Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Law & Order SVU “Sugar” Recap & Review

Don’t let the title of the episode of Law & order SVU titled “Sugar" mislead you. There is nothing sweet about it. A body is found stuffed in a suitcase in a train tunnel, and the case leads the to the owner of a dating web site. Things get a little predictable after the suspect is too anxious to confess.

The good part of the episode was ADA Sonya Paxton (Christine Lahti) who adds the right amount of tension to the show. She pushed everyone’s buttons at SVU, especially Stabler’s. She seems to have a cup of coffee glued to her hand, and she also tried to light up a cigarette in the SVU squad room, the latter she didn’t get away with. She’s wound tight, and for a reason – we learned last week she was sent there by DA Jack McCoy to clean up the “he said – she said” unit. She is trying her best to get Benson and Stabler to do their jobs in the right way in order to help get the right person for the crime and get an accurate conviction. When she tries to get the detectives to stop an interrogation until his defense attorney shows up, the fur flies between her and Stabler. She is also an interesting interrogator, with a demeaning style (the use of “hon” and also her comments about Lysette’s “boobs”) that throws people off kilter. Paxton is a tough cookie, but Stabler came off as being a hothead who doesn’t like authority. It’s a shame that Stabler can’t shake his “loose cannon” persona. Bottom line is that I like Paxton and think that she is a great addition to the show. I think Elliot still has some issues.

The worst part of the episode was the end, when the SVU people show that they still haven’t learned how to properly do their jobs. I can’t imagine what they could have been thinking when they let two suspects for a murder talk together with no handcuffs on in a squad room that is full of potential weapons, like scissors, pens, and who can imagine what else? The minute Vance asked to see his daughter, though, I knew what was coming. After watching that scene, I grumbled to myself, “dumb, dumb, dumb detectives.” Why wouldn’t they have brought Chantelle in to see Vance while he was in lockup rather than in the squad room where there are too many distractions and potential harmful objects?

One nagging question, just how heavy was Emily’s body inside that suitcase? Could Chantelle really have been able to lob it out a window? I also have a bit of a problem with the position of the suitcase as it flew out. It looked like the person was right up at the front of the train. Are the sleeping cars right up in front? The whole scenario seems completely unbelievable to me.

The whole “Master Baiter” shtick is old and seems to have been put in there to appeal to the juvenile viewer or the lowest common denominator. I suppose if the network wants to appeal to the 18-49 year old demographic, they seem to be skewing it to the lower end of that age bracket. If it were Munch and Fin delivering this scene, though, it would have been tolerable. By the way, where is Munch? This is the second week of the new season and still no Munch. His absence is glaring. But the “Master Baiter” thing? Please, this show is not NCIS.

Eric McCormack actually did better than I expected in this episode, and his daughter, played by Melissa Farman, was very believable as the somewhat unbalanced and clearly enraged daughter. I have to admit, though, that I was getting whiplash at the end with the constant back and forth cuts to Vance and Chantelle. It seemed a bit much. But all in all, I thought this was an average episode that would have been even less had it not been for Sonya Paxton stirring the pot.

How did the killer manage to lift that suitcase with a body in out out of the front area of the train?

Here is the recap:

A guy climbs into a tunnel and is confronted by another man, who tells him to get out, the treasure is his. They race to be the “FTF” (first to find). But what they think is a treasure is the dead body of a young girl.

Later, with the police on the scene, Detectives Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay) and Elliot Stabler (Chris Meloni) are told that there is no ID on the girl, who was stuffed in a Samsonite, and she was nude. ME Warner is not there, she is working on someone who jumped off the Chrysler building. It looks like she was strangled and they wonder how they got her there. The officer on the scene says the two guys who found her got through using maintenance access. The two geocachers are arguing between themselves as the detectives approach. When asked who found her, they both continue to argue, and Benson calls them “girls” when she asks the to stop. But they continue to go at it, and the detectives break it up and take them down to the station.

In SVU interrogation, they continue to talk over each other after Benson asked why they were in the tunnel. They explain they are geocachers, “ a high tech scavenger hunt.” They seem uninterested in the dead girl, wondering if the “treasure” they are looking for is still out there. Benson pulls out an object marked “GC” that was found behind a switcher box, and both guys claim it is there. Benson says it is nobody’s until they decide if it is evidence. Benson wants to know how a bunch of pins and a yo-yo are treasure. They explain geocaching is not about money, it’s the buzz you get being the first to find. They didn’t see anyone else down there. They say there is no way the guy who planted that stuff did it because geocachers don’t kill people. When Stabler asks for the name of the guy who left the stuff, they are told he is a legend, and he is called the “Master Baiter.” The laugh over the name and Benson and Stabler walk out.

In the media area, they look at the web site for “Techno Treasure Hunt, the world’s best geocaching courtesy of the Master Baiter.” It appears he hides his treasure in crazy places. He kicked off the train tunnel treasure hunt with a video announcement, telling them they will have to “dig deep” for this one. His IP address continues to bounce to a new address every time, but he is using wifi on Staten Island, last traced to the Garb Barn.

Benson and Stabler head to the Garb Barn, where a manager tells them that the employees primarily use the wifi. When he asks them if they have a name, the detectives tell the manger they only have a nickname. The manager won’t pull the employees of the floor to quiz them about a nickname. Stabler grabs the microphone to the PA system and Benson looks on with a slight smirk. Stabler says: “Attention employees! Will The Master Baiter please report to register one! (store clerks look around) Master Baiter, register one!” The store employees look around with puzzled looks on their faces, and when one nerdy guy moves to approach register one, Benson takes the microphone: “ Not ”A” masturbator, THE Master Baiter. “ Some giggling ensues, but one store clerk starts to run and I think it is a girl. They follow her into the back room, and she says there was no suitcase in the tunnel.. No people there, except for take one of her video when a train came around the corner and ruined the shot. Stabler asks for the footage. They look at it and can see that someone threw the suitcase right off the train. She says she never saw it, once she got her good take, she ran.

