Monday, August 10, 2009
Law & Order CI “Revolution” Recap & Review
Law & Order Criminal Intent “Revolution” was probably one of the best season finales for this series in many years. Jeff Goldblum, who in his earlier episodes this season seemed somewhat of a haphazardly assembled character, has turned into the star of the show. This is not to say that Vincent D’Onofrio has performed badly, it’s just that the role of Zach Nichols seems to have more life and energy written into the character. I’d have to say that these last few episodes with Goldblum were far better than anything else presented this season and maybe into the previous season. These words may be considered blasphemy to the hardcore Criminal Intent and D’Onofrio fans, but there it is. Personally, I do not blame D’Onofrio for a somewhat lackluster season as compared to Goldblum’s recent outings, I blame the writers and producers of the D’Onofrio/Erbe episodes, who can’t seem to bring back the magic of the earlier years of Bobby Goren. D'Onofrio deserves better.
But back to “Revolution”. This was an interesting story from beginning to end, and provided us with a case where the NYPD and the FBI actually collaborated and worked as a team. It is somewhat tiring in the L&O universe that it seems like the detectives can’t get along with other law enforcement agencies,so this was a nice change. It also provided one of those rare cases where the detectives actually use their brains and don’t tip their hands to a suspect that they want to apprehend by calling out their names while they are 20 feet away. In this case, Nichols made a note to Eames that the suspect approached, and they acted oblivious to him until they were right on top of him. Of course, this time they easily apprehended their man.
The one very humorous line in an otherwise very serious episode was when Nichols makes a detailed observation about the grammar in a letter the killers sent to the newspaper, that Eames said, “You’re starting to remind me of someone. ” But the one thing I felt was an error in Nichols judgment was when he broke the car window to open up the bakery box. It wasn’t the breaking of the window; it was the opening of the box. Couldn’t the explosive have also been rigged that once the box was opened it set off the bomb? I thought that was a bad move on his part. When Eames commented that Nichols just saved their lives, my response was that he could have easily killed them all.
The guest cast was excellent and Stephen Lang and Tania Raymonde were excellent as the father/daughter revolutionary killer duo.
This was a great close to the season and it make me even more hopeful that they will announce the renewal of Law & order Criminal Intent very soon.
Here is the recap:
As CEO of Continental Bankcorp Peter Evans (John Rothman ) arrives at the office, protesters stand outside, chanting that Continental is a whore. As he walks up the stairs, his secretary comments that they – top government officials - are ready for him, and he says he’d rather meet the people outside. Meanwhile, Axel (Stephen Lang ) and Mel (Jas Anderson ) watch the protest from outside. Mel comments that the group seems ready to bust some ass, and Axel says they are, all they need is someone to show them the way.
At an executive meeting with Continental Bankcorp, president Peter Evans argues with the government people who think that Bankcorp made bad loans, saying that 50,000 people should not have lied on their loan applications.
Elsewhere, Axel is in his apartment and his terrorist partner Mel arrives, telling him he got an Audi and no one will miss it for a while. Mel inspects a padded room that Axel has built in his apartment. Axel locks Mel in the room and turns off the light to tease him, and Mel is not happy since he is afraid of tight places. After Mel yells to get out, Axel opens the door. Axel’s phone rings; it’s Birgit, and Axel asks her what time, and asks again if she is sure.
Later, on a dark street, a woman is pushing a baby buggy. A car is parked in the alley and another man runs down the street. Peter Evans is in the back seat of a car being driven by his security man, making small talk. The woman pushes her baby buggy in front of the car and the car hit it. Evans’ driver steps out of the car and runs to the baby, while Evans gets out of the car and moves to dial 911. The woman –Birgit (Tania Raymonde ) – pulls a gun on him and orders the driver to give her his gun, and Mel also puts a gun on Evans and tells Evans not to even think about making a phone call. The car that was waiting in the other street pulls up. Evans, however, tries to get the gun from Mel and bites him in the arm. Mel shoots him in the struggle for the gun, much to the outrage of Axel. Axel walks over and shoots the driver and tells the others to get in the car. Someone else riding a bike crashes into the scene as the others flee.
