Friday, March 22, 2019

Law & Order SVU “Blackout” Recap & Review

Law & Order SVU “Blackout” is the best episode of the season, making one recurring character, Nikki Staines (Callie Thorne) the victim,  and casting some suspicion on another recurring character, Chief Dodds (Peter Gallagher). It feels odd that an episode can be both very predictable and very suspenseful at the same time, and I credit the guest cast and fine acting that made the story so intense. Titus Welliver was well cast as hot-shot lawyer Rob Miller. When he was too helpful to Benson in providing information for the SVU investigation, it was clear he had his own agenda. It’s almost unfortunate they caught up with him so quickly as he was a shifty character that I could love to hate, and I would have enjoyed seeing him again. Benson had her suspicions about Rob, but it was Rollins, sensing there was something off with Rob’s comment on her “Loganville accent”, who began to dig deeper. In doing so, she uncovered an issue with a judge who Rob had helped to cover up his plagiarism from law school. We don’t know what was in the memo that was delivered to the judge during the opening trial, but we can only assume that Rob was exerting his influence on that case.

Benson immediately feels the sting from Rob when she uses his invitation for drinks as an opportunity to collect evidence. But she was forced to play her hand quickly; Rob easily spotted the bus boy handling his wine glass with the skill of a crime scene officer. After leaving that encounter, Benson, while driving home with Noah, gets stopped by a state trooper for a minor infraction, which  gives the trooper the chance to accuse her of driving under the influence. The fact that Rob had no problems setting this up knowing that Noah would be with her in the car shows how low he is willing to go to intimidate. (I was surprised at how indignant and uncooperative Benson was when the trooper stopped her. )  Lucky for Benson she didn't have that second glass of wine.  Of course, this incident only inflames Benson and she immediately goes head to head with Dodds. He helps her case by speaking with Rob while wearing a wire, Rob falling for the oldest trick in the book.

Callie Thorne – this time as a victim – was excellent both in her frustration at how the SVU was handling her case, but also as a victim who had regrets about how she’s treated other victims during the course of her job.

We finally get some closure on a memo from Chief Dodds that Fin used as a bargaining chip to help Benson in the episode "Flight Risk" (season 19). I believe that Fin also may have used this same memo to stay at SVU in his new job as Sergeant. We still don’t know the contents of the memo, but it seems to confirm the assumption that it involved the questioning of Benson’s fitness as the head of SVU. Now that Dodds knows that Benson is aware of this memo, its powers may be diminished. But Benson must be concerned that the contents are still damaging as she questions whether she should be worried about her job.

The main cast was used to its fullest, giving everybody a chance to contribute to the story. It felt like an ensemble again! (Philip Winchester did not appear in this episode, however.)

A question - they found a hair that led them to the podcaster J.J. Austen, but the issue of how his hair got there was never explained.  Did I miss something?

This episode had a run time of Run time 40:22 (including credits but no commercials) which seems much shorter than normal.


Here is the recap:

In the courtroom, Benson is testifying on the stand, being questioned by defense attorney Nikki Staines, while a court officer brings a notice to the judge. Benson explains she supervised the detectives on the case, and was the senior officer. Nikki questions that it was Benson’s decision to hold her client, Mr. Stevens, solely responsible for organizing a sex party. Benson explains the issue wasn’t that it was a sex party, the issue was most of the girls in attendance were underage. The judge reads the notice as Nikki asks to approach and he puts the notice down. Nikki informs him she is going to file another motion to dismiss the charges. As Benson listens with disgust, the prosecutor asks how many more hail marys do they have to put up with. She adds this is the second time within a week that Nikki has made assertions without any basis. The judge says he may see a basis this time, and, to Benson’s surprise, adds he is seriously considering dropping all charges, calling the lawyers to his chambers.

At The Flat Health & Fitness on 23 West 24th Street on Thursday, March 7, Benson tells her trainer she knows her left hook needs work, but he says she is looking really good. He say the next time they box, he is hitting back. She jokes now he is scaring her, and she walks off, and Nikki is there, commenting it is the second time in a day. Benson says Nikki got a real break today with the charges being dropped. Nikki admits she was surprised herself, and just to show there are no bad feelings, she has an extra ticket to the police philanthropy event tonight, and how did she know she’s be getting divorced when she bought a pair of them 6 months ago. Benson wonders if that is appropriate, and Nikki says yeah, why not? Benson replies because Nikki is suing the NYPD for $50 million. Nikki laughs that it is a civil liberties case about the department conducting illegal surveillance on activist groups and it has nothing to do with Benson’s unit. Benson says she will see her there because she already has a ticket. Benson walks off.