Back at the squad, Fin (Ice-T) says the train is the 173, express to Florida. He cross referenced the tickets and found the Jane Doe. Her name is Emily Keefe, 20, who lived in Stamford, and she had a sleeping car with a one way to Tampa. But, the train left 45 minutes late due to engine problems. Benson and Stabler suspect that the perp found her alone in the compartment, kills her, stuffs her body into the suitcase and shoved her off once the train got rolling. Fin wonders who rides a train in a private room and Benson says there is only one way to find out.

At the Keefe residence in Stamford, they notify Emily's parents Emily’s father Don asks if they found Tank, which is her dog, saying that she would not go anywhere without Tank. As he is overcome with grief, Emily’s stepmother takes the detectives aside. She says Emily was pretty wild by the time she married Don, drinking and sneaking out and dating the wrong types. Benson says some girls like bad boys. Don was happy when she met Owen Cassidy, an upscale kid, who used to go sailing, but he lost his job on Wall Street and didn’t care, he called it “funemployment.” They don’t know how he supported himself and spent all his time partying and sailing. Emily lived with him on his sailboat at the 79th Street boat basin.

Stabler and Fin head to the boat and they see smoke rising from it. Stabler calls out Owen Cassidy’s ( Matt Burns) name. He is there, he flicks whatever he was smoking into the water, and he says he is busy. When Cassidy says they need his permission to board the boat, Stabler says he already has it, and Cassidy throws one of the masts at Stabler and Fin, and he runs. They chase Cassidy and he makes his way to a small motorboat and he takes off. Cassidy points a gun at Stabler, who shoots back, and hits the inflatable boat, tearing a hole in it. He tells Cassidy to get over there, the next bullet will deflate his head.

At the SVU squad interrogation room, Cassidy tells them it was just a flare gun. When they tell him Emily was killed he seems surprised and claims he knows nothing about it, and nothing about Florida He ran because he was smoking a joint when they arrived at his boat. Benson enters and asks him to explain his boat slip in Tampa, with cell phone calls made there every other week. He says he doesn’t want to talk any more, but Benson nags on him while Stabler answers his ringing cell phone. It’s Fin, and Stabler asks what he has. Fin is at the boat, and says he called because they found a dozen kilos of uncut coke stashed below desk. Nothing of Emily’s was on board, no clothes or dog. Just a tube of lipstick, which Fin says looked more like Cassidy’s shade. Stabler tells them about the coke and no trace of Emily, and Benson calls Cassidy a heartless son of a bitch, and that he already scrubbed her out of his life. Stabler asks if he hears gurgling, and says it is the sound of Cassidy drowning. Cassidy caves and says he was dealing but he didn’t kill her. He wasn’t even there, he was sailing back from Tampa that day with the coke. He asks them to ask the yacht club. He doesn’t know why Emily was headed to Florida as they broke up months ago. She only lived with him for a week, but she hated it because she got seasick. He thinks she already met someone else. Stabler asks for her address.

At Emily’s apartment on West 39th Street, Stabler finds what he thinks is blood, but it is strawberry jam. A dog barks and runs over, Stabler guesses it is Tank. It looks like the dog had been rifling through garbage because it was hungry. Benson sees boxes from Tiffanys all around. She also sees a $1,000 vase on a yard sale table. Stabler finds payroll stubs and it looks like she last worked in January at a nail salon. Benson wonders if her new boyfriend is paying the bills, and Stabler gets on her computer, and wonders if he found where she met him. It is a web site called “Tasty Sugar” and a section by her profile says “Kiss me here for a personal message.” A video plays of Emily, saying they could send an email to her at

The detectives arrive at Ad-Vance United, the office for Tasty Sugar, and an assistant , Lysette (Raushanah Simmons), tells them that it is one of a dozen ventures owned by Ad-Vance United. When Benson says it is a dating service, Lysette tells her they prefer to call it social networking with a romantic twist. All their companies are web based. Benson looks at all the high tech and says she wishes the precinct was like this, and when Stabler sees someone going by on a scooter, he says, “With Munch on a scooter? I’ll pass.” Lysette tells them their founder Vance Shepard wants the workplace to be fun. She also says they have great benefits, and highlights her breast implants. They hear Vance’s loud voice, and Lysette calls Vance over. Stabler flashes his badge, and Vance (Eric McCormack) says he doesn’t like the look of that. Stabler asks if police makes him nervous, and Vance says, no, ties, saying AVU is strictly a no tie zone. He introduces himself, and Stabler wants to ask a few questions about Tasty Sugar. When Vance asks if he owns it, the woman says he acquired it three months ago. Benson tells him about the murder of Emily Keefe, and Stabler asks for the details of her dating history, any emails or chats. Vance says that’s not gonna happen, and Benson asks if the fun just suddenly stopped. He says it is nothing personal, he just wants to draw the line between his private company and government intrusion. Stabler says they can get a warrant, and Vance says great, that’s what he’s saying, do it legal and he will throw the door wide open.

Back at the SVU media area, a tech woman tells Benson and Stabler she could not find Emily on Tasty Sugar, and the detectives think since she was on their earlier that the web site took it down as if they were trying to hide something. The tech woman says it is not gone forever, and asks if they ever heard of the wayback machine and Benson says only the one that Sherman and Mr. Peabody used. The woman says this is no cartoon. It takes digit snapshots of the web to compile archives. She manages to find the site, and Benson says they can get Emily’s measurements from the morgue, she wants to know whom Emily was dating and decides to call ADA Paxton. But Stabler notices there is a note on the web page that says “Shy? I also double date with my BFF Pamela.” He tells the tech woman to click on Pamela’s name. Pamela’s video says she is looking for rich experiences. Stabler thinks Pamela can give them answers faster than they can get a warrant.

