Friday, October 29, 2010

Law & Order SVU “Gray” Episode Information

Here are the details from NBC for a new November Law & Order SVU episode titled “Gray”:

Law & Order SVU “Gray” Air Date November 17, 2010 (9PM ET/8C Wednesday NBC)


Detective Stabler (Meloni) goes to his daughter Kathleen's (guest star Allison Siko) university to discuss rape prevention at a Take Back the Night rally. When a girl from the crowd accuses another student of rape, Stabler and Detective Benson (Hargitay) are assigned the case. What emerges are conflicting accounts and fiery accusations without substantial evidence to back them up. To complicate matters further, ADA Paxton (guest star Christine Lahti) returns to prosecute the case, and Kathleen oversteps her bounds, which could land her and her father in hot water. Also starring: Ice-T, Richard Belzer, Dann Florek and Tamara Tunie.

My recap and review of Law & Order SVU "Gray" can be found at this link.

Check out my blog home page for the latest Law & Order information, on All Things Law And Order.

Also, see my companion Law & Order site,These Are Their Stories.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Law & Order SVU “Trophy” BTS and Cast Interviews

Here is a behind the scenes video from next week’s episode of Law & Order SVU “Trophy” which will air on November 3, 2010 at 9 PM/ET on NBC. I’ve also included interviews with guest stars Maria Bello (“Vivian Arliss” ) and R. Lee Ermey (“Walter Burlock”). Enjoy!

My recap and review of Law & Order SVU "Trophy" can be found at this link.

Check out my blog home page for the latest Law & Order information, on All Things Law And Order.

Also, see my companion Law & Order site,These Are Their Stories.

Law & Order SVU “Trophy” Sneak Peek Previews

Here are 6 sneak peek previews for next week’s episode of Law & Order SVU “Trophy” which will air on November 3, 2010 at 9 PM/ET on NBC. Maria Bello will guest star.

My recap and review of Law & Order SVU "Trophy" can be found at this link.

Please be aware that I am only permitted to keep these videos up for one week after the episode originally airs, so please catch them while you can!

Check out my blog home page for the latest Law & Order information, on All Things Law And Order.

Also, see my companion Law & Order site,These Are Their Stories.

Law & Order SVU “Trophy” Promo (Video)

Here is the NBC promo for Law & Order SVU “Trophy” which will air on November 3, 2010 at 9 PM/ET on NBC.

My recap and review of Law & Order SVU "Trophy" can be found at this link.

Check out my blog home page for the latest Law & Order information, on All Things Law And Order.

Also, see my companion Law & Order site,These Are Their Stories.

Law & Order LA “Pasadena” Promo (Video)

Here is the NBC promo for Law & Order Los Angeles “Pasadena” which will air on Nevember 3, 2010 at 10 PM/ET on NBC.

My recap and review of Law & Order Los Angeles "Pasadena" can be found at this link.

Check out my blog home page for the latest Law & Order information, on All Things Law And Order.

Also, see my companion Law & Order site,These Are Their Stories.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Law & Order LA: René Balcer Talks with Mediaweek

Here’s an interesting interview from Mediaweek with Executive Producer René Balcer about Law & Order Los Angeles. Take note of the comments on the differences in location shooting between NY and LA.

Check out my blog home page for the latest Law & Order information, on All Things Law And Order.

Also, see my companion Law & Order site,These Are Their Stories.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Law & Order LA: Time for Tough Love

I’m a big fan of all the shows of the Law & Order brand. But, even a serious Law and Order junkie knows when it’s time for tough love. With four episodes under its belt, it’s time for me to offer my opinions regarding Law & Order Los Angeles – “LOLA” for short.

The original Law & Order had a twenty year run in New York City and earned a place as a national pastime. Before it was canceled, it received a respectable number of viewers for new episodes, despite NBC burying it on Friday night. Many viewers still tune in to TNT when past episodes air. It’s TV’s version of comfort food. After NBC canceled the show, there were no other takers (pause for weeping). I won’t spend time speculating about all the reasons why NBC put Law & Order out to pasture, but I will say that I think NBC made a mistake. Likely sensing that fans would buy a reincarnated show and there were still dollars to be made from the Law & Order brand, NBC green-lighted a change in venue for the drama, and Law & Order Los Angeles came to be.
Media reviews for LOLA have been inconsistent, although most that I've read are skewed negative. When the premiere episode aired, there was some outcry over the absence of the voice over introduction by Steve Zirnkilton, a staple for every show in the brand. This intro was added back at the start of the third episode, to the relief of many. That fixed the first 15 seconds or so, but there is much more that needs work.

Location, Location, Location
Law & Order was centered in New York, and the series made the city just as much of a cast member as the actors. The first problem with Law & Order Los Angeles is – to state the obvious - Los Angeles is not New York. New York was always in the forefront of Law & Order, by using the colorful and sometimes distinctive personalities of New Yorkers, highlighting the way New Yorkers live and work in the city, and the concentrated feel of Manhattan. In New York, many scenes shot on location often included lots of people, lots of noisy traffic, and lots of activity. New York always appeared alive. Law & Order Los Angeles doesn’t seem to have the scenic personality, and it may only seem that way because it doesn’t have New York City’s glut of iconic buildings, bridges, waterways, etc. With the exception of one episode, “Harbor City”, which provided some expansive LA vistas, LOLA looks like it could have been shot in Cleveland. My suggestion – the show needs to get out more, with location shots that show people living and working and moving around, showing that the city is alive. Find logical excuses to fit in an icon or two every now and then so viewers can identify with the city. Sure, one can’t have dead bodies popping up near every major Los Angeles landmark because that would be silly. But, Law & Order in New York always seemed to work something in that reinforced its location. Right now, LOLA’s Los Angeles seems like such a generic, sterile place, devoid of people, traffic, and interesting places. Shows like "The Closer", "Southland", and even the cheesy "NCIS LA" do it better.

