Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Law & Order CI “True Legacy” Recap & Review

All photos from USA Network

Law & Order Criminal Intent broke the streak of bad episodes with “True Legacy”, a story about a connected political family who will kill to protect the image and the family legacy. It provided a slight twist at the end, with the matriarch of the family actually coordinating an affair between her husband and daughter in law in order to produce another son. Yet again, the guest stars seem to be far more interesting than the detectives working the case, and I am not sure why the show seemingly continues to make Nichols and Stevens so low key. Regardless, the episode was interesting and while somewhat predictable, I enjoyed watching.

The downside is that Law & Order Criminal Intent, which in my opinion has always been the weakest of the shows in the Law & Order franchise, has nothing compelling going for it. Jeff Goldblum’s character has lost the spark that he had when she first appeared with the series, and his work partner Serena Stevens, played by Saffron Burrows, has virtually no chemistry with not only her partner nor with other characters. Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, despite her brief appearances, seems to light up the screen and brings energy to her scenes. I still have high hopes that the show can recover with Goldblum in the lead role, but they need to bring some of Zach Nichol’s energy and eccentricities back, as the show needs a jolt.

Here is the recap:

The owner of a food truck, Ryan Foley, of “Foley’s Movable Feast” is found dead in the trunk of his car in an airport parking lot. Detectives Zach Nichols (Jeff Goldblum) and Serena Stevens (Saffron Burrows) are called to the scene. The victim had been shot, the gun dumped in the truck with the body, his ID also with his body.

Back at Major Case, the detectives confer with Captain Zoe Callas (Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio) and the detectives tell her the gun is untraceable. The surveillance camera in the area had been shot with a paintball gun. Ryan was divorced 5 years ago and has no children and no evidence of acrimony. His office said he was gone for a few days but would not say where, and Callas tells them to do a scan of all the airlines out of LaGuardia. They later find he booked a flight to Miami but he changed seats after he boarded and sat in coach and they found he sat next to Angela Caldera.

Later, the detectives are at the apartment of Rick and Angela Caldera (Holley Fain). She says she knew Ryan but not well, they use his catering firm. She is special counsel on Senator Caldera’s campaign and she is the Senator’s daughter-in-law. Ryan said he was having problems with his food truck business and said she did not see him in Miami. Rick Caldera (James Martinez) arrives and she tells him Ryan was killed. Rick says he has his own business and does not work on his father’s campaign. Afterwards, the detectives comment that they noticed Angela cringed when Rick touched her and suspect she did not cringe when with Ryan.

Later, Angela is at home talking with her mother in law Marta (Laura Harring) about her sister who is ill. Senator Victor Caldera (Jose Zuniga) arrives and asks Angela about his speech tonight. When Victor tends to his grandson, Rick comments to Angela he thinks they should have another child.

Back at major Case, they see footage of the driver of Ryan’s car who is wearing a gold Rolex but whose face can’t be seen. Callas tells them she got a call from CSU who said they found the keys to the BMW in a trash can with a partial print which matched prints on the trunk that match Angela’s, who is in the system for a DUI. They think she and Ryan had a lovers getaway in Miami and realize that with the Senator up for re-election, this may cause a media frenzy. Stevens thinks they could use this to their advantage to get Angela to open up.

Back at home, Angela is getting ready for bed and seems upset. Rick asks her if she has been crying but she says she is fine. Rick says she is barely looking at him and asks what is going on, saying she can talk to him. She says she is just tired. He asks her to promise she will never leave him and she says no, never.

The next day and in a playground, Stevens talks with Angela about the evidence they have. Angela says she can’t do this with her son there. Stevens asks what she is so afraid of and asks if she wants her to bring her in and have the tabloids involved. Angela says Ryan left Miami early as another food truck vendor was giving her trouble and suspects it may be the Falafel King. She admits that she got a message when she got back she got a message from Ryan telling her he wanted to see her and where to find his car and she found his body. She dumped the keys in the trash and ran. She says her husband does not know about the affair and even if they did the Calderas would never let her leave. She saw a lawyer and was told that Victor would oppose it and he refused to represent her.

Back at Major Case, they bring Callas up to speed. They tell her Rick is an only child and has never held a job in politics. But Angela is front and center in the campaign and her ethnicity may have opened up the Senator to a wider constituency. A campaign photo shows Angela and her son Bobby but Rick is not pictured. Callas says they need to know what Rick knew and when he knew it, and when Stevens tells Callas that she told Angela that Rick would not be told, Callas overrides her.

The detectives speak with Rick with what they know and he says it is just a rumor and that Angela would not do this to them, saying she went there for her sister’s surgery. When Nichols says the Miami hotel confirmed Angela and Ryan were there together, Rick wonders if they think he killed Ryan. The detectives press for his whereabouts that day and he says he took his son to school , bid on a scaffolding job, and then went to this mother’s with his son in the afternoon.

