Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Law & Order SVU “Quickie” Recap & Review

All photos from NBC

Law & Order SVU “Quickie” was one of those episodes that left me feeling nothing –nothing bad, but nothing good either. It had too many things going on: murder, rape, suicide, murder by HIV, and maiming by acid. The episode begins with a murder victim who has been sexually assaulted, but turns into a case where the Special Victims Unit chases down a guy who is knowingly infecting women with HIV. It’s a story already done by the Law & Order "mothership" years ago in the episode “Carrier, ” which included one of the more memorable Jack McCoy quotes: "Hey no baby, I don't use rubbers, it's better bareback." (I still laugh at that line when I see that episode, it’s something about hearing Sam Waterston deliver it.)

Many times when the story just doesn’t grab me, I find myself picking apart just about all of an episode. It’s rare that I say this about SVU, but the acting was flat and lifeless, as if everyone was going through the motions. There was virtually no passion in anyone’s delivery save for the guest stars. I also had issues with the whole legal sections of the case. For example, I wonder if anyone could really go back and be able to show someone an advertisement that was posted on a bus that the person took to work years ago, or on a bus stop near the person’s home that was posted years ago. How can anyone even prove that even if the ads were there that the person actually saw them? Alex seemed all too happy to throw Rebecca under the bus at her trial (because Rebecca refused her plea offer), but then Alex did a 180 and seemed just so happy that with Dewey’s suicide, he left all his money to a trust for Peter’s victims – including Rebecca - for their health care. When Alex told Rebecca it was over, it was as if the writers knew that viewers would also be happy to see this one end. But it was somewhat satisfying when Rebecca threw it right back to remind them it was NOT over as they still had to find her rapist, highlighting that SVU completely forgot about her as a victim and became interested in her only because she could help them with their case. With the line at the end - “And we will never stop looking for him, until you get justice” - well, the dial was turned up a little too high on the corny-meter, and was almost laughable, seeing that Rebecca just told them they dropped the ball on the issue. Speaking of funny lines, I groaned when Peter referenced Olivia’s breasts as “those beauties.” Yeah, as if no one ever noticed and the fact just had to be drawn to our attention!

I also found this episode visually boring for the most part, lots of scenes heavy on head shots. The only scene that caught my eye was when Olivia was waiting for “Big Peter”, and she was dressed to arrest, so to speak. Tamara Tunie finally got more screen time, but Ice-T was treated like window dressing, and Richard "Munch" Belzer was MIA. It seems to me that episodes that give the Munch and Fin more to do seem far more enjoyable to me.

The dialog was clichéd and one could almost predict what would be said next. A few times I stopped the episode and typed out the sentence with what I thought they were going to say, and almost every time I had it very close to what was actually said. Either I am watching too much Law & Order SVU that the suspense is fading, or the writers are getting lazy, or both.

“Quickie” was an average and forgettable episode, that for me, couldn’t be over quick enough.

Here is the recap:

A woman us awakened by screams coming through her open window, and she wakes up her husband, who ignores it. Two guys smoking dope also hear screams, and one of them moves to call the cops, but instead giggle and decide not to when they realize they are high. An old lady in a power chair is moving to call but her husband grabs the phone, saying he didn’t hear anything. She says it’s because he’s deaf. When she says she is going to help the girl, he stops her and tells her to stay there.

Later, ME Warner (Tamara Tunie) is already on the scene where a young girl lay dead when Detectives Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay) and Elliot Stabler (Chris Meloni) arrive. Her ID indicates she is Vanessa Eastman, 24, and her cell phone is found on the scene. Stabler notes defensive wounds, and Warner says that she was raped “through the back door” and there is evidence of anal tearing and fluids. There is a rock that could be the murder weapon but she also appears to have been strangled. Liver temperature indicates she bled out slowly and she only died an hour ago. Benson wonders how may people in the nearby apartment building hear her screams and did nothing.

At the SVU squad, Benson tells Captain Don Cragen (Dann Florek) that they couldn’t notify Vanessa’s parents as her ID was fake. Stabler says there is nothing on her prints. Cragen tells them that Munch just called from his canvas and nobody saw anything. Fin (Ice-T) pipes up and said plenty of people heard her screams but nobody bothered to check. Benson calls it the bystander effect, citing the case of a 15 year old girl in California who was gang raped at her homecoming when 20 people just stood by. Fin comments that a description matching the victim came up on the missing persons database about 10 minutes ago; it is Anna McWilliams, 17 years old.

