Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Law & Order SVU “Spooked” Recap & Review

All photos from NBC

There were lots of twists and turns in this very intense episode of Law & Order SVU, “Spooked.” I liked the episode a lot, despite the fact that it was far too predictable. It was enjoyable because it took characters out of their comfort zones. Like what ADA Paxton did for Elliot Stabler (Chris Meloni), Agent Dean Porter (Vincent Spano) gave Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay) a chance to add a bit of a spark to her life – even if that spark happened to be in the form of a “rat bastard.” I think it’s great when the show adds a character to the mix that seems to have great chemistry with the cast and adds a bit of tension to the story. It also gave Mariska a chance to show her smile, which she rarely seems allowed to do on the show. Her whole face lights up and she almost looks like a different person when she smiles. It was wonderful to see Benson turn the tables on Porter and play him in order to catch the murderer, but I felt horrible for her when Cragen had no choice except to let Porter and the killer go.

The one character who is always true to form is Munch (Richard Belzer), and his whining about the telephones was classic Munch. I think I must be watching too many crime shows because I thought it was obvious from his first appearance that the phone guy was not just there for installing new phones, and we would see him later as being involved in the case. Maybe the NYPD is different, but most companies would not let someone come in and just install new equipment without someone verifying that the new equipment was, in fact, properly authorized and legit. I suppose in Cragen’s thrill to finally get new phones he never thought to verify that the person they let into the squad room had the proper authorization to be there.

Besides being a bit of an anger boy the last few weeks, Stabler can add jealous boy to his repertoire of personality traits that are very ugly on him. Meloni plays acting like an immature boy very well when he gets a little rattled at Porter's appearance at SVU. It is a shame that Stabler continues to regress as a character and his behavior is becoming more annoying. Sometimes I think Stabler is too insecure and his smart-assed comments are the only way he knows to help him feel superior. Meloni did an excellent job in this episode of playing a wide range of emotions – jealousy, worry, anger, and his affection for his work partner.

As the previews made it evident that Olivia was going to be a damsel in distress in this episode, it was no surprise at all when she finds herself held at gunpoint. I wish that the previews wouldn’t show as much as they do because I believe it ruins the suspense. I understand the promo people walk a fine line between showing enough to get viewers to want to tune in, and showing too much, and giving a key element of the plot away. In this case, I wish that they had been a little more secretive about Olivia being held hostage and at gunpoint. When the gunman is taking her down the escalator and he pulls her gun out of her holster, I thought that most law enforcement people who carry guns use a holster with a security feature that prevents someone else from pulling out their gun. I would think in the line of work that Benson and Stabler do, they should have their holsters equipped in that manner.

I also wondered why they were so quick to believe Terri wasn’t involved as they showed no initial concerns about her possible involvement in the case. I would have expected them to run a check on her first before they went back with a search warrant for her apartment. For some reason I cringed when Benson was so concerned about Terri being safe when I just had a feeling that she was involved. Yes, I do watch too many crime shows.

Another week and another one of my pets peeves: Olivia walks right up to a suspect and calls her name, giving the suspect ample opportunity to flee. Olivia could have waited until the suspect came around the corner to her, and then stopped her from behind so the woman could not use he shopping cart to deter Olivia. There was no need to Benson to approach the suspect as she did. Do they never learn?

My other pet peeve: I think this ceased to be a special victims case when they realized that there was no sexual assault involved and the scene was staged. I would think they would have kicked it over to homicide, but I admit I don’t know where the NYPD draws the lines.

But don’t let my criticisms give the impression that I didn’t like the episode. I thought it provided an interesting case and gave the cast a great chance to show some range and was one of their better episodes this season.

Here is the recap:

Two guys in a truck see another truck parked along side the road and decide to rob it. They cut open the padlock on the back door of the truck and find two bodies inside, a man lying on top of the woman. One of the guys says they have to call the cops, but the other guy says they have to get out of there.

Later with Detectives Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay) and Elliot Stabler (Chris Meloni) on the scene, ME Warner (Tamara Tunie) says they were alerted to the bodies by an anonymous 911 caller. There is no ID, both are young and Hispanic, their throats slit, but by looking at the blood spatter, it appears the bodies were repositioned after the killing. The woman’s breasts were mutilated after she was killed. When brighter lights shine into the truck, they see a bra and panties hanging toward the front of the truck. It looks like the perp did it, to wave the murder in their faces.