On the scene, Detective Zach Nichols (Jeff Goldblum) tells Detective Alex Eames (Kathryn Erbe) that the bike messenger got a look at the getaway car license plate. Eames says one body is Peter Evens, CEO of Continental Bankcorp. Nichols calls him the villain of the month as Evans bought a jet with federal bailout money. The other body was Jerry Delarosa, he has an NYPD retirement ring and a detective shield, and Eames calls it a cushy retirement job. Eames notes that there was no sign of a baby in the buggy.
Nichols recaps what he thinks happens and says that “fake” mom steps out in front of the car, the driver slams on the brakes too late. He steps out of the car to see how much he is going to be sued for. Mom pulls a gun and the other two “join the party” and then something “screws up” and adds, “This isn’t the way it was supposed to go.” Eames states dryly, “An understatement, right?”
Later, Nichols and Eames are at another location, where a car is parked in a parking area The police tell them that the car was registered to a Marvin Chapman in Short Hills, and was reported stolen last night. It matches the plates they were looking for. Nichols comments that the car was left in a wide-open space, and Eames concludes that they wanted them to find it. Nichols notices a box on the back seat, and when the officer thinks it looks like a bakery box, Nichols comments, “Oh, they even left us a snack, huh?” Nichols reaches in to the officers’ pocket and grabs something that looks like a pen, and uses it to break open the side window. Nichols uses the officer’s nightstick to carefully open the lid to the box, where he sees what looks like a ticking bomb. Nichols suggests they all back up and tells the officer to call the bomb squad. When Eames comments on the booby trap, Nichols asks, “Kidnap a banker, kill a cop?” Eames asks, “Did you just save our lives?” and Nichols answers, ‘You can buy breakfast.”
Back at Major Case, Eames tells Captain Ross (Eric Bogosian) that there was a fertilizer bomb attached to the dome light circuit and opening a door would have set it off. When Ross asks about busting out a window, Nichols tells him it was perfectly safe. Ross reads back a letter that he said was delivered an hour ago to the New York Times, which said the American Workers Army has “declared war on the fat cat exploiters who are sucking our blood.” Ross notes that their timing is impeccable, considering the public mood. Eames wonders how they know the letter is not from some bored teenager who heard about the murders on the news. A woman walks in and answers the question, commenting about paragraph 11, which references that they wrote that the baby carriage was empty as a banker’s heart; the shells in the banker were from a 380 and the driver got it from a 9 mm and some bored teenager wouldn’t know that. Ross introduces her as Special Agent Carmen Martino (Diedre Lovejoy) and says the FBI will be cooperating with them on the investigation. Nichols reads more of the letter, and comments about it not being in good English. Martino says it is not an SAT exam, but Nichols comments the writer could be a native Spanish speaker or German, and adds, “some language where the present perfect is the same as the simple past.” Eames states dryly, “You’re starting to remind me of someone” and Ross says, “This one’s taller.” Ross says whoever ambushed Evans knew where he was going, and Eames said his secretary told them he was supposed to be meeting with his lawyer for dinner.
Nichols and Eames head over to Evan’s lawyer’s office, and his secretary “Shelly” greets him at his office door with a cup of coffee. She tells him that the flowers were delivered to Mrs. Evans, and she shuts the door after they enter. When Eames asks who knew he was meeting with Evans, it comes out that Shelly made the reservation. But when they go to call her in to the office, they find she has taken off.
At Axel’s apartment, “Shelly”, who is really Birgit, enters, and tells Axel they got there faster than they thought. She said they didn’t see her, they saw Shelly Smith who lives in Murray Hill and who doesn’t exist. She says she will get a new job anyway, but Axel says they were supposed to have a million dollar hostage in the closet. Birgit says they have killed the most hated capitalist in America, and asks if he has seen the internet. He says they are being hailed as the vanguard. He says it was a good day, and she was very strong. But she seems upset at the shooting, and he says a revolution is not a dinner party, and she is very brave.
At Major Case, the Eames speaks with a co-worker of “Shelly” who doesn’t know much about her, just that Shelly wanted to know about the firm’s clients and their habits. Shelly did say she did have trouble sleeping from the noise from a bar near her apartment, but does not know which bar. Outside the room, Martino tells Nichols Shelly’s address does not exist and her social security number is fake. Nichols says all they got from the co-worker is that Shelly never wears lipstick and she lives near a bar.