A related issue is the differing soundtracks. Watch the mothership – especially on episodes before season 18 - and many scenes seem to be devoid of musical backgrounds. In fact, a lot of the sounds you’ll hear on the original L&O are sounds of traffic, people, sirens – the noise of a big city. With LOLA, the sounds of the city are absent; instead we often get some heavy, sometimes syrupy music over simple scenes like detectives questioning people or in interrogation scenes. If the writing and acting is strong enough, background music isn’t needed to help convey the emotional timbre of most scenes, and should be used sparingly.

These Are Their Stories – And They’d Better Be Good
The tried and true “first half to the detectives, second half to the prosecutors" formula seemed to work well for the first 20 years of Law & Order and can still continue to work. To do so, the show must engage the audience with stories that are relatable and believable. LOLA is heading in the wrong direction, serving up stories that are too twisty and unnecessarily complicated. For example, in the episode “Sylmar,” a meth lab is purposely blown up, accidentally killing two kids sitting in a parked car, the killers being a group of people who converted to Islam who are planning acts of terror because of “godless” Americans, and the blowing up of the meth lab had nothing to do with these planned acts; the DDAs have a battle with the Feds over jurisdiction in prosecuting the terrorists. It’s too much even to write down much less watch. After viewing each episode, I came away with nothing, as if someone is using one of those random story generators in creating the plot. There doesn’t seem to be any meat to the stories, it’s just a series of events that are superficially spliced together.

The set up to a good story can be as simple as the title of an episode. Law & Order LA is using names of cities, places, or neighborhoods, which is not only dull, but it doesn’t convey anything interesting about the episodes. “Sylmar,” for example, was the location where two kids were killed while sitting in a car when a garage meth lab explodes. The location is meaningless when you think about the real issue the episode attempted to cover - who has jurisdiction when it comes to the murder of civilians when the killers are planning more acts of terror? I would have called the episode “Jurisdiction” or something descriptive of the central issue of the episode. With more people using their DVR on screen TV listings to plan their program viewing, seeing an episode titled “Sylmar” may not grab a viewer’s attention, but “Jurisdiction” might pique interest. It’s the old sales method of selling the sizzle and not the steak, and LOLA needs to work on selling the sizzle.

The Actors: Time For a Change …Already?
Some see Law & Order as a generic, cookie cutter show; it follows a formula and will look and feel virtually the same from episode to episode, season to season. This makes it easy for actors to come and go, new ones just falling into pre-set roles. Over the years, the mothership saw quite a few detectives and prosecutors come and go. Some cast members became icons; Jerry Orbach and Sam Waterston are the best examples. For many years, these two served as anchors for their respective half of the show, and when their work partners changed, they helped make the change less jarring to viewers. Both Jerry and Sam didn’t join the cast until after the series had been running a few years. Many times a series doesn’t get casting right the first time, and/or sometimes actors just want out, allowing someone better (as with Jerry and Sam) to come in. Sadly, I see no icons in the future for LOLA with the current cast.

Cast changes with LOLA are inevitable. They already had one cast change shortly after the series went into production. For LOLA, they should make more changes sooner (before season 2, if there is one) rather than later. Neither the TV executives nor viewers have any tolerance for actors that they don’t enjoy watching or that may be prompting viewers to tune to other programs. LOLA may think they hedged their bets by having two Deputy District Attorney teams for the prosecution: Alfred Molina/Regina Hall and Terrence Howard/Megan Boone. But, this may also work against them, as comparisons are already been made between teams. I feel very comfortable with Alfred Molina in his role; he comes across as being appropriately authoritative and commanding. (I also believe he would have made a better District Attorney than over Peter Coyote’s “Jerry Hardin”.) Terrence Howard does not exude that same presence as Molina and I am not sure that he ever will. In my mind, I’ve already made my mental choice of my preferred DDA. Here lies the problem: viewers will have their favorite actors, and some viewers like the alternating roles while others like consistency. This all adds up to viewers making a choice whether to watch an episode or not to watch depending on who is starring. If the choice is not to watch, the network may never get those viewers back.

The two female DDAs have no presence whatsoever. They’re just…there, almost like they’re part of the furniture. They need to either give their roles some substance and their characters some personality, or find replacements. Fast.

Corey Stoll and Skeet Ulrich, who play the detective team, should settle in with viewers over time. Ulrich has a decent (young) fan base (lots of “Jericho” fans out there) and this should draw in the coveted demographic. Stoll is believable in his role and while the younger female demographic may not be swooning over him like they do over Ulrich, Stoll still is very likeable and actually seems the better actor of the pair. Rachel Ticotin, who plays the Lieutenant, hasn’t been on long enough or had enough screen time to make any judgments either way. Bottom line: this segment of the cast should work well.

