Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Law & Order SVU “Shadow” Recap & Review

All photos from NBC

Well, I think I have an idea for Dick Wolf for yet another Law & Order. How about if we call it “Law & Order Special Fraud Unit?” and cast Naveen Andrews in it? This was an enjoyable episode with Naveen as a guest star, as he played the calm, cool, suave and somewhat mysterious detective Ashok Ramsey from the Special Frauds Unit. Likewise, Sarah Paulson’s performance was enjoyable, starting off as being a somewhat believable victim of her parents murder, to being the psychopathic murderer that she was.

But let’s be honest here, this was not an SVU case and it was ridiculous that they even let the SVU team run with it. Clearly, this should have been bumped over to the Major Case Squad – remember them? – because the victims were rich, powerful, and connected, who also donated a lot of money to local politicians. It doesn’t make sense that the Chief of Detectives would allow the “sex crimes” team to handle such high profile victims, especially when he has a perfectly good Major Case Squad which is located right at One PP. But, okay, I’ll play along.

While it seemed obvious early on that Anne Gillette would be the killer in the end – even if I had not seen a few preview clips it seemed obvious – she played the part very well in a campy sort of way, and I found myself enjoying it when it caught up with her in the end. What made the episode interesting for me was Naveen Andrews, as he seemed to grab my attention every time he was on the screen. I’ve always liked Naveen on “Lost” and I enjoyed him just as much in this role as frauds detective Ashok Ramsey. Sometimes, though, it isn’t his physical presence that draws attention, it’s his voice, which is commanding yet oddly soothing at the same time. I was amused when the woman from the US Attorney’s office left Ramsey's apartment and thanked him for “the files.” Yeah sure, like we really believe it was the files she was thanking him for.

The shooting scene was an obvious fake, as viewers know full well that Mariska was not being cut from the show, and photographs of her filming in other episodes after this one were previously released. So while Anne seemed thrilled that they were dead, most viewers had to know that it was a set-up. (For viewers that didn’t know that, turn in your SVU Fan Card immediately as your membership has been revoked.) By the way, I think this was a great episode for Mariska and I thought she and Naveen had good chemistry.

A quirky thing that I noticed about the Chief of Ds was rather than storm into someone’s office as any angry boss would likely do, he yells for the person to come out of their office, where he dresses the troublemaker down in an open area. He did it to Ramsey, and he did it to Cragen. Somehow, it seems behavior unlike what I would expect from a Chief of Ds. Sure, he’s chewed people out in front of others before, but many times he’s started his rants in an office, such as Cragen’s, before he takes it into the open.

I caught a filming or editing error, which I normally am oblivious to but this one was glaring. When Stabler was posing as Anne Gillette’s limo driver – his simple undercover outfit was sunglasses, of course, he looked nothing like a cop (note sarcasm!) – he was talking to Benson as cars streamed by on the street in the shot focusing on Mariska, yet when the scene immediately cut to Stabler, there isn’t one car in sight on that street, and they should have been in view as they continued to drive down the street.

And where in the world is Munch (Richard Belzer)? It seems we don’t even get an explanation any more when he goes MIA.

Another thing missing in action was the “Lick my boot…LICK IT!” line that was so heavily touted in the NBC promo teases for this episode. Frankly, the line sounded silly and cheesy to me in the promos, and seemed more like something I would expect to see from the cheese-fest CSI Miami and not Law & Order SVU. Even though it wasn't in the episode, the line will likely be forever embedded in my brain anyway. Had they left that line in, it could have become as memorable as the “Is this because I’m a lesbian?” line delivered by Elisabeth Rohm in the Law & Order episode “ Ain’t No Love” – and that’s not something of which to be proud.

Here is the recap:
Mike, the Gillette chauffeur, enters the Gillette household and calls out for Mr. and Mrs. Gillette. No one respond, but the dog appears, barking. The dog looks dirty, but Mike realizes it is blood. He runs up the stairs, calling out to the Gillettes, and when no one answers he opens the bedroom door to find blood splattered everywhere, and the Gillette’s dead in their bed.

On the scene, SVU Detectives Elliot Stabler (Chris Meloni) and Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay) are told by CSU Tech Keegan Timmons (Jabari Gray) that it looks like a domestic murder-suicide, assuming Burt Gillette killed his wife Elaine and then killed himself. Benson notices Elaine’s head was hacked up, and the CSU guy shows them a hatchet by the fireplace, and tells them the gun was found by Burt’s head. Anne Gillette (Sarah Paulson) races into the room and kneels at the bed where her dead parents lay. When she asks what happens, Stabler tells her they think her father murdered her mother and then took his own life. She asks her mother why did he do this to you, and Benson takes her out of the room.

Benson and Stabler return to the SVU squad, and Captain Don Cragen (Dann Florek) says that ME Warner told him they ducked out on her before she got there. Benson tells him they had to take the daughter home. They tried to interview her but she was a mess. Cragen adds that Warner tossed their murder-suicide theory; the gunshot wound to “Daddy Warbucks” head is inconsistent with self infliction – no residue on the hand. Benson states the obvious that it appears to be a double homicide, and Stabler adds the obvious that the perp is still on the loose. Cragen says they are knee deep in it as the Gillette’s gave generously to the police athletic league, were major campaign donors to the mayor and had the police commissioner on speed dial. When Benson says it is not domestic violence any more and he should turf it to homicide, Cragen says he already tried; the Chief of Ds said the Gillettes were special victims. Stabler adds because they are rich, powerful, and connected, and Cragen gripes that they are stuck with it. He tells them to go back to the crime scene with fresh eyes to see what evidence they can find.

