Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Law & Order January 2009 Episode Information

Only limited information is available for the Law & Order episodes for January so far. The episode information for the January 7 episode, ‘Chattel” is below. The only other tentative information I have is that the January 14 episode is to be titled “Pledge” but there is nothing official from NBC on this. The SVU January episode information was already listed on my blog here, but NBC hasn’t released any other information for either Law & Order or SVU past the first two weeks of the month.

My suggestion to NBC for the new year: if you want more people to watch your shows, you need to create BUZZ. That means getting out episode information, photos, etc. far enough in advance to get people excited. (The people at CBS are very successful with this when it comes to the CSI franchise, getting episode information, pictures, and full cast details up to a month or more in advance.) OK, that should be my last editorial comment here for 2008! Here’s the episode information so far for Law & Order for January 2009.

Law & Order “Chattel” Air Date January 7, 2009

Divorce Lawyers Fred and Lizzy Bellamy (guest stars Paul DeBoy and Maureen Silliman) are brutally murdered while asleep in their home. The investigation leads to a client, Ann Carter (guest star Mary Beth O'Connor), who is involved in a nasty child custody battle with her husband Bill (guest star Steven Friedman) involving an adopted Haitian daughter, whom the detectives believe was molested and sent back to Haiti as part of a cover-up. Lupo and Bernard's search for the missing child leads them to another couple with an adopted Haitian boy, Eric and Miriam Johnson (guest stars Tom Gilroy and Jessica Hecht). Lieutentant Anita Van Buren (S. Epatha Merkerson) gets social services involved as it appears that the adopted boy, 12-year-old Patrick Johnson (guest star Thuliso Dingwall), has been abused and neglected. As Lupo and Bernard dig deeper, they uncover a trail of abuse, kidnapping and bribery that leads them to multiple suspects with motive to protect the secret. As A.D.A.'s Michael Cutter (Linus Roache) and Connie Rubirosa (Alana de la Garza) attempt to bring the killer to justice, they must also deal with the emotional aspect of the case and work to safeguard the lives of the children.
Also stars Sam Waterston

My recap and review of “Chattel“ can be found here.

Check out my blog home page for the latest Law & Order information, here.

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

Friday, December 26, 2008

Law & Order SVU January Episode Information

Episode information for the Law & Order franchise is only trickling in lately. There is no detailed information for any new episodes for Law & Order for January 2009 and I will publish it as soon as I can get my hands on it. A few weeks ago, I published information on a new SVU episode titled “Stranger” and now we have information on another new SVU episode, “Hothouse”, set to air on January 13, which I have listed below. So here is what January is looking like so far for Law & Order SVU:

Law & Order SVU “Stranger” Air Date January 6, 2009


Heather Hallander (guest star Ellen Woglom) miraculously returns home after being reported missing over four years ago. Unrecognizable to her family, Heather tells Detectives Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay) and Elliot Stabler (Christopher Meloni) of the cement cell where she spent the past four years as a sex slave and of her fortunate escape. Heather’s sister, Erica Hallander (Kate Baldwin), is relieved to see her long-lost sister after launching a website asking for search tips, but, Nikki Hallander (Natalia Payne), Heather’s other sister, seems annoyed with her return. In search of the mystery kidnapper, Benson and Stabler drive Heather around town to help stir up any memories of her abduction. When Heather’s answers don’t seem to match up, the detectives find revealing evidence that make them question Heather’s kidnapping and true identity. Also starring Dann Florek, Richard Belzer, Ice-T, Michaela McManus, B.D. Wong, and Tamara Tunie.

My recap and review of “Stranger “ can be found here.

Law & Order SVU “Hothouse” Air Date January 13, 2009


When the body of a fourteen year-old girl is found floating in the Hudson River, Detectives Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay) and Elliot Stabler (Chris Meloni) think she was smuggled into the country by sex traffickers. In an effort to identify the body, Detective Benson goes undercover as a Madame and busts sex trafficker Alik (Guest Star Misha Kuznetsov). When Alik makes a deal with ADA Kim Greylek (Michaela McManus) he identifies the body as Elsa Lychkoff. To the detectives’ surprise, Elsa wasn’t a prostitute, but a child prodigy. Prying more into the victim’s secret life, the detectives investigate her elite boarding school and her roommate Jennifer Banks (guest star Sarah Hyland), who in turn, leads them to compulsive gambler, Joseph Lychkoff (guest star George Tasudis), Elsa’s father. When the motive of Joseph seems obvious as to why he would kill his daughter, Detective Odafin Tutuola (Ice-T) discovers some new evidence that could change the entire case. Also starring: Richard Belzer (Detective John Much), Dann Florek (Captain Donald Cragen), Ice-T (Detective Odafin Tutuola), Michaela McManus (A.D.A Kim Greylek), Tamara Tunie (Dr. Melinda Warner), and B.D. Wong (Dr. George Huang).

My recap and review of “Hothouse “ can be found here.

Check out my blog home page for the latest Law & Order information, here.

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

Monday, December 22, 2008

Sam Waterston At International Emmys - Video

This is a follow up to the story I posted here in November when Dick Wolf (Top Dog of the Law & Order franchise) received the Founders Award at the International Emmys on November 24, 2008.

Here is a video from of Sam Waterston (Law & Order) being interviewed on the red carpet at the event, for your enjoyment!

Check out my blog home page for the latest information, here.

Also, see my companion Law & Order site, All Things Law & Order.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Law & Order “Zero” Scores One for Cutter (Recap & Review)

This episode of Law & Order, “Zero,” didn’t seem to spend as much time on the crime as usual, and the murder victims were quickly forgotten as the story turned to center on a judge whose mind is going, and his law clerk who wants to keep him in his job in order to protect her own. Still, I found this story to be very interesting, as Cutter failed to see trouble coming at first, but once it came, he seemed to be the only one with the guts to tackle it head on. But if you’re looking for a reason why the murder victims were killed, I think you’ll have to look very, very hard to find it, if it is there at all.

Connie seemed to be somewhat miffed at the attention that Cutter was getting from Carly the law clerk, and she voices some concern later which makes one think she may have been worried that Cutter was not being objective in the case as opposed to jealousy. It was amusing when Cutter’s ego seemed to have been bruised when he ribs Connie for what he saw as jealousy, then realizes that he chose his words badly and tries to dig himself out of his hole. Of course, Connie seemed to get back at him by wondering if his “male pride” was getting in the way with the judge. I think that those two have a great chemistry together, and while I am not one of those “shippers” who incessantly wish characters to hook up, I think that the fact that these two are able to trade barbs with each other means that there is a spark between them, but what that spark can set off is anybody’s guess. Personally, I would just be satisfied with her just getting on his case every now and them when he gets in his high and mighty moods.

Slightly surprising was Jack McCoy, who seemed to think as long as Cutter got one in the win column that he should just let sleeping dogs lie. Maybe he was preoccupied with his own issues; maybe he thought Cutter was being too hard on an old judge. Either way, it was a little un-Jack like not to want to root out a problem judge. I think at the end, Jack fully realized the sad state of the judge. Maybe Jack feels that age is crawling up on him as well, as evidenced by his complaints about the low light, making it hard for him to read. He could have been thinking that someday, someone may come after him because age could prevent him from doing his job. Of course, we all hope Jack McCoy will be immortal, don’t we?

I found myself wondering how no other defense attorney ever noticed that the judge seemed to be getting his information fed to him by his clerk during the trial. Did it really take the clerk overtly telling Cutter she’d fix everything to make someone wonder that the judge’s mind was slipping?

I always liked Sherry Stringfield when she was on ER, and it was good to see her in this role on Law & Order. I thought she was well cast as the controlling and overprotective law clerk. Likewise, Ned Beatty did very well as the feeble minded judge. This was one of those cases where the show brought in two well known names to guest star, and viewers probably knew in advance that the story would revolve around them. Sometimes it is to the detriment of the show, but in this case I thought it enhanced the story and gave Cutter a chance to show that he is willing to win, but win the right way.

The one person who seems to be getting lost in the shuffle this season in Law & Order is S. Epatha Merkerson, who seems to be relegated to brief commentary with the detectives. I wish they would give her more to do. I have to admit that I laughed at her reaction to stories about the Hartwig's “green” use of the bathroom, and Lupo’s own stories of the process. After my husband visited China a few years ago on business, he had to bring his own toilet paper to areas outside the big cites like Shanghai because once one gets into the outer area, toilet paper just isn’t available. Sorry, but that would be one area that I don’t think I will ever go green. One thing is for sure, I would never want to shake Lupo’s left hand.

All in all, though, I liked the episode, not so much for the case, but to watch Cutter go through the struggle to do the right thing. It was a nice chance for viewers to see Linus Roache as the center of attention. And I think he scored big.

OK, here’s the recap, and a video clip from the episode is also below.

Law & Order “Zero” Recap
Nancy Hartwig (Leah Curney), after leaving her husband and son at home, is found dead in her community garden in the community compost. Someone had heard her arguing with a man at about 3:30, but all her cash and credit cards are there. There is blood on a shovel.

At Hartwig's apartment building, Detectives Lupo (Jeremy Sisto) and Bernard (Anthony Anderson) talk with Hartwig’s husband Joe (Derek Cecil) in the lobby. When they ask to talk to him in his apartment, he makes a move to the stairs because he doesn’t use the elevator. Bernard decides to take the elevator up. In his apartment, Joe says his wife left the house at about 1:00 to run errands and take care of the garden to be back before their son’s birthday party. They don’t use electricity, and power their computer with solar panels. They are trying to live without leaving a carbon footprint – he has a blog and she is writing a book about it. .

Back at the 2-7 they discuss the case. Hartwig was a freelance designer who worked from her home, and they review her whereabouts and her death. Her husband’s blog is called Zero Energy Footprint, and they don’t eat anything that isn’t raised outside 100 miles of their home. They don’t use cell phones, their car is in a long term lot, no paper, plastic, no toilet paper. With the latter, Lupo states “Left hand and a bowl of water. Half the world still does it that way” to which Van Buren (S. Epatha Merkerson) responds, ‘That’s nasty. No wonder she was drinking.” It appears she had a martini shortly before her death since she had an elevated blood alcohol and they found an olive in her stomach contents. After Van Buren tells them to check out the bars in the area, Bernard asks Lupo about his work overseas “doing intel in the boonies” and leaves it hanging, Lupo responds, “Left hand and a bowl of water.” Van Buren responds again, “That’s nasty.”

Later, at Bronte Hotel Bar, Lupo and Bernard question the bar tender, who says Hartwig has been in often, and she almost always alone, but met up with a guy last week. They ask for a printout of names of credit cards. But if she was having an affair, they wonder who Hartwig would have confided in about it.

Meeting with Hartwig’s sister, she doesn’t know about any affair, or any man she met at a bar. She says Hartwig had doubts about her husband’s “green” efforts. She says she last saw her sister a few weeks ago when she needed her to watch her kids as she had a small medical emergency. She said Nancy drove right out, but Bernard states he thought driving was against the rules.

Back talking with Joe, he seems to think his wife would have taken the train. He also didn’t know his wife was stopping in at the Bronte Bar to use the facilities and have a drink. They ask to see their car, but when Joe looks for the keys they are gone. Outside where the car is supposed to be parked, the green Corolla is missing from its spot. Joe has no idea about where the car would be, but the car has a car tracker.

Back at the 2-7, the detectives tell Van Buren that the car tracker was a gift from Nancy Hartwig’s father. Bernard gets a call – the car has been located in Jersey, ditched in the woods with a half kilo of cocaine and a dead body. The detectives arrive at the scene where there are many police cars, and are told to get back in their cars. When Bernard identifies himself as NYPD, the cops states that “this is New Jersey” but they are brought in by another cop. It’s the cop who alerted them to the location of the car, and apparently there had been a cop killing. But the body in the car is not a cop, it is someone who killed a cop when a routine traffic stop “went sideways” They think a cop “killed him back” and the driver took off, abandoning Hartwig’s car and leaving the dead passenger. All the other police are out looking for the driver of the car. Is it a coincidence that the woman who owned that car was also killed the next day – or are the cases connected? They decide to share information.

