Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Law & Order SVU “Hardwired” Recap & Review

All photos from NBC

Law & Order SVU “Hardwired” shows the ugly side of working sex crimes – having to root out pedophiles. It’s even worse when the one of them believes that his behavior is normal and that he is a victim of discrimination. This episode was very predictable but that did not take away from the solid performances of all the guest stars and the regulars as well.

The sex creep of the week is played by the always creepy Garret Dillahunt. I sometimes wonder how he feels being seemingly typecast as some unhinged, crazy, disturbed, or disgusting character? And he always plays the part so well. My skin crawls at the mere mention or sight of his name, and he couldn’t have been more perfect for this role.

Rosie Perez was also excellent as the mother of a young victim of sexual abuse at the hands of his stepfather. She was convincing as both the enraged wife and the anguished mother, and it is likely that she may earn an Emmy nomination for this role.

The episode also marks the return of ADA Alex Cabot (Stephanie March), who seems to have a chip on her shoulder about having to claw her way out of appeals. Cabot has no problem with picking up where ADA Paxton left off. When she arrives at the scene of the botched undercover operation, she proceeds to rip at the detectives. It seems that Elliot and Olivia just can’t score any points with the DA’s office this season. It is good to have Stephanie back again, because Alex Cabot probably is and always will be the best ADA on Law & Order SVU. By the way, what’s the deal with SVU and the use of the word “cluster….” (truncated on purpose). They had Cabot use the word this week, and Stabler used it last week. It’s as if the writers just discovered the word. While this was Stephanie March’s return, she was eclipsed in the courtroom by Jeri Ryan as the annoying Patrice Larue. Of course Cabot was able to make her case, but Larue did a pretty good job in fending her off for a while.

Meanwhile, it looks like Stabler’s short fuse gets even shorter when dealing with adults who abuse children. Sure, I think those people are the lowest of the low, but Stabler really needs to get his anger in check. It is a shame that after all these years, SVU seems to keep Stabler going backwards in his ability to manage his anger. In this episode, he tried to choke one suspect, and later, he kicked a chair from underneath another and then threatened the suspect with the same chair. In the choking case, Benson made no move to physically pull Stabler off, instead opting to call his name in order to get him to back off. In the real world, I think that suspect would have reported Stabler, and if anyone was observing the interrogation, they should have reported him as well. Yet it seems Stabler got in no trouble at all. This behavior is getting a little old for Stabler. Maybe it was that kick in the crotch from the kid that made him so testy?

Benson is also eager to help, and serves to calm situations. It seems she’s learned better than Stabler to remain cool under pressure. I wondered, however, if her advice to Eva regarding the bank accounts was completely correct. If the bank accounts were in both names, Eva may have been able to get away with the money grab for a while without a fight from her soon to be ex. But if it wasn’t a joint account, good luck in getting that cash.

Are we to assume that all the charges against Eva were dropped so she could move to Florida? Or was she just taking off on her own, not to return to face the charges? I can see Thomas dropping the charges, but not Mary, the other kid’s mother. It seemed like a loose end that wasn’t tied up well enough for me.

Let’s not forget that this is the big episode where Dr. Huang (B.D. Wong) comes out to the viewers. Maybe Huang had already been out with the SVU team, because they didn’t seem to flinch when he mentioned he was gay. As B.D. Wong has been out for quite some time now, I don’t think this was a shock to fans that Huang would be gay. It is sad that his admission seemed to get lost in a story about pedophiles, rather than allowing him a story line that would help foster acceptance for gays. And what was the deal with his outspoken behavior and his antics by bringing the abused child into the courtroom during his mother’s testimony? Very uncharacteristic for Huang, and I am not quite sure if they explained his lapse in judgement as well as they could. He took great offense to the “pseudo-science” used by O’Donnell’s organization, but his reaction and subsequent behavior seemed to be a disproportionate reaction for the normally calm and collected Huang. After all, Huang has probably seen far weirder defenses and far weirder defendants. I think B.D. deserved a little better for his big storyline.

Here is the recap:

School is letting out and Mary is waiting in her car, on the phone. A car rams into her, and her son Patrick runs up and asks if she is okay. Eva Banks (Rosie Perez) rushes up and punches Mary and then tries to strangle her, saying she ruined her son’s life. A crossing guard runs up to pull Eva off, and she said that Mary called her son Cory a pervert. Mary said she called him that because he molested her son. Cory (Cruz Santiago), meanwhile, jumps out of Eva’s car and is watching all this go down.

Later, with SVU on the scene, Detective Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay) is speaking with Mary, who is being tended to by EMS. She tells Benson she wants Cory and his mother arrested. But Eva yells that she wants “that lying whore” arrested, and a shouting match erupts. When Detective Elliot Stabler (Chris Meloni) moves in to separate the two women, Cory yells to leave his mother alone and kicks him in the crotch. Benson says everyone is going to the station. As Benson walks off, she asks Stabler if he is OK. Still winded from the kick, nods and says, “Now I know why the call them special victims.”