Back at the Gillette home , Timmons tells them one pane of glass was cut out, and it was easy to reach and get the lock. Stabler chides that Timmons missed forced entry, but he said he processed the bedroom first as it looks like a murder-suicide. Benson said they came to the same conclusion. The glass breaking did not trigger the alarm as the individual panes were not wired. The security company said the system was not armed that night, records show the Gillette’s usually set the alarm around 11:00. The ME put the time of death at 10:00. The killer knows their routine, and they decide to talk to the Gillette daughter Anne for more information.

At the residence of Anne Gillette, they tell her that it was not a murder suicide. She can’t think of anyone who would want to hurt her parents. They were patrons of the arts and gave to charity. They were supposed to go to Florida last night but her mother was getting over the flu and Anne told her she should rest another day before they traveled. She says everyone knows they were going on vacation as they travel every year at the time to their home in Sanibel. Anne, the staff, and a few friends are the only people who knew that had not left. She thinks it was a burglar because everyone loved her parents, but Stabler informs her that nothing was taken and burglars don’t hang around to stage a murder-suicide, he feels this is personal. Anne feels the killer must be after her too, she was out shopping the other day and had a sense someone was following her and when she turned around she would see a man duck behind something. The man was wearing sunglasses, had dark hair, but was too far away to get a good look. She saw him on Wednesday, and she tells them she went to some boutiques, a jewelry store, and an art gallery in Chelsea that she adores.

At the art gallery, the curator (Nathan Lee Graham) tells Benson and Stabler that Anne was in fact there on Wednesday and on Monday as well. She buys from them and sells to them often, and she spends money there, lots of it. A woman on a ladder drops a paint bucket onto the floor. When Stabler says that was unfortunate, the curator says it is an installation piece, and talent like hers is rare. He informs them that he opened the door for Anne that day and no one came in after her, and tells them they have no security tapes, for the privacy of their customers.

At the jewelry store, the owner (Mark La Mura) tells the detectives that he has security cameras, his brother runs the security in the back and is probably eyeballing them on a dozen different screens. He said they saw Anne just the other day, she loves to buy “ice”. He did see someone that may have followed her, saying he was dark skinned. They reassure him that Anne is fine but they think someone was tailing her which is why they want to see the security footage. He tells them it is all digitized and he will burn them a disk.

Back at Anne’s apartment, they show her the photo of the man they think was tailing her. She says she thinks that could be him. Stabler tells her they have that same man on surveillance cameras from of the 3 shops that she visited on Wednesday. Benson adds that he followed her in, he bought nothing and he left 30 seconds after she did. Anne says so she was right, he was watching her and must have followed her to her parent’s house and killed them. As she walks away from the detectives, Benson asks why she thinks he target her family, and Anne replied that her picture is always in the paper and she attracts all kinds of attention from men who want her money. She as pours herself a drink, she asks them how they are ever going to find him. Stabler indicates they know where he is going to be tomorrow – following her. She comments they want to use her as bait, and then says she will hire bodyguards. But Benson tells her not to, that will spook her shadow. Sounding agitated, Anne asks if they are asking her to lure him out unprotected. Benson tells her they will be with her everywhere she goes, and when they see him, they will garb him.

At the funeral home, with Benson along with her, Anne is going over very specific arrangements with the funeral director, getting testy and saying she wants everything perfect. Stabler, posing as the limo driver, says he has not spotted the guy yet. After Anne gets in the car, Stabler wonders if they were made, but Benson thinks not, especially in the outfits they are wearing. Anne rolls down her window and tells Benson she wants her to make some calls for her, and Benson says “See? Even she forgot we’re cops.” She adds she is getting sick of the play acting, if he’s following her they would have seen her by now. Stabler says they have one more stop, and puts on his chauffeur hat disguise.

At All Grace Church, Anne speaks with the reverend about the funeral. Benson spots a man watching from nearby, and tells Stabler that she has movement at 3 o’clock. She turns to Anne and says she looks pale and she needs to rest. She asks the Anne if there is someplace he can take her, and Anne states she is fine and tells her not to fuss. As the man moves off, Stabler announces to him that he is the police, and he should freeze. Stabler asks him to turn around, and Ann sees the man’s face, saying that is him. As the main raises his arms, a gun is visible, and Benson yells “Gun!” but does not draw her weapon, instead Stabler pulls his as the man turns around and yells for Benson to get Ann out of there. Benson takes Anne away from the area, and the man turns his back to Stabler while Stabler continues to keep the gun on him. Stabler tells him not to move as he frisks him. The man tells Stabler that in the right inside pocket he will find something of interest. Stabler reaches for it and pulls out and ID for the NYPD SFU (Special Frauds Unit) badge # 348, with the name Ashok Ramsey. Stabler asks him if he is on the job, and Ashok introduced himself. Stabler tells him to turn around, and asks why he is tailing Anne Gillette. He says, “Because she’s a killer. Didn’t you know?”

In Cragen’s office, (Cragen is on the phone) Ramsey tells Stabler that he has been tailing Anne for the last two weeks. Stabler jabs at him he did a lousy job and got made. Ramsey says she has been leading him and Benson on a wild goose chase. Stabler asks if Ramsey saw him murder he parents, and he replies that he was not following her last night, his case work focused on her daytime activities. Cragen is now off the phone, and says they should talk about those, saying according to Ramsey’s CO, Special Frauds has no open investigation into Anne Gillette. Ashok tells him it is off the books. When Cragen asks by whose authority, Ramsey tells him it’s the Chief of Detectives. Cragen asks if he is running a “shadow” op, and Ramsey tells him that is what the mayor wants. Stabler sounds a little skeptical, commenting “Your Honor and the Chief of Ds, huh? You’re uh, pretty well connected.” Ramsey says he is not connected as well as the Gillette’s , he had to investigate Anne sub rosa so her family couldn’t quash the case. They are after her for embezzlement. When Cragen asks if the Gillette fortune wasn’t enough, Ramsey tells them she has expensive tastes, her trust fund ran out so she used a seed from the Prestwick Foundation Board to supplement her income, and she stole $3.5 million. Stabler comments that would keep “Miss Thing” in diamonds for quite awhile, and he takes her photo off one section of their white board and moves it to the top of the list. He shows Ramsey something and says it is for his scrapbook, and asks if Ramsey has enough proof that Anne killed her parents. Ramsey says not yet, but when he shows them his file he thinks they will be convinced. Cragen pipes in and says Ramsey can make her for a thief but it is a big jump to murder. Ramsey counters that Anne is the sole heir to her parent’s estate, worth over $200 million. Cragen admits that is a lot of motive, adding that she is broke, desperate, and all that money is just out of her reach. Benson walks up and comments that Ramsey is not in cuffs, and guesses he is one of them. Stabler introduces her, and Benson says so they really do have a modern day Lizzie Borden, but Stabler says only this time mom only got 10 whacks. When Benson asks how he got on to her, he says his office is at One PP and he will catch them up on the way downtown.

