Friday, November 16, 2018

Law & Order SVU “Mea Culpa” Recap & Review

Law & Order SVU “Mea Culpa,” (or as I call it: "Peter Stone - A Series of Unfortunate Events") directed by Mariska Hargitay, is one of those episodes that is sure to give fans plenty to talk about. The episode centered on Stone and a woman that surfaced from his past who accused him of rape. It was a given that he wouldn’t be guilty of such a heinous act, so there was no suspense there. But this meant the drama had to be manufactured elsewhere.

It just so happens that Stone and the SVU are in the middle of a “he said/she said” case, and Stone quickly finds himself in the same predicament. A baseball fan from Chicago, who saw Stone play baseball there, just so happens to spot Stone outside the courthouse and they decide to go for drinks. While there, it just so happens that Stone is approached by yet another woman who slaps him and accuses him of rape during the time he was playing baseball. This is quite a series of coincidences that have lined up to create problems for Stone.

At some point, Stone drinks too much and winds up in Fin’s apartment and sleeping on the sofa. Stone explains to Fin the accusation of rape and strongly denies doing this. (Side note: Ice-T doesn’t drink coffee but at least Fin apparently has a coffee maker in his apartment.)  Rather than let sleeping dogs lie, Stone wants Fin to help him get to the truth. Tracking down a fellow baseball player, Reggie, they find the name of the woman who accused Stone of rape, but Fin hits a wall with Sarah, the accuser. Stone continues to work the original case with Benson. She gives him the “what woman wouldn’t want to go through the trauma of a rape investigation, a trial, just for kicks” speech. As a result, he later confides in her, thus bringing even more problems on himself when he asks her to open an investigation. I find myself yelling “FOOL!” out loud. This is the crux of my problem with this episode. I understand Stone wanting to know the truth but it is obvious that Sarah did not want to dredge up the past to the point of an investigation. Maybe her slapping Stone in the bar was enough closure for her?   I can understand Stone wanting to get at the truth to clear his own conscience and his name, but I am not sure that he and Benson thought this fully through, as their actions had consequences.

We also hear a few times about what is SVU’s job: Stone tells Benson it is her job to believe the victim, and later, Carisi tells Rollins that it is their job to believe survivors. It sounds to me that the writers of this episode are speaking to the viewers here, trying to emphasize how this fictional SVU works. In my opinion, I always saw the SVU as advocates for victims, but in the earlier years of SVU, they usually looked at each case with an objective lens. I don’t think this happens anymore; in fact, Carisi seems guilty about believing Stone. This is one of those cases where maybe Benson should have looked at this case with an open mind,  and suggest that as Sarah didn’t want to pursue the issue that Stone should let it go. There is believing the victim, but there also needs to be a highly credible story or evidence. Clearly neither Stone nor Sarah can recall everything that happened that night, and in those cases, whom does one believe when there is no evidence and completely opposite stories? Would Peter Stone even take a rape case like this if it didn’t involve himself?  If the victim, who is of the age of consent, says to drop the matter, should this stop SVU from investigating further?

When Benson decides to investigate the matter with Sarah  (why it couldn’t be Carisi doing the questioning I don’t know),  Sarah’s husband Gary just so happens to come home unexpectedly. Benson can’t think fast enough for a cover story for Sarah, so Sarah is basically forced to spill the beans to Gary. He decides to press charges. Can someone with real life legal experience explain to me how a person can press charges, on behalf of another, for a crime committed against another person? Sarah probably went along with it to keep the peace with her husband but ultimately isn’t it her decision? This whole mess would not have happened had Benson either decided to meet with Sarah in a neutral spot or come up quickly with a cover story when her husband entered so Sarah had some time to decide whether to tell him or not.

But wait, there's more! The situation gets uglier when Gary confronts Stone in a bar and holds him hostage at gunpoint.  (Here is the drama they had to manufacture.)   Benson arrives on the scene. Why would SVU be called for a hostage situation and how did she get there so quickly? She notices Sarah and their daughter are standing nearby – wow, these people found out what was happening and can move around the city with lightning speed – and Benson announces to the borough commander that this is her case and she takes over. Benson facilitates Gary letting Stone go, she’s the hero!

Later, Benson wonders if Sarah and Gary’s daughter may not be Gary’s, as the timing is right and Stone wasn’t the only one there that fateful night. She tricks Reggie into agreeing to lie for Stone. She uses his willingness for perjury and a potential DNA test on Sarah’s daughter to put a squeeze Reggie and get him to implicate himself. She arrests him and Benson is the hero AGAIN! (Note: the daughter WAS Gary’s.)    Did Benson go at it alone with Reggie?  No one else seemed to be there to back her up during her questioning and  his arrest.  That is risky on many levels.  He could flee or he could have denied admitting anything to her.   Seeing that she works with Stone, Reggie could have claimed she set him up and or lied about his admission as she has a conflict of interest.