Outside in another location, Birgit, Axel, and Mel talk about the next step. Mel defends his decision to shoot Evans. Mel agues about the next step, and says he knows what he is doing. But when Axel says their next action involves a bank, while Mel looks at the blueprints that Birgit brings out, Mel takes matters into his own hands and strangles Mel while Birgit watches. Birgit asks if he had to, and Axel says Mel was out of control and a danger to them, adding, “No loose ends.”
Back at Major Case, Ross tells Nichols and Eames that the NYP just put out a statement, and Nichols reads that it says these were nothing but common criminals. Eames says the bad guys write sexier statements than we do. Ross says, “but we’re not insane.” When Nichols reads that the statement says the authorities have things under control, he says if he were them he would want to prove this wrong. Nichols says he wants to have a conversation with them, not to challenge them to blow something up. Eames adds that forensics analyzed the bomb in the car and it was made with urea, a chemical fertilizer mainly used in growing wheat, but the American made urea doesn’t have the high content that what was in the car bomb. Urea comes into the county on boats.
Nichols and Eames head to the docks and talk to a ship foreman about the last load of urea that came in last month from Brazil. They asks about workers on crew 9 who were on that shipment, and they asks for the names and addresses of that crew. Nichols asks if anyone on crew 9 was foreign, and one person sticks out, who was German and they called him “The Kraut.” The foreman said he would have let him go even if times were good; he was more into talking about crazy politics than working, especially after lunch when he would come back all hopped up. The name is John Caldner at 636 East 22nd Street. Later, when they go to that address, they find a gated lot.
Back at Axel’s, Birgit reads a joint statement from the FBI and NYPD saying that Evans' shooting is not connected to terrorist activity and that it is under control. Axel says they control nothing. Birgit mentions other protests elsewhere, saying it is not just them. Axel remembers year back people took to the streets about Vietnam, now it’s about the banks. Axel thinks there will be others that will join with them when they see they are there. She asks if there will be another kidnapping, saying she still has the files from the law firm with home addresses. Axel says no, he thinks it is time they make some noise.
Back and Major Case, Eames says Caldner’s work ID is as much of a phantom as Shelly’s. Ross says they are living like fugitives, and Nichols says he has a hunch from where. Nichols shows them a web page from the Baader-Meinhof gang, terrorists from the 70s and 80s who preached the overthrow of capitalism and murdered bankers. Nichols thinks that one member of that gang is behind these new attacks, and comments on the web site about murdering others matches the letter recently sent to the newspaper. Ross thinks people are not going to start a revolution just because a European hippie crawled out of a cave. Nichols comments this new man recruited a young woman and a black kid, and Ross asks where a middle-aged dockworker can find disaffected youth. When Eames said they heard he came back from lunch all hopped up, Ross tells them to go back to the docks and see who is dealing drugs.
The detectives find one dealer and they corner him and Eames find his dealer’s roll of money and hold it to get him to talk. The kid knows the guy and says he is one of “Mighty Mouse’s” friends, a “black dude” who works another corner He hasn’t seen him in a few days and he has been acting weird, saying that they have to throw off “Slinky” their drug boss, as he is exploiting them. Eames hands him back his roll of money as she makes a call, asking someone to help find a guy with the street name of “Mighty Mouse.”
Later at the morgue, ME Rodgers (Leslie Hendrix) tells them Mighty Mouse’s body was found in the river, no ID, and the prints came back as Mel Simeon. He was strangled by something like an electrical cord with no apparent chance to fight back.
Elsewhere, a red sports car parks next to Manhattan Commerce bank. Axel takes Birgit’s hand and kisses it. They get out of the car an walk away, and he continues to talk to her as they walk farther away from the car, with what appears to be a bomb inside. As they turn the corner, we see a huge explosion.
At the scene of the car bomb, Ross, the detectives, and Martino walk the area. There were no people killed, only a security guard was injured. The bank is another bailout recipient, and Martino says this was another urea bomb. Nichols says he guesses things are not under control, but Martino says they are stepping up their monitoring and checking red light and ATM cameras, and getting the VIN number off the car. Nichols tells her to have their attaché in Berlin get a list of the Baader-Meinhof members still at large from the German federal police and ask for Captain Berger. Ross, walking behind the group, says, looking slightly annoyed, “Why not.”
