Monday, May 18, 2009

Law & Order Criminal Intent “Faithfully” Recap & Review

All photos from USA Network

This episode of Law & Order Criminal Intent (USA) seemed the most like the “old style” episodes of the past, with more coverage of the criminals themselves. Despite the guest stars Janel Moloney and Leland Orser, the episode falls a little flat, being very predictable. For some reason, Leland Orser will be forever imprinted on my brain as the schizophrenic man in the episode of Law & Order SVU “Coerced.”

If I recall correctly, this episode was supposed to be the season opener when the season was originally supposed to start in the fall of 2008. It seemed to make more sense that it would have remained the first, seeing that Bobby seemed to have been visiting family, maybe trying to reconnect after all the traumatic events that happened in last season’s finale of Criminal Intent, ”Frame.” Goren and Eames seemed to be on very good footing in this episode, almost as if they started with a clean slate.

We got a few snippets of Bobby’s personal life when we find that he has a 9-year-old niece, Molly. I know Goren had a brother Frank but I admit I can’t recall if Frank had any other children besides the one we already met, or if Goren has another sibling which would account for this other niece. I guess I have either missed something about Goren’s family in the past, or this is some new information that we are getting. Fans will now be happy to know that Robert Goren’s address is 210 Mather Street in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, NY 11222 – of course not a real address as far as I can tell. But, they botched it badly on the return address for his niece Molly, placing her at the Fry residence, 793 Penn Brook Rd., Lebanon MI , 97091 – which happens to be an Oregon zip code. I suppose if they were going to give a fake address they could have at least gotten the zip code a little closer?

Here’s the recap:

As the episode opens, we see Detective Bobby Goren (Vincent D’Onofrio) sitting down at the dinner table for a meal with relatives. Elsewhere, in various places, many other things are going on. A football player, Cleon Lewis (Rob Riley), threatens his team doctor Ryan Conlon (Robert Farrior), as he believes the doctor leaked information about the player’s drug addiction to the New York Ledger in exchange for money, an accusation the doctor denies. In a bedroom, a man and a woman are engaging in sex. At a church, Reverend Wyler (Leland Orser) is giving a sermon, his wife Allison (Janel Moloney) looking on. In an alley, a man on a motorcycle arrives and puts on a black mask. He breaks into the woman’s home who was just having sex with another man, and restrains her, covers her mouth with duct tape, and knocks her out. Back at St. Edgar’s church, the reverend is telling a churchgoer that his wife wrote the sermon. The doctor we saw earlier is talking to the minister about his service, and a woman comes up and says the doctor’s wife Carrie called for him and asked him to come home as she made him a special lunch. But, when he gets home, he is surprised by presumably the same intruder who attacked his wife, and he kills the doctor, then races away from the alley in his motorcycle, being spotted by a woman dropping off her trash. The minister and his wife return home; the minister checks the answering machine and there is a message from Carrie apologizing for not attending the service, and she wishes the reverend a happy birthday. Meanwhile, Carrie (Katheryn Winnick) is at home, now conscious but her mouth still covered with duct tape, and she sees her husband dead on the floor.

Later. on a boat in the river off New York City, Detective Alex Eames (Kathryn Erbe) is on the phone with Capt. Ross, saying she is just coming in to the city. She asks for the location of the crime scene. She asks that a car meet her. At the entrance to the Staten Island Ferry, Goren is there waiting for her. She says, “You were supposed to be there another week.” He says he got back last night, he went and saw family. She tells him he looks good, and he says thanks and they should get going.

At the crime scene, they are told it is a B&E gone bad. The window was smashed, the intruder tied up the wife and tossed the place. He took jewelry and a coin collection but left $400 in the handbag, it appears the victim surprised him. Eames says - if I’m a burglar and I get caught, the first instinct is to flee – and Goren adds maybe disable the victim, not finish him off. The victim is Dr. Ryan Conlon, 35, and Eames knows the name from the sports section, he was the doctor from the Cougars who got fired a few months ago. The electronics in the home are all high-end, and Eames adds - not stolen. He did his rounds and then caught the 11:00 services at St. Edgar’s and got home by 12:40-12:45. Goren points out another bloody footprint, and Eames speculates the killer wore boots. Goren thinks the tread looks like motorcycle boots.

