Monday, August 3, 2009

Law & Order Criminal Intent “Alpha Dog” Recap & Review

Last night’s new episode of Law & Order Criminal Intent “Alpha Dog” was another one of those episodes that I felt like I needed a scorecard to help follow along. I found it to be confusing, probably because I couldn’t keep two of the characters – Deguerin’s wife, and Gala – straight. I felt like there were too many people involved in the episode. While I know that investigating a murder can bring in a lot of people, in this particular instance it seemed like there were just too many people in there in too many varying scenes that the episode seemed like a bit of a mess to me.

Despite that, I though that Roger Rees played the creepy and controlling Deguerin to perfection, and Nestor Serrano always seems suspicious, no matter what show he is on. The episode must have been filmed when Vincent D’Onofrio was going through a worn and tired Bobby Goren routine, because he just seemed a little lifeless. He did have a few moments, though, when he laughed when Amy said she knows how murders think because she played one in a movie, and also when he waved around the expensive bottle of scotch. There was also something very funny about the blank look he had on his face when Deguerin referred to him as “Detective Goblin.” I will have to remember that moniker for future use. I wish they would bring back the "over the top" Bobby Goren, because I really do miss him.

The one thing that sat wrong with me was the issue with the memory foam in the bed and pillow. I thought the whole purpose of memory foam was that it bounced back after pressure, not that it left indentations. I can’t imagine how long one would have to be in a single spot for it to leave an impression; I would think it would be a long, long time.

Here is the recap:
At a nightclub, Hamp Trotter (Ryan Locke ) arrives with his ex-wife Amy Townsend (Sabine Singh ) , being photographed by the paparazzi. Meanwhile, Deguerin (Roger Rees) and his wife (Sarah Desage) stare at a huge billboard of Hamp, with Deguerin seeming both annoyed and jealous. Back at the club, despite the fact the couple tries to put up a front that they are happy, Amy catches Hamp staring at another woman. Upset that her husband is back to his old tricks, Amy leaves the club with her manager (Susan Blackwell), limping from pain. After Hamp approaches the mysterious woman, they go back to his place for a night of sex and drugs.

The next day, Duke Deguerin is outside looking over blueprints of what seem to be a redevelopment project when he is met by protesters. He and his security man Stash (Nestor Serrano) leave while the protesters surround their car.

Back at Hamp’s place, his trainer (Kamar De Los Reyes) arrives and finds Hamp in bed, dead.

Later, Major Case Detectives Goren (Vincent D’Onofrio) and Eames (Kathryn Erbe) are on the scene, questioning the trainer. Goren notices two bottles of Scotch called Glen Kennerbragh. The trainer said it was less that two hours ago that he walked in the apartment. No drugs were found in the apartment. When Goren asks ME Rodgers (Leslie Hendrix) about the cause of death, she guesses it is an overdose. But when Goren sees petechial hemorrhaging in Hamp’s eyes, she tells him suffocation could have been caused by a reflux from the drug ingestion. When Goren says that he didn’t smell vomit, Rodgers, slightly perturbed. tells him she’ll hold off judgment until after she cracks his chest.

Goren comments about the memory foam in the mattress and pillow, and notes the indentations from Hamp’s knees. Eames says it means Hamp wasn’t alone and just living up to his reputation, saying they should bag everything for semen and fluids. She asks Goren to light the indentation on the pillow, and when he hold the lamp to it, he says it’s no Shroud of Turin, Eames saying it is definitely his face. They suspect someone forced his head into the pillow and suffocated him.

Goren stares back at the trainer and picks up a cup of coffee on the table and hands it to him so he can finish his coffee. But when Goren asks if the coffee was hot when the trainer arrived, he goes on to say that the coffee is too cool to only be sitting there for two hours. They get the trainer to admit he was there four hours earlier, not two, and he called Hamp’s ex, Amy, who came over and cleared the drugs from the apartment.

Outside Amy’s home, the media is already there when Goren and Eames arrive. Amy admits to the detectives that she took the drugs out to prevent a feeding frenzy. When Amy’s manager refers to Hamp as her husband, Eames questions that they thought Hamp was her ex. Amy says they were trying to work things out. Hamp was living at his loft to give them some space. Goren notices a large movie poster on the wall with Amy featured for a film titled “Venefica.” Eames questions Amy as to why she left the club early, and she said her hip was bothering her, it was from an injury from a movie stunt gone bad and stress causes it to hurt. When Eames asks her what was stressful last night, Amy gets indignant and says she doesn’t have to tolerate this, and storms off.