Later, at the event, Benson comments to Rollins that 2 hours of glad-handing the brass, she is ready to be on her couch with her feet up. Rollins suggests or in bed, and Benson says or that, suggesting one more time around the room and they are out of there. Rollins comments she was ready to go when they got there. They approach a table where Nikki is there, talking with Carisi and Fin. Fin comments that they save the city, but Nikki counters they cannot protect the rights of citizens by violating the rights of its citizens. Carisi suggest she call a constitutional law professor the next time somebody breaks into her car. Benson comments so much for small talk. Nikki says it is just a little sparring after hours, nothing personal. Fin retorts, “Says you.” Nikki replies “back at you, Sergeant” and says she needs a refill and walks off. Benson suggests to Rollins they say good night to Dodds and get out of there, and Rollins says she is right behind her. Carisi says they will catch up. Benson and Rollins approach Dodds, who asks if he is allowed to say they look lovely tonight, and Benson jokingly replies only if he says the same thing to Fin and Carisi. He laughs and says he will get right on that. A man standing next to Dodds asks if he is going to introduce him, and Dodds introduces Rob Miller, co-counsel to their lawyers on the civil rights lawsuit. Benson says that is the case that Nikki is co-litigating, and Ron replies so she has heard of him. Benson comments he did make the top 10 attorneys in New York Magazine last year. He states that’s what you get for picking up the check at lunch with a starving publisher. That at &2.75 gets you a ride on the bus. Dodds tells them don’t believe it, Rob is one of the people who really runs this town. Rob says hardly, adding he is a huge fan of the work Benson’s unit does. Rollins comments that is always nice to hear. Rob asks if that is a Georgia accent…Loganville? Rollins gives him a stare, saying that is a first. Rob says he went to school down south, then tells Benson it is nice to put a face to a name and suggests they grab a coffee sometime. Rollins gives her a look and Benson looks surprised, then tells Rob that the Chief knows how to get a hold of her. Rob walks off. Dodds asks if he can get Benson and Rollins a drink, and Benson explains he has a…Dodds finishes she has a sitter on the clock. He thanks both of them for making an appearance, and he walks off. Benson asks Rollins what does she say, and Rollins comments that Mr. High-Powered Lawyer is making the moves on Benson. Benson is surprised, thinking he was moving on Rollins, commenting about Loganville. Rollins scoffs, saying all she has time for is kids. Benson says Noah is waiting up for her as they speak. They leave.

Nikki is staggering in the street, falling against a car. She steadies herself and then continues to stagger off.

The next morning, two police officers arrive at a location and ask a waiting woman “where is she?” As they race into the building a woman says, “I didn’t want to touch her, I didn’t know if she’s alive or dead.” Nikki Staines is laying, unconscious, on the stairs and one officer checks and says Nikki has a pulse. The other officer calls for a bus. Nikki becomes partially conscious and weakly asks for help. Later, as the EMTs take her to the ambulance on a gurney, Fin and Rollins arrive. An officer tells them the victim is a white female, in her 40s. She said she was assaulted and was pretty out of it, but asked the police to call SVU. Fin recognizes it is Nikki Staines. They approach her as she is being loaded into the ambulance. Rollins asks what happened to her. Nikki replies that she can’t remember, adding she must have been drugged. Rollins assures her they will take care of you, and Fin asks if she knows who did this to her? Nikki shakes her head, and, having difficulty speaking, say no, all she knows is she needs “a goddamn rape kit.”

Law & Order SVU “Dearly Beloved” Promo

Here is the promo for Law & Order SVU “Dearly Beloved” which will air on Thursday, April 4, 2019 at 10PM ET on NBC.

Check out my blog home page for the latest Law & Order information, on All Things Law And Order.

Also, see my companion Law & Order site,These Are Their Stories.

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Law & Order SVU “Blackout” Sneak Peek

Here is a preview clip from Law & Order SVU “Blackout” which will air on Thursday, March 21, 2019 at 10PM ET on NBC. The video features Ice-T, Kellli Giddish, and Callie Thorne.

My recap and review of Law & Order SVU “Blackout” can be found at this link.

Please note: this video has a limited life and may be removed at any time, so catch it while you can!

Check out my blog home page for the latest Law & Order information, on All Things Law And Order.

Also, see my companion Law & Order site,These Are Their Stories.