If anything, this experience may make Stone even more reluctant to take on a "he said/she said" case, and maybe even STOP DRINKING.

When we weren’t seeing Benson save the day, we also discover that Al has asked Rollins to move in with him (not marry him) and she’s thinking about it. Carisi touches Rollin’s pregnant belly -  yes I know they are friends - and this could be considered inappropriate behavior for the workplace. And yes, we did see  the inside of Fin's apartment but it's not the first or only time as some have reported or implied.

By the way, this was Peter Scanavino’s 100th episode as Sonny Carisi, and his 101st with the series. (He appeared as another character in “Monster’s Legacy” in 2013.)  It would be wonderful to give this talented man a more substantial story line.  I've liked his character from day one and wish that they'd work harder  to showcase Peter.

Here is the recap:

Stone is at a bail hearing, and gets remand for the defendant. Afterwards, he and Carisi speak with the victim, Alicia, and after she leaves, Carisi is surprised that Stone got a remand on a “he said/she said.” Carisi suggests they get a beer but Stone passes, saying he is trying to slow it down. After they part ways, Stone heads to a food cart and is recognized by a woman who knows he pitched for the Cubs. She is excited, saying her dad took her to every game. She has to call her dad, then suggests they go for a drink. He agrees, and hands the hot dog back to the vendor, telling her he knows a place around the corner.

Meanwhile, Rollins is in an expensive, fancy restaurant with Dr. Al Pollack. She comments on the truffle sauce and they talk about food they ate in Georgia. They talk about the selections on the dessert menu and he calls over the waiter and asks for one of every dessert on the menu and coffee (“decaf for the lady”). She says a girl can get used to this. He comments he has something to ask her, adding “a commitment I have never made before." He places what looks like a ring box on the table and Rollins looks pleasantly surprised, and says when she said he was happy…he asks her to hear him out. She opens the box and sees a key, and he asks her to move in with him. She smiles.

Stone and the woman are in the bar and he gets up to get another drink. While he is at the bar, a blonde woman walks up to him, stunned, and asks what he is doing in New York. She comments that he doesn’t remember him, and when he says he doesn’t, she slaps him. She said, “You raped me, you son of a bitch.” Stone is stunned.

Law & Order SVU “Alta Kockers” Promo

Here is the promo for Law & Order SVU “Alta Kockers” which will air on Thursday, November 29, 2018 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.

Monday, November 12, 2018

Law & Order SVU “Alta Kockers” Episode Information

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

Law & Order SVU “Alta Kockers” Air Date November 29, 2018
The investigation into a promising new author's death leads to a decades-old secret kept between two reclusive brothers. Starring Mariska Hargitay, Ice T, Kelli Giddish, Peter Scanavino and Philip Winchester. Guest starring Judd Hirsch (Joseph Edelman), Wallace Shawn (Benjamin Edelman), Calhoun Koenig (Bobbi O'Rourke), Jayce Bartok (Walter Evans) and David McElwee (Will Glover).

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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, November 9, 2018

Law & Order SVU “Mea Culpa” Photos

Here are advance photos for Law & Order SVU “Mea Culpa” which will air on Thursday, November 15, 2018 at 10PM ET on NBC. The photos feature Mariska Hargitay, Ice-T, Kelli Giddish, Philip Winchester, George Newbern as Dr. Al Pollack, and Austin Peck as Reggie Gregg.  This episode was directed by Mariska Hargitay.

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

Update November 12, 2018 - Two photos of Mariska directing this episode have been added below. Enjoy!

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

Photos added November 12, 2018

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.

Law & Order SVU “Mea Culpa” Sneak Peeks

Here are preview clips from Law & Order SVU “Mea Culpa” which will air on Thursday, November 15, 2018 at 10PM ET on NBC. The videos feature Mariska Hargitay, Ice-T, and Philip Winchester. (This episode was directed by Mariska Hargitay.)

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

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

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 “Hell’s Kitchen” Recap & Review

“Hell’s Kitchen”,  directed by Monica Raymund, featured a story that combined sex crimes in the restaurant business with the recent sexual assault accusations that surfaced during the Supreme Court confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh. Despite being a bit predictable, the episode was enjoyable, with crisp dialog and location shots that provided some spice for a story that was light on action. Everyone had screen time and played a part in the investigation, striking the right balance between lead characters. I am not sure if it was Monica’s direction or the writing - or neither of those things - but Mariska seemed energized in this episode, especially in the scene with Stone outside the courthouse. It’s the first time in a long time I haven’t been annoyed with Benson.

