Friday, February 21, 2020

Law & Order SVU “Swimming With The Sharks” Recap & Review

“Swimming With The Sharks” was an average episode that felt more like an episode of Law & Order Criminal Intent. It involves a self-absorbed CEO, Luna Prasada, who is a sexual harassment lawsuit waiting to happen. Members of her organization conspire to bring her down and embezzle funds from her company along the way. Because Luna seems to have a problem holding her intoxicants, part of the plan seems to work as she’s unable to get a rape accusation against her CFO to stick and she begins to think she really did some of the things for which she’s been accused. The CFO and his colleagues easily gaslight her and manage to pin their embezzling on her. Again I find myself wondering why the SVU spent so much time working to help Luna defend herself, especially after the allegations of embezzlement came forward. Luna’s message of empowerment was laughable, as she preys on rich women whom she hopes will be foolish enough to pay $6400 for a vibrator (the “Vi-Brildo”) and also uses empowerment as an excuse to behave inappropriately in front of a male subordinate. On the plus side, Radha Mitchell was quite believable when Luna became unhinged in court and while in Rikers. Oddly, I felt no sympathy for Luna. She didn’t deserve to be assaulted, but it’s hard to feel sorry for a toxic boss when she gets her comeuppance - even falsely -  in an embezzling scheme. Too bad the employees took her down illegally; there may have been enough for Bobby to sue her for sexual harassment.  A man as a victim may have been a more compelling story.

It was a surprise that Bureau Chief Hadid came up with a game plan to ensnare the conspirators – a surprise as usually Benson comes up with these gems. But Benson gets to impart her wealth of knowledge early in the episode as she speaks to a group of woman with Luna. Benson also makes an attempt at deep wisdom at the end of the episode when she comments to Luna that when your house burns down, you get a clear view of the sky. Luna asks if she can steal that, but I think it was already stolen from Japanese poet Mizuta Masahide (“Since my house burned down - I now own a better view - of the rising moon”). For this episode, the saying should have been something like this: when your house burns down, you rebuild.

The episode also features SVU and Criminal Intent “repeat offender” Samantha Mathis, a dead giveaway that she was going to be trouble.

Ice-T did not appear in this episode.

Here is the recap:

Rollins and Kat are shopping at a woman’s store named We-B-Well, whose message is empowering woman through wellness, and Kat thinks it is a positive message. Rollins picks up a “Vi-Brildo” for $6400 and thinks the message she is getting is money – lots of it. Meanwhile, Luna Prasada speaks to a crowd of women, saying “why not sex” and at We-B-Well, they believe in wellness for the whole self - “Be well, be hot, be happy!” She adds that women need to know it is okay to love their bodies, especially the parts “they” tell women not to talk about. The crowd cheers.

As Benson waits nearby in another area, assistant Sequoia asks Benson if she wants herbal or detox tea, and Benson replies she is good to go. Sequoia explains Luna is sorry she couldn’t welcome her in person and can’t wait to meet her. Luna walks in and sees Benson and greets her as Captain, then saying Olivia, asking if she can call her that. Luna introduces herself as Luna Prasada, “She-E-O” of We-B-Well. She hugs Benson and says she is so impressed by her. Benson thanks her for having her. Another woman introduces herself as Melanie, the COO, as Luna quickly whisks Benson away from her. Luna thanks Benson for coming, adding she must be so busy since MeToo. Benson states she is, but any time she can raise awareness she is happy for the chance. Luna comments that “us girls” run the world and in their spare time they try to fix it too.

Benson is on a stage with Luna who is talking about what happens when women are attacked – saying women don’t think linear and revert to their lizard brain. Benson explains the frontal lobe shouts down and our bodies react. Luna cuts her off and says the body reacts, so when lawyer or senators ask why we don’t remember all the specifics…Benson cuts her off and says it’s because the trauma is processed in a sensory way by sounds and smells, not who, what when. She adds revisiting trauma is not easy and survival takes strength. Luna breathes out and says survival takes strength, asking if Benson minds that she steals that. She laughs and the crowd cheers and applauds. Benson quietly says thank you.

Later, Sequoia leads Bobby into a room to see Luna, telling him to enjoy his face time. Luna is in a robe and drinking. She has a question for him, taking off her robe, just wearing a slip. Holding up two dresses, she asks him which dress she should wear. Irritated, he has the IPO going public is not business as usual. She calls him sweetie and says they just had a fantastic 3 days and tells him to enjoy the moment. She pours two drinks and says they have edibles and drinkables and suggests they just live a little. When he explains he has been going through the books, she explains he does number and she does ideas. She puts her finger to his lips as if she wants him to be quiet, and says they are brilliant ideas. He comments “good for you” but states she is CEO and she will be signing statements and he wants her to know what is in them. She says okay but suggests first they drink and then he can show her his “little power point.”