At One Police Plaza Special Frauds Unit, Ramsey shows them some slides of Anne, saying that Anne tried out 3 times for the Olympic equestrian team unsuccessfully. She then opened an art gallery which closed after she forgot to pay taxes for 5 years. Followed by a stint as an interior decorator, which resulted in six lawsuits, all of them settled privately. Benson wonders why Prestwick would want Anne on the board, and Ramsey says that daddy gave them $10 million. Staler quips that he got his daughter a job at Target and it didn’t cost him a dime. Ramsey says he is sure is daughter is more qualified to sit on the Prestwick Foundation board. He goes on to say that Anne was discretely kicked out of three prep schools, and she finally graduated from a girls finishing school in Switzerland, where she received credit for flower arrangement. Benson comments that “poor little rich girl” can’t cut in the real world but she is smart enough to steal $3.5 million, adding it doesn’t make sense. Ramsey urges her not to underestimate Anne, she’s incredibly smart, but she doesn't play by the rules.

In Ramsey’s office, which has many file boxes and where Ramsey works on the case, Stabler asked how she scammed the Prestwick Foundation, and Ramsey says their record keeping is abysmal. They have no computerized files, they just write checks to deserving organizations, and Stabler reads off some of the organizations and the amounts, saying maybe she is overly generous. Ramsey tells him those organizations do not exist, the bank accounts are opened with forged documents, the funds deposited, and Benson finishes by saying the cash is withdrawn once the checks clear. Ramsey said the foundation didn’t notice until Mr. Prestwick made a visit to the Chinatown Folk Ballet and wound up in a pet shop. They were embarrassed and wanted a quiet investigation so as not to scare off future donors. Benson asks if anyone at the bank ID Anne, and Ramsey says no, the accounts were opened by a white man in his 40s, otherwise unmemorable. Stabler thinks her accomplice had to show an ID as the Patriot Act requires verification of all account holders. Ramsey says with a charity, all you need are the 501-C3 papers. Stabler asks how he knew Anne was dirty, and he says the fraud began as soon as she joined the board, and right after each phony check was cashed, she went on shopping sprees. He has been tracking her spending and she is almost out of funds. Stabler comments that Ramsey has been tailing her so she would go back to her accomplice, but Benson says she couldn’t because Anne knew he was following her and must have realized the foundation was on to her. Stabler wonders if she went to mommy and daddy for money, they said no and she offed them. Ramsey calls it a classic red collar crime; when some white collar criminals are confronted and fear they are about to be caught, they can turn violent and the most common targets are the parents.

Someone yells from the hallway for Ramsey to get out there. Stabler says that the only time he hears that voice is when he is about to be bent over. Ramsey exits his office to find the Chief of Ds Muldrew, (John Schuck) and Mr. Prestwick (Edward Hibbert) standing there. The Chief tells him to suspend his investigation into the Prestwick Foundation. Prestwick says the man has been replaced and a board member heard of their predicament and pledged to cover their losses. Ramsey says, “Anne Gillette.” Prestwick says the donor wishes to remain anonymous. Ramsey says to the Chief that a crime was still committed, but Prestwick says has all been a misunderstanding. The Chief says Prestwick wants the foundation’s files back, and tells an officer to load up the records. The Chief asks angrily what Special Victims is doing there, and Stabler says they were just hitting up Ash to join them in a foursome for a golf tournament, SVU vs. Nassau Sex Crimes. The Chief says Ramsey would make a hell of a ringer. Ramsey asks if Prestwick is sure he doesn’t want a report of his findings, and Prestwick says it is not necessary, he’s so sorry that he troubled them. The Chief wishes them good luck on the links and departs with Pressman in tow, as Ramsey stares blankly as the walk off.

As he watches them take away boxes of files, Ramsey says “That’s 6 months of hard work going down the toilet.” But Benson comments that the Chief of Ds didn’t shut down their case. She turns to Ramsey and asks if he wants to nail Anne Gillette to work with them on it. He states that the minute they question her the Chief will pay their squad a visit, but Stabler says not if they question her as a victim, reminding them that the lady did say she had a stalker, Benson adds with a slight smile, “And we caught you.”