Upstairs the detectives talk with Carrie Conlon, who says she could not get to the phone; she tried, but she couldn’t. Eames asks if she can describe him. She says he was wearing a ski mask, but he was tall, maybe 6 feet, and his eyes – she was looking right into them when he hit her, she thought he was going to kill her - they were blue gray. Goren asks if she was expecting someone, and she says no, she was alone all morning. Eames tells her they will talk to her after they check her at the hospital. As Carrie leave to go to the hospital, Goren notes she is dressed in a lace teddy and is wearing makeup, and Eames comments about her perfume. She suspects that either she was planning a matinee with the doctor, or “entertaining, as my mom would say.” Eames later instructs the CSU people to check the bedding for semen. Goren picks up a large purse or shoulder bag and pulls out what look like a tabloid, one saying about a star player being addicted to painkillers. Eames adds that a lot of medical clinics are dishing the dirt these days. Goren wonders that the guy gets fired, maybe he is supplementing his income.

Back at Major Case, Captain Ross (Eric Bogosian) welcomes Goren back to work. They explain the murder was staged to look like a home invasion. They wonder if it is a payback killing for the Ledger article. They also mention they had a witness who was taking out the trash who saw someone flee the scene on a motorcycle, who was wearing a black mask and gloves. Ross quips, “Great. Batman.” Goren responds, “Actually, Batman was a vigilante sir.” They head over to talk to Cleon, he did say he got in the doctor’s face but the doctor denied leaking the information. He tells them that he was planning to sue the doctor for leaking the information, so why would he want to kill him? Outside, Goren and Eames decide to check out the church where the doctor was last seen, possibly spreading “his particular brand of joy.” They speak to the woman who gave the doctor the message to the doctor, and when she gets a phone call, Allison Wyler , the reverends’ wife, approaches them. She is glad they are handling the case and appreciates their need for discretion. They ask her about speaking to the doctor, and the other woman tells them about the phone message she gave him from his wife. Eames wonders why his wife didn’t call him on his cell phone, and Allison says cell phones are not allowed in the church. Goren says “course they are.” The woman tells Goren she logged the call in at 12:15, and Allison asks if the call is important.

They go back and speak with Carrie, who denies calling him at the church at 12:15 or any other time. But the detectives aren’t buying it, and question who she was with, Eames telling her DNA will put someone else in Carrie’s bed. Carrie denies having a lover. Goren says killers usually don’t leave witnesses. She says she was alone, but Eames continues to hammer on her. Carrie gets irate and tells them she is going to get a lawyer and she refuses to talk to them any more.

At the funeral service for Ryan Conlon, Carries puts Ryan’s prayer book into the casket and then starts to talk to Reverend Wyler aside, and she seems to be regretful. He tells her to continue to pray, as Allison Wyler looks on from the church pew. He tells them they can’t be in contact now, and no more messages. She seems confused, and asks, ‘Messages?”

Later, at the wake, Goren and Eames arrive, much to the dismay or Allison Wyler. Goren notices a man sitting near the wall, wearing motorcycle boots. Outside, they check out a motorcycle with a blue design on it, which is sticky, they think from being covered with black electrical tape. When the man approaches and says it is his bike, Goren complements him on the blue flame. The Reverend Wyler and Allison approach as Allison asks what is going on. Goren says he would like their acolyte to account for his time Sunday morning at around 11:00, and the reverend says Kevin (Will Rogers) was in a service with them. Goren sees a bruise on Kevin when he makes a move to touch him Kevin pulls back, telling Goren he doesn’t get to touch him. Eames says they will just talk downtown and take him off, as Reverend Wyler calls out saying not to speak to them and they will get him a lawyer.