Elsewhere “Stash” is buying ruby earrings for Gala (Jennifer Missoni) . When Stash opens his wallet, the saleswoman sees a small police shield and comments about it. Stash says he did work for the police but now works in the private sector. When the saleswoman mentions a rumor that Hamp was murdered, the Gala gets visibly upset, even more so when the saleswoman says Hamp would come in the store all the time with varying women, buying them gifts. Hearing this, Gala storms out of the store, and Stash follows. He tries to console her, but she says this is not what she wanted. He tells her stuff happens and he is looking out for her. He coaxes her back into the store.

Back at Major Case, Captain Ross (Eric Bogosian) tells the detectives it is not officially a homicide but he had to put on additional people to handle the calls. He also tells them Amy’s manager called, saying that Goren and Eames were aggressive with a grieving widow. When Eames questions whether Amy really is a widow, Goren says they started rumors of a reconciliation to promote her new film. Ross says 3 years ago Amy was a rising star and Hamp was an unknown male model that married her, adding it was amazing how a set of abs and luck can turn things around. Eames wonders if enemies came with the fame, but Goren says that Hamp embraced many good causes. Eames questions sarcastically that Hamp embraced any woman who got close enough for a smell test, which opened some door for motive. Ross gets a phone call, and says they will be right there.

At the morgue, Ross, Goren and Eames meet with Rodgers. She tells them they have had security issues where one worker already tried to take photos of Hamp. She says about the cause of death, “Detective Goren, once again, has an irritating way of being right. “ Hamp was suffocated, there were bruises indicating his face was forced into the pillow. He also had a lot of drugs in his system, making him “totally malleable.” He had cocaine and oxycontin in his sinuses. Inhaling ground oxy alone could have killed him. The detectives wonder if Amy provided the drugs, since she may take oxy for her pain.

Later, with Amy in their interview room with her attorney, her lawyer balks at Amy answering any questions about her own drugs. Goren and Eames make her think if word leaks out about her wanting immunity, the media will try her for Hamp’s murder. Eames reminds her that Amy removed evidence, and Amy says she loved him/ She adds that if she killed him she would have taken the drugs away at that time, she would have never gone back. When Goren says that is a god point, Amy adds she played a murderess and she knows how they think. This elicits a chuckle from Goren. He tells them they are not after narcotics charges, they just want to know if Oxycontin was one of the drugs she removed. She says yes, alone with coke and some hash. The Oxy was her prescription that she gave to Hamp with a lecture and she thought he heard her because the bottle had its full pill count. She thinks he got it from someone else. When Goren asks about her hip hurting at the party, she says she saw the woman once before with Hamp and she knew he had her and wanted her again, so it was time to limp home. She doesn’t know who the woman is, but describes her as having dark hair and beautiful, a black dress to accentuate white skin, and a great body and was wearing emerald studs.

At the club, they speak with the bartender about Hamp at the party. Hamp had been coming there for a long time before, when Amy was paying his bar bill. He didn’t come after the day with the Duke Deguerin, they nearly had a punch out. He did not know what started the fight, but he saw Tommy Morgan - a theatre director who was tight with Hamp - settle Duke down.

At the theatre, they talk with Morgan, who says Hamp loved sharing the wealth. Goren asks if Morgan was with him at Laxos (?)when Hamp got in a fight with Duke Deguerin, and Morgan says it was more of a shoving match. He says he thinks it was over some bike ride in the park. Deguerin came up wearing Lycra shorts and Lycra T-shirt, and some people shouldn’t wear Lycra so Hamp decided to bust his balls and yelled out to Deguerin to remind him never to get old. Deguerin “went ballistic” and his wife security people had to hold him back. At Laxos, Deguerin claimed Hamp made a remark to his wife, Deguerin swung and Hamp shoved, and it was over, and they told Hamp he was lucky. He heard from an actor he worked with that was at Deguerin’s table one night and all these women we walking up to him complementing him, and later that night he got jumped – not robbed, just jumped, and no more beautiful smile.

Heading to Deguerin’s, Goren and Eames run into Stash who Eames knows from her work at the 1-9. He says he is now heading up security for Duke Deguerin, and adds that Eames is the best.