At the police station, they watch the original traffic stop where the cop was shot and the car pulling away. The driver’s face can’t be seen. They found kid’s fingerprints in the back seat. The dead guy in the car is a local coke dealer by the name of Wayne Jankins (David Shumbris). Later at Jankin’s apartment, the NJ police are investigating his place and Bernard sees a hat in the closet with the name of an investment bank Burns Fisher that went belly up during the mortgage mess, but it looks like he only played on their softball team.

Talking to someone at Burns Fisher as they are packing, they speak with Mr. Dooley (Geoffrey Cantor), he tells them Jenkins was a ringer – he had “an arm” on him. But the defectives mention the coke connection. He tells them a guy name Chris Mason in institutional sales said he was going to buy some coke and wanted to know if Dooley wanted in. The detectives notice that Chris Mason charged some drinks at the Bronte Hotel Bar,

At Chris Mason’s (Ian Kahn) apartment, Lupo and Bernard question him and he seems to plead ignorance. He said he was home at the time in question, and never heard of Nancy Hartwig. When they confront him with the bar information, he said he did see Nancy but he didn’t know her married name, they went to college together and he ran into her in the bar, she was a “friendly ear”. He had just gotten divorced and lost his job.

Back at the 2-7, the talk about Mason, his ex, and his kids. He has visitation rights, and the kid lives in Nyack, which could have been on his way to where the murder occurred. He sold his Maserati and rented a car every weekend. Did Hartwig lend Mason her car to see his kid?

At the home of Ann Mason, she tells them Chris was up there that weekend; she didn’t see the car he was driving. Bernard asks the kids if they recall seeing the color of their dad’s car, and they state it was green, and they both rode in the back seat, one of the kids saying, “That’s the law.” When asked if her ex ever mentioned Nancy Hartwig or Wayne Jankins, she says no. When they tell her both have been killed and ask for her daughters’ fingerprints, she says no, and then walks back into her house. They need those prints, so Bernard picks up a ball that the kids left outside and takes it.

In local Judge Malcolm Reynolds’ chambers, (Ned Beatty) he reviews the search warrant that the detectives requested; his clerk Carly (Sherry Stringfield) is also there. She tells the judge the detectives have probable cause, and he signs the warrant. At Mason’s apartment, they find compost on his shoes and they arrest him.

In EADA Cutter’s (Linus Roache) office, NJ attorney Murdock wants to take Mason. But Cutter says he will have to stand in line. Murdock argues that Mason is wanted for a cop killing and he has it on tape, but ADA Rubirosa (Alana De La Garza) argues that Mason can’t be seen on the tape, their own murder case has a witness that puts Mason with Hartwig. As Cutter plays with his bat, they continue to argue the point. Cutter says they will keep him, but Murdock says they will keep their extradition request active, but not mention what he said about his case to Mason’s lawyer. Cutter says, not sounding serious, “I wouldn’t dream of it.”

In the jail conference room, Cutter tells Mason right off the bat that New Jersey has them dead to rights, but his attorney Estelle Adams (Deanna Dunagan) isn’t biting on it. When Rubirosa mentions the tomato seed on Mason’s shoe, his attorney says “ You got a time stamp on that tomato seed sweetie?” She says Mason’s story is he is not guilty.

In the hallway of the DA’s office, Jack McCoy (Sam Waterston) storms down the hall, asking angrily “Can anybody read around here?” When Cutter quips back that he thinks it’s a requirement for graduating law school, McCoy bitches about maintenance changing the light bulbs in his office to save energy and his seem to be about 3 watts. When Rubirosa asks McCoy - does he not want to save the polar bears? - he says he is going to have to save the Seeing Eye dogs. As Cutter begins to walk off, Judge Reynolds’ clerk Carly approaches, and tells Cutter that her judge grabbed his case – he likes a juicy story. Cutter introduces her to McCoy and Rubirosa, and McCoy calls Reynolds a brilliant man but he hasn’t seen him around lately. She says it’s a privilege to work with him. She asks to discuss scheduling issues with Cutter and they walk off. McCoy sarcastically cracks to Rubirosa, with a smile, “Scheduling issues” and Rubirosa looks a little put off.

In Judge Reynolds Chambers, Mason’s attorney Ms. Adams, Cutter, and Rubirosa are arguing about the case, with Carly looking on. While the judge makes comments about their arguments, Carly approaches and give him the research she said he requested on the matter. The judge denies Ms. Adams motion.

After they leave his chambers, Rubirosa questions Cutter’s relationship with the clerk Carly, and Cutter says they are friends, and we get this:

Rubirosa : “Friends. So we don’t have a conflict of interest problem, do we?”

Cutter: “No. And we don’t have a jealousy problem, do we?”

Rubirosa: “I was in preschool when you started to work here, remember?

Cutter, calling out, pleading as Rubirosa walks off: “That was Estelle Adams, not me.”

At the trial, Joe Hartwig is on the stand. He says he didn’t know his wife lent Mason the car, and said she wouldn’t do that as they were supposed to live by certain rules. But he said if Mason told her he was on hard times, she probably would have lent it to him. The defense corners him on his wife not following the rules, implying she was having an affair as well. During the whole process, both parties raised objections and the judge seemed to be ruling consistently in Cutter’s favor.

Detective Bernard is on the stand and the defense attorney objects to a question and asks to approach. Judge Reynolds says he can hear her from there, but she indicates she doesn’t want the jury to hear. He agrees to them approaching. The judge’s clerk Carly is also standing there. The defense argues the issue of Detective Bernard getting the kids’ fingerprints by stealing one of their balls, but Cutter argues that the ball is not being used as evidence against the children. When Carly pipes in, starting to say “that would seem to be the case,” the Judge appears annoyed, chides them for stealing a child’s toy, and excludes the evidence.

Later, on the courthouse steps, Carly chases after Cutter, apologizing, saying the situation was weird, and that the judge acted in haste without considering the precedence She says she can fix it. When Cutter asks, “Fix it?” she responds that the judge will reconsider and everything is under control. Rubirosa approaches at the tail end of the discussion as Carly leaves. She asks Cutter, “What’s under control?” he responds, shaking his head, “Everything, apparently.”

In the judge’s chambers, Judge Reynolds, with Carly standing behind him, admits that he acted in haste without considering the precedence. Cutter shifts in his seat, clearly uncomfortable. The judge reverses his motion to exclude the fingerprints. Ms. Adams can’t believe it, but he says it’s the law, it was just a misunderstanding. The judge, who seems a little tired, excuses himself. Rubirosa leaves, and Cutter looks at Carly oddly and she smiles at him. He asks her what is going on. She says the judge was just correcting his ruling, but Cutter calls her on the fact the judge used the exact same words that she did the day before, and he wants to know who is making the decisions here. But she doesn’t seem to think anything is wrong, she says she is supposed to help him research the law. Cutter presses on, asking, “And, your helping him has nothing to do with the fact that you and I have…” and she cuts him off, saying “Are you saying that I am throwing the case...for you?” He said she has said some things that makes him think this is the case, and he thinks they should be very clear. She says, “OK. How’s this for clarity. I like you, the judge made a wrong ruling, and he fixed it. Those two facts are not connected.” She walks off to answer a phone, leaving Cutter there to look at the judge’s desk. He picks up a document from the judge’s desk, and decides to take it as the judge walks in, surprised to see Cutter is still there. Cutter states he is just leaving, taking the paper with him. (Note to self – leave no papers on your desk when a lawyer is around.)

Back at the office, Cutter sits down at Rubirosa’s desk. She seems annoyed, and makes a crack about him staying behind to hash things out with his friend. But Cutter seems troubled, and says he doesn’t think that is what this is about. When he asks her if she’s noticed anything about Judge Reynolds, she says he always rules their way. He then asks if she noticed that he looks at his computer before every ruling, and that he relies heavily on his clerk. He wonders if Carly is sending him instant messages telling him how to rule. He pulls the paper he took from the judge’s office out of his pocket, and hands it to Rubirosa. She reads back what is typed on it, and it’s word for word what the judge said when he reversed his ruling. Not only were his words scripted, but Cutter shows her that he had a seating chart showing their names and where they sat in the room to serve as a memory aid. Cutter says he wants to talk to the judge without Carly, and asks Rubirosa what she’s doing for lunch.

At the Odeon restaurant, the judge and Carly are sitting at their table and Carly is reading through papers, under the eye of Cutter and Rubirosa from a table hidden from view. Rubirosa comments that she wished she hadn’t skipped the law school course on spying on judges. When Carly leaves the table, Cutter takes note, and tells Rubirosa to “lock her in a stall if you have to.” As Rubirosa follows Carly, Cutter approaches the judge, and the judge seems to not know his name, but says “you’re one of the attorneys.’ Cutter says he is, and he just wanted to thank him for his ruling this morning. The judge answers, ambiguously, “That’s my job, isn’t it.” But Cutter presses on, asking him what precedence he found most persuasive, and when the judge responds wasn’t that in his ruling, Cutter reminds him that the ruling was oral. The judge says he has to check his notes, and that he has very thorough notes. When the server brings their meals, the judge comments that it looks good and asks Cutter if he ordered that, and Cutter reminds him that he isn’t sitting there. The judge seems not to be phased, and asks who is sitting there?

Back in McCoy’s office, Cutter is recounting the situation, telling him of the judge’s memory problems. McCoy reminds him that the judge is over 70 and has to reapply for re-certification every year, but Cutter thinks that process is just a rubber stamp. McCoy talks about Reynolds' great record, but Cutter says his mind is going and he shouldn’t be on the bench. When McCoy asks Cutter if his defendant is guilty and if he is winning his case, Cutter responds yes to both, McCoy says some prosecutors wouldn’t see a problem there. McCoy moves back and turns on a light, saying “Light!” with a smile, because it is so dark in his office with the new light bulbs, and starts reading, almost signaling to Cutter that the discussion is over.

Later, Carly comes into Cutter’s office and asks what’s going on because she heard he spoke with “her judge” at lunch and she hopes he wasn’t talking about the case because that would be against the rules. Cutter bluntly says that the judge should withdraw from the case, and he should retire. She says he’s doing a fine job, and he counters that SHE’s doing the fine job. Cutter asks why she is protecting the judge, that he could retire with his respect and his pension. But she asks what about her pension? She needs the job. Cutter says bluntly, “So for you, we pervert the courts.” She argues back and doesn’t understand why he is so upset since things are going his way and everything has been legally correct. She says she knows what she is doing, but tells her he is not letting it go and he will take it to another judge. She says if he does that, Judge Reynolds won’t be the one who suffers.

Back in court, Cutter barges in an interrupts another case, saying he was there with an emergency petition. Judge Brannigan sounds annoyed as he reads what the emergency is about. The judge chastises Cutter, saying the proper procedure to request the medical exam is to take it to the Commission on Judicial Conduct, but Cutter protests that will take months. The judge seems to think Reynolds is serving well, but off the record he has heard comments about Cutter’s conduct in this matter. When Cutter asks to approach, the judge scolds “No need, “ telling him these kinds of things can get very ugly and that he might want to rethink what he is doing here. Cutter is stunned.

Back in Cutter’s office, Rubirosa, with McCoy present, is giving Cutter the bad news that “It’s all over Foley Square, that you colluded with your clerk girlfriend to take advantage of Judge Reynolds.” Cutter is flabbergasted, and he doesn’t understand why Carly would tell such a story and implicate herself. McCoy thinks it’s just a ploy to get him to drop the matter with the judge to avoid ethics charges and disbarment. When Rubirosa asks Cutter what Jjudge Brannigan said, Cutter indicated the judge blackmailed him in open court. McCoy reminds Cutter that the judges protect each other, and when Cutter asks if they must think they deserve to be hailed and saluted until they die on the bench, McCoy says yes, and plugs up the bottle of liquor on the table. But Cutter argues the story makes no sense, if he was trying to throw the case, why would he want the judge removed. McCoy responds, “Tell it…to the judge.”