Monday, March 18, 2019

Law & Order SVU “Dearly Beloved” Episode Information

Here are the details for a new episode of Law & Order SVU, “Dearly Beloved.”

Law & Order SVU “Dearly Beloved” Air Date April 4, 2019 (10 PM ET/9C Thursday NBC)

The SVU investigates a he-said, she-said case when a woman crashes a wedding to accuse her therapist of sexual assault.. Starring Mariska Hargitay, Kelli Giddish and Peter Scanavino. Guest starring Shiri Appleby (Kitty Bennett), TJ Thyne (Dr. Joshua Hensley), Maureen Sebastian (Lana Stallworth), Poppy Liu (Hannah Berkowitz) and Garrett Turner (Bo Albrecht). Directed by Lucy Liu.

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Check out my blog home page for the latest Law & Order information, on All Things Law And Order.

Also, see my companion Law & Order site,These Are Their Stories.

Friday, March 15, 2019

Law & Order SVU “Missing” Recap & Review

I must admit I wasn’t expecting much with Law & Order SVU “Missing”. It didn’t have any significant guest stars, and previews and photos didn’t grab me. But I was surprised that, at least for most of the episode, that I was pulled in to the story. It starts with a child being found in the trunk of a car, the victim of a kidnapping. When the kidnapper is identified quickly, I knew a twist was coming, which was easy to spot in this episode. (It took the detectives a little longer to figure out that the kidnapper was not who he seemed.) The pacing of the episode slowed down considerably during the last scenes with the kidnapper’s mom and then with the kidnapper/kidnap victim.

Benson was in a “take no prisoners” mode when she single-handedly ends a hostage situation, using Oreos and aspirin as distractions to the hapless perp. Going in to this hostage situation alone wasn’t the smartest thing as she didn’t have any clue as to what she was walking into. I suspect that Benson is still trying to make amends for Mike Dodds’ death in a hostage situation by now taking matters into her own hands. She is fortunate that the perp was so easily fooled.

I’ve been enjoying the writing and pacing more with each episode. In “Missing”, the lead characters interact with each other in a comfortable, realistic manner. Fin’s witty quips and comebacks get better each week. We learn that Fin doesn’t like puppets, but Carisi finds puppets funny.  (For me, it depends on the puppet and/or the "puppet master.")

Of course this show is fiction but seriously, what are the chances of the police arriving on the scene of a fight within seconds after it started? I know New York City is a big place and has a huge police force, but the light-speed arrival arrival of the police made me laugh.  It was also very fortunate that the stalker surrogate managed to grab a photo of the kidnapper. Too bad she didn't see the actual kidnapping!

Here is the recap:

A man is in traffic and is irate, waiting for a parking space. Someone else driving a Saturn pulls in the spot he’s been waiting for and the first man gets out of the car and starts a fight. Police arrive immediately and the man who took the parking spot runs off. A woman captures this on video. The man who was waiting for the spot explains the situation to the officers and the woman shows the video to the police. The guy tries to explain his actions and one of the officers look in the car of the man who ran off. She hears a noise from the trunk and opens it to find a little girl who calls out for her daddy. The officers call for a bus and SVU.

Benson and Rollins arrive at the hospital and Rollins explains the girl’s name is Bailey Shaw, she is 6. Her parents are Griffin Shaw and Jamie Johnston. Jamie took Bailey ice skating in Central Park and he went to the bathroom and when he came back she was gone. They speak with the doctor who says Bailey is on fluids and she is cold and hungry, she was in the trunk for a while. Her pants were on inside-out. The rape kit showed no sign of penetration for foreign fluids. She is scared.

Benson and Rollins walk into the room to speak with Bailey, her father Griffin is with her. Benson makes the introductions. Bailey explains that her father told her to wait for him, but she walked away with the man. She did not know him. He gave her a candy apple and said he was a friend of her father. He was nice to her and let her wear his scarf to get warm. She said it was yellow like Big Bird. He said they could wait for her father in his car which was better than standing in the cold. Then they drove off and the man said her father would meet them. She thinks they went to his house; they took their clothes off and took a nap. Her father is stunned. The man did not tell her his name, only saying she could call him Big Bird but she thought that was silly. They just snuggled under the blankets. Another man walks in the room and introduces himself as Griffin’s husband Jamie. He kisses her and she says she is sorry, but he assures her she did nothing wrong.

