Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Law & Order SVU “Zebras” Recap & Review Season Finale

All photos from NBC

OK, how can I say this? The season finale of Law & Order SVU “Zebras” was simply awful. Here’s why I feel this way:

First and foremost: Dale Stuckey. The character annoyed from day one. He was written badly, almost purposefully to make viewers hate him, maybe so we would later believe that he could turn killer so easily. What I found worse with this episode is that despite the fact that he screwed up a case, they continued to let him work it. In fact, there seemed to be no visible repercussions from his screw up with the evidence. Making matters worse is them taking what could be a piece of evidence – the collage – into the squad room and then letting Stuckey or anyone else handle it with their bare hands. Puzzling was when Stuckey complains that Stabler should be written up for accosting him, and seeing Stuckey push Capt, Cragen on the shoulder. Excuse me, but if I was a captain and someone touched me like that, I would have had him suspended on the spot. Cragen was far too kind with him and there should have been some sort of action taken against Stuckey right then and there.

Can anyone explain how Stuckey got such easy access to Donnelly’s apartment to set up the syringe? And how nice of Donnelly to be able to sit so squarely on it to get a full dose. While I am on Liz Donnelly, tell me, who in New York City would answer their door, in their bathrobe without looking through the peephole to see who it was? She sure seemed surprised it was Stabler at her door. I suppose because it looked like she had no peephole in the door so she couldn’t see who was there before she opened up. My next question - who has a place in NYC that doesn’t have a peephole on some equivalent in their front door? The only other person I know was Alex Borgia from the Law & Order mothership, and we all know what happened to her when she opened a door without checking first who was on the other side. A judge cannot possibly be that stupid and careless not to take precautions before she opens their door.

I also found it rather silly that once they realized the first victim had a baby with her, that they seemed to be checking everywhere but failed to see the stroller sitting all by itself by the tunnel, which should have been in clear view of everyone standing. But Elliot is the only one who spots it, from an area higher up and the trees no less? Please! Speaking of this murder victim, can someone tell me why Special Victims kept this case, when it turned out it was not a sexual assault? What made her a special victim?

How about the “escape route” that Harrison had leading from his hideout? It reminded me of one of those cartoon holes that cartoon characters leave when they get thrown through a wall. I don’t know why, but I laughed very hard at that.

Too bad they killed off O’Halloran, one of the best lab techs in not only the L&O universe but the whole TV CSU universe as well. Who could not love a guy who would help Stabler bury Stuckey’s body? RIP O’Halloran, and I hope Mike Doyle gets a nice job on another show.

Now, let’s talk about that final scene. First of all, Stuckey seemed quick to murder O’Halloran, yet he took his time with Stabler. Why? I guess it’s the same reason why all TV murderers must taunt their victims on screen, giving the victim plenty of time to find an opportunity to save themselves. Why did Stuckey even answer Stabler’s phone when it rang? He could have covered for his part in the murder of O’Halloran and later if he killed Stabler if no one knew Stuckey had been there. I guess Stuckey is an idiot after all. But the real shocker was Benson taking some real chances with Stabler’s life. In my opinion, her ruse to reel in Stuckey and gain his trust not only gave Stuckey more time to kill Stabler, but also she seemed to be giving him more of an excuse to kill him. What would she have done if when Stuckey put the gun back on Stabler that he didn’t shoot right away, rather than wait for her to whisper “wait” to him? Let’s not even go with the horror that I felt as I saw Benson plant that long and hard kiss on the icky Stuckey. Was it really necessary? She was already close enough, she was holding one of his hands, isn’t she trained to be able to disable him is she had at least one of his hands in her grasp? There was just something very off about that whole scenario, and I suspect it was only there so they could hype that Olivia kissed someone AND slapped someone in the same episode.

It was nice to see Munch with his wife Gwen, but I have to admit that it was just such an incredible coincidence that she would have a connection to the killer just a little too convenient.

It made no sense whatsoever why they couldn’t find a way to work Stephanie March into this episode. It’s their big finale, and we have to have her “stuck in traffic?” Please! I wonder what the big deal was with the show – or with Stephanie – that they couldn’t have her in there to do just one more scene.

The scene at Coney Island where Munch and Fin go into the dark ride wasted valuable time by showing all the “scary” things in the ride itself. It was 30 seconds that could have been spent on something else.

Personally, I think that they should have called this episode “The Kitchen Sink” because they threw everything in there BUT the kitchen sink. I think Stabler summed it up right at the end, “What a way to end.” You can say that again.

Here is the recap:

A father and daughter are rollerblading in the park. The father loses control and winds up face down over a railing and some bushes. When he comes up, he is covered with blood, but has not cuts. The daughter looks to see a dead body lying in the bushes.

Detectives Elliot Stabler (Chris Meloni) and Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay) arrive on the scene. Stabler asks annoying CSU Tech Dale Stuckey “What’s up?” and Stuckey (Noel Fisher) says there is a body in the bushes with beaucoup lacerations, her body is all cut up, and he’s going to go out onto a limb and say she was sexually assaulted. Stabler says if he goes out too far you might fall off. Stuckey says there were deep stab wounds so he thinks that is the cause of death. Benson curtly thanks Stuckey and says they will see him later. Stabler pulls out a driver’s license from the body, it is Rachel Noss from Topeka Kansas, 32 years old. She is still wearing her wedding ring, so Benson assumes it was not a robbery. Stuckey comments that this is serious overkill for an unarmed woman, and starts some wild speculating on why she was killed. Stabler says, “”Someone’s hearing zebras.” Stuckey asks if he missed something, Benson says, “Dale, did anybody ever tell you that if you hear hoof beats in Central Park, don’t think zebras?” As Stuckey sees a police officer on horseback go by, Stabler has to explain to him that it means that the answer is usually the simplest explanation – it’s a garden-variety stranger rape gone bad and the perp cut her up. Olivia moves the victim’s hand away from her forehead, and the word “GUILTY” marked in blood on her forehead. Stabler sees a pacifier in her hand, and is concerned that the woman had a baby with her.

They begin to search the area for a baby, and while they check trash bins and the bushes, they fail to see – until Stabler sees it from a distance – a stroller sitting conspicuously unattended by the opening to the tunnel.. The baby is there, safe, with the words “innocent” on the baby’s forehead in blood. Benson says, “Maybe we are looking for a zebra.”

At the hospital where the baby is being checked out, Benson and Stabler speak to Rachel’s husband, who says they are visiting there and he went to a talk on hydroponics, and she went to central park to take pictures. Benson said they didn’t find a camera, and Mr. Noss says he took pictures of them all weekend and he hadn’t downloaded them yet, and they have to find that camera.

Benson and Stabler are in the park, and Dale Stuckey shows them a bagged camera, calling it a “crappy little point-and-shoot” and said it costs more in overtime to recover than it was actually worth. Benson shows her annoyance by telling him that “Mr. Noss doesn’t care about the camera, Dale. He cares about what’s in it. CSU Tech O’Halloran (Mike Doyle) has a laptop, saying he has recovered most of the photos from the camera’s memory card. There are pictures of Evan (the baby) from in the park, and the code on the last photo was 10:17. Benson said the call to 911 was at 10:26. Benson said 9 minutes after those pictures were taken Rachel was bleeding out in the bushes. Stuckey says he wishes babies could talk, and O’Halloran says he may have someone who can. He zooms in on the photo, and they can see a parks department work crew.