At Vertex, Pamela (Eloise Mumford) is having dinner with Stabler, who is posing as a dating client. Pamela says he has expensive tastes, and he says he has a weakness for beautiful women. She said $5,000 is her minimum “allowance” per month and when she travels she likes to go first class. When Stabler says she makes it sound like a business, she laughs and asks if this is his first date, saying her last “daddy” was a virgin too. Stabler says, “Daddy?” and Pamela says “Sugar daddy. And I’m gonna be your sugar baby,” He adds she will need a charge card at Barneys and she can do getaways on the weekend except the last weekend of the month. That’s when her boyfriend’s band plays and she never misses a show. She tells him he is more like a fiancé. When Stabler asks if he knows she is doing this, she says of course but “don’t worry daddy, you spoil me and I’ll spoil you all night long.” When Stabler asks if he wants to introduce another person, such as her “BFF Emily”, Pamela says he is dirty too, and that will cost him an AmEx and it will have to be another BFF because Emily is an idiot. She says that Emily fell in love, they used to party and then she met this guy and they used to double date. He doesn’t remember his name but she took a ton of pictures and he was hot. She shows him a photo and it is Vance Shepard.

Back at the SVU interrogation room, Stabler leads Vance in, thanking him for coming. He has no lawyers with him because he has nothing to hide. He says he was having dinner with his assistant, Lizette, and she would never lie for him. He admits he fudged the truth a little because he is the face of the company and he also has a 17-year-old daughter, Chantelle. His ex wife Joyce had anger issues. He joined Tasty Sugar because he has a hectic schedule and it saves time. Benson asks if that is how it went down with Emily, zero to bed in six figures? He said he did help her financially but was more than her Sugar Daddy, he loved her. He took her to museums and tried to broaden her horizons. Stabler asks Benson how any times they have heard that song. Benson says, “The Ballad of the loving john – at least once a week.” Vance asks if they think he can’t get woman, but Emily was different than the other women a Tasty Sugar, and he was different with her. Maybe he tried to help her to make up for how he screwed things up with Chantelle – long hours, gone every weekend. He wasn’t exactly the world’s greatest dad. But he loved Emily with all his heart, which is why he broke up with her. He didn’t want to but he had to know if he loved her for more than his bank account. He broke up with her Wednesday afternoon. Emily cried and pleaded and got pissed, and she packed up and stormed out and said she was going to hookup with an old boyfriend. Benson sees the fact that Emily was later found dead as too coincidental. Vance says they can’t possibly think he killed her, and insists that he is telling the truth. Emily came to his place at 3:00 PM and she was gone by 3:45. When Stabler asks if he wants to revise those numbers, Vance says it is time to talk to his lawyer. Benson says they will call his secretary and get a copy of his hectic schedule and find out where he was every minute of the day Emily was murdered.

The detectives go through all the people on Vance’s schedule and so far everything matches. He had his daughter’s soccer game at 4:00 PM, so they speak to Chantelle (Melissa Farman) at her mother’s home. She said he was at her game. But her mother Joyce (Leann Hunley) comes in and says her father was not there, and that Chantelle was upset about it. Chantelle admits he wasn’t there but he has important things to do. Joyce says the only important thing he has to do is be a prick. He got her hopes up and shatters them and she has to pick up the pieces. But Chantelle gets angry with her mother, saying sarcastically that is because Joyce is never a bitch. Chantelle storms off. Stabler asks Joyce for her insight on Vance. She says he is a child, he is immature, he craves attention, and he texts more than Chantelle. When he doesn’t get his way he throws big fits. He came close to physically abuse but was mentally abusive every day of their marriage, He filed divorce papers on her two days after he had a double mastectomy.

Back at SVU interrogation, Vance says Joyce had a mastectomy because she is a freak, a total hypochondriac. She never had breast cancer, and never had the breast cancer gene or a family history. He thinks she wanted to be sick to save the marriage but it was long over. Stabler tells him his problems are just starting and tells him that he never showed up at his daughter’s soccer game after he said Emily left his apartment. Vance says he was still upset about the breakup. Stabler asks if he was sure he wasn’t upset about having just strangled his mistress? He said Emily ran out and he stayed home and had a drink. He was there maybe about 90 minutes before he went and had dinner with his assistance. Stabler tells him to admit it, he will feel better. Stabler tells Vance he wanted everyone t think Emily was on her way to see her boyfriend. But Vance’s lawyer Dwight Stannich (Robert Klein) enters and says the dead girl looked alive when he left his client’s building, and he holds up a DVD.

Later, the watch the security camera video, and see that Emily arrived at 3:02 PM and left at 3:47, just like his client said. Stabler says Vance followed her and killed her at Grand Central, but the lawyer tells him to watch the tape. Vance didn’t leave the building for another 90 minutes and Vance says again that he had dinner with Lizette. His lawyer says now he is having dinner with him, and he moved to leave with Vance, saying the detectives have a job to do to fid the real killer.

ADA Paxton enters, coffee in hand, angry that they let Vance walk out. Stabler says they had nothing to hold him on, but Paxton scoffs, saying nothing other than killing Emily. Benson says Shepard was alibied all day long, Fin saying Vance was in the same home his mistress walked out of. But Paxton says they should bust his ass on prostitution, and asks if she has to hand hold them. Stabler says vice handles prostitution, but Paxton tells him not to pass the buck. Fin questions who said their arrangement was prostitution anyway? Paxton says it is the world’s oldest profession, she got what was in his wallet and he got what was between her legs. Stabler says unless he got something more, since the 70s a woman got paid for something more than sex it is not prostitution. Paxton angrily says that if it is a back alley hand job for $5 she’s a hooker, but if it’s 5Gs a month and all the shoes that she can buy she is an entrepreneur. Benson says times changed, or has she not been on Craig’s List lately? Benson begins to say that some women believe…and Paxton cuts her off, saying she can’t believe Benson is arguing this. Benson asks why, because all women have to have the same opinion on everything? Paxton says is this obvious – yeah. Stabler says they will get Shepard, just keep the pressure on him and they will find a crack. Paxton asked if they spoke with the secretary, and they tell her Lizette knows nothing and asks Paxton if she can do a better job, She says, “Watch me.”

