Friday, April 24, 2020

Law & Order SVU “The Things We Have To Lose” Recap & Review

The season finale –  the season cut short because of the COVID-19 pandemic – was a wrap up/update of stories that took place earlier in the season. Despite the fact that this wasn’t supposed to be the season finale, it worked very well as a close to the record setting season 21. It takes a lot to shock me anymore with SVU but one thing happened that did really surprise me: Fin shoots someone dead. More on this later.

Before I recap this episode, I would like to thank everyone involved with Law & Order SVU for a great season. Many people invest a lot of time and hard work into writing, acting, and the production of each episode. The subject matter is tough and it must be very hard to come up with new ideas each week. If I didn’t like this show I wouldn’t waste any time in watching AND recapping the episode. So, while some weeks it sounds like I am less than thrilled with an episode, I still appreciate the work that goes into each and every minute of it. I’m looking forward to next season.

The trial of Sir Toby Moore ( from the season 21 premiere “I’m Going To Make You A Star” ) is trying to get off the ground, and Carisi is hitting brick walls. Elana Barth – former judge and now a defense attorney – has fully turned to the dark side and uses every tactic at her disposal to defend her sleazy client. Conveniently, Sir Toby Moore keeps having medical problems, keeping him out of the courtroom and delaying his trial. Peter Scanavino did a superb job in showing Carisi’s frustration and his anger when constantly faced with roadblock after roadblock, including going so far as to throw the judges’ own words back at him. We didn’t get the pleasure of actually seeing Ian McShane reprise his role in this episode, we only saw his face appearing in news stories about Sir Toby. Such a shame; having him appear would have been a real treat. But, as Sir Toby Moore isn’t dead – yet – we can only hope that maybe some time next season that he’ll make a real appearance to answer for his crimes.

Carisi is still getting his footing as an ADA, but it surprised me a bit that he waited until witness preparation to warn Pilar that she, and her family or friends, shouldn’t be talking about the case to anyone, even people who claim to be reporters. If Pilar wonders how old photos of her got into the hands of the defense, it’s likely because it seemed she wasn’t given any warning that these kinds of dirty tactics could happen. Carisi learned a lesson the hard way.  While Carisi preps the witnesses, Benson gets to role play as defense attorney, and manages to get out a tidbit of information that Carisi didn’t get previously. Benson to the rescue!

I used to really enjoy Jenna Stern as Elana Barth but now I loathe her character.  This is typical for defense attorneys in the Law & Order universe, it is a prerequisite that they be the lowest form of scum.  (Okay, I still enjoy Jenna Stern. She does a great job making me dislike Barth.)

Lakira’s story first unfolded in “At Midnight In Manhattan”. In this current episode, Lakira sees some semblance of justice, but sadly only after one of her friends is murdered by Paul Davies when he makes a careless mistake in disposing of evidence. But, this would not have happened to begin with had Lakira not sold her silence for Paul Davies in exchange for a fur coat, a new purse, and rent money.  Kat was persistent and she got her man in the end. 

Joelle’s story also began in “At Midnight In Manhattan”.   Things takes a tragic turn when her abusive husband Leon is released from prison, and he’s not interested in playing by the conditions of his parole. Fin uses poor judgment by not reporting to Leon's parole officer that Leon is violating by making contact with his son and using him to pass messages to Joelle, and Joelle resists Fin’s assistance.  Had Fin reported it despite Joelle's concerns, Leon would have likely been sent back to prison, avoiding the entire stand-off in Joelle’s apartment. It was a shock to see Fin draw his weapon and then quickly shoot Leon when it appears that Leon was getting ready to harm his own son. This was probably the most intense moments of drama this entire season.   This story alone would have been an excellent stand alone Fin-centric episode.   This story may not be over as Joelle is now suing Fin for Leon's wrongful death.