Engage Viewers And The Buzz Will Come
Law & Order was frequently the topic of discussion because it covered controversial issues. So far, Law & Order Los Angeles hasn’t covered anything which seems to be sparking any buzz. There is an absence of debate about how the detectives handled an investigation, or how the prosecutor worked a trial. Where are the big legal, moral, and ethical issues that used to stir up viewers? Not every episode can be controversial, but there needs to be something in every episode that engages viewers and gets people talking. People love to give their opinion, and LOLA so far isn’t giving viewers much to talk about.

These days, TV shows can be made or broken on buzz or the lack of it. LOLA is like a ham sandwich without the ham. To survive long term, there needs to be some substance for people to sink their teeth into and to feed viewers’ needs to dissect it and discuss it further.

The Same, But Different; New But Not Improved
There is something comforting in tuning into a TV show and knowing what to expect. Law & Order still has a very solid fan base, and it seems many fans have moved over to LOLA. The question is: how long will they stay? The show feels the same as the beloved mothership, and it’s just different enough to make some feel that it’s newer and shinier than the old standby. Newer and shinier is not always better, however. Law & Order set the bar fairly high, and LOLA still has a ways to go before it can even see that bar. Changing the scenery is not enough. LOLA has to make its own mark; it has to find its own style. It also must proceed with caution – messing too much with the standard formula may find LOLA going the way of “new Coke” (a major failure for the Coke brand in the mid 1980s). Many Law & Order fans are still stinging over the cancellation of the beloved mothership, and LOLA so far pales in comparison. Law & Order Los Angeles is in desperate need of establishing its own identity while keeping the best of what made the original a 20 year success. The brand may be over 20 years old, but that is still too young to die.

All Text Content (Recaps, Review, Commentary) © unless otherwise noted

Check out my blog home page for the latest Law & Order information, on All Things Law And Order.

Also, see my companion Law & Order site,These Are Their Stories.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Law & Order LA “Hondo Field” Episode Information

NBC has released information for a new episode of Law & Order Los Angeles, titled “Hondo Field.” Here are the details:

Law & Order Los Angeles “Hondo Field” Air Date November 10, 2010 (10PM ET/9C Wednesday NBC)

DETECTIVE WINTERS (SKEET ULRICH) AND JARUSZALSKI (COREY STOLL) INVESTIGATE THE MURDER OF AN OIL RIG WORKER—After a night out partying with his co-workers, oil rig worker Freddy Ramirez (guest star Andres Perez-Molina) is found dead along the shore. While Detectives Winters and Jaruszalski are investigating a possible crime scene, they stumble upon paperwork indicating that Freddy was about to blow the whistle on one of his co-workers. Uncovering vital evidence, DDA Dekker (Terrence Howard) and Stanton (Megan Boone) face the formidable challenge of turning the tide in favor of the prosecution.

recap and review of Law & Order Los Angeles "Hondo Field" can be found at this link.

Check out my blog home page for the latest Law & Order information, on All Things Law And Order.

Also, see my companion Law & Order site,These Are Their Stories.

Law & Order SVU “Penetration” Episode Information

NBC has released information for a new episode of Law & Order SVU, titled “Penetration.” Here are the details:

Law & Order SVU “Penetration” Air Date November 10, 2010 (9PM ET/8C Wednesday NBC)


FBI Agent Dana Lewis (guest star Marcia Gay Harden) is assaulted by a stranger and asks Detective Benson (Hargitay) to have her rape kit tested. Before the cops can really help her, Lewis goes back undercover and refuses to talk about the assignment or the rape, for fear that she will be exposed and pulled off the case. She reluctantly allows Benson and Stabler to get involved in what looks like a protest against the construction of a mosque at Ground Zero, but they find themselves scrambling to put the pieces together of a much larger puzzle than they had anticipated. Also starring: Richard Belzer, Ice-T, Dann Florek, BD Wong, Tamara Tunie and Melissa Sagemiller.

My recap and review of Law & Order SVU "Penetration" can be found at this link.

Check out my blog home page for the latest Law & Order information, on All Things Law And Order.

Also, see my companion Law & Order site,These Are Their Stories.

Law & Order UK “Anonymous’ Recap & Review

All photos from NBCU

Law & Order UK “Anonymous” was based on a season 8 episode of Law & Order titled “Stalker” written by Kathy McCormick. In that episode, Lennie Briscoe and Rey Curtis found themselves at opposite ends when Lennie changes his mind about how they handled a stalking case, but Rey does not, and McCoy skewers Rey on the stand. “Anonymous” was a great tribute to that episode, and while it didn’t quite have the edginess of the original Briscoe/Curtis scuffle; it was still hard to watch Devlin be made the fool by CP Ben Steel. It seems clear to me that had Chandler not threatened Devlin with losing his job if he changed his police report - after having the benefit of hindsight - that maybe Devlin would have otherwise openly changed his conclusion as did Ronnie Brooks.

It was also clear that Brooks was highly motivated to find evidence that would support changing his story, something he felt compelled to do after the stalking victim turns up dead, and realizing they may have been able to prevent it.