Back at the morgue, Warner has been unable to identify the victims. It appears the rapist was careful not to leave any evidence. They think the killer caught the two having sex and killed the guy to get him out of the way so he could rape the woman.

Back at the SVU squad, Captain Don Cragen (Dann Florek) talks with Detective John Munch (Richard Belzer) about the murders. Cragen thinks this is not the killer’s first time, Munch says VICAP shows nothing close to this pattern. Cragen tells him to check other SVUs in the boroughs and every police agency in the northeast, and asks who owned the truck. The truck has 5 partial VIN numbers plus stolen plates, and Munch is working on it. Munch sees a phone man (Juan Hernandez) at his desk and asks what he is doing. He tells Munch he is installing new phones, the new Green Tech 8800. Munch complains that he just figured out how to use the old one. Cragen tells Munch to use the phone in the media room, pulling him away. He asks if they have anything from missing persons, and Munch says there is no match to the description of the victims. The 911 call was made from a pay phone around the corner from the scene, Munch thinks it was by the same low lifes who broke into the truck, and there are no useable prints. The 2-5 canvassed and came up empty.

Back at the morgue, Warner says the cut on the woman’s throat was made by a thin curved blade, like a scalpel. She says it was just what he needed to talk out her breast implants, she found healing incisions from them that were only a few weeks old. Stabler seems surprised he took the time to steal implants

Back at SVU, Munch tells Cragen he thinks the guy wanted trophies, but Cragen thinks the guy knew the woman could be ID’d from the implants serial numbers. Cragen tells him to send Jane Doe’s photo to every plastic surgeon within a 100 miles radius.

Back at the morgue, Warner says there are two identifying marks on the man, the initials LZ on his arm with an image above it. Back at SVU, Munch says it is a “death bride” ,the patron saint to Mexican drug dealers. He checked the database and no Mexican gangs came up with the LZ initials and wonders if it is Jane Doe’s initials. Cragen tells him to send the ink and the fingerprints to the FBI as if the couple was in the country illegally, the FBI can squeeze the Mexicans for their records.

Back at the morgue, Warner thinks both victims are American, based on their dental work. CSU also found hundreds of brown fibers mixed in with the blood on the truck floor.

Back at SVU, Munch tells Cragen the lab identified the fibers as polyester fiberfill, and Benson, now back at SVU with Stabler, asks if it is from the victim’s clothing. Munch says it is too low grade, this is used for stuffing pillows and cheap plush toys. Stabler thinks the fibers must be from whatever the truck was hauling before it became a “mobile slaughterhouse.” Meanwhile, the phone guy is still working, and Munch asks why he can’t just continue to use his own phone. Phone man says it won’t work on the new system. Munch says, “I long for the days of rotary dial.” Cragen says, “And I’ve been badgering One PP for new phones since Clinton was president so get over it, John.” Phone guy hands Munch a huge manual and says that the quick start guide is in the front. Stabler, seeing Munch is getting quickly distracted, asks if he traced the truck. Munch found that a fax just came in, it’s owned by a rental company in the Bronx.

Stabler and Benson are at the truck company, and a man tells them the truck went out last week and was supposed to be back last night. Benson sees the driver’s license belong to a Carlos Martinez of Laredo, Texas, who was 18. When Stabler asks if their insurance company lets them rent to 18 year olds, the guy says to screw the insurance company, the kid left a nice car for collateral, and the car registration matches his license. While Stabler gets into the car, Benson tells the guy the car will be impounded as evidence in a murder. Stabler finds that the last place Carlos was searching for on his GPS was a house out in South Ozone Park.

In Queens, they are at the address where Carlos was looking for and it looks like a likely drug house. They stop a kid who is running out of the house with a boom box. He said the people there moved out last night and left the boom box, they were loading a truck. Stabler shows them a picture of Carlos and the woman and the kid verifies that’s who was moving out. The kid says they were there for a week, a bunch of them went in every night and they were gone by morning. Benson calls out for Stabler and he takes the boom box from the kid. Benson has found a mental trash can with what looks like burned drug preparation materials. Benson also sees Jane Doe’s driver license in there, partially burned, and her name was Ramona Rodriguez of East 57th street.