We first learned the story of Ivy Bucci in the episodes "Can’t Be Held Accountable" and "Must Be Held Accountable". Ivy continues to be a problem child. Despite her young age, she stays out all night, hangs around older men, and does coke. Her mother, Donna, isn’t much of a role model for her daughter. Donna begs Rollins to get involved, and Rollins agrees. I chuckled when Benson explains to Rollins how the matter should be handled, and when it’s clear Rollins still wants to find Ivy, Benson says “Because you’re the only one who can save her.” Usually this Benson’s job to save every victim!  Benson also gives the advice to Rollins to dish out some “tough love" to Ivy…and then Rollins proceeds to give Ivy the easy way out. Of course, it was a foregone conclusion that Ivy would wind up in trouble again, and this time, Rollins lets her stew in a holding cell overnight.  When it came down to Ivy going in front of the judge, Rollins explains Ivy’s history with Steve Getz and the judge softens her judgment. Still, the judge leaves things open so Ivy is not off the hook if she gets in trouble in the future.

There were so many things going on in this episode that at one point I thought there were TOO many things going on. Both Sir Toby's and Joelle's story could have been a standalone episodes. Still, as a wrap to the season, it felt right and was very well executed.

On a side note, there were a lot of unusual camera angles in this episode – a lot of shots from a skewed or low perspective. In some cases, these angles meant some things were in the way of the shot, something which I find annoying when done too frequently. (Some of the photos used for this recap are examples of this style.)

Here is the recap:

Flashbacks: the “MeToo” protesters in the courthouse hall; Joelle being attacked by her husband, Lakira being tossed out of a car, Ivy Bucci and Steve Getz; Sir Toby’s behaviors; more of the “MeToo” protesters.

Benson stands in Times Square, watching the news of Sir Toby’s anticipated criminal trial on the big screen, and Rollins watches the same footage on her phone while walking in the park. In the squad room, Fin and Kat watch news coverage of Elana Barth as she defends Sir Toby to the press. Kat comments to Fin that she thought he was done when they arrested him. Fin explains that cases like this, even when they are over, they are not over.

Elsewhere, Ivy comes into her apartment and her mother Donna, rushes over to her. Donna argues with her about where she has been, and Ivy claims she was at the library, clearly not dressed for the library. Donna says Ivy can’t be out all night as she’s 16, and when Ivy taunts that her mother can’t stop her, Donna grounds her.

On the courthouse steps, Barth continues to defends Sir Toby, saying the relationships were symbiotic and consensual. Benson, standing nearby with Carisi, asks what happened to Barth, and Carisi explains its money – 9 months and delays, motions and private investigators, she’s getting rich running out the clock. Benson asks how are Amelia and Pilar and other victims holding up, and Carisi replies not great, their lives are on hold, they are stressed, and it takes its toll. Benson asks about him, and Carisi says they are letting him take the lead on this – Benson says if something goes wrong – Carisi says their fingerprints won’t be anywhere near it. When Barth is asked if she is calling the women liars, Barth replies that is for a jury to decide, but says in this heated climate where men's reputations can be destroyed overnight, how many innocent men have been convicted in the name of the “MeToo” movement? Benson shakes her head.

Meanwhile, Joelle opens the door and greets Fin, who says he is just checking in on her and Andre. She says they are alright. Fin comments they didn’t tell her that her husband Leon is getting paroled tomorrow. She looks stunned and counters that he got a year. Fin explains it was a split sentence – he did 6 months in and the other six months in a halfway house on probation. She asks if that means he can just come by, and Fin replies no, her order of protection is good for a year. She hopes so. She adds he has been sending gifts to Andre – notes to give to her. She hands him the note and Fin reads “Joelle, we need to talk.” Fin states he needs to show the note to his parole officer, but she grabs the note back and tells Fin not to do that, she doesn’t want Andre caught in the middle. Andre runs in and tells Fin to “think fast” and he throws a basketball at him, which Fin easily catches. As Fin smiles, Andre says his dad sent him that and he said he is going to take him out for ice cream. Fin hands him back the basketball as Joelle gets a worried expression.