At Major Case, Eames and Goren are interrogating Kevin Paxton, who’s legal last name was Mickler, the name of his foster parents. Kevin says they didn’t deserve the grief he gave them and didn’t deserve their name. He apparently has a record of drug arrests, and his juvie probation report says he has made a lot of bad choices, but Kevin’s attorney says Kevin has been clean for three years. When they question him about being at the 11:00 service, he admits he switched with someone else as he had to drop some old clothes off at homeless shelter. When they confront him about the bloody boot prints, he gets a little rattled and seems to begin to talk funny, like he is trying hard to collect his words. Goren thinks he went there after the killing to get rid of the clothes and boots. Eames accuses him of sleeping with his wife, and also mentions the defensive wound on his neck. The lawyer says they don’t have much and Goren tells him to make sure Kevin remains available in the morning for a lineup. Eames tells him the woman who saw him fleeing in the alley wants to take a look at his big blue eyes.

Meanwhile, Carrie Conlon is in her bedroom talking with Reverend Wyler. She is upset, and saying she may have wanted it but now it feel weird. He tells her they may have to face what they did was very wrong. She says she needs him, and when she kisses him, he pulls away and says not now, they have to wait, so they don’t make any mistakes. As he leaves, he tells her no more calls.

In Ross’ office, they talk about the case. They talk about the acolyte, and they think something was going on with Carrie and Kevin.. Eames said they checked out the doctor and he was a total “gland” and he hit on everyone. They wonder if Carrie turned to Kevin.

Elsewhere, Kevin is talking with Allison, and he is worried. She tells him not to use police terms as it seems so common. He is worried he will be arrested, and she says he is showing no faith in her. But he says he has faith in her and no one else. They kiss. She then says she is so disappointed, she took him to be someone special. She says she thinks he should go to another church. He says he is nothing without this place, gets upset and storms out, while Reverend Wyler is walking in. Allison tells him that the police think Kevin killed Ryan Conlon. She says they don’t have to worry, Kevin hasn’t told the police anything yet. When he seems confused about that statement, she asks him if he means how long has she known? He realizes she knows about him and Carrie, and he sits down on the couch and says, “Oh God.” She walks out.

Later, at the liquor store, Kevin buys some liquor and runs out without getting his change, saying he won’t be needing it. Later, Allison is at a church group meeting when the detectives arrive. They tell her that Kevin Paxton was dead from a drug overdose. She seems shocked, and says he tried once before but they saved him. She asks why they couldn’t have left him alone, and storms off.

Later, at the morgue, ME Rodgers (Leslie Hendrix) tells them he died from a combination of methadone and alcohol. They didn’t know he was on a methadone program. When Goren says a suicide is a hard choice for someone truly devout, Rodgers says she has nothing to show it was anything else but suicide.

Back at major case, they go over Wyler’s sermons, but Goren notices that his sermon on adultery didn’t include personal references and seemed to be highlighting forgiveness. They wonder if the sermons were a big influence on Kevin.

At the church office, Goren speaks with Reverend Wyler about his sermons. He says Wyler has a methodical approach and hits every one of the 7 deadly sins but keeps it fresh. He brings out the sermon on adultery, and asks if it is a lesser sin. Wyler says a sin is a sin and he is not up to a theological debate with him. He asks what made Kevin suicidal, and Wyler says that is a question he should ask himself. Goren says, ‘I have, now I’m asking you.” Wyler says they all had a hand in failing him. Goren says he thinks Kevin was having sex with Mrs. Conlon and Wyler says no Kevin wasn’t, he’s wrong about that. Goren says someone was. He asks Wyler if he would mind giving him a sample of his DNA to prove he didn’t have sex with Mrs. Conlon, and Wyler refuses, saying he will comply with his request when he has a court order.

Back at home, Allison asks he if he returned the bishop’s call and he says no. She says his avoidance is a good move. He says if she is so full of advice she should just handle it and tell the bishop they knew about Kevin’s rap sheet and made him an acolyte anyway because he was a bright shining example of the power of faith. She says they both know he is not blameless in this and walks out. Wyler gets a call, and it is from Carrie. He tells her to stop it, he can’t do this anymore.