At Foley’s Moveable Feast, they speak to Mrs. Dugan who works there are says the Falafel King has grabbed all their territory since Ryan’s death and their trucks were vandalized while Ryan was in Miami. She said that the Falafel King told her that Ryan went to Miami with Angela and she told Ryan about it.

They speak with the Falafel King and says he does not play dirty, he just works hard. The detectives think he told the Senator about Angela having an affair with Ryan. He blows them off. The detectives now wonder if Victor Caldera is involved.

Back at Major Case, they go over all the info they have on Victor. He met Marta Castillo as undergrad at Columbia and see that Marta’s father is General Omar Castillo, and think she learned a few tricks from him and thinks she helped create Victor into a Senator. They look at Victor’s motto, “Family power, the core of our strength” and wonder what did Victor do?

Later, the detectives watch as Caldera makes a campaign appearance with his wife and grandson. The detectives approach and ask to talk to Victor about Ryan. Marta’s brother is there and Nichols notices he is wearing a gold Rolex, which Marta said belonged to her father. They asks Victor about the Falafel King and whether sweetened a deal with info about Angela and Ryan. Marta comes up and makes a veiled threat to the detectives.

Back at Major Case, they check out Marta’s brother Hernando who is known as “Uncle Nando” and was arrested 15 years ago for beating a man to death but it was changed to a self defense plea and all charges were dropped, during Victor Caldera’s stint in the attorney general’s office. They think Victor owed his political rise to Castillo family money, and Hernando is now beholden to Victor and Hernando becomes the “go-to” guy for family problems – like a cheating wife.

At home, Angela is trying to leave and Rick uses force to stop her. He is becoming violent and the police break down the door and pull Rick away. Meanwhile, Bobby is at Victor and Marta’s home and Marta gets a phone call and tells Victor Rick is in jail because he attacked Angela. She says they need to post bail and make a public show of support – for Angela.

Nichols and Stevens are at Angela’s and she blames them for what happened because they shamed him. They tell him Victor already knew. When they mention Hernando she says she would not “do that” for Rick. Nichols suggests witness protection but she says Victor Caldera is a powerful man. Afterward, they think Angela is just plain scared and wonder if Victor had been trailing her for a while and maybe there were other affairs and decide to check her travel records and see if they match with Hernando’s.

Back at Major Case, Angela’s travel records always have her in the company of her father in law. They realize that Angela had Bobby while on one of those trips out of the country with Victor and Marta and Rick arrived later. Callas wonders why.

At Victor’s, Angela asks if Bobby is ready but Victor suggests Bobby stay with them and also says this does not mean she should leave. He says to salvage this Senate race it require sacrifice and says she should go under a doctor’s care for mental problems and say this is what cause the family crisis. When he tells her she will make a public statement, she says Rick will never go for his and he says like Rick, she has no choice, and asks where could she go that they couldn’t find her. He asks if she is sorry for what she has done, and then he kisses her. They don’t realize that Marta is watching.

Victor Caldera has a press conference on the topic and asks for their love and prayers. Callas and the detectives watch on TV at Major Case and Stevens says sometimes Angela registered on trips under her maiden name of Scanlon but Caldera was always there. They wonder if Rick is in denial and Callas suggest they offer him a dose of reality.

With Rick in interrogation with his lawyer, the detectives point the finger at Victor’s involvement and says Rick had to know about Angela and his father. He says he knows how it looks but is satisfied nothing was going on. He said is mother was that convincing; when she tells Victor to jump he says how high. They show him pictures of Angela and Victor together during Rick and Angela’s first year of marriage. He calls him a dirty rotten bastard. His lawyer tries to stop Rick from talking but he says he is his father’s lawyer and not his and he wants him out. Rick then asks if his father is going down for Ryan’s murder and Nichols says there is a way to make it true.

Later, at Victor’s office, Victor asks Rick if he is working with the detectives and wearing a wire. He says he is not there with a wire, he wants compensation for his grief and is taking Bobby away from them. He also tells Marta that Bobby is out of their lives, and says now it is all about money. He tells his mother it is her money and to buy Victor out of it, and she offers him $200K, and he suggests more like $500K. She says he will have it tonight and says he has suffered and one day this will pass. She hugs him and shoots a glance at Victor.

Later, Hernando arrives with a briefcase of money, and when he hands it to Rick he says he is sorry Rick is leaving the family. Rick says it is for the best. When Hernando moves to walk away, he turns back with a gun and immediately the detectives and police appear with guns drawn, and Hernando is arrested.

