Thursday, December 31, 2009

Law & Order “2010” Promo Clip

Photo from NBC

The current Law & Order promo ad being aired by NBC is below, "teasing" the upcoming new episodes beginning on January 15, 2010. (Thanks to GorenEamesFan2001.) Have a Happy New Year everyone!

Check out my blog home page for the latest Law & Order information, on All Things Law And Order, here.

Also, see my companion Law & Order site,These Are Their Stories.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Law & Order SVU “Shadow” Episode Information

NBC has released the information for the January 13 episode of Law & Order SVU titled “Shadow” which will feature guest star Naveen Andrews (“Lost”). This one sounds like it will be great!

Law & Order SVU “Shadow” Air Date 1/13/2010 (9 PM ET/ 8C Wednesday NBC)

When a rich and powerful couple with political connections is found murdered in their bedroom, Detectives Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay) and Elliot Stabler (Christopher Meloni) decide to speak to the deceased couple's daughter, Anne (guest star Sarah Paulson), for more information. After hearing Anne's account of a nefarious man who has been following her, the detectives soon discover that Anne's supposed stalker is none other than Detective Ash Ramsey (guest star Naveen Andrews) of the Special Frauds division. Convinced that Anne killed her parents for their money, Ramsey becomes suspicious of Anne's business manager and is led to believe that he helped her steal money from the foundation she runs. When blackmail and embezzlement come into play, the detectives find that their lives may be at risk over a girl with some serio! us parent issues. Also starring: Dann Florek (Captain Donald Cragen), Richard Belzer (Detective John Munch), Ice-T (Detective Odafin Tutuola), Stephanie March (ADA Alexandra Cabot), B.D. Wong (Dr. George Huang) and Tamara Tunie (M.E. Warner).

My recap and review of Law & Order SVU "Shadow" can be found here.

Check out my blog home page for the latest Law & Order information, on All Things Law And Order, here.

Also, see my companion Law & Order site,These Are Their Stories.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Law & Order Criminal Intent 2010 Premiere Advance Photos

The USA Network has released a few images from the 2010 season premiere of Law & Order Criminal Intent, a two part episode reported to be titled “Puntland” and also be the final episodes for Vincent D’Onofrio, Kathryn Erbe, and Eric Bogosian. No Eric in these photos, however, which may not bode well for Captain Danny Ross. The season premiere is scheduled to be in the spring, but USA has not yet committed to a definite date. Stay tuned!

All photos from USA Network (click on any image for larger size)

Check out my blog home page for the latest Law & Order information, on All Things Law And Order, here.

Also, see my companion Law & Order site,These Are Their Stories.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Law & Order and SVU “Blackmail” and “Quickie” Episode Information

NBC has released information for two new episodes for Law & Order and Law & Order SVU for the week of January 3rd. Here are the details for Law & Order SVU “Quickie” and Law & Order “Blackmail.” (Update 12/29/09: Law & Order "Blackmail" is being bumped from January 8 so NBC can show an extra hour of (boring) Dateline. The new air date has not been confirmed, although Law & Order is now scheduled to start back up on January 15, 2010.) .) Another update 12/31/09: The Futon Critic web site says the episode has been “deleted” and is “no longer valid”, however, I have been unable to confirm this information as yet with an official NBC press release from their media web site. It’s possible that with the holidays, NBC may be a little late in getting the official information out via their normal channels. THE LATEST AS OF 1/02/2010 - NBC now has the air date set for "Blackmail" as January 15. Hopefully it will stick this time!

Law & Order SVU “Quickie” Air Date 1/06/2010 (9 PM ET/ 8C Wednesday NBC)

When seventeen year-old Andrea McWilliams is found strangled and beaten to death in an alley, her ex-boyfriend leads the cops to a website that McWilliams used to meet up with random men . Detective Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay) decides to create a user account for the site and finds womanizer Peter Butler (guest star Brian Geraghty), the man who met up with McWilliams. The case is closed when a different suspect is proven guilty of her murder, and a new one opens when McWilliams rape kit tests positive for HIV. Not only is HIV spreading as a result of countless attacks, but now the detectives must also catch a rapist on the loose. Also starring: Chris Meloni (Detective Elliot Stabler), Dann Florek (Captain Donald Hagen), Richard Belzer (Detective John Munch), Ice-T (Detective Odafin Tutuola), Stephanie March (ADA Alexandra Cabot), B.D. Wong (Dr. George Huang), Tamara Tunie (M.E. Warner).

My recap and review of Law & Order SVU "Quickie" can be found here.

Law & Order “Blackmail” Air Date 01/15/2010 (8 PM ET/ 7C Friday NBC)

When Detectives Cyrus Lupo (Jeremy Sisto) and Kevin Bernard (Anthony Anderson) find journalist Megan Kerr dead in an abandoned apartment, the detectives learn of a relationship between the victim and daytime talk show host Vanessa Carville (Guest Star Samantha Bee). Upon further investigation, the detectives encounter Carville in a meeting with DA Jack McCoy (Sam Waterston), and Carville admits to a series of workplace affairs and a blackmail threat leaving the detectives suspicious of Carville and her co-workers. Also starring: S. Epatha Merkerson (Lieutenant Anita Van Buren), Alana De La Garza (Connie Rubirosa), and Linus Roache (Michael Cutter).

My recap and review of Law & Order "Blackmail" can be found here.

Check out my blog home page for the latest Law & Order information, on All Things Law And Order, here.

Also, see my companion Law & Order site,These Are Their Stories.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Law & Order SVU 2010 Promo Tease (Video)

Here is an NBC promo which “teases” Law & Order SVU for 2010. It looks like Detectives Stabler (Chris Meloni) and Benson (Mariska Hargitay) will be involved in some interesting cases with some interesting guest stars. Enjoy!

Check out my blog home page for the latest Law & Order information, on All Things Law And Order, here.

Also, see my companion Law & Order site,These Are Their Stories.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Law & Order “Fed” Recap & Review

All photos from NBC

Law & Order “FED” had nothing to do with the Feds, but instead spun a case that seemed at first to be motivated by political beliefs, which then led to an affair and cover up. It seemed that everyone was a little on edge in this episode because there were a lot of suspects but no concrete evidence against any front runner. This caused some friction between Jack McCoy (Sam Waterston) and his staff, but also with Jack and Lt. Anita Van Buren (S. Epatha Merkerson). Of course, Anita is in no mood to take any crap from anybody, and she really let loose in this episode. She let the group of protesters have the full force of her authority, and I found myself cheering that they finally gave S. Epatha Merkerson a scene and some lines where she could really show the tough side of her character. She also prepared to give it right back to McCoy when he chides the police for not delivering a solid case, but her experience and likely her long time work with McCoy gave her the power to hold back and not say what was really on her mind. It was a nice touch for McCoy to come back to her and apologize, of course, AFTER all the deals were in progress.

It was also heartbreaking to see Van Buren completely break down at the end of the episode, showing the toll that both working and trying to manage her illness is taking. She does not know if she is going to make it, and I find myself getting very worried that this show would actually consider having her become so ill that she can’t continue her job, or worse yet, allow her to die. I don ‘t think I would handle her death very well, and while I know people die all the time in real life, I would still like to have my fantasy that it doesn’t have to happen on television to such a beloved character as Anita.

The return of Benjamin Bratt was essentially a filler portion, with his wife finally dying of MS. It was a touching scene between Rey Curtis and Anita, and while I would have rather had Bratt come back to help work a case, it was nice to see him anyway, even if it really had nothing to do with the case at hand. I am sure fans appreciated the references to Lennie Briscoe, and also to find that Rey Curtis is now working in California, likely being bit by the California bug when he worked that Hollywood/LA case years ago.

Another face that was nice to see again is ME Rodgers, who provided her usual snarky commentary, such as her one word answer to Lupo on what kind of crud was in the guys hair (her answer – crud), and also getting snippy when Lupo had the nerve – the nerve! – to try to get some of that crud himself. Speaking of Lupo, his pretend phone call worked fine in the first scene but wasn’t as funny when he used the same tactic later on in the episode.

This must be political commentary week for the Law & Order franchise. With last Wednesday’s episode of Law & Order SVU "Anchor" causing a ripple in the conservative force so to speak, this one seemed to take a shot at liberals an libertarians, and even ACORN. Sure, there were the usual segment of veiled and not so veiled political commentary, but after all, this is Law & Order, which is known for having its own agenda. While it was very blatant and almost intolerable in Law & Order SVU "Anchor" , it seemed a little less heavy handed in “FED.” The only thing that seemed a little off was the McCoy town hall meeting, which seemed had absolutely no people in the audience that was in support of him, they were mostly protestors. It was no wonder that McCoy felt “like a corn cob in a pig sty, ” a line that made me actually laugh. But the lesson for this week’s episode of Law & Order SVU and Law & Order seems to be that right wingers are stupid followers who kill for their causes and toxic talk show hosts, and left wingers kill over affairs and cover ups.