Back in Axel’s apartment, he is having a romp in bed with a woman (Kathleen McElfresh). Birgit enters and when she sees the woman half clothed getting ready to walk to the bathroom, and Birgit is stunned and looks annoyed. Axel says he did not expect her back so soon. Axel pulls some food out of the bag that Birgit has, and offers it to the woman, who says she will just garb her things and go. Birgit shows him that the letter to the times is up on the computer and asks if the woman saw it, but Axel says the computer was sleeping and they were in the other room. She asks him what he is doing, that they are in the middle of the movement. Axel says this is what free people do. But Birgit looks very unhappy, and looks into the woman’s purse, pulling out her wallet and looking inside.
Back at Major Case, Martino brings in the information from Germany to Nichols, saying Captain Berger says hi. They look at the pictures, and hone in on one man who matches closely the picture they had to John Caldner, and find it is Alex Kaspers, former Baader-Meinhof member, and he translates the writing in German. Kaspers was involved in firebombing and industrialist named Fichte, and he sees a picture of the family with the wife and infant daughter who were also killed – the house was supposed to be empty. Kaspers had vanished.
At a store, Birgit is buying a huge amount of chemicals, saying it is for her aunt’s beauty shop. She charges it on a credit card. Later, Martino tells them a woman in Manhattan bought hydrogen peroxide, acetone, and muriatic acid in three different stores that morning and it rang a bell on their computers. All put together can make the explosive triacetone peroxide. She also purchase some miscellaneous wires and times. Ross asks if this is someone they were already monitoring, and Martino says no, data mining bots go through credit card transactions. When Eames asks whose transactions, Nichols responds, “everyone’s credit card transactions.” Martino says they did not hear that from her. Ross adds, “Thank you Dick Cheney.” The person’s name is Rosaylyn Griggs.
When they get to Griggs apartment (who is also the woman who was with Axel) – she’s dead. Eames notices that the credit card in question is missing from Griggs’ wallet. Someone else bought these things. They speak to a neighbor who said they were just at a bar when Griggs hooked up with a guy. They show her the picture of Axel and the woman confirms it was him. She does not know his name or where he lives but “Rosie” left with him. Nichols sees a fortune from a fortune cookie from Asiatic Gardens in Griggs wallet that says “when your love is closer than you think.” Her friend says Rosie never ate there.
Back at Axel’s place, Birgit arrives and Axel seems upset she was late. She says she stopped for lunch. Axel tells her to call next time, he was worried. He sees she has all the supplies and asks how she paid for it. She tells her she used his friend Rosie’s credit card, which she took from her wallet after she killed her. This shocks Axel, and Birgit says Rosie was a danger to them, and adds’ “No loose ends, right?’ Axel is stunned and upset, saying Rosie didn’t know anything, saying this is not what this is about. Birgit reminds him that he said a revolution is not a dinner party. Axel says he makes the technical decisions, but Birgit says he was not thinking with his head. Axel is worried that she was seen, and forcefully reminds her that he makes the decisions. Axel adds they will make something the pigs will never forget.
At the Asiatic Gardens, the manager tells the detectives that Axel was not there last night. He wonders that they may have gotten a delivery. He gives them the list of locations where they made deliveries, and Eames recalling that “Shelly” complained about being next to a bar, they decide to check the delivery locations that are next to bars.
Meanwhile, Axel and Birgit are at a store shopping for food. Birgit goes his separate way to get wine. As the detectives leave one location, they signal the FBI tailing them that it wasn’t that location. They head to the next location, and while walking, they see Axel coming walking right in the direction. Birgit, in the store across the street, see Nichols and Eames approach. Acting nonchalant and pretending to argue, they walk right up to Axel. Eames grabs his bag, and Nichols forces Axel to the ground while Birgit watches from the other store. She makes an excuse to use the bathroom to make her exit out the back.
Later as the detective search Axel’s apartment, they find no chemicals and no girl and think she is out there with a bomb. Eames picks up a book from the belongings.
Back at Major Case, Nichols is questioning Axel but he gives him nothing, saying he doesn’t recognize his authority. Axel thinks this is great for all of them, and says he is an agent of change. Nichols tells him a quote from Mao, saying that, “You are a reckless adventurer playing into the hands of the existing oppressive order.”