Munch (Richard Belzer) and Fin (Ice-T) talk to a parks work crew supervisor, who tells them they are not employees, just public service “grunts.” He said he noticed a dog that was off the leash in that area, a white boxer he thinks was named “Minnie” but he didn’t notice any offenders of the “non-canine” variety. The morning crew is over at the boathouse painting railings, except Peter Harrison, who left early. He cut his thumb on a broken bottle in the ivy. He was bleeding like a “stuck pig” and the supervisor said he told him to keep his gloves on. Munch sees that Harrison was doing 90 hours of community service for menacing. Munch thinks this is pretty good, considering he tried to push a woman off a subway platform. Fin asks for his address.

Stabler and Benson arrive at the residence of Peter Harrison (Nick Stahl.) Stabler announces they are the police and to open up, but Harrison asks if they have a warrant. Benson makes up a story about them having to check him out since he was injured doing court ordered service and they need to assess his injury, and Harrison opens the door, leaving the chain on. Harrison shows them his thumb, which is covered with duct tape instead of a bandage. He says he ran out of band-aids and that they know that already. He is acting clearly paranoid, as he talks about their satellite surveillance and wiretaps. Stabler makes up that Harrison must know about rule 1063 , which says that any subject of intrusive police monitoring has a right to a binding cease and desist order against the department if he so chooses and sign a DD5 form. This gets Harrison out of the apartment and down to the SVU squad.

At the station, Harrison asks for the form, but Stabler stalls him. Benson asks about his menacing arrest for the woman on the subway platform, and Harrison called her an “operative.” He says the woman was trying to push him and he had a right to defend himself. Stabler asks if the woman in the park today had threatened him, and he said she was taking his picture and she was going to upload it into a database and geotag it, and he can’t let his location be compromised. He is clearly paranoid. He said he searched for a wire or transmitters, and he ordered her to abort the mission. Harrison’s lawyer Julia Zimmer (Kelly Bishop) enters, and tells the detective she is aborting this interrogation. When she moves to take Harrison out, he says he has to sign the form DD5. But the form inside Stabler’s folder is a restaurant menu. Harrison says they tricked him, and asks them, “Who are you people?” Zimmer says her client has nothing further to say. Benson says they don’t need him to say anything, they have a warrant.

In Harrison’s apartment, Munch, Fin, and Stuckey search for clues. His apartment is very sparse. Munch finds some information on his computer which shows Harrison’s paranoia. Fin looks in his closet and finds 5 shirts and 5 pants, but 6 pairs of shoes. They assume Harrison got rid of one set of clothes because that is what he was wearing when he killed Rachel. Fin asks why he kept the shoes, and Munch suspects it’s because nobody would look inside. Fin looks in and finds a bloody knife.

At the lab, O’Halloran says the blood belongs to the victim, and Stabler begins to say “bing bang…” but O’Halloran doesn’t let him finish, saying, ‘Don’t…say it. Please.” O’Halloran also found cast off blood on the shoe. Stabler says “Harrison’s toast” but Harrison’s lawyer Zimmer overhears and tells Stabler that he interrogated a mentally ill man incompetent to waive his rights. She said she came down to make sure they didn’t play it fast and loose with the evidence as they did the confession. O’Halloran says they don’t play, and they have the victim’s DNA all over Harrison’s knife. She asks to see the paperwork. O’Halloran says a diminished capacity argument can’t exclude blood evidence. Zimmer sees that contamination well, noticing that evidence from the murder scene and from Harrison’s apartment were listed under the same voucher number and that’s a big no-no. Stabler and O’Halloran look at the paperwork, and see everything is logged under voucher 11692. O’Halloran says, “Stuckey.” Zimmer says it looks like he commingled the evidence, meaning the DNA on the knife could have come from cross contamination, which means her client waltzes right out the door. As Zimmer leaves, telling them both to “sleep tight,” Stabler says to O’Halloran, “I’m gonna kill him.” O’Halloran responds “I’ll dump the body.” Stabler says he will try and save the case.

There is a knock on a door, and Judge Donnelly (Judith Light) opens up, in her bathrobe, asking if the person knows that time it is. She sees Stabler standing there. Stabler apologizes and says this is not a social call, handing Donnelly her the newspaper. She says then this is highly improper, and a pity. Stabler cites a case – Donnelly corrects it as a hypothetical one – where a defense is going to twist an error in paperwork to suggest DNA contamination at the lab. She asks if he wants to know if she would fall for it. He says, “Hypothetically.” She tells him that his problem is much bigger than he thinks. His squad’s work relies on DNA, and the “shoddy paperwork” would be disastrous. Stabler says, “Overturned convictions” to which Donnelly says, “Hundreds of them. Hypothetically.” She tells him to talk to Cabot before he goes any further, and to ask himself if getting this perp is worth setting a lot of guilty ones free.

In arraignment court, Stuckey insists to Stabler and Benson that he did not contaminate the evidence. He said he made a bonehead mistake but he raises his voice, saying that he didn’t. Donnelly tells them to simmer down. Peter Harrison is being arraigned for one count of murder. Alex Cabot not there, substitute ADA Kristin Torres says Cabot is stuck in traffic. The defense moved to dismiss the complaint based on contaminated evidence. Torres said that Cabot had no objections, and told her to ask for leave to represent when they develop new evidence. Donnelly dismisses the case without prejudice. But Stuckey shouts out that she can’t dismiss, Harrison is guilty. She says, “You must be Dale Stuckey.” He says he is good at his job, and she tells him he is out of order and seriously deluded. If this was his idea of a good job he is in the wrong line of work.. But Stuckey says she doesn’t know him, and she says she doesn’t care to and tells him to sit down and shut up. She tells Harrison he is free to go, and he tells Donnelly she is a “lone beacon of hope in the struggle against global mind control.” She tells him to save it, and he’s a murder walking on a technicality, and if it were up to her he’d be in the nuthouse where he belonged. But Stuckey blurts out that she is the nut for letting him go. Benson and Stabler, stunned, look over to him, and Donnelly has the look of incredulity, asking if everyone is crazy today. She calls for a 5 minute recess, adding “People, take your meds!” Zimmer, says. ‘Thanks Dale, we couldn’t have done it without you.” Stabler tells Harrison they will be watching him, and Harrison says, “Who isn’t?”

As Benson and Stabler leave the courthouse, Stuckey calls out after them as he races down the courthouse steps. Stabler berates him for screwing up the case. He says he didn’t do anything wrong, and Stabler says everything with him is “I, I, me, me ” and that he is selfish. He adds he is going to do everything he can to get him run out of CSU and sent to the motor pool where the only thing he can screw up is an oil change. He says he didn’t mean for this to happen, and Benson puts her hand on his shoulder, saying everybody screws up and they will try to find a way to fix it. He asks how, as he sees Harrison walk away. She tells him Harrison has a shadow, and we see Munch and Fin following him.

Munch and Fin follow Harrison to Coney Island, where they proceed to lose him in a darkened horror ride.

Back at the SVU squad, Stabler can’t believe they lost him. Benson says they have half of Brooklyn south is out looking for him and they will find him. But Dr. Huang (B.D. Wong) says it won’t be easy, Harrison has a lot of practice shaking tails. He is a paranoid and used to the persecution. When Benson brings up Rachel Noss, Huang adds that persecutory delusions are rarely limited to the life of those suffering. Since they can’t tail him for 24 hours, Benson suggests they pick him up on a mental hygiene warrant, and Huang says he knows a few sympathetic judges who would civilly commit Harrison. But Capt. Cragen (Dann Florek) enters and says that is too late for that, Munch and Fin found another victim.