Later at the SVU squad, Ramsey is sitting in an interrogation room while Anne, looking on him from the observation room, says she is so glad they arrested him, and asks if they think he killed her parents. Benson replies that she does, but it would help them nail him if Anne would answer a few questions, and Anne agrees. Benson walks her into another interview room, and Anne comments , “Well, this is grim. I don’t know how you work under these conditions.” Benson comments “ Budget cuts. We’re used to it.” She goes on to say they are losing a lot of domestic violence shelter beds, counseling for rape victims…and Anne says perhaps she can arrange for a grant in her parent’s name. Benson replies that would be wonderful, but first they have to convict her parent’s killer to avoid any conflict of interests. Anne asks if they are charging him with murder. Benson comments she would love to, but they don’t have enough evidence. Ann says they have him on tape at the stores where he was and that can’t be a coincidence, but Benson says they have nothing to tie him to her parents’ house or their murders. Ann, agitated, asks that they have no fingerprints or DNA, and Benson says they must have worn gloves. Ann says that this is terrible, but Benson reassures her, telling her not to worry as homicide cases never close, so it may take some time, but they will convict her parents' killer. Anne says she knows he did it, she just wishes there was some way she could prove it. Benson reminds her she never said her parents were being followed or watched, and Anne said not to her. Benson asks her if there is anybody they may have told, and Anne says their business manager, Nate Hartman, who handles all of the family’s affairs. Benson says she will talk to him. Anne says she will call him first, saying he is a real stickler about confidentiality, and Benson can ring Nate in the morning after she’s spoken with him, giving Benson his card. Anne adds she is very tired and she’d like to go home. Benson offers to drive her, saying she can finish their questions there.

Watching from the observation room, Ramsey says to Stabler that his partner is good. Stabler says Anne is pretty confident Nate will lie for her and thinks he is her accomplice. Ramsey thinks a business manager would know how to exploit the foundation’s primitive accounting and open dummy accounts. Stabler says they should hit him before they get their stories straight.

At the residence of Nate Hartman (Dennis Boutsikaris) he asks Ramsey and Stabler what is the emergency and asks if Anne is OK. Stabler says Nate seems worried about her, and asks has he talked to her tonight? He says no, he’s concerned about her safety after what happened to her parents. Ramsey asks if Nate knows all the gory details, and Nate says just that they were murdered in their beds by burglars, that’s what Anne told him. Ramsey comments that Nate always believes what Anne says. He says of course, and asks what they are doing here. Nate tells him in a short while his phone will ring and Anne is going to ask her to lie for him. But Nate disagrees, saying Anne is a gentle soul and scrupulously honest. But Stabler barks that Anne has been robbing the Prestwick Foundation blind, with Nate’s help. The phone rings, and Nate looks at it, hesitating to answer. Stabler tells Nate that it is over, he is going to jail, but Ramsey adds that’s unless he answers the phone and does exactly what they say. Stabler tells him to pit it on speaker, and Nate does. It’s Anne, and she tells Nate that the police know who killed her parents but they don’t have enough evidence to arrest him, and that Nate has to say he saw him following her parents. She says he will describe him as Indian, dark hair, well dressed, and menacing and dangerous. Stabler and Ramsey give each other a look. She says to say he saw him watching the house and her parents saw him too, they were frightened and they asked him for advice. Nate asks if she wants him to lie, and she says that she wants justice for her parents and he is the only one who can deliver it. She says she will see him tomorrow “darling” at the funeral, and she hangs up. Nate asks them now what happens. Stabler responds “You talk, we listen.”

At the SVU interrogation room, Nate tells Ramsey that Anne told him it was a tax dodge and that the foundation knew, he did not know she was stealing. Ramsey says he doesn’t have to convince him, just a grand jury, the DA, the judge. He asks Nate why he did it, and he said he loved her and he thought she loved me. Benson, Stabler and Cragen watch from the observation room and Stabler says they got her, but Cragen reminds him it is for an embezzlement case that was shut down 6 hours ago and they still don’t have Anne Gillette for murder. Stabler says they heard her tell Nate to lie, but Cragen says she can claim she was distraught, that she was afraid the man that murdered her parents would walk. Stabler asks, “Who are you, Cabot?” Cragen tells him to just keep working the homicide, but Stabler comments that if she gets wind she’s going to buy herself a private island and fight extradition until they retire. Benson begs Cragen to let them pick her up before he gets the call telling them to stand down. He tells them to charge her with witness tampering and make a splash, Anne won’t be able to hush this up if it is all over the front page.

At All Grace Church, the church service is over and Anne sees Benson and Stabler waiting at the bottom of the steps to the church. She tells them this is very bad timing, saying they are on their way to the gravesite. Meanwhile, Ramsey walks up behind her, begins to cuff her, and says they will stop at the tombs. She turns around and sees who it is, surprised he is a cop. He arrests her for obstruction of justice, witness tampering.. She asks what witness, and Stabler tells her it’s Nate Hartman. She looks to Olivia and says, “You bitch, you set me up.” Benson and Stabler look happy as Ramsey takes her away, reading her rights.

Benson walks into Cragen’ s office, with Dr. Huang (B.D. Wong) present, and Cragen asks her if Anne lawyered up. Benson says no, but half the social register saw them collar her and somebody will call her lawyer. He tells her to get in there before he shows up. She asks Huang if he has any ideas on how to play her, and he says she is a sociopath, so she’ll want control. Benson says they won’t give her any. But Huang says to give it to her in spades, make her feel comfortable, Benson says so Anne slips up. But a voice shouting Cragen’s name is heard outside, and he shoos Benson out another door, saying, “Over here, quick.” Huang and Cragen exit the office. And the Chief is apoplectic. Saying Cragen’s pet cops went off the deep end by arresting Anne at her parent’s funeral. Cragen says they were obeying his direct order. The Chief says Cragen knew he ordered Ramsey to close this case, but Cragen says he didn’t think that trumped a double homicide. The Chief says this isn’t the moment for him to think, he says his detectives didn’t arrest Anne for murder, they arrested her for penny-ante witness tampering is what he heard. Cragen says for now, and The Chief asks if he can prove she is the killer, but Cragen admits not yet. He asks then why the hell did they arrest her in the middle of Park Avenue? Huang says she is dangerous, and The Chief asks if that’s his clinical opinion. Huang gets smart mouthed and asks if he wants him to use bigger words, fine, she’s a psychopath with extremely violent tendencies. The Chief cuts him off and tells him to stop showing off. Sighing, he tells them to bring her down for murder and he will back they play – but – “screw the pooch, and I’m gonna let the crap roll down hill.” The Chief walks off and Cragen , looking dejected, tells Huang they’d better crack her, or they will have a lot of shoveling to do.