They head to this address, and a woman who lives there, Terri Banes (Paola Mendoza), who says Ramona lives there, and they tell her she was murdered. She says she barely knew Ramona, she rented her second room and was hardly ever there. She put an ad on Craig’s list and Ramona gave her six months rent in advance. They go to check out her room, and it looks hardly lived in. Her passport is still there, and it looks like she’s done a lot of traveling recently to Mexico City and Bogotá. They think she was a drug mule, and Benson thinks she was smuggling drugs in the breast implants. Stabler sees a brown teddy bear on the bed, and wonders if this is what was being transported in the truck. Terri bursts into the room, and says someone is trying to get in her front door. He tells her to lie down in the tub, and he and Benson go off to check it out. Guns drawn, Benson and Stabler enter the room and see the front door knob opening, The door opens and Benson yells out for the person to drop the gun. But the man answers, saying, “Detective Benson” and Agent Dean Porter (Vincent Spano) steps into the light. Benson recognizes him and drops her gun, and so does Stabler.

As they exit the home, Porter asks Benson what they are doing there. She says they are trying to solve two murders and asks where is his warrant. He says the landlord let him in. He adds that the teddy bear carried half a kilo of Mexican black tar heroin, and their confidential informant said Carlos Martinez was holed up in the apartment. Stabler tells him Martinez is dead. They show him Ramona’s passport and he does not know her, but adds Martinez was going to make their 10 most wanted list.

Back at SVU, Porter shows them a video of Carlos and Ramona and say he is a professional hit man, adding that the LZ on Carlo’s tattoo stands for Los Zetas, the Gulf cartel’s assassination wing. Carlos has 22 confirmed kills in Mexico and 4 in the US. He says Carlos is the tip of the iceberg, the cartel plucks them as young as 13 from Texas border towns and promises them cash, cars, women. Carlos wasn’t sent here to kill anybody, he was protecting Ramona and her shipment of heroin filled teddy bears. Porter thinks a rival crew slit their throats, cuts out the heroin filled implants, takes the shipment and leaves them there to rot. Stabler sys, “So you’re pulling all this out of your ass based on what?” Porter says it is based on their “rape tree” saying that coyotes who smuggle Mexican illegal into the US often gang rape the women and hang their victim’s panties on trees to symbolize their conquest. The rape currently in question was not the motivation and the killer staged it to look like that. Cragen doesn’t want to start a turf war between SVU and the FBI, so Porter says SVU should take the bodies and he will take the dope. While Benson watches Porter leave, Cragen tells Stabler to get on the phone with narcotics to see who is moving the black tar heroin, but when he goes to give Benson an assignment, she asks him to give her a minute, and she follows Porter.

At the elevator, she comments that the elevators have been slow. He says it’s been a while, and she says, “Yes it has.” They make small talk, and he steps into the elevator, saying, "You have my number.” Stabler pipes up “Yeah, we all do.” Benson pleads to Stabler to give Porter a break, but Stabler wants to see if he gives them one first. He tells her that he spoke to narcotics and Cragen wants them to get a warrant to finish tossing Ramona’s place.

Back at the apartment of Terri Banes, the tell her they looking for any leads to Ramona’s killer, and she seem worried they may come there after her. Benson says they need her to be safe and suggests she stay with someone until this blows over, and Terri agrees. One of the CSU guys finds a small short wave receiver, and Stabler sees a baseboard that has been altered, pries it off the wall, and finds a key to a safety deposit box at Commerce Bank of Manhattan.

They head to the bank to get the box, and find Ramona last accessed the box two weeks ago. Benson finds a plane ticket for Ramona, one way to Mexico City for tonight. When Stabler says they will give the bank a voucher as the owner of the box is dead, the bank representative asks if they are both dead. Stabler shows her a picture of Carlos but the woman said it was another man, he came there 2 days ago, his name was Juan Pablo. The CSU guy found fingerprints on the box. Benson notices writing on the ticket: MIA 256 and JFK 3:16 PM.

On the phone, Munch tells them that there is a Mexican Airways flight in from Miami this afternoon flight 256. Cragen tells them to hustle over to Kennedy and he will have Porter meet them there. He tells them to call the airline and get the cargo manifest for flight 256 and alert customs and asks them to allow anything suspicious to get through to baggage claim.