At the morgue, Anna’s father identifies her body. He tells Benson and Stabler that he doesn’t know who she was with last night as he was on a business trip. He bed was not slept in and her friends had not seen her. She has broken curfew before but always came home. Her mother died of cancer 7 months ago; they were like sisters and Anna took it hard and started acting out. She dumped her long time boyfriend and started seeing a new guy every week, but he doesn’t know their names. He tells them her old boyfriend is Henry Christensen but adds he wouldn’t hurt a fly.

At Branford Preparatory School, they see Henry (Brady Corbet) arguing with a group of other boys. He’s angry because one of the boys put a picture of him with Anna. Henry says she was HIS girlfriend for years, and says he last saw her yesterday in calculus class. But Stabler says his math is a little off, and takes Henry off to talk.

In the SVU interrogation room, Stabler tells Henry he spent last night with Anna, and Henry denies it. They saw his text messages on her cell phone texting about birthday sex. He says it’s just a song, they were getting back together, but Stabler says she texted back, saying she had plans. Henry said he got his present - she went out with him. When Stabler asks why Henry lied about it, Benson enters and says maybe Henry was embarrassed that he hired Instant Entourage – paparazzi for pay who follow nobodies around and make them look like big shots. He said Anna would never turn down a date to the hottest club if she could blog about it and she couldn’t post the pictures fast enough. He says it was just a photo op and they didn’t stay. He said they never went to the park, they got back in the limo and she started texting someone and told the driver to drop her off at 23rd and he went home. He says she couldn’t wait to leave and practically jumped out of the car. Before she got out, he grabbed her phone and saw a message pop up from a guy on “AQ.”

Later, Stabler sees the website for AQ – Anonymous Quickie, “log on, hook up, get off”. CSU Tech Morales (Joel de la Fuente) tells them the information was not in a text, it was in a phone app. AQ uses the phone as a geo-locator to track people nearby looking for anonymous sex, and Morales shows them how the app works using Anna’s ID to see if “she” can hook up. A guy takes the bait. He also shows them that on her chat log, at 3:09 AM she contacted a guy named Big Peter, who tells her they will meet and he will come in the “back door.” Stabler calls it a victim on demand, and a rapist’s dream come true. Big Peter appears to be in Brooklyn Heights now, and Benson says they should see if he is up for another anonymous quickie.

With Benson in “undercover” attire posing as “good time girl” she is waiting for Big Peter while Fin sits on a park bench nearby. Big Peter (Brian Geraghty) approaches and asks is she is his good time girl. She says she is, if he is Big Peter. He says Big Peter is always up for a good time. She asks what he has in mind, and he says whatever she wants. She asks how about a threesome? He asks if she has a hot girlfriend stashed somewhere, and she says she has a hot boyfriend, and smiles. He says that’s not really his scene but he will try anything once. Fin, who approached from behind, cuffs Big Peter, much to his shock, and when Fin arrests him for Anna’s murder, Big Peter asks “who?” Benson shows him the photo, saying he knows her as sweet 17.

In the SVU interrogation room, Peter Butler he denies killing Anna. They show him the rock and he said the only thing he grabbed in the park, he says, pointing to Benson’s breasts – “felt like those beauties.” He says he slept with thousands of women and they all say yes, please. He said he only tapped 100 from AQ. Benson calls him a sex addict, but he says he’s on AQ because he doesn’t have time for dating. When he says he is a stockbroker, Stabler quips that he really does enjoy screwing people. He says no one is complaining about his services, so Benson suggests they do a customer satisfaction survey and says they will need his phone. He tosses his phone to her, and tells her she should try AQ for real, she looks like she needs it. Benson’s face changes and she bends over to get in his face, saying she thinks sleeping with all those women got boring and he needed to ratchet up the thrill – first beating, then choking, then murder. Peter begins to stand up and says she is the one who is getting all hot and bothered, but Stabler makes him sit back down, asking Peter if he gets off on inflicting pain. He says unlike Stabler, he doesn’t need to hurt someone to get it up. Stabler smirks. Benson says they are going to get a warrant for his DNA and they will put him away for life. He says she doesn’t need a warrant for his DNA, he asks if she would like his sample.