Some complain that Law & Order UK is taking the easy way out by using stories from the original Law & Order and just re-imagining them for UK viewers. But, I believe this only validates the high quality of the original series and their stories, as many years later the situations and cases still remain relevant and compelling. The UK cast is top notch and I like every single one of them, something that hasn’t always happened in the Law & Order universe. I am happy that Law & Order UK has given such a fitting tribute to the strength of the original show and I’m glad that more episodes have been commissioned.

Here is the recap:

When a Stephanie Blake (Michelle Bonnard) is found unconscious at the bottom of a stairway, DS Ronnie Brooks (Bradley Walsh) and DS Matt Devlin (Jamie Bamber) are called to the scene. There were no witnesses to her actual fall. The detectives check her flat. Stephanie is a nurse at a children’s hospital. They find several emails from someone called “Giovanni.”

Back at MIU Central Headquarters, the detectives confer with DI Natalie Chandler (Harriet Walter) and tell her about the volume of emails from Giovanni. It seems like he was watching her and stalking her. She is still sedated at the hospital. Stephanie had reported the stalking to a DS Fraser at Northcross.

At Northcross CSU, DS Jemma Fraser (Sarah Woodward) tells the detectives that the guy is clever and has been impossible to track. Stephanie’s job put her on the day shift so she would not have to work at night but she was convinced he was in her flat when she wasn’t there. She moved and then he began to threaten her. They stepped up her threat level. They also got word that a prisoner at Ashbridge prison had asked to have Stephanie's mobile number added to his list of allowed numbers. She never heard of him and she only had that mobile number for a few weeks.

At Ashbridge in the visitor’s room, the detectives speak with Shane Morgan (Mark White) who insists he just put the wrong phone number on his list. But they said he also had her name on his list. They think he was involved, but he said a bloke called Lowry asked him to add the number because she was some bird he wanted to hook up with. Lowry got out last week.

The detectives go to Lowry’s flat and speak with a woman who describes Lowry’s creepy behavior and indicates he groped her. Later, after they have tracked down Russell Lowry (Rocky Marshall), Brooks and Devlin have him in the interrogation room. He says he met Stephanie in a bar a month ago and they clicked and she gave him her number. But he got remanded to prison for assault. He asked Shane to add his number because Shane wanted cigarette and Russell had a lot of calls to make. He is between jobs. He says he did not contact Stephanie again, and he likes to “spread the love.”

Later, Devlin shows CP Alesha Phillips (Freema Agyeman) an email that Giovanni sent to Stephanie which used the phrase "spread the love.” But, they have no real evidence connecting Lowry. They know Lowry just sold his laptop and they need to track down the buyer. She asks them to talk to the female neighbor who was groped by Lowry. Chandler tells them Stephanie has regained consciousness.

At the hospital, the detectives show Stephanie a photo of Lawry and she does not know him. She says she does not go to bars. She doesn’t know if that is who attacked her as he grabbed her from behind. She explains how her attack happened, saying that she was taking out the garbage, but that detail is inconsistent. She said he did say he was Giovanni. The only name she ever came up as a possible stalker was Lucas Dutton, as he always seemed to be following her. She is distraught and begs them to help her and make him stop.
Later, outside walking and eating on the fly, the detectives tell Chandler that Dutton has no record and has a job. They may have hit a brick wall with Lowry but he had been in prison for computer fraud for hacking into people’s bank accounts. He didn’t get out until last July. Brooks wonder if he did his emails on a phone but Chandler thinks the emails are too long to do by phone. Lowry’s neighbor had Lowry “banged up” for sexual assault so he is back in prison.

Brooks and Devlin speak to Lucas Dutton (Matt Cross) outside his flat, and he is reluctant to talk to them. They notice a video camera pointed out his window and then decide they don’t need a warrant. Devlin pounds on Dutton’s door.

Back in MIU with Dutton and his lawyer, they are trying to get Dutton for on line obscenities and bring up the videos he is taking. They ask him about Stephanie falling down the stairs and he doesn’t know what they are about.

The detectives go back to the building where Stephanie lives and Mrs. Golofsky (Eileen Essell) tells them Stephanie's mother came to collect some of Stephanie’s clothes and that there was a terrible smell coming from Stephanie’s flat. The detectives later recall that Stephanie said she had already taken out the garbage at the time of the attack. Later. they find that the day before the attack, Stephanie spoke with DS Fraser who told Stephanie they didn’t have enough to pursue the attack and that the situation would only change if they felt Stephanie was in immediate danger. The next day Stephanie fell down the stairs. Brooks says it doesn’t add up.

Back at MIU, Brooks and Devlin question Stephanie about the issue with her rubbish. She feels that they don’t believe her. They tell her they know what DS Fraser told her and imply that she staged the accident and exaggerated in order to get attention to her case. She insists that Giovanni still continues to harass her and they won’t help her. She breaks down and says she is dead unless they help her and they don’t believe she needs help. Devlin says they can’t investigate a crime that has not happened. She whispers, “He’s gonna kill me.”

Later, Devlin tells Phillips he knows Stephanie was desperate but that was not the way to go. She thinks they should charge her. They can’t link Dutton to the original emails. Lowry is now out of prison. Phillips wants a copy of Devlin’s police report for the hospital lawyer as the hospital spent a lot of money on security for Stephanie and if she is lying they will probably fire her. He asks her to email him the hospital contact details and he will handle it.