Back at Coney Island, there is another body located, the clothes slashed and the person knifed to death with the label of guilty on her head, the same as Harrison’s first victim. Stuckey, also on the scene, finds a can with a bloody thumbprint on it.

Back at the lab, Stuckey is checking out the thumbprint, and when he sees it is Harrison, he says, “Harrison’s your man. Bing bang bong.” Now all they have to do is find him. Stuckey had pulled information from Harrison’s computer from a web site “” where it seems the paranoid crazies hang out and where Harrison bragged about how he stopped the NYPD. But Munch notices a familiar screen name that made comments on the site, “gwendolynoftheshadows” who tells Harrison if he needs help he knows how to contact her. Munch says, “so do I.” He knows her from another site on JFK assassination. He says he would prefer to talk to her in person and he knows where Gwen logs on to the internet.

At the Overthrow Bookstore, Munch meets with Gwen (Carol Kane), who is happy to see him. She hasn’t seen him on the JFK board, and he says he is retired but he is working to expose the truth. But she also seems very paranoid. He mentions Peter Harrison, and says he met him long before. She says he knows too much. Munch calls out to Fin who is looking at books that this is a private conversation, and Fin walks off. Gwen says he always made her feel safe. He says he really needs to contact Peter, saying that Peter said that he trust her, that she is the only one on that gets him. She says he’s right, they won’t let Peter be silenced, he has followers. She asks Munch why he wants to find him, but Munch says he can’t say he doesn’t want to risk putting her in danger, he asks him to trust him, she knows him and what they meant to each other. She tells him about an empty store at 88th and Broadway and Peter rents the basement and he made it into a safe room. She tells Munch that she is thinking of going back on her medication so they can be together again. He says, “Goodbye Gwen, I gotta go.” She begs him not to leave her, but he continues to pull away. As Munch walks off and catches up with Fin, Fin says, “Sly dog, making moves on looney lady.” Munch responds, “She’s my ex-wife.”

At Harrison’s Broadway location, Stabler and Fin are there, Fin asking Harrison to show himself, Stabler calling out that he is cornered. Harrison is hiding behind metal shelving and pushes it onto the detectives. Pete tells them that the judge told them to leave him alone, but Stabler says “not before you killed that girl on Coney Island.” He says he didn’t kill anyone there. Fin says they have his fingerprints. He says he didn’t do it, and he didn’t kill them, they did it to themselves. Pete pulls onto a lever and dumps a barrel of a liquid into a tub, and a cloud of gas forms. Stabler helps Fin get out as they are being overcome by fumes.

Later, Stabler asks Fin if he is all right, and Fin quips “Ten years in the car with Munch I’ve smelled a lot worse. “ The CSU people are on the scene, and find that the fumes were caused by two chemicals mixing together, hydrogen sulfide, made by mixing toilet bowl cleaner and other household products. O’Halloran found his escape route, a hole in the wall, with a ladder to a sewer grate in the street. Stabler knows someone who may help find Harrison.

Stabler and Benson are at Julia Zimmer’s office, but and Benson asks her to break attorney/client privilege. But Zimmer isn’t buy it, telling them if he contacts her she will urge him to turn himself in, but meanwhile she will do her job and they should do theirs. She adds that Harrison has never been this delusional before, she’s tried to get him on meds but he refuses. She has know him since he was 17, his parents were killed in a plane crash and she represented him in the civil suit and got him a good settlement. She was his trustee until he turned 21. Benson tries to play on Zimmer’s maternal instincts, but Zimmer says she wants to help as he is a danger to himself and the community, but as his lawyer she can’t betray his confidence. Benson asks if there is anyone he would turn to for help whose hands are not tied, and Zimmer says before he got sick, Peter was at the Gotham School of Fine Arts and was close to Professor Edgar Rodzinski.

They head over to the Gotham School and talk to Rodzinski (Ronald Guttman). He says he has not seen Peter in months. He knew his illness was getting worse because of how his work looked and Peter continued to paint. They look at some of Harrison’s disturbing paintings and collages, that are in his studio. Harrison became obsessed after 9/11 and conspiracy theories took over. Benson finds one painting that has yesterday’s newspaper headlines in it.

Manhandling the painting in the SVU squad, Stuckey comments out loud about how this is better than the confession Benson and Stabler didn’t get. He sees them and begins to comment on the images in the painting and how it relates to the murder, saying one thing is obviously a knife. Stabler, annoyed, says “You’re obviously in the wrong building. “ Fin says “Stuckey’s solving our crime for us,” Munch adding, “As usual.” Stuckey says it is clear, but Stabler tells him to put it down before he contaminates more evidence. He says one of the pictures in the collage of a young beauty queen looks like Liv, a little younger. Stabler gets irate and grabs Stuckey by the neck, saying “You are an obnoxious little jackhole.” Cragen walks up and tells Stabler to let him go. Stabler tells him to “get outta here.” Stuckey pushed Cragen on the shoulder and says that Stabler just assaulted him and he has to write him up. Cragen says, “Only one getting a rip around here it you, Dale.” Dale says Stabler just accosted him. Cragen says, “If Elliot puts your head through a wall I’m gonna have to do a lot of tiresome paperwork. Get out of my squad.” Benson has just received a call and puts it on speaker. They overhear Julie Zimmer trying to calm Harrison. Cragen tells them to go.

The arrive at Zimmer’s office as Harrison is in a paranoid rant. They burst in, Stabler knocking down and restraining Harrison. Zimmer said Harrison showed up out of control, showing her a newspaper headline saying “Madman on the lose” with Harrison’s mug shot. Benson says tomorrow it will say the city is safe again. Harrison yells to Zimmer that she is a traitor and deceiver, saying she will pay and all deceivers will pay.

In the parking garage, Stabler loads Harrison into their car, and Zimmer says she will meet them there. But as Stabler and Benson drive off, Zimmer starts her car and is engulfed by fumes. She can’t get out of the car as the locks will not unlock. She honks her horn, and Stabler drives back. Benson attempts to open the doors with no luck, and Stabler breaks open the window with what looks like a golf club. But they are too late, Zimmer is dead. Harrison screams, “Death to all betrayers! All of them!”

Later, with police and CSU on the scene, Stabler tells a police officer to take Harrison to Bellevue. O’Halloran tells them the car had the same set up to create the chemicals as Stabler and Fin saw in Harrison’s hide out. It was hardwired to the ignition, and it also shorted out the locks to the car doors. Stabler sees the word “guilty” written on her mirror. They suspect that Harrison felt Zimmer betrayed her and he may have rigged something for other people who he felt also betrayed him. Stabler will have Munch pick up Gwen, and they will to get Rodzinski.