Benson has Mary and Patrick in an interview room. Mary says Cory slept over two nights ago and she heard weird noises come out of the room. She saw Patrick and Cory “wrestling” naked. Cory was holding his son down from behind. Patrick tells Benson they were just wrestling. In another room, Stabler is talking with Eva and Cory and Cory admits it was his idea to remove their clothes and he told them games are more fun that way. Eva says being naked at that age doesn’t mean anything sexual, but Stabler says it does to Patrick’s mother. When Stabler asks Cory if he plays any of these naked games with other kids, he admits he did with a kid a camp last summer.

Meanwhile, Captain Cragen ( Dann Florek) and Dr. Huang (B.D. Wong) watch in the observation room. Huang says it sounds like Cory is engaging in mastery play, and that children often reenact the abuse they experienced to make sense of what happened to them. Cragen comments that Cory didn’t indent to molest Patrick, he was just working out his demons because he has been abused. Huang thinks it might be on-going, and he asks to interview him alone, have a doc examine him, and asks Cragen if he can get his mother away from him for a while.

Cragen enters the interview room and tells Stabler and Eva that he sent Mary and Patrick home and that they are not going to charge Cory with anything, but says they still have to deal with the charges against Eva. He adds that “ADA” Elliot wants her to stay there, and Stabler picks up on Cragen’s lead, saying that Eva hit Mary with her car and punched her in the face which is two counts of assault. Eva is upset that Mary will press charges, and Cragen gives her a pad of paper and pen and says maybe if she writes Mary an apology she will reconsider. She agrees. Cragen says they also need to get her statement and get Cory checked out by a doctor to make sure he wasn’t injured when she rammed Mary’s car. Stabler says they will take Cory to the hospital.

At Mercy General Hospital, Huang explains the procedure to Cory and asks how he got the bruise on his arm. Cory says he got it from Doug Ferguson, and Coach Simons made it feel better by massaging it. He also massaged a groin muscle once. It made him uncomfortable but a lot of guys get rubdowns from him. Sometimes after a meet he has a pizza party at his place and takes a kid into the bedroom for sports massage.

At a school gym, Coach Simons (Mitchell Jarvis) is working with the wrestling team and Stabler enters and asks him to move away from the kids. Stabler tells him that Cory Banks said he learned a lot of moves from him. Simons said the kid has a lot of talent. Stabler asks where Cory learned about naked wrestling and Simons says not from him, a concerned look moving over his face. Stabler mentions the rub downs and then cuffs him.

Back at the SVU squad, Simons is in an interrogation room, and Stabler tells Benson that Simons clammed up on him. Benson says Simons real name is Tony Acardo, convicted of forced rape of a minor in Baltimore. He did ten tears and was released last March. Benson adds that the medical records for Cory came back positive for chlamydia and the doctor found extensive anal fissures. Stabler decides to turn the screw up. Stabler calls Simons by his real name of Tony, and he says they are confused. But he later admits it and says he changed his name, and that he never touched Cory. When they mention the chlamydia Tony says he is clean, but Stabler says they will have him tested and god help him if it comes back positive. Tony demands a lawyer. Instead, Stabler picks Tony out of the chair and slams him against the wall, and Tony swears he has not touched a boy since ’98. Benson calls Stabler off, but Stabler continues to choke Tony. She calls him off again, and Stabler lets him go.

At the Banks residence, Benson and Stabler speak with Eva and her husband – Cory’s stepfather Thomas (Jim True-Frost ) – about Cory. Benson tells them Cory has been sexually abused by his wrestling coach. Eva is shocked, and Cory’s stepfather asks if they are sure he hurt Cory. Thomas calls Cory out of his room, and Eva runs to hug him, upset. Thomas pulls her off, gets in Cory’s face and asks Cory if Coach Simons touched him, but Cory denies it. He pulls away from Thomas and runs to his room. Stabler follows him into his room and Cory insists the coach never touched him, and he says it wasn’t him. Cory seems to want to tell Stabler something, but Eva and her overbearing husband come into the room, Thomas saying he will do all the talking for Cory. He asks Cory if he was molested, and Cory says no, nobody touched him. When Stabler says the doctor has proof, Thomas says nobody touched Cory and tells them to leave. Stabler tells him he is going to park himself across the street in case Cory needs him. But Thomas says he will be safe with him and tells them to leave. Cory looks conflicted, and Stabler tells him he will be right outside.

The next day, Benson brings coffee to Stabler who has slept in the car. He says it was all quiet. The coach apparently gave lots of backrubs but no molesting, he is being extradited to Baltimore for failing to register as a sex offender. Stabler is worried that Thomas Banks is still free to molest his step son, but Benson thinks he won’t risk it with Stabler right outside. Stabler says Cory was willing to talk until Thomas walked in. Benson tells Stabler that before Thomas Banks came into their lives, Eva and Cory were living in a homeless shelter, he volunteered working in the kitchen, the detectives thinking this is a perfect place for a pedophile to troll for a needy family. They see Eva and Cory leaving for school, and Benson decides to try to talk to Eva alone after she gets Cory to school.

