Thursday, March 4, 2010

Law & Order SVU “P.C.” Recap & Review

Law & Order SVU “P.C.” was one of those episodes where a murder can actually present an opportunity for comedy. They could not have cast the role of Babs Duffy any more perfectly, with Kathy Griffin playing a LGBTQIA (Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Questioning Intersex Allies) advocate, who is focusing more on the lesbian angle. But – and this is a big but – the episode was filled with clichés and negative stereotype, portraying lesbian women in the extreme, such as being overly bossy and/or violent; man-hating; single minded to their cause; and compelled to hit on every woman in sight. The episode was heavily promoted, with video released of Babs Duffy landing a kiss on Olivia Benson, the scene finishing with Benson telling a female cop sent to relieve her “If I were you, I’d stay outside.” When outrage brewed over that statement as it was viewed as homophobic, the scene was changed, but not as one would expect. They removed the kiss (making it a “lunge” instead) but left in the line. Go figure. Babs also seems smitten with Alex Cabot, and it’s at that point when I realize that this episode was written by a bunch of fanfic writers, and/or Benson/Cabot “shippers”, and/or fans who believe that Mariska Hargitay and Stephanie March are as gay as the Easter Parade. I’m not going to make any comment about whether they are or they aren’t, because I really don’t think an actor’s sexuality is my business unless they want it to be. Bottom line is that the quality of the series is beginning to suffer as someone is catering a little too much to the whims of some fans.

The case itself had the usual red herrings, for example, the vampire rocker. I’ve come to the conclusion that the Law & Order franchise as a whole hates any music that is not mainstream, as it seems that they are always showing “fringe” music as being a haven for nut balls. There are plenty of nut balls in mainstream music, too.

Clearly this episode was a vehicle for Kathy Griffin, and I enjoyed her performance, despite the stereotypes. Sadly, the investigative work was weak. Why did it take them so long to get security footage of the area where Allissa was killed? It would have saved them a lot of trouble and may have helped them to notice the tattoo on the print shop guy much sooner. Fin seems to have been relegated to working in the squad room doing research, and Munch is missing in action AGAIN, and I would really like to hear an explanation of his absence. I swear that Law & Order SVU may be the only show in television which has a big list of names in the opening credits, yet some of them rarely show up in the episode.

Here’s the recap:

The case involves the murder of a “Jane Doe” who Detectives Benson (Mariska Hargitay) and Stabler (Chris Meloni) first think was killed as part of some wacky vampire rock band guy. When Captain Cragen (Dann Florek) tells them that the Jane Doe had a blood disease like hemophilia, they think the death may have been accidental. When a group from “ enters the SVU squad in protest with their leader Babs Duffy (Kathy Griffin), the detectives find the dead woman is a lesbian named Allisa Davies, and Duffy, who says she is the president, founder, and spokesperson for LesBeStrong, says “We’re dykes, we’re pissed, and we’re not leaving ‘till we get results.” After back and forth name calling, she finally gives them the name and location of Allisa’s girlfriend, Sharon Harris.

When the detectives speak with Sharon, they hear a story of an idyllic romance, This turns out to be false, when they later find that Sharon is a nasty, angry, violent lesbian. Allisa’s last word was “Mitch” and it seems this was not a man’s name, it was a pet name between used by Sharon which was short for "my bitch.” When they track Sharon down, she clocks Stabler when he calls her “Mitch” and she is arrested.

In the SVU squad, Benson gets Sharon to talk, using her soft touch method of interrogation. Sharon denies killing Allison. When Fin (Ice-T) enters and tells Benson there has just been another attack, Benson and Stabler race to the hospital to talk to Rosemary, one of Babs’ helpers, who said the attacker complained that the “dykes” have ruined the neighborhood. She also realizes that her Blackberry has been stolen and it contained all the information on the LesBeStrong members. She also remembers that the attacker made threats against Babs.

Babs reluctantly goes in to protective custody in her own apartment, with Benson standing guard. While having a nice chat, Benson using her whispery reassuring voice at one point, Babs misreads Benson intentions and Babs makes a move to kiss her, Benson puling back, emphasizing she is straight. When Benson's relief arrives, Benson urges her to stay outside.
Back at SVU, while they look over the security video taken at the scene of the murder, they see a tattoo on the perp’s hand. Benson uses this as a time to ask Stabler:

Benson: Do you ever get a gay vibe from me?

Stabler: Would it matter if I did?

Benson: You’re not answering the question.

Stabler: It’s not like you’ve had a lot of luck in guys.

Benson: It’s called being married to the job. (The phone rings and Benson moves to answer it)

Stabler: Did Babs make a move on you? (She nods yes) I get hit, you get hit on.

It seems that the officer watching Babs' place shot someone who appeared to be breaking in to Babs' place with a tire iron. When the get to the hospital, they find his ID – Larry Luft. They soon confront Babs with the information that they looked at Larry’s cell phone and he had pictures of Babs and him together, plus tons of text messages between the two. Babs admits a relationship with Larry and they tell her she is going to have to come clean about it.

At a rally, Babs gets up in front of the crowd and tells them that the person in custody is not the person who killed Allisa and drops the bomb that she was in a relationship with him. They are shocked and appalled. Benson, who is on stage with Babs, and Stabler, who is in the crowd, keep an eye out for a man there with a spider tattoo on his hand like the one seen in the video surveillance footage. Stabler spots him and nabs him. It’s Ronnie Whatley, who runs a nearby print shop and whom they saw earlier in their investigation when Babs was screaming at him for misprinting her name as “Babs Daffy” on a flier.

Stabler works Ronnie in interrogation, and as Benson and ADA Cabot (Stephanie March) observe, Sabot is worried Stabler is moving too slow. Benson enters and proceeds to put on a macho lesbian act in order to get Ronnie enraged. She brings up the fact that his neighborhood has changed, she insults his appearance, and comments he is unable to get a woman. She gets in his space, saying that Ronnie wants to correct all the lesbians, and wants to make her “right” and “correct a bitch like me.” She moves closer and puts her hand right near his crotch and continues to talk. He grabs her hand and places is squarely on his crotch and makes an admission of guilt in the death and attacks. Benson smiles and says “Goodbye Ronnie” and storms out as he screams she is a bitch.

In the squad room, Babs is thrilled at the outcome. She thanks Benson for making her realize who she really is, and apologizes to Benson for the “awkward lunge” adding that her gaydar was off but that Benson is incredibly hot. She also apologizes to Stabler, and as she moves to leave, she tells him she has one more thing, and she pulls him to her and kisses him, asking him to call her sometime. As she walks off, we fade to black.

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Anonymous said...

Another bad you certainly like to give bad reviews. I guess everyone is a critic and you are definately a CRITIC!! You must have plenty of negativity in your life because I have never read such negativity in reviews.

All Things Law and Order said...

I said I liked Kathy Griifin and thought it was good casting. I never said I hated the episode, I just pointed out some issues that I noticed, and believe me, I am not the only one who has the same feelings about this episode and about SVU in general. I think the show needs some serious "tough love" and sometimes one has to give negative feeback or constructive criticism if they want things to change for the better. While I am a huge fan of the show, I can't give it a glowing review if I don't think it deserves it.

Shelly said...

Not that All Things needs someone to "defend" her, but I'm going to anyway... lol...

Every once in a while she likes eps I don't, or I like eps she doesn't, but most of the time, after I watch an ep of any of the L&O series, and come here to read what she and the fans have to say, she's dead-on with what I think. The reason she gave this ep some negative comments is because it deserved them. Go back and watch SVU from a few years ago - this show is nothing like it used to be. I know no one wants to see Chris or Mariska leave, but maybe a big shakeup like that WOULD be a good thing? I don't know, just thinking here.

I do care about SVU, and the franchise in general, and I hate it when one of the shows is suffering creatively, which this one definitely is. I want it to be better. I want them to use Munch (yeah, where WAS he??) and Fin more. I want them to get back to what they had a few years ago. I don't think it's too late to fix it, but someone in a position of power needs to realize there's a problem and then take the steps necessary to bring this show back to its glory...

And no, I don't know All Things. I'm a fan, reader and poster like the rest of you.

Anonymous said...

ATLAO was right on, read this review, which also said the episode was awful:

Anonymous said...

You're really illogical here: whether or not the show's characters Benson and Cabot are lesbian/bisexual has absolutely nothing to do with the sexual orientation of either actress.

But, yes, thank you, you are right: if TPTB would push open the door that has been unlocked now (Sutton Foster's character emphasized that Babs' helped her come out to herself; and subsequently we see Benson questioning Stabler about her "vibes"), this would truly be a dream come true for any self-respecting lesbian out there.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous, I think her point was that they were using the episode to address the people who think those two are gay. You know, by Benson saying she is straight may be a subliminal way for them to try to get viewers to think Mariksa is straight too.

If anything, I think they just added fuel to the fire here. The really do need to stop trying to center all these stories on Mariska and Chris and what fans wish for, sometimes what the fans want isn't necessarily good for the show.

Anonymous said...

I found the episode in general good. Katty if there very well. This story of Mariska is gay in real life is the fruit of the mind of lesbians obsessed with Mariska. They do not forgive the fact that the actress had married.

Anonymous said...

I don't like the way that Neal Baer leaked the kissing video and then yanked it. It was all for publicity. Those people would sell their souls to get people to watch this show.

This show is great for the under 18 crowd, but those of us with more than half a brain are getting tired of the poor writing and bad storylines of SVU.

Jojo said...

It took me 2 hours to watch this because I kept pausing to make lunch, fix my bracelet, clean my desk. It obviously didn't keep me glued to my seat.

I agree with the review, except I don't really like Kathy Griffin so even that one positive didn't really strike a chord with me.

I did like some of the one-liners though, and little parts of the episode were pretty funny, but as a whole, it was weak.

I agree with Shelly and ATL&O that Fin and Munch need to do more. Cragen, too. SVU is the only L&O that I watch - so obviously I'm a fangirl who watches it for the people rather than the franchise - and I love Mariska and Chris, but when the whole squad gets into the action, it just gives so much more to the episode than just always seeing Stabler and Benson.

The changing of the kiss scene was really weird. The editing just didn't work.

daniel said...

this was one of the worst episodes of svu ive seen in a long time along with the episode shadow. I agree that lately we haven't been seeing the other main characters wong, warner, munch, fin even cabot! Thanks for the review and recap all things

Joe S. Walker said...

I thought it was a strong contender for all-time worst episode of any L&O series.

jayjay3 said...

I believe this episode wasn't the greatest. They should've kept the kiss in the show and switched it up. If you're going to make Benson and Cabot gay, hey it's kinda hot. But don't put more fuel into a fire if it's not going to happen.
I think they should officaily have Benson come out the closet and hook up with Cabot. Like Stabler said, she hasn't had any luck with men.

Anonymous said...

There is a site called Lesbian Act "just to talk about the personal life of actress Mariska. They are crazy, obsessed, totally irrational in their comments. Any day Mariska will accuse of being responsible for 11 of setembro.Pobres women. May God have mercy of their souls. Why so much hate?

CanadaGirl said...

I love seeing the main charactors especially Stabler (sorry if I am in the minority but he's my fav) but I do think they should utilize the rest of the squad like Munch and Fin. I can see why people are getting upset and calling it the Benson/Stabler hour and Savior ended up being the BENSON hour which pissed me off because that was definately a good epi/great opporunity for Stabler and Tergesen's charactors. OY!! Don't get me started.

It was a good episode...again I may be in the minority but I liked this episode. Perhaps I just have been going through withdrawls HAHA!! but I enjoyed this episode. Kathy Griffin played her charactor well and as for the kiss..COME ON!! We have seen worse on tv...two females kissing..that is NOTHING!!!

Seriously though...if you like the show or not ITS JUST A SHOW!! I don't expect much anymore because I watch it for entertainment and Chris Meloni ;) I hate people who bash the show. Why watch something you dislike?? Does not make sense to me? We all have our own opinion I guess.

Anyway, I would give this episode a 3.5 stars out of 5.

Heather said...

I was wondering if anyone knows who the actor was that played Ronnie? He looked so familiar, but isn't listed on imdb. Any help would be awesome.

All Things Law and Order said...

Heather, Ronnie Whatley was played by Chad Donella.

Anonymous said...

I would have liked to actually SEEN the tattoo on the printer's hand earlier in the episode in the couple of instances when they did full body shots of him. In my opinion the editors screwed up on the crux of the entire episode (the tattoo)

68679054-f2d9-11e1-afc1-000bcdcb8a73 said...

I laughed when Fin called that Vampire band a cross between Black Sabbath & Judas Priest. The writers of this episode clearly have no clue what they're talking about. That band in the show was playing Death, or more accurately Black Metal, which has NOTHING in common with Black Sabbath OR Judas Priest.'s Gothic Metal bands that have the whole vampire thing going on with their image, and even THEY don't actually think they're real vampires.

EchoInTheSilence said...

I didn't say the "stay outside" comment as homophobic really, not in context. Babs came on too strong, Benson was flustered and in the mood to distance herself before it went any further.

fraktal stormfraktal said...

So glad to find somewhere to vent about how bad this episode was, even if I am a few years too late.

I have been binge watching Law & Order SVU since I discovered it recently because I love it so hard. But this episode was appalling.

I was offended for slightly different reasons than the owner of this blog.

My beefs with it are;

1. The poorly written, and poor attempts to mimic radical Lesbian feminists activist philosophy, in a way that makes Dick Wolf look like he has contempt for this group.

2. The fact that a show that rarely depicts any kind of Lesbian, chooses a radical fringe group when they do.

3. The fact that the young lesbian woman talks about Babs as if she's a leader for all Lesbians coming out, when in fact most Lesbian women coming out would likely stay away from Radical Feminist activism. (or in this instance, cartoon radical feminism).

3. The scene where Babs hits on Benson is not fitting with a Lesbian rights activist, and feeds into homophobic fears that anyone that is Gay will hit on anyone of the same sex.

4. The fact that Benson is so polite to someone who has tried to kiss her, when if it were a man she would not have been so polite.

5. The fact that Benson says her rejection of Babs is because she's straight. How about because a) she's a professional and she doesn't kiss people on the job, and b) Babs is crazy and annoying and c) Babs is not her type,and d) Benson is Straight. Why is being straight the only reason she gives?

6. The fact that the script (including that for Babs at the end) is pushing the message that Lesbians are bigots if they only advocate for themselves, and not for every other member of the alphabet community. (Why can't a minority group focus on itself only)?

Given that this episode is only 5 years old, and set in New York (2nd Gayest city in the world and has been for decades) why are Lesbians depicted so appallingly!