In the SVU squad, Gwen and Rodzinski are in a conference room. Munch enter and thanks the professor for coming in. He tells Gwen this is for her own safety, but she is very suspicious, and says friends don’t lie to each other or drag them off the street to lock them up. She slaps him hard on his face. She says, “You’re nothing to me anymore, John. Do you hear me? You’re nothing!” She throws her coffee at him as he walks off. Fin says, “Clean up on aisle three!” Munch tells him she is just scared. Stabler says they haven’t; found any other bobby traps. Benson says she fells sorry for Gwen, and Munch says yeah she married him. But Benson says no, it’s for the nightmare she is trapped in – in her head. Fin asks if her sympathy extends to Harrison, and she said if he didn’t murder everyone who looked the wrong way. Stabler gets a call from O’Halloran, who says he wants to “bug” them.

They head to the lab, and O’Halloran tells them there was a mosquito in Zimmer’s car, gassed to death, that may have the blood of the killer in its stomach. He is working to confirm the DNA. He also said the perp scribbled more than they thought, he didn’t see it until he took the mirror off the car. It said “One down, three to go.” They think Harrison is out for revenge, the first was the lawyer and then Gwen and Rodzinski. But this leaves one more, and they believe it to be Judge Donnelly.

They head over to her place, and they are checking out her place. Donnelly says they should yank Harrison out of jail so she could kick his ass herself, and adds they didn’t hear any of that. O’Halloran says the bomb squad says her place is clear. Stuckey says they even flushed the HVAC system to make sure he didn’t screw with the air. O’Halloran tells him to put it all back the way he found it. O’Halloran says he has to get back the lab and finish on the bug, which makes Stuckey ask if they mean a listening device. Benson tells him about the mosquito. As they try to convince Donnelly to go to a hotel, she says he home is safe. She sits down and yells “Ow!” and says that something stuck her. She begins to feel sick. Benson finds a syringe in the seat cushion and says she got a whole dose. Stabler carries her out and they race to take her to Mercy Hospital.

At Mercy, Stabler puts Donnelly on a gurney and the doctor says she is coding. Donnelly has been stabilized and she will be OK, she is sedated, There was potassium chloride in the syringe, the same drug used for lethal injections. Stabler tells Benson that O’Halloran is almost done with the DNA, and Benson tells him to go, she wants to stay with Donnelly for a bit.

At the lab, O’Halloran hears a knock and tells Stabler he is in there. But someone grabs his arm and sticks a knife into his chest. O’Halloran collapses to the floor and dies. Stabler then calls out to O’Halloran, and getting no answer, looks at his computer screen. He sees Stuckey’s face on the screen as the match for the DNA in the mosquito. He looks down on the floor and see O’Halloran lying there dead. Someone knocks Stabler out. It’s Dale Stuckey. He takes Stabler's gun and cell phone, which is ringing. It is Olivia. When asks where is Elliott, Stuckey says he went out for bite to eat and left his phone. He said the DNA hasn’t popped yet. He says Stabler won’t be long, he went to get sushi. After he hangs up, he drags Stabler away.

Later, Stabler comes too and sees Stuckey looking at him, Stuckey saying Stabler didn’t think he could do anything right. When Stabler asks what he has done, Stuckey questioned why he hasn’t already figured that out. Stuckey takes the knife out of O’Halloran’s chest, and Stabler says Stuckey tried to kill Donnelly and he gassed Zimmer. Stuckey says he killed O’Halloran too and now Stabler. He cuts at Stabler’s chest, complaining that Stabler should not have been mean to him and they were always making fun of what he did or said. He said he was trying to help the case as Harrison was bad man and should be in jail. He admits he screwed up a bit. Stabler states that Stuckey followed Munch and Fin to Coney Island and murdered that other woman. Stuckey says he put the thumbprint on the soda can to get Harrison. Stabler finishes the thought saying that this was so Harrison could go back to jail and Stuckey would be forgiven. Stuckey claps and says “Yay!!!! Now you’re figuring it out. Now you’re a detective.” Stabler reminds him that Harrison is in jail and that they can’t pin any of this on him. Stuckey continues to cut at Stabler, saying that one of Harrison’s paranoid pals could be implicated once he gets rid of the mosquito. But Stabler asks what makes him think that is the only evidence. Stuckey continues to be upset that everyone thinks he is stupid. Stabler asks if Stuckey is going to kill everyone who hurt his feelings. Stuckey covers Stabler's mouth with duct tape, and Stuckey says he has been a very busy little zebra. He continues to cut at Stabler as Stabler cries out.

Benson arrives at the lab and calls out to Stabler. She sees him, but Stuckey has hidden. Stabler tries to signal to her. Stuckey pulls the gun on her and tells her not to move. He tells her to put the gun down and she complies. He asks what she is doing there, and doesn’t want to have to hurt her too but he doesn’t have much of a choice, she has seen a little much. Benson begs him to calm down, sans says he did good. She comes up with the story she can tell Cragen to cover for them. She begins to work a head game on him, making him think that she can’t stand Stabler and she would be happy with him out of the way. She goes so far as to slap Stabler repeatedly, calling him a prick, saving “Liv do this! Liv do that!” as she hit him. She takes off the duct tape, and says she is sick of it and wants to hear him scream. Stabler tells her not to touch him. Stuckey tells them to both shut up, but then tells Benson to hit Stabler again. He says, “Don’t do it bitch” but she slaps him anyway. She yells, “No more orders out of you pal.” But Stuckey is not falling for it. She says if he knew half of what “this prick” has done, and somebody needs to take him out, she just didn’t know he felt the same way she did. Stabler tells Stuckey that Benson will turn on him too, and Stuckey hits Stabler. Benson says, “When this sonofabitch is out of the picture, I’m gonna need a new partner.’ When Stuckey asks what about Cragen, Benson tells him she has Cragen wrapped around her little finger, and the same goes with Munch and Fin. If she says the word, he will be it. She says she and Stuckey “get each other” and they are “connected.” She holds his hand. He says, “Let’s take care of the third wheel” and moves the gun onto Stabler. But Benson whispers “wait a second.” Benson says she wants him to watch, and when Stuckey asks “watch what?” Benson moves in closer and kisses Stuckey. She moves her hands to his face, and turns his back to Stabler. Stabler kicks Stuckey between the legs, and Benson knocks Stuckey out cold. She releases Stabler. He asks, “How’d you know?” Benson says that “Stuckey says you went to get sushi. You and raw fish? “ They look down to O’Hallloran’s body, and then to Stuckey. Stabler quips, “What a way to end” as we fade to black.

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samfan said...

I totally agree it was awful. Pure and simple.

Melanie Atkins said...

What I didn't get was that once Liv realized Stuckey was lying about El going to have sushi with O'Hallaron because he hates raw fish, she still came to the lab ALONE. No way would that really happen. She would have had backup, and they would have cleared the room immediately instead of her running up to El like she did. Bleh.

John K. said...

Well, at least, you can't say anyone saw it coming. I think it's the first time that an unpopular but recurring law enforcement character snapped like that in the franchise. It's nice that they subverted the formula, but, yeah..., epic fail sums it up.

Anyhoo, I need a mini-transcription, where Munch and Gwen in their first scene, where they are discussing Homeland Security and the water supply. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Do you like any episode of SVU?? I liked it...yes I would have made a few changes but I thought it was good.

Goodness people....

Anonymous said...

I thought the episode was overall good and entertaining, but to each his own I guess.

samfan said...

I like most SVU episodes, but this season they have just had bad story lines or they had to bring in a bad character. Some SVU's I have liked this year, but not a lot of them. They have just had too much drama between the main characters, and not great stories, or at least not great special victim's stories. I loved SVU in the previous season's, they always had a strong cast, and fantastic stories, but maybe this was just an "off" year for them, and I think every show has had those. I think that SVU, and I hope, that they will have some great stories, and stick with the great cast that they have.