In the squad room, Eames shows Ross the personal things she took from Axel's apartment thinking it may give them leverage. Nichols approaches them and saying he needed bathroom break, and he notice s teddy bear in the belongings with a singe mark on it. Eames says there was a book on the girl’s bedside table called the “The Wretched of the Earth” it was signed “To may darling Birgit” signed in 1996. Nichols has a look of realization.
Back in interrogation, Nichols tells Axel that they know Birgit is his daughter. He says nothing. Eames talks about the book they found, and Nichols shows him the bear, asking is Birgit knows what she is doing. Axel says she is fighting exploitation. Nichols asks if she is safe, and Axel does not respond. Martino knocks on the door, and later tells the detectives that immigration just dug up some information that saying Kasper and the girl entered the county in 1986 using the passports of the family he and his pals firebombed the year before, Carl and Marta Fichte. There was no crosschecking of passports at the time. Suddenly the squad room becomes noisy and active, Ross tells them that Kasper’s daughter just took hostages at the Continental Bankcorp, Wall Street Branch, and if they don’t put her father on a plane to Cuba she will blow up the building and everyone in it. As Axel is being led off, Nichols gives him a long stare.
With Ross, Nichols, Eames and Martino on the scene with more FBI and SWAT, they find that Birgit has taken out all the cameras that she could see but they tapped in two more. She has a high-powered gun and she told them she has a tilt switch attached to a transmitter and bomb, if she falls over (as if she were to be shot or knocked over) the bomb would detonate as her body tilted over. SWAT says they have a sniper in place, and Nichols says someone should go in and talk to her.
Nichols enters the bank with Axel with him. She is surprised to see him, but tells Nichols to stay back. Nichols tries to get her to talk, as Martino tells him through the earpiece to get close enough to catch her. Martino tells him where the sniper is an to stay out of the line of fire. Nichols continues to move closer as he talks to her, and tells her she has been brainwashed her entire life. She says she has been educated by her father, but Nichols says he is not her father. He tells Kaspers to tell her who she is, and says that Kaspers murdered her father and mother. Nichols shows her the article about the Fichte family and says that Axel murdered them all, but the remains of one-year-old Marta were never separately identified. Birgit is looking stunned as Nichols shows her the picture of the Fichte family that also includes the bear she had been keeping, that had a burn mark on it. Nichols says Kaspers snatched her out of the fire. When Axel says he is trying to confuse her, Nichols says that Axel was in prison for 5 years before she was born, his girlfriend committed suicide three years before she was born, and asks when was she conceived and who gave birth to her. He goes on to say he brought her into the country with Marta’s passport. Axel insists she is his daughter. Nichols asks is she really wants to die for the man who destroyed her family and stole her life. Birgit says coldly that even if it were true, her father was a banker and deserved to die and if her were alive right now she would kill him herself. Nichols looks on as Birgit says she hadn’t even seen that stupid bear since she was a little girl. Nichols comes to a realization and says, “Oh, you didn’t save it, you did” as he turns to face Axel. Nichols says Birgit is his daughter, she wasn’t but now she is.” Axel says she is. Nichols goes on to say Axel carried her from that burning house and he saw her first steps and heard her first words, and now because of him, she is going to die. Nichols says there is no way out of there and nobody is getting on a plane to Cuba. Axel begins to say something to Birgit, but she says, “so now we die. We become martyrs” and she mentions other names. But Axel says no. She says she is a revolutionary, but he says not like these, the people she is holding hostage are not the bosses, these are 12 people in the bank. She says he always told her the few must suffer to save the many, but Axel says this is not the time. Nichols looks over and sees the red light of the laser from the sniper, but Martino sees Nichols is still in the line of fire. Eames comments that he is trying to save her. As Birgit and Axel continue to talk and argue, she moves forward to embrace her father, and a gunshot rings out. Nichols looks shocked as he is splattered with blood and Birgit drops. He quickly catches her. Axel cries out in agony as the SWAT team moves in.
Outside the bank. Nichols is sitting alone and Eames sits down next to him. Nichols says, “That’s why I never had kids. Empty vessels that daddy fills with love, compassion, empathy, ‘cause you get a me, or a him…oops.” We fade to back.
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