Back at MIU, Chandler brings in a report – Stephanie Blake has been murdered, beaten and stabbed. At the scene, they see she was on the phone, she had just called 999.

Back at MIU, Brooks, Devlin Phillips and CP James Steel (Ben Daniels) listen to a recording of Stephanie’s frantic 999 call and she is creaming as she is being killed. She says it is the man in the picture. They think it Lowry’s mug shot and thinks if it were Dutton attacking her she would use his name as she knows him. Steel says to find enough that they can charge him.

At Lowry’s apartment, he admits he is a fan of classical music and has 25 recordings of Don Giovanni. Later, Phillips relays this information to Steel and CPS Director George Castle (Bill Paterson). They tracked down his laptop but it had been reconditioned. Castle reminds them he was in prison when the emails started. When Castle asks how certain Brooks and Devlin are sure that Lowry is their man, Steel says they let him go and a woman got killed and that is certain. Steel says it is gut instinct and he is going to send the detectives to Rotheram to figure out how he did it.

At Woodberry Prison in Rotheram, the detectives speak with the prison governor think that Lowry had access to computers while working the prison’s on line marketing facility, but they are told Lowry’s computer fraud record kept him away from working in that area.

Back at CPS, Steel tells Castle their IT expert confirms the emails came from the prison but can’t nail it down to the marketing area. Lowry’s cellmate Keith Wilson - who did have access - may have been helping. All they have on Lowry is the 999 call. But Phillips sees that Lowry once worked at a call center of a charity animal rescue organization and during that time, Stephanie set up a direct debit from her account to that organization and it was Lowry who signed her up as a donor. This means he had all her bank details and phone number and he could find all records of her purchase.
Back at Woodberry, Steel and Phillips speak with Keith Wilson (Rowe David McLelland) and tell him they think he helped Lowry. He denies helping him, and they say he must have sent the emails so they will charge him with aiding and abetting a murder. He admits that he did let Lowry have access.

At CPS, the Steel and Phillips tell Castle that Lowry helped Wilson get into the program so Wilson owed Lowry a favor. Wilson also suggested Lowry help the guy running the program to fix a firewall problem and now Lowry is unofficial IT support and the governor is turning a blind eye. This would give Lowry access to the entire computer system.

In Judge Robert Quinn’s (Richard Clothier) chambers, Steel argues the use of the 999 call which included Stephanie’s scream about her attacker being in the photo as a means to identify Lowry. Lowry’s barrister Evelyn Wyndham (Anna Chancellor) is there. Wyndham says since Stephanie lied about her recent attack with police that she cannot be considered reliable. The judge rules the tape is admissible but the defense gets to introduce evidence that questions Stephanie’s character.

Steel later gives this news to Brooks and Devlin and they can’t prove that Giovanni was escalating. All he can get is cyber stalking. If the first attack had actually happened, things would be different.

Back at MIU, Brooks and Devlin give the news to Stephanie’s mother Jean Blake (Chrissie Cotterill) and it distresses her and is upset that she came to them for help and he killed her. She says Stephanie was not a liar.

Later, the detectives discuss the issue with Chandler and it is clear Brooks is having regrets about how they handled the case. She tells him not to let guilt affect his memory and it could undermine the credibility of his department. Devlin also has regrets and Chandler reminds him that it is his name on the report and if he goes back on his word, that is the end of his career.

Back in Stephanie’s apartment, Brooks tries to get Mrs. Golofsky remember if someone rang the bell that night and it she buzzed someone in.

Brooks then tells Steel that their interpretation of the original evidence was flawed and wants to change his conclusions. Steel is concerned about the precedent this would set, but Brooks is adamant they made a mistake and says it is not about putting Lowry away; they jumped to conclusions and he has the evidence to back up his new conclusion. Steel will apply to amend the indictment and charge Lowry with attempted murder. After Brooks leaves, Phillips and Steel discuss why Brooks changed his mind, and Steel seems to think they should just look at Brook’s evidence and accept that he changed his mind.

At Crown v Lowry pre-trial review, Brooks testifies that Stephanie’s landlady let in someone assuming it was another tenant, but he verified it wasn’t another tenant, and Brooks conclude it was Stephanie’s attacker. Brooks reminds them there was no forensic evidence at the first scene of the fall, and neither was there any at the scene where Stephanie was actually murdered, and the attacker was clever. Wyndham questions Brooks on his motives and says didn’t his original report indicate Stephanie made it all up. She drags Devlin’s name into it, and Brooks says Devlin agrees with his new conclusion.

Back at MIU, Chandler, with Devlin present, asks Brooks what he was thinking by saying Devlin agreed. He says she asked his opinion and he gave it to her. Chandler says Brooks gave Devlin’s opinion, and Devlin says Brooks could have warned him. Both Chandler and Devlin are annoyed at Brooks. She puts Brooks on “gardening leave” until the end of the trial. Afterwards, Devlin argues with Brooks about what he did and is upset that Brooks did not include him. Devlin is upset and yells at Brooks that they both agreed Stephanie faked the attack and thanks to him Lowry will walk. He tells Brooks he has been called for the defense and will not lie.

Castle tells Phillips and Steel that Devlin is going to stand by his original report. Phillips tells them that one of the hospital lawyer asked to see a copy of the police report so they could fire Stephanie, and Devlin told Phillips to leave it with him. Stephanie was never fired.