Outside the school, Benson approaches Eva, and Eva said Thomas told her not to talk to her. Benson tells her that Cory was afraid to talk about because they would have to go back to the shelter. Eva tells Benson she doesn’t know what it’s like, she got knocked up by a guy who couldn’t stop hitting her and she got the nerve to leave him but ended up in the shelter with Cory. Eva says things are good right now but Benson says Cory is not safe. When Eve asks what she is saying, Benson tells her that Thomas is molesting her son. Eva says she is so wrong, he took them out of the shelter and saved their lives. Benson asks if Thomas is ever alone with Cory, and Eva says no, she is watching him every second of the day. But Benson reminds her that she has to sleep, and Eva begins to get concerned. She tells Benson that while in the shelter she had to stay up all night to make sure no one messed with their stuff or with Cory, and it gave her insomnia. Thomas told her to go to the doctor who gave her some pills to sleep and now she can’t get up. She seems worried and says she has to go. Benson tells Eva that Cory is being treated for chlamydia, and Eva is surprised, and Benson tells her to see a doctor. She says she had Thomas haven’t had sex for months, the pills took away her desire and Thomas said he understood. She gets frantic, and says she has to go and she is going to kill him. Benson tries to calm her and tells her they will get him but they need her help.

The both go to Cory who is outside the school grounds playing. Eva calls him over to talk to Benson. Eva says she knows what happened, but Cory says nothing happened. Eva tries to get Cory to open up, and insists she knows, and it is OK. She asks him to tell Benson what happened. Cory begins to cry, and tells Benson that Thomas kepi asking him if he liked his new toys and clothes and branch new life. He said that he did. Thomas said that had been good to him and now he had to be good to him.

Later, in an SVU interrogation room with Benson and Eva at his side, Cory recounts what Thomas did to him, making him undress and taking pictures. He said it was first just the pictures but then went to videotaping. He tells his mother he is sorry and worries about going back to the shelter, but she tells him it is not his fault, she let him down. She hugs him and they cry. She asks for his forgiveness and he says yes. Benson asks where he keeps the tapes and photos.

At Thomas’ office at Oslo Global Strategies, Stabler arrives pulls Thomas out of his chair and arrests him for sexually abusing his stepson. He asks Thomas where is his laptop and Thomas denies having one. But a co-worker points to the closet, much to Thomas's annoyance.

Back at the Banks home, Benson tells Cory that it is over and that Thomas was arrested. He says he is sorry it took so long to tell her the truth, but Eva tells him he is a fighter just like her. She then tells him it is time to pack, and they will find a place. But Cory is unhappy to hear this and runs off. When Benson tells her she doesn’t have to move, Eva tells her Thomas pays the mortgage and she doesn’t have the passwords on any of the accounts. Benson tells her they can go to the banks and get the information and move the money into her account and change the locks. Eva seems surprised that she can do this and she is relieved. She tells Benson, “Damn girl, you got a little gangsta in you huh?”

In SVU interrogation, Thomas denies hurting Cory and the photos on his computer are artistic shots. He says what Cory and he had was special and it was more than love. Stabler says, “Well, you’re gonna see what it feels like in prison when your 300 pound daddy more than loves you and you give him chlamydia. He’s gonna bite your junk off.” Thomas says he want to make a deal but Stabler says no deal. Thomas says he can give him someone bigger – Kevin O’Donnell, he is supposed to have dinner with him tonight. Stabler says he is not swapping him out for another pervert. Thomas says O’Donnell is the president of “Our Special Love” a pedophile rights group, and at dinner he was going to give him the names and addresses of 5,000 members, but only if Stabler makes a deal.

Later, ADA Alex Cabot (Stephanie March) she is not happy that Stabler wants to make a deal when they have a bulletproof case against Banks. Stabler says it is to nail a bigger bottom feeder, Kevin O’Donnell (Garret Dillahunt). Huang tells her that this group goes further than other rights groups as it claims pedophilia is genetically based and that they are being persecuted in Iraq and Iran. Benson comments that she has never seen Huang so ticked off before, and he says that pseudo-science like this insults his intelligence as a psychiatrist and his humanity as a gay man. Benson adds that Thomas Banks is an expert in corporate IT and is the perfect person to run OSL’s data management and Internet security. But O’Donnell wanted to make sure that Banks wasn’t FBI so he told him to have sex with his stepson and videotape it. The final test is he wants to meet Cory in the flesh. But Alex can’t believe they want to put Cory back in the same room as the man who raped him. Huang says it is their only chance to take OSL down and he will prep Cory, but Cabot says that is not good enough. She tells Benson to pose as Cory’s mom so there is a cop in the room, but Benson says she can’t, Kevin has already seen a family photos so he knows who Eva is. Huang reassures Cabot that Cory will not be hurt, mentally or physically. Cabot sighs in exasperation, saying she finally clawed her way out of appeals and they bring her this cluster…(she doesn’t finish the word). Cabot wants Eva’s consent in writing, with witnesses.