In Deguerin’s home, he says he recalls the altercation and says it was due to profanity that Hamp used around his wife. He shows them a huge billboard if Hamp and his torso outside his office, annoyed, and closes the drapes. Goren looks at a model of an arena Deguerin is to build, and Deguerin moans that at today’s memorial service that protesters will praise Hamp, but beat up on him. Eames notices the Venefica movie poster of Hamp’s wife, with an autograph saying no one does it like the Duke, and asks if they crossed swords over that. He said he just put money in the film. Goren notices the same brand of scotch in Deguerin’s office that Hamp had in his place, and Deguerin tells Goren he bought the distillery. When Goren starts to wave around the bottle of scotch, Deguerin tells him it is worth $2, 000 a bottle and takes it from Goren’s hand, saying it his now his private stock and no longer for sale. When Goren tells him they found two bottles in Hamp’s loft, Deguerin’s wife comes in and says they give 200 bottles a year to employees and maybe someone regifted them. Deguerin introduces his wife, referring to “Detective Goblin”, and Eames corrects him on the names. Eames asks for a list of employees, and Deguerin agrees, saying they can find out who regifted his scotch so he can fire them. He glares at his own wife.

As they leave the building, Eames notes there are almost 200 names on the list. But Goren says they know who gave it to him, and Eames asks, “Duke’s wife cheats? That would make the visit worthwhile.”

Elsewhere, at dinner, Stash and Gala are interrupted when Stash’s phone rings. He says it is Duke and he wants to talk. When Gala seems to complain, he tells her to be more appreciative of what they have with Duke. She says she did not sign on for what was done to Hamp. Stash begins to shout they know nothing about that, and he quiets himself. But Gala looks very unhappy. He tells he her to get whatever feelings she has under control, and she tell him to tell Deguerin she wants out. He tells her that for her sake, that is one thing he will never tell him.

Later, in Deguerin’s car, Deguerin tells Stash he needs access to Hamp’s loft. When Stash tells him it is a crime scene, Deguerin says that he said he needs entry. Stash tells him sure.

Later, in his home, Deguerin is staring out his window at the billboard of Hamp, and his wife walks in wearing a see through negligee. She says she is ready, and he calls her filth, and she repeats that she is. He wraps his hand around her neck, then throws her on a table, ripping off her clothes.

Back at Major Case, Goren tells Eames he thinks they should attend Hamp’s memorial rally, he thinks the mystery woman may show up. He suggests they take someone who will know her. Later, at the rally for Hamp and against Deguerin’s demolition of a building, Goren and Eames arrive with Amy and her manager. Amy’s manager spots the mystery woman and Amy runs at her, hitting her and causing her to flee in the crowd before Goren and Eames can get to her.

Back at Major Case, Ross throws down a copy of the New York Ledger on Goren’s desk, with the headline “Bitch! You Killed Hamp” with the mystery woman’s photo on the cover. He is annoyed that the detective served Amy Townsend up to the ravenous media, but they tell him it got them the identity of the mystery woman, who the tabloids identified as Gallina Ilyanova Richter, born in Brighton Beach. She was arrested for forgery, theft, and prostitution, - never indicted - and her working name is Gala. They tell Ross that Gala is one of the women who worked for Jamey Wizger, who is in Rikers. Ross tells them to find out if they are still in touch.

At Rikers, they talk to Jamey and he says that Gala told him of what happened to Hamp and she was terrified. She forgot that business is business and she got hung up, saying the thing was legendary and Gala said it rivaled his own. He said the deal was to set up Hamp for a drug bust, but won’t talk names because that would get her killed. Gala was supposed to bang the Hamp and leave him stoned, and someone would call the tabloids and ruin his career, instead he ends up dead. When Goren asks if he actually believes that, Jamey says Gala doesn’t lie. Eames tells Jamey if Gala calls to tell her to get in touch before she is grabbed up on murder charges.

Back at Deguerin’s home, he is talking with Stash, annoyed that Gala is mourning publicly and getting in catfights. Stash says Gala was caught off guard, they were all caught off guard when Hamp ended up dead. Deguerin says Gala said she was the best she ever had, and asks if Gala ever said that to Stash. Stash says that Gala said Deguerin gave her emerald earrings and a sable coat – she is a hooker, that is what they do. Deguerin says whatever it takes, he wants to get Gala under control. As Stash leaves, he calls Gala and tells her to get over to apartment and stay there, he is coming right over.