At JFK Airport Terminal 4, Stabler sees 8 boxes marked for children’s toys, and radios Benson who is elsewhere with Porter who is waiting in his car. Stabler sees someone picks them up and radios the description to Benson. Porter goes off to follow the shipment, and Benson’s phone rings. It’s Cragen, who tells them they got a print hit off the safe deposit box, Juan Pablo’s real name is Manuel Rojas (Jose Yenque), a lieutenant in the Gulf cartel and that Munch texted his photo to Benson and Stabler. Back at the airport, Stabler acknowledges receiving the photo, and then radios that the boy and a friend are loading the packages into a red minivan and neither of them are Rojas. Porter confirms he is in position, and tells Stabler to get with Olivia. Stabler then spots Rojas , and they wonder if he wants to make sure the shipment is there before he leaves town on the flight that Ramona was supposed to take. Stabler tells Benson that he thinks Rojas made him and asks her how fast she can get up there. She pulls something out of her car and makes her way to the area where Rojas is waiting at the counter. Stabler radios that her backup is on the way. Rojas walks to Benson, and asks her if she can help him. He whispers that his cell phone is a 22-caliber gun, and she can either come with him or he will start shooting. She walks along with him and Stabler looks worried. He radios to the Port Authority that his partner has been made. Rojas takes Benson down an escalator and takes her gun. She tells him there is nowhere to go. He walks out a door and opens it to find a police officer, and when Benson yells, “Look out,” Rojas shoots the police officer. As they continue to walk, Benson tells him they are going to come, but Rojas says not while he has her. Stabler, meanwhile, catches up with the police officer who is not dead, he was wearing a bulletproof vest. He tells them the man has a woman with him, and Stabler tell him to radio for backup. Stabler sees Rojas and Benson and follows them into the parking lot. He catches up with them and calls out for Rojas to drop his weapon. More police arrive, and Rojas has a gun to Benson’s head. Stabler tries to calm him down, and Rojas, seeing all the police arriving, says he wants a car and his shipment or he will kill Benson. She asks, “Like you killed Ramona and Carlos?” But Rojas calls her a lying bitch. She says, “You have a gun to my head Manuel. Why would I lie to you now?” She accuses him of lying, saying she thinks he found Ramona with Carlos and killed them both. He seems shocked, and we hear a shot fired and Benson and Carlos drop to the ground. Stabler comes running to her, but she is fine, the blood is Rojas’. He holds Benson to him and she is justifiably shaken. He turns to see that it was Porter who fired the shot that killed Rojas.

Later, Porter shows Stabler and Benson that Rojas' cell phone was in fact a gun, and it can shoot four 22-caliber bullets through the antenna. It fires by pressing 538 on the keypad. Benson tells them the Rojas said he had a gun and would kill others if she did not go with him, and dos not know how she was made. She asks Porter that she thought he was following the drugs, but he says the guy in the minivan spotted them and got them at the airport exit. When he heard the call to the Port Authority cops on the radio, he came back. The detectives have to make statements to the police, so Stabler decides to go first. He says to Porter, sounding like he didn't want to say it, “Nice shot.”

Porter asks Benson if she is ok and she says she will be. He says they got their murderer, but she doesn’t understand why Rojas double-crossed Ramona and Carlos and killed them. Porter says Rojas wasn’t the double crosser and she asks how he knows.

Back at SVU, Porter says their informant told them Ramona and Carlos got greedy and stole the teddy from one of their loads. She and Carlos sold the heroin inside it. Rojas got to them before they could hijack the shipment they seized today. But Benson said they had the teddy bears, why would Ramona smuggle heroin inside her implants. Porter says that these are people who build disposable submarines to smuggle drugs and they are always looking for new ways to smuggle in dope. Cragen says that is the FBI’s turf and the bottom line is that this is over for SVU. Porter says he will forward him copies of all his reports. He moves to leave and asks Benson if she needs a lift home, but Stabler answers instead, saying, “Naw, I’m good, thanks.” Benson looks at Stabler and then at Porter and smiles at Porter, who leaves. Cragen says neither of them are going anywhere, the chief of Ds wants their fives on his desk at 8 AM.

Later, Munch comes in with coffee for Benson and Stabler, calling it the breakfast of champions. Cragen asks for an update and Stabler says they got their stories straight, but ME Warner comes in and says it is not the whole story. She found a third DNA profile in the blood from the murder, and she says the perp was not a man, the mystery DNA was from a female and that as far as she knows Rojas was never in the truck but a second woman was. There was also brown hair found as well. Benson suspects that it is Terri Banes, Ramona’s roommate. Benson begins to call Porter to keep him in the loop, and he suggests to wait until they have something and to let it play out.