Later at Eva’s place, while the police are setting up in her home, Eva has second thoughts and Stabler reassures her. He tells her they will be right next door, and shows her all the camera covering the apartment. Cory asks if he doe sit will it help other kids, and Stabler says yes. Cory says he wants to do it. But Thomas has now entered the room and Eva runs at him, calling him a son of a bitch. Benson stops her and Stabler pulls her away saying if O’Donnell sees a mark on him he will know something is up. TARU Tech Ruben Morales (Joel de la Fuente) says O’Donnell has arrived, and Eva says she will try to do it.

While the detectives watch the video footage, O’Donnell says how happy he is to meet everyone in person. Benson comments that it took less than 5 minutes to touch Cory. Eva gets up from the table, and moves to the kitchen, seemingly to compose herself. Eva grabs a knife and Stabler thinks she is going to kill O’Donnell, but Benson tells him to hold on. Benson tries to encourage her to calm down, even though Eva cannot hear her. Eva puts down the knife and walks back to the table. Later, at the table, Eva compliments Eva on her cooking, and she offers him some cake. She moves to get it. While Eva is out, O’Donnell asks Thomas if he has his laptop, and he says he does. Thomas moves to get it and leave him alone with Cory. O’Donnell asks Cory if he can keep a secret, even from his mom and Cory says yes. O’Donnell shows Cory a picture Thomas emailed to him to see what a beautiful boy he is. Benson thinks they have him but Stabler says they just have him on possession of child porn. Benson sees that Cory is struggling, but Stabler reminds her that if they want Kevin, they need his files. O’Donnell continues to talk to Cory who seems to be getting more creeped out my the minute. O’Donnell says he does not want Cory to cheat on his dad, besides, he likes little girls. Stabler notices that Thomas is back in the room with the laptop. O’Donnell loads up a flash drive on the PC, and Benson and Stabler burst in, arresting them. O’Donnell throws the computer on the floor and calls Thomas a traitor. As Stabler takes O’Donnell away, Benson goes for the computer. But Eva comes at Thomas while he is being led out in cuffs and stabs him, calling him a son of a bitch. A officer and Benson try to restrain her, and Benson tries to get the knife away. Cory is hiding under the dining room table.

Outside EMS is taking Thomas away and he is stable. Benson and Stabler continue to try to keep Eva away. But Cabot storms up, angry.

Cabot: You call this clown show an undercover operation? You promised me there would be no injury.
Stabler: We got it under control.
Cabot: Not until you get the wild card out of here. Arrest her!
Cory: No, you can’t take my mom!
Benson: Alex, do you understand what he has been through tonight? She just endured dinner with her son’s rapist and helped us bust a pedophile ring.
Cabot: I cannot whitewash assault with a deadly weapon when it happened on video and in front of three detectives.
Benson: Cory needs his mother tonight, please do no do this.
Cabot, to Stabler: BOOK HER. (she storms off)

As they pull Eva away, she begins to scream, “what about my boy?”

Back at the SVU squad while Cory is in an interview room,. Benson continues to make her case to Cabot. But Cabot says domestic assault can’t get a free pass. Benson says she does not want to let her off, just give Eva a desk appearance ticket so she can stay with Cory and face her charges in 6 months. Huang leaves the interview room and says Cory is barely hanging on. Cabot caves and okays the desk appearance ticket and says to cut Eva loose.

Later, Benson takes Cory to Eva and tells her Eva can go, but she will have to report back there in 6 months, Eva gives Benson a cold look and tells her to get out of their lives.

While Benson and Stabler look at O’Donnell in the interrogation room, Stabler says he will wipe the smile off his face. Benson tells him while he is at it, to try to get a confession out of him. Stabler enters the room and slams the door, O’Donnell is grinning, saying he has done nothing wrong. He says Thomas gave him the naked picture of Cory and he was just returning it. Stabler’s shows his disgust for O’Donnell, and when O’Donnell tries to defend his perversion, Stabler kicks the chair from underneath O’Donnell. He picks it up and swings it high, calling O’Donnell a son of a bitch and saying he will fix him so he can’t love any more kids. O’Donnell sits on the floor and says he can’t be intimidated and that they will have to accept people like him. Stabler says he will accept him when he is dead. O’Donnell tells Stabler to leave him alone, he had nothing on him. But Stabler says they have his flash drive.

But later. with TARU Tech Morales they look at what is on the drive and only three harmless looking photos are on it, no porn. But Morales said he found code hidden in one of the pixels, and found what looks like thousands of pictures within that code and the detectives wonder how they will be able to identify all of the people in them. Morales adds that he also found an embedded PDF file with the names and addresses for all of them. Stabler says it’s time to pick up the garbage.

Later, Fin (Ice-T) brings in a man who says he doesn’t know what he did that was wrong. Fin says he is throwing him in a cage of pedophiles to see if they can help him figure it out. An old man tells Cragen that he has never seen that kid before in his life, but Cragen says the picture shows him in his lap. Benson brings in another, and when she throws him in the lockup, she says, “I bet you didn’t think NYPD would be hosting this year’s “our special love” convention.” When Stabler bring O’Donnell in to the lockup with them, he tells the group they can thank O’Donnell for keeping such meticulous records. O’Donnell is worried and wants his lawyer, but Benson tells him she will meet him in arraignment – and adds with a smile, “tomorrow. “ O’Donnell looks back on his cellmates, as they all move in a little closer.