Back at Ad-Vance United, Paxton, with Benson and Stabler present, asks a reluctant Lysette to go through her story again. When Lysette looked to Stabler, he tells her Paxton is running the show now. Paxton turns Lysette’s chair away from Stabler and on to her. She says Vance stopped by at 5:30 so they could share a cab to dinner. His mood was fine, and at dinner he was the same as he always is. She says she would never lie to him, and Paxton asks even after Vance bought her that “very impressive rack.” Lysette is stunned. Paxton says a pair that nice has to make a girl pretty grateful. Lysette says that is none of her business. Paxton tells her to sit down. She says, “Hon, everything’s my business. Your boss, your boobs, you belligerent little attitude. You need to start telling me the truth or I’ll throw you in lockup. With that cute little body of yours will get you all the attention you can handle.” Benson warns Paxton, “Incoming” as Vance rushes in, asking what they are doing. He is upset that she is harassing his employee, and Paxton says that is after he murdered one of them, and then feigns an apology, saying he called Emily his girlfriend. When he asks if she is another cop, she says he will get to know her at trial, which she says is coming up soon because his double D alibi is getting shaky. She add that is why the detectives are heading to Grand Central Station, where they are going to scoop up every single security tape and guess what, they will find him on the platform following the girl onto the train and hopping off the train down the line, wiping blood from his hands. He orders her out of his office, and she says, “See ya soon, wonder boy.” Stabler asks if they are leaving, he thought she was going to break the secretary. Paxton says she rattled the boss, “mission accomplished.”

Back at SVU, Benson dumps a box of security video on her desk, and Stabler also has a large box. Lysette comes in and says he can’t lie for Vance any more. He told her to lie for Wednesday night, but she doesn’t want to go to jail. They did go to dinner but he got there later than she expected. He was disheveled and freaked out and they barely made it to their reservation. He said he got bumped by a cab, knocked down in a crosswalk. He gave her a shirt to be dry cleaned, and there is blood on it and told her not to tell anyone. She think Vance killed Emily.

Back at the office, Vance is telling the employees if he makes a nerf basketball shot, the blue team will go home for the day and the red team stays to finish the broadband proposal. Before he makes the shot, Stabler calls out for him to drop the ball and put his hands behind his back. Benson arrests him for Emily’s murder, saying they have the bloody shirt and a witness (Lysette). They take him off in cuffs as Benson reads him his rights.

At the SVU interrogation he says he didn’t mean to do it, he was in love with her. He said she broke up with him, but he says as it turns out, he was too old for her. He tried to like her music and movies, he gave her so much and she betrayed him. Meanwhile, Paxton rushed in to the observation room and asks Captain Cragen (Dann Florek) what is going on. Cragen says wonder boy is done and Shepard said he didn’t need his lawyer. But Paxton is not happy with this, and bursts in to interrogation and tells Vance to stop talking. Stabler asks, “Do you mind?” Paxton says Vance is not saying another word until she can get Dwight Stannich in there. Benson said Vance waived counsel twice and now Paxton is calling his lawyer? When Vance stands up and says he doesn’t want lawyer, she yells at him and say “Don’t talk!” And then, this:

Paxton (annoyed): “Your suspect is clearly distraught which is exactly what Stannich will argue and out goes any confession. Do I have to make it any clearer for you?”

Stabler, moving in close and getting in Paxton’s face, and taking her arm to move her to the door, mumbling: “Why don’t we stand out…c’mon..”

Paxton, talking over Stabler and pulling her arm away: “Get your hands off me.”

Stabler, continuing to mover her out of the room: “… let’s go outside.” Stabler moves her out the interrogation room and into the observation room where Cragen is waiting. Benson follows.

Vance: “Where…where are you going? Where are you going? I haven’t finished yet.”

Stabler, his dander up: “What’s your problem? First you tell us to nail him now you want us to back off.”

Paxton, agitated: “My problem is I want to win this case Stabler. The right way.”

Stabler: “ And us rubes don’t know how to do that.”

Paxton: “Would I be here if you did?”

Stabler: “You are such a sanctimonious bitch you know that? (We hear Cragen’s voice saying “Detective Stabler that’s enough!” and see Paxton looking stunned, her mouth gaping open. Stabler yells) No I’m not finished! School’s in session and you’ve got a lot to learn, HON.”

Paxton: “Oh hon, if I’m gonna learn anything I promise you it won’t be from an adolescent a-hole like you.” (Stabler gives her a condescending grin.)

Vance, standing at the glass, banging on it, and yelling through the intercom: “Hey! I’m trying to confess here! Will someone listen?” They all stop and stare at him. “’I did it! I did it. I killed Emily Keefe!”

Later, at arrangement court, Vance is arraigned for murder in the second degree. Vance pleads guilty, but Stannich tells the judge he pleads not guilty. Paxton asks for $5 million bail, and Stannich says it is preposterous and asks for $100K. But Vance says he doesn’t want bail, he killed her. Stannich silences him, and says they will plead an affirmative defense, his reversal in his business and the unwanted breakup of Emily Keefe was too much and he snapped. But Paxton says the only thinks that snapped were Emily’s legs as she stuffed her into a suitcase. She says he is a calculating killer. The judge meets her partway and sets bail at $1 million. AS Stannich moves Vance away, he walks toward his wife and daughter who are in the courtroom gallery. Joyce asks if he is happy now, tossing them aside for some young girl. He walks away without saying anything.

Paxton walks over to a waiting Benson and Stabler and says she needs their help, they have to go through those tapes after all. If Stannich is arguing EED, then everything rests with Shepard’s state of mind before and after the murder. Benson said a shot of him smiling getting on or off the train blows his defense out of the water.