Later, Benson and Stabler get back with Morales who is working on Peter’s phone. Peter’s “favorites” tab is empty. Benson thinks he has a black book somewhere and asks if he downloaded any other quickie apps. Morales finds “Craig’s Phone” and “Power Chat” and “Who’s Around” and “Faceunion.” Stabler comments that Faceunion has been around the longest. Morales tries to access his friends in his profile page. They are all female. Stabler suggest Morales run Peter’s friend’s list against their open rape cases. They have a match – Rebecca Ellison. Benson recalls that Rebecca was attacked two years ago in Central Park – Stabler comments it is the same MO’s as Peter’s.

At the residence of Rebecca Ellison (Mattie Hawkinson), she is sniffling as she is getting over the flu. Benson asks her if she remembers any more of her attack. She says the person came up behind her and pushed her down and got on top of her. Benson tells her she recalls that Rebecca did not see her attacker’s face but asks if she heard his voice. Rebecca says no, it happened fast and she blacked out. Benson asks if the name Peter Butler means anything to her, and Rebecca says she met him a few years ago at a party and he friended him afterwards on Faceunion. She asks Benson if they think he is the one, but Benson says they are just clearing leads. Benson asks if they had a sexual relationship, and Rebecca’s says it was more like a one night stand. She said he called her “bitch “ and “whore”, and slapped and spanked her. She wonders if maybe it was Peter.

ME Warner compares the DNA from Rebecca’s rape kit to Peter’s and there is no match. Warner comments that it is difficult to get latent prints from skin, and Ann’s neck was very smooth, but she used surface enhanced raman spectroscopy and prints became visible. She needs Peter’s prints to make a comparison. Stabler says stockbrokers are fingerprinted when they get their license so he should be in the system. Warner brings them up, and there is no match, saying Peter Butler is not Anna’s killer. Warner says it looks like the print is from someone young or someone who hasn’t worked a day in his life. Stabler wonders if it is Henry Christensen, her young ex-boyfriend.

At the Christensen home, Henry’s mother (Orlagh Cassidy) says he is in bed, sick over Anna’s death. When Stabler continues to ask a question, she gets upset, asking why they are hounding her son, upset they questioned him at school like a common criminal. When Benson says if his prints don’t match they won’t bother them again. But Henry’s mother doesn’t understand what they are talking about, and Stabler says they have a warrant for his fingerprints, and asks her to get Henry. As they walk to he room and call his name and there is no answer, Stabler knocks on the closed door. When there is still no answer they enter and Henry is not there, and they wonder if he took off when he heard them. They then see find him crouched in a nearby closet and Stabler motions for him to come out.

In SVU interrogation, Stabler presses Henry on Anna’s murder, saying those are his thumbprints. Henry said that he had to beg her to go out with him, and he followed her into the park where she was having sex with another guy who used her and left. He told her he still loved her and she told him she never loved him, he was just a boy and she needed a real man and gave him a kiss on the cheek. He grabbed her and begged her to give him another chance and she laughed at him and told him to leave her alone for good. He loved her and wonders how she could do that to him on his birthday.

Watching from the observation room, ADA Alex Cabot (Stephanie March) comments to Benson that Henry is pathetic, she’s dead but he’s the victim. ME Warner enters and said that even if Anna lived she might have died young – the semen from Anna’s rape kit tested positive for HIV. It is from Peter Butler – who Cabot comments has been sleeping his way across the city. Benson says they just let a potential serial killer go free.

Later, Benson and Stabler are at Peter Butler’s and he holds up a copy of the Ledger with the front page headline “Park Killer Caught” and asks if they are there to apologize. Stabler says hardly, and Benson says they are there to talk about him, as distasteful as that may be. He says it is nice to see her too, asking if she couldn’t stay away. She asks why would a player like him not wear protection, and he says it cramps his style. She says they protect women from getting HIV. He asks what they are saying, and Stabler tersely says Peter is HIV positive. Peter says his is aware of his status and walks away from them, saying they can go now. Benson is shocked, saying he knows and has unprotected sex. He says he is on meds, and she says he can still spread it. But he says what happens in his bedroom is not their business unless consensual sex is illegal. But Stabler says assault with a deadly weapon is. As he arrests “Big Peter” his grandfather Dewey (Jack Larson ) enters the room, and asks what is going on. Peter tells his grandfather it is nothing, it is a misunderstanding = parking tickets. His grandfather asks where they are taking Peter, and Benson says they are taking him down to the precinct to ask a few questions.

At the SVU squad, Peter is in interrogation, and Cragen, in the observation room, asks Stabler “Attempted murder?” Stabler says the way Peter was plowing through women he might as well have been shooting a gun into a crowd. Cragen asks that they can’t get him for rape so they go after him for spreading HIV and do they have proof they he infected somebody? Benson says Peter is positive and he slept with hundreds of women and is bragging about going bareback. Cabot says there is precedent, a Texas jury just sent a guy away for 45 years for infecting women. Benson brings up the New York case over 10 years ago for knowingly spreading HIV. Cragen says they want to encourage people to get tested, not arrest them. But Stabler says that Peter brags about nailing a different women every night, and Benson adds he is like a rapist who gets off on hurting women. Cabot comments that Peter has found a way to injure his victims without technically raping them. But Cragen asks again if they know any of Peter’s partner’s tested positive. Stabler admits they haven’t found one – yet. Cabot says there is no doubt Peter is a threat to the community, but she can’t file a complaint until one of his partners comes forward.

Later, the detectives are with ME Warner, who confirms they are asking her to find someone that Peter infected with HIV. Stabler says if they can’t, Peter walks. Benson says there has to be a way to figure out who he passed the virus to. Warner says maybe there is, and tells them HIV commonly mutates when passed from person to person and that a phylogenic test can determine the source of infection by tracing mutations between samples. She explains how they can compare Peter’s mutations with other cases and possibly find women he infected. The problem is that health department records are confidential. Benson says the women he infected deserve justice, and Warner says while this is true, even if they get the records, a lot of HIV testing is anonymous so there are no names, only numbers. Stabler says at least this gives them an idea of how many women he may have given a death sentence to. Warner says to do this properly, she will have to screen thousands of HIV samples. When they give Warner a look, she tells them to have Cabot get a court order for the names of potential infected partners. Benson says she knows where to start. Warner comments there is still as stigma attached to HIV and a lot of people won’t talk about it. Benson says she will bring reinforcements.

Benson and Cabot are at Rebecca Ellison’s, Benson asking her it is not the flu, is it? Rebecca gets upset but Benson tells her it will be OK, but she has to be straight with them. Rebecca says she doesn’t know what to do, she is getting sicker, and Benson asks her if she is taking any retrovirals. Rebecca can’t afford them and her new job will not cover her with her preexisting condition. She was tested after she was raped, and Cabot makes the statement that Rebecca was infected by her attacker. She tells Cabot her doctor diagnosed her with thrush, and said she had been positive for a few years, Cabot adding this was about the time she slept with Peter Butler. Rebecca asks if he did this to her, and asks if he is HIV positive. Cabot says they can’t relay anyone’s HIV status without their permission, Benson adding that Rebecca can help them by giving them a blood sample so they can analyze it and determine whether or not they can prosecute the person who infected you. Rebecca comments she is sick of giving blood and sick of talking about this disease. Cabot tells her she does not want to have to subpoena her as a material witness, but having her blood analyzed can help save other women’s lives – lots of women’s lives. Cabot asks, “please” and Rebecca agrees, saying she wants to nail the bastard.

Back at SVU, Peter is in a holding cell, and Benson tells him he is going down. She tells him Rebecca Ellison has AIDS because he infected her with HIV. Peter says she let him have sex without a condom, all of them did. Benson retorts that they wouldn’t have let him if he had told them he was HIV positive. Peter tells Benson that the prostitute that infected him didn’t tell him she was positive and she didn’t care that she hurt him. Benson counters that this is about revenge, that he needs to degrade women and make them suffer. When Peter says he only sleeps with whores, Benson concludes he is teaching them a lesson by infecting them with his virus. When Peter says they ask for it so he gives it to them, Benson says, “Wow. Somebody really must have hurt you when you were young. Men that hate women this much usually have mommy issues. Is that what happened to you? You punishing your mommy?” Peter leaps ups and moves towards the cell bars and reaches through them to try to grab Benson, screaming for her to leave his mother out of this. She has pulled back so he can’t reach her, and seems happy to get a rise out of him, saying “Guess that answers that question.” He tells Benson he doesn’t know anything about him, and Benson counters that she knows he still lives with his grandfather, asking what well adjusted man does that? Peter yells that his grandfather raised him, and is the only one who ever gave a damn about him. Benson asks if mommy abandoned him, beat him, or just ignore him. He spits on her and she recoils. She asks if he is trying to infect her too? She adds that the sad thing is that no matter how many women he hurts, that anger is going to be inside him until the day he dies. He counters that part of him is going to be inside those women, until the day they die.

Benson walks over to Cabot, telling her that Peter feels no remorse and asks her to tell her that she has a strong case. Cabot says Warner’s report just gave her an ace in the hole, and now all she has to do is convince Judge Preston to allow her expert testimony to be heard.

In the Supreme Court Frye Hearing, Warner testifies about her phylogenic analysis of the DNA from Rebecca Ellison and Peter Butler and a random sample of people in New York City. The analysis showed Rebecca’s HIV is closely related to the DNA sequences obtained from Peter Butler, meaning that Peter infected Rebecca, and it is between 97-99% that the sequences are identical. She also compared Peter’s HIV DNA with hundreds of HIV samples and found Peter infected 11 other women in the area. While Warner testifies, Peter’s grandfather Dewey looks sternly towards Peter. Peter’s attorney Lionel Granger (David Thornton) asks about Peter infecting Rebecca several years ago, and asks if it is possible that someone other than Peter infected her. Warner testifies that Rebecca gave her the names of all her past sexual partners and she tested them and they all tested negative. Granger mentions Rebecca being promiscuous for a period of time, and doubts she remembers all of her partners, but Warner disagrees. She adds that she discovered that Peter is resistant to a drug called racivir, and the virus he transmitted to Rebecca is also racivir resistant and there is a possibility current drug therapies may not work on Rebecca. Granger has no more questions, and Judge Preston (Audrie Neenan) adjourns for the day where she will issue her ruling.

Stabler asks Cabot if the judge will buy Warner’s science, and Cabot feels if she doesn’t, they are in trouble. Benson comments that they still have Rebecca’s testimony, but Cabot is not sure that is enough to get the jury past reasonable doubt. Benson looks over to Dewey, who is getting up slowly, and walks over and inquires if he is OK. He asks is she ever feels like her whole world just fell apart? Stabler comments that is must be hard hearing those things about his grandson, and Dewey nods a bit, looks a little angry, and quickly walks away.

Back at the squad, Cragen approaches Stabler and Benson with a copy of the Ledger in hand, with the headline “Heath Alert! HIV Perv Infected Hundreds”, and asks which one of them is leading the crusade. Stabler and Benson say they didn’t leak it, with Stabler saying he wouldn’t be surprised if Granger didn’t do it in order to taint the jury pool. But Cabot walks in with the same newspaper, and adds not unless Granger knows how to hack into a Faceunion account too, someone got onto his Faceunion page and posted his HIV status and told everyone on his friends list to get tested. Benson says those women will be out for blood, and Stabler says on the bright side they may not need a trial – grinning and adding that a mob of angry one night stands would probably kill Peter. Cragen thinks this will make the courtroom a grade A cluster. Cabot comments that if the judge won’t allow Warner’s testimony they are screwed.

Back at Supreme Court, Judge Preston rules that Warner’s testimony should be allowed. Peter pipes up and asks how he is supposed to get a fair trial after his name has been smeared over the internet and the news. Preston says this is an open hearing and she can’t control what gets released, and she adjourns. But Rebecca asks to say something to the court, and Preston says no, she already issued her ruling, and asks her to leave. Rebecca says she is sorry and then calls to Peter, and sprays him with something, causing him to drop to the floor screaming, as his grandfather looks on in horror. Benson and Stabler try to restrain her, saying now he will look like the monster he is. Peter screams that his face is burning from the liquid she sprayed on him.

As Peter lays in a hospital bed with his face bandaged. Stabler comments to Benson it was hydrochloric acid. Benson says that is horrible, even if he is a psychopath. Cabot says Peter will be in the ICU for a while, he has burns on his face and hands and will probably go blind in one eye. The case is on hold until he is well enough to proceed. Stabler is worried about the sympathy Peter may get, and sees Granger standing there. Granger tells Stabler that Peter is maimed for life and Stabler thinks he is only concerned with working the angle. Benson quips “If it quacks like a duck” and Cabot asks what he is doing there. He says he is here to see Cabot, and hands her notice of a lawsuit against the DA’s office and the department of corrections. Granger says they failed to protect his client while he was in their custody, and if they drop the charges against Peter they won’t file. Cabot says his client infected many women and they are the real victims. Granger retorts that she’d better hope the jury sees it that way after they lay their eyes on him. As Granger walks off, Stabler says, “That sonofabitch, he really thinks he’s got the upper hand.” Benson is worried that he does, with what Rebecca did. Cabot says Rebecca also made a mess for herself as the DA’s office wants Cabot to charge her with first degree assault. Benson reminds her that the only reason why Rebecca was there was because they pushed her to press charges against Peter. Stabler says it’s not like they forced her to throw acid in his face. Cabot gripes that now she has to prosecute her own complaining witness and when that’s done she goes back to Peter’s case. Benson asks what is Rebecca’s defense?

In a judge’s (Patricia Kalember) office, Rebecca’s attorney Miss Owens (Monique Gabrielle Curnen) says Rebecca was acting in defense of others, but Cabot argues that Peter Butler didn’t threaten anyone in that courtroom. Owens said he didn’t have to, Rebecca heard how he infected those other women and she had to stop him from doing it again. Cabot reminds her Peter was on trial and wouldn’t be sleeping with another women for a long time, but Owens reminded Cabot that’s only if he was convicted. The judge agrees with Cabot, saying Rebecca’s actions were deliberate and she was in no immediate danger. Owens says she is giving notice that they are pursuing an affirmative defense for mental disease or defect. Cabot argues that Rebecca has HIV, not mental illness. Owens argues back that Rebecca has AIDS and has been sick for months, she cant afford antivirals and had a recent bout with cryptococcal meningitis which had a deleterious effect on her mental stability. Cabot states the attack was premeditated for revenge. Owen counters that Rebecca was afraid that Peter Butler was about to get off and the stress of that exacerbated her mental instability and drove her out of her mind. The judge looks over to Cabot, but doesn’t comment.

Later, Cabot is visiting Rebecca in jail, who says Cabot can’t talk to her without her lawyer. Cabot comments that she will say she is talking to a witness about her case against Peter Butler. When Rebecca asks what she wants, Cabot wants Rebecca to take a plea, a six months sentence and probation. Rebecca says no, she wants everyone to hear what that monster did to her. Cabot tells her if she gets convicted, she could go away for 25 years, and she is not well and she should not put herself through the stress of a long trial. Rebecca feels that even if she is convicted Miss Owens says she will be put in a hospital ward, but Cabot says they will force her to take medication and she will have to serve out her full sentence in jail. Rebecca angrily snaps at Cabot, telling her not to act so concerned because she is the reason why she is here, Cabot used her to get to Peter. But Cabot wants to know how this will help her and the others to get justice and how does that punish Peter? Rebecca says Peter can spend the rest of his life thinking about him and all the other women he infected. Cabot urges her not to let this hate have her make a wrong decision, and she begs Rebecca to accept her offer. Rebecca declines the offer, she wants to tell the world what Peter did to her.

Back in Supreme Court for Rebecca’s trial, Peter sits listening to Rebecca’s testimony, with an eye patch and a large part of his face red and scarred from the acid. Cabot has Rebecca on the stand and reminds her that she told the court she is there because Peter infected her with HIV. Rebecca confirms it by saying that is what the bastard did. Cabot comments that Rebecca’s sex with Peter was consensual., and Rebecca hesitatingly says yes. Cabot says, “So he did not rape you” and when Rebecca says, “NO, but…” Cabot cuts her off and asks if any point did she tell him to stop. Rebecca said no but what he did was…and Cabot cuts her off again and asks how old she is. When Rebecca tells her she is 25, Cabot says that HIV has been in the news since 1981 and asks if she is aware that it is spread through sexual contact. Rebecca says yes, and Cabot asks if she is aware she is at risk for contracting HIV and other STI’s if she has unprotected sex. Rebecca says yes, but…and Cabot cuts her off again, asking why did she choose to have sex with Peter without using a condom, and she said she would have if she knew he was positive. Cabot asked if Rebecca asked if he was positive or had any other disease, and Rebecca said no. Benson and Stabler squirm slightly in their seats as they hear her testimony. Cabot curtly asks Rebecca if she can read English, and Rebecca says of course. Cabot shows her a picture of a large billboard which promotes getting tested for HIV, and Rebecca reads it out loud. Cabot reminds Rebecca the billboard is located about 350 yards from her apartment, which has had some AIDS awareness information on it since the mid-90s. Cabot has her read another AIDS message on a bus advertisement, and tells her it was on the bus she took to work 5 years ago, before she slept with Peter. She shows her another one on a bus stop that was there from around the time Rebecca was intimate with Peter, and Rebecca reads it back as well, Cabot tells her it was from the bus stop from around the corner from her apartment. She asks why Cabot is doing this to her, and Cabot tells her she wanted to demonstrate that Peter Butler was not totally responsible for infecting her. Cabot hammers her, saying Rebecca is responsible too, she chose to sleep with Peter and chose to have sex without a condom and chose the risk just the same way she could have chose to say no. Rebecca begs her to please stop it, and Peter sits staring, nodding his head. Cabot has no more questions and the judge recesses for lunch.

Later, in her office, Cabot hears a knock on the door, it is Dewey Butler and he asks to speak with her. He says what Rebecca did was not her fault and asks why she is prosecuting her. Cabot reminds him Rebecca seriously injured his grandson and she can’t ignore that. He says then put him on the stand, he wants to tell everyone what Peter did to her. Cabot is shocked at this comment, but says she can’t do that. He walks out, looking frustrated. As he walks out, Benson and Stabler encounter him in the hall, and Benson asks if he is OK. He tells them he tried to warn Rebecca and he tried to help them all, and he walks off, leaving Benson and Stabler looking perplexed. They walk into Cabot’s office, and she is pacing. She tells them what Dewey wanted to do and Benson comments he would make a sympathetic witness. But Cabot says if Rebecca goes free it would send a message that others could take the law into their own hands. Benson wonders if there is a way to keep him from testifying, and Cabot asks her if she knows something she doesn’t know. Benson tells her that Dewey just said he tried to warn Rebecca and help them all and what did he mean by that?

Benson and Stabler ring the doorbell of the Butler home and Peter answers the door, and says he has nothing to say to them. Stabler says they are there to talk to his grandfather. Peter says he is sleeping as the trial really upset him. Benson says he needs to wake him up, and when Peter tells them to come back tomorrow and moves to slam the door, Stabler stops him. Benson says Peter will want to listen in and hear while Dewey explains how he tried to warn Rebecca. Peter says his grandfather would never hurt him, and Stabler asks why did Dewey hack his Faceunion page and call the media? When Peter says he is wrong, Stabler shows him a copy of Dewey’s email to MSNBC, and tells him to read that and weep. Peter reads it and then runs off, trying to slam the door. Stabler stops it again and they run in afterwards as Peter runs to his grandfather, asking him why he did this. Dewey said it is all his fault, waving a bottle of pills in his hand, saying he should have raised him better. But Peter said he saved him, it was his mother who abandoned him. Dewey says she didn’t, he lied to Peter about it because he thought the truth would hurt him more. When Peter asks what he is saying, Dewey says Peter’s mother was young when she had him. She didn’t know who his father was. When he was three, she met a man who beat her and then started to beat Peter, and she shot him while he was asleep. She died in prison. Peter is getting choked up as Dewey adds that she went to jail to protect him, and she thought he was doing the same by lying to him about it, but it only fueled Peter’s anger. Dewey tells Peter his mother loved him with all her heart and so does he. He tells Peter to forgive him but it is the only way to make him…and he drops the bottle of pills and collapses in Peter’s arms. Benson picks up the pill bottle as Dewey tells Peter it is not too late (for Peter). Benson sees they are sleeping pills and Stabler calls for a “bus.” Dewey tells him not to let him die in vain. Dewey closes his eyes and stops speaking, while Peter says he is sorry.

Later, at Riker’s island, Cabot and Benson come to see Rebecca to tell her that Peter Butler dropped the charges, Benson telling Rebecca that someone gave their life to get Peter’s soul back. Rebecca asks about her case against him, and Cabot tells her Peter pled guilty to all counts. Benson adds that Peter’s grandfather disinherited him and gave all his month to a trust fund to pay for the medical expenses for all the women Peter infected. Rebecca will get care for the rest of her life. Rebecca looks surprised, and Cabot says, “It’s over, Rebecca” but Rebecca says it is not, her rapist is still out there. Benson says, “And we will never stop looking for him, until you get justice.” And we mercifully fade to black.

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Anonymous said...

I just watched this episode. I usually love SVU, but this one totally fell flat. I totally agree with you on this. Towards the end, I thought it was shifting into Star Wars or something (which is super cool if it's in space, not in some rich guy's apartment).
I hope this doesn't keep up...

Shelly said...

Ok, first I have to chuckle... we had the same reaction as "havediploma" in regard to the one scene... we joked that they all were reliving their childhoods and were playing with lightsabres lol...

But I'm with Allthings. There was nothing that set me off about this ep and made me want to throw something at the TV, but it also didn't hold my interest much... it was just "there"...

Here's hoping the upcoming episodes have more spark to them...

Anonymous said...

It was an okay episode but didn't knock my socks off. It was a good start to the new year but it seems like this story has been done before and it has.

Anyway, I am interested to see Shadow next week but confused as to why it would be an "SVU" case...any ideas?? The lady kills her is that an SVU case?? Just curious...excited about Naveen Andrews though.

Misguided Ghosts said...

I almost completely forgot about your blog while the shows were on break for like all of December. It's good to be back reading your recaps and your opinions, to see if they matched with mine. I did like some of the lines, like with Peter saying he was a stock broker, and Elliot said: So you really do enjoy screwing people. But yeah, some of it was a bit dry, and I miss the Munch/Finn interactions.

Anonymous said...

Anyway, I am interested to see Shadow next week but confused as to why it would be an "SVU" case...any ideas?? The lady kills her is that an SVU case?? Just curious...excited about Naveen Andrews though.

You could say that about most of the cases. It's actually pretty hard to write a show that's only about rape; that's why you see so many murders and kidnapping tossed in even though those are not considered sex offenses.

InkHart said...

I totally agree with you. This episode was definitely not as bad as Avatar which in my opinion was the worst episode ever produced by SVU but it was definitely one of the most boring. I will not remember it. There was nothing new. Trite and predictable dialog. At least none I haven't heard before. The acting was flat to the point where the actors seemed almost visually bored with the material. And several times it wasn't even believable. Like when Warner types in Peter Butlers name into the fingerprint database. Are you telling me, in the entire police database there is only one Peter Butler?? Yeah it's possible but i would have liked to have seen a middle name maybe... and that was just the tip of the iceberg. And not to mention the absence of Munch always makes an episode seem incomplete for me. Fifteen minutes in I was already anxious for it to end. It felt like a century and when finally it was over I thought, "thank you."
Here's to hoping the writers give a damn for the upcoming episodes because if they don't than i don't and if I don't what the heck do I watch?? I mean despite episodes like this, I still love this show!

Anonymous said...

I agree with allthingslawandorder. This was a dull episode for me.

I too question the legalities of the advertising used against Rebecca, I mean seriously do you expect someone to recall everything they see around their apartment years or even months later...especially if it is just place filler?

You would think NBC could afford to hire some legal researchers or something for SVU to make sure what they put on air is somewhat legally true. the mother ship hardly ever seems to have these legal questions.

Right when they found Peter had HIV I told my wife that this had been done before with L&O.

Also, when are the people SVU arrest going to wise up and start asking for a lawyer right when they show up...we all know that they push the limits and you would think that in a city like NYC and the SVU media relationships that this would get out somehow.

These days even if I new I had nothing to hide I would lawyer up just to cover my ass.

Jaylee said...

This episode was okay... but the mothership did an episode just like this in the 18th or 19th season... why does the franchise steal episodes like that?!

That's why this ep. was dull... it was originally written and aired on the mothership.

Anonymous said...

Yes and SVU had a similar episode a few years ago so its definately been done.

Jojo said...

I, like so many others, also agree with your review. It was a pretty nothing episode that had too much going on that it ended up feeling like nothing much.

One really random thing that I'm curiously confused about though, was during the scene where Cabot was grilling Rebecca on the stand. There was a quick pan across to Benson and Stabler - Stabler was rubbing his leg? And then Benson looked at him and shifted in her seat. What was that meant to mean? That it was going on for too long and they were getting tired of sitting? It just looked really weird yet seemingly like it was supposed to mean something.

All Things Law and Order said...

Jojo, I think Stabler and Benson were squirming in their seats because they were uncomfortable at how Cabot was going after Rebecca. After all, she started out being a victim and they used her to help their case, but now Cabot had her on the stands tearing her to shreds. I think that's what made them uncomfortable.

Jojo said...

Ahh OK, makes sense. Thanks.

I don't think they did "squirming" very well though - it was more like restless or impatient, or bored!

nygma619 said...

"I also had issues with the whole legal sections of the case. For example, I wonder if anyone could really go back and be able to show someone an advertisement that was posted on a bus that the person took to work years ago, or on a bus stop near the person’s home that was posted years ago. How can anyone even prove that even if the ads were there that the person actually saw them?"

An attorney bending the truth and/or lie to get their point across? I am SHOCKED! SHOCKED I TELL YOU!

paulsfo said...

worst episode ever.

Franky Lotion said...

Why was the girl who played Anna uncredited? She was pretty in the photo used. Who was she?

Chris Zimmer said...

@Franky Lotion - she probably wasn't credited as she had no speaking lines. I have no idea who she was.