As Benson, Rollins, and Kat walk out of the store, Kat comments to Benson that the audience really appreciated her, and Benson says they were there for Luna. Rollins comments so was Luna, asking why invite Benson on the panel if she is going to cut her off every five seconds? Kat adds she is high energy. Benson’s phone buzzes and Rollins makes note that Kat bought something. Kat explains her sister’s birthday is coming up. Benson looks at her phone and says it is a text from Luna’s assistant who says it is urgent. Rollins urges Benson whatever Luna is asking, just say no. Benson gives Rollins a look and, ask she walks back in the building, says she will see them later.

Benson enters the room where Luna has been with Bobby, and Sequoia explains that Luna didn’t want to bother her but…Benson sees Luna who looks dejected and she tells Benson she was raped. Luna asks why would he do this to her?

Later, at the hospital, Benson tends to Luna. Benson asks that Luna said Bobby came up to her room, and Luna explains he is the CEO. She keeps putting him off as he always has bad news, calling him “bum me out Bobby.” She offered him a drink to relax him a bit and admits she was ahead of him on that front. They never got to the financials. He took a shot of tequila and pushed her down onto the bed – she wanted to push him off. She just froze, there was just, like Benson said, she just wanted to survive. Benson questions if their relationship has changed recently and Luna explains it has become more tense. She adds they were about to announce their IPO and Luna then says she can’t do this – she worries what will happen to that if this comes out. She started to get dressed, saying she will not press charges. Benson advises her if she changes her mind they have the rape kit done, and Luna says Benson doesn’t realize this but her whole brand depends on women wanting to be her. Rape does not fit into that picture.

At SVU, Benson walks out of her office with Carisi and she explains Bobby Frost is a Stanford frat boy, spent a decade in Silicon Valley before becoming the CFO of Luna’s company. Carisi asks if he has a criminal record, and Rollins explains he has college DUIs and divorced with mutual DV allegations. Kat adds cameras saw him entering Luna’s suite at 8:30 PM and exiting 34 minutes later. Benson asks about the results from the rape kit and exam, and Rollins informs them that the tox screen showed high levels of alcohol, marijuana, and adderall, Benson adding that Luna told her about this. Kay states there was presence of trauma and semen not inconsistent with assault. Carisi counters it is not inconsistent with rough sex if he gets a good defense attorney. Benson says with sarcasm “thank you counselor” and Carisi asks how cooperative is Luna. Benson explains Luna said they can start the investigation but she is afraid how it will affect her company’s IPO. Carisi asks about outcry witnesses, and Benson explains Luna’s assistant Sequoia texted her right after it happened. Carisi tells them to take her statement and see if they can catch Bobby off guard.

At We-B-Well headquarters at pier 85, suite 325 on Sunday, February 16, Benson and Rollins speak with Bobby who explains one thing led to another, adding they’ve seen her, it’s hard to say no. He says the sex was consensual. He asks if she is accusing him of something, and when Rollins suggest he tell them what happened, he explains right after they finished, Sequoia walked in and freaked out. He thinks that is what this is about, stating Sequoia and Luna are involved so Luna couldn’t admit she was cheating on her, saying she is making this up. He adds that he and Luna used to be involved but he broke it off as sex is against their HR policy. He adds a few months later, Luna is a proud pansexual and she’s got a hot new 25 year old assistant and bumps her up to CLO – Chief Listening Officer. He asks if they’ve ever heard of that.

Meanwhile, Kat speaks with Sequoia who explains what she saw and that Luna screamed for help and ran out. Kat explains Bobby said Sequoia and Luna were lovers, and Sequoia asks if he told them he is furious about it and he claims it is an HR issue, but it is his toxic ego. He hates that Sequoia makes her happy when he couldn’t.

Law & Order SVU “Eternal Relief From Pain” Promo

Here is the promo for Law & Order SVU “Eternal Relief From Pain” which will air on Thursday, February 27, 2020 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.

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Law & Order SVU “Swimming With The Sharks” Photos

Here are advance photos from Law & Order SVU “Swimming With The Sharks” which will air on Thursday, February 20, 2020 at 10PM ET on NBC.  The photos feature Mariska Hargitay, Kelli Giddish, Jamie Gray Hyder, Ayumi Patterson as Sequoia Rees, Samantha Mathis as Melanie Franks, Eshan Bay as Vinay Gupta, Radha Mitchell as Luna Montgomery, and Stark Sands as Bobby Frost.

My recap and review of Law & Order SVU “Swimming With The Sharks” can be found at this link.