Stabler and Benson walk in to the interrogation room, along with Ramsey, and Anne is sitting there, observing it is “three against one” adding that they hardly play fair. Stabler suggests they talk anyway, and Anne says that to Stabler and Benson, certainly not, just Ramsey, and then tells Benson and Stabler to “shoo.” When they leave the room, Ramsey walks to the table and Anne says they have not been formally introduced, and she extends her hand to Ramsey and introduces herself. When Ramsey mentions his name, Anne asks if his mother is Sana Ramsey, and he says yes. She comments he has her eyes, adding they used to run into each other all the time in London - mutual friends. Stabler and Benson watch from the observation room, and Stabler asks, ”Who is this guy?” Anne goes on to say that he and his mother haven’t spoken in years, and why is that? He replies that overseas calls are expensive. But she counters, saying not any more, and he could afford it even if they were. He asks her why she is so interested in him, and she leans forward, saying it’s because they are two of a kind, the prodigal children. But Ramsey sits stone faced, saying they are nothing alike. But she counters that he came across the pond to escape his family, slumming as a cop, pretending to be someone else. She says, “I know all about it, darling, and sooner or later, you’ll fly back to the nest. “ He replies tersely, “And kill my parents like you killed yours.” She laughs, and comments that the shrinks have a word for that – projection. Ramsey says he doesn’t wish his parents dead, but she tells him to drop the act, we all do, it’s a terrible burden growing up rich. They give them too much, they give them to little, but in the end, there is all that money waiting when they are dead. Ramsey calmly states, “And you were tired of waiting.” She responds, “Tired, yes, but only tired.” She adds he will find plenty of witnesses that will tell him she spoke of being frustrated, but so is Prince Charles, and he hasn’t offed his mother, yet. Ramsey looks at her coldly and says he doesn’t covet what his parent’s have. She tells him he is still living in that adolescent place where he rejects their world, trying to prove he is his won man, but sooner or later they will lure him back in. When she says his mother is quite seductive, he leaps up from his chair, stares at her, and coldly says that she knows nothing. As he walks out, she says she knows more that he thinks. He storms out of the interrogation room and slams the door, and as he walks off, Stabler asks, “ That lady likes to play with her food.” Benson adds, “ Before she starts taking bites.” Fin (Ice-T) enters and says Anne’s attorney has arrived and doesn’t think he’s used to seeing his client locked in a cage.

They walk out, and her attorney, Yancy Winthrop (Stuart Burney), and Benson tells him he is welcome to her. He says first he wants to have a word with Benson and Stabler, but Stabler tells him to save his speech about how well he is connected she is, he doesn’t give a damn. He gives him 10 minutes before he has to take her to Central Booking and walks off. Yancy asks where is his client, and Benson shows him the way. Ramsey approaches Stabler saying he supposes he should explain, but Stabler says there is no need, he hates the bitch as much as he does. Ramsey says it is hardly worth booking her for two misdemeanors for witness tampering, she’ll waltz out of arraignment on low bail the minute the judge gavels. Stabler says they have nothing on the murder. Ramsey suggests that they can get a felony charge if Nigel Prestwick cooperates on the embezzlement. Stabler asks if Nigel has any weaknesses they can leverage, and Ramsey says Nigel is a milquetoast, typical fifth generation WASP elite and inbreeding has melted their brains. Benson walks up, and Stabler says there has to be something, asking if he is a tax cheat, a philanderer, but Ramsey says he is just a cheapskate as Nigel bills all his personal expenses to the foundation. It pays his dues at the Yale club, the Century club, and something called the Donatien Society. Benson seems to know what that is, and Ramsey asks what did he miss. She tells him Mr. Milquetoast is not so vanilla, and tells Stabler to hold off on transporting Anne. She tells Ramsey they should go talk to Prestwick.

At the Prestwick Foundation, Nigel says he told them he can’t press charges, out of respect for Burt Gillette. But she says “Shhhhh, let’s cut to the chase, Nigel. May I call you Nigel? “ He nods quietly and she goes on, coyly, “ You see Nigel, I know that men have needs. But when a wife can’t fill those needs, men have to look elsewhere. “ He says, “Yes.” She continues, “ But sometimes those needs are misunderstood. Judged unfairly by society. (she moves closer to him) On your knees, worm.” As Nigel’s moth is agape, she yells, “NOW!” Nigel drops to his needs, and she puts her leg up on the table, wearing a high black leather boot. Nigel moves to her leg and begins to lick her boot. Ramsey walks in with a camera and snaps a photograph of Nigel in action, and Benson removes her leg off the table and asks Nigel to get up. He stands up, stunned., and Benson says to Ramsey, “You owe me a new pair of boots.” He tells her the pictures are worth 10 pairs of Prada. Nigel begs Ramsey to delete it, and he says he will after he press charges against Anne Gillette for embezzlement. Nigel says they do not know what they are asking of him, the scandal will ruin the foundation and donors will lose respect. But Benson counters that his wife is going to lose respect for him after she finds out about his dirty little fetish. She asks him if he thinks he is pretty clever, naming his secret society after the Marquis de Sade, Donatien Alphonse François? Ramsey says Nigel can protect Anne or he can save his own skin, but he can’t do both. Benson said last year they arrested two sadists of his little club, and she remembered they seized a whole lot of videos. She suggests to Ramsey they should check the evidence locker to see if Nigel was on tape because she specifically remember there was one on Nazi….and Nigel screams “Enough! I’ll do it.” Benson says, “Thought so.”