JB said...

I totally agree with everything you said; this episode was simply awful. I can't think of anything good to say about it beyond Stuckey is finally gone.

Andrew said...

The stuff with Munch's ex was my least favorite part of the episode. They took a character who on Homicide had been written as a completely normal character and made her into a complete nutcase. It was complete character assassination.

Shelly said...

Thank you so much for saying what we were thinking as we watched last night... awful really does sum it up. I'm not sure why they thought we would buy Stuckey as a cold-blooded murderer. Before last night, he was seen as a pain in the butt, and dorky, but not a killer. I couldn't make that leap at all. And Andrew, I agree with you completely. The Gwen on Homicide was eccentric but well within "normal"... What was even the point of inviting Carol Kane to be a part of that mess? Very disapppointing.

I like SVU too, and I hate that I didn't like this episode, or quite a few others this season to be honest. The episode with the animals (when Elliott was shot one day and seemingly the next was chasing around after the perp) was just silly, and the scene (it might have been in the same episode?) where Olivia pretends to be El's hooker made me realize this show either needs a fresh approach, or they should send it down the river.

Add to that the couple times I can remember (and there were probably more) when Olivia just makes a bad move, police-wise. The scene in last night's episode when she shows up at the lab without backup is one, and then the scene where she's a hooker, when El is undercover and she just shows up, unannounced, because Kathy can't reach him. Come on... Olivia USED to have more brains than that....

Shelly said...

Sorry, just one more thing. Am I the only one who thought Judge Donnelly was almost flirting with El when he showed up at her house? I'm going to have to re-watch the scene, but didn't he say something (paraphrasing from memory here) that he was there for official business, and she said... too bad?

Maybe I read that scene all wrong but it struck me as odd the way she talked to him...

Anonymous said...

"Awful" is a generous way to describe this episode to say the least. What has happened to this show? Discounting the overall weak dialogue and nonsensical plot, here were the biggest problems with the episode:

1. "ADA Cabot is stuck in traffic." What a cop-out. What a waste of a good character this season, and this means we get, at least for now, no resolution to Cabot's ongoing plotline. I hope the producers do everything they can to hire Stephanie March back for next season.

2. Weak set pieces (Munch and Fin on a carnival ride...Really?), bad dialogue jokes, and a cackling villain more suited to CSI: Miami than L&O.

3. How did a deranged man like Stuckey make it to CSU in the first place? I know the techs aren't uniformed police but they do have to pass the same exams and psychiatric evaluations. Even in these times I assume the NYPD wouldn't be that desperate for manpower.

The worst part of it all, though, is that this episode really distills everything that's gone wrong with SVU in the past couple of years. One of the key components of L&O as a whole - and to me one of the main draws of the series and franchise - has been the cohesion throughout the L&O 'canon' - that all the shows shared a certain realism, maturity, and stylistic and tonal consistency that lent them credibility because they seemed like part of a living, breathing, ongoing universe. Beyond the five core L&Os, Homicide, and The Wire, even the L&O-verse shows that weren't about police (St. Elsewhere, Deadline), or the ones that had an ironic sense of humor about them - like In Plain Sight and Miami Vice - had an undercurrent of grittiness that tied them all together. SVU has abandoned that completely, sidelining the procedural format and going instead for shock, stunt casting, and outlandish plotlines to the point that it might as well take place on another planet. Remember why fans don't consider 'Conviction' to be L&O canon? SVU is showing the same symptoms of that mercifully canceled show.

If I were Dick Wolf, it would be clear to me what I would do to fix SVU:

1. Fire Neal Baer and the current writing supervisor, Daniel Truly, and replace them with Michele Fazekas and Tara Butters, the two deputy producers from SVU's best era (seasons 3-5). Fazekas and Butters' current show, Reaper, has just been canceled anyway - seems like an omen to me.

2. Pare down the cast to just Stabler, Benson, Fin, Munch (now as captain), and Cabot. Give Cragen a big retirement send-off or something, but the show needs a smaller cast so that all the characters can be covered and developed throughout the season. This was one thing that the producers promised at the end of last season - with the removal of the Chester Lake character - but quickly ignored, as usual.

3. Make more use of the across-shows L&O 'pool' of secondary characters (judges, defense attorneys, the Doctors - Rodgers, Olivet, Skoda) and have another crossover with CI the original L&O - apart from McCoy's brief appearance last year, the last time that happened was four years ago. Lupo and Bernard would scare the SVU squad into shape pretty quick.

My rant is ended for now, but the disappointment will stay - I'm hoping tonight's L&O season finale will soon do something to quell my anger. To close, I will say that in between insulting the audience, ignoring the characters, and making the writers look almost incompetent, the only person who got anything positive out of the SVU season finale was Noel Fisher - If I were him, I would have happily agreed to shoot that last scene for free.

Anonymous said...

I think that the previous episode should have been the season finale instead of this one. The previous episode returned to the kind of wry, "noir" feel of the early SVU episodes rather than the comic-book or James Bond adventures that we see in episodes like this one or the animal episode.

Stuckey reminds me of a of police technician propaganda pamphlet I once read about what would happen if you let civilians work as CSIs.

While I am on Liz Donnelly, tell me, who in New York City would answer their door, in their bathrobe without looking through the peephole to see who it was? She sure seemed surprised it was Stabler at her door

I think she was surprised in the sense that it was a surprise that a cop would just appear at a judge's door.

. What I found worse with this episode is that despite the fact that he screwed up a case, they continued to let him work it. In fact, there seemed to be no visible repercussions from his screw up with the evidence

To be perfectly fair, Stuckey's mistake was one of the lesser sins that a police officer could make. Cops in this show in particular seem to be a little fuzzy on police procedure. How often have they lost a confession or their physical evidence over something even more egregrious than a filing system mistake?

Conor said...

Not sure if you saw this:

Thanks for the review, it was interesting. I totally agree with you on many things.
A.) I really liked O'Halloran too, I thought he played his character well.
B.)I was so relieved to see Stockey was the "bad guy"....I hated him so much
C.) The kiss with Olivia made me hate her even more! She has allows been so annoying to me.

Anonymous said...

3. How did a deranged man like Stuckey make it to CSU in the first place? I know the techs aren't uniformed police but they do have to pass the same exams and psychiatric evaluations. Even in these times I assume the NYPD wouldn't be that desperate for manpower.

Actually, in New York (one of the few jurisdictions to do this) members of CSU are part of the Detectives bureau. While I agree they aren't uniformed police, you could really say the same about all of the police characters in SVU. They're still cops even if they don't wear blue and they are subject to the battery that you mentioned to ensure that they are fit. I think a more realistic (and timely) twist would be to have Stuckey tamper with physical evidence. That's actually something a CSU technician might do and it's a lot less comic-booky than what he actually did.

All Things Law and Order said...

I've received quite a few direct emails on thie episode and the feedback is overwhelmingly negative about Zebras. Now I don't feel so bad about what I wrote. I actually watched it twice just to be sure that I wasn't being too hard in it.

The more I thought about it, the more I was maybe even a little upset at seeing O'Halloran's death. It was also sad that they just stood there and looked at his body and then Stabler ended with that lame line. O'Halloran deserved better.