Photos by: Heidi Gutman/NBC 2020 NBCUniversal Media, LLC

Added February 20, 2020

Photos by: Heidi Gutman/NBC 2020 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.

Saturday, February 15, 2020

Law & Order SVU “Swimming With The Sharks” Sneak Peeks

Here are two sneak peeks from Law & Order SVU “Swimming With The Sharks” which will air on Thursday, February 20, 2020 at 10PM ET on NBC. The videos feature Mariska Hargitay, Kelli Giddish, Peter Scanavino, and Jammie Gray Hyder.

My recap and review of Law & Order SVU “Swimming With The Sharks” can be found at this link.

Please note: These videos have a limited life and may be removed at any time, so catch them 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.

Friday, February 14, 2020

Law & Order SVU “Swimming With The Sharks” Promo

Here is the promo for Law & Order SVU “Swimming With The Sharks” which will air on Thursday, February 20, 2020 at 10PM ET on NBC.

My recap and review of Law & Order SVU “Swimming With The Sharks” can be found at this link.

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.

Law & Order SVU “I Deserve Some Loving Too” Recap & Review

Law & Order SVU fans deserve some loving too, and we got it in the form of a dynamic, layered, visually interesting story that offered something for everybody. When I see that an episode is directed by Jean de Segonzac,  I know we'll get some action and I was not disappointed. The episode opened with the SVU trying to nab subway gropers, and it involved both members of the SVU team and the previously unheard of SVU “subway unit” - also referred to in this episode as the transit unit and the “cave cops”. Officers, including Kat, act as bait to catch gropers in the subway cars. They nab one man on their first try, but not until after a chase. It results in a near riot involving on-lookers who make incorrect assumptions about what is transpiring. (Sadly, this behavior happens a lot these days everywhere, and many times the video of an event doesn’t always tell the whole story.)

When the episode opened, I was slightly worried that we were going to have a story loaded with misandry. We’re barely into the episode when Benson, walking down the street, gets checked out by a runner (he smiles at her and says “hey hey” but keeps running) and soon after, a man, barely out of a taxi, asks Benson for a smile, calling her sweetheart.  Then Rollins encounters a man-spreader in the subway and has to indicate to him she wants room to sit down. We get it, SVU thinks all men are sexist and/or inconsiderate pigs and that Benson can’t walk more than a few feet before being accosted by men because of her beauty and also because men are pigs (see above). When I start rolling my eyes this early in the episode, I get a pit in my stomach thinking I will be recapping a dog of an episode. But the feeling didn’t last long and the story bounced back nicely.  The groper situation turned into a far more interesting case involving the appropriately named Rory O’Toole - a US Citizenship and Immigration Service manager - who exchanges sex for green cards. He truly is a pig and a tool (no offense to actual pigs or tools). But seriously folks - did we really need to see scenes with the *horrors* of what Benson experiences walking down the street and the trials and tribulations of mis-directed mail (sarcasm intended)? It's a waste of good story-telling time.

The SVU works with Sergeant Hasim Khaldun from the SVU subway unit to help bring Rory to justice. He goes undercover with Rollins as they pretend to be a married couple in search of a green card. Along the way, they seem to strike up a friendship that – who knows – may develop into something more, something that could either bother Carisi or liberate him. (I'm hoping for liberate.)

But the real drama in the episode belonged to Peter Scanavino. Carisi is reaching his stride in his ADA position. His case looks lost when one witness backs out, but when Rollins and Hasim manage to convince another witness to come forward, Carisi is empowered and uses this as a weapon against the always arrogant lawyer John Buchanan. Delaney Williams is another name that I enjoy seeing in the opening credits as Buchanan is one of those people I love to hate, and it usually means the legal side of the story will be very interesting. It was very satisfying when Carisi put Buchanan in his place.

There are two open issues:
1. What happened to the woman who called out that she was groped on the subway as the chase ensued? Did anyone hear or care?  She got lost in the shuffle.
2. Did Benson eventually get her mis-directed mail that Marcos the doorman held for her? (wink)

Here is the recap:

Benson, stepping out of the elevator into the lobby at her apartment building, is on the phone with Fin. She hears something is going on at Bowery and Delancy. Marcos the doorman says good morning to her as she hangs up her phone, and she admits she didn’t see him there. He hands her her mail, saying it must have been in the wrong box. She asks if he can hang on to that for her and he agrees. She exits the building and as she walks down the street, someone running by checks her out and says “hey hey” and he keeps going, Benson shaking her head with a look of disgust. As she continues to walk, a man steps out of a taxi and sees Benson and asks her if he can get a smile, calling her sweetheart. She scoffs in disgust and keeps walking.