Back at Major Case, Goren is looking at a photo of his 9-year-old niece on his computer when Eames approaches, and Eames says she is cute. Eames tells Goren that Allison Wyler’s academic degree is in speech therapist, with a Masters in the field. Goren remembers odd speech characteristic in the interview, and decide to read over Kevin’s statement. Later, Goren takes Kevin’s statement to Ross, and tells him that Kevin used a phrase – a stop – to keep him from stuttering. He would have learned that in speech therapy, and tells Ross that Allison Wyler was a speech therapist. Eames finds that Allison mentored Kevin when he was at the Lincoln Youth Center when he was 14 and helped him to get rid of the stutter. Kevin may have felt loyal to Allison when she brought him into the church family and the affair that the Reverend had with Carrie threatened to tear it apart. Ross tells them to take the Reverend out of his comfort zone and see what jogs loose.

Later, the detectives have Reverend Wyler in interrogation. They tell him Kevin killed to protect him from a sex scandal that would ruin his ministry. Wyler continues to deny it, but when they continue to press him, he finally admits he didn’t think Conlon’s death was connected to their affair. She had some to him months ago for marriage counseling and at the time he thought they were good for each other and didn’t hurt anybody. He adds he got a voice mail from Carrie last night and plays it back for them. It’s Carrie, who says she made the “ultimate sacrifice” for them and he’s pulling away and it is not fair. We then see Carrie listening to the same call, and she vehemently denies he made it. She said it is her voice but it is not her. Eames mentions the other phone calls, like the one made to the church secretary. She says it is not her, and she wants to hear all of them.

While Carrie remains pacing in the interrogation room, the detectives tell Ross that the calls do not match Carrie’s personality, and she uses her sexually for leverage, not guilt. They think Allison Wyler – the trained speech therapist who can imitate voices – made those calls. Ross says a spectrographic analysis can eliminate Carrie but how will they get Allison? Eames adds that conveniently for Allison, Kevin is dead. Goren thinks she could get away with it.

Later, the detectives speak with a previous employer of Allison, who says style didn’t fit with theirs and she became too attached to the boys and they became too attached to her. She said it became a personality cult and they idolized her. Some of the foster parents complained that she was undermining their authority. Goren said she was like a fantasy girlfriend.

Back at the church, Reverend Wyler is memorializing Kevin. He says need, not love, led him to sin and they can only pray that God forgives him. Allison wipes a tear from here eye.

At Major Case, Ross wonders what prompted her to solicit murder. Eames thinks that the adultery of her husband coming out could be the reason. Ross says that is motive but how does Allison pay Kevin for murder – sex? Ross says they have decent conjecture but no evidence.

Later, they brought in Allison to pick up Kevin’s things. Goren gets a chair and they sit Allison down next to his and Eames’ desks. Goren says they haven’t found evidence that Carrie solicited Kevin to commit murder. Allison brings up the phone message, and they tell her she never made the call. When Allison sees them bringing Carrie into another room, she reminds them they have the phone call. But Eames says it isn’t enough, she never mentioned Kevin. Goren says sleeping with Carrie may have been his dream, but Allison says Kevin wasn’t taken with her, it would be someone different. Eames says of course – he would have had feelings for Allison as she was his mentor. But Allison says they were not sexual feelings, he was attracted to something more profound. Goren asks, “a teenage boy?” and chuckles. They mentioned that the other boys she mentored were in love with her. Goren says he looked through his daily prayers and reads where Kevin used the words “ultimate sacrifice” the same words in Carrie’s alleged message and Allison says there is their link. But Eames says that won’t work, it’s not Carrie on that voice mail – it’s Allison's. She says that’s absurd. But Goren says she is a good mimic, and brings out the voice mail graph, saying that the tone and pitch was there but that the “breath” is different,saying that where you breath when you speak can’t be altered. They play both Carrie reading the message and the fake message. Eames says they have the same graphic signature can make a voice print ID, and they can prove it was Allison. She says all they can prove is that it wasn’t Carrie, and she’s a trained speech therapist, she can read a voiceprint. Eames asks if she is willing to bet her life on it. Allison says they have gone to great lengths to hurt her ministry, and she is not the first. She says her husband was blinded by Carrie. She says Conlon could have turned her parishioners against them. She says she cared about Kevin, but says his death is on their conscience, not on hers. She says they will never convict them in court, but Goren says her final judgment won’t take place in court. He looks behind Carrie, and she turns around, seeing her husband standing there. She stands up, and says what she did was for them. He asks her if she can hear herself. She said they brought the word of God to the most important people in the city and she preserved his good work. She asks him to tell her hat he understands. He says yes, he understands, they're through. He says he doesn’t know her and he doesn’t want to know her. She says they have to fight together, they love each other, they built something together and not to let them destroy it. He says she destroyed all of it. He says he will start over, and she asks, “Without me?” He responds, “With God, if he’ll forgive me.” He walks off as they cuff Allison.