O’Donnell is being arraigned for one count of accessory to rape, and 1,600 counts of possessing an obscene sexual image of a child. His attorney, Patrice Larue (Jeri Ryan) says he pleads not guilty and requests a dismissal, her grounds being constitutional, saying the law discriminates against him. Cabot argues that Larue is trying to spin the rape of a boy into a civil rights issue. Larue says that O’Donnell was also beaten in the holding cell. Cabot says he had an unfortunate run in with he pedophile buddies and some of them wanted their money back. But Larue says Cabot can make fun of her client’s persecution, everyone else does. Judge Andrews (Lindsay Crouse) is not dismissing the case but does allow the defense, adding, “though it give me the heebie-jeebies.” She sets bail as $1 million.

On a later date in Supreme Court, O’Donnell testifies that adults dating children is harmless and victimless. He says ignorance breeds fear and just because they are the minority does not make them evil. He thinks his feelings toward children are normal. He says relationships with minor date back to the Greeks and admits it is not an easy topic to discuss. He says people shame children into feeling guilty about a healthy relationship with an adult. Under cross examination, Cabot asks if he has any medical or psychiatric research to support his position, and he does not because it does not exist. He adds that anyone engaged in these relationships is terrified to speak on the subject for fear of being demonized. Cabot argues it is because it is illegal, but O’Donnell cites other things that used to be illegal that are now legal. He uses the examples of gay marriage and interracial marriage, which seems to displease Dr. Huang, who is sitting in the gallery. He says minor/adult relationships are normal, but Cabot hammers him, asking why medicine, psychiatry, and the law all say that children are not mature enough to enter into a sexual relationship with an adult. He says he really doesn’t know. But Huang decides to answer from the gallery, saying that it’s because it’s rape, that’s why. Judge Andrews chides him, saying he knows better. But O’Donnell tells the judge it is fine, he wants the prosecution to ask his so called victim if she called it rape, adding that he believes his former girlfriend is testifying next.

Later, on the stand, a girl testifies for the defense, saying she and Kevin dated from the time he was 11 to the age of 14, and Kevin was 30. She says they did have sex, but that he never molested her, she came on to him, he was a gentleman. They broke up because she went to live with her grandmother in another state. She does not consider herself a victim, saying it is the most normal relationship she has been in. Under cross examination, Cabot comments that it is convenient that her testifying of O’Donnell raping her falls right outside the statute of limitations. She says he did not rape her, she consented. Cabot reminds her an 11 year old is not mature enough to consent and that is why it is called statutory rape. She said she had to move away because her father was beating her and her mother was too drunk to care. Cabot indicates that O’Donnell was there to take advantage of a vulnerable girl from a broken home. She said she begged to move in with him but he would not let her, saying society would not understand. Cabot says she was brainwashed by a predator, but she said he loved her so much he convinced her to move in with her grandmother so she could be in a safe home. But Cabot says he broke up with her because she hit puberty and pedophiles are only attracted to pre-pubescent children. But she says Cabot is wrong, he told her to stay in school and face her fears, and now she is getting a masters degree. She says he made her the woman she is today.

Later, in Cabot’s office with Benson also in attendance, Huang is having a cow, saying the trial is a sham as the pedophile is claiming to be a victim and the victim is blowing kisses to her attacker. Benson says the jury is too smart, and Cabot says all it takes is one. Benson wants to bring in other victims and Cabot wishes the judge would allow it, but it is inadmissible. Cabot’s phone rings, and after taking the call, she says, “This is a nightmare. The defense is calling Eva to the stand.” Huang says she will last five minutes before she starts punching people. Benson says she will go talk to her.

When Benson arrives at Eva’s home, she is loading up a dumpster. Benson says she is glad she is putting her past behind her but she can’t throw out a subpoena along with Thomas’ things. Eva said she told that bitch lawyer she won’t testify, and Benson reminds her she has no choice. Eva doesn’t know what the defense wants, and Benson says they want to make her the bad guy. Eve says to bring it on, she’ll show her who the real bad guy is. But Benson says she has to stay calm. Eva is afraid she will make things worse, and Benson tells her she can do this and she believes in her. She tells her she is a fighter and not to quit now, to use her head and not her fists, and she will win.