While the story got a little confusing at times – too many people and too many names I couldn’t keep it straight – I thought it was very good and it finally gave S. Epatha Merkerson plenty of camera time. Her performance was excellent.

Here is the recap:
Two guys are out canvassing to try to get people to register to vote. One of the guys, Jim, is very pushy with a resident. He wants to keep working so he drives off while his work partner says he is going to take the ferry back into the city.

We then see this same guy laying on the front of a car nearly naked, with the word “FED” written in his chest. Detectives Cyrus Lupo (Jeremy Sisto) and Kevin Bernard (Anthony Anderson) . The license plates on the car belong to Nicholas Landy of Delaware. Bernard notices white gravel in the tire treads which is not from around there. There is a tarp covered in blood in the trunk. Bernard notices that the dumped body is in full view of the Federal Reserve Bank, Bernard thinks the body was dumped by a person who has a big one for Uncle Sam.

In the morgue, ME Rodgers (Leslie Hendrix) says that the time of death was between 7 and 10 last night. There were multiple contusions and broken ribs and jaw all inflicted within a half hour period, she calls it a “blunt force trauma party”. Lupo notices marks on the victim’s neck and comments he was Lupo comments that he was choked up, and Rodgers replies that it was someone with big hands. The inscription on his chest is in ink, consistent with a black marker. Lupo asks what is the “crud” in his hair, and Rodgers dryly answers, “crud.” Lupo says it is crud that may have been on the floor when he was killed, and as he moves to pull some off, Rodgers clears her throat and grabs his hand, moving it away, saying anytime he wants to switch jobs to let her know. As she walks off, Bernard enters and they chuckle over her attitude. Bernard tells Lupo that the fingerprints traced back to a James Landy of Delaware, he has a disorderly conduct from 2004. The car is in his father’s name and there is no record he ever worked for the federal government.

Back at the 2-7, Bernard tells Lt. Anita Van Buren (S. Epatha Merkerson) that the SUV’s EZ Pass has him leaving Staten Island at 9:30 last night. It could have been Landy driving the car or his killer, they can’t tell from the tollbooth camera. Van Buren asks about the iron oxide in his hair, and Lupo indicates it is probably from the crime scene, it’s a chemical used in explosives and cosmetics, Van Buren adding also in 100 other things. She asks if they contacted his next of kin, and Bernard tells her Landy’s father is deceased as of last year, and his mother lives in Arizona with his sister and the local authorities are contacting them. They have his last known address in Red Hook, and Van Buren tells them to get over there; One PP is talking to the FBI, Landy may have worked for the government off the radar. While she talks, Lupo looks down and sees a pamphlet on her desk titled “What you need to know about radiation therapy.” She notices them looking and picks up the brochure so they can’t dwell on it, and says if they want to help, get her some answers.

At the apartment of Jim Landy, a tenant tells the detectives last night there was a black girl outside trying to buzz Jim from downstairs, a little before 10. The woman notices the girl had her right hand was balled up into a fist. Lupo sees there is a laptop chord but no laptop and nothing else seems out of place. Bernard notices by Landy’s books that he seemed to be a political junkie. Lupo sees a pay stub from the Rights Alliance Foundation. Landy appeared to be no Fed but a community organizer.

At the Rights Alliance Foundation, the woman who runs the office, Courtney Owens (Danai Gurira), says that in her three years there she has never seen anyone with more passion than Jim. He was in the field all day yesterday in Staten Island and Bay Terrace, going door to door with John Munson, until late. The Rights Alliance (RA) had not been getting any unusual threats, and Lupo shows her Landy’s photo with the word Fed on it, which shocks her. She can’t imagine why anyone would think he was a fed as they tell all their employees to identify themselves as a non –profit. Lupo tells her to tell her people that for now to work in pairs and during daylight hours.

They speak with John Munson, who says he should have never let Landy go off on his own. Landy went to Richmond Valley. Munson tells him Landy learned the hard sell from working the Obama campaign. Munson is concerned if he is safe, and Lupo just tells him to mind the Jack Russells.

The speak to a person in the neighborhood who saw Landy come by yesterday. The notice the white gravel in the roadway, and find that a neighbor, Jerry Ganz (Boris McGiver, had a new driveway just put in. When the get to Ganz’s place, he is confrontational with them, going on about “big brother”. He says he did not talk to Landy. He tells them they have 5 seconds to get off his property, but when Lupo notices rat poison in Ganz's open garage, he tells him that in the hands of anti-government activities, possession of that amount of toxin falls under the terrorism laws. When he asks who do they think they are, Bernard tells him “big brother” and that he is under arrest,

Down at the 2-7, the question Ganz and he continues to be uncooperative. When Lupo says if he would just give them an alibi he can get back to his fortress of solitude, Ganz says he does not answer to a bunch of Obamabots. Lupo tells him to hold on pretends he is getting a phone call, saying it is a message from the boss. He "hangs up" and says after they book Ganz for possession of a chemical weapon they will get a warrant and go through all his stuff. Ganz caves and said he spoke to the guy and told him voting is an endorsement of a system that violates our freedom. He said Landy argued with him with the usual liberal claptrap. Landy dropped his bag and his video camera tumbled out and the red light was on. Ganz said he was going to get his gun and Landy picked up his stuff and beat it. He asks if he can go, and Lupo makes another pretend phone call and then says no.

In the observation area, they tell Van Buren that Ganz is a member of Patriot Rangers, a libertarian group active in those “tea parties” last summer. She asks if Landy had a video camera in his place, and Lupo said there was a manual but no camera. She tells them to kick Ganz back to Staten Island and let them hold him on the terrorism charge, and see if the RA knew Landy was moonlighting as Michael Moore.

Later, while they get ready to move Ganz, Bernard says that Courtney Owens at RA did not know about Landy’s videotaping. He had the Milford Delaware police fax over Landy’s disorderly conduct arrest report from 2004, and Lupo comments something does not make sense. But suddenly Van Buren runs in with a raised voice, saying she wants everyone outside and to grab their vests, they have a situation. Lupo wants to tell her the information about Landy but she tells him later. Outside, there a protesters with signs and guns yelling to free Jerry. Van Buren, in her “I’m not gonna take this crap” mode, says the prisoner is being transported to Staten Island, and anyone who interferes will be arrested; anyone who so much as reaches for a weapon is a dead man. As they take Ganz away, she says those of them carrying a weapon are in violation of administrative code 10-303 and they have 20 seconds to get them back in their carrying cases and into their vehicles or they will be booked for reckless endangerment. They go off with their tail between their legs. She turns to the detectives and asks what they wanted to tell her about Landy, and Bernard says Landy was booked in 2004 for picketing outside a law clinic in Delaware, and the arresting report said he was co-chair of his campus Bush re-election committee. Lupo wonders from militant conservative to bleeding heart community organizer sounds like a stretch. Van Buren says if they figure out which one he was it might tell them who killed him.

Later, they speak with a friend of Landy’s who last saw him a couple of weeks ago who told him to come over anytime and left his key in the stairwell so he could let himself in. He was conservative and hated liberals. Once Landy got the student paper to interview an Iraq war veteran turned peacenik who Landy set up as a fake and the paper was embarrassed by it. He thought RA was a bunch of socialists but never said anything about punking them in the same way. Landy did tell him he was working on something but didn’t tell him what As the detectives walk off, they wonder if Landy was working on something to make the RA look bad, he is killed and his camera goes missing, his apartment is cleaned out of his laptop and video, and if a girl who was let into his building knew where he kept the key, she could have taken all that stuff. They wonder if he was worked over to find out where he kept the stuff. The night he was killed, he got two calls from the RA office, the second one at 7:16 and they think whoever called from RA knows something about this.

At the RA, a woman tells them the calls were probably about the next day’s assignments. Bernard notices a wrist brace for carpal tunnel on a desk and remembers the woman sees at Landy’s with her hand all balled up. He asks to whom it belongs, and is told it is Courtney’s assistant, Marissa, who is in the break room.

They speak with Marissa, her hand balled up into a fist. She says she was at Landy’s but he did not answer his door. She said Courtney asked her to stop there on his way home because Landy failed to turn in his registration. She gets upset and says she is freaked out by it. She confirms she did not get into his apartment. She did not talk to him that night, but she did not know he worked for the Bush campaign in 2004, and said people can change their minds. She gets a text message from Courtney and says her break is over and she walks out. Bernard takes her can of cola that she left on the table.