Back at Terri’s place, they speak with the landlord and he says he will call them when he sees her. They see a man at her door saying he is from satellite TV and is removing equipment from her apartment. But the man’s face is hidden by a post on the porch. Stabler seems suspicious, and when the landlord says he will be right there, the guy say no rush, he left something in the van. To Benson’s surprise, Stabler runs after the man and asks him how much for the football package. The man keeps moving and Stabler yells that he is police and to stop, and he gets the guy and pushes him against his van. It’s the guy who installed the new phones in the squad room, and Stabler says they’ve been set up.

Back at SVU, the phones are being removed, and Cragen tells them to sweep every inch of the building twice. He gets a cell phone call from Munch who says that they found a fourth mic buried in Terri’s kitchen landline. CSU Tech Morales (Joel de la Fuente) tells Cragen says that the mics can be bought off the Internet or “friendly neighborhood spy shop” and picks up phone and room conversation within reasonable distances and transmits it through the phone line. The series numbers cannot likely be traced. The phone guy is in an interrogation room, and his name is Michael Garcia who spent 15 years with the El Paso police force, the last three in their tech support unit.

Benson is in interrogation and had read Garcia his rights. He has nothing to say. Porter is also there and tells him every device he planted equals five years in federal prison and he is up to three decades. He won’t talk.

Outside the room. They realize the phones were installed right after the murder as someone wanted to make sure they weren’t getting too close to the heroin. Porter says the cartel routinely recruits rogue Texas cops and they must have hired the guy to bug the place. They heard everything they were doing and the cartel warned Rojas, that’s how they made the detectives at the airport. Cragen wonders how Terri Banes connects to all of this, and Porter says when he finds out, he will call them, he assumes she is part of the cartel, which makes her his problem now. But Stabler says in his books, Terri Banes is a suspect in a double homicide. Porter and Stabler argue about to whom the case belongs, and Stabler gets pissy. Porter says the cartel bugged their phones, and asks if Stabler sees the reach these people have, adding, “Are you getting it now?” Stabler doesn’t respond, and Porter says he will take the wiretapper too, and Cragen agrees.

When Porter walks off, Stabler says to Cragen, “So that’s it? Big shot Fed pats us on the head , we’re supposed to bend over and take it?” Cragen tells both of them to go home. Benson asks Stabler what is his problem, and Stabler says, “Porter’s not gonna tell us dick.” But Benson thinks Porter has kept them in the loop. Stabler says, “Yeah, until he didn’t. He wants to cut us out until he can get to Terri before we do. No way. C’mon.”

In the car, Stabler asks if Benson thinks he is misleading Porter, but she just tells him not to go to Terri’s. When he asks whose side she is on, she says she means to pull over, and points out that Terri is on the move. Terri goes to a pay phone, and when Stabler says he doesn’t blame her for not trusting the phones, Benson reminds him Terri was not home when they found the bugs, so how did she know? He notices she never even spoke on the pay phone, and they see her wiping down the handset. She gets in a cab and they follow.

She stops at a grocery store 40 blocks north, and Benson exits the car, telling Stabler to stay in the car in case Terri comes out. She watches Terri shop. Terri stops a man and asks him if he can reach an opener for her. He does, and he hands it to her and she puts it in the cart, but she has switched carts in the process. Benson radios Stabler and tells him it is a drop. When Benson calls out to Terri, she pushes her cart toward Benson and runs. Benson radios to Stabler that Terri is going out the back, and he tells her to grab the guy with the bag and he will get Terri. Benson catches up the guy who says in Spanish that he does not speak English, but Benson answers him back in Spanish, asking him if the bag is his. He says no. He says he must have accidentally taken the wrong cart, so she says then he won’t mind if she looks inside the bag. He shakes his head no, and she looks in and sees Ramona’s breast implants. While she arrests him for murder, Stabler enters and says he lost Terri. She tells him to look in the bag, she bets the guy knows where she is going. While Benson continues to read the man his rights in Spanish as they exit the store, we see Agent Porter sitting in a car, watching.