Elsewhere, a young woman walks down the street and a young man decides to follow her. She races into the subway and he follows her in, standing very close behind her. The next stop is Bowery and Delancy. Kat also enters the same subway car along with another man who raises his eyebrows at her. The young girl reacts, saying “What the…?” as if the man standing behind her has groped her. He moves off. Rollins enters another one of the subway cars and asks a man-spreading man if he minds, and he moves over to make space for her to sit. As the subway continues to move, the guy who was following the young girl pushes into another woman as the subway lurches forward and she also reacts like he groped her. He moves on an reaches Kat and as he tries to move closer, she walks around so he can’t get close. The man who raised his eyebrows at Kat signals to her, and as the young man moves in, Kat punches him in the groin and he reacts by saying “Bitch!” As she restrains him, Kat says, “Got you, grope-a-dope!” The man who signaled to Kat announces he is NYPD and tells people to move so he can assist Kat. The groper exits the subway car and Kat and the other detective follow. A woman steps out of another one of the subway cars and calls out to them that the man groped her too. Rollins races out of the other subway car and radios that the subject is male, black, 30s, gray hoodie. The other young woman who the man initially followed into the subway also radios that the subject is heading north on the Delancy – Bowery platform. All the NYPD officers and detectives continue to chase the man through the subway station. Fin almost catches him on the subway stairs as the man tries to break up his cell phone, which he throws by the train rails. Fin looks down at the rails. Police continue to pursue the man, who has turned his jacket inside out to show a different pattern, and adds a cap, in order to disguise himself. But Kat sees him anyway and apprehends him, getting help from the other officers. He claims they have the wrong guy and says he didn’t do anything he was on his way to work. Witnesses record the arrest on their phone and with calls of “police brutality” and a woman questioning why they are harassing a black man who is on his way to work. Other people shout out their own opinions. Rollins tells everyone to stand back. Finally Fin shouts out for the crowd to chill out, the man was a groper and to imagine if it was their mother or sister. A bystander pushes Fin and Fin restrains him, with the crowd chanting “police abuse” and the scene descending into a near riot.

Later, at SVU in Benson’s office, they watch a news story about the “subway melee”. Benson tells Chief Garland that it went as viral as the flu. He asks what brilliantly conceived mission triggered this. Sergeant Hasim Khaldun answers it was his unit, and Benson explains they were helping him and his SVU subway unit target serial grinders. Carisi asks if it was worth it, and Hasim replies they caught three perps, the transit unit made 8 arrests on rioting. Garland comments that’s a lot of work for three miss D’s (misdemeanors). He asks if there was anybody with a record or on parole, and Benson replies a decorated firefighter – second offense – and he violated his ACD. Hasim explains he was caught fondling a high school girl. Carisi asks if it was just one, and Hasim tells him not to worry, they have him on three separate offenses. Garland questions if that is an issue, and Carisi explains you want more than one, otherwise the guys claim it was accidental. Benson, at the observation window, turns on the speaker as the firefighter guy says his hand must have had a mind of its own. Kat asks “three times” and asks if it was all with girls under 18. He says he needs his lawyer and his union rep. Benson turns off the speaker and Garland asks about contestant #2. Benson states that is Enrique Alvarez, and she walks over toward the other observation window and turns on that speaker. Fin is questioning him, asking that he blames the weather. Enrique says it was the first warm day in two weeks, no overcoats, and he couldn’t help himself. Hasim comments his nickname is Too Bits, his MO is to drop a quarter, bend for it, rub his face against a woman’s privates. Carisi comments that is colorful, asking if they have any priors. Hasim replies 139, and Carisi states if he gets the right judge, he goes away. Benson motions for them to follow her, and she leads them over to the third interrogation room where Rollins is questioning a third man. Garland asks if this is the gentleman who started the riot, and Benson identifies him as Duane Varik, he is the data clerk for US Citizenship and Immigration Service, it’s his first offense. Carisi asks that he has no priors, saying it’s another misdemeanor. Hasim states maybe not, before they caught him, he threw his cell phone onto the tracks. Garland asks with sarcasm if they are adding littering, and Hasim states it a good guess he has up-skirt photos or worse on his phone. Carisi comments that up-skirts in winter are slim pickings. Benson counters these guys are obsessed, there’s a short circuit in the hard wiring. Garland questions if they were able to get anything off the phone, and Hasim replies he smashed it, tossed it on the tracks, it landed in a puddle. TARU is going over it but so far it is too damaged to recover any data. Benson thinks Dwayne is enjoying his alone time with Rollins a little too much, and Hasim moves to enter the interrogation room, saying he is on it.