Back at Major Case, Eames shows Ross an Australian tabloid with Hamp and Dike’s wife on the cover, saying this is motive. Goren thinks that Deguerin stifled coverage in local papers. Goren says they need to talk to her on her own, her husband keeps her close.

Eames enters a sauna where Mrs. Deguerin is steaming. She asks Eames what she wants, and Eames suggests it’s what she wants – justice for Hamp. She says she wants that, everyone does. Eames continues to press her on their similar interest, and asks if her husband was jealous. Eames adds if she continued to see Hamp, knowing how her husband felt. Mrs. Deguerin says where would she be if she said her husband killed Hamp? Eames knows she is afraid, but Mrs. Deguerin says Deguerin has power, the power that comes with money. She takes off her towel and bruises on her body are evident. Eames says they can protect her. But she says if she believed that she would be risking her life and she leaves.

Back at Major Case, Eames tells Goren that Deguerin’s wife suspects her husband but is too afraid to talk. Goren tells her the evidence they could use to pressure her – the bottle of scotch from Hamp’s loft – is missing. Eames reminds him the bottled had numbered labels and they are tied to specific people on the Christmas list, and the cases were also numbered. When they go back to Hamp’s loft to find the cases, when Goren breaks the police crime scene seal, he notices someone had placed a new seal over the old one. Goren finds the cases, which are numbered. Eames shouts out that it wasn’t CSU who broke the seal. The find Gala’s body.

With CSU on the scene, they found bruising on Gala’s neck, as if thumbs were pressed on her throat. Goren thinks the person wanted to see her fear. Her jeans were pilled down but her underwear left on, and Goren thinks the killer didn’t go through with sex because his rage was greater than his desire. But the CSU tech disagrees, saying he found semen. Gala had all her jewelry, and was packed for travel. She had her passport and a ticket to Aruba. She also had an appraisal slip for the earrings, which noted that the earrings were purchased by Stanislav Bardum – AKA “Stash.”

With Stash in interrogation, he says as soon as he saw the uniforms at the airport he knew. He hoped they were going to make it out. They found his prints at the crime scene and semen that he admits was his. He said they had sex after he begged her to get out of the country. He admits he gave her the ruby earrings, saying he would give her the world. But Goren said when they found her she was wearing emerald earrings.- for the man that killed her. Stash says he can tell them who gave her the emeralds but that won’t acquit him. He tells them that Deguerin gave the earrings to him as a bonus for saying he was a great lay. He says Deguerin was into some sick thing with Hamp, that seeing pictures of Gala at Hamp’s protest it drove Deguerin crazy. It was one of those “mine’s bigger than yours thing”, but Stash says he doubts Hamp knew he was in the game.

Capt. Ross is arriving at Major Case, griping that it is 3:00 AM. They tell him they are close on Gala’s murder, and Goren tells him he sent officers out to bring in Deguerin and also his wife as a material witness. When Ross expresses concern if they have evidence, Eames says have a shot at getting a confession but they have to move before Gala’s death hits the morning news. When Ross thinks that Deguerin and his attorneys won’t be trapped into anything, he asks why they even called him in, they could have taken action on their own and Ross could have claimed immunity. Eames says they need Ross because he is part of the plan.