At SVU, Benson speaks with Fin, who says CSU pulled prints of the Saturn, no hits. The cell phone video is with TARU and hopes to get a hit with facial recognition. He called in an arrest-for in all 5 boroughs, saying the guy can run but he can’t hide. Carisi enters and said the registered owner of the Saturn died 2 weeks ago and his son sold it in an estate sale last week. The new owner is a mystery man who paid cash and never registered the title. Benson thinks someone must have seen something, and Carisi explains they already canvassed. Frustrated, she tells them to canvas again.

While Fin and Carisi go back to the park, Rollins speaks with Griffin and Jamie. They explain they used a surrogate and Griffin’s sperm, and Jamie adopted her. They said Paige, the surrogate, would not change her mind…but then wonder…

At the apartment of Paige Black at 469 East 9th Street on Wednesday, February 26, Benson and Rollins question her. Paige states that once Bailey was born she relinquished all her rights to the birth father, Griffin Shaw. When Benson asks if she was never curious, Paige replies she was, adding she carried her for 9 months but a deal’s was deal. The agency prepared her with counselors and shrinks. She asks if something happened to Bailey. Rollins explains Bailey is fine – now – asking if her boyfriend home. Paige questions what does he have to do with anything, then worries that she doesn’t like the way this is going. She gets a message on her phone and she grabs it and walks away from them. Benson asks if Paige minds if she takes a look at that, and Paige replies she does. Benson doesn’t back down, saying, “Okay Paige, so let me tell you where we stand. I can take you down to the squad room where you’re going to sit and you’re going to wait until Detective Rollins gets you a search warrant.” Rollins adds “And we’ll be in the exact same position we are now except I will be extremely pissed off you ‘cause you would have wasted two hours of my life.” Benson asks Paige to unlock her phone and open the photo app. Paige complies and hands Benson her phone. Benson scrolls through many photos of Bailey, and Benson then tells Paige she is under arrest. Paige is shocked, asking why. Rollins explains it is for stalking for starters, and thinks they will tack on kidnapping. As Rollins cuffs her, Paige questions that it is a crime to take pictures of my daughter. While this is happening, Benson has received a call from Fin, and she asks him where. Rollins explains to Paige that this is the part where she has the right to remain silent. Benson tells Fin she is on her way. After she hangs up, she explains they got a hit on the driver of the Saturn, telling Rollins she will get this and instructs Rollins to take Paige down to the squad room.

Benson arrives at the Village Gourmet Grocery where Fin and Carisi are already waiting. Fin explains an off-duty cop on the way home spotted the guy at a bodega. He was not armed so he stepped outside and called it in. When the officer went back in to confront him, he pulled a switchblade on him and he is now holding the bodega owner hostage. Carisi says ESU on the way. Benson asks if there is a back door, and Carisi states odds are, there is. Benson looks around.

Soon, Benson is inside the store and picks up something from a shelf. The man asks Benson who is she, and she asks if he is writing a book. He tells her to get out of there, and she says not without her Oreos. He tells her to go someplace else. She walks up to the counter where the owner is being held hostage. She says, “Sweetheart, I’ve had a very bad day, okay?” She looks for money but the man says it is on the house. She asks the owner is that is okay with him, and he says he is good. The hostage taker tells her to get out of there, but she asks for some aspirin. When he reaches for it and turns back, Benson has a gun on him. She tells him to drop the knife. He throws the aspirin at her and runs and Benson chases him. He tries to hit her and she blocks him and punches him, then quickly gets the knife out of his hand and gets him into a kneeling position. She pulls her gun back on him and says, “Looks like we’re both having a bad day, huh?.”

Back at SVU in interrogation, the man moans why did he take a car with a baby in the trunk. Fin doesn’t believe him. He explains where he stole the car from, saying he is a moron and too stupid to kidnap someone. Fin chides him for not being a good thief as he stole a 2003 Saturn. He said he was with his girt Leanne and she was late for a job interview and he dropped her to stop for a pack of smokes and that’s when that maniac slugged him. Fin says that might have been the best thing that happened to him.

Law & Order SVU “Blackout” Photos

Here are advance photos for Law & Order SVU “Blackout” which will air on Thursday, March 21, 2019 at 10PM ET on NBC. The photos feature Mariska Hargitay, Ice-T, Kellli Giddish, Peter Scanavino, Titus Welliver as Rob Miller, and Peter Gallagher as Deputy Chief William Dodds.

My recap and review of Law & Order SVU “Blackout” can be found at this link.

Photos by: Virginia Sherwood/NBC 2018 NBCUniversal Media, LLC

Check out my blog home page for the latest Law & Order information, on All Things Law And Order.

Also, see my companion Law & Order site,These Are Their Stories.