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Law & Order SVU “The Things We Have To Lose” Sneak Peeks – Season 21 Finale

Here are two preview clips from the season 21 finale of Law & Order SVU “The Things We Have To Lose” which will air on Thursday, April 23, 2020 at 10PM ET on NBC. The videos feature Ice-T and Jamie Gray Hyder.

My recap and review of Law & Order SVU “The Things We Have To Lose” 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.

Friday, April 17, 2020

Law & Order SVU “Solving For The Unknowns” Recap & Review

Law & Order SVU “Solving For The Unknowns” was a simple, no-frills story about a pair of creepy losers who use a special cocktail of drugs to make women compliant zombies so they can take full advantage of them. It had a nice balance of investigative work and legal work – something for everybody. The message was clear: dating apps can be risky and a person doesn’t always get what’s advertised. In this case, these women got more than they bargained for, and not in a good way. This was a decent, well-paced story. It was also a short episode, running a few seconds over 39 minutes from the open to “fade to black” at the end.

Right at the open, we find that Rollins has been promoted to Detective Second Grade. I never gave much thought to the NYPD ranking of detective, and never realized Rollins was at the bottom rung of that ladder. Despite her various “issues” over the years, the promotion makes sense. Let’s all hope she doesn’t screw it up in typical Rollins fashion.

Here is the recap:

Benson and Rollins are at a shooting range, practicing. Benson calls out to Rollins, calling her Annie Oakley and asking her for one more round and then go grab a quick drink. Rollins explains her sitter is on the clock. Benson tells her there are some changes in the squad room she wants to run by her. Rollins asks that Kat is not working out, and Benson informs her she just got off the phone with the Chief and he’d like Rollins to report to One PP on Friday. Rollins looks stunned and asks about what. Benson says nothing at first and Rollins tells her to just get it over with. Benson says she had a whole speech prepared but…Rollins is being promoted to Detective Second Grade. Rollins looks relieved and thrilled, saying “Oh god, really?” Benson congratulates her and Rollins comments she didn’t even know she was on the grid, after the year she had. Benson explains Rollins had some challenges this year but Rollins persisted. Rollins thanks her and hugs her, smiling. Benson says, “Congratulations, really.” Rollins laughs and says “Bottoms up” and they move to take a few more shots as Rollins shouts “whoo!”

An officer brings out a coffee to his fellow officer waiting in the car and she asks him if he got her anything sweet. He says, “my bad.” A woman driving a food truck with a giant cupcake on top is driving erratically, her vision blurry. The truck hits the car in which the officers are waiting. As they exit the car, they see the woman looks drunk and they asks if she is drinking. She doesn’t realize she hit them and says this is her truck but sounding confused as she says, “Jill’s Cupcakes.” She starts to collapse and the one officer says they will have to take her in.

At the police station, she is given a breathalyzer test. She seems confused as to how to work it, questioning the “in or out” instructions. She acts as if the fingerprinting process is hurting her. She ‘s in a large cell with other women, wondering what she is doing there.

In arraignment court part 7 on Tuesday, March 17, Carisi is arraigning someone as Jill Bailey waits in the gallery. Fin watches as Jill is arraigned on charges of driving while intoxicated. She seems confused and her lawyer pleads not guilty for her. Carisi asks Fin what he is going there, he told him his perp would plead guilty, and Fin explains he just wanted to the scumbag go down, it is good for his morale. As the judge says Jill can be released ROR, Jill shouts to hold on, this isn’t right, she wasn’t drunk. The judge tells her this isn’t the time nor the place to argue her case, and Carisi stops to listen. As the judge calls for the bailiff, Jill asks why no one is listening to her. Her lawyer suggests they go outside and talk, but she shouts she doesn’t need to talk, she needs help. Carisi asks her lawyer if everything is alright and when he says it’s fine, Jill says no, she just realized what happened. As her lawyer touches her on her am, she recoils and shouts she didn’t say he could touch her. He backs away and Carisi asks what happened here. Jill shouts she was raped last night – and they arrested HER. Carisi looks at Fin, everyone in stunned silence.