The detectives enter Van Buren’s office, who is on the phone with the chief about the case. Lupo tells her Marissa’s prints. were not in Landry’s place but the key Landy left in the stairwell is missing so they can’t rule her out either. Bernard shows Van Buren Marissa’s phone activity which he says is hinky, she got a call from a RA cell at ;30 just before she went into Landy’s place but they don’t know from whom. She also called Red Hook Video Services the next morning and charges from them are on Landy’s Visa. Van Buren answers her ringing phone, and she is surprised by the caller. She asks the caller to hold on, she covers the receiver, and comments to Lupo and Bernard signaling them to go to the video place. They get up to leave and she goes back to her call. She asks the caller how he is and if he is in town, and then a sad look comes over her face, and she says, “Oh no, oh I’m so sorry.” She asks about something being this Friday, and then she says she does not know if she can get away, but asks for the address. She adds that she wants to be there, it’s just that there has been a lot going on. She repeats that she is so sorry, says goodbye, and hangs up. She looks at the sticky note with the address on it, and sticks it on her bulletin board, and leans forward, with her chin in her hands, looking sad.

At Red Hook Video, the detectives find that Landy dropped off 2 flash cards to have the audio enhanced, and the girl said she worked for him and would send someone by to pick it up. He says Roberto, a big Hispanic guy, picked it up, paid cash. He touched the counter so Bernard says they will send someone by to dust for prints. The video guy still had the files on his own computer.

At the 2-7, they watch Landy’s hidden camera video of a meeting with RA people, talking about the Pasta Plate franchises in lower Manhattan all run by white males, not representatives of the surrounding community. They wonder what if someone found something in the lasagna that should not be there, and Marissa asks, like what? Someone suggests a condom, and thinks that if RA makes a big stink about it, the company will do anything to shut them up, Marissa saying they could make them give three franchises to people that RA chooses. Lupo comments that Landy was trying to talk them into committing extortion and that’s how he was going to punk RA. Bernard thinks this is motive for Marissa. They also think she had help; they found prints at the video place for another RA employee, Arturo Ramirez, who had been arrested a few times at RA pickets for trespassing and assault, a prime candidate for killing Landry. Van Buren wonders about the iron oxide in Landy’s hair, and says it is used as pigment in paint. She notices the address on Staten Island where Ramirez was arrested for unlawful assembly six months ago there used to be a pig paint factory there. It’s Wetherbee’s, who “went bust” last spring.

The detectives are at Wetherbee’s in Staten Island and Bernard notices dried blood, and Lupo notices footprints. Bernard comments they are bigger than his, and he wears and 11, saying whoever dragged the body out of there had serious “boats.”

Back at RA, Arturo Ramirez is giving instructions to other workers when Bernard arrives with the police to arrest him for murder. Lupo also arrests Marissa Rumstead for murder. Courtney tells Marissa this is a mistake and not to worry, they will get Davis Webb involved. Other workers complain that this is about their protesting police brutality and it is a frame job by the police, and begin to yell “no justice no peace.” Bernard says, “Great. Now everybody hates us.

In DA Jack McCoy’s (Sam Waterston) office, EADA Michael Cutter (Linus Roache) and ADA Connie Rubirosa (Alana De La Garza),along with Courtney and Davis Webb (Sam Robards), watch Landy’s video. Webb tells McCoy he is just as horrified as he is but it is not a motive for murder. But McCoy reminds him she is on tape hatching a blackmail scheme that could land her in jail and that is motive enough . Courtney objects saying it’s just kids messing around blowing off steam, and Webb adds they are fired and they will issue new guidelines and training procedures. McCoy tells him he appreciates him coming in to defend his organization, but Webb says it is not just an abstract defense. Courtney says she can confirm that Marissa was at Landy’s apartment on her instructions to pick up registration forms and Arturo, she sent him to SoHo at 7. Webb asks McCoy not to rush to judgment, saying that the RA has worked across party lines for 20 years and why put those good works into jeopardy over a few dumb kids and some ambush video? McCoy tells him the chips will fall where they fall and thanks them for coming in. Owens and Webb leave, and afterwards, Cutter comments, “A few dumb kids. He’s kidding, right?” McCoy says the RA has a legacy worth protecting – predatory lending reform, housing, minimum wage. When Cutter says no one is disputing that, McCoy suggests they go the extra mile before they blow it all up. He asks about Jerry Ganz, and Rubirosa says they police have not eliminated him as yet. He motions as if saying, “well?” and she says, “Say no more.”

Jerry Ganz is back in interrogation, and Lupo shows him that they found the broken up video camera in his composter. He admits grabbing the camera and then Landy took off but he never hurt him. He lied about the camera because he knew how it would look as he is not the kind of person the government would usually give the benefit of the doubt. Lupo excuses himself and then pretends to make another phone call, saying “Sorry, wrong answer.” Bernard tells him to try again. Ganz says nothing.

Later, Van Buren says the lab examined his clothes and shoes and there was no blood or fluids and there is nothing linking him to Landy or the paint factory. Rubirosa adds there is nothing eliminating him, either. Cutter tells says that finding the camera complicates matters, they can kick cans but they still can’t charge him. Van Buren gets snappy and says, “Well, pardon my detectives for doing their job. And by the way, we already have two murder suspects. Good ones.” But Cutter says, “Not good enough.” She retorts, “Exactly what do you want from us?” and Cutter states, “Clarity.” Van Buren responds, “Clarity…Mr. Cutter, exactly how long have you been an ADA? (he looks perplexed at the question and she goes on) Since when do you get evidentiary clarity in a murder case handed to you on a silver platter. I think we’re done for today.” She opens the door for them to leave, and they both exit, looking a little surprised. Van Buren closes the door and walks to Lupo and Bernard, asking him to have the lab take another run at matching the footprints to Ganz’s. Lupo tells her she has to see something, and Bernard says they salvaged some data from the memory card from the night Landy was killed. There is a clip from 7:16 PM with Landy in his car, getting a phone call. It is Courtney, saying he already spoke with Marissa and he has one last area before heading home and he can talk to Arturo tomorrow. He then asks why tonight and what’s the big deal, and then says if she really wants him to, fine. He hangs up, and then says, “Morons. “ Bernard says Courtney said she never spoke to Landy that night, and here she is calling him. Lupo adds that she also sent him to meet Ramirez. Van Buren tells them to talk to Courtney’s family to see what she was up to that night and that she will fill out a 49 for Mike Cutter, She heads back to her office, and as she begins to fill out the report, she stops and looks back at the sticky note she put on her bulletin board the other day. She checks her watch, and takes the sticky note for Jericho off the board.

At Jericho cemetery, Van Buren approaches Rey Curtis, and quietly calls his name to get his attention. He is happy to see her, calling her “Lu” and hugs her. She offers her condolences on his wife Deborah. He tells her it means a lot her being there. She comments that his daughters are so beautiful, and asks how he is doing. Rey says, “A day at a time.” He asks about her, saying he heard she was sick. She nods her head, and he says it is just rotten luck all around. He pauses, then says he and his girls are going to his sister in law’s for a little reception, and asks if she wants to join them. She says she would love to but she needs to get back. He said if she can spare a few minutes, it would be a shame not to catch up, and she says sure, she would like that.

Inside the chapel, Rey says after 10 years, Deborah couldn’t fight it any more. The MS just completely overwhelmed her. He sighs, and says she died at home in his arms. Van Buren asks what is next, wondering if he is heading back to California. He says yes, the girls love it, and the job is good, but Deborah was from the island so it makes sense to bury her there with her folks. He says they are losing a lot of people, he talked to Lennie a few days before the end and he was still cracking jokes. Van Buren laughs, saying, “Good old Lennie.” Rey says that Deborah, in the end, tried to be brave, but it was bad. She puts her hand on him to console him and there is a long silence between them.

At Werner and Cox, Courtney’s husband says she did not get home until late. When Bernard asks that he used to work with her at RA, he worked in accounting for twelve years and the view is better in the private sector. He did no know Landy. He was asleep when his wife got home that night and they didn’t talk. Lupo comments the view IS better from there, and comments Owens went from accounting to PR and asks how he swung that. Owens plays dumb, and Lupo says it is just an interesting career change. Owens says that’s what it is, interesting, and now he needs to get back to work.