Back at SVU, Benson says she has seen three dozen shots of Emily boarding the train but not one of Vance getting on or off. Stabler thinks they could be chasing their tails. Paxton lights up a cigarette, and Benson asks her that she does know there is no smoking in the building. Paxton says, “What are you gonna do, bust me?” She laughs it off, but Benson and Stabler glare at her. She caves in and puts the cigarette out in a cup, asking if she can at least get a good cup coffee? Stabler says swill is the only blend they serve. Paxton says Shepard is pissing her off, but they need facts to nail him, facts don’t lie and they can’t be fudged. Benson sees something on the video and says they aren't finding Vance Shepard at Grand Central Station because he was never there. Nor was Emily. She points out the first picture where she actually was able to see her face, but Emily isn’t Emily.

At jail, Stabler is waiting while they bring in Vance. Vance asks why Stabler is here, and Stabler says to ask him the same thing. He says Stabler knows why, he’s guilty. Stabler says not for the murder of Emily, maybe as an accessory, but it wasn’t him. Stabler says he may not be the worlds greatest dad, but doing this is not going to stop her from seeing justice. Vance asks, “Her?”

We cut to Chantelle, who asks if Benson thinks she killed Emily, and Benson says it must have bothered Chantelle that Emily was close to her age and looked like her. Chantelle denies it, but Benson continues to press it, saying she dragged her body there to Grand Central Station masquerading as her. The worst part is, she almost got away with it. She shows Chantelle the picture of herself dressed as Emily. We then see Stabler also showing the pictures to Vance, who says he loved that girl. Stabler says he loved his daughter more, and that’s why he didn’t call the police. Back with Benson, Chantelle says he wasn’t when she got there, so she went in and waited. Someone put a key into the lock and she ran to the door, and then “this chick” walked in. She said her father blew her off because she was screwing “that bitch.” She couldn’t believe she was barely older than she, and she smiled at her as if they were going to be best friends. That’s when it all went blurry. She grabbed her by the neck and it felt so good. We cut to Vance, who is telling Stabler that he walked in and saw her lying there, here eyes were open and she was so cold. That is when Chantelle stepped out and said – and we hear and see both Chantelle and her father say in unison, “I did something real bad. “ Then Chantelle says that he didn’t see her standing there and he spun around for a second he though she was going to kill him too. Vance says the look in here eye was a dead as Emily’s. And he made her that way, he has been such a selfish bastard for so long, and that’s when he realized God was giving him one last chance. Chantelle then said her father took off Emily’s clothes and jammed her in the suitcase. He way crying, and he never once cried over him. Vance said he told her to put on Emily’s dress, take the suitcase all the way down to Florida, and Chantelle said so her old boyfriend would be blamed. But Chantelle said then the train wouldn’t go. Vance said finally the train started moving, and Chantelle couldn’t take it any more, and Chantelle says that’s when she pushed that whore out the window. Vance says that’s when it all started coming apart. When he heard they were going to watch the tapes, he told Lysette to give them the bloody shirt. Chantelle says, smiling, that he took the blame and said he killed her, and that proves her daddy loves her. But Benson says that is not the way a father is supposed to prove his love. She asks Benson, “How do you know? Maybe your father never loved you.” Benson, calmly says, “You know what, he didn’t, but I still know that this is wrong.” Chantelle says no, what he is doing is right. Back at the jail, Vance says he is helping his daughter, but Stabler does not agree. Vance says he can see it in his eyes, Stabler would do the same for his kids. He begs Stabler to leave it aloe, but Stabler tell him it is over. Vance asks him to do him one favor, he wants to see his daughter one more time to say goodbye.

That's going to leave a mark!

Later, they bring Vance out into the main area and Paxton signals Benson to get Chantelle. She walks out an moves to her father, and she looks panicked, saying “Daddy, you said it would work.’ He tells them that they figured it out. She gets a little freaked out and says he promised. He moves to touch her face but she moves away and turns to face a desk and cries. Vance asks to have the cuffs removed for a second, and Paxton says to make it quick. Vance walks over to her and from behind, strokes her hair and says he is sorry. She turns around to him and he hugs her, saying he is sorry for everything. He kisses her, and she says “I’m sorry too, daddy.” He says he knows, but the look on her face changes, and she adds, “even for this!” and stabs him in the neck with a pair of scissors. Shock hits the group, and Benson pulls Chantelle away and tells someone to call for a bus. Vance, pulls out the scissors that are sticking out of his neck, and collapses as Stabler attempts to aid him. Paxton is stunned, and Chantelle says angrily, “You’ll never break another promise to me.” As Vance bleeds out on the floor, Stabler still tries to aid him. Paxton is rocked hard by these events and looks on the verge of tears. As Vance dies, Chantelle stares at him as the rest of the group looks on in shock. Stabler looks up with a strange, almost helpless look on his face, as we fade to black.

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John K. said...

Nice snark in your recap. Too bad Benson is so serious, or the jokes would have been perfect.

I'm still mixed on Paxton, but I'm leaning toward your assessment. Anyone who could make Elliot and Olivia freak out about smoking like that, she's worth it.

And no transcripts needed, as you wrote everything I needed. Thank you for recapping this bizarre episode.

JadoreMontreal said...

As a longtime L&A fan I can without a doubt that this was the worst episode of SVU ever! It was predictable and the storyline was horrendous. The realistism feel of the show was lost and replaced with a cheap murder/mystery plot. It reminded me of "The Mentalist" (which is horrid). I hope that they did not change their writers...and that the rest of the season will retreive itself. On the bright side, McCormack really proved he can act.

Anonymous said...

I may be the only one but I thought this was a good episode and I have to disagree with you all. I think the whole reason why they uncuffed both of them was they felt sorry for them..I mean they are human and we all have made certain decisions at our jobs that probably weren't the best. I don't think they expected the mentally unbalanced daughter to stab her dad with scissors. As for the body in the suitcase being too heavy...have you ever been filled with so much rage that you could practically lift a car....well I am thinking that is the situation here. The daughter was so filled with rage that she was able to lift the suitcase and throw it out. As for ADA Paxton..there is obviously a story behind her and I can't wait to hear it.