At SVU, as Rollins leads Jill in, Benson hears from Carisi and Fin that Jill was sexually assaulted but then drove her truck into a patrol car. Carisi explains Jill is 35 years old and she is a cupcake baker with no priors. Her blood alcohol content was .09, and Fin says it was barely over the limit but the officers that arrested her said she was wasted. Carisi adds Jill said her brain wasn’t working right and nothing felt real. Benson comments with 12+ in holding, she ate, drank, used the bathroom so as soon as they get her statement they need to do a rape kit. Benson walks over to the window to observe Rollins and Kat questioning Jill in the interview room.

Jill explains she was at a bar downtown with Luke, she never got his last name. They met via a dating app, True Heart, and he ordered funky “howler” drinks. She had 2, if that. They must have been strong. She felt – feels – not herself. Then - nothing. Her memory drops out and recalls trying to drive her truck. She could not stay in her lane and her body wasn’t listening to her brain and she felt drugged. She says it didn’t hit until she was in court that Luke had raped her. Her clothes felt wrong and she was sore, she knows she was raped. Kat states they need to contact Luke and asks if she has his number. Jill does not, but she can show him the message he sent her this morning. She brings up the message on her phone and then says it is gone. She explains he said he had a great time and asks if she got home okay. She messaged back “what did you do to me”. Kat says he deleted the match and ghosted her. Jill asks that they can’t find him, and Rollins states they can contact the dating app but right now they need to get her to the hospital and do a tox screen. She asks if that is to see she was drugged and Kat says the clock is ticking but there is a good chance, they test for over 300 drugs.

At Corner Lounge at 179 Spring Street on Tuesday, March, 17, Fin tells Rollins that Kat isn’t getting anywhere with True Heart. Rollins is not surprised, the DMV is more user friendly than these dating apps. Rollins sees a sign for the howler drink and asks the bartender what’s in them. He explains it’s white rum, palm sugar, mottled pandan leaves and coconut cream. The bartender asks if they want two, and Rollins explains that is not why they are here, they are NYPD, and shows her badge. He looks at Jill’s photo and says maybe she was in last night with some guy with dark hair who paid cash and he counted out loud as he put it down. Fin asks to see the footage from his security cameras, and the bartender says they are not his, he’s a freelance. Fin tells him to find the manager and they will wait. He agrees.

Back at SVU, Benson asks the group where are they on Jill’s timeline, and Rollins explains the security cameras put her and Luke at the bar from 8 to 8:50. They watched all fifty minutes, Kat adding they had two drinks each and from one angle he doesn’t seem to spike her glass and wonders if they are just strong drinks. As they watch them leave, Jill doesn’t seem incapacitated or visibly drunk but Benson says she doesn’t remember leaving the bar, saying it is textbook drug facilitated rape. Rollins adds they pulls street cam footage and followed their route after the bar at and 9PM they head south on West Broadway and they lose them. Fin comments she is still walking normally, and asked that they pick them up later that night. Kat explains an hour goes by and he walks her out to her truck on the corner of North Moore and kisses her good night. Benson observes Jill is standing but not responsive. Rollins states the crash was 10 minutes later. Fin concludes he either drugged her in the bar or in the hour with no video. Benson says they know what blocks they were on and when, so somebody saw them.

On 13 Beech Street on Tuesday, March 17, Kat and Fin question a doorman who’s seen the guy and is always telling him to keep his dog off the planters and he even brings his mutt into the bodega nearby. They question a man at the bodega says the guy gets two beers every night, pays cash, and counts it out. He knows where he lives as when it rains, he orders in – two beers and a pizza.