At the Caldera home, the detectives arrive with police in tow and Rick is also with them. They tell Marta they know why she wanted her son dead and why she wanted her brother to kill Ryan. The empire is hers, not the Senator’s. Marta is stunned when Angela arrives, and says the betrayal is now complete. They tell her Angela never broke from the plan, that the family bio says the family liked to nurture troubled young women and Marta singled out Angela and mentored her. She says when Angela called her from Miami she had Hernando kill Ryan and it was important that Angela saw Ryan’s body to warn her that nobody leave the fold. Angela asks Marta if she know she was sleeping with Victor, why didn’t she want her gone? Nichols told her that she had to stay, she is Bobby’s mother and that Bobby is the “son of real promise” and he will be to the family all that Rick was not. Nichols also says Marta wanted Victor to seduce her as she needed a surrogate, someone obligated to be in the family. Nichols adds there is a paternity test at the hospital San Nicholas which was requested at Bobby’s birth – requested by Marta. Marta could only give Victor one son. Marta calls her son a cowardly boy and knew that she and Victor had a problem with him. Stevens says the crime is not having a son, it is lying and killing to have one. As Stevens cuffs Marta, Nichols tells Victor to call his lawyer and that Victor will be surrendering at Centre Street.

Outside the home as Marta is being led to the police car in cuffs, the detectives watch as Angela tries to reconnect with Rick and Bobby as we fade to black.

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MissJanet said...

thank you for the recap and review. ME Rodgers is not in this? There goes any redeeming quality this one could have... BUMMER!

Jachelle said...

I thought this was a fairly good episode. I watched it a second time right away. I find that I like them better the second time around. It's something about the way the series is structured. I need to see it twice to catch everything. Anyway, I liked the mystery aspect of this one. Nichols and Stevens questioned people, did some digging and unearthed the clues a little at a time to come to the answer.

While I like the episodes where the viewer knows who the killer is from the beginning and it's more a why-dunnit than a who-dunnit, I also like the episodes that are about old-fashioned police footwork.

I also thought Saffron Burrows was a lot better in this one. Maybe she was struggling with mastering an American accent. Why do they think we won't watch anything but Americans on our TV shows. It sure doesn't reflect real life.

Thanks for the thorough recap again ATLO. I look forward to reading them and I know I can count on you to clear things up if I don't quite get something.

All Things Law and Order said...

Miss Janet: ME Rodgers makes an appearance early in the episode but wasn;t in it for long!

gahks said...

Was the traditional pre-credits montage missing from this CI episode? It seems that way, judging by the recap...

gahks said...

Was the traditional pre-credits montage missing from this CI episode? It seems that way, judging by the recap...

Joshua Morton said...

I liked this episode. The season finale episode is airing next Tuesday. And after that I might not watch the rest of the season.

I hate the main characters! Excluding ME Mastrantonio's Callas. She's the only good one.

All Things Law and Order said...

gahks - it was there but I skipped over the details as I am trying really hard to reduce the amount of time I am spending on recaps. These intro segments sometimes take too much time to recap and many times the details come out during the episode anyway!

Sheila said...

I heard that the pilot for Law & Order: Los Angeles is done and that it is a two-part? Do you have any intel AllThings?

All Things Law and Order said...

Sheila, I have hear nothing about the pilot episode, nothing on who has been cast as yet, etc. Lots of rumor floating around but so far nothing from any reliable source. The only thing from a reliable source that has come out are the character profiles that EW's Michael Ausiello released the other day!

Anonymous said...

USA has scheduled SVU marathons every tuesday before the new LOCI episode, until the finale on July 6. And apparently it's working.
Ratings (via Travis Yanan)

Law & Order: Criminal Intent
- 3.331 million viewers
- 2.3/4 HH
- 0.9/3 A18-49

Last week (the "vampire" episode)
- 2.972 million viewers
- 2.1/4 HH
- 0.8/2 A18-49

janethyland said...

Not necessarily.
SVU repeats have always been the lead in for LOCI this season all season. They must be appealing to that audience and adjusted their stories accordingly.

The slight increase is more likely because Justified finished last week. That usually has 2 million watching so a proportion of them may have watched LOCI instead this week.

Most other scripted dramas have now finished,like Good Wife and there is less competition for LOCI.

Anonymous said...

Why do they think we won't watch anything but Americans on our TV shows.

Which is ironic because they had Olivia D'Abo who had a very pronounced accent play a regular recurring role on this exact same show for like four seasons. If we could listen to her for an hour, surely we could put up with Saffron Burrows.

Miss Burrows probably should have taken accent-hiding tips from Linus Roache. I think there were only a couple of lines from Michael Cutter that sounded British (like when he said "Rubirosa" as "Rubirozer" or "idea" as "idear"). Otherwise, he was very convincing!

Anonymous said...

Who played Ryan Foley?