table and a roof over her head. He suggest that Jeannie became a hooker after her husband left her to raise them and she did the best she could. She thinks it will not make any difference, but Fin says at least she can say that she tried, this is Jeannie’s last chance.
Elsewhere, Amaro waits for someone to get off a bus.
Back at SVU, Jeannie continues to argue with Benson and Benson continues to remind her off all her history. Jeannie’s daughter walks in and she wants her mother to get help. She says she treated her bad and is sorry but they can’t go on like this and they all have to change. Jeannie thinks it is too late but the priest disagrees and Angela says Jeannie has had the weight on her her whole life. Angela says she can carry some now, and when Jeannie says Angela has a bay to take care of, Angela says the baby is fine and to worry about Jeannie. Jeannie says not to worry about her, she is a grown up and can take care of herself. But her son Johnny walks in and she says he cannot be here. But Johnny knows what Jeannie is and has known for a long time. He said the kids at school told him and he said they were lies but one night he followed her. He explains she has done for them her whole life and it is time to stop now, it; sis their turn. Her mother and daughter plead with her. Jeannie hugs her daughter and says OK to all of them. She asks Benson if she is happy now. Benson nods yes. Jeannie asks her if she has a place for her and Benson says she does. Jeannie asks if they will let he smoke, and Benson replies that Jeannie can ask but it won’t be easy. Jeannie asks what is? As her family embraces Jeannie, Benson looks on as we fade to black.
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