At Cutter’s office, Van Buren tells Cutter, Rubirosa, and McCoy that Courtney’s husband was a bookkeeper for RA then three weeks ago he was born again as a PR executive, which he has no background for. The PR firm has a $1 account with RA. Cutter thinks this is not unusual his wife was pulling strings, but she goes on to say that the month before he left RA, he started buying municipal bonds and in three weeks he bought over $500K. McCoy wants to know where the money came from. She shows them that over that three weeks, the RA special project fund shows an unexplained debit of $500K. Cutter concludes Owens was embezzling, and Rubirosa suspects Courtney found out and got him out the door before it was discovered. Cutter wonders if she is in on it. But McCoy says this is all fine and good but what about Landy’s murder? She says they found evidence Courtney called Landy the night of the murder, evidence that she sent him to meet Ramirez. Cutter said she was probably worried that the scandal that Landy’s video would not stop at the Pasta Plate extortion, that it would expose her husband’s embezzlement. McCoy says now they have another murder suspect, Courtney Owens, and then adds he hopes they have at least eliminated Jerry Ganz from the running. Van Buren says not quite. Cutter tells McCoy about the Landy’s camera being found at Ganz’s, and he had access to the murder scene. McCoy says, ‘So the list of suspects just keeps on growing and we have no definite proof of anything. (Silence from the group.) Somebody say something.“ Cutter answers, “This is not a simple murder, Jack. “ McCoy raises his voice, saying, “Then sort it out, all of you or find people who can.” McCoy walks out leaving them to all look at each other.

At the jail, Cuter and Rubirosa speak with Marissa, who said Borrow a flash drive from Landy’s desk and she found the video on it. She told Courtney about it and Courtney freaked saying that they had to get the video or they would go to jail. She told her to tell Landy to meet Arturo at the paint factory and tell him there were some squatters there who they needed to register. :Landy didn’t want to go so Courtney called him. Courtney told her to meet Arturo at Landy’s place. He called an told him how to get into Landy’s place and how to find the memory cards. He did not say he killed Landy and she did not know he was dead until the cops showed up. Cutter continues to press and Marissa gets very rattled. She insists she knows nothing about the murder.

Later, they speak with Arturo who is also in jail and he said he picketed that paint company 6 months ago. He says Marissa is lying about him calling her about Landy, he called her because he wanted to “hit that.” Cutter tells him either he rolls on Courtney or he gets it for everything, but Ramirez says Cutter has nothing, just saying he picked up some dead guy’s videos that he paid for and if they want to nail him for that, go crazy. He gets up and leaves.

Back at the 2-7, Bernard tells Van Buren that Ramirez dodged all the security cameras on all the ferries and bridges. Van Buren asks about his cell phone call to Marissa, but Lupo says he was already across the bridge in Brooklyn. He comments that Ramirez made 26 calls in the last 6 months from a location near JFK, always on Tuesdays and Thursday and always in the early evening. The calls were to different people but the pattern sticks out. She suggests they pinpoint the exact location at JFK and if it is inside, security cameras should have picked him up.

Back at Cutter’s office, Van Buren tells Cutter and Rubirosa that all the calls were made in proximity to the Vanguard airport hotel, and shows them photos of Ramirez there, and also with Davis Webb, and then Courtney Owens at the same location. The front desk told them Courtney and Webb have been regulars there, twice a week for the past 8 months. Cutter says, “An affair. Just what this case needed.” Van Buren adds that it appears to be over, the front desk said they stopped coming six weeks ago. Rubirosa notes that 6 weeks ago is when Courtney’s husband started taking money out of the RA. Van Buren suspects he wasn’t taking it, someone was paying him to keep his mouth shut. Cutter concludes Courtney’s husband found out about the affair and Webb paid off with the RA money and found him a cushy job. Rubirosa adds that Webb is married, the head of a national organization and has political ambitions, Van Buren adds this is the real scandal and they were afraid Landy’s video would expose them, so they killed him to cover up the cover up of their affair.

As McCoy is leaving his office, he asks Cutter and Rubirosa just how many layers does this onion have? Cutter says it all comes down to Davis Webb as he had the most to lose and Ramirez was is go-fer and if anyone gave the order to get rid of Landy it is Webb. McCoy asks him what is he waiting for, and if he has the evidence to charge him. When there is no answer, McCoy says, “I see” and then asks about Ganz. Rubirosa tells him Ganz is refusing to post bail claiming malicious prosecution Cutter adding despite the fact that he lied to police and destroyed evidence. McCoy says that is the problem , if he can argue at one point that Ganz is the killer then Webb the next, so can they and this can create reasonable doubt. Rubirosa gets a text message saying that Webb on behalf of the RA just hit them with a motion to suppress. McCoy looks at his watch and says, “Deal with it, I have to attend a panel on violent crime, it would be nice if we were solving it instead of just talking about it.”

At a town hall meeting, McCoy is on the stage talking about New York City being the safest city in the nation and says he has time for a few questions. The first questioner stands up and asks him to address his office’s naked contempt for the RA, saying they are being harassed. McCoy denies any contempt, he has worked with them in the past and hope to again. Some yells out “Lies!” and the crowd erupts. As the crowd gets more unruly, McCoy says he won’t comment on an ongoing investigating. The crowd continues to get more raucous. A woman yells he should be the one investigated, and McCoy leaves the stage, holing up his hands and thanking them for their time as he races off. People begin to yell to “free Jerry” and :no justice no peace.” McCoy exits quickly.

Back in his office with Cutter, Rubirosa, and Van Buren waiting, McCoy says, “I was like a corn cob in a pig sty, they all wanted a piece of me.” Cutter says to tell him he is not afraid of a little democracy in action. McCoy says he would not have minded it as much if it wasn’t their own damn fault. He adds they are twisting in the wind with multiple suspects and the police haven’t closed the loop on anyone. Van Buren objects, saying she doesn’t decide who to prosecute, he does. McCoy counters that she has to set the table for them , that’s how this work. Van Buren says coldly, “I’ll tell you exactly. how this works Mr. McCoy. You and your whole office…” She tales a breath and pauses, catching her words. As McCoy stands there waiting for her to finish, she just adds, “I have to get back” and she walks out. She walks out into the hall, and looks upset.

In the 2-7 interrogations, Courtney says she did not tell Marissa to call Landy, she didn’t tell her anything and she is lying. Lupo says they have the tape of her call to Landy, but she says it was to meet her in SoHo to drop off his forms and he never showed and that is why she sent Marissa to her apartment. Lupo reminds her she said she did not speak with Landy, but she says she remember the call after she spoke to them and didn’t think it mattered. She says she is not protecting Davis (I think he said Owens but he means Webb) and she denies that, saying she is back with her husband now and is not protecting Webb. As Van Buren watches from the observation area, she notices that as Courtney skirt raises a little, she is weaning a garter belt with her stockings. She enters and takes over the questioning, asking when the detectives picked her up from her office, had she come from some special occasion or going somewhere, and she says no, she was going home and her husband has dinner with clients. Van Buren notes the special hosiery and confronts her about it, saying they are not her everyday gear and that they are expensive and sexy, concluding she is still seeing Webb. But Courtney says it is over, it was nothing. Van Buren says Courtney is still in love with him and asks what kind of promises he made her, like leaving his wife. Courtney says Webb says he needs a little more time, and then tells Van Buren, “Don’t give me that look You don’t know how it is with us, OK?” Van Buren leans forward and says what she does know, when this is done, Courtney will be in jail and he will be with his wife. Courtney says no he wouldn’t, he loves her and will stand by her, she knows it. Van Buren tells her to prove it – prove it to herself.

In Courtney’s office at RA, Webb arrives and they kiss, and he tells her whatever he had to tell her it could have waited for the hotel. She says they can’t go on like this, and he reminds the RA Is covering Marissa and Arturo’s legal expenses and the case is garbage. He tries to reassure her, and says it will blow over. She asks when it does if they can finally get that place together? He says down the line, absolutely, , he just has to get the kids out of the house first. She pulls back a bit, and then starts to talk about what the police told her that Webb told Arturo to kill Landy and why did he do it? Webb says Arturo is a loose cannon and she says he must have told her something. He said he told him he had a problem that needed to be cleaned up and he had to do what was needed. Courtney asks, “What was needed?” and asks how he can say that to a guy like Arturo? He says Arturo knows how to keep his mouth shut. He tells her he will meet her at the hotel, and leaves.

Later in the 2-7 with Van Buren and Cutter, Webb is there with his attorney as they listen to the recording of his conversation with Courtney. After it is over, Van Buren tells him that her detectives and Rubirosa are with Arturo Ramirez and they will play him this tape especially the parts where Webb implicates him and that he won’t take it well. Cutter tells him whoever sings first gets the nicer cage. Webb complains that he spent 20 years trying to build the organization and what was his supposed to do, let a right wing hack…and his lawyer cuts him off.

In her office alone, Van Buren goes through her radiation pamphlet and hears a knock at the door. It is Jack McCoy. She asks what she can do for him and he says she already has done a lot, they have pleas from Webb, Ramirez, deals for Courtney Owens and Marissa Rumstead are in the works, and Ganz has agreed to 5 years probation on charges of robbery and obstruction, calling it a fair day’s work. She glares at him a bit and he says he is sorry he suggested that she and her detectives let him down in any way. He was wrong. She continues to give him a hard look, and then she smiles, saying, “Apology accepted.” He nods, and her phone rings, She takes the call, and tells the caller she will be right down. She tells McCoy that is her ride, and he nods his head and smiles, then turns to leave. He closes the door behind him.

Later, in Van Buren’s apartment, Frank (Ernie Hudson) is in bed and notices Van Buren is not there, and he looks to the clock, seeing it is 3:53 AM. He walks out of the bedroom and see Van Buren sitting at the kitchen table. She is crying. He tries to console her, but she says, “Frank, I don’t know if I’m gonna make it.” He says, “Shhh, it’s gonna be al; right. It’s gonna be all right.” She continues to cry, and he continues to console her, as we fade to black.

All Text Content (Recaps, Review, Commentary) © unless otherwise noted

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Thursday, December 10, 2009

Linus Roache and Alana De La Garza On Location for Law & Order

The new hot couple of the Law & Order franchise, the dashing Linus Roache and the beautiful Alana De La Garza, were photographed on location in the streets on Manhattan, New York City, on December 9th. Here are some photos!

Check out my blog home page for the latest Law & Order information, on All Things Law And Order, here.

Also, see my companion Law & Order site,These Are Their Stories.

Law & Order SVU “Anchor” Recap & Review

All photos from NBC

This episode of Law & Order SVU “Anchor” was a great feature story for Ice –T, allowing the rest of the melodrama usually surrounding Benson and Stabler to take a back seat. It was refreshing to see Fin in action with the job – and also with the hopes that he will get some “action” with his new friend at the Ledger. I was somewhat perplexed as to why the murder of a child would not be considered a “special victims” case, especially when ME Warner indicated that SVU only works on sex crimes or cases of abuse. I felt vindicated when Fin challenged Cragen on that same issue, basically saying that if it were Benson or Stabler than Cragen would bend over backwards for them to have the case. And how does one know that it isn’t a case of a child being abused, for example, until they investigate it? It just seemed odd that for how many cases SVU has become involved in the last few seasons that weren’t strictly sex or abuse crimes that for this case for Fin it suddenly became an issue.

I don’t think this is the first time that a television show has become the defense for murder with the franchise. I recall an old episode of Law & Order – the name escapes me – where a person used violent cartoons as his excuse for murder. This case, whoever, seemed to provide a soapbox to get on the cases of the right wing media personalities Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, and Bill O’Reilly to name a few. Mind you, I can’t stand to listen to any of those people because their commentary is usually so one sided and sometimes irrational, so I didn’t mind the shots at these types of shows. But, along that same line, this episode does the same thing but it leans the other way, promoting what some may perceive as a one-sided, overly liberal view. Pot, meet kettle, I say. The Law & Order franchise is frequently accused of being far too liberal, and just because it is a TV drama and not a political commentary show doesn’t make their extremism any more excusable. This episode may have spent too much time on what some may see as far left viewpoints. The scene where Cabot and the detectives dissected Patty Hearst and related issues made me imagine the words, “Warning: Political Commentary” flashing on the screen; likewise with the scene with Keiko at the immigration center.

John Larroquette was passable in his role of Randall Carver. I swear he kept slipping in and out of that phony accent. I think it would have been much better had he just spoken normally. And the scenery chewing was in high gear at times; something about that courtroom scene with Garrison seemed a little to forced and cheesy. There were too many times that the dialog was too canned and predictable.

But don’t get me wrong, I liked this episode and felt it told a good story. Ice-T did a fine job in his role and was very believable in his frustration with not only with just getting the case assigned to him, but all the other roadblocks he faced, only to find the murderer acquitted. My mantra has always been "more Munch and Fin" so for now, I'm happy to see Ice-T get his day.

Here is the recap:
A man driving a car drops off a woman and she thanks a man for a great night. As she walks away, another man punches her for holding out. She says she didn’t, and he takes $70 from her and complains he was worth more, but she said he was a cheap bastard. He calls her a liar and grabs her hair, asking where is the rest of the money. He pulls off her wig and is stunned, and she runs away. He chases after her as she is yelling she is sorry, and when she runs into a pile of trash, he follows her. As he pulls trash away, they are both shocked to see he has uncovered a body of a little girl. He pulls the woman away.

Detective Fin Tutuola (Ice-T) drives up in his car and calls for Audrina. She comes out of her apartment and thanks him for coming. He comments he thought she got out of the game. She says she tried but the shelter was beat, her daddy promised he’d be nice to her, but Fin sees she was beaten. She says this is not why she called him, and shows her the body. She called him because the cops don’t give a damn about another dead ho, and she knew he would care. Fin says the girl is too young to be in the life. Audrina says he is probably right, the girl wouldn’t get a John wearing that t-shirt, which says “Jesus loves me.” Fin says somebody else sure didn’t.

At the morgue, ME Warner (Tamara Tunie) says the girl has been dead 12 hours, she was strangled by an open link chain. Fin comments she looks much younger all cleaned up. Warner says she is 12, she got that information from her mom who filed a missing person’s report last night. Her name is Ruby Brown, a 7th grader in Catholic school. Fin wonders if Ruby had a secret life her mother did not know about, but Warner comments it wasn’t turning tricks as her hymen was intact. Fin wonders how a Catholic school kid end up dead in a hooker area, and Warner asks if that is a question for homicide. Warner says it is not a sex crime, but Fin says she looks like a special victim to him. He asks for the mother’s address so he can tell her himself.

At Ruby’s mother’s home, they watch a video of Ruby that she made for her father who is stationed in Kabul. She blames herself, as she sent Ruby to the store to get milk. Fin tells her she was not “touched.” She wonders who would do this to her baby, and Fin promises to find out.

At the SVU squad, Captain Don Cragen (Dann Florek) tells Fin her death was not sexually motivated and there was no child abuse. He tells Fin to type up what he has done and get the file to homicide. Fin says it will just sit there, and Cragen says that is the reason to “turf” it, he’s getting killed on their closure rate. Fin cannot believe that Cragen’s stats are more important than the murder of a little girl, and Warner enters and tells them that it’s now two. There was another similar homicide in the Bronx – Magda Ibanez - last month with the same type chain, and also dumped in the same manner. Fin says it is a serial murder of little girls and Cragen has to let him work it. Cragen says he will call One PP and ask them to declare the pattern.

Outside Cragen’s office, Warner tells Fin that Bronx worked the case with no leads. When Fin says he will start again, Warner tells him the parents took the first victim back to Honduras with no plans to come back. Detective Elliott Stabler (Chris Meloni) says brass won’t issue a travel voucher for Central America. Warner tells them the perp leaves no blood or DNA, the only print is the chain pattern in the victim. Cragen enters and informs Fin it is now an official pattern and Fin is the assigned detective. Fin says they need to draft a press release but Cragen says no press as it will cause panic and when Stabler objects, Cragen says that is the way One PP wants it. He tells them to hit the streets and find himself a witness.

At Chusock Deli, a worker tells Fin that Ruby came in to buy some milk, and Fin asks him to put up a flier. Detective John Munch (Richard Belzer) is also out canvassing, with fliers on nearby cars with no luck. Fin walks up and is frustrated that no one says they have seen anything. When Munch comments it is getting to the end of the shift, Fin says they stay until they find a witness.

Later, back at the squad, Fin tells Stabler they got less than nothing. All they heard was “sorry.” Fin thinks TV news could reach thousands. Detective Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay) pipes up and says when she was dating that guy from the Ledger she got to know a woman on the crime desk, Nicole Gleason, and when Fin says One PP says no press, Benson says Gleason is cute and she can introduce him. He says he does not need help hooking up, but Benson says he will need an alibi if someone sees him having a drink with a journalist. He tells Benson to have her meet him at the Lenox Lounge at 10.

At the Lenox Lounge, Nicole Gleason (Megalyn Echikunwoke) is glad Fin brought her the information. She says she will start on it tomorrow, but Fin says if she starts it tonight she can still make the morning edition. She says he will owe her, and he says it is a debt he is happy to pay. She asks if he has camera ready art, and he says he is way ahead of her, handing her the photos of the two victims. She says school photos play great on the front page.

The next day, Fin picks up a Ledger with a huge cover story on a Panda, with the headline “Crazy for Koko.” As he walks to the SVU building looking in the newspaper, Cragen catches up with him and tells him it’s page 17. Fin says it had to be done. Cragen tells him when the Chief of D’s gives and order, they follow up. Fin says unless Liv and Elliot bend the rules, then Cragen is out on a limb with them. Cragen tells Fin he disobeyed a direct order from his commanding officer, and Fin says he is only sorry he did not get the front page, he just got three inches and no photos. He adds if the victims looked like Elisabeth Smart they would have a task force and a million dollar reward. Cragen says this is not about race, and Fin says, “Sure. You keep telling yourself that.” When Fin walks way, Cragen asks where the hell does he think he is going? Fin says if he wants to five him a five day rip, fine, it’s more time to work his case. Cragen says Fin is not suspended –yet. He adds Fin’s little stunt gave them their best lead; two callers from Ruby’s neighborhood gave up a supermarket delivery boy who likes little girls and he had a drop off two blocks from her apartment the night she was killed.

At Columbia Market, Fin pulls a guy away from giving a lollipop to a little girl. Fin tells him he is going downtown, and when the guy says he has to lock up his bike, Fin, noticing a chain hanging tom the bike, says that is coming with them.

Fin takes the guy into interrogation, and the guy whines he does not want to be there. He guy sounds like a child. He says he never hurt anyone and doesn’t understand. Fin continues to interrogate but the man sounds even more childlike. Cragen enters and tells them they found another body.

At the scene, Warner is working on another body, Scotty Wu, dead 3 hours, and Fin has his suspect in the squad for 6 hours, so he is likely not the killer. A neighbor ID’d the boy, saying his parents work at a food joint downtown. Fin had to do the notification.

At the Chen Wu CafĂ©, the parents cannot believe it. When Mrs. Wu says Scotty was their anchor, Fin asks what that means, Mr. Wu quickly says she means in her heart. But Scotty’s mother says Snakehead did this, and her husband tries to quiet her, saying she does not know what she is saying. Fin says he is not worried about their immigration status, he is just trying to find out who killed their kid. Mr. Wu says they should not be talking to Fin, they tell them not to. Mr. Wu shows Fin a business card from Keiko Nishimura from the Center for Immigration Services. They tell him to call Keiko, she is their friend.

Keiko tells Fin and Munch that the Wu’s Snakehead was paid every dime, she delivered it herself. She makes sure they are safe. Munch says Scotty was not safe for long, and she adds is it terrible, especially after Ruby and Magda, the other two victims. She said all three families are CIS clients, they were helping all three families with naturalization. Fin comments that all three victims are anchor babies, but Keiko calls them American citizens. Munch comments that either way they are connected to the center, and that is no coincidence, and Fin comments someone may not be happy with what they are doing and that makes them easy targets. Keiko admits they have had troubles, including hate mail. She shows them some of the mail, and says many people don’t realize that these immigrants are just like them, living, breathing human beings. Munch says they will take all the letters, and she points to the television, saying that the people who write most of the letters are fans of Gordon Garrison (Bruce McGill), who Fin refers to as a racist freak. While Garrison rants on TV, Munch asks “Do we have to watch the collapse of western civilization?” Keiko says it is about to get better, Randall Carver is his guest. Garrison introduces Randall Carver (John Larroquette) who goes on his own rant, saying the only criminals are the police, who look the other way, and asks how many more children have to die before the “special victims unit” takes it seriously. Fin is incredulous, saying he just took on the case, calling Carver an idiot. Carver asks viewers to meet him outside the headquarters of SVU and demand that the police make the protection of their children their first priority.

Later, outside SVU, there is a crowd of protesters yelling about immigrants, and Carver is there with a bullhorn yelling about the children. Fin asks Munch to take his stuff so he can see how far he can kick that bullhorn up his ass. Fin approaches Carver and they begin to argue. A man steps in and gets in Fin’s face and Fin pushes him off. Things escalate with Carver, and Fin pushes Carver away, right in front of the view of the TV camera.

Of course, later on the news, we see this unfold, under the headline “Special Violence Unit?” The Chief of D’s (John Schuck) is in Cragen's office giving Cragen and Fin heat over it. Fin says to give him the rip, he doesn’t care, he wants to find the killer. As Fin walks out, Cragen calls out to him but the Chief tells him to keep on going out the door on to his next career, as a mall cop. Fin stops, and apologizes for losing his cool with Carver. The Chief tells him to go say it again to that asswad who is making their lives hell.

At the Carver Justice Center, Fin enters and some raised voices can be heard in the background. As Fin asks to see Randall Carver, he suddenly hears a noise, and then an interior glass window is shattered. The man who was yelling at Carver that Fin pushed away at the protest is yelling at Carver, and Fin tackles him. The man continues to shout that Gordon Garrison is a great American who is brave enough to speak the truth while liberal elites like Carver try to shut him up. Fin tells him to shut up, and asks Carver and another woman there if they are all right. She says they are fine. Fin tells Carver if he doesn’t know it, this is when Carver tells Fin thank you. He reads the guy his rights as he takes him away.

As Fin is taking him out, with Carver following, a mobile news van pulls up and Fin asks if he has them on speed dial. Carver says he did not call them, and adds he does not have to arrest Mr. Thagard (Thomas Sadoski) he is just a misguided Garrison fan. Fin says he gets his game, a thug attacks, the cops get heavy handed and Carver is Mr. Nice Guy. Carver says Fin’s captain said he came there to apologize, if he wants to make it straight he should let the guy go. The reporter comes up and questions Carver but he says for once the NYPD is doing the right thing, and Fin lets him go.

Back in the SVU squad room, Nicole Gleason is waiting for Fin. She says she wants to help, but Fin is skeptical. She says she wanted that story on the front page and blames her boss. Fin says his own boss is not happy with him right now because of her. She reminds him that he came to her and he got a lead out of it. He says the lead was a waste of time as the real killer got Scotty Wu. She says so that means the killing is on her, but Fin says it is his fault. He is going nowhere on the case and innocent kids are being killed. She says he does not have to carry it alone, and tells him to enjoy his pity party and she walks off.

Later, Fin is looking at the pictures of the three victims, and Benson walks up. He tells her if she came to give him a pep talk, to save it. She came to give him a pile of papers, and angry, he shoves them on to the floor, thinking it is paperwork. She tells him they are employee files of every vendor who does business with the Center for Immigrant Services, from t he company that does their payroll to the ones that clean their toilets. She figured one of the people that goes in and out of there on a daily basis may be their bad guy. Fin says she stuck her neck out running down leads for him, and she says this is the thanks she gets? Fin says he has been putting his foot in it with every woman that crossed his path today. As they move to pick up the files, Benson asks about Nicole Gleason, and Fin says he bit her head off and she was just trying to help him. Benson asks what it is about this case, and he says everything, their skin color, people just don’t seem to care. He thanks her for the files and she says the best way to thank her is to nail the bastard. Fin yells over to what looks like a snoozing Munch to get back on the hate mail.

Later, Fin complains that are not finding dick. Munch says he’s seen enough bad grammar that he thinks the problem is education, not immigration. Munch finds several letters from a man complaining about “anchor babies.” The letters are from Fallsburg NY, marked as inmate 13602, he’s in prison. When Munch says it is tine to get bored by the security tapes, Fin says, “You son of a bitch” and Munch responds, “Well screw you too.” Fin comments he wasn’t talking to him, and Munch asks if he has an imaginary friend now. Fin says “Joe Thagard. He works for the company that shreds the center’s paperwork. “ Munch says this would give access to the victim’s home addresses. Fin tells Munch he was the guy who busted up Carver’s office spouting anti-immigrant crap, and Fin cut him loose three hours ago.

The police break down the door to Thagard’s place, and they enter en masse, but there is no sign of Thagard. Munch finds a bulletin board filled with photos of the victims and other kids from the center. Thagard appears to have been taping some of the shredded paper files together to get information. Magda, Ruby and Scotty’s faces in the photos are crossed out, and it looks like he has four more kids to go.

Back to the SVU squad, they are taking some of the kids and parents in to make sure they are safe. Fin, meanwhile is in Bayridge, getting the Al-Haziz family. When Fin walks in the open door, he calls out but no one answers, He sees a man on the floor and a woman on the couch with her mouth taped shut. She motions to the hallway. Thagard steps out with the boy, and Fin, gun drawn, tells Thagard to step away from him. Thagard runs and fun tells the boy to stay in another room. Fin follows Thagard and stops him as Thagard tries to climb out the window.

Later, in the SVU interrogation room, Thagard swears he did nothing and drank a few beers and got into the wrong apartment. He denies doing anything, saying it was the family’s terrorist pals who did it. Fin continues to question him, and Thagard says they will never be “rid” of them, someone has to. Fin calls him a baby killer, and Thagard says he only has one word for Fin, “coon.” Fin gets close to Thagard’s face. Cragen and ADA Alex Cabot (Stephanie March) watch from the observation area, Cabot commenting that Thagard just signed his death warrant. But Cragen says Fin won’t take the bait. Fin says, ”That’s the best you got?” Thagard says Fin has nothing. Fin’s phone rings, and Fin tells Munch to tell him something good. Munch says it is all good here in "xenophobe manor." He tells him they found 50 gallon drums in Thagard’s garage and open link chains that CSU found blood and tissue on. Fin goes back and tells Thagard about the evidence. Thagard says what he did was right, saying those people wrecked his life and are destroying the country. Fin tells him Thagard will now be part of the rainbow coalition they call prison, which means he gets plenty of “them” to be his new pals. A knock on the door is heard, and Cabot enters with Randall Carver. Carver says he will be representing Thagard, pro bono. Fin can’t believe it. Carver says Thagard’s mind has been filled with hate by people like Gordon Garrison. Carver says Thagard is as much a victim as the three children.

In court, Thagard is being arraigned for three counts of murder in the second degree, and he pleads not guilty. Cabot asks for remand, and the judge agrees. Cabot says the parent in the city will sleep better at night, but Carver says they shouldn’t be, as the real criminal is still at large. Cabot asks if he is claiming Thagard didn’t do it, but he say no, he is saying that wasn’t responsible, handing Cabot a motion which indicated Gordon Garrison brainwashed Thagard. Carver says persistent viewing of the program “Flashpoint” convinced Thagard that undocumented immigrants pose a threat to national security. Cabot says that they’d better watch out because listening to NPR will turn them into zombies. Caver says to mock him, but hate speech from authority figures is the greatest danger to the country since McCarthyism. The judge says there are legal precedents for a brainwashing defense, and the judge allows it.

Back at the SVU squad, Benson and Stabler comment on the case, and Cabot tells them the defense did not work for Patty Hearst. Munch says that “Princess Patty wouldn’t have picked up a machine gun if the SLA hadn’t screwed with her cerebellum.” Cabot said she would probably get off if she was tried today, but in 1976 no one heard of the Stockholm syndrome or the Rev. Jim Jones. Fin comments that Jim Jones brainwashed his followers to drink the Kool-Aid, and Thagard never met Garrison. Stabler adds there are people who watched Flashpoint that didn’t hurt a fly. Cabot says Garrison is not on trial, all the jury can consider was if Thagard was nuts. Stabler says Thagard knew what he was doing, and Fin adds so was Carver, he was on every new show last night. Munch adds that is the point, before the internet and the 24 hour news cycle, kooks could Xerox pamphlets, and now any crackpot can go on television and get millions of lemmings to jump off any cliff they tell them to. Stabler comments that while hate speech has a wider reach, it hasn’t caused the murder rate to spike. Munch asks did he know that the department of Homeland Security issued a report on the rise of right wing extremism after Obama’s election. Fin asks if they could just leave the brother out of it? Munch adds that all his is saying is that they have to take these radical fringe groups seriously. Cabot says she will start by showing the jury who Joe Thagard really is.

In Supreme Court, Thagard is on the stand testifying about watching Flashpoint and said some of the things he said made sense. He could not get a job and Garrison said it was because of the illegals and rants about anchor babies and they get to stay forever because of it. But Carver adds not if their children are dead. Thagard says he must have been crazy to hurt those kids, and he knows murder is a sin. But when he watched Flashpoint it made sense, that desperate times call for desperate measures. He wanted to be a patriot. He adds he is not smart or rich and powerful, but he loves his country and Gordon said love isn’t enough, he had to prove it so he did it. He says he is so sorry he killed the kids and would do anything to bring them back. Carver says it was not his fault, he had a tough life and that made him vulnerable to that sleazeball Garrison. He wishes he never listed to Garrison.

Cabot cross examines Thagard, asking him if he truly believed that a patriot would murder children. Thagard, crying, says soldiers have to kill in wartime, but Cabot says he is no soldier, in fact he was dishonorably discharged from the Coast Guard. Thagard says he was persecuted by his CO. Cabot mentions the CO’s name, Eddie Velasquez, naturalized as a US citizen, and says Thagard said he was not going to take orders from a dirty beaner. Thagard denies it, saying Velasquez wasn’t qualified. Cabot comments that Thagard hated immigrants before Flashpoint and he has always been a home grown racist. Carver objects, asking if there is a question in that pretty little speech. Cabot rephrases to ask if he was truly brainwashed, why didn’t he take credit for the crimes or call up Flashpoint and crow to Garrison? Why not proclaim his deeds to the world? He says that never occurred to him. She contends he wasn’t brainwashed, he was just a murderer who didn’t want to get caught.

Later, outside, Fin approaches Carver who is sitting on a bench. Fin asks if Carver is not used to getting his cage rattled. Carver says score one for Cabot but he hasn’t brought out his big guns yet. Fin doesn’t get why Carver is defending Thagard, and Carver says Thagard is a symptom not the disease. Carver says that Garrison, Limbaugh, Beck and O’Reilly are like a cancer spreading ignorance and hate and the have convinced folks that immigrants are the problem, not corporations that fail to pay a living wage or a broken health care system. Fin tells him to save the soapbox the cameras aren’t even running. Carver says his father was a clansman and told him stories about lynching, and when he asked his father why, he said some men just need killing. Fin comments, “Daddy issues, huh? If you get Thagard off, him and all those knuckleheads kluckers will be real proud of you, might even give you your own pointed hood.” Carver says he hates the klan and everything they stand for, but it taught him that a good man can be swept up by evil forces. The problem is bigger than Thagard, those kids would still be alive if Garrison had not driven them to kill.

Back in court, Garrison is on the stand and being questioned about his show and his immigration comments. One man stand up and yells that they love Garrison, and another yells that Garrison is a fascist pig. The judge calls for order. When Carver says Garrison can say whatever he wants on the air, Garrison says god bless the first amendment. Carver remind Garrison of the limits of free speech and says you can’t yell fire in a crowded theatre, but Garrison counters that you can if it is burning. He says this country is ablaze, and Carver says he is pouring gas on the flames. He says he never told anybody to kill, but Carver brings out a time where Garrison said they need to send the people back from where they came, on a boat, in the back of a truck, or even in a pine box. Garrison said he did not mean murder, and Carver said Thagard took Garrison at his word.

Cabot cross examines, and Garrison says he never met Thagard or had any contact. He says he did not brainwash, he is just a social thermometer, taking the temperature of the people. When Cabot asks if it is rectally, the judge chides her, but Garrison says it is OK. She doesn’t have to agree with him. He quotes what he says is a Voltaire saying about not agreeing but defending his right to say it, and Cabot corrects him that this was not Voltaire, saying as usual he is playing fast and loose with the truth. He asks whose side is she is on, and she says the truth, and what he is doing makes her want to reach for a barf bag. She adds that Carver thinks Garrison is a god to his followers, but all she sees in a impotent man spewing hate to line his pockets. He says to watch her tone, calling her sweetheart, and she asks, “Or what? You’ll do what to me, Mr. Garrison?” She calls him a powerless buffoon and an entertaining clown, half the people who watch the show do it to laugh at him and don’t take it seriously. Garrison stands up and yells, saying not to let her talk to him that way, and the gallery erupts, someone telling Cabot to go to hell bitch, while another defends her, and a fight begins. The judge tries to gain control, but the fight continues and the judge orders the jury out. Carver stands up and yells that she is trying to say these people aren’t brainwashed as one word from Garrison and they are throwing punches. Garrison is sitting on the stand smiling with glee over the mess. The judge says Carver is out of order, and Carver says Garrison is out of order, Garrison made this happen the same way he made his client kill.

Later back in Supreme Court, the jury returns with the verdict of not guilty on all counts, to the surprise of Cabot and Fin. Fin watches as Thagard seems happy and whispers something to Carver. Carver looks back at him with a shocked face. He turns back and looks worried.

Fin is in Cabot’s office, asking how this could happen. He wants to wipe the smile off Thagard’s face with a belt sander. Cabot says she underestimated Carver, he gave Thagard a makeover. Fin says Garrison looked like the real psycho, especially after his fans went nuts. Fin wonders why they even bother.

Later in a bar, Fin commiserates with a drink, and Nicole Gleason show him a Ledger which shows Thagard’s picture on the front with the headline ”Gordon Got Me Off.” She offers to buy the next round, but Fin says he is not sure he would be much fun tonight. She says she can’t be scared off that easy. Fin’s phone rings, and it is Randall Carver. He asks what the hell he wants, and then says he does not want to see him. But then he adds he is on his way. Gleason tells him to call tonight, she will wait up.

Fin arrives at Carver’s office and asks what is the big emergency. Carver tells him what Thagard whispered to him in court after the verdict: “Thanks, now I can go kill more of those kids.” Fin says they have to stop him, and Carver looks back. Fin walks up to see what Carver is looking at, and it is Thagard’s body, lying in a pool of blood. Fin looks back at Carver, and the camera pans down to Carver handing Fin the gun, zooming in as we fade to black.

All Text Content (Recaps, Review, Commentary) © unless otherwise noted

Check out my blog home page for the latest Law & Order information, on All Things Law And Order, here.

Also, see my companion Law & Order site,These Are Their Stories.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Dick Wolf Talks The Law & Order Brand to TV Guide

TV Guide has permitted me to include their feature interview with Dick Wolf, the creator of Law & Order. It’s a very interesting read. The article on the TV Guide web site can be accessed directly by clicking the title of the article below. Dick Wolf's feature was part of a larger TV Guide feature on the people who helped make the best television for the decade.

The Brand Manager: Dick Wolf's Family of Crime Dramas Took Advance Planning

Dec 7, 2009 03:06 PM ET by Mickey O'Connor

Former advertising executive Dick Wolf got his start in television writing for shows like Hill Street Blues and Miami Vice. But his greatest accomplishment is Law & Order, which mastered the TV-show-as-brand concept by cornering the market on cops-and-courts procedurals. (This year it ties Gunsmoke's record for longest-running scripted television program.) L&O laid the groundwork for two successor series: Law & Order: SVU and Law & Order: Criminal Intent. Wolf, one of the influential television industry players interviewed for's Best of the Decade section, talked with us about the germ of the idea that led to his gritty TV empire. He also told us what he watches. Tell me about the conception of Law & Order as an idea. How did you pitch it?
Dick Wolf: In 1988, you could not give away hour-long shows in syndication; you could only sell half-hour shows. So the original thinking was to try to make an hour-long show that could be split in half and sold as two half-hour shows. We thought about a bunch of things, including night and day, life and death... law and order obviously moved to the front of the pack. There had never been a show about prosecutors and there had never been a split-format show. It seemed like an opportunity to capitalize on two openings in the marketplace. Luckily, we didn't have to split them because I really don't think it would have worked. When it comes to spin-offs, people tend to be a little cynical. When it came time to spin-off Law & Order, what was your initial reaction?
Wolf: Well, first of all, it wasn't a spin-off. It came out of a two-hour movie called Exiled with Chris Noth after he had left the show. I didn't think that a movie called Exiled would get the type of promotion or notice that would inform the public of what it was so it was originally called Exiled: A Law & Order Movie, and it became the highest-rated movie of the week of the year on NBC. That sort of clicked on a light bulb that said we can probably do this again with a new series.

But it's not a spin-off. None of the characters were ever in Law & Order that did SVU. I came out of advertising and I did a lot of work with Procter & Gamble, where nothing is better than a brand extension and nothing is worse than a brand extension that doesn't work. So there was a lot of pressure to come up with an idea that was unique enough. The one thing I knew that people have an insatiable interest in is sex — the original title was Sex Crimes — but Barry Diller didn't want to have "sex" in the title so we went with the sex crimes unit's official name [Special Victims Unit].

Then the third one was sort of obvious. Gee, we have two that work; why don't we have a third? Vincent D'Onofrio was really the only person that we had to go to. He wouldn't do TV at that point. I told him the show was basically Sherlock Holmes, completely different from L&O or SVU.

I've said for years that this is not a franchise, it's a brand. CSI, and this is not a put-down, CSI is a franchise and a franchise to me is The Palm [restaurant]. If you want to get a steak, you know that whether you're in Chicago, New York, L.A., or San Francisco, you go to the Palm and you're going to get a great steak. A brand is Mercedes: It doesn't matter which one you buy, you're going to get a really good car. It's a subtle but very distinct and overwhelmingly important difference. There are so many crime dramas on the schedule these days. How do you keep your shows from blending in? What makes them different?
Wolf: Well, the simplest answer is the writing. Once the writing on a show starts to suffer, the shows disappear. What's also so remarkable with L&O and certainly SVU, the show-runners are absolutely, to me, the most crucial elements of making the show work. Neal Baer has been [on SVU] for the last 10 years now; he came in the second season. Rene Balcer started on L&O in the first season as a staff writer, then developed CI with me, had that for five years, and is now back at L&O running that. CI is currently being run by Walon Green, who ran L&O in its early years. So you've got incredibly talented writers leading this show and that is really the secret of their continuing success. Let's talk about the concept of "ripped from the headlines." How important is that to the DNA of your shows?
Wolf: Absolutely — but it's kind of a misnomer because we don't do the story. The secret of making it interesting is we take the headline but not the body copy. Like, we do a show that everybody said, it's Martha Stewart, and I said it may remind you of Martha Stewart, but Martha's never killed anybody that I know of.

I want to talk about casting. Some of your shows have had major casting changes without much fanfare. The foundation of the show stays intact.
Wolf: We've been incredibly lucky. L&O, for example. How do you complain about going from Michael Moriarty to Sam Waterston? And from Chris Noth to Paul Sorvino to Jerry Orbach to Dennis Farina and now to the two younger cops? It's been a continuing puzzle and a joy to me to be able to do this, but at the same time miscasting could really, really hurt any of the shows.

On Criminal Intent, Vincent had taken his character as far as he wanted to take it after eight seasons, so we're moving to literally an entirely new cast. But how can I say, gee, too bad we had to do that, when the new cast is Jeff Goldblum and Saffron Burrows and [Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio]. Is it a conscious choice not to give us too much personal information about your characters?
Wolf: Yes. I don't know how many newsrooms you've been in, but if you look around in those newsrooms, in your mind how many of those people's apartments have you been in? People come, they go, you see them at work, you don't know whether they're married to a beauty pageant winner or somebody you go, wow, how did he end up with her or how did she end up with him? It frees up what we do in these shows, which are police procedurals. Law & Order now ties Gunsmoke for the record for longest-running drama. Is capturing that record important to you?
Wolf: What do you think? It's fabulous, it's unheard of, obviously there's 60 years of commercial television and God knows how many hundreds if not thousands of series that have been on over the last 60 years, and we're tied to the longest run in history. If we come back next year, we'll have the record. It's one of the few things that I can honestly say I'd be incredibly disappointed not to achieve. Who or what TV shows inspired you?
Wolf: There have been great shows from the time I was growing up, starting with Dragnet, The Defenders, NYPD, Naked City, now we're going back to shows nobody under 55 has even heard of. Steve Cannell is an old friend of mine, and my absolute favorite hour-long show of all time is The Rockford Files. If you look at it today, it's still contemporary because the writing is fabulous. It's always the writing that distinguishes the good from the average. What are you watching these days?
Wolf: I loved The Sopranos. The CSIs are not my cup of tea, but I know they're good shows. The first season of True Blood blew me away. I'm also still really proud of the shows that I worked on: Miami Vice and Hill Street Blues. I kind of like Dancing with the Stars: It's on at 8 o'clock and it's kind of light; it's really fascinating to see people get in shape that quickly. I watch a lot of news. Probably at midnight or 12:30 every night, I turn to The Military Channel. I think Discovery has some of the most fascinating shows, like Deadliest Catch, which is great. I love TV. I probably watch more than is good for me.

Check out my blog home page for the latest Law & Order information, on All Things Law And Order, here.

Also, see my companion Law & Order site,These Are Their Stories.

Law & Order “FED” Bratt and Merkerson Behind the Scenes, and Interview with S. Epatha Merkerson

NBC has made available some behind the scenes footage of the December 11 episode of Law & Order, “FED”. They also provided an interview with S. Epatha Merkerson, who speaks about the episode and the special guest star, Benjamin Bratt, who returns as Rey Curtis. I am sure fans will enjoy both videos below.Note: These videos will be removed within a week of when the episode first airs!

My recap and review of Law & Order "FED" can be found here.

Don’t forget the interview with Benjamin Bratt which was already released here and is also listed below.

Check out my blog home page for the latest Law & Order information, on All Things Law And Order, here.

Also, see my companion Law & Order site,These Are Their Stories.