Later, Goren arrives back at his apartment with his mail. He sees a large envelope with a return address “Fry, 793 Penn Brook Rd., Lebanon, MI 97071” with a note inside that says, “It was nice having you at our home. I hope you can us visit soon. I’m sending you some pictures. Love, Molly” He takes the pictures and sits down, looking over them carefully, and we see Goren looking somewhat happy as we fade to black.

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Anonymous said...

you think that girl is Gorens daughter?

Anonymous said...

as far as I recall, the only child Frank had was the son that Goren didn't find out about until the kid was in trouble. there was never any reference to Frank having any other kids at all and there weren't any other siblings. Goren's pretty pathological so, I guess, it's a possibility that this niece is from Goren's biological father (the guy Roy Scheider played)

Amy29 said...

It was pointed out elsewhere, apparently some information from the script indicates that Bobby was visiting his Great Aunt Connie. So the kids are actually some form of cousin.

Anonymous said...

Well, they don't have to be cousins if his biological father had other kids besides him.

Anonymous said...

Bobby specifically said it was his niece. A child of a cousin is not a niece. If this information was in the script about visiting a great aunt, it wasn't in the episode at all, so as far as I am concerned it is not relevant.

I think they either screwed up big time - or - there is another sibling of Bobby's somewhere (as in his biological father's) - or Frank had another kid somewhere.

Anonymous said...

I think he tells Eames it is a niece as an explanation, but I think from the context we are meant to conclude it is possibly not a niece. He seems fascinated just with her not the rest of the family, which makes me think this is possibly a daughter of his given up for adoption.

Notice when he reads the letter from Molly she simply calls him Robert and not Uncle Robert, or even Bobby as the rest of his family and close friends always call him.

Anonymous said...

He had one of his "little smiles" you talked about on your blog entry from last year when he got his letter.

Jane said...

I doubt that Bobby would give up a child, he was pretty amased that Frank didn't tell his mother about his son and knew that she would of been "stoked" to know about Donnie, so him having a daughter adopted doesn't make sence, him having a child that he has only just found out about makes more sence( he could of had a girlfriend 8 years previously that left him perhaps) although it is a pity that USA didn't broadcast this episode first as it makes it very confusing. Nice recaps though.

Anonymous said...

Hi - the information that Goren is visiting "Great Aunt Connie" is directly from USA Network, so I think we can safely say that it's reliable, not dubious. And notice that in her letter, she does not call him "Uncle" Bobby," but just Bobby, which is what you would call an older cousin. "Niece" is a convenience style and yes, it is appropriate to call the child of a cousin as a "niece" or "nephew;" in fact, it's more common than not, particularly in the Northeast.

I think we can safely say that Goren's conflicts about Brady would preclude him sniffing around for other products of rape just to find some remote blood relatives.

No, that's probably his great-aunt Connie's granddaughter, which would make her his second cousin; if not that, then it's the child of one of his cousins, which would make her his first cousin once removed.

Anonymous said...

I just watched it as a rerun and realized that they used the story of Dr. Tom Tewel and the affair that he had with one of the women of the parish after he had provided marriage counseling to them. The minister even looked like him.