In the Old Bailey Robing Room in central criminal court, Steel goes over the what Phillips heard from the hospital lawyer. She asks Steel if he is sure about this.
Devlin is called as a witness and says his first investigation showed no crime and his opinion was that she faked the attack and he stands by the report. Under cross examination, Steel brings up the fact that Devlin was not involved in Brook’s re-examination of the case, and Devlin says that the case was closed and was confident their conclusion was correct. Steel gets Devlin to testify they were able to link Lowry to Giovanni but Devlin would not conclude that Stephanie was in lethal danger from him. He asks when did Devlin reached that conclusion – when Stephanie was found dead? Devlin seems to stick to his story. But Steel brings up the fact that Devlin spoke with the hospital administrator saying Stephanie WAS in danger from Lowry and asks if Devlin lied then. He says he felt sorry for her and did not want her to lose her job. He wasn’t lying then, but he is not lying now. Steel badgers Devlin, saying that Devlin was just covering up for his own incompetence.

Afterwards, Phillips chides Steel for going that far but he says he went as far as he needed to. He adds today Devlin was collateral damage.

Later, Lowry is found guilty of attempted murder and murder. Devlin walks out of the courtroom.

Outside, Brooks tries to smooth things over with Devlin. Devlin tells him he put him in an impossible position and stood by while Steel called him a bad and stupid copper. Brooks tries to make a joke of it and then asks Devlin, “too soon?” As they look off to the skyline, we fade to black.

All Text Content (Recaps, Review, Commentary) © unless otherwise noted

Check out my blog home page for the latest Law & Order information, on All Things Law And Order.

Also, see my companion Law & Order site,These Are Their Stories.

Law & Order LA “Pasadena” Advance Photos

NBC has released a few photos from the November 3, 2010 episode of Law & Order Los Angeles “Pasadena” featuring Rachel Ticotin, Skeet Ulrich, and Corey Stoll, and here they are!

My recap and review of Law & Order Los Angeles "Pasadena" can be found at this link.

Photos by Dean Hendler/NBC

Check out my blog home page for the latest Law & Order information, on All Things Law And Order.

Also, see my companion Law & Order site,These Are Their Stories.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

René Balcer’s Video Production Diary for "Sylmar"

Here’s the latest installment of René Balcer’s (Law & Order Los Angeles Executive Producer) video production diary for the episode “Sylmar,”

Update - this video is no longer available.

Check out my blog home page for the latest Law & Order information, on All Things Law And Order.

Also, see my companion Law & Order site,These Are Their Stories.

Law & Order LA “Sylmar” Recap & Review

All photos from NBCU

Law & Order Los Angeles “Sylmar” was one of those episodes that had a great first half, and then a flat second half. Despite DDA Joe Dekker’s (Terrence Howard) setback with the Feds taking over his case and his subequent battle to get his case back, the episode still loses momentum. Part of is it due to the trite scenarios with the cranky and politically constipated DA (played by a somewhat stiff Peter Coyote) thinking that Dekker is making the wrong moves and doing it for his ego, then the usual battle for jurisdiction with the media close at hand. Howard had a little more life in this episode than in his first outing, but I still am not convinced he’s right for the role. I am not sure if he is trying to relay that his character is intense and passionate but his treacly speeches and his long gazes and glares at other people don’t seem to be having that effect on me. It may also be that his voice is simply not strong enough to project in the same forceful and authoritative way that DDA Ricardo Morales’ (Alfred Molina) does. Even when Howard is trying to be passionate about his cause, he still comes off as weak. Megan Boone also doesn’t help much, playing her role too low key and with barely any emotion. There is no spark between either of them and I wonder if she is just not the right match for Howard. It could be the writing, since they seem to be giving him the sugary, overly emotional dialog which seems forced. One thing I do know - they need to work on the second half of the show more so than the first.

Skeet Ulrich and Corey Stoll are far more believable in their roles, and I find that I really like Corey more and more with each episode. (I'm still working on getting comfortable with Skeet.) This paring is coming together better than with the DDAs. As the DDA teams alternate each week and the detectives do not, it may take much longer for viewers to acclimate to one or both legal teams. The alternating DDAs also makes it easy to compare each team and to like one team over the other, something that may also be working against Howard, at least in my mind.

I could have done without the sappy line from Rex Winters at the opening about leaving your kids at home when visiting a meth lab. It was a silly comment that did not properly convey the real tragedy of something like two innocent children being killed in such a horrific fashion. I’ve also seen a lot of news coverage of meth lab explosions, but Sylmar's seemed to do very little structural damage to the house and garage. I know we’re talking TV special effects here, but I would have expected a little more debris and the garage looking more damaged than just the door being blown off with flames coming out. The car also didn’t seem to move at all from the blast. OK, it’s a nitpick, I know.

Here is the recap:

A woman leaves her 2 kids in the car parked in front of a house and goes inside the house where a man is waiting. Soon afterwards, an explosion from inside the garage occurs, and the car is engulfed in flames, the children still inside.