Back in interrogation, Benson questions the man in Spanish. He says he does not need a lawyer. She tells him the implant he had was cut out of a woman who was murdered. He feigns ignorance, and she reminds him it was in his shopping cart. He insists his cart was taken by the woman. She tells them the woman intentionally switched the carts. He tries to fall back on the constitution and says she can’t force him to say anything. He swears he is telling the truth.

Meanwhile, Cragen enters the observation room where Stabler is watching and listening to Benson’s interrogation. He’s been in there with Benson for two hours and they have nothing, there is nothing on his prints and he had no ID. Cragen tells them to put him in the cage and head over to TARU, Morales has something and he wants to stay off the phones.

At TARU, Morales tells them that the call Terri made from the pay phone went to a untraceable pager. The lab found something that was waterproofed and sealed inside the breast implant. It was a SIM card from a smart phone, and he already cloned it. On the card there is a text message that says, “see you at the museum at 5:00” but it is in code. Imbedded in the dots in the colon an period looks like a binary sequence, but Morales realized the number groups corresponded with the letters of the alphabet. There are lists of names and numbers and it appears to be a contact list of names and addresses. When Stabler asks what country, Morales wipes his screen as Porter has just entered the room, telling him he thought he told the to stay out of this. He hands Morales a warrant for any and all of the evidence in the murder of Ramona Rodriguez. Morales sees it is signed by a federal judge. He hands Porter the SIM card, saying this is all he had. Stabler asks what the hell is going on, and Porter coldly says it is not their concern. He adds that he is telling them for the last time – back off. Benson looks stunned. After Porter leaves the room, Morales says that now he gets it, he examined the bugs in the squad room phones and found that the serial numbers were sanded off. It bothered him because normally the cartel would not bother to remove them. He says that they’re standard procedure for the FBI. He thinks Porter bugs the phones but removed them before he found them here. They realize Porter has been surveilling them.

Going back to the squad, they comment that the phone guy was working for Porter and he concocted the whole story about the cartel killing Ramona. Benson adds that that “rat bastard” knew all along that Terri murdered Ramona to stop her from smuggling the SIM card to Mexico. But Stabler wonders why Terri was trying to get the card to the guy in the supermarket, so Benson says they should go ask him. But Cragen pipes up and says good luck, he’s been sprung by the State Department. He also asks for them to guess who is getting paid $61K a year by a company that only exists on paper? It’s Terri Banes. Munch says Terri’s employer is “The Company”. She works for the CIA. Munch says she is a spook, but she is spying on them – for Cuba. Munch suspects the names on the SIM card are American agents there that she was going to give up to the Cubans. When Stabler asks how he made a Cuba connection, Munch mentions the short wave radio found in Terri’s apartment – that’s how the Cuban spies get their instructions from the “mothership.” He adds that they also make coded messages from pay phones and drops like the shopping cart switcheroo like Terri. Terri did know Ramona, they graduated together from Laredo High in 1998. The think Porter bugged them to see if they were getting close to Terri’s secret. Cragen thinks Porter knows where Terri is.

Later, Benson opens her apartment door (4D) and it is Porter. She is dressed in a dark red dress, and he hands her red roses and thanks her for the invite. He complements her and her apartment. She tells him to get comfortable and she’ll get him a drink. Meanwhile, Stabler lurks in the other room with Morales, who says that Porter has to get closer for the software to transfer. Morales is accessing Porter’s cell phone information, Meanwhile, Porter is looking at his cell phone and Benson asks him if everything is OK. He says it is weird, he was checking his phone and suddenly his bluetooth kicked in. Benson asks him if he is going to Twitter this. She brings him some wine and tells him to put it away. In the other room, Morales says the software is uploaded, and he wants to see if it works. Benson continues to talk with Porter, mentioning the case, and he asks if she is apologizing. She says no, he helped him out of that mess with her brother, he saved her life 3 days ago, and she thinks it is time she properly thanked him. They kiss. In the other room, Morales whispers to Stabler that they are good, now do it. Stabler sends a text to Cragen to tell him to make the call, and he takes a deep breath. Things are getting hot and heavy with Benson and Porter, and her phone rings. She says she has to answer it because it is Cragen’s ring tone. He tells her they have a line on Terri, and she says she is on her way. She tells Porter it is a rape/murder in Chelsea and she has to go. She apologizes and asks for a rain check. Porter leaves and she rushes into the bedroom, and Stabler asked her if Porter heard Cragen say Terri’s name. She says she hopes so, she had the volume maxed out. Morales said he did, his software track every call that Porter makes, and he just called the Midtown Manor hotel, they think to warn Terri.