Stone, on the other hand, rubbed me the wrong way. This does not mean I don’t like Philip Winchester; on the contrary, I think he’s a great match for the show. But Stone is making rookie mistakes. It was obvious when he promised the current victim that the other three victims would not back out of their support that something would put that promise in jeopardy. He should have known better; the complaints by those women weren't prosecuted and would likely be challenged as prior bad acts. I’m also tiring of Stone bringing the murder of his sister into the mix with every opportunity. It’s bad enough the writers killed her in order to give Stone a story. They should close the loop on that story line and move on. Likewise, let’s move away from Stone and his baseball skills. It’s time to build the character of Peter Stone based on the legal work he’s done in the past or legal work he’s doing NOW. We need to like and respect Peter Stone as a prosecutor. We need to see his own passion as a prosecutor. At this point in time, he’s still being driven by what Benson thinks is important.

I was amused when Fin sipped the expensive wine and said it tastes like warm apple juice. And while I am on the subject of food tastes, I have a suggestion for Benson: if you want your child to try black olives, introduce them into a food you know your child enjoys…like pizza! You’ll have a better chance for success.

Here is the recap:

A chef, Andrew Liebowitz, prepares a fancy meal and gets irate when he calls for service and no one picks it up. He continues to get upset and decides to deliver a meal to the table himself when the manager tells him about two special diners who are waiting. He welcomes the diners, Brian Matthews and Niraj Patel, to "Far Rockaway by Andrew."  They have been enjoying the food. He asks if they can hang out a bit after dinner and when they agree. Andrew says the waitress, Kayla will show them to their private room.

Meanwhile, at Benson’s home, Noah questions what Benson gave to him to eat (they are olives). She wants him to eat new things and he wants pizza. She suggests he try them and he spits them out, pushing his plate away and demanding pizza.

Afterwards, Kayla drinks some tequila while she is working at the bar section, the bartender saying there are big tips at the bar and the bedroom. She says no more tequila of she may end up taking Marco home. Brian and Niraj are there and when she delivers their drinks, they ask for her to sit down. When she says there is no chair Niraj says Brian would be fine if she sat on his face. Brian asks her to run his card and when she reaches for it, he pulls her onto his lap. She tells them this is not that kind of club and she walks off. The female restaurant manager asks if she is okay, and Kayla says yes, it’s half the gig. The manager adds it is the story of her life.

Later, two police officers hear a call for help and a man telling a woman to get out of his car. They intervene and find the woman in the back seat, her blouse opened. Sometime later, Fin and Carisi arrive on the scene. The two officers explain her name is Kayla Morgan; they walked by just as the Uber driver was climbing on top of her in the back seat. The driver, Michael Boykin, claims he tried to end the ride, saying Kayla refused to exit the vehicle. They add that Michael says she seemed wasted and he tried to help her out of the car but she started wailing on him. She did not say he tried to rape her, but her shirt was ripped like someone tore it open. She put up a fight and busted the driver’s lip, and he wants to file assault charges. Fin suggests they take them both back to SVU.

At SVU with Benson and Rollins, Kayla doesn’t recall much of what happened, thinking she passed out. Benson tries to get her to recall before she got into the Uber, but she doesn’t. Meanwhile, Fin and Carisi speak with Michael who denies doing anything, saying he is the victim. He did not tear her blouse and says he will give them his DNA or take a lie detector. He was on the phone with his wife. He thought something was off with Kayla, she was staring into space like a zombie and he tried to shake her out of it. She went off on him like a lunatic. Back with Benson and Rollins, Kayla stands up and says this is a waste of everybody’s time. Benson comments that she knows this is difficult but they are almost done, if she can give her one more minute. Rollins asks if she recalls how her shirt got ripped. Kayla admits she had a lot to drink, but she doesn’t know where, it is fuzzy. Rollins explains this is normal, victims don’t remember all the details of their assault. Kayla gets upset and insists she is not a victim. Benson states quietly that she thinks maybe she was. Kayla says the Uber guy didn’t do anything, and asks if he is pressing charges. Benson does not think so. Kayla says okay, great, she’s leaving. She storms out of the room.

Afterward, Carisi comments they checked Boykin’s phone and confirm he was on the phone with his wife. They explain she got picked up at Far Rockaway by Andrew, a high-end seafood joint. Carisi said he took a date there once, it set him back a couple hundred bucks. Rollins asks if it was worth it, and he says every cent. Benson tells them to cut Boykin loose and check it out.

At Far Rockaway Restaurant on Saturday, October 27, they speak with the female manager who explains Kayla works there. The kitchen closes at one. One of the servers, Marco, has a thing for her. They speak with Marco who suspects she was raped as he knows what SVU means. They hear about her working an “after party” and that management likes to keep the guests boozed up and happy. They then speak with the bartender. He admits he had some drinks with her and then mentioned the two TV execs who got handsy with her. They left at 2:30-2:45. The last he saw her was about 3 when she went to the wine cellar, Andrew needed her for something.