Later, Detectives Rex Winters (Skeet Ulrich) and Tomas "TJ" Jaruszalski (Corey Stoll) are on the scene along with police and fire departments. The mother of the two children, Kimberly Miller (Shannon Lucio), is distraught over the loss of her children. The owner of the house, Ronnie Powell, is not on the premises. Kim was just at the house to drop something off for a friend. When the garage blew up he ran to his truck and drove away. There is evidence that there was a meth lab in the garage. As Kimberly screams uncontrollably, Rex looks into the burned out car and says, “Word to the wise: if you’re your gonna drop in on your friendly neighborhood meth cooker, leave the kids at home.”

They question Kimberly who said she did not know Ronnie had a meth lab. She was just retuning his plastic sunglasses.

As the detectives check out the house, they find bullets and yellow sunglasses which don’t look plastic.

At the home of Kim and Kevin Miller, Kim insists to Rex the sunglasses had dark lenses. Kevin (Josh Close) asks TJ about Ronnie. He thinks he knows Ronnie from softball last year and then runs out to scream at his wife about being with Ronnie. She admits she was seeing him, and Kevin becomes crazed with anger. She does not know where Ronnie is. Kevin later tells him that Ronnie lives with his mom.

At the home of Ellen Powell (Dee Wallace), she explains Ronnie moved out last year. His sister Amy (Kathleen Rose Perkins) is there, and she tells Rex that Ronnie was a godless screw up. His mother doesn’t believe TJ when he tells her about the drugs. She says he works with model planes and UPS delivered some supplies for him to her home a few weeks ago.

The detectives go to the company who skipped the fuel for the model airplanes, and TJ sees is it nitro methane. It is the same fuel used by Tim McVey for the Oklahoma City bombing. But back at the home, they find that nitro methane was not used at the home. They think Ronnie has it in is truck.

Back at the Robbery Homicide division, they review their findings with Lt. Arleen Gonzales (Rachel Ticotin). They are concerned about the powerful explosive. Gonzales gets a car saying a patrol has found Ronnie’s truck parked. And she is sending over the bomb squad. She tells them to check his cell phone for contacts in the area.

Soon afterwards, the police break down the door of Jack Bryce, who says he doesn’t know where Ronnie is. Rex believes Ronnie is in the crawl space and TJ convinces him to come out by threatening to send rats in after him. He exits and they arrest him.

At RHD, Ronnie is in interrogation. The detectives did not find any evidence of the fuel at the house. The lab did find traces of denatured alcohol in the cook pot at his meth lab. The detectives speak with Ronnie and he knows nothing about the fuel and says he didn’t order anything. They tell him they found denatured alcohol in his cook pot and ask who was in his garage. It was just his sister’s fiancé. He says they got it wrong, every cooked know denatured alcohol in the cook pot will cause an explosion. He realizes what is going on but says now he wants a lawyer and a DA to cut a deal.

DDA Jonas Dekker (Terrence Howards) refused to cut any deals. The detectives remind him someone sabotages his meth lab, the same people who are likely using the fuel for a bomb. Gonzales tells them to get with Ronnie’s sister.

At Cooke’s Supermarket, Amy Powell tells the detectives that her fiancé Terry Walker is at a campground in Topanga until he gets back on his feet. They ask her to take them there. Later, the detectives arrive at the campground. Terry (Kenneth Mitchell) says he was in Ronnie’s garages to get wiper fluid. He also adds he drove his RV with the pickup in tow when he came there. The detectives ask him to take Amy back to her job, and as they walk off, Rex tells TJ the ball on the RV doesn’t match the hitch on the pickup and somebody else drove that truck.

At RHD, Rex tells Gonzales that the campground office said Terry came in two months ago with two other men driving the pickup who have not been seen in a week. TJ also says that the Terry did not come in via Rt. 40 as he said, they found a speeding ticket and parking ticket in other areas of the country. The parking ticket was two block away from a farm supply store where he could have purchased fertilizer.

The detectives go back to Ellen Powell, who says Amy seems to go through a lot of men – the field plays her. Terry also left a suitcase at the house and when they look at it, they find a dress in the closet that is a traditional Muslim garb. Ellen says Amy is not Muslim. They look at Amy’s computer, and they quickly find a recording made by Amy in the dress which seems to imply she has terrorist ideas.

Soon afterwards, Rex and TJ arrest Amy at the store, and she starts ranting at the onlookers about them being the godless and guilty ones and they should all burn in hell.

Back at RHD, they look at the video with Dekker and DDA Lauren Stanton (Megan Boone). Amy has asked for a Koran and then a lawyer. They see photos on Amy, Terry, and their friends in Muslim attire. It looks like a terror cell. Walker is army reserve, demo unit. They need to do facial recognition on the others to get their ID. TJ finds an address that is either a safe house or a target.

At the home of Jason McParr, they find a private security firm there. Jason says he has been getting threats for one of his animated TV shows because of the religious parody. He recognizes Amy from a coffee place he was in.

Later, Stanton and the detectives speak with Amy about what Terry is doing and she says Terry is pure and their love is blessed. Stanton reminds Amy she is facing two murder charges but Amy refuses to talk.

Outside the room, TJ says facial recognition has ID’d Terry’s friend, they are Joey Pine and Roger Hagan, Hagan did federal time for a bomb and his old cellmate is a welder. They speak with the welder, Wilson, who says Hagan came there last month just to shoot the breeze and came with another guy who paid him cash to cut some mental plates. He still has the specs for them, adding that the guys wanted everything ready before Thanksgiving. They look at the sketch of the plates and TJ thinks they could fit on the floor of the RV, if the fuel and fertilizer was on top, the blast would be directed up and sideways. Wilson says the last time he heard from the guys it sounded like he was near and airport, and he said he was in a bar with a lot of lava lamps.