We then see the detectives breaking down the hotel room door and Terri is there, looking like she is packing to leave. She says he is unarmed, and Benson arrests her for the murders of Ramona and Carlos. She says she is not a killer.

Down at the SVU interrogation, they confront Terri with all the facts. She says they have it all wrong. Terri said the card was going to the Cuban resistance so they can feed intelligence back to the US. She could not take the card herself because she is an analyst on the CIA Cuban desk and if the Cubans knew she was there they would kill her. She did not know Ramona had been a drug mule. She said she had no idea Ramona was doing the cartel’s business. Ramona wanted breast implants so she offered her $50K plus the surgery paid in full to put the SIM card in and take it to Cuba. Ramona jumped at the chance. She started to blackmail Terri for more money and she told Ramona there wasn’t any more but Ramona did not care. She had no choice but to cut the implants out. If the Cubans would have gotten the card their agents would have been killed and an entire intelligence network compromised. But Ramona did not care she just wanted the money. That night, she fought with Ramona and she had no choice. Ramona was her cousin and they were like sisters but she got involved in drugs and she changed. The guy in the supermarket was a Cuban attaché stationed at the east side mission. He is a double agent and she knew he could get the card to the resistance. She says Porter knew everything. She called him and he told her how to stage the body and the underwear. But Porter burst in and tells her to shut her mouth. Benson says it is too late, and adds, “You prick.” He tells Terri “let’s go” but Stabler says she isn’t going anywhere. Benson starts to arrest Porter for accessory to murder. But Cragen walks in and says no he is not, and when Benson tries to object, Cragen says Porter is leaving with Terri. He tells Porter there is a stairwell down to the alley behind the precinct and she will be waiting for him down there. When Stabler asks if Cragen is letting them walk, Cragen says it is out of their hands, and tells Benson to take her downstairs. But when Benson objects, Cragen forcefully says he just got an order, the same one he is giving her – let them go. When Stabler and Benson don’t move, Porter says, “You heard him.” Stabler say, “Go to hell” and walks out. Terri turns back to Benson and says she is sorry. When Terri and Cragen walk out, Benson asks Porter if Terri is lying or did he help her cover up two murders? He tells her this is a matter of national security. Benson says it is murder. Porter responds that she did what she had to do. She asks, just like he did with Manuel Rojas? Porter says he had a gun to her head. She asks if that is why he shot him or was it to stop him from telling them the truth, which all leads back to Porter. He tells Benson no matter what he tells her, she will never believe him. When he moves to walk out, she says she trusted him, and asks why didn’t he tell her? Why didn’t he trust her? He says their feelings don’t matter, and he turns and walks out, leaving Benson to stand there alone as we fade to black.

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“Spooked” Two Minute Replay


Anonymous said...

amazing episode

Lazzzz said...

law and order svi? dont you proof read. i agree with above comment.. amazing episode.

Anonymous said...

Great episode. It was strange though that Cragen told Porter to exit through the back with Terri and basically absolve them of 2 murders. I wonder who spooked Cragen into springing them like that.

rdlynch said...

Great epesode this week.

SVU has always had a firey relationship with the FBI so I really didn't get put off by Stabler, but the end was a letdown. It was almost like the writers could only tell half the story or maybe tried to cram to much in.

I don't like the NBC previews I really think they give alot away especially with this epesode. However, they did a pretty good job for next week.

I'm starting to think that we've had some interns writing the epesodes up until now because I can see the epesodes getting better.

I really hope the issues with Stabler are part of some larger plot line they are playing out.

As always I loved Munch, he's my new best buddy.

Great recap and review, but yeah could you please fix the SVI?

Joe said...

This episode was all about Benson and Porter to me. He's a bit of a pretty boy, but very attractive I'm sure. I don't love him, but I could buy him and Benson hooking up.... far more then the wienies she's hooked up with before. Here's why:

She's obviously a unique beauty herself. She's also very smart and successful at the old rapist round-up and detectivizing in general.