AS for the master baiter schtick..yeah it was immature but it was funny and I may be the only one that thinks it was funny but I don't care. These shows need a little light in them sometimes. Lighten up.

So to say it was the worst episode it because I think you missed something. It may have not been the best but it was definately not the worst.

Anonymous said...

Anyone know who the actress is that plays Lizette? She isn't listed on

Rose said...

I thought the episode was predictable, but it wasn't terrible. In fact, I thought it was pretty great even though I was able to guess exactly what was going to happen very early on. I thought Eric was fantastic, I was really moved by his final scenes. Paxton is a bitch, but I like what she brings to the show.

It wasn't the best episode they've had, but it was far from the worst. For an episode that was largely procedural and very predictable, it was enjoyable. I just wish Munch and Huang would make an appearance sometime soon!

p.s. what was the preview for next week like? I'm watching online from Australia so I missed out.

Koontz said...

Yeah....what's the name of the actress who played Lizette? She is super cute.

All Things Law and Order said...

Rose, the preview tease for "Solitary" can be found here:

Koontz, I am still looking for the name of the actress who played Lizette. She wasn't in the intro credits, and my DVR cut off the end credits. If someone else knows please alert me and I will add her name.

Anonymous said...

That was a crazy bad episode. Whatis happening to this show. Paxton was great, I liked that she is getting on Benson and Stabler's nerves.

There is no way that any real police or detective squad would allow two murder suspects to meet, UNCUFFED, in the middle of thier squad room. I could see them allowing them to meet in a cell but not the squad room. Benson and Stabler should have known better. Idiots!

Joe said...

I don't think that they did a good job at all with the ADA. The balance is way off on her.

Head strong vs. Uber Bitch. I think she is too much the latter. I'm not impressed with her endorsement from McCoy. She comes across more psychotic than wise and stubborn. Unless the ADA is suppose to have a personality disorder its just not working for me. The way in which she one-uped the detectives with her savvy lawyering ways just made them look like idiots. They are suppose to be experienced detectives. Hell, we've seen them better than that for years. The efforts to make her sympathetic were weak, too. So, daughter stabs dad in neck and she cries harder than anyone in the room. She must have a heart of gold under that rough exterior! Buy it if you want. She's Dr. Palaski from Star Trek:The Next Generation, all over again. I'm not sure that she can be finessed in at this point. My guess is she's gone in a couple of weeks, which will be easy to do as she is so unstable. Turns out McCoy just wanted her out of the office for the most obvious reason, he didn't want to deal with her every day.

I can't agree more with those who mentioned the funky physics in this episode. It is too much for me to suspend my disbelief enough to imagine a small girl tossing around a similarly sized girl like a bag of groceries.

I've always looked at this show as a bit of a guilty pleasure. This episode has me feeling a little bit too guilty. As guilty as those desperately trying to find material on the bodacious secretary, Lizette. Who, unlike the rest of the episode, I didn't see anything wrong with.

John K. said...

I didn't say the episode sucked, just bizarre. Bizarre doesn't mean "bad," necessarily. Not to me, anyway.

It had a few good points, like the Paxton/Olivia exchange over feminism and "how women must agree on everything." Of course, it also fails as Olivia is one of the most traditional feminists of the franchise (Claire Kincaid being the queen), so it doesn't work as well with her saying it. And I liked McCormick, as I saw him on Free Enterprise, so his casting was made of win. I also liked Lysette, so it was worth it.

Either way, I'm glad Paxton's pointing the SVU squad's glaring incompetence, and the fact she made the PC police, Benson and Stabler, freak on her smoking. The fandom circles I've been observing are freaking on her, so she must doing something right.

I didn't like the potty mouth, as "handjob"? Can you say that on 9:00 PM? The 9:00 PM mandate was announced before filming, so it isn't like the writer was caught unaware. Or, he doesn't care. I was hoping for the raunchiness to be cleaned up with the new slot, but it may be premature to hope for it, or I have to wait until it's completely out of their system.

Finally, don't give snark lines to Benson. She's just too serious for them, so it doesn't work. Munch would have been perfect, given the snark. Or Cragen. People forget he was the master of snark on the Mothership.

John K. said...

Let's put it this way: if you're watching the show for seriousness, it was horrible.

If you're watching it for lulz-worthy, MST3K fodder, then it works. I'm no longer take the show seriously, and I wish the fandom wouldn't, either. We'll see.

Anonymous said...

Um, actually Christine Lahti never guest-starred in TNG; Diane Muldaur played Catherine Pulaski and that woman didn't go around telling the Senior Staff how to do their jobs.

You must be referring to the character Dr. Rachel Woodruff from "Gross Anatomy."

As for the Detectives stupidity, they should have known better. They're like the Doctor from Doctor Who, very smart, can do extraordinary things, but can still make crap decisions.

But, Sonya gave the ok to take off the cuffs, and likely was the one who agreed to let them meet in the squadroom instead of lockup. She'll likely get a stern talking to by Cragen or McCoy. Hopefully, they'll all have learned their lesson.

I wasn't surprised by Paxton's tears. Her attitude is a facade. The jury is still out. She has her moments, but we'll just have to wait and see.

Anonymous said...

Maybe Paxton was more upset than anyone else in the room because it could have been the first time some was murdered right in front of her. The rest are used to seeing crime as it happens, the attorneys, not so much. She could have also felt partly responsible for allowing them to be without the cuffs, and it was the horror for her own mistake that brought the reaction.

Joe said...

My reference to Dr. Palaski from Star Trek: The Next Generation was of the character only.

I'm sure Paxton is more complex and not all rough exterior, but I think she's too over the top with it. For that reason when viewers are shown a more sympathetic side, they just won't buy it. That's what happened with Dr. Palaski.