At the Encounter Restaurant at LAX, a server identifies the three men as being in there, they looked like business travelers and they always sat at table 11 by the window. The area has a clear view of terminal 7 and wonder if they are planning something during the high travel time.

Back with Amy, they confront her with what they think Terry is planning to do, and she won’t believe it. Dekker says her heart doesn’t lie, Terry was a good man, but the other men turned him and twisted him. She thinks Roger Hagan made him do it. Roger met a girl on Craig’s list and is renting her garage, her name is Betty in West Chester.

the detectives, along with a support team and bomb squad, tear off the door of a storage garages and they find the guys there along with the RV. They are arrested. The bomb in the RV is not armed but looked set up and ready to go.

All the suspects are being arraigned for conspiracy and murder and they plead not guilty and start grandstanding. Dekker wants no bail, and Amy’s lawyer says Amy is a victim. Judge Wallen (Gibby Brand) holds them all without bail. But Assistant US Attorney Robert Schuler and Army Captain James Locke enter and says they have been ordered by the department of defense to take custody. Dekker wants the order stayed but the judge does not have the authority and must surrender the defendants. As they are being hauled off by the military. Dekker is on the phone with DA Jerry Hardin trying to get his help to stop it but is having no luck. Amy’s attorney Tasker said she was getting ready to cooperate and can tie Terry’s buddies to the murder.

At the JAG office at the LA Air Force Base, the JAG Officer (Tim Guinee) tells Dekker that Tasker was denied access because is no longer Amy’s attorney and she and the other defendants are being assigned new counsel for a military trial. Dekker needs to get a statement from Amy but as she is a military detainee, whatever she says is classified. Dekker needs her in order to convict Walker, but is told the group is being charged instead with treason and they will not be tried for murder. Dekker says he has a better conviction record and says they are interfering with his ability to make a case. The JAG tells Dekker it is out of his hands.

In DA Jerry Hardin’s (Peter Coyote) office, he tells Dekker there is nothing he can do. Dekker thinks that it will look like Hardin is giving up and politically that will look bad for him. Dekker says if it were him he would hedge his bets.

Later, Dekker is talking to the press that the LA DA will go to federal court to dispute the military jurisdiction. Dekker thinks LA can handle the security challenge with a trial in LA. As Dekker and Stanton watch the news report, Stanton says Dekker is pushing a boulder up Laurel Canyon. He says she sounds like it’s not worth him pushing.

At the Federal Courthouse, Rex and TJ arrive to see the media waiting. Rex and TJ disagree on the military vs. non-military trial. Dekker arrives to the same media circus.

In court, Dekker argues his point as does the JAG officer. Dekker tells the judge the there may be fears that a trial would incite the enemies but no matter what they do, it carries the same risk. People need to see justice done.
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Afterwards, Dekker, Stanton, and Hardin watch the news footage of the terror suspects being returned to LA county custody. As Terry yells out to the cameras, Hardin hotly tells Dekker “be careful what you wish for.” But Dekker thinks they are in good shape, Amy has agreed to testify against Walker. Hardin is worried about Walker’s new attorney, Lane Garfield whose past history shows he will turn this into a terrorist pep rally. Hardin thinks Dekker is putting his personal interests ahead of the DA’s offices.

In Superior Court, Judge Rumford (Clyde Kusatsu) calls the jury in for opening statements, but before they are led in, Dekker tells the judge they are dismissing all the charges related to the conspiracy to bomb LAX and instead are trying each defendant on two counts of murder – no terrorism case. Garfield (Conor O’Farrell) and the defendants looks stunned. When Garfield asks why, Judge Rumford doesn’t understand why he is complaining and says to get on with it.

Dekker makes his opening statement, saying it is about two little kids from Sylmar who were killed by the group. Garfield tries to make it about terrorism, and Dekker reminds them they are not being charged with terrorist acts. Garfield is told to stick to the murder charges, and when Garfield tries another angle on the terrorism agreement he is again stopped.

Kim is on the stand recounting how the kids were killed. Garfield tries to cross examine making it about terrorism, and he is stopped again.

Amy is testifying for the prosecution about how he got the denatured alcohol and found Terry pouring the alcohol into Ronnie’s meth pot and said he is making sure Ronnie can’t make drugs anymore and said if she loved him she would obey him. She was being used. Garfield shows a photo of a drawer in Walker’s RV, and in it is a diamond engagement ring. She is stunned. When Garfield asks about the denatured alcohol, Amy suddenly changes her story and says she lied, she did it all and only lied to avoid the death penalty.

Dekker, on rebuttal, asks who told her to use her brother’s name to get the bomb supplies, but he is then stopped because they are not allowed to discuss the terror attempt – Dekker’s own ground rule. He asks her about converting to Islam, a strict form and learned what was expected of her, to obey her husband and get his approval before making any decision, including killing her brother. When he asks if she got Terry’s permission to kill her brother, he doesn’t respond, and Dekker says she doesn’t have to answer.

During Garfield’s closing statement, DA Hardin walks into the courtroom. Garfield says Dