Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Law & Order CI “Love On Ice” Recap & Review

All photos from USA

“Love On Ice” was actually a very interesting story where a current murder actually reveals another murder from years past. The guest stars all stole the show in this episode, with each one of them contributing to the drama of their long history of hiding that they contributed to the death of a classmate years ago. Usually I can spot the killer in the first 10 minutes of an episode, and in this case I got it right again, but as the case unfolded, I began to doubt if I had really picked the right person. This was a sign of a great story, where it really kept me guessing until close to the end. My only question is why, once they suspected the murder weapon was a baseball bat, that they didn’t get a search warrant for all the bats in Bailey’s display case at home? Maybe they needed more evidence against the wife to do that, especially since Bailey was a baseball player and he may have had a lot of baseball fans with lots of bats.

I enjoyed the way the case unfolded and how they told the story of the past incident from the guys’ teen years. But, I wish that Nichols and Stevens were not so subdued in their approach. One of them needs a spark of something besides their simple powers of deduction. For example, in previous seasons with Chris Noth and Annabelle Sciorra, Sciorra was so low key that she did nothing to add to the show and it always put me to sleep, and I fear Saffron Burrows is having the same effect on me. While I didn’t care much for Alicia Witt when she was paired with Chris Noth, at least her character Nola Falacci had something you could sink your teeth into, even if she grated on me a bit. In retrospect, I think I would rather have had someone like a Detective Falacci than what we have now. Saffron Burrows is a fine actress, it’s more that the character of Serena Stevens does not seem to interest me nor does she make for a compelling work partner for Zach Nichols. Still, this was a very good episode and I think that the writers did a great job crafting an interesting murder mystery,

Here is the recap
We see a bunch of young guys out running in the woods at night, one of them shirtless and being dared to drink what looks like vodka. Then, what is likely years later, we see one guy, Chris (Josh Stamberg) performing heart surgery, and afterwards, the doctor gets a text message. Another guy, Greg (Karl Bury) is selling cars, and he gets a text message which says “Time is up.” Another guy, John Silvestri (William Mapother) is a dean at school and he gets a phone call from the doctor asking if he got the email, and Silvestri says it has to end. Another guy, Bailey O’Doyle (Joshua Burrow), tells his wife to get off his back and he leaves the house. Meanwhile, three of the guys are at a bar waiting and are pissed that someone hasn’t shown up and they decide not to wait. Greg runs out and they tell him to calm down, and the guy they were waiting for – O’Doyle, races up in his car and says now they can talk. Greg begins to beat him up. One of the guys says O’Doyle is too drunk to drive and he will drive him home. He drops him off at home and then tells O’Doyle they all have lives and not to screw with them and O’Doyle gets out of the car. Rather than go inside the house, he goes out walking and stands at the top of a hill overlooking the river. He cries and says to himself that he is sorry, and then hears a noise. Someone comes up and hits him and he falls over the edge.

Detectives Zach Nichols (Jeff Goldblum) and Serena Stevens (Saffron Burrows) arrive on the scene where ME Rodgers (Leslie Hendrix) is examining a body found on the shoreline. The ID indicates he lived nearby. Rodgers says there are contusions on his face, but they did not come from the fall onto the rocks; she thinks he was killed on the area above and then tossed down there. There are bruises on his knuckles so he may have landed a few punches and Rodgers will try to get DNA. Stevens comments, “Poor Killer” and then adds the victim’s nickname was Killer O’Doyle, that he made the majors and hit 48 home runs and continues to go into detail about his baseball record. Nichols looks a little surprised at her comments. He then suggests they go see the widow O’Doyle.

Nichols and Stevens are at the O’Doyle house and asks his wife Lani (Tina Benko) if he said where he was going and he just said out. She did not report him missing as he has disappeared before and he just wasn’t home. He had no enemies and when asked about any affairs, she said who knows, they hadn’t been real close for a couple years. He owned money to “everyone.” Nichols looks at a display of baseball bats and she said he was very proud of those bats and they are probably the last thing of any value in the house. When asked where she was, she said she was at home and did an hour on the treadmill while she watched MTV, Project Runway, she used to be a model. She said she spoke to her mother on the phone. She admits she is bitter because Bailey left them in terrible financial straits but he had no insurance and no money. What she gets from his death is more grief. Stevens asks where his car might be. She has no clue

At the office of Dean John Silvestri, his wife Anne (Erin Dilly) enters and tells him O’Doyle is dead. He seems shocked. She tells him he was found beaten, Silvestri says, “Poor guy” and then they go off to meet with her father.

Capt. Zoe Callas (Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio) confirms with Nichols that the search went out on his car (it had) and that Stevens checked the wife’s alibi. Stevens says the LUDS confirmed the calls and her mother verified the conversations. Callas thinks it may have been family. They doubt the wife did it, but Callas asks if maybe she just got sick of him. As she walks off, Nichols wonders what goes on at her house. Later, as Stevens and Nichols watches a news story about O’Doyle. Nichols comments that everybody seems to be making a nice recovery from grief. Stevens said O’Doyle had a friend, Ron Robbins, who had stayed in the minors and is an assistant coach of a minor league team in Staten Island. They head to Staten Island and talk to Ron (Curtiss Cook), who says O’Doyle had no enemies and they loved him and the women were all over him but once he hooked up with Lani it was pretty solid. Things went south for him and he started hitting Ron up for money and he seemed desperate.

Back in Silvestri’s office, Greg asks if he thinks DiNardi killed him. They agreed it was a bad thing and it had to stop. Greg say he did not kill him and accuses Silvestri, but Silvestri says if the police come to them they have to have the same story. They’ve done it before.

At the morgue, MR Rodgers says he had alcohol and snacks in his stomach and they wonder if he was in a bar fight. But he has an injury on his head that looks like it was from a baseball bat.
In Callas’ office, she comments this killing seems personal. The detectives indicate there is no indication of romance but he did seem into poker and had debt from his “Bailey O’Doyle’ Steakhouse”. They wonder if the mob is involved, Stevens is checking for investors.

Later, Stevens and Nichols look over the investors but don’t think there is a mob connection but all three investors went to the same school together, the Salesian Brothers Academy. One is now a dean of students at St. Victors, Chris DiNardi is head of cardiovascular surgery at Webster General, and Greg Foster is called the “Staten Island Car King.” Nichols gets a phone call – they found O’Doyle’s car.

At Duffy’s Bar, the police are checking over his car. They look at the bar charge slips and says there were a few guys over at a separate table. Back outside looking at the car, they wonder if he showed up at a meeting with the guys and never made it in because he was drunk. His car has a license plate cover from the Foster Auto Sales “Car King.”

They speak with Greg Foster who says he was shocked, and he talks to them about Bailey. They staked him in his restaurant but then it seemed like they were going to lose their shirts. They loved him but he sucked as a businessman. Nichols asks how he hurt his hand and he said it was from a PT Cruiser with a faulty head latch.

Later, at Silvestri’s office, he said they were to discuss a business venture with O’Doyle and he kept them waiting for 45 minutes and showed up drunk. The venture was to sell online autographs. Nichols sees photos of many boys on the wall and Silvestri says they are past winners of the Salesian Brothers academy Thomas Reynolds prize, which was established by his wife’s father.

At the hospital, DiNardi gets a call, asking what is going on. Then he meets with Silvestri who tells him what is happening and tells DiNardi he can’t speak with a lawyer as a lawyer will encourage his client to cut a deal and give up the others. They say they didn’t kill him but they have to stick together. He wants DiNardi to make sure he knows they story is Bailey wanted them to invest in online autographs. Silvestri says they are smarter than they are.

Later, the detectives talks with DiNardi and he gives the party line, but adds they were pissed about what Bailey sold the restaurant stuff for but they were just pissed at him and went home. He says he left before Bailey did and for all he knows Bailey went back for a drink. Stevens asks if he has been married, and when he says no, she says those are the kinds of details a man gets straight before he goes home and lies to his wife.

At the gravesite service for Bailey, the detectives watch from afar. The three guys are all together, but Silvestri’s wife Anne is more upset that anyone else. Ron stops and talks to them, saying that his wife Lani almost forgot to bury him with one of his prized bats. They watch Anne continue to be upset and Nichols says she may want to share, so he will buttonhole the dean while Stevens talks with her. Anne tells her she was very close to Bailey and said it was like a funeral she attended 22 years ago and it got to her. As she is telling Stevens about a club the guys had as boys, “The Hard Guys”, John Silvestri comes up and breaks up the discussion and tells them to go solve the murder. The detectives wonder whose funeral she was referring to.

Back at Major Case, they check out the high school yearbooks and see the name Tom Reynolds and associate it with the Thomas Reynolds Prize and realize that is Silvestri’s wife’s brother, and it looks as if Tom and John were inseparable buddies. Tom Reynolds drowned in a lake with his body containing over the legal limit of alcohol. The witness statements are all from the current gang of friends. They wonder what made the bond fall apart.

Later, they tell Callas they think the guys were involved in that drowning and are also bonding together to lie now. Nichols wants to bring them in and see who cracks.

At the car dealership, Silvestri comes to see Greg about the detectives pressuring his wife and said they told Anne they suspect Greg. Greg asks Silvestri for money for legal help, and Silvestri is reluctant says they know Greg did it, just like he did Tom. But Greg says they all pushed him in, and when Silvestri implies the rest of them will say he did it, Greg says he is not going down for this and storms off. Later, Greg asks for his secretary to hold his calls, and he looks out over the showroom and cries. Suddenly a gunshot is heard and blood spatters on his office window.

Later, the detectives tell Callas about Greg’s death. Nichols still wants the other guys to come in for questioning and she agrees.

Nichols and Stevens questions DiNardi and he says Greg is dead and they should consider the case closed. He says they were not responsible for Tom’s death. Callas brings Silvestri into the room and he is shocked DiNardi is there but says they will get it over with. They continue to question them about Tom Reynolds death and their group “The Hard Guys”, with Nichols commenting on the double entendre. Nichols comments about the feelings they may have had for Tom. They continue to work on Silvestri and imply that Silvestri married Tom’s sister because she was the female form of Tom. We see that Callas is watching from the observation room with Anne. They tells Silvestri and DiNardi that they studied the old case and they know it was not like the way they told it. DiNardi says that maybe it is time, and begins to spill it and then Silvestri says they all did it = stripped and swam the river. But DiNardi says that was in October, not in February when they made Tom do it. DiNardi says they killed Tom and that Silvestri told him Tom raped him when he was passed out drunk. They got drunk and chased Tom and made him swim for it. Silvestri is mortified and hangs his head. Nichols asked if it was rape or consensual, and when Silvestri said under the law they committed no offense, Nichols tells him to get real, that the truth threatened him. DiNardi says he did not kill Bailey, that Foster beat him up and then drove him home and told him not to screw with them and the last time he saw him he was there alone. Silvestri says he is done, there is nothing they can prove, and he leaves the room. He steps outside to see his wife, who glares at him and then walks off. He follows after her and says he wanted to spare her, and she says she always knew he never desired her or did he want to spare her form knowing what he did to Tom?

Callas reminds the detectives that Bailey’s case is still unsolved and wonder who is blackmailing whom, and they decide to go to Staten Island to retrace Bailey’s last movements.

Later on the ferry, Nichols tells Stevens that he is wondering about Bailey’s wife and also wonders about the huge landfill on Staten Island. At her home, the wonder if Bailey got home and stood outside and saw his wife and they wonder if he was standing there in a pool of light why she said she didn’t see him. She is now on the treadmill and spots the detectives. They speak with her again and ask about her being on the treadmill and that she would have seen him out the window. Nichols asks to look around and she lets them. He notices a bat missing and recalls he was buried with it. They tell her they know about Tom Reynolds drowning and know about Bailey blackmailing the other guys. They press him about Bailey being a failure and that she followed him and killed him with a bat, and she buried him with the murder weapon. His favorite bat #48 is still on the rack. They tell her they will exhume the bat. She then admits he was guilty about Tom and Bailey didn’t have the balls to threaten the guys to go public, and she knew he failed again so she just lost it.

Later, as the police take her away, Nichols wonders without the ghost of Tom Reynolds would the guys have made it? Stevens says picture a girl watching a baseball star that may have been her hero and then he just became a guy on a couch with a beer while she folded his dirty laundry. Nichols asks if the moral is not to marry a sports hero and Stevens counters “or a woman who will kill to get off Staten Island.” As they get in the car we fade to black.

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Rob said...

I can see how you don't care all that much for Stevens/Nichols together. That said, I'm really enjoying them. The lack of histrionics is extremely refreshing, IMO, and I like that you always get the impression they're actually thinking about what they're saying.

On SVU these days it just seems like they're reciting lines.

Jachelle said...

I really liked this episode. I actually watched it twice (when it originally aired and two hours later when it repeated.) It was interesting to watch the dynamic between the friends and how they manipulated each other. Then it turned out it was O'Doyle's wife who was the killer. I liked that little twist.

Alan said...

I sort of agree with you about Saffron. Does she have an accent that she's hiding? I don't know anything about her, but she sounds like she struggles over every word that comes out of her mouth. That said, I LOVE Jeff Goldblum on here. My wife and I have been big fans of his for a while. I hope they keep this show running for a long time. God bless you, and thank you for your Law and Order info.

Me likes CoCo said...

This episode was okay ish but nothing spectacular like Law & Order was Monday night.

From what I've been reading ALL DAY. LOCI is on the cancellation list and IPS was renewed for a fourth season. They said David Maples approved IPS on Friday May the 14th.

So I guess the rumors are true. As soon as a MAJOR outlet okays that, I will really believe it. SpoilerTV released a statement on IPS only yesterday but took it down. (Like Courier Mail did on Meloni).

janethyland said...

This episode had the lowest recorded ratings ever for LOCI.
It got 2.5million watching and only 0.8 in the key 18-49 age demo.Previously the lowest recorded was 2.8 ().9) for Abel and Willing and 2.8 (0.9) for God and Insects.

I wonder if those were constant numbers for the whole hour or whether there was fluctuation.I dont think Neilsen make that information public,its just for the industry.

Its not good anyway.

Anonymous said...

I enjoy this paring very much! I think Nichols is cool and super charming, Steven is smart and beautiful, the captain is shapr and always get right to the point. I'll stick with the show as long as it lasts :)