The ADA role has always been best when it is in conflict with the officers. The Two sides clash. The viewer can't understand why the tough attorney won't order the arrest. "The cops no who did it! Aren't you suppose to be on then same side?!" Everything is tense but in the end there is some stiff lipped resolution. The cop and the ADA come away with some mutual respect, having a better understanding of the other's view. Unfortunately, I think it breaks down and is much less compelling when everyone eventually becomes straight up chummy.

That seems to be the way it has been with all of the ADAs so far. I think it worked the best with Diane Neal as Casey Novak.

Anyway, I don't see Paxton pulling off the whole "charismatic yet abrasive" thing. She's too abrasive and the show's subject matter is too heavy. The viewer will gasp at her coldness, as is the job of an L&O SVU ADA, but would someone like Paxton be able to bring the audience around in the end? She seems to hate everyone around her, so why would she care so much about a victim?

Whatever the answer to that question is, when her motivations are revealed I'm afraid I'll have had enough of her and won't care, anyway.

I hope I'm wrong... Love the show.

Anonymous said...

AS stated before it wasn't the best, but it wasn't the worst either. I think the author of this blog just seems to have a hate on for SVU.

Several times over the 20 years of L&O susspects have faced off with each other in the squad room so why does it surprise on SVU?

I'm not buying McCoy sending Paxton to SVU to clean things up either. That doesn't seem like his style. Paxton has some serious problems and with the next two weeks being the 4 epesode ark closing things should get interesting.

The part where Paxton barges in to stop the confession is bunck because everyone knows if you want to confess 99% of the time, unless your defense lawyer is a hard case for trial they will let it happen. L&O CI does it often.

I'm looking forward to seeing how things shake out over the season and with the ADA situation. Though after the preview of next weeks epesode my wife thinks Stabler is dead.

Ol Cranky said...

I was disappointed in the episode consistent with the comments above

As for Paxton, I have the niggling sensation that this is what they were trying (unsuccessfully, no doubt) to do with the introduction of Greyleck (Michaela McManus) last year. I think they realized that approach didn't play well with a younger, less seasoned character and they added the "McCoy wants a big girl keeping an eye on you clowns" part so people wouldn't see the similarities in attitude of the characters. I, personally, don't particularly care for the character on the show probably because she fits the stereotype of the shrill female attorney who is, at the heart, a bit of a weakling (sadly, there are a few of these female lawyers in existence and all my attorney friends abhor dealing with them).

All Things Law and Order said...

To the anonymous poster who thinks I hate SVU, that couldn't be further from the truth. I wouldn't spend the hours to recap each episode and follow all the news for the show if I didn't like it. But, I believe that even in the Law & Order Universe there are no sacred cows, and sometimes delivering my truthful opinion about an episode is being more faithful to the show than just saying every episode is great.

As Paxton said that McCoy sent her there and she has the backing of One PP, I can't imagine she would lie about that, it is too easy for Cragen to verify. It wouldn;t fit the actions of McCoy the EADA, but it does fit McCoy the DA, who has to answer for the entire record of all his EADAs and ADAs.

Ol Cranky, you make a very good point about Greyleck. I never thought about that it from that angle but what you say makes sense. With Paxton being older, her bringing down the hammer makes more sense than Greyleck doing it. Besides, McManus just didn't have the acting chops to pull it off.

Anonymous said...

It's kind of funny, because I can buy Greyleck as a DA more than I can Paxton, even though I think that Lahti is the better actress and Paxton the more interesting character. She (Paxton) doesn't seem to make very good decisions and despite her harshness with cops she doesn't really bring the hammer down when she could.

The reason District Attorneys don't interview suspects themselves is because that puts them in the embarassing and unpleasant position of being subpoena'd by the Defense in a trial. That's practically the only reason why we even have police officers around -- it's certainly not because of their charming dispositions. We've already gone over what she did to that man in prison the last episode and I won't belabor the point. She's a really good character, but she comes across as more of an upjumped caddy from the NYPD Legal Bureau than a senior homicide prosecutor.

(Say, maybe they can have Falco from L&O pass the bar and become an A.D.A. for this show to alternate with Paxton occasionally)

John K. said...

Y'know, in "Transitions," I actually saw Kim as a potential contender to be the second coming of Abbie Carmichael, an archetype SVU so needs. If she had the time to develop, as we usually get on the original series, she could have been led to greatness. Or, potentially sucked, but she needed that chance.

I actually was fretting if the fandom would embrace Paxton for the reasons you cite, Cranky: the older, more ranging Lahti vs. the younger McManus. Worse, I feared a double standard, as they hated Kim as a ball buster, yet would have loved it with Paxton, per the age and experience issues.

Although, my fandom circles aren't thrilled with Paxton, and... I almost dare they hate Paxton more than they hated Kim, which is a lot. Of course, I'm an odd man, as I'm one of the few that likes Kim Greylek.

Cranky, I run a Kim fansite, and I do like concrit on her, as it helps my analysis and my sense of fairness. I'll leave the address below, and you can check it out, if you wish. Either way, you have good insights. I salute you.

daniel said...

To ATLAO, thanks for the recap! i wasnt able to watch this episode because i couldnt find it on-line and that they havent aired in ausralia yet! But the episode does sound pretty good.

Theres been a lot of discussion about the adas on the show. I think paxton sounds like a good and credible character and she is nothing like greyleck who sucked pure and simple. I think Alex and Casey were/are the best ADAs and im looking forward to seeing alex again on the show. Also does anyone think that casey could come back because apparrantly the actress has said on her twitter page that she would like to come back.

Anonymous said...

John - Michaela McManus is off the show because she could't act. It was as simple as that. Fans didn't like her blank face as she tried to pass herself off as a tough cookie.

Christine Lahti is perfect as Paxton. She can pull of being the aggressive bitchy broad better than anyone else this show has seen. And it is working perfectly - fans are talking about HER - not Benson or Stabler. Finally people are talking about the show again and a character that creates controversy like this also creates drama for the show. I think that you see that fans dislike her becaise you have blinders on - your Kim fan site is the proof.

For me, I hope we see more of Paxton and Christine Lahti. Finally, we get a strong woman in the ADA's office. I love it.