The thing that I believe really makes them suitable is that Benson is a cop who fancies herself not like a cop. She does take into account moral and ethical considerations in her crime fighting. Unlike the cop who simply follows commands and see's the world in black or white, Benson relishes the gray. This is part of why we love her... ok, this is part of why I love her.

The thing is, she's still a cop. She has to be pragmatic and harsh and appear jaded when she knows better, but I don't think that this is a role Benson likes to play. Yeah, she doesn't like to be a sucker and she has to be tough, but she also wants to be reasonable. She wants to be the cop who hasn't lost site of her purpose, which is to keep horrible people from doing inhumane things to others. She needs to have that soft side.

Porter Stands juxtaposed to that soft side. They both have that same lean. They both are fighting for a common good. They both are willing to make tough choices when need be, but Porter is more willing and makes Benson's soft side stand out. She might not like all he has to do to fight for the greater good. Maybe he cracks some eggs to make the omlette that she simply has no taste for. This gives their relationship a traditional feel.

Does that sound sexist? Still, I think that Porter puts her in a role that few men could, and it is one that she wants to be in.

The way the episode ended was maybe more great for this reason. They make too much sense, and for people who make so much sense its never that easy.

blah blah blah.

daniel said...

this episode was iteresting and enjoyable and it was great too see munch in this episode i dont understand why he has been absent a lot this season. thanks for the recap!

All Things Law and Order said...

Lazzzz, yes I do proof read and spell check several times but after working on these recaps for 5-6 hours, sometimes even the most obvious errors can get through. The process is very hard on the eyes to say the least. Sorry to traumatize you!

Anonymous said...

In regard to your nitpick about the suspect taking Liv's gun.

Uniformed Police Officers regularly use holsters that lock a gun in place unless you pull the gun out of the holster in a certain way.

Plainclothes detectives wear holsters that are easier to conceal.

Jojo said...

This was a great ep. Probably made better for me because I didn't see any previews at all. I haven't even let myself read any sort of spoilers or previews for a while now, so it's making the episodes much more surprising for me.

I don't know why this episode felt so long though - maybe it was all the twists and turns but it just kind of went on for ages. Which wasn't necessarily a bad thing, but it was odd. As for the predictability of the episode - maybe I don't watch enough cop shows, because I didn't really feel it! I actually thought that telephone guy was there to give Munch some great one-liners.

Pet peeve again - detectives handling evidence without gloves.

It's always nice to see them let Benson go casual. They de-glam Mariska so much usually that, like ATL&O said, she never gets to put out that bright smile of hers. As for Benson hooking up with Porter...well he's seemingly a "rat bastard", and a "prick" at the moment, so it probably wouldn't go well, but the guy that I think would work would be the Marine who she almost shot in the head in PTSD.

Anonymous said...

My other pet peeve: I think this ceased to be a special victims case when they realized that there was no sexual assault involved and the scene was staged. I would think they would have kicked it over to homicide, but I admit I don’t know where the NYPD draws the lines.

In real life, the Special Victims Squad does not investigate any homicide cases at all. The fig leaf that the writers have traditionally used was to sprinkle a little semen on a female victim or scratch up a victim's genitals to sort of justify it, but that doesn't really work since the crime that will be charged is *homicide* not rape. SVU isn't nearly as bad as this as criminal intent (I swear, I think Goren and Eames solved maybe two bank robberies in the entire show), but I don't mind that much since they (SVU & CI) tell really good stories with it.

I suppose in Cragen’s thrill to finally get new phones he never thought to verify that the person they let into the squad room had the proper authorization to be there.

I thought the guy was working with Agent Porter. If that's the case, Porter could have probably forged some identification or done someting else to manipulate the NYPD into granting clearance.

For some reason I cringed when Benson was so concerned about Terri being safe when I just had a feeling that she was involved. Yes, I do watch too many crime shows.

You could have probably put that one together if you only watched THIS show. There was another episode of SVU where an apparent victim turns out to be a serial killer's apprentice and the villain of the story.

Melvin Gaines said...

I don't know what you do for a living but I thank you for taking the time that you do to write comments about all of the episodes. I am a big fan of all of the shows, and I know that it takes more than a couple of minutes of your time to do this. Thank you very, very much!

All Things Law and Order said...

Melvin - thanks for your kind comments!

D ♥ said...
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Anonymous said...

elliot andolivia were so sweet when they hugged i think they should get together not dean or anyone elde just el and liv