As Benson and Ramsey walk off, Benson is happy they at least have Anne on an embezzlement charge. Ramsey says it is not world’s the best case, Prestwick told the Chief of Ds it was a misunderstanding and defense counsel will use that. She reminds him they have Hartman the business manager, but Ramsey says he is a co-conspirator and requires corroboration…unless they go Federal. Benson asks him if he went to law school, and he says “London School of Economics.” She comments there are not a lot of MBAs on this job, and he says economics and mathematics impose order on chaos, Benson saying “Like police work.” She says she is finding out something new about him all the time. He says he met this woman from the US Attorney’s office at the opera, and he’s been meaning to call her.

Outside the US Attorney’s office at One Centre Street, Camilla (Valerie Cruz) tells Benson and Ramsey it’s a good thing he didn’t ask her to take this case a year ago. After 9/11 all their manpower went to anti-terrorism. Benson tells her the US Attorney’s office has jurisdiction over bank fraud, and she is all they have left. Camilla asks how solid is their evidence, and Ramsey explains he spent 6 months on a forensic accounts of the foundation books, he has affidavits from every bank, plus a match between embezzle cash and Anne Gillette’s expenditures. Camilla comments that there is the rub, and Benson says Camilla doesn’t want to go after Anne Gillette. Camilla remind them Ann’s parents have given millions to politicians, and Benson reminds her that Anne’s parents are now dead, and Anne killed them. Camilla says they can’t prove that, but Ramsey says they will and when they do, she can fold the homicide right into her case. He goes on to explain that Anne tried to cover up the theft with her parent’s cash and the cases are linked. Benson tells her homicide is the big show but they are usually state cases, asking if Camilla knows many Federal prosecutors go their entire career without ever trying a murder. Camilla tells them to give her the files and she will draft a writ to move Anne into Federal custody. Ramsey thanks her, and she says Anne will spend the night at Rikers and they can move her down to MCC tomorrow. Benson says she will give Stabler the good news.

Back at the SVU squad, Stabler opens the door to the interrogation room and when he moves in, asking Anne is she is ready to go, she recoils and tells him not to touch her. Stabler asks Anne’s lawyer Yancy if he wants to explain the drill to “her highness.” Instead, her lawyer consoles her, saying it will be over in a couple hours and they will post bail. But Stabler doubts that, telling them that the Prestwick Foundation had a change of heart. Anne can’t believe that Nigel turned against her. Stabler says his partner can be pretty persuasive, then goes on to say she is being arraigned on felony bank fraud which means it is off to Rikers, and he begins to cuff her. She asks her lawyer to do something, and he indicates he will try but it may be unavoidable. He questions Stabler if the cuffs are really necessary, and Stabler reminds him it is standard procedure, and is sorry they are not diamond encrusted but the bedazzler went AWOL. She stares him in the face and coldly tells Stabler she has no idea what she is capable of. He stares right back and says he saw her mom’s body. She asks if he could really believe she could do something like that to someone she loves, what could she do to someone HE loves? He is silent and then begins to walk her out of the room.

Cragen is in his office working and Stabler asks if Benson and Ramsey are back yet. Cragen says no, it should be about another 20 minutes, and asks why. Stabler asks if they can transport Anne to Rickers, he is going to take a little lost time. Cragen asks what is going on, and Stabler tells him it’s probably nothing, but Cragen presses him and finally Stabler tells him that Anne threatened his family. Cragen says he wouldn’t call that nothing. Stabler says he doesn’t think she has the reach to get anything done from the inside, but just to be safe, he is going to take Kathy and the kids over to her sister’s in Jersey. When he says he is probably overreacting, Cragen says he doesn’t think so, Huang thinks Anne is extremely lethal. He tells Stabler to take care of his family and they will handle the prisoner.

Later, Benson is at her desk and Cragen asks if Anne is tucked in for the night. Benson said corrections gave her the presidential suite. He asks if those are her fives on the homicide, and she says yes, she is just putting the cherry on top before they give it to the Feds. He tells her good, because she is off the case. She looks at him with surprise and says “What?” He tells her, “We got a big problem.” She asks if it is with her, and he indicates yes, and adds also with her buddy Ash Ramsey.

At the residence of Ashok Ramsey, Benson is pounding on the door, yelling for him to answer. He yells that he hear her and to bugger off. She yells it is Olivia Benson, and he opens the door immediately and asks if she ever sleeps. She says he didn’t answer her phone, and is shocked to see police waiting there to ram down his door. She tells them they are hear to protect him, Anne Gillette just took a hit out on them.

Inside his apartment, Benson tells Ramsey that an informant at Rikers ratted Anne out, saying she was buying a contract out on them. They don’t know if she has made contact with a hit man but Cragen doesn’t want to take any chances. Suddenly, Camilla walks out of another room and tells Benson it is good to see her, and then thanks Ramsey for “the files” and says good night and leaves. He tells Benson don’t say it, conflict of interest, gross impropriety, compromising the case. Benson said he could have kissed her good night. He quips that he didn’t make her climb down the fire escape. He asks Benson how much they are worth, and she says 100 grand. He says, “That’s all?” and she adds it’s for both of them. Ramsey said they should have known she would do something like this. Benson says that killing your parents is one thing, but murdering two cops, that’s another ball game. Ramsey adds, “Not for a psychopath.” He goes on to say she hasn’t seen the real Anne Gillette yet, just shadows and masks, the grieving daughter, the frightened victim, the socialite. Benson thinks she is good at playing part, but greedy and thieving doesn’t make her a psychopath. He counters that not all psychopaths are murderers and rapists, some never commit a crime, and they have adapted their amorality to fit into society. Benson says like his friends on Wall Street, and he says who better the leverage the bad of a company without giving a damn about the people who lose their pensions along with their jobs. Benson argues it is not the same thing, they didn’t break the law, there’s a big difference between embezzlement and rape. Ramsey agrees, saying rapists get 18 years in Attica, and white collar criminals get 19 months in Club Fed. He’s sick of watching her perps get soft time. Benson tells him they’d better make sure that Anne Gillette goes down for murder.