John, there was really only one line on the Homeland Security issue, so I have a few lines before and after John's line itself:

Munch: I hear they got to Peter Harrison.

Gwen: You know Peter?

Munch: I met him last year in the village at a talk he was giving on Homeland Security’s plans for our water supply.

Gwen: Yeah. He knows too much. That’s why they’re after him.

Munch (to Fin): This is a private conversation.

Gwen: You always made me feel safe, John.

OK, that's it. I've been out for a good part of the day and I still have 167 (!) emails in my inbox to go through. Whew! I hope the mothership finale is better.

Lisa R. said...

Sheesh! I haven't seen any episodes this year with the Stuckey character, but this one episode was enough! Hated his whiny, obnoxious 'character' from the get go. what has happened to SVU? I chuckles and revulsion with the last scene. Where's the drama gone?

Please Mothership, don't let me down with your finale!

All Things Law and Order said...

By the way Shelly, it wasn't just you. I also thought Donnelly was flirting with Stabler. I don't know why, but it just seemed a little icky to me.

Jachelle said...

Let me preface by saying I really do like SVU. This last season there have been quite a few so-so episodes but there have also been some real gems. I liked most of last nights episode-lots of Finn and Munch. My opinion of Dale Stucky-most annoying character ever, however my opinion of Noel Fisher-very good actor. When he was in Judge Donnelly's courtroom, you could just see him melting down and becoming just as mentally unstable as Harrison.

The thing I found just awful was the denouement. I actually laughed out loud when Olivia was slapping Elliot and pretending to hate him. It was the most ridiculous ending I could imagine. The other thing that annoyed me was all the hype about a beloved character being killed in the finale making it sound like it was a principal character like Munch or Finn.

I also wondered if they had planned this all along or if they just cobbled the story together to get rid of an annoying character like they did with Adam Beach's Chester Lake.

All Things Law and Order said...

You know Jachelle, I wondered also if this was the plan with Stuckey all along, but then I felt more strongly that they may have taken this option once they didn't get a very good response from fans about the character. If fans would have taken to liking him, I am sure they would have kept him on and made someone else the killer. That's just my guess. I don't know why, but I just can't give them credit for having the foresight with the story line that far in advance to hire Fisher in order to make Stuckey be the killer in the finale.

They really did do a good job in hyping the finale and I give them credit for doing that and delivering a large number of viewers, But, it may have backfired if people were turned off by the cheesy episode and decide not to watch the show next season. I love it when a show gets hyped and then the episode delivers. In this case, the episode just didn't live up to the hype.

A. Lowe said...

Just about everything bad about this AWFUL, check that God-AWFUL, episode of SVU has been said, but to pile on some more, lets speculate that Stuckey got to clean up all his mess in the lab at the end of the episode....the entire scene he had bare hands, fingerprints just bothered me that even in this horrendous episode with a ridiculously bad storyline there wasn't even presence of mind by show workers to have him wear gloves. Even when he killed O'Halloran, no gloves.

BlackTsunami said...

I'm sorry but I loved the episode. I did not see the ending with Stuckey coming. Although for my money, Ballerina was the best episode of the season. Expect Emmy nominations for Carol Burnett and Matthew Lilard.

Anonymous said...

The more I thought about it, the more I was maybe even a little upset at seeing O'Halloran's death. It was also sad that they just stood there and looked at his body and then Stabler ended with that lame line. O'Halloran deserved better.

Yeah, I mean why not just have Stabler say something like, "Looks like Stuckey STUCK him, huh huh guys huh?"

One thing about Law and Order that I liked was that they always took murder and mayhem seriously. The characters always had gallows humor but they didn't just brush it off.

Anonymous said...

I guess I am in the minority here..I liked the episode. I have read everyone's comments here and you badmouth this show like you can do a better job..if so..GET A JOB WRITING FOR THIS SHOW.

Anyway, I liked the episode...glad Stuckey is gone...GLAD they didn't kill of Stabler as he is my fav and I am looking forward to the 11th season/

Andrew said...

I guess I am in the minority here..I liked the episode. I have read everyone's comments here and you badmouth this show like you can do a better job..if so..GET A JOB WRITING FOR THIS SHOW.

Rather then saying that our opinions are invalid because we're not TV writers, which also renders your opinion equally invalid by the way, why don't you actually defend the episode and explain why you disagree.

Anonymous said...

I liked the episode because I didn't see the end coming. I didn't expect Stuckey to go off the way he did....when they said a killer would take revenge on one of their own I thought it would have been the crazy loon who killed the girl in the park. I think the dynamic that Stabler and Benson have is amazing...Stabler knew Benson was playing Stuckey the whole time and her slapping Stabler around...I thought that was sort of funny but also showed how perfect they are together. The story was good. I liked the episode.

Natalia Shirley said...

Shocking. And not in the freaky 'Oh my god Andrew McCarthy tortured that girl and left her in that box under the bed' way, but in a ' Why don't Hagitay and Meloni just escape while they still can' way.
It wasn't even a sex crime and the lab tech assistant introduced about four or so episodes before seems eerily similar the storyline with Chip on NCIS. As much as I love SVU, I must agree that this episode what indeed somewhat awful, for the reasons you've already pointed out.
Usually its a slap in the face, hard hitting sex crimes which leave you feeling uncomfortable, but in awe of the talent in the show, however this time it was merely a slap in the face which made me wonder how the show got to be this low.

Monique said...

ergh could you make it ANY more obvious that svu is your least favourite of the law and order franchise. just so you know, we all get it! no need to reinforce it with EVERY review.. maybe you should just make this "allthingslawandorderbutimreallyjustbaggingoutsvuallthetimebecauseiminlovewithpatheticcriminalintent"

Anonymous said...

Whoa this ep was just brutal. How could they kill O'Hallaran? I thought he was a great addition to the team. The whole Munch/Gwen thing seemed forced and rewrote the Gwen character from HLOTS. I too thought there was a little more to the Donnelly/Stabler thing. It seemed that there had been a previous relationship other than just on a professional level. And who in their right mind would go check to see if everyhing was all right without backup?

By the way, your reviews have been right on the $$$$. This season on SVU it's been rather hit and miss. People have been dissing the mothership and CI, when both these shows have been consistently better written, acted and executed than SVU of late. Better written stories that don't stretch the imagination go a long way.

Here's hoping for a better new season in a new time slot.


Anonymous said...

well, from reading the comments i must say that its not so bad of an ep....I look at svu, and even l&o and CI, as either you love whats going on in the episode, or you don't. not every ep is going to be that big hit and push, that your going to love it upon first viewing.

Lets face it, all of the shows need that one ep that pushes the envelope, granted in the last few years svu has gone shock value, and not stuck to its roots that made it great in first 5 or 6 seasons....but every show, needs that viewer pull....that hook, to get people to stick around.

I say to each there own, granted i think i loved the 2 minute recap of the majority of the ep's this season than the actual 45 min show its self....but i still appreciate aspects of the ep. did i love it? no, and even repeated viewings of it isn't gonna make me love it.

face it....every show has a downfall, has an off year, and needs a change. law and order isn't perfect, CI, and SVU not perfect...isn't that why we've had cast changes, time changes, writer changes, and line up changes?

hopefully they can sort this all out come next season. and deliver something worth actually watching, and not reading the next day reviews, because viewers know its gonna be a let down

Anonymous said...