In Supreme Court, Larue addresses Eva, who is on the stand, as Mrs. Banks, and Eva says she is not going by that jerk’s name any more, she uses Santiago. When Larue asks if O’Donnell ever hit her child she says no, and when she tries to expand on it, Larue cuts her off. But Eva goes on anyway to say what O’Donnell did to her son. She said Cory throws up and cries every night when he goes to sleep, and when a grown man passes by, he shakes. But Larue asks what O’Donnell did to her son, as he never touched him. Eva said no but he encouraged her soon to be ex to rape him. When Larue asks if he had encouraged him to jump off the Brooklyn Bridge would he do that too, Eva tersely responds “Lady, you are twisting my words.” Larue asks about any pending criminal charges, but Cabot objects, saying it is irrelevant. Larue says it goes to credibility, and the judge overrules it. Eva mentions that she does have charges for assault, and Larue brings out that it is for 2 assaults, one against the mother of one boy, and another for stabbing Thomas. Eva insists she is not a criminal. Larue mentions that her son may be terrified of going back to the shelter to be with criminal like herself, and Eva says she is a good mother and he knows it. Larue continues to press, asking why didn’t she know that her son was involved in a relationship with Thomas. She raises her voice, saying that Cory was afraid to say anything because he thought Thomas would hurt him. Cabot is looking a little concerned at Eva’s growing upset. Larue says her son is afraid of her and what she would do if she found out that Thomas loves Cory and could give him all the things that she couldn’t. Eva yells “Stop it!” but Larue goes on, saying Eva failed him as a mother. Eva says, “Thomas Banks never loved my son. He raped him every night for over a year and videotaped it for that animal sitting right there so that he can become a member of his kiddy rape club!” After some silence, Larue says that Eva is full of blame for everyone but herself and does she ever look in a mirror to see what kind of mother she has been? She brings up moving in with a man who raped her son, moving into a drug and diseased infested homeless shelter, punching or stabbing anyone who gets in her way, blaming her client for her neglect. But Eva says she is right and may god forgive her, she is a bad mother. But Cory shouts out from the back of the courtroom saying it is not true, Huang is standing beside him. The judge asks Huang what is this, and Cory says he gave Huang a call and said he needs to be here for his mom. The judge asks him to be quiet. But Cory shouts out that Thomas raped him and that man made him do it! But the judge tells him that is enough, and when she tells Benson to take him out, Cory continues to shout that it wasn’t love, he begged him every night to leave him alone and he never listened – not once. The judge instructs the jury to disregard that remark, and Cory tells his mom that he loves her, and continues to repeat it as he is being led out of the courtroom. Eva begins to cry on the stand.

At a later date, furniture is being moved out of Eva’s apartment. Benson enters and tells Eva that O’Donnell was found guilty, the judge gave him 10 years for accessory to rape, and 2 years for every photo on the flash drive, to be served consecutively - meaning he was sentenced to 3,000 years. She tells Eva and Cory he is never coming out. They are relieved. Eva asks about Thomas, and a happy Benson tells he got 20 years. Eve has happy tears, and she hugs Cory and thanks Benson. But Benson says, “No, Eva, thank you.” She asks where they are going, and Cory says back to Florida. She tells Cory to take his surfboard down to the truck. Eve says she sold “this rotten place” and said who knew that something good would come out of this, now she and Cory can make a new start. Benson said she knew she could do it, and Eva tells her not without her, and as Benson looks on, we fade to black.

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Anonymous said...

I agree with you, but there are two exceptions concerning roles that Garret Dillahunt played.

Both characters were played by Dillahunt on Terminator, the Sarah Connor Chronicles: Chromartie and John Henry.

First, yes, both characters started out as creepy (and the former was a killer). But, both had developed into complex characters. The latter turned into a very interesting and actually heroic person who had developed a friendship with Savannah Weaver (she taught him how to sing), who saved her life and others.

The former, Chromartie, while he was a killer, he wasn't cruel or sadistic, he genuinely had a job to do and did his best to do it. He was willing to learn, and even when he was holding Sarah Connor captive, he seemed philisophical and carried out a conversation (albeit short and rather one-sided, but still).

John K. said...

Yes, and he did his awesome job on the Mothership in "Open Season"/"Kingmaker." Incidentially, he's married to Michelle Hurd (Jeffries). So, no worries.

The only transcript I need is when Alex first arrived in the precinct, and the big exposition of the "OSL" group. Just everything up to the NAMBLA reference, thanks. At your leisure.

And top-notch observations about Huang's behavior. I guess it was a long-awaited SOP to the LGBT fans (which is deserved).

Fun question: which was less random, Huang's common knowledge of his sexuality or Serena's "is this because I'm a lesbian" line?

Anonymous said...

If you mean less random as in tacked-on. Serena's "is this because I'm a lesbian?"

When George mentioned he was gay, I didn't even blink. Frankly, I've gotten to the point where I don't really think about sexual orientation (though, I prefer women, especially a certain brown-eyed burnette named Olivia).

John K. said...

*Fun question: which was less random, common knowledge of Huang's sexuality or Serena's "is this because I'm a lesbian" line?

Sorry about that. And Munch wasn't there, again, I don't think. Darn it.

John K. said...

Yeah, tacked-on, that's the phrase. Thank you. That, or I guess the audience wasn't allowed to know about George. Bah.

I frankly don't care about the sexuality issue, unless they make it an actual issue, like Benson's. Sometimes, it can be a bit much (Benson's femming up her look and the fan backlash).

Anonymous said...

Personally, I love seeing her in a red dress, makeup and jewelry. Or in a bra and jeans (though, I'd keep the dangerous guys with guns out of it).

At the risk of sounding obsessed, I could care less about who she spends her off-time with and especially who she chooses to share her bed with. It's her business, her choice and no one else's. Whether it's with Dean Porter, Elliot or even Alex, if she's happy, that's all that matters.

