Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Law & Order SVU “Svengali”: Awful

I forgot how truly horrible this episode was. It was filled with poor detective work and dumb mistakes, not to mention a weak story line with equally weak acting. How bad was it? Let me count the ways:

1. How dumb must they be to require their TARU group to identify the image of Venus De Milo? Anyone with a grade school education should be able to identify the image drawn in blood on the floor. And if the symbol recognition program was such a great tool, why didn’t they use it to make the connection with the elevator murder to the images in the graphic novel? Another mystery – how did the detectives rationalize that the woman in the bar had just been abducted, yet by the time the police got to the bar there was an elaborate drawing – in blood – on the floor? Apparently that didn’t seem to raise any eyebrows. Also, when the girl first went missing from the bar, why didn’t the detectives search her apartment then for clues to her abduction? They would have found the graphic novels at that time and it would have put them that much closer to solving the crime.

2. Olivia (Mariska Hargitay) gets a phone call threatening her, yet doesn’t give a second thought to a pizza delivery made to her that she didn’t order? And Fin (Ice-T) just knew there was a pizza in it because it FELT like there was one in the box? Wouldn’t the first instinct be to open it up? No…because they had to find a way to get it to explode without killing anyone. Of course, Chester Lake (Adam Beach) uses the recycling excuse to first get his hands on the pizza box, but still doesn’t open it up to check out the pizza. Are these detectives not normal?

3. Again, Olivia’s life has been threatened, yet she doesn’t give a second thought as to why a light bulb in a fixture right outside her apartment was loose, maybe to cover someone making an illegal entry. Of course, there’s someone in her apartment.

4. How did this slight little girl bury someone’s body parts so deep at an existing gravesite? Did no one notice her there? Did no one notice what looked like an established gravesite had been disturbed?

5. Early on in the show, the forensics guy identified schist on the body at the first crime scene, but no pollen. Of course, the ever-wise Chester says that it was probably from a tunnel. First, wouldn’t a person logically get pollen on them from being outside the tunnel before they got in the tunnel? Does it mean that anyone in a tunnel will never have any pollen on them? It makes no sense.

6. Along that line, why is it that the detectives always yell “Police!” and announce their presence before they get close to the action? I can understand if they are behind a closed door, but when they are out in the open, get in close first before you shout out you are there and tip off a suspect.

7. I also suppose that this serial killer was dumb enough to strike a sweethart deal with Casey (Diane Neal) without getting a lawyer involved? After all, why would he trust her, or any prosecutor for that matter, to make sure he'd end up in the type of prison he wanted? Also, it was too risky for Casey to put him on the stand when she clearly couldn't prep him or guarantee what he would say. This whole move on her part ruined her case.

The bottom line is one shouldn’t be taken in by this “Svengali.” It was a low point for SVU and the worst example of television detective work ever.

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Anonymous said...

Nice post. I think this episode ranked as not only the worst L&O episode, but actually one of the worst hours of television I've ever watched, period. I actually Googled the episode just to find out who wrote it so I could avoid anything else by the same writer (which was how I found your post)...

Anonymous said...

i thought this episode was really good, i think you were too harsh on it, but thats my opinion. i thought casey did well in the but the svu team should be more suspicous when things they didnt order arrive. All in all a decent episode.

Anonymous said...

I agree, but you forget the terrible Hannibal Lecter wannbe acting from the serial killer.


DewieTheBear said...

USA is showing this episode right now and god, it really is horrid. When Olivia and Elliott walk into the bar, and she says, "It's blood!" after looking at the floor, I just laughed. My first comment would have, "Omg. It's the Venus de Milo."

Chris Zimmer said...

Hey, I'm also watching it oN USA new too.. Yes, this one was a dog. Yet here I am, still watching it, years later! How pathetic is that?

sam42 said...

Watching it now on USA too...who the hell tries to cut off their breasts as a suicide attempt?!

sam42 said...

Just watched this one too...who the hell tries to commit suicide by cutting off their breasts?!

Sharon said...

God, you're right. This was terrible. Sensational and utterly stupid. Random question: Was Diane Neal pregnant during this ep?