Fin knocks on Luke Mitchell’s door, shouting “Pizza, pizza, pizza, baby.” A man shouts from behind the door that he didn’t order any pizza. When Luke opens the door, Fin is standing there with Kat, Fin holding up his badge and says they need to talk to him. Luke says the place is a little messy, but as Kat walks past him and into his apartment, she says it’s nothing they haven’t seen before. Inside, Luke said he thought he and Jill hit it off at the bar. He says she drives a cupcake truck, and when Kat asks what happened, he said they came back here and, comments he thinks it’s okay since she already spoke to them, they had sex. Fin questions whose idea was that, and Luke replies both of theirs, he always asks these days. Afterwards he even walked her to his truck. Fin says they know, they checked the security cameras. Luke comments about the police state these days and that’s a good thing. He repeats he made sure she got to the truck alright, and Kat states he is a gentleman. Luke agrees, adding he messaged her the next day and told her what a great time he had. Kat questions if she said she had a great time too, and he says now that they mention it, she messaged him back something really weird. Fin asks if it was like “what did you do to me?” and he nods and says yeah, he didn’t know what she meant. He states he supports all the “me too” stuff and is one of the nice guys. As a dog starts to bark, he says the pendulum swings too far, these women come up with ideas and blame anybody for anything. As the dog continues to bark, he says he has to walk his dog. Fin wonders if he has to get his two beers, and as Kat continues to glare at him, Luke he says no disrespect, he knows they are working hard and all, but he asks them to leave.

As Kat and Fin walk out, Kat asks if he seems like a nice guy to him, and Fin replies “for a rapist.”

In her office, Benson, along with Fin, shows Jill the video of her at the truck and being kissed and Jill doesn’t remember any of that. She does not recall being in his apartment and Fin explains they have security footage of the two of them in the elevator. Jill has no memory of that. Benson explains her tox screen came back negative, and Jill wonders how that can be. Benson explains the drug may have already left her system or she was dosed with something they may not have a test for. When Jill gets upset that she was told they test for 300 drugs, Fin confirms they do but there are people out there designing drugs they can’t ID and they can’t keep up. Jill asks that they are drugs that turn women into zombies, and Benson explains they all have different effects but what they found with a lot of these drugs is that the victims may be able to walk and talk but may not know where they are or what is happening to them. Jill asks that they don’t have tests for them, and as Benson shakes her head, Fin explains they buy stuff on line and mix up the ingredients in their kitchen – tranquilizers, anti-psychotics, antihistamines. Jill says they are undetectable and wiped out her memory, so no one is going to believe she was drugged. Benson states they believe her – her affect and demeanor and everything she described is evidence to them. Jill comments it is still hard to get a conviction on something like this, and Benson tells her to let them worry about that.

Law & Order SVU “The Things We Have To Lose” Photos – Season 21 Finale

Here are advance photos from the season 21 finale of Law & Order SVU “The Things We Have To Lose” which will air on Thursday, April 23, 2020 at 10PM ET on NBC. The photos feature Mariska Hargitay, Ice-T, Peter Scanavino, Jamie Gray Hyder, James Udom as Leon Fuller, Ben Davis as Paul Davies, Ja'Siah Young as Andre Fuller, and Gisela Chipe as Ramona Diaz.

My recap and review of Law & Order SVU “The Things We Have To Lose” can be found at this link.

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.

Law & Order SVU “The Things We Have To Lose” Promo – Season 21 Finale

Here is the promo for the season 21 finale of Law & Order SVU “The Things We Have To Lose” which will air on Thursday, April 23, 2020 at 10PM ET on NBC.

My recap and review of Law & Order SVU “The Things We Have To Lose” 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.

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Law & Order SVU “Solving For The Unknowns” Promo

Here is a preview clip from Law & Order SVU, “Solving For The Unknowns” which will air on Thursday, April 16, 2020 at 10PM ET on NBC. The video features Ice-T and Jamie Gray Hyder.

My recap and review of Law & Order SVU “Solving For The Unknowns” 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.