J.C. said...

Lysette is played by Raushanah Simmons not alot of info about her online though

All Things Law and Order said...

J.C. - thank you for the information. I added her name to the recap!

John K. said...

Actually, if you followed my writings at all, I was absolutely non-plussed about Kim until her removal. I created the site as a result of that reaction. I was only fair to her, and that fairness created the site. Not everyone is in groupthink about her. Although, it's a very small minority, but I love a challenge.

And I do hope Paxton succeeds, as she seems interesting. I want prosecutors promoted on the show, whomever they are. I'm just conveying what I've been observing. It's all the same to me, frankly, as I don't have emotion invested in the series, anymore.

As for your "blinder" remark: the site's latest postings involve a batch of critical observations about her and I said I'm grateful for the concrit. So, that argument doesn't work.

Anyway, that's all I say on the matter. I'm dropping out, so say what you want about me. It's fine, really.

And thank you, J.C. I've been curious, myself.

John K. said...

Oh, in case anyone needs my proof of the Paxton lulz, here is the only LJ community that has said on Sugar. I'm in the community, too. Make of it, as you will.

John K. said...

Sorry about that. I'm sure there will be others on Livejournal to chime in, and I'll be watching and occasionally commenting.

But I will say, this experience has been informative.

Anonymous said...

I'm glad to hear that you'll keep coming back. Honestly, I never got the Greyleck thing; McManus isn't the best actress on the show, but I liked the *idea* behind the character and I'm interested in seeing if Christine Lahti will be able to reform that idea even if last season kind of dropped the ball. (Besides, it's not like that last season made any of the other characters look that good either).

One thing that I liked about this new season is the use of the voiceover summation. It helps me piece together some of the elements of the mystery and it can be more dramatic at times than something else. I hope Criminal Intent would consider adapting that when they decide to come up with mysteries involving more than 3 main characters that all look the same.

John K. said...

For some reason, it won't acknowledge the .html part, after the 6 numbers. Bah.

Well, it's nice to be appreciated, and thank you. I think the concept could have worked if SVU wasn't so strict on "characters must be instantly awesome." Rohm had three and a half seasons and Parisse had one and a half, so they made their case, despite the criticism. That's all I'd want. And everyone just make up their minds.

I mean, how is treating Kim any different than when Casey first appeared? The Cabot fans were angry, and the cycle started there, but Casey had her chance. It was the unfairness that initially compelled me to Kim, and then the more I saw in hindsight, I kinda liked.

Then again, after what happened in "Zebras," I'm grateful they didn't include her. Oy.

You're right about the voiceover, as that's a break in reality that is a good storytelling technique. Let's hope they keep it for future episodes.

Anonymous said...

Where was the voiceover? I'm sorry, I think I've missed something.

Anonymous said...

All Things...we know you don't have a hate on for SVU but is seems like you never give it a good are entitled to your opinion just like everyone else. I think you DO give this show more of a hard time because you enjoy the Mothership more...which is okay but you have to understand that some prefer SVU more. You have said that the Mothership has the best writing of all the L&O franchises which I have to disagree...they have had some stinker episodes. I am personally not liking the two lead detectives on the Mothership. They just don't do it for me...I miss the old cast.

SVU has had some good episodes. I am rewatching Season 10 right now and I really don't think it was given the credit that is should have. I think they got new writers so it takes time to get your bearings. Some of the episodes, after watching them a second time, are quite good.

I think everyone should be entitled their own opinion and we just have to be respectful of that.

Rose said...

I agree about Season 10, I've just been reading the unofficial companion that's just been released and Dick Wolf points out that in a season of 22 episodes, you will probably have four great ones and four terrible ones, and the rest will be in between. I think this is definitely true for SVU. Season 10 had some bad episodes, but it also had some great ones - Persona is one of my favourite episodes ever, and I thought Swing was fantastic too.

I think it also depends why you watch SVU. People seem to have very different expectations of the show; some want it to remain a completely serious procedural drama, others would give their left foot for another episode like Fault or Paternity. Personally, I'd love to see more character drama more often, but that's just me.

As for Kim Greyleck - I liked the character concept, but I couldn't stand that actress. I actually feel uneasy referring to Michaela McManus as an "actress" - from what I've seen of her on SVU, she's not really worthy of that title.

Anonymous said...

I think you DO give this show more of a hard time because you enjoy the Mothership more...which is okay but you have to understand that some prefer SVU more.

I've never gotten the impression that the blogger doesn't understand that other people prefer SVU more. A lot of people seem to take the posts here as some kind of perpetual edict from on high, as if just because the blogger doesn't like this episode, that means NO ONE is allowed to like this episode. I wish I could see what some other people are seeing, because I have never gotten the impression that the review part of the recaps was ever intended to be something more than one person's opinion.

Anonymous said...

The anonymous poster said, "I think everyone should be entitled their own opinion and we just have to be respectful of that." It;s funny but they don't seem to be respectful of ATLAO's opinion because when she gives it they accuse her of hating the show. So much for respecting the opinion of others!

I am a long time viewer of SVU, in my 40s, and think that the show is trying too hard to appeal to Chris and Mariska fans and not about the quality of the episode. The writing and the scenarios have been dumbed to the point that I think they want to grab teenage viewers. They wonder why the show is falling in ratings is not just because of the new time and day, it's because last season ended on a dumb note and many didn't want to watch anymore.

John K. said...

Just as I'm getting flak for liking Michaela McManus, instead of hating her, like a fan is supposed to do. There's no middle ground, anymore.

Anyway, with SVU, I just point to the MST3K mantra, "it's only a TV show, so I should just relax."

Isabela said...

Hi. My name is Isabela, and I'm from brazil. I'm helping to translate the subtitles to portuguese, but that are some phrases i dont understand. I would like to ask you, if there is anyway of you put in this recap, some phrases, like you recap from episode 11x01. I would be very thankfull.

And sorry for my bad english.