As Deguerin is brought in , he complains loudly, and Eames tells his wife to come with her. As Deguerin is being led into the interrogation room, he sees a woman in an office that looks like Gala. Deguerin looks uncomfortable, and as Goren begins his questioning, Deguerin says that the woman is a whore and she lies. When Eames walks in, Deguerin starts to open his mouth and talk too much, saying that he and Gala just were having a sex game and the choking was part of it. Goren says it is interesting that he is volunteering all this, that she hasn’t accused him of anything. When Deguerin asks why he is there, Goren says Deguerin wanted to show Hamp as being a drug addict. Deguerin thinks this is what Gala alleges, Meanwhile, Deguerin’s wife looks on from the other side of the mirror. Deguerin says Stash wanted to ruin Hamp out of jealousy. Goren continues to work Deguerin, honing in on his jealousy of Hamp. Eames brings up Hamp and Deguerin’s wife, and he tells them he had Hamp’s wife, they saw the poster from her saying he was the best. Goren continues to rattle Deguerin, and when he makes a move to leave, Goren reminds him that he already admitted to choking her, Gala is dead. Deguerin looks stunned and then sits back down. Meanwhile, his wife still looks on. Goren tells him that Deguerin strangled Gala on Hamp’s bed to remind her of the power he took over him. He said after Gala drugged him he thanked her for a job well done. Goren asks if drugging him was not enough. Deguerin tells him of a story of a kitten he got as a kid that scratched him and he strangled it. Within a week the scratch was gone and he was fine. Goren asks what was Gala’s offense, and he says it was because she cried for him. Deguerin gets up to leave, saying he has said nothing under oath and this charade won’t wash. When he opens the door to see his wife standing there, she tell him not to forget her, they brought her in as a material witness. She says it is odd seeing fear on him, and she thinks she likes it and she hopes to see more of it. As they take Deguerin away, his wife looks at Eames, who nods her head in support. As Deguerin's wife smiles back, we fade to black.

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Jachelle said...

This was not the best episode of LOCI. I certainly hope next year, please let there be a next year, they don't show the episodes out of order so much - Bobby clean-shaven, Bobby looking like a Grizzly bear, Bobby clean-shaven again. Oh, well, I nit-pick.

Also, just last week they had Nichols use a look-alike of the dead girl to freak out Muller and in this episode Goren used a look-alike of the dead girl to freak out Deguerin. I don't think the epis were originally supposed to be back to back. I also felt the "aria" as they call the last scene where the detectives get the bad guy to confess seemed kind of implausible. I still love the show and it's my absolute favorite. I watch each episode several times. Every television show has it's good episodes and it's not so good episodes.

Shelly said...

I'm glad I'm not the only one who was confused by the two female characters - I wasn't even sure which one was killed at first. I had to watch it a second time, once I figured out who was who, to really understand....

And Jachelle, your comment about using the same look-a-like ruse was going to be my other complaint, so I'm glad you brought that up. I think you're right in that the eps weren't intended to run back to back, but it sure looks like the writers have no creativity. Just bad timing.... as others have said, let's hope, if the show comes back, that they run the eps in order....

Btw, they said next week's ep is the season finale. How many eps have run this season? I lost track.

Jachelle said...

It will be a total of 16 episodes. I heard on another site that they are close to renewing LOCI. They've already renewed In Plain Sight for 16 epis. I'm crossing my fingers and my toes : )

Anonymous said...

I was confused, too, and had to watch it again (great use of my time). I had trouble keeping track of the two women.

Gala was supposed to seduce the male model (who did not have a model's face) and then plant drugs, which, when discovered by the police in a raid was to ruin his career. How plausible was that? That might have made his career. I was surprised that Gala, the wise-cookie hooker, fell for it.

I also enjoyed the Goren moments mentioned above.

I always enjoy Erbe, and seeing Rees and Serrano was fun.

Anonymous said...

Yeah that episode was confusing but enjoyable. Which episode was SUPPOSED to air before the season finale, "Revolution"???

I have a YouTube link, I just happen to catch it:

I can't wait until August 9th. And then watch the season premiere be on November 7th at 9!

Anonymous said...

I think the strongest episodes are the ones where they show the killer doing his thing instead of showing us a bunch of random scenes that will eventually make sense in context. For one, it helps cut down on the size of the casts (for half the episode I wasn't sure who was doing what - I get the Duke Deguerin was the villain, but I wasn't sure which of the two women were doing what) and it's a lot more suspenseful.

I always enjoy Erbe, and seeing Rees and Serrano was fun.

She's doing double-duty for the last three episodes of this season.

also felt the "aria" as they call the last scene where the detectives get the bad guy to confess seemed kind of implausible.

I think it's a Criminal Intent trademark. It certainly wouldn't fly in the regular Law and Order, because it's so unconstitutional. Like in the previous episode, where Nichols stops Muller from leaving the precinct without actually reading him his rights.

Anonymous said...

I thought Goren's blank look was because he was gaga over Deguerin's wife - he stood stock still and stared gormlessly at her from the second he laid eyes on her. I thought it might be a Vintage!Bobby moment or him tripping out the husband - since Deguerin was sexually competitive.

Jennifer said...

I'm so glad someone else noticed the memory foam issue, I was so confused by that because it was such a mistake...