John K. said...

Yes, but the E/O shippers probably won't be happy.

I agree, as I don't care who she sees, and the two have a rapport, so why not play with the ship?

Anonymous said...

It probably has something to do with the fact that Elliot and Liv can't have a romantic relationship and remain partners; fraternization.

Tucker would have a field day if they did that and Cragen would simultaneously split them up, chew them out verbally, and possibly even congratulate them for it.

Shelly said...

I didn't really care for this episode that much. It just seems as if, once again, the detectives receive no punishment or repercussions for bad behavior (ie Elliott interrogating both suspects, esp the first he almost choked to death). And it may be that the way they caught O'Donnell WAS the only way to do that, but I'd like to think there would have been another way. I was with Alex 100 percent in her dislike of the idea.

It seems to me if Elliott and Olivia were real detectives in NYC, that Elliott would have been transferred to a less-stressful unit by now, and truthfully, with all the rules they've broken over the years, neither would probably be a cop anymore, let alone a detective. I realize it is a show and therefore there will be some blurring of the line, but I seem to spend most of my time rolling my eyes at them and their escapades.

Thanks as always for the review. And may I say, boy, that was fast... lol...

John K. said...

Get in line, Shelly, as many have long criticized Stabler and Benson's recent incompetence. (I started in "Authority.") Although, Paxton, at least, tried to correct the problem.

And I second with the fraternizing issue, as it would be a no-no in so many ways.

Shelly said...

And John, I know it's a LONG line... lol... but I guess I'm just finally getting tired of it. Yes, it's taken me long enough. It used to be that Cragen would at least make a stab at trying to control them (he would give them the parental "stare" and look annoyed), but it seems as if he's given up... maybe a three-day gig back on a beat would make him/them change their ways? sigh...

John K. said...

Understandable, as it's so frustrating. I think Don gave up in Season 9, since everyone basically got to resume their lives after the Season 8 dramas rather easily (Stabler completely caused his and Benson partially caused it, by aiding her then-fugitive brother). At least, he tried in the previous episode with the perp's obvious getaway.

Anonymous said...

Stephanie March never fails to impress, and it's good to see her back in the opening credits again this week. Feels almost like the old, better era of Seasons 2-5 SVU again, but they need to utilize Munch and Fin more if the producers want to recapture it completely.

Thanks as always for the excellent recap, ATL&O. This episode was good, but, as with the rest of this season, the viewer can easily tell that the writers are in 'restructuring' mode (and rightly so after some of the poor writing from the past two years). Playing up and singling the core character notes - Stabler's anger, Benson's empathy, Cabot's ruthlessness, etc. - serves as a guide to keep the plotlines grounded, the progression procedural in nature, and the character interaction believable. However, I agree that the 'big issue' of Dr. Huang's orientation was lost in the plot, and mostly irrelevant - but maybe that is the way it should be. Making a major deal out of it dilutes both L&O's procedural element and derails the plot. And another, admittedly minor, gripe: what's SVU's reason for having the arraignment and trial judge be the same person? It might save on casting, but it's not how the judicial system works in the real world.

To repeat what others have already said, Dillahunt, Perez, and even Jeri Ryan did well with their roles. Seeing as how Ryan has a recurring role it would be interesting to hear more about her character; since she takes on some pretty unsavory cases and clients, it would be interesting to hear what her motivations are, much like in the earlier seasons with Constitutional scholar Moredock or shameless hired guns like Adler and Langan.

Lastly, I have to wonder if Stabler's return to violent methods of interrogation - as John K. pointed out - shows a sort of tacit agreement with, or even complicity in, in his actions by the rest of the squad. It's almost as if they're protecting him because his techniques are so effective. It would be interesting to see the writers explore that as the season goes on.

All Things Law and Order said...

I think what bugged me about the way they handled Huang's comment about being gay is that it was hyped as a "big reveal" by Neal Baer himself to TV Guide, and other outlets picked up on it as well. (the info was here: ) It was made out to be a big deal in advance, but instead it was just a footnote. I think they could have done a lot more with the story and used it to educate others on what kinds of discrimination that gays face these daysm rather than focus on people who believe pedos deserve more rights (which they don't). It was a missed opportunty.

Anonymous said...

In that regard, it was a let-down. I tend to ignore the hype and just enjoy the journey.

Now, I re-watched the scene where Liv talked about the bank accounts. From what Eva said, she simply didn't have the account passwords (no access to the savings and checking accounts), but did have access through the use of debit and credit cards. He was probably stupid enough to have the accounts setup as joint accounts.

Given his rather short-sightedness, I doubt he was smart enough to setup any special restrictions. So, it would be a trivial matter to open a new account and sipon off the joint accounts.

Anonymous said...

I should clarify, I think when she said account passwords, she must've meant that he banks online.

Oh, and given that he's serving 20 years, and that Eva and Cory were able to sell off home, he definitely wasn't the brightest bulb.

He kept his laptop at work (where they would only need the employer's consent to search) unsecured with child porn on it. For a guy that works in IT and handles security, he was sure stupid to do that and not even use disk encryption. If he did, they couldn't compel him to give up the encryption keys because that would've been a 5th amendment violation.