Cutter approaches Judge Reynolds as he walks off the steps of his home. The judge doesn’t recognize him. When the judge asks what he is doing there, Cutter says he’s been trying to get him removed from the bench because his mind is not as sharp as it used to be and he should retire. The judge smirks, and, forgetting Cutter’s name again, ask him if he has done Cutter any harm, that he likes to think he is fair. But Cutter says it is not personal, he should step down. “And do what?” the judge asks. He doesn’t seem to have any outside hobbies or interests, his wife is dead and his only child is an alcoholic who lives in Las Vegas. He is doing what he wants to do. Arriving in her car, Carly calls out, telling the judge it is time to go to work. As he leaves, he asks Cutter if he will see him in court, and Cutter does not answer as they drive off.

Later, he is walking with Rubirosa who tells him he has now pissed of the clerk AND the judge. But Cutter doesn’t think it should be left alone. Rubirosa asks if this is about justice or his “male pride.” Cutter says it is about doing the right thing. His argument is that Mason is guilty but the next person may not be. The defense attorney Ms. Adams comes up to them, and wonders aloud how the judge will be ruling today. Cutter reminds her the judge won’t be in the jury room and Cutter is still winning. She counters that he has given her a lovely appeal issue, and he reminds her that she will be appealing to the same judges who are protecting him now. When she admits he makes a point, he insists to her that they have to set this right.

In the court room, Dooley is on the stand, saying how Mason called him when the firm went bust as he lost his whole life, and offered to sell him cocaine. Cutter looks over to the defense attorney and seems to signal to her. The defense attorney moves to strike that testimony, saying the Dooley was not on the state’s witness list and she had no time to prepare. Meanwhile, Carly is feverishly typing away on her computer. Cutter states they added the witness a week ago and filed the paperwork with a court. Carly is still typing as the attorney says she never got a copy. After he looks at his computer, the judge overrules her motion, but she continues, saying she is entitled to an inquiry – was notice sent to her or not? Cutter has no objection, and the judge overrules. But Cutter says there is nothing to rule on, the people consent to the inquiry and the clerk can tell them whether notice was or wasn’t sent to the defense. When Carly answers that it was sent out, the defense attorney asks to do this right, on the record. Carly types, and the judge seems to read that the jury should be excused temporarily while his clerk takes the stand.

Carly is sworn in. She proceeds to talk about the receipt of the defense’s copy, and Cutter objects, saying the witness has failed to lay a proper foundation. Stunned, she says, “What?” but Cutter presses the judge for a ruling. When Carly says the objection makes no sense, he tells her they are waiting for the judge’s ruling. When the judge is clearly looking for an answer on his computer, Cutter tells him there is nothing there, that Carly is there on the stand and she can’t send him a message. Carly says to Cutter, coldly, “You are out of order” to which he responds, “You’re a witness, you don’t decide what’s out of order.” When she tells the judge that Cutter is out of order, Cutter states “That’s the way it works, right? You tell him what to do… Judge…why are you looking at the screen?” As the judge pounds the keyboard in frustration, he points to Cutter, saying, “He’s the one who’s been telling the lies about me, isn’t he?” Carly again repeats that Cutter is in contempt, and tells the judge to tell him he is in contempt. The judge parrots, “You’re in contempt.” Cutter says he is sorry, and backs away. The judge turns to Carly and asks, “Now what do I do?”

In McCoy’s office, Jack is completing a phone call, and tells Cutter and Rubirosa that Judge Reynolds is taking a medical leave, and his clerk has been fired and she is being investigated by the attorney general. McCoy says the defense is asking for a new trial and they will probably get one. Cutter says they will win that one to and walks out. McCoy says, “Now we have to try every case twice? I’m not paying him double” as Rubirosa follows Cutter out the door. Jack then looks up to see Judge Reynolds in his doorway. He tells Jack he is leaving, and he says he is not really sick, just having a last look around. He said Adam Schiff used to sit in that chair, with a little refrigerator near to it where he kept his tuna fish sandwiches. The judge would come by and have a sandwich with Schiff, remembering the details of how Adam’s wife put sliced olives on the sandwich. He asks him how long he has worked here, and prompts Jack for his name since he can’t recall it. He tells McCoy good luck, and leaves, with Jack looking on as it fades to black.

"Zero" Video clip

Check out my blog home page for the latest Law & Order information, here.

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

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Law & Order Episode Information for the Week of December 14, 2008

There is a new Law & Order episode scheduled to air on December 17, “Zero,” and I don’t have any information on when the next one will air. There is nothing for Law & Order SVU until the beginning of 2009. But, NBC has released information for one of the new 2000 Law & Order SVU episodes titled “Stranger” and that episode information is also listed below.

By the way, how long do you think it will take before Dick Wolf and his gang of merry writers rip off the story of Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich and uses that as its excuse to rid us of the annoying Governor Shalvoy? Wolf was probably salivating when he heard that story. And since Jeremy Sisto looks so much like Gov. Blagojevich, I expect he was thinking he’d get the role for a “made for TV movie” that will probably show up eventually on the Lifetime network. Take a look – see the resemblance?

Separated at Birth?

Law and Order “Zero” Air Date December 17, 2008


Detective Lupo (Jeremy Sisto) and Detective Bernard (Anthony Anderson) are called to a crime scene where Nancy Hartwig (guest star Leah Curney) has been found murdered. They find out her husband insisted the family live environmentally friendly to avoid leaving a heavy carbon footprint. However, Nancy’s support of her husband is soon called into question when the detectives discover that she used her car to chauffeur her sister and had drinks at a bar one evening, which her husband wouldn’t allow. The victim’s missing car turns up with a dead passenger and drugs inside, sending the case in a completely different direction that leaves the detectives scrambling to piece everything together. During the trial, ADA Michael Cutter (Linus Roache) also begins to suspect an old friend, Judge Reynolds’ (guest star Ned Beatty) clerk Carly (guest star Sherry Stringfield), and even the judge himself of obstructing justice, creating even more turmoil in the case. Also starring: Sam Waterston, S. Epatha Merkerson and Alana De La Garza.

My recap and review of “Zero“ can be found here.

Coming up in 2009:

Law & Order SVU “Stranger” Air Date January 6, 2009


Heather Hallander (guest star Ellen Woglom) miraculously returns home after being reported missing over four years ago. Unrecognizable to her family, Heather tells Detectives Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay) and Elliot Stabler (Christopher Meloni) of the cement cell where she spent the past four years as a sex slave and of her fortunate escape. Heather’s sister, Erica Hallander (Kate Baldwin), is relieved to see her long-lost sister after launching a website asking for search tips, but, Nikki Hallander (Natalia Payne), Heather’s other sister, seems annoyed with her return. In search of the mystery kidnapper, Benson and Stabler drive Heather around town to help stir up any memories of her abduction. When Heather’s answers don’t seem to match up, the detectives find revealing evidence that make them question Heather’s kidnapping and true identity. Also starring Dann Florek, Richard Belzer, Ice-T, Michaela McManus, B.D. Wong, and Tamara Tunie.

My recap and review of “Stranger “ can be found here.

Check out my blog home page for the latest Law & Order information, here.

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

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Law & Order “Sweetie” Stay. Watch. Learn.

This episode of Law & Order, “Sweetie” kept me “rooted to the spot” to use of the lines from the show. It wasn’t a particularly complicated crime and the premise seemed obvious early on. The real fun in the episode was with the interactions between the regulars of the show. It seems that rather than add drama to the first half of the show with the detectives, they seem to be adding some dry humor and getting the characters in situations other than just pounding the pavement for information, and it works very well. Maybe this is the spark that will liven up the first half, which has been just going through the motions since the Lupo/Bernard pairing began. It was great seeing Lupo playing truck driver cruising for some fun, and hearing both Bernard and Lupo getting a little weirded out by Van Buren knowing so much about cruising a truck stop. These two are getting much better lines as of late and I think it is really helping them present themselves as believable work partners.

The supporting guest stars also do a good job in this episode, enhancing the show opposed to overwhelming the show, which is what has been happening on Law & Order SVU. Law & Order seems to work much better when they don’t make the show revolve around the guest star and seems to pay more attention to the regulars, which is why this episode worked so well.

Continuing to be satisfying is the McCoy/Cutter dynamic. I just knew that when Cutter told McCoy to “Stay. Watch. Learn.” that Cutter was going to be witnessing his own smackdown. It was funny to watch McCoy give Cutter the deserving dig when things didn’t work Cutter’s way. When things blow up for Cutter in the courtroom, Cutter thinks McCoy is enjoying it. While McCoy denies that is the word he would use to describe it, I think Jack may have been thinking of something Adam Schiff said to him years ago, “Lit your own petard, my boy." And Connie seems to serve as the voice of reason, always trying to dig Cutter out of the hole he got himself into.

The only fault I saw in the case was the fact that they didn’t seem to think to check out Kate Tenney’s record much earlier, seeing that she clearly had motive to keep the circumstances surrounding the book secret. This may have given them reason to check her story and her whereabouts much sooner.

Still, this episode is a clear winner. I a really liking Law & Order these days. It seems like the show has been given new life, and Jack McCoy’s role with each case, while diminished from years past, still packs a very welcome punch.

Here’s the recap of the show, and a video clip is at the end.

At a book reading, a man (Jeremy Gender) is reading a segment of his memoir to a crowd. It’s about his life as a child prostitute. Afterwards, he tells his agent he’s been asked to the club “Orchid” and his agent reluctantly agrees. Later, he turns up dead at the pier, and is identified by someone in the crowd as author Sweetie Ness.

Detectives Lupo (Jeremy Sisto) and Bernard (Anthony Anderson) are referred to Sweetie’ Ness’s agent, Kate Tenney (Vivica Fox). She says Sweetie has no family. His mother was a prostitute and sold him for sex when he was 10 but he turned himself around. They ask if this was the case, why was he at the piers? She doesn’t know. She said he stays with when he is in town. She tells them that they were first at the book reading and then Sweetie went to the club. When she left at one, he was still partying. She gives them a copy of his book, “Little Whore” so they can get to know more about him.

When Lupo and Bernard question the manager at the club, they are told Madonna was also there last night, and he drew quite a crowd. Madonna was there with her entourage. When Lupo asks, “Madonna…the singer?” the manager responds, “No, the Mother of our Lord” and he smirks. Bernard quips, “You know I didn’t know she traveled with an entourage.” When they ask with whom Sweetie was hanging, they cut to Lauren Claiborne (Taylor Gildersleeve). She was with Sweetie and the paparazzi were crazy. She asked Sweetie to take her to a dive bar near the piers to experience the world Sweetie Ness came from. Lupo states dryly, “ That would mean children getting raped for $50?” She moves away in disgust. She tells them that the last she saw of him he was being harassed by a fat girl who kept asking about a poem she sent him.

Back at the 2-7, they are going through letters from obsessed fans and stalkers who wrote poetry for Sweetie. Lupo picks one letter out that seems like a prime candidate, and the person signed her name, Janice Dunlap, and gave a phone number. As he calls the number, Van Buren (S. Epatha Merkerson) reads one of the other poems, and comments, “ This girl needs to cheer up.” Lupo finds she is on vacation in New York. When they track her down, Janice Dunlap (Heather Matarazzo) recalls being rejected, and trying to take Sweetie’s picture but her phone got knocked out of her hand and she never found it. She remembers seeing a blonde man approach Sweetie outside of the club who was also following Sweetie. The guy grabbed his arm and they were arguing. She tells them what he was wearing. Since the paparazzi were out in full force, they decide to check it out and see if any pictures may shed some light.

When they visit Starshot Photos, they want to see the pictures taken that night and threaten the photographer with a warrant and shutting down his operation for a few days while they go over everything. He decides to cooperate. As they are looking through the pictures, Lupo says “Am I just ignorant, or are these not really celebrities?” Bernard says “ Just ignorant.” They see a picture of a blond man standing near Sweetie Ness and Lauren, wearing a red jacket that says “ Regal Towing“ with the name of Jim on it. They go to Regal Towing and speak with Jim, who says he lost his jacket in the subway. But they’re not buying it, and they take him aside to talk privately. He admits that he lost the jacket playing pool, and when they ask where, he whispers “The Mine Shaft”, which Lupo identifies as a gay bar. When he is shown the picture, he identifies the blond man as Sweetie Ness, leaving the detectives bewildered.