Back in Cragen’s office, he tells them they are both off the case as it is too dangerous. Benson argues they can’t reassign them, but he says it is already done, saying this means Stabler too. They have no idea what kind of associates Anne has or whether she has something in play already. Ramsey said they promised the US Attorney they would transfer her to the Federal jail today, and Cragen says let the marshal service handle it. Benson wants him to let them pick her up at Rikers and transfer down to lockup at Foley Square. Cragen says NO, it’s done.

Stabler walks in to the locker room and asks Benson if she is going somewhere. She says she just has some errands to run. He pulls out her bulletproof vest out of her bag and asks if her drycleaner had anger issues. He tells her not to do this, but she says she is not going to let that bitch scare her off. He says maybe she should, he sent his family away. Benson reminds him they are civilians, she has a job to do. He asks if Ramsey put her up to this, and she said no, it was her idea. As she moves to walk out he tells her to wait a minute, is she just going to deal him out? She tells him she’s trying to protect him from the fallout. He comments while she and sir CG just cowboy it up. She asks if he has a problem with Ash, but he says no, but she is HIS partner and if anyone has her back it should be him. She tells him it is fine, she can handle Anne Gillette, he had to handle the captain.

At Rikers, Anne is being led out by Ramsey, saying she should be flattered she is being kicked up to the Feds. She asks have are the federal facilities, and he tells her Martha Stewart called it going to Yale. Anne says at least they will have a better class of prisoner as Rikers is full of awful women and she’ll get to wear blue, which is much more flattering with her coloring, adding she is a “summer.” Benson has caught up with them and asks if they are all set, and the move to leave.

With Anne in the back of the car, Ramsey driving, and Benson in the passenger seat, Anne asks where they are. Benson responds it is Queens, Anne saying it is no wonder she’s never been there. Suddenly, a white van pulls out in front of the car and they are forced to stop quickly. The van door opens and Benson yells, “GO! GO! GO!” to Ramsey, as he puts the car in reverse and begins to go backwards quickly. But their reverse exit is blocked by a large truck. Ramsey and Benson get out of the car and begin firing at the people in the van, who are armed with automatic weapons. Anne seems happy at this event. The people in the van return fire and both Ramsey and Benson are hit multiple times, and both fall to the ground. One of the masked gunmen runs up to the car and opens the back door and unbuckles Anne from her seat. She happily runs away from the scene and gets into the van, and Benson and Ramsey lay on the ground with several gunshot wounds to the chest. As the van pulls away, Anne looks out the back window a Benson and Ramsey laying apparently lifeless on the ground.

In a hotel room, a man with a ski mask over his head leads Anne into the room. She says it isn’t the Waldorf but then again the concierge would have objected to his attire. The mask comes off, and it is Fin. He asks he if she wants to go somewhere else, there is the door. As she goes through a bag with clothes in it, she asks how about a ride to the West Chester County airport as there is a jet waiting, Fin says sure, as soon as he gets the rest of his money. She says she told him she would wire it into his account and doesn’t he trust her? He tells her he just iced two cops for her, he doesn’t trust her any further than he can throw her. She tells him she will make the call now, and she moves to use the hotel phone. But he tells her not that phone, and he hands her a cell phone, saying you never know who might be listening. Meanwhile. Surveillance cameras are watching, and Ramsey and Benson, clearly not dead, get into the surveillance van, Benson complaining, “First it’s my boots, now it’s my shirt. “ Ramsey tells her they will go shopping. Stabler is already there, and asks if they mind if they wrap this up first. The call Anne made on Fin’s phone is ringing, and a man answers “bonjour” and asks if this is the bank in Geneva, Ramsey watches and comments that Anne is enjoying this. She hands the phone back to Fin and says, ”All done.” She asks where are her manners, her father told her to seal every business deal with champagne and asks if he thinks this dump has room service. Stabler, still watching, says “They do now.”

Anne comes out of the bathroom in a black dress, and says that when her cell mate told her she knew a hit man, she had no idea he would be so attractive. He says he is the total package. She tells him she wishes she met him sooner, his skills would have come in handy. He asks “in killing your parents?” She responds she didn’t kill her parents. He tells her to relax baby, she is among friends, but goes on to say an ax is old school. She tells him he didn’t know her mother, constant judgment, carping, and then “the bitch” told her daddy to cut her out of the will. She had him wrapped around her finger for years, but mother was out to get her, always whispering nasty things in his ear. She didn’t want him dead but…and Fin says it is collateral damage. She agrees. She suggests that he come with her, calling him darling, she could use someone with his skills, the possibilities for them are endless, saying that Rio is always beautiful this time of year. There is a knock on the door, and Fin pulls out a gun, asking who is it. Stabler’s voice says, “room service.” Anne comments that it is about time. Fin unlocks the door, and Benson, Ramsey, and Stabler walk in, and the smile on Anne’s face disappears. She says to Fin” “You bastard” and he tells her she is going to take this trip alone, “darling.” He tells him to get off of her, and yells she will kill him them all. As Anne continues to protest, Ramsey says, “Finally the mask comes off” and Benson adds, “we get to see the real Anne Gillette.” Fin asks what took them so long, As Fin walks Anne out of the room in cuffs, Stabler looks back on the room, and Benson nods to a very satisfied looking Ramsey, and the three of them exit the room as we fade to black.

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Anonymous said...

Always interesting to see repeat offenders (well, actors) in the L&O universe. Was that a shot of Sarah Paulson from her other L&O episode 15 years ago in Ramsey's recap of Anne Gillette getting kicked out of three prep schools? Don't remember much about the episode- I think she was a prep school student in love with her mother's boyfriend? Funny how some actors will always be their L&O character in my mind - Ellen Pompeo as the psychopath who participated in her sister's murder, for example, or Allison Janney in 'Old Friends.'