Jojo said...

Thanks for the recap. I agree with pretty much all that you said in the review, especially the use of the word "cluster....". I don't know why it seemed to stand out so much. And I agree that it was a little disappointing that Huang's storyline was very lost in the grand scheme of things after the hype that it was given.

I love seeing Cabot back. When Novak was on the show, I was happy with that, but then I go back and watch older episodes with Cabot, I realise just how awesome she is.

I don't know what the writers are doing with Stabler and Benson. Watching older episodes I see how spunky Benson was and how Stabler had more of a sense of humour and less of a temper. I'm a self-confessed Det Benson fangirl and even my worshipping ways are finding it hard to justify the slipping of the characters. Why is she permanently frowning?

All Things Law and Order said...

John, I hope this is the section of dialog you wanted:

Cabot: We have a bulletproof case against Banks and you wanna cut him a deal?

Stabler: To nail an even bigger bottom feeder. Kevin O’Donnell

Cabot: And he is…”

Stabler: President of “Our Special Love” the latest civil rights group for child molesters.

Huang: They defend a pedophile’s right to have sex with children.

Cabot: The same things NAMBLA tried to do.

Huang: OSL goes a step further. It claims that pedophilia is a genetically based sexual orientation like hetero or homosexuality and that pedophiles are being persecuted like gays in Iraq and Iran. It’s despicable.

Benson: I’ve never seen you this ticked off before.

Huang: Pseudo science like this insults my intelligence as a psychiatrist and my humanity as a gay man.

John K. said...

That's perfect, and thank you. I'd say more but I'm fried. So, thank you, and I await your "Dignity" recap.

Rob said...

This episode left a bad taste in my mouth. Kids like Cory absolutely need to be protected from being raped, but that doesn't mean that cops have the right to beat up suspects. It doesn't mean cops have the right to lock them up with people who will beat them up or worse.

I can pretty much feel sorry for anybody if they suffer enough. Example: the character James Robson from Oz was a white supremacist and a sadistic rapist and a murderer--he was a horrible person who hurt a lot of people, knew he'd hurt them and didn't care. Eventually the tables turned on him and he wound up getting raped and tortured, and at first I thought he had it coming...but after a while I felt sorry for him and wanted his pain to end. I can feel sorry for anybody, so I felt sorry for the guys Stabler assaulted and threatened, in part because some of them may have honestly been unaware of the pain they were causing.

I was disappointed in Olivia. I know from past episodes that Stabler can turn into a thug, but Benson's usually got a cooler head.

I thought for sure that Cory's outburst in the courtroom would cause a mistrial, btw. Those kinds of things certainly have in other episodes, and the judge told the jury to disregard it. I thought we were heading for a conference in chambers where the defense attorney would ask for a mistrial, but for some reason that didn't happen.

daniel said...

Thanks for the recap/review. This episode was good but i agree with all the comments about Huang, his coming out was not a big deal and i also agree that they could have used it for another episode with more meaning.

We all understand Eliot's hatred for paedophiles but if this was the real world he would've gone down for assault or got fired, despite the fact that those dirty buggers deserve it.

The best part of the episode was having Alex Cabot back and im glad that she is still being tough ob the detectives as ADA paxton was. Rob i also agree with you i thought cory's outburst wouldve triggered a mistrial- lucky didn't though.

Anonymous said...

Declaring a mistrial is an extraordinary remedy; because it's incredibly expensive, exhausting, and annoying, judges are reluctant to declare one unless they are convinced that there is no other possible alternative.

And speaking of Oz, is it just me or is almost every male actor from Law and Order: SVU from that show? Christopher Meloni, B.D. Wong, J.K. Simmons, Dean Winters,

Oh, and given that he's serving 20 years, and that Eva and Cory were able to sell off home, he definitely wasn't the brightest bulb.

That, or the Special Victims Unit now helps single mothers rob banks. Hopefully they won't run into the Major Case's Bank Squad while they're emptying out the next pedophile's bank account.

I think they could have done a lot more with the story and used it to educate others on what kinds of discrimination that gays face these daysm rather than focus on people who believe pedos deserve more rights (which they don't). It was a missed opportunty.

There's no way they could probably fit all of that in and still tell a coherent story. I like SVU, but the best episodes are the ones that try to tell one good story rather than 3 or 4 mediocre or confusing ones.

what's SVU's reason for having the arraignment and trial judge be the same person?

It might be just a coincidence. Remember, in the real world New York, each defendant is entitled to *two* arraignments -- one on the Prosecutor's felony complaint in Criminal Court and a second one later in Supreme Court after indictment by Grand Jury. Law and Order usually pushes these two together, so I guess it might be possible for the same judge to draw both arraignment and trial.

VegasAvenger said...

It is EXTREMELY annoying that the detectives in the L&S franchise repeatedly assault suspects with impunity. In this particular episode, it was also annoying that Eva faced no consequences for the crimes she committed.

By the way, regarding this line in your review: "Maybe it was that kick in the crotch from the kid that made him so testy?" Pun intended?