They check out the Mine Shaft, and the bartender says that the blond man did say his name was Sweetie Ness. He points to a man at the pool table that had bought “Sweetie” his drinks that night. The detectives walk over to him, seemingly uncomfortable at being checked out by the clientele. The guy admits that he figured out that it wasn’t the real Sweetie Ness when he saw the pictures in the Post of the real Sweetie. But the guy also had the cigarette burns on his butt, which he saw when they went to his hotel.

When they go to the hotel, they are told the man hadn’t checked out yet. When Bernard says he’ll get a warrant, Lupo tells him to hold on, and asks the man if he spent the night with the fake Sweetie at the hotel. When he says yes, Lupo says that means he was a co-occupant of the room and that he can give permission to go in and look around. He gives them the OK, and they enter. They find Sweetie’s book there. Bernard sees a t-shirt with what looks like a bloodstain.

Back at the 2-7, they find the blood type on the shirt matches the victim’s, but they have a while to wait for DNA. The blond man has not returned to the hotel, and Lupo says the main suspect for killing Sweetie Ness is still Sweetie Ness – or someone who wants people to think he is. The check the hotel phone records and find three calls to Kate Tenney, Sweetie’s literary agent.

At her office, she says she doesn’t know who it was that called her. She pretended to listen to the calls. When she is told that the fake Sweetie had the same burns that Sweetie mentioned in the book that his mom gave him, she says she doesn’t want the world to know, but in his book, Sweetie may have exaggerated some of the gory details. She gets a call and they leave.

While they exit the building, they discuss what Tenney just told them. They decide to check out the body of Sweetie at the morgue. ME Rogers (Leslie Hendrix) says there are no burns on his butt and no evidence he was a prostitute – he was an “anal virgin.”

At the 2-7, discussing the case with Van Buren, they wonder if Sweetie’s book is a fake memoir or a stolen one. But the prints from the blond guy’s hotel room turn up a person named Cody Larson, who does have a record for prostitution, amongst other things. It looks Cody may be the real Sweetie Ness, and they figured Cody came back to confront him. Was the agent in on it or was she conned? They decide to check her out, her bio said she used to be a journalist.

At the Village Voice Newspaper, they find she interviewed a lot of kids with stories like Sweetie’s. They confront her, saying she ripped off these kids’ stories. They tell her that they ran the prints of the guy in the morgue against missing persons and it turns out he is an actor, Dale Marx. His mother said he came to New York for a job and never came home. They accuse her of hiring him to play Sweetie Ness. She sighs and says she thought no one was speaking out for these children so she told their story. She didn’t think it wouldn’t get anyone killed. She admits that the real Sweetie called her and he was angry, he wanted the world to know he was the real guy and he asked for money. She sent him money twice to keep him quiet. When the ask how she sent the money, we cut back to the 2-7, where Lupo is telling Bernard and Van Buren that the money was sent by wire transfer and the one just before the murder was sent to the Cross Bronx Truck Plaza. Van Buren recalls the place from when she worked vice. There are many ways in and out and the truckers and hustlers can smell a cop a mile away. Lupo asks, “So what should we smell like?”

At the truck stop, Bernard and Van Buren wait in a car, and Lupo drives up in a big 19-wheeler. Van Buren walks him through on what to do next – like how to look for a date, which involves buying mouthwash and making sure everyone can see it. Bernard tells Van Buren that what she said weirds him out a little. Lupo tells him, “That’s a big 10-4, buddy.”

In the truck stop, Lupo makes his mouthwash choice, in sight of many. As he walks to the counter, the clerk asks him with sarcasm if there will be anything else. There isn’t. He walks out of the truck stop, and a lady approaches him, asking him if he’s looking for a party. But he says he wants a man that’s all man. But she says – in a deeper voice – she’s more man than he can handle. But he wants someone whiter and younger. She mentions she has a friend. A half hour later, they see someone coming. It’s the maybe-real Sweetie and they discuss price. Lupo puts the book out and asks if he read it. He says that is him. After Lupo mentions the murder, he arrests him, and asks for his $50 back.

Cody Larson (Billy Magnussen) is being arraigned for the murder in the second degree. He says he didn’t kill that faker but he is remanded anyway. At jail, EADA Cutter (Linus Roache) and ADA Rubirosa (Alana De La Garza) confront Larson with the fact that he broadcast his motives for killing Marx at his arraignment. Larson says he is going to be taking the Sweetie name and they are filing suit to claim royalties from the book. The defense attorney (Christopher Evan Welch) gives them a motion to exclude the bloody shirt they found at the hotel because they had no warrant. They remind him the other occupant consented, but the defense lawyer says Mr. Dewey only rented Larson, not the room.

The review the case with Judge Mark Kramer, and they argue what Dewey said to the police and the police’s permission to enter. The judge thinks the cops should have known better and should have gotten a warrant and grants the motion to suppress.

On the courthouse steps, Cutter and Rubirosa discuss what other evidence they have. They decide to go back to their one witness, Janice Dunlap. But Dunlap is waffling a bit, saying her subconscious mind may have influenced her perception. Cutter isn’t buying it. Rubirosa shows him the visitors’ log from Rikers and it appears Dunlap was visiting Cody Larson in jail and she still must be fixated on the person. But is even Cody the real Sweetie? Some of Larson’s story doesn’t match the book. He has burn marks but he was raised by his aunt, went to Catholic school until he ran away. The come to the conclusion that Sweetie Ness is a composite from many of Kate Tenney’s stories.

Outside McDell Holt Publishing, Cutter and Rubirosa talks with Tenney, who says that she is in trouble with her publisher. These kids really have troubles that need to be exposed and stopped. All the kids have grown up and she is not sure she has the notes any more. When they ask for her notes and she balks, they threaten her with a warrant for her and her publisher, she agrees to send them what she has.

At the DA’s office area, they are questioning several people whose stories were likely used for the book. DA Jack McCoy (Sam Waterston) enters, and asks why the office is flying in gay prostitutes from all around the country. Cutter responds it’s for the Larson case. McCoy says Larson is entitled to a jury of his peers – that’s fellow citizens, not fellow hustlers. Cutter says they have a witness problem, and McCoy questions if these people are the solution. When Rubirosa announces “she’s here,” Cutter puts his open hand up in a stopping motion, and tells McCoy “Stay. Watch. Learn.” McCoy answers, “Rooted to the spot.” They bring in Janice Dunlap, and she says she doesn’t know what else they want from her. Cutter brings in three men, and introduces them and tells her they are all Sweetie Ness. The guys all show her where they fit each part of the Sweetie Ness story, telling her that Kate Tenney used all their stories and Cody Larson is no more Sweetie Ness than the rest of those men. But she still is resistant. Cutter works on her, saying she needs to tell the truth. They get a knock at the door, and it is a process server with three subpoenas from Larson’s attorney to get their three visitors to testify for the defense. When Jack asks how they knew the guys were here, one admits he keeps in touch with Cody. McCoy puts his hand on Cutter’s shoulder, saying “You just gave the defense three alternate theories of the crime. If they’re all Sweetie Ness, they all had motive to kill Mr. Marx. (He pauses.) Oh. I stayed. I watched. What is it I was supposed to learn?” Cutter looks sheepish.

On trial, one of the guys testifies for Cutter. He says that Cody said he was going to head to New York to set things straight. Under cross, he also says he was in New York and it is implied he also had motive, but he said he didn’t care about the matter. He got married to a nice, generous man a few months ago and didn’t need to rock that boat, which was not what the defense wanted to hear. Kate Tenney testifies that only Cody Larson had complained about their stories being stolen. She says that many of the stories were Cody’s, and when Cutter asks if she means that the stories came from Cody, she says no, he may have helped him out with a few other things that she picked up, but Cody Larson was the author of “Little Whore” and he is Sweetie Ness. Cutter is stunned, and asks her to confirm that she told Cutter before the trial that she wrote that book drawing on the lives of a dozen young men, but she said she told them what she wanted him to hear. She said Cutter threatened her and so did Rubirosa with search warrants of her publisher’s office and they would have dropped her. She says Cody/Sweetie has another book coming out. Cutter reminds her that she had Dale Marx say he was Sweetie Ness, and she admits they hired him because Cody wanted to protect his privacy, he was in no shape to face the public. With things getting crazy, it could have even gotten Sweetie killed.

Outside the courtroom, as McCoy gets ready to indulge in a weenie with mustard , Cutter is livid, saying to McCoy and Rubirosa that Tenney is lying to protect her fortune and the chance for a new book. McCoy says it just shot their motive to hell. Cutter thinks McCoy is enjoying this, and he says, “Enjoying? Watching my prosecutors lose control of their witnesses and their case, that’s not the word that leaps to mind. “ Rubirosa reminds them that there was one crazy fan that was there right before the fake Sweetie got killed – meaning Dunlap.

At Janice Dunlap’s apartment, she is showing them the autographed books that she has received from Larson as Sweetie. She said Tenney said her poems will be in his next book. She also said he told her things only he would know. She gives an example that the great love of his life, Chris, that it is a girl, not a guy, Sweetie wasn’t really gay. Cutter tells her they will charge her with perjury if she doesn’t tell the truth. Rubirosa asks if he really wasn’t gay, that Janice may have been thinking she had a chance for a relationship. She admits that “I did it. I killed the fake Sweetie.” Leaving her apartment, Cutter feels Janice is lying. He tells Rubirosa he will put her on the stand, and to call the authorities in Iowa or wherever she came from.

On the stand, Dunlap is testifying about what happened that night. She said Marx said she was bothering him, and he shoved her hard and stabbed him. Cutter asked how many times he stabbed her but she said it was like a dream. He presses that she doesn’t know because she didn’t do it. She said it happened after Cody left. He asks her if she loves Sweetie Ness and she says kind of, but she admits it may not go both ways. Cutter indicates that Larson is only being chummy with Dunlap now because he needs her to testify. Cutter brings up “Chris” and confronts her that this information was old news and that taken from an interview two months ago with Dale Marx. Cutter tells her she is selling herself cheap, but she says she is not selling anything. He continues to dig at her, saying that Marx blew her off because he was hanging with someone beautiful. She begins to get upset, and Cutter continues to work on her, asking her if she has any friends. She says sure, but when he asks about a boyfriend, she says not right now. But Cutter brings up Chuck, a truck driver who had to get a restraining order against Dunlap to keep her from bothering him. She says that was a mistake. He continues to tell her the defense is using her and to tell the truth. He asks her point blank if she killed Dale Marx, and she says no, the last time she saw him he was with Sweetie/Cody, and she breaks down and apologizes.

Later at the DA’s office, Rubirosa finds something but Cutter says the trial is over, they are just waiting for the jury. But she presses on, saying that Dunlap said Marx was using a phone when he left the bar. But the police checked his cell and he didn’t make any calls that night. McCoy asks how, then, was he using a phone? Rubirosa said Dunlap lost hers, maybe Marx picked it up? Cutter gets a page – the jury is back. The verdict is guilty. But Cutter seems to be having second thoughts, and asks Rubirosa to pull Janice Dunlap’s cell phone records.

In McCoy’s office, she tells him and Cutter that one call was to a limo service that was short and possibly interrupted by Cody. The second call was 30 minutes later, but Marx should have been dead by then. Cutter said Larson gave Marx a bloody lip but left him there alive. The call was made to Kate Tenney. The detectives had lifted her prints from a book she gave them and found they matched something. McCoy reminds them they just convicted someone else of the murder. Cutter says he knows, and says they will go see Tenney.

At Tenney’s office, she’s in a rush because things are busy for her now. Cutter and Rubirosa tell her they know she had a record as a hooker, and that there were sealed arrests when she was 12 and 13 years old. Cutter says that is why the book is so convincing – she is Sweetie Ness. Tenney denies it. Cutter presses, speculating that Dale Marx called her after Larson smacked him around, saying he wanted out, and she had to go down there and keep him quiet. She tells Cutter he has a wonderful imagination, and maybe he should write a book? Standing very close to him, she asks him, “You ever wanna party with somebody nice and tight, sugar daddy, you just give me a call. “ He looks at her, and she excuses herself, saying she is late for a meeting. Rubirosa and Cutter stand there, Cutter dumbfounded.

In McCoy’s office, Rubirosa tells McCoy they searched Tenney’s home and there was no sign of a murder weapon, and no one saw her that night. Cutter says he is moving to vacate the conviction of Cody Larson. But McCoy says they can’t prove she did it. Rubirosa hopes something may turn up, but when McCoy asks what if that doesn’t happen, Cutter states, “ She wins, we lose.” They leave McCoy in his office as they fade to black.

Sweetie Clip

Check out my blog home page for the latest Law & Order information, here.

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

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Law & Order SVU “Smut” An Unclean Case

Today, my review is first and then the recap. This is one kind of SVU episode that we won’t be seeing any more, if/when Law & Order SVU moves to a 9:00 PM time slot in the fall to make room for Leno’s 10PM show. The subject matter was dark and disturbing, as were the many video images shown as part of the evidence. This is to be expected for a show that is about special victims, but it does make me wonder how much they will have to sanitize SVU next season because of an earlier time slot.

I’m not quite sure how I felt about this episode. It was just OK. I thought that the case itself was interesting and at least it actually involved special victims, but the focus on replaying all the videos of the assaults was overkill. I also wondered as I was writing the recap how I was going to get around all the references to porn so my advertising wouldn’t show up with wacky offbeat ads. I try to keep my content clean to attract good sponsors, but this episode made it hard to avoid certain negative words.

The episode seemed off balance at times. When Stabler had zero concern for one of the victims by confronting the husband with graphic video of his wife’s assault, it seemed very out of character, even for him. He seemed to think that he knew better than Olivia on how to handle the matter. Sadly, it was Olivia who bore the brunt of Stabler opening this can of worms when she got slapped for later trying to help fix Stabler’s mess. But, the real oddity was the dolphin video. I mean really, did we need that? I wonder how Mariska and her Joyful Heart Foundation, which has used dolphins for therapies for victims, felt about that. And, can someone explain just how exactly Olivia got access to Moredock’s private server to get the video to begin with? They seemed to imply she got the emails from a former clerk he had fired, but I don’t quite get how she got access to his server.

And how exactly did they miss that Lutz at one time had a fiancĂ©e? It seems they didn’t interview any of his friends or acquaintances that may have flushed this out sooner. They appeared to do very little background checking on Lutz before the trial – I would think that the $18,000 Tiffany’s bill would have popped up sooner.

What I also though could have been used by the defense is when Lutz raised something more than an objection in the courtroom when they showed the video of one of his attacks. If anything, could that not have proved for the defense that he indeed had a problem with becoming aroused by this type of video. I wondered, since he admitted he was going through therapy, that his lawyer didn’t ask him, under cross, if this is exactly why he needs rehab.

I found it amusing when Fin called out Benson and Stabler for being a prude and choirboy, respectively. But a good line in the courtroom where the defendant was raising something other than an objection was wasted on the deadpan Greyleck.

On the upside, Michael Trucco did a great job of playing Lutz, and he was particularly creepy at the end as he yelled out to the victims.

OK, enough of my commentary; here’s the recap. The video clips and the two minute replay are at the end of the recap. NBC doesn’t keep them up very long so catch them while you can.

A woman is in the park walking with her kids, and their dog starts running off with one of the kids in tow. The woman foolishly leaves her other child alone in the stroller. (My note here – what kind of idiot would leave their kid unattended in a stroller these days?) When she hears the baby cry out, she sees a woman standing over the stroller. When she approaches, she sees the woman is in an overcoat, wearing only a bra and panties underneath, blood trailing down her leg.

SVU Detectives Benson (Mariska Hargitay) and Elliot Stabler (Chris Meloni) are called to the hospital to investigate what appears to be a sexual assault on Kelly Sun (Kelly Hu). She is highly agitated, telling them she has to be in Korea by Friday. But that day is Friday, and they tell her she’s lost track of time. She has no recollection.

Later, Olivia talks to Kelly alone. She tells her that her bruises are from her attackers knees. Kelly is upset because she can’t recall the event, but Benson tells her that she was probably drugged with GHB. Kelly is upset with herself, saying it is like someone took control of her body. She does recall that morning she was getting ready for her trip to Korea, and she ran into someone she knew - Riley - while she was out. They both work for the same publisher. He had written a book about biking in Indonesia and he had never been there, and Kelly thought that was unethical so she reported him to the publisher and he was fired.

Stabler and Benson are talking with Riley as he is biking, and he wasn’t angry with Kelly for reporting him as it got people to read his book. Red-herring Riley also said Kelly got a free round trip ticket to Korea by working as a courier for Pakidala. When the detectives meet with man in charge at Pakidala, he says that Kelly was moving uncut diamonds to Korea. He also says the jewelers will have his ass because a bling ring has hit them before, and they thought she’d fly safely under the radar. But, he wonders where are the diamonds?

Back at the hospital, Kelly admits having the diamonds and recalls going to the airport with them but can’t remember much else. The detectives watch the surveillance video from the airport and see Kelly getting her boarding pass, and then going to the layover lounge. A man is sitting with her, and they have a few drinks. Their view is blocked for a moment so they can’t see if the man drugged her drink. Later, Kelly and the mystery man go into a taxi and leaving the airport without her luggage. They decide to trace where the taxi was headed.

It leads them to the home of Eric Lutz (Michael Trucco). They show Eric a picture of him and Kelly entering a cab, and he says that he met her that day but denies hurting her. Eric says that Kelly consented to sex and when he woke up she was gone. Elliot finds Kelly's bag in his apartment, still sealed. When Benson starts to pressure him, he says maybe he should call his lawyer. But Stabler says they are done and leaves.

Back at ADA Greyleck’s (Michaela McManus) office, they find the (red herring) uncut diamonds are still in the bag, but she tells them that is not enough to prove that Eric stole it. Since Kelly hasn’t claimed rape and Eric says the sex was consensual, they can’t even get Lutz for that. But Elliot had just received information from ME Warner that Kelly was not drugged. Benson fells strongly that Lutz raped her.

When Benson and Stabler go to the hospital to see Kelly, Lutz is there and they pull him away from her. He says he is just checking to make sure she was OK. She says she doesn’t recognize Lutz, but after they show her a picture of her with Lutz, she throws a vase at him, says he raped her, and that they should arrest him. Lutz appears puzzled at her reaction and Stabler walks him out of the room.

At the squad, they question Lutz who denies raping her. They verified that his flight got grounded but hers wasn’t. He indicates Kelly left with him willingly. At the hospital, Benson is talking with Kelly, watching the video of her and Lutz, and doesn’t quite believe what she is seeing, why didn’t she fight back. Lutz tells Stabler she was “totally into me.” Stabler thinks he went to see her at the hospital to see how much she remembered. But Fin (Ice-T) enters and tells Stabler and Lutz that they found blood that is the same type as Kelly’s on Lutz’s sheets. He says that he knew that Kelly was having her period and that it “'wasn't a deal breaker.”

ME Warner (Tamara Tunie) says that Kelly was menstruating, and Stabler is annoyed that yet again Kelly hasn’t given them important information. Warner adds that Kelly might have been drugged with scopolamine; under the influence of that drug, the victim stays conscious, but is controllable. She says that the victims usually don't remember what happened.

At Lutz’s apartment, they are searching for the drug but he denies even knowing what it is. TARU Tech Morales (Joel de la Fuente) finds that Eric has a huge collection of rape porn on his computer, and that he has an encrypted partition on his hard drive – a hidden drive on his computer. He accesses it and shows Benson and Stabler videos of Eric raping several women, including Kelly. Olivia states that Lutz is a serial rapist.

At the squad, Benson tells Kelly that they have video of her being raped by Lutz, and she says she wants to see it. Separately, Stabler tells Lutz they have evidence of him raping the women. He claims says that he was just being rough and the women consented, it was just role playing. Lutz’s lawyer (Christine Ebersole) enters and tells Stabler that the interview is over and they leave. While doing so, they attorney runs into Greyleck, and says “Kim Greyleck, from the beltway to the Big Apple.” She tells Greyleck the judge will laugh the case out of the courtroom. Stabler says, with sarcasm, that it’s always nice to see lawyers getting along. When the lawyer and Lutz leave, Greyleck tells Stabler that Lutz's lawyer right, the evidence is not sufficient. When Kelly walks up to them and is upset Lutz is being released, she is told they need time to build a case, When Kelly walks away, Greyleck, Stabler and Benson discuss the matter. They need to identify the other women in the videos. This may prove difficult as the women may not even know that they were raped.

Dr. Huang (B.D. Wong) reviews the information with the detectives, telling them Lutz is a classic serial rapist. Huang says the scopolamine prevents them from fighting back. Benson and Greyleck disagree on how to best identify the other victims, Greyleck not convinced these women were raped. Fin enters and says they found date and time stamps on the videos, and it helped them to tie these dates to Lutz activity with “Exquisite Express, ”an online escort service. Fin enters the description of victim #2 into a recommendation database. They find that the website recommends a woman named Denise, who looks like their victim.

Later, at a restaurant, Stabler meets with Denise. He shows her a picture of Lutz, and she says he’s just your average sicko. He was” into the act” but had “troubles on his end.”

Back at the squad, Morales tells them that he was able to get more information on his cell phone wi-fi tracking. One location was near a gym called ‘The Fitness Factor” where he could have dosed the victim. Morales emailed them a photo and they matched it to one of their members, Laurel Andrews (Christy Pusz).

Benson and Stabler head to Andrews’ apartment. She doesn't remember any assault. She seems highly agitated, saying she doesn’t remember Lutz. Her husband arrives and Benson says they are leaving. Afterwards, Benson tells Stabler that she doesn't want to ruin Laurel's memory of having a happy life. She says right now the woman is not a victim. They try for victim #4, but they still can’t locate her. Greyleck wants them to use Andrews, and when Benson balks, Greyleck barks to changer her mind and convince her. Benson still resists and Stabler thinks Benson is enabling Lutz. Benson wants to put a tail on Lutz. When Benson walks off, Greyleck tells Stabler they can’t just let Lutz walk.

On his own, Stabler goes to Laurel's house and meets with her husband. Elliot shows him a video of Eric raping his wife, and says that Laurel doesn't remember the assault. Laurel enters, sees the video, and is horrified. Back at the squad, Benson is clearly angry at Stabler for showing Andrews the video. They disagree on what was best for Laurel. Benson thinks she could have protected her from the damage, but Stabler disagrees, saying she should know that better than anyone.

Benson goes back to meet with Laurel at her home, who tells Benson she doesn't want to talk to her. Benson tells her that she herself was sexually assaulted a few months ago. Anger didn’t help her get over it, admitting it happened and putting the man who was responsible behind bars and getting counseling is what allowed her to move on. She will never be over it, but she can live with it now and has her life back. Laurel remembers meeting with Lutz at a juice bar at the gym. She woke up at home and found her legs bruised. She started to remember bits and pieces, and says that Eric raped her and she couldn’t face it. Benson says she needs her to testify against Lutz. Later, Benson and Stabler arrest Lutz.

In court, he is arraigned for two counts of rape in the first degree and pleads not guilty. Greyleck convinces Judge Moredock (John Cullum) to set a high bail because Eric might leave town. The defense attorney makes a motion to sever the cases as it implies a pattern and is highly prejudicial. He denies her request to sever. She changes Lutz’s plea to not guilty due to a mental disease or defect because his is addicted to porn. The judge allows it. And the victims in the gallery seem stunned.

At the squad, Benson is unhappy with the turn of events. Benson thinks there is a connection between porn and rape and Fin disagrees. When Stabler chimes in, Fin tells him “lighten up, choirboy”, that you don’t need to be a perv to enjoy it. Clearly they all disagree on the subject. Greyleck hopes the jury isn’t swayed by Lutz’s expert witness.

At trial, Lutz’s lawyer calls in Dr. Crossway. She testifies that the chemical response to these images can alter a person's mind and be addictive. This dependency might have driven Lutz. Under cross, Greyleck cites some studies which say that when porn is easily available, fewer rapes occur. But Greyleck cuts the doctor’s response short, and on redirect, Crossway adds it is like alcohol, and like an alcoholic, Lutz needs rehab, not prison.

On the stand, Lutz says it ruined him life, and he is addicted to it. He tried to stop, but it was like going through withdrawal. He thought that the women that he was with were consenting and that they were into it. He apologizes and says he is in therapy. Greyleck cross examines him, and asks if he watched so much porn because he wasn't good in the sack. She asks many questions about what he liked to watch. He says there are no strings attached with just watching. She says it’s the fight that turns him on. Greyleck plays one of the videos that the detectives found on his PC, and the victim leaves the courtroom, upset. Lutz asks her to turn it off, and she thinks he is getting turned on. He Greyleck asks if Eric likes when women struggle. Lutz stands up and yells to turn if off. But she notices that Lutz has raised something more than an objection, and makes note of it to the courtroom.

Back at the squad, Stabler says that Greyleck told him that Lutz is “going down” because he “popped up in court” today. But Benson is not happy about it, saying Greyleck put Laurel Andrews through this for nothing. She shows him a video of a dolphin looking as if it were having sex with a woman. It was on Judge Mordock’s file server along with other suggestive images. Someone may be gunning for Mordock. If it comes out, it could trigger a mistrial.

Confronting Mordock he tells Greyleck he is skeptical this information came to the detectives via anonymous email. He thinks it’s from the idiot law clerk he filed last year. He said they were goofy pictures on his private email. She tells him it jeopardizes the case, and he says that he has to recuse himself and declare a mistrial.

Back at the squad, Laurel approaches Benson and slaps her. Laurel is angry for the mistrial, and for Benson making her remember, and that she won't testify again. When Stabler asks Benson if she is OK, she says no.

Later, while Benson is revisiting all the information, Cpt. Cragen (Dann Florek) tells her to go home. But she refuses, she’s to try to find another angle in the case. She finds that Lutz has a receipt from Tiffany's for $18,000, but can't figure out what he bought. She then finds a photo of one of the victims wearing an engagement ring and thinks that Lutz was going to marry one of the women in his videos. She approaches Lutz outside his apartment and shows him the photo of the woman with the engagement ring and asks if he was going to marry her. He tells her she is trying to intimidate her and she is harassing him. He says she won’t get away with this, and snaps per picture. She says he just loves taking pictures of women and walks off. As she walks off, Lutz gets on his cell phone. Benson walks to a van, and Morales is inside. She asks Morales if Lutz took the bait. Morales says that Lutz made a phone call and his is tracing her name and address.

At some later time at Greyleck’s office, Lutz and his attorney are there, complaining about Benson’s behavior. Benson enters, with Shannon Browning, Lutz former fiancĂ©. Lutz looks like he’s just been caught. Benson states that in a phone call last night, Lutz threatened to kill Shannon if she talked to the police. Shannon says she remembers everything. She was dating Eric for a while. She says that Eric picked her up at Grand Central Station and then proposed. Shannon says that when Eric brought her home, he raped her over and over again. Eric calls Shannon an ungrateful bitch, he would have given her everything. But when Benson brings in Laurel and Kelly, Lutz says that “you sluts loved it” and his attorney tells him to shut up. She asks Greyleck what they are offering, and she says 25 years in jail. Benson tells the women they are done, and as they walk out, he yells out that he’s the one they will always remember, they will never get over him, he’s the best thing they ever had. As he continues to yell and the police restrain him, they fade to black.

Two Minute Replay

Video Clip

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

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

NBC to Give Leno 10PM, Where Will Law & Order, SVU Go?

NBC made an announcement that may make viewers wonder where their beloved Law & Order franchise will land next fall.

In an effort to save Jay Leno for NBC once his Tonight show stint is over, and reduce costs associated with producing higher cost prime time shows, Leno will be given a 10:00 PM prime time slot for a daily talk show. It will likely butt heads with show like CSI Miami, CSI NY and a host of others.

The New Your Times also reports that SVU may move to a 9:00 PM time slot in the fall, but does not make any comment about the mothership Law & Order. Presuming Law & Order survives into season 20, I assume a 9:00 PM time slot is likely for that show as well.

My opinion – if it means anything – is that this is a risky gamble for Peacock network, which could find itself being viewed as the pea-brained network if the change doesn't work. Leno’s draw isn’t that great for the Tonight show, and moving Leno to 10:00 PM likely won’t bring in the number of viewers that shows like Law & Order and SVU currently draw. Of course, maybe NBC doesn’t care, because it won’t cost as much to produce Leno’s show as it would for a drama, so lower viewership may not mean much to them. But, I still think they would like to make money, and I’m not sure Leno has the draw that will do that for them.

The bigger risk is for the NBC shows airing at the 9:00 PM slot which will have to face popular shows like CSI, Fringe, The Mentalist, etc. I can only watch one show at a time, and my DVR can only record so many shows while I’m watching at the same time. I am sure that many others have the same problem. As long as my beloved Law & Order finds a place somewhere, I will find a way to watch, but I can’t say the same for other viewers. I can tell you one thing, I’m not a fan of Leno, so NBC likely will be losing me at 10:00 PM next fall.

Check out my blog home page for the latest Law & Order information, here.

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

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Law & Order, SVU Episode Information Update for Week of December 7, 2008.

It's "Smut" and "Sweetie" week in the Law & Order universe. Here is the information for the new episodes of Law & Order and Law & Order SVU for the week of December 7. There are preview clips for both SVU and L&O episodes.

Law & Order SVU “Smut” Air Date December 9, 2008

Kelly Sun (guest star Kelly Hu) is found wandering Riverside Park, beaten and raped, and has no memory of what happened. Detective Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay) discovers Sun was on her way to Korea, but never boarded her flight and instead is found leaving the airport with mystery man, Eric Lutz (guest star Michael Trucco). Lutz becomes an immediate suspect, and with further probing, the detectives find amateur pornographic videos on Lutz's computer. Detective Elliot Stabler (Chris Meloni) and Detective Benson search for incarcerating evidence against Lutz, but each of his victims from the videos suffer from memory loss from the attack. Attempting to trace the other women in the videos, the detectives must re-inform each victim of their attack in order to get their testimony to catch Lutz. Struggling to remind each victim of their rape, Detective Benson must face the fact that she still thinks like a victim, and get the testimony of one victim in particular, Laurel Andrews (guest star Christy Pusz), to put Lutz away for good. Also starring: Richard Belzer (Detective John Munch), Dann Florek (Captain Donald Cragen), Ice-T (Detective Odafin Tutuola), Michaela McManus (A.D.A Kim Greylek), Tamara Tunie (Dr. Melinda Warner), and B.D. Wong (Dr. George Huang).

My recap and review of “Smut “ can be found here.

“Smut” Episode Promo

Law & Order “Sweetie” Airdate December 10, 2008

Detectives Lupo (Jeremy Sisto) and Bernard's (Anthony Anderson) search for "Sweetie Ness'" killer leads them to Lauren Claiborne (Taylor Gildersleeve), part of the entourage at the club where "Sweetie Ness" was last seen alive. Janice Dunlap (Guest Star Heather Matarazzo), a stalker who had sent "Sweetie" poems and had followed him that night and Kate Tenny (Guest Star Vivica Fox), "Sweetie's" agent, who has her own motives. Seeking the identity of the blond man forces Lupo and Bernard to dig deeper into victim's past and the possibility that "Sweetie Ness" was an imposter killed by the real "Sweetie Ness." With a defense witness willing to perjure herself to protect the prime suspect and a web of lies and deceit to untangle, A.D.A.'s Michael Cutter (Linus Roache) and Connie Rubirosa (Alana De La Garza) face one of their toughest challenges in bringing the real killer to justice. Also stars S. Epatha Merkerson and Sam Waterston.

My recap and review of “Sweetie “ can be found here.

Promo for "Sweetie"

Check out my blog home page for the latest Law & Order information, here.

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

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Law & Order ‘Knock Off” a Knock Out

This episode of Law & Order, “Knock Off” was no counterfeit. It was a riveting story with great acting and good use of all the key players. It also featured some excellent guest stars. I wondered, though, did they make Katee Sackhoff wear her same clothes from Battlestar Galactica? Most satisfying was when McCoy gets the upper hand with Shalvoy, even though Shalvoy tries to stick it to him at the end. I am really enjoying Jack as District Attorney, and I am looking forward to him running for office. My first question is – where can I sign the petition for Jack for DA? If NBC was smart, they would get one going today, just for fun. A few notes of humor that Sam Waterston fans probably enjoyed were the Hamlet references. I’ve done a few pieces about Sam and Hamlet - I call it “Samlet” when he’s in it – on my companion blog,These Are Their Stories, here, here, and and here if you are interested

All in all, this was an excellent episode and left me wanting more. As usual, here is the recap, and my review will follow.

A tour bus is unloading, and one of the tourists asks what time they need to be back, and is told they have about 3 hour. The bus driver is on the phone, when he sees one of his passengers approach, looking intoxicated. The man is at the door of the bus, and then he collapses and dies.

Detectives Lupo ( Jeremy Sisto ) and Bernard (Anthony Anderson) are at the scene and are told that the bus drive identified the dead tourist as William Timmons, from a church group upstate – in Dargerville. He wasn’t robbed, but he was shot twice up close, but no one heard anything. A blood trail leads to the alley and find that Timmons was by a dumpster. No shell casings are there, and they wonder why he was by the dumpsters.

Lupo and Bernard interview the bus passengers and the bus driver. The bus driver says that Timmons sat up front, all by himself, and asked how much time he had before the bus left. St. Giles up in Dargerville hires the bus driver to take members up there every couple months to take a group in to town but it was Timmons first trip. One couple says Timmons was not a regular on the shopping trip, but they also are found to have knock off designer goods, and say the bus driver suggested where to go to find the items because he knows the best deals. Lately, he’s been steering them to Ming’s, and before that it was a place called Y.K.’s, but the last time they were there, the driver got into an argument with the proprietor, where he got a black eye.

Later at the 2-7, the detectives question the bus driver about him steering people to shops that sell counterfeit goods. He admits that Timmons told him where to send people for the best deals. The detectives tell him by switching to Ming’s that t he may have put himself in the middle of a turf war. Killing Timmons was a warning to the bus driver. The Bus driver asks what the detectives want him to do.

At Y.K.’s, the detectives, with police support, are rounding up everyone in the store. Lupo tell Mr. Y.K. he is under arrest for assault for the bus driver, but he denies it. Another woman begins to speak in what I believe is Chinese to Mr. Y.K. saying it’s about the man who got shot the day before, and says the man was in the store that day and asked about the subway. Lupo brings out a picture and asks Y.K. if he recognizes Timmons, and he denies it, but the woman nods yes. Y.K. asks Lupo if he speaks Chinese, and Lupo says if he keeps lying to him, his Chinese this will be the least of his worries. Y.K. admits Timmons asked him how to get to the subway, and he tells him “You buy map!” he bought a paper map, not laminate.

Back at the 2-7, Lupo and Bernard tell Van Buren (S. Epatha Merkerson) the ME pulled two slugs out of Timmons, both from a 38. Van Buren sees puncture marks on the victim's arm. Lupo speculates they are track marks, maybe Timmons has been off the needle about a year. But she means other marks, some that look like pin pricks. Bernard tells them the transit authority found Timmons on their cameras coming out of the subway and heading north on Broadway. . Anita realizes that the flower district is in that area, and pinpricks on his arm could be from thorns.

The detectives find a flower shop employee, Cesar (Ivan Quintanilla) in the area who recognizes Timmons. He says that another employee, Dianne got in a fight with Timmons the other day, but he doesn't know what about. He came in and asked for her, he went in the back to get her and when he came back, she was screaming at him and hitting him, knocking him into some flowers. When Lupo seemed surprised Timmons was just taking it, he says Dianne has some moves on her. Timmons is on the ground, and Dianne said she’d be right back, but she split. She lives right around the corner. When Lupo asks the shop owner if he then handled Timmons, he said, sarcastically, “Sure, I put him in a headlock and I made him my bitch. What do you think?” and says that Timmons split too. Dianne never came back and called in sick that day.

Lupo and Bernard are questioning Dianne Cary in her apartment. They show him a picture and she says it’s not him, that Cesar (the shop employee) gets his people mixed up all the time. Lupo asks who was the guy she tossed into the flower a cart? She said it was some creep who thought he knew her. When Lupo challenges “and that gets him a beat down?” she responds that he tried to touch her. Bernard states that she ran out side and told Cesar to keep him there until she came back. She needed to get away, she was upset. Bernard questions if she is still upset now and is that why she called in sick? She snaps back that she doesn’t think she likes the tone of his questions. Lupo asks if she does martial arts, that Cesar said she has some moves. She said she is trained in jujitsu, and Lupo points out her certificates, saying that they are impressive, intimidating. Is that the idea, he asks, in case one of her guests gets and idea in his head? She states she wants them to leave, now, but Lupo continues. He holds up a certificate from the NRA, for marksmanship, and that would make a guy think twice. She raises her voice, and states forcefully, ‘I want you to go!” and Bernard responds, “Yes, m’am.” He calls for Lupo to leave also. As Lupo is walking out, he passes Cary, purposely bumping her arm. She reacts quickly, and uses her arm to push his arm out of the way and hold it down. He responds as well, by grabbing her arm and restraining her. Lupo comments “You really don’t like people touching you. “ She says “you did that on purpose,” to which Lupo responds, “Shame on me, now you’re under arrest.

At the 2-7 Bernard is telling Van Buren that the flower shop employees are positive it’s Timmons, and Dianne’s prior address at Dargerville was the same town as Timmons. Did they have a relationship? Bernard says Timmons has some dope beefs, the last one six years ago and an arrest three years ago but no charges were filed. Did he drop in on Cary to “rekindle and old flame” and Cary wasn’t thrilled about it? They can’t find that she has a gun, though. Lupo enters and tells them her sheet is clean, but their was a lien against her from a hospital in Dargerville from 3 years ago, June 8. Timmons was arrested June 9 but they don’t know why she was in the hospital.

At the 2-7, Cary is being held in an interrogation room, and Van Buren walks in with Lupo and Bernard and introduced herself. Cary says she wants to file a complaint as Lupo touched her “inappropriately.” Van Buren says they’ll get to that, and proceeds to ask her if she knows William Timmons when she lived in Dargerville, and she offers a vague response. When Van Buren asks her what happened to “you two” in Dargerville, Cary says nothing happened there. Van Buren points out that a code on an itemized bill is for her hospital visit 3 years ago is for a rape kit. The doctor took evidence in a rape investigation and William Timmons was arrested the next day, but no charges were filed and he was released. She asks if he raped her, and is that what this is about? Cary says no, she won’t talk to Van Buren and she wants a lawyer. She begins to get very upset, she says she doesn’t want to talk to the police at all, and as she continues to raise her voice, tells them to get the hell away from her. Van Buren moves away and she and the detectives leave the room.

Outside the interrogation room, Lupo says the DA in the county couldn’t find any record of a rape case for Cary or Timmons, but he said he was only in the office a few months and his files were a mess. Bernard speculates it didn’t happen, but Van Buren thinks Cary’s behavior says she was raped. They decide to hit the road and make a visit to Dargerville.

At Dargerville Community Hospital, a woman finds Dianne’s file. She says the rape kit result won’t be there, but reads back the information the duty nurse wrote: multiple contusions, to the face vaginal tearing, sounds like forcible intercourse. When Lupo asked if anyone called a cop, they are told that she was released to a friend, Layla. She also says the deputy sheriff was called to the hospital and took a statement from Cary.

At the sheriff’s office, Sheriff Burkhart tells them that the deputy sheriff was probably deputy Linz who will be in later that day. Burkhart recalls the case very well, that Cary was hurt badly, and they arrested Timmons the next day. Burkhart knows Timmons had been shot and killed. When they heard he was killed, they secured Timmons' place in case they wanted to take a look at it. He also tells them Timmons was not prosecuted for the rape because he had “kind of an alibi.” He says “the young lady’s” information was weak, the attack took place at night, lights were off, she didn’t see him, but recognized Timmons voice in a bar where she worked as a hostess, and he was arrested. He then says that after the charges were dropped, Dianne went all around town bragging about how she was going to get him. Burkhart had to send a man over to have a talk with her. Bernard notices an article on Burkhart’s wall, and notes that his little town has seen a lot of action, and was Timmons a part of that drug problem? Burkhart says he was, and the night of the rape, Timmons alibi was another meth head. Burkhart gets a phone call, and says he has to take it, meaning the detectives need to leave. Outside, Bernard and Lupo say that the case just doesn’t add up. They decide to talk to the friend who drove Dianne home after the rape.

Later, Lupo and Bernard talk to a Dianne’s friend Leila (Jessica Dickey), who runs AA and Narc Anon meetings. She says that she hasn't talked to Dianne since she moved to New York, and Dianne was a very angry person then. She says that Timmons was in her NA class and she thinks that he may have been making amends and he may have been seeking out someone he hurt. She tells the detectives that after Diane was raped, she took up martial arts and self-defense, she just wanted to hit back. She says that Robbie (Deputy) Linz also taught Dianne how to shoot after the incident.
Later, in a restaurant, Bernard tells Lupo that Dianne Cary made bail on her “assault beef” against Lupo. Lupo ignores the comment, saying the chili is great. Bernard asks “You expect me to ride in the car with you after having two bowls of that stuff?” He asks if Bernard really expects they’ll get out of Dargerville by 6. Lupo says he wants to stick around for dinner, he loves small towns, and Bernard asks Lupo of he knows how many serial killers got their start in small towns. Lupo notice Deputy Linz entering and motions for him to come over. The make their introductions, and Linz says Burkhart radioed him and told him they had questions about Dianne Cary, and mentioned that they were looking at Cary for Timmons’ murder. The deputy says that when took her statement the night of the rape, she was in a “bad way” and she had no doubt it was Timmons. He admitted he helped her in self-defense because he felt bad for her, he never thought she would use it. When Bernard asks, “Use it? What do you mean? You gave her a gun?” Linz tells him that he has to understand, but Bernard interrupts and asks him what kind of gun it was. It was a 38, which was an old piece that had been in the gun locker forever. He taught her how to use it in an area behind his house. Later. at Linz’s yard, he points out the tree they used for target practice. There was a slug still in one entry hole, and they pull it out. They think ballistics will be able to make a match.

Later, the detectives enter a flower shop, and move to Dianne Cary who is toward the back of the store. She is working on flowers, and Bernard tells her to drop the shears. She does so, but says it’s harassment, she’s out on bail. But he says not for murder, that she I under arrest. Lupo says “do this easy” but she reaches back for the shears and moves to attack Bernard. They struggle and Bernard is able to subdue her and he cuffs her. Lupo asks if shooting Timmons was as easy as shooting that tree?

Now in jail with her attorney, Cary is being questioned by Rubirosa and Cutter. Rubirosa says they are not without compassion for what happened to Cary, or for the fact that the system let her down, and they are willing to take this into account. They offer her 15 years to life. Cary says no, she won’t go to jail for something she didn’t do, and she didn’t kill that bastard. Cutter counters that she followed him back to the bus and hunted him down, but she denies it. Cutter says they matched the bullets they found in Timmons' body to the slugs from a tree used for target practice when the deputy taught her to shoot. She tells them the deputy taught her to shoot, but he never gave her a gun. Her attorney asks for more information on the deputy’s gun. When Rubirosa gives her the information, the attorney says that she has Cary’s gun, Cary gave it to her when she heard Timmons was shot and knew she would be suspected. Given how her rape case was bungled, she was wary about turning it over to the police. The attorney shows them a picture of Cary’s gun, the only gun she has ever owned, a 9 mm glock 26. It does not match the murder weapon.

At the 2-7, Van Buren tells Cutter (Linus Roache) that ballistics says that Timmons was not killed with Dianne’s glock. Cutter says that Dianne turned that gun over to her attorney as she was worried the police would use it to implicate her in the murder. Rubirosa (Alana De La Garza) thinks it’s because she didn’t know what caliber of the fun killed Timmons, which means she’s not the killer. Van Buren thinks it may be a distraction so they don’t look for the 38 the deputy gave her. “Says he gave her” Rubirosa corrects. Cutter wants Linz brought down and put in front of a grand jury.

At Linz’s home in Dargerville, he tells Lupo and Rubirosa says he already told them everything. Lupo tries to entice him with taking him out for a steak afterwards, but Linz says his shift starts in two hours and his wife needs help from the kids. But Rubirosa says he doesn’t have a choice in the matter, and hands him a witness warrant. He says he has to clear this with the sheriff, and Lupo tells him to call him from the road. They get into the car and begin to drive away with Linz, and they are stopped by several sheriffs’ cars which surround them. Lupo and Rubirosa exit the car, and ask the sheriff if there is a problem. Burkhart tells Robbie to get out of the car, but Lupo tells him to stay there. Rubirosa identifies herself to Burkhart and tell him she has a material witness warrant for Linz. Burkhart disagrees and tells her she needs to file that with the county clerk. When Rubirosa tells him that by she has 24 hours to file, Burkhart tells the deputies to move her away, and they begin to physically pull her away. Lupo moves in to assist and it told to stop and the deputies move for their guns. The sheriff instructs them to arrest Lupo for interfering with a police officer. The sheriff gets Linz out of the car, and tells him to get in his car. Burkhart tells Rubirosa, “Next time Miss, show a little respect for our procedures “ and walk off. Rubirosa moves to her car, and makes a call to Mike Cutter.

In the county courtroom in Dargerville, the assistant DA Mr. Silver (Rob Campbell)for the county sticks up for his deputies, and she says Lupo was protecting her from the deputies manhandling her. He says she has not standing, and why is he even talking to her? He filed a motion to quash her witness warrant, he sniffles and walks off. As she moves to leave, Cutter and Bernard enter. She comments that they cut it kind of close and Cutter says they were pulled over for speeding, Bernard was doing 110 mph on the thruway. When Cutter asks what’s on the calendar, she says an arraignment (Lupo’s) that they can’t participate in, and a motion. As Bernard comments on the smallness of the courtroom, the judge (James Murtaugh) enters, dressed in informal clothing. The first case is 8-9, The People Vs. Lupo, interference with government administration. Lupo is led in, says he will represent himself as he’s a New York City detective and is in law school first year. He pleads not guilty. The says he in inclined to release him his own recognizance, but Sheriff Burkhart coughs and his lawyer says that the judge has never released on non-resident of the county on his own reconnaissance, and doing so would set poor precedence and may give rise to bias. The judge asks Silver for bail suggestion, who asks for $20,000. Lupo says he doesn’t have that but the judge sets it at $20,000 anyway.

The clerk tells the judge that Mr. Silver also has a motion to quash the material witness warrant, and Cutter approaches, identifies himself and states his case. Silver says the warrant wasn’t filed with the county clerk before they served it, but Cutter says he believes it is registered now. The judge looks over to the sheriff and asks if he wants to be heard on this. Burkhart says they want Linz for three days and he can’t even spare him for one. The judge grants the request to quash the warrant and adjourns the court. As Bernard leaves, disgusted, he says he will call the lieutenant to postpone. Cutter asks Silver why the sheriff is interfering in the murder investigation. Silver acts ignorant of it and says the sheriff is just being diligent. He uses the fact that he was with the sheriff when he got word Timmons was shot and moved to secure Timmons’ residence, all for the benefit of the investigation. He sniffles, clearly having sinus problems. Rubirosa tell Cutter that Burkhart knew Timmons address right of the top of his head, the town is small but not that small. Cutter tells her to compute to see what they can find on Burkhart’s court cases and he will see if he can use the court’s library.

Later, over coffee, Rubirosa says the Burkhart has made a name with his drug busts and has become the state’s poster boy for small town proactive law enforcement. And no surprise, thanks to the governor, a lot of state drug money interdiction money flowing in to the sheriff’s office. Bernard and Lupo arrive, Lupo has been “sprung”. He asks for a bowl of the turkey chili. Cutter tell them that 6 years ago, Burkhart registered a confidential informant, and that same CI testified in three quarters of Burkhart’s drug cases. Six years ago is about the time Timmons was busted for dope. They believes that Timmons was the informant and Sheriff Burkhart was protecting him from the rape charge. Cutter tells Connie and Bernard to go back to the city to start writing subpoenas for all of Burkhart’s drug cases. Lupo asks, does that mean he has to stay here? Bernard says that seeing that he likes the chili so much – and he moves to leave. Lupo asks Cutter what’s the plan, and he says they track down Timmons’ lawyer from six years ago.

Cutter and Lupo go to Timmons former lawyer James Currer (Glen Fleshler) and he is reluctant to help. Lupo tells him the only person in town who had balls was the woman who was raped by his client. Talking hypothetically, the lawyer tells them that “this informant” made a ton of arrests for Burkhart and was given a free pass to sell dope. He says that since he had guardian angel following him to make everything disappear, anything was possible. But Timmons got remorseful, and put it all out there in the open. He told Timmons that was not a good idea. He caught himself, noting he just said Timmons, he meant the informant. Lupo and Cutter now see that Burkhart, probably fearing prison time and overturning of all his convictions, had motive.

At their hotel room, Cutter and Lupo go to their hotel room and work on Lupo's case. They find an argument to help them, and they decide to talk to the judge, Cutter telling Lupo to make the application himself. At Judge Samuel Sorotsky’s home, Lupo present his case which indicates they were in the right when they took the deputy. The judge asks if they are telling him his judgment was wrong, and when he asks if the Sheriff was OK with this, Cutter says “he didn’t raise a single objection.” The judge drops the charges against Lupo, and Cutter also asks him to sign a release form for county records for Linz’s files, so they don’t have to bother him again on his day off. He signs the form, they thank him and leave. While walking away, when Lupo asks if they now talk to Linz, Cutter says no, now they pull the duty records for the sheriff’s department.

At the sheriff’s department, they are going through the records. On the day in question, they think Burkhart had plenty of time during a “long lunch break” to follow Timmons to New York and follow him to the flower shop, shooting him after he saw what a loose cannon Timmons was. But Burkhart wouldn’t have used his own car or a patrol car, so they look at the local sheriff’s department’s unmarked cars. Lupo asks for a mileage log for the two cars on record for September 20. The SUV showed 463 miles driven. Now all they need to do is prove that this was the car Burkhart used to get to New York and back, and Lupo says he didn’t spend 4 years in intel for nothing.

Back at the restaurant, Lupo and Cutter are reviewing the thruway tollbooth security cameras. They see the bus, but it seems that one minute of the video is missing. They notice the same thing on another toll both camera. They check a third, and still the same, one minute missing. It seems that the timing of the missing video would be about the time that Burkhart’s car would have appeared on the video. Could Burkhart have had them erased? But Lupo says this would have to be done at the source, with someone with access to the state thruway’s computers. Lupo says “Some one big just pulled up a chair and joined the game.”

Later, in Cutter office as he makes notes on the whiteboard, he comments to Jack McCoy (Sam Waterston) that as confidential informant, Timmons put away over 100 people in prison, McCoy says that every one of those convictions will be in jeopardy once word gets out that Burkhart let Timmons rape and deal drugs. Cutter thinks that Burkhart didn’t care much about those convictions as he did about going to jail. But McCoy disagrees, he thinks someone somewhere would care about 100 overturned convictions. He asks what Cutter is doing about Dianne Cary, and Cutter says she is out on bail, they thought they would leave things as status quo until they find they are sure about Burkhart. Mc Coy says to get her some protection and he leaves.

Rubirosa enters and says that the thruway authority narrowed down when the video files were erased, and gave her a list of 11 people that had access to a terminal in that window of time. There are three state troopers on the list, one of which is Thomas Volcheck (Matt Walton), who worked with Burkhart in joint drug interdictions together.

Later, Cutter and Rubirosa question Volcheck at what appears to be his office, who says he goes there several times a month for official business. When Rubirosa asks him what official business he was doing 2 weeks ago when he accessed he terminals, he said he’ll get back to her and check out his notes. Cutter tells him to be sure to bring those notes when he testifies in front of a grand jury, and if he thinks he’s taking the fifth, they will nullify it with a grant of immunity. As he moves to enter a locked door, he says “sorry, authorized personnel only” and leave them standing there. Cutter notices a sign next to the doorway, which is marled “Executive Services Division.”

Back at McCoy’s office, McCoy says that the Executive Services Division is the governor’s personal security forces within the state police, and there are rumors that they perform “other services.” Was Volcheck acting on his own for Burkhart, or under Governor Shalvoy’s orders? Jack can’t believe Shalvoy would protect a murderer. But Cutter reminds him that Burkhart is the Governor’s favorite drug warrior, and reminds McCoy that somebody somewhere would care if over 100 drug convictions were overturned. Shalvoy would look like an idiot. McCoy defends Shalvoy, saying “Sometimes loyal surrogates go off the reservation if they think they are acting in the boss’ interest.” Rubirosa phone rings, and Cutter says that only Volcheck can answer that question. Connie says they have to get him to testify first, Volcheck is now exerting executive privilege. Cutter thinks this verifies the Governor is backing it up.

At the office of Governor Shalvoy (Tom Everett Scott), McCoy tells him there’s only one conclusion to draw, that the trooper erased the video with Shalvoy's tacit approval and now he is protecting him. When he asks if that is McCoy’s conclusion, McCoy says he doesn’t think his recklessness extends beyond his personal life, he’s too smart a politician. When Shalvoy says he got that right, McCoy demands that Shalvoy lift the executive privilege. Shalvoy says that he was “born at night, but I wasn’t born last night.” He thinks that McCoy is making him a “political football” in his campaign for re-election. He refuses to let any of the executive service take the stand in this or any other proceeding. McCoy says it’s about prosecuting a murderer, the campaign is the last thing on his mind. But Shalvoy isn’t buying it, citing some of McCoy’s recent actions. He tells him to “quit playing Hamlet,” declare himself a candidate, and get it over with. McCoy sits, silent. Shalvoy asks him if he knows Joe Chapelle in the attornet general’s office. McCoy does; Chapelle investigated corruption in state hospital contracts. Shalvoy says that the Children’s Aid Society is honoring him next month, and McCoy should go, pushing what looks like an invitation to McCoy. Shalvoy says that Chapelle is going after the pirates on Wall Street next – and digs at McCoy, saying Chapelle is a real reformer. McCoy looks calm, saying “meanwhile here, it’s politics as usual” and leaves.

Back at McCoy’s Cutter tells him that the governor is worried, and McCoy counters that once they have a member of his personal guard on the stand, we’ll ask about prostitutes, dirty tricks, and whatever else they have been handling for Shalvoy. Cutter suggests they forget about Volcheck, and give Linz full immunity for his testimony. McCoy agrees, but says to make sure this time the cops bring plenty of backup.

As Lupo and Bernard arrive at Linz’s home in Dargerville, they find him sitting up against a tree, dead, shot in the head. A 38 Smith and Wesson is near his hand. A woman’s loud shriek “NO!” is heard, and they see Linz’s wife approach, screaming. Inside her home, she speaks to the detectives, saying Burkhart came by in the morning, and he and Robbie went to the garage to talk. Robbie looked upset after the sheriff left, but he told her not to worry and then he went to the woods.

Later, in Cutter office, while McCoy looks at the newspaper headlines, Rubirosa tells him and Cutter that the 38 that Linz shot himself with was the same gun that shot Timmons. They believe they are being led to believe that Linz killed Timmons - "very neat and tidy” as McCoy states. But they can’t Burkhart without those videos that Volcheck could testify to erasing, if the Governor wasn’t shielding him. McCoy says “round and round it goes” and leave the room.

Back with the Governor, McCoy tells him the deputy's suicide is tantamount to admission of guilt. Shalvoy indicates that is the end of it, and half questioningly says that the erasures on the thruway video were glitches, right? McCoy responds with a gesture of half hearted agreement. Shalvoy says he won’t have thing hanging over Volcheck's head, and McCoy says the subpoena will be withdrawn tomorrow. When Shalvoy said he told him there was no need to be concerned, McCoy says he won’t go that far. Those video glitches got him thinking, what if we had been tracking a terrorist or suicide bomber instead of a simple murderer? Shalvoy says that would be terrible, and McCoy says he knew he would agree. McCoy says he is impaneling a blue ribbon grand jury to look into it, that we ought to know who is monitoring our roads and bridges, and how secure those systems are. He will be calling Trooper Volcheck as an expert. Shalvoy sits uncomfortably silent. McCoy says “ Of course, executive privilege won’t apply to testimony about technical matters. But then, you wouldn’t actually assert the privilege in matters of national security, would you? Who wants that kind of publicity?” Game, set match to McCoy. AT least for now.

The next day, Mc Coy enters Cutter’s office with an envelope, saying it was in his mailbox at home that morning,. It looks like a disk. He tells Cutter to withdraw the subpoena for Volcheck. Later, while looking at the missing video footage with Burkhart, and his attorney, they show him the video of Burkhart entering the New York thruway, September 20th at 10:17. They also have him at the Tappen Zee bridge toll and at Yonkers. Cutter reminds him that nothing disappears in the digital world, nothing except his friends, which are in short supply. The attorney asks what he is offering, and Cutter says the opportunity to serve is 25years in the safety of a segregated unit. Burkhart says he was a good sheriff and put away a lot of bad people.

Later, on a TV press conference, Governor Shalvoy, with someone standing next to him, calls Burkhart’s methods “repugnant” and condemns his actions, while McCoy and Cutter watch. Shalvoy is ordering a review of every drug conviction that Burkhart was involved in and ordering a special commission to investigate the use of confidential informants. To head the commission, he is appointing Joseph Chapelle (who is standing next to him) from the attornet general’s office. McCoy turns off the TV. McCoy says “Politics as usual” and turns to open a desk drawer. Pulling a paper out of the drawer, he tells Cutter, “Here. I’d like you to be the first to sign this. “ It a nominating position form for the office of the New York County District Attorney. McCoy needs 10,000 signatures. He adds, “I’m too old to play Hamlet.” Cutter signs while McCoy looks on with a smile on his face.

This episode was excellent, probably one of the best in a few years. It had everything: great guest stars, a great use of the cast, politics, cover-ups, DRAMA! Yes, there was actually drama. I can’t recall the last time that I watched a Law & Order where I actually cheered. I was applauding Jack at him getting back a Shalvoy. OK, maybe for Jack he only made more trouble for himself, but he made his point to Shalvoy that he is not one of Shalvoy’s boys who are there to just do his bidding. It also showed the Jack McCoy that we all know and love, the one who is willing to take big risks, especially when the stakes are very high. I also chuckled about the references to Hamlet, which of course Sam has been in the lead role and in supporting roles in the past. I also liked when Jack reminded Cutter about loyal people going off the reservation, which is a clear reference to the previous episode “Falling”.

But while the episode finished with Jack drama, it also was filled with drama for many of the others. This was a great episode for Sisto and Anderson, who seemed to be very conformable as Lupo and Bernard. It was also good to split them up on occasion with the Cutter and Rubirosa, just to mix things up a bit. Getting Lupo into trouble with the sheriff’s office while he attempted to protect Rubirosa served as the perfect opportunity for Lupo to use what he is learning in law school, and maybe Cutter has come to the realization that some real life use of Lupo’s schooling may do Lupo some good.

Katee Sackhoff, who I have come to enjoy over the years from Battlestar Galactica, seemed to be channeling her inner “Starbuck”, but it played very well for the character she was portraying. And Clancy Brown was well cast as the murdering, scheming sheriff. I always worry about “small town” law, and this only reinforced my bias.

But, what I most anticipate is a much bigger butt kicking hopefully some time down the road to be administrated by McCoy to Governor Shalvoy, being played by the boyishly pretty Tom Everett Scott. I still think he was miscast in this role, but hopefully it won’t matter because I suspect that Jack McCoy will somehow have a hand in getting Shalvoy out of office sometime down the road.

All in all, a great story. While it had a somewhat obvious ending for the sheriff, I didn’t care. I was more interested in this case to see HOW they were going to get him. If you haven’t seen “Knock Off” yet, make sure to catch it the next time it comes around on NBC. It will knock your socks off.

“Knock Off” Clip

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