I agree with you don't have to SHOVE it down our throats that every review of SVU you I said try writing an episode of your own and see what review YOUR going to get. It wasn't the worst episode EVER...yes they could have changed a few things but all in and all it was pretty good. Anyway, to each their own AND I am sure all the Law & Order shows have the same writers.

Anonymous said...

Doesn't each series have it's own show runners and writers? I know that Balcer is currently running things on CI and has written a few eps. I remember that Warren Leight used to run things over at the mothership, but he's left and now is running "In Treatment" on HBO. Neal Baer is he running SVU? I don't tivo this show so I can't go back to check.

I enjoy SVU, though I usually don't watch on the premiere night because of other programming on at that time. But I can see how they've gotten away from what made the show great. They've been pretty good of late but not enough to make me say, wow that was a great ep. I can say that with both CI and the mothership.

John K. said...

Thanks for the transcription. Huggles.

I'll say more on the show runners and the writers, whenever I have the time.


The motherships' episodes have been consistantly bad these past few seasons...I really dislike the two main actors...GET ON MY NERVES to the highest extreme. SVU has been consistant with their lead actors and the chemistry they have and that is why I enjoy SVU more. Yes some episodes haven't been the greatest..the first 6 sesons were better BUT I think NBC and Dick Wolf need to invest in new writers but all in all its still a good show. I think all these shows have been on for a long time and its hard keeping the mojo going in the storylines.

All Things Law and Order said...

Monique - I call them as I see them. SVU has not been very strong this season, while L&O and even CI seems to be keeping it simple and providing many more interesting and credible stories.

L&O and CI have also had weak seasons, this past season it wa just not that great for SVU. I think the show needs to look back at their first few seasons and try to recapture the grittiness and the drama that the show had then. We need less stunts like "Wildlife" where they made an excuse for Chris to be shirtless with Mariska in her bra, and the kiss between Mariska and Stuckey, etc. It really seems to cheapen the show.

Anonymous said...

All things Law & ORder I think you just have to respect other people's opinions...we know you dislike SVU but other may still like it regardless of the weak season. I have disliked the original Law & Order for a few years now and totally stopped watching it. I am not going to start watching it because you gave one episode a good review and I am not going to STOP watching SVU because you don't like the show. Just agree to disagree...some liked it and some didn't. IF YOU THINK you can write a better SVU episode..THEN DO SO!!! I don't think you can and that is why you run this badmouth the show.

All Things Law and Order said...

To the anonymous poster who just can't let go:

If I didn't respect the opinions of others, I would have deleted all the negative comments here, including yours. If you don't watch L&O that is fine with me. I have no desire to force anyone to watch good television if the don't want to do so.

I actually do think I could write a better episode and would be happy to do so if asked. By the way, I dislike fan fic and don't write any, so don't get any ideas that I am just some frustrated fac fic writer. I'm just a plain old writer!

Please continue to watch SVU, I have no desire to make you or anyone else stop. I am a true L&O franchise fan and will continue - as I have all these years - to watch the shows through thick and thin. That doesn't mean I give up my right to be critical when the show doesn't pass my standards.

So in the immortal words of Judge Donnelly, "People, take your meds!"


Wow...these comments have taken a turn and not for the better. I better think twice before posting again.

Shelly said...

Like a lot of you, I'm a long-time L&O franchise fan... I've watched every ep of every series in the franchise. Each show (well, the ones that lasted more than one season) has had excellent seasons and others that you sort of wonder what they did with the real writers and show runners. This past season happened to be one of those for SVU.

I love the overall chemistry between Stabler and Benson, and I love watching "Munchkin" and Fin go back and forth. Those are the things that make me tune in every week. But honestly, some episodes this season have not been up to their usual standards. In reading here and on a couple of other boards, I can see that this was definitely a "love it" or "hate it" episode.

I don't know "All things" other than to read her (his?) comments and recaps. But I never get the feeling she (he?) delights in writing negative reviews. I get the sense she (he?) wishes they were all excellent all the time. But in all fairness, All Things has written negative reviews on each show this past season, not just SVU, and I think there's more of a sense of disappointment rather than happiness when a negative review is necessary.

"going to take meds now*

Canadian Gal said...

Its just a show people calm life this season has had its ups and downs..I enjoyed the ups and lived through the downs. I liked the season finale. Looking forward to Season 11..hope Meloni comes back for Season 11 but I will understand if he doesn't.

All Things Law and Order said...

Hey Shelly - I am a "she" - just to clarify.

I am going to take some meds myself. I have a splitting migraine. Three recaps in one week is too much for my feeble brain to handle!

Shelly said...

Thanks "All Things"... I realized as I was typing that I wasn't sure, and certainly didn't want to call you an "it"... lol...

Btw, I'm glad I'm not the only one who raised an eyebrow at the scene between Judge Donnelly and Stabler at her apartment door. I thought maybe it was just me. I hope they follow through on that next season so we don't let our imaginations run wild.

Anonymous said...

To ReaperDMV: Sorry if I jumped the gun yesterday by saying that Reaper had been canceled - I just go by what I've read in the trade publications and they all say the show is done. Best of luck with your attempt at keeping it on the air.

Though we've had a day to calm down - and this has been nearly talked to death already - I feel I have to respond to those who have accused 'All Things Law and Order' and some of the commenters here of 'hating' SVU. Nothing could be further from the truth; if anything, as Shelly has already mentioned, we're disappointed rather than hateful. There were times when I believed that SVU was the best show in the L&O franchise, outdoing what CI and the original were producing at the time - but you can't look at 'Zebras' and honestly say it was in the same league as past episodes like 'Runaway', 'Guilt', 'Fallacy', 'Loss', or 'Ghost'. I believe that SVU has some great actors and characters, and that the show has a lot of life left in it with many more good stories to tell, but something's missing when the writers and producers go and produce episodes like 'Zebras'. If anything, we're just resentful that the show doesn't live up to its proven past potential.

The one thing that SVU still does well, of course, is really stir up emotions in its viewers and fans; that sets it apart from the rest of the franchise. This blog is proof enough of that. But you have to wonder if SVU's current writers are using it to the right end; seeing people on this blog throw around words like 'chemistry' worries me. I don't want SVU to turn into "Grey's Anatomy with detectives"; to me that dilutes the procedural element and turns the show into something that is simply not L&O. Abandoning the tradition of limiting the characters' private lives to small things that emerge relevant to the case at hand would be disastrous.

So here's to hoping SVU improves over the summer break and L&O - the franchise as a whole - benefits from a strong 'SVU' and continues to thrive. That, at least, is something we can all agree on...

Anonymous said...

the first time that an unpopular but recurring law enforcement character snapped like that in the franchise.

There were other unpopular but recurring law enforcement characters in this episode? I mean, Tony Profaci turned out to be a bad guy from the L&O and SEASON 20 FINALE SPOILERS SPOILERS Alfred Wentworth comes back as a serial killer SPOILERS SPOILERS so it's not completely unprecedented.

Anonymous said...

To "All things law and order", i just recently discovered your site and i think you do a great job with the reviews and recap. The only show from law and order that i watch is SVU, and i was wondereing do have any reviews/recaps of SVU from seasons 4 onwards

By the way my name is Daniel, but ive set my status as anonymous lol

I also hope the bring back Casey Novak- the greatest ADA ever :)

SunnyTP said...