Anonymous said...

Loved the episode. I could listen to Naveen Andrews all day. He and Mariska work very well on the screen and it would be fun to have him come back to another episode to get involved with Olivia.

Thanks for the recap!

Anonymous said...

Goodness I hope we see Naveen involved in the LAO universe somehow. He's totally fantaboolous!!! I just saw that epi with Sara Paulson just the other day. She's such a wonderful actress. It was an ok ep for me. It definitely should have been a Major Case, but hey Mariska and Naveen look ten times better than Naveen and Goldblum.

Good filler ep.


Shelly said...

I too saw those older shots of Sarah Paulson from her previous appearance on L&O (Family Valuees - I had to look it up lol)and thought it was neat that they used those.

I too what happened to the "lick my boot" line. All Things, I know you posted the clip of that, but I can't find it quickly now - wasn't that an NBC promo? It sounds like someone got nervous at the last minute but apparently they didn't mind "enticing" us with that line anyway...

Good episode overall... thanks for the recap!

Shelly said...

Oops... I really do know how to spell VALUES... lol...

Apparently I'm having a bad day - left out a word in the next paragraph...

I too WONDERED what happened...

No more posting until I've had my morning coffee... sigh...

Kevin (Ket) said...

Seeming inappropriateness of this being an SVU case aside (though, really, the show frequently has cases that don't seem like they should be SVU cases), at least it was a perfectly enjoyable episode.

I stand by what I said last time, that I do not appreciate it when episodes seem so obviously ripped from the headlines and the insistence to take a strong political side to it.

Anonymous said...

Was this episode ripped from the headlines? I don't remember anything like this happening on the news recently.

Anyway, fantastic episode. Felt like a Criminal Intent episode, and even that "boot-licking" scene, which I had almost forgot about from the commercials since I was so engrossed in the episode, was pulled off so well that it actually added to the episode.

Anonymous said...

I found it an amusing episode. Maybe I noticed something where there was really nothing, but when Anne threatened Elliot with harming someone he loves, which he assumes means his family, she actually tries to harm Olivia. I wonder if they intended to make that little connection, insinuate that Anne caught onto some sort of desire there. Maybe it was nothing.

Jojo said...

Entertaining episode. I thought it was strangely comedic - there were alot of one-liners in it.

ATL&O, you are right about Naveen's voice. I haven't seen an episode of Lost in my life, so this is the first time I've seen the guy - and his voice is what commands presence. Combined with the tone and accent, he doesn't ever need to raise his voice in order to have people pay attention.

He and Mariska had great chemistry, which I thought was interesting because they seemingly had this flirty thing going on, except then they added the lady from the Feds into the mix. But then it went back to flirty when Ash commented that he'd take Liv shopping for boots and a shirt.

When I saw her boot, I assumed we'd get the LICK MY BOOT line and I was mildly disappointed yet mildly relieved that we didn't.

One thing that I love about the SVU squad is the diversity when it comes to doing undercover roles. Liv is always the bait or vixen (obviously since she's the only female), Fin plays the hitman or pimp or gangster, Stabler does the everyday white-collar man, and Munch is the seemingly white-collar man who is kinda creepy (like baiting a pedophile ring or something).

All Things Law and Order said...

As far as the episode being ripped from the headlines, I have to admit that the story did not seem familiar to me, so Kevin, maybe you can clue me in as to what case this was for?

To the other anonymous poster on Anne saying she would hurt someone Stabler loves and then goes after Olivia, that never crossed my mind but now that you say it, it makes a lot of sense that maybe she did pick up on something between those two.

JoJo, I also thought your assessment of each detectives' undercover personas was right on target!

All Things Law and Order said...

Shelly - oops I missed your note on this issue - the "lick my boot" line WAS in the promo - it's at the following link:

Anonymous said...

Goren and Eames looked really different in this episode; was Goren Indian this whole time? Also, when did Captain Ross shave off all his hair?

Anonymous said...


First, thoroughly enjoyed both the commentary and the recap; haven't seen this blog before and will now follow it regularly. Second, LOVED this episode, from soup to nuts. You can't lose with Naveen Andrews, and he injected some desperately needed sexy; I hope we see him again, just as I hope the intro of a possible romance for Fin in last week's (?) ep wasn't just a tease. Last, I agree that this should have been Major Case, but Eames and Ramsey wouldn't have worked anything as well as Benson and Ramsey, and it would have been much harder to let Ramsey take point with Goren around (I just kind of ignore the existence of Pair Two, even though my beloved Jeff Goldblum is part of it; I see why they were needed from a logistics POV, but they're Kryptonite from a showcraft POV, so this was the right L&O unit for this actor and this ep).

Kieran said...

Was there a previous episode of SVU featuring the Donatien Society? Bueller? They don't often have those "Hey, wait a minute, remember that case where-" moments, but the few that I can remember were tied to actual previous episodes, and I'm having trouble digging up this reference.

Loved the ep in general; especially liked it because for a minute there I was convinced that Ash Ramsey hated Ann Gillette, what she stood for, and his own background so much that I thought he'd taken out the contract on Olivia and himself to ratchet up the charges against her. Good stuff. Great recap, too; thanks!

All Things Law and Order said...

Kieranm I don't recall any previous episode ever mentioning the Donatien Society before, it didn't seem at all familiar to me!

Anonymous said...

I should point out that the Chief of D's did not prevent the SVU from handing the case off to Homicide. That order came over the Chief of D's head from the Police Commissioner, who was on the speed dial of the various campaign contributors.

Either Anne had SVU stay on the case (though her manipulation of others) because she thought they wouldn't make her as the killer (and until Ash showed up, they didn't). Or the various idiots--uh campaign contributors--who had the PC on speed-dial though Special Victims Unit meant "Super Cops who Can Solve Any Crime in two-seconds flat."