To All Things...I am sure its not easy writing a review good or bad..I think people just like to "crap" on others...its silly but it happens on every site. ANd I guess everyone is entitled to their own opinion good or bad. My opinion of the episode is that is was good...but I understand not all will agree with me.

I agree I don't like the fan fiction of Elliot & Olivia getting together...its just stupid.

Anyway, keep up the good you get anytime off during the shows hiatus??

John K. said...

As I always say, "it's only a TV show, so you really should just relax."

Thank you, MST3K mantra.

Frankly, the series is no longer worth the outrage and rise in blood pressure. So, do what I do: pan and mock it.

All Things Law and Order said...

SunnyTP - no real time off for me, although there will be somewhat less to report, with just Criminal Intent showing new episodes. I still get a lot of info on the stars from all the shows in the franchise that I usually put on my other blog "These Are Their Stories" so that end of it will still stay busy. But I won't be as tiring during the summer with L&O and SVU not airing. The recaps can be brutal because they take so much time!

All Things Law and Order said...

Daniel, my recaps don't go back that far. I think I only started the full recap this past season, but I do have reviews and some general summaries from the previous season as well. I didn't have this blog in season 4 so I have nothing on it. Sorry!

Anonymous said...

"To all things law and order", its daniel again, thats fine. I was reading the reviews for season 10, and some of critisms i didnt agree with, but you were spot on with your critisms of greyleck and stuckey and how they sometimes overdramatise the show. I actually liked the season finale, but i found the ending way too weired, especially when liv kept hitting eliot.

You also mentioned in your review about why donnelly would open her door without checking who it is, i agree with you that in new york you should always check who it is before answering, but her street was full of people and was daylight and she does live the upper part of new york, so maybe its not too dangeorous- maybe that explain it a little lol. Also did harrison kill the first victim in the park ?
Cant wait for season 11

All Things Law and Order said...

Daniel - yes, Harrison killed the first victim in the park. He pretty much admitted it when he was in interogation with Benson and Stabler,

Anonymous said...

I think Stuckey might have killed Cabot before the arraignment. It was kind of suspicious that she wouldn't show up and be stuck in traffic.

John Stodder said...

Awful writing has overtaken what had been up til this season a fine show. Only a few episodes didn't feel forced, stagy or preposterous.

They can fix that, if they want to.

Anonymous said...

SVU has been (and hopefully will be able to remain) my favourite of the franchise because it has always pushed the personal boundaries of the characters a bit more than the other shows. That being said, there is a fine line between pushing the boundaries and just jumping right off the cliff. This episode definitely took a dive nose-first in terms of what I expect from any of the L&Os.

That being said, I neither hated nor loved this episode. It just... was. I do agree with a lot of the things "All Things Law and Order" said. Dale Stuckey has to be one of the worst plotted out characters in the franchise. He was almost unbelievably annoying and while I could see that if his only failing was making the one mistake he'd be allowed to continue, he's been mucking around with the crime scenes and evidence since day one. While I understand that O'Halloran might not be in charge of who comes and goes in the CSU staff, you'd think he'd have some recourse to get a useless burden like Stuckey out of his way. Instead, he is forced to put up with the bumbling loud-mouth.

As for how Stuckey set up Donnnely's chair... it was pretty obvious (at least to me) that he did it while he was in her house looking for the supposed bomb. My question is why neither detective got suspicious when it was revealed that she was stabbed with potassium chloride because it isn't exactly something Harrison was known to use. On the other hand, if Stuckey did have any brains, it's not too hard to believe that he'd know the correct placement of the syringe so that it would be able to deliver the full dose if sat down upon quickly. Most people sit in chairs a very similar way so it's not TOO far-fetched to think that someone with a bit of knowledge could set up an accurate poison-delivery syringe.

I also don't think it's too far-fetched that SVU took the case the whole way through because they went from rape victim to mother (SV is the child) to tracking down Harrison to trying to protect the lawyer to finding out that it was Stuckey. There wasn't much of an opportunity to hand it over to another squad and when there was (after the "second" murder), they did enlist the aid of the local precinct. Probably not accurate procedure but there have been a couple cases before that haven't perfectly fallen into the "special victim" category that the squad pursued because they were already on it.

All those nice things being said, however, I totally agree with ATL&O in terms of the sheer cartoonishness of the episode once it hit the carnival. Gotta love the punched through paper wall, Olivia using her "wiles" to talk Stuckey down, her slapping Elliot, etc. There were many different ways they could have worked out that ending that still had Stuckey being the "bad guy" without going completely overboard but they just threw it all in there. "Bathroom sink" is an apt description for, at the very least, the second half of this episode. I almost think it would have been better and more believable if Stuckey had killed Olivia and Elliot rather than getting bamboozled by some female attention.

That all being said, I think the best part of this episode was the zebra lines early on... they were at least amusing. I didn't think the last line was that terrible because knowing a few officers, some certainly do become so numb to the violence that they can brush it off like that. I'd imagine that when you're dealing with cases like the SVU squad have had, seeing something so (relatively) simple as a stabbing wouldn't have such a huge effect, even if it's someone you know. Of course, I'm hoping that they make up for the blunt nature of O'Halloran's death by mentioning him at least a couple times in the first episode or two of the new season because he was a bit too important of a character to just wipe off the slate the way this episode did.

Just my two cents, though.

momandilovebobby said...

Yeah, pretty bad. Kitchen sink says it all. SVU is still #3 for me. I hope all three stay on air, but I see SVU in a downfall and CI coming into its own, although I will never forgive whoever split CI into two teams.

Toni said...

The finale cemented it: I'm done with this show, and I've watched every episode of every incarnation of the L&O franchise.

Anonymous said...

I rather liked this episode. Not quite as much as other ones, but you can't love every episode as some people have mentioned here. I think most people will agree that Stuckey was a...horrific...addition to SVU. I never personally 'got' him, and always winced when he said that line 'Bing bang bong'. So I guess I'm just glad that he'll be gone now. I will miss o'Halloran though; he was a good character. I don't think this episode was the 'worst' or the 'best'. It was alright. Nothing special, certainly not for a finale. But regardless, it was still an okay episode. If you feel so disheartened about the work the writers are doing - why don't you go take it up with them; demand you take their job. See how much you like it. Eh? All in all, the episode was about 6/10.

Anonymous said...

Hi, I'm from Australia and fear that I may be out of the loop...I saw this episode a few weeks ago and I was just wondering if this was the LAST EVER episode of SVU? Or just a season finale??
Thanks, Amanda

All Things Law and Order said...

Amanda - Zebras was just the season finale. SVU was renewed for another year and will start back up in the US in late September.

Anonymous said...

I read youre reviews and i feel like you don't like any episode of SVU sheesh! kinda harsh i mean this episode was interesting but it isnt season finale material. i would have changed a few things too like the ending. it was an OK ending dont get me wrong but it just didnt seem realistic but i still love SVU

Anonymous said...

You know, I've noticed a lot of people code on this show and still get revived later. I couldn't believe Donnelly survived the cardiac arrest after her "lethal" injection, just like I couldn't believe that Elliot survived his killer in the animal smuggling episode. How could a crime boss that ruthless be so fucking STUPID as to not confirm the kill??

Anyway, I was just recently introduced to SVU and absolutely love the show, but what's with all the implausible recoveries from near-death experiences? TV medicine is one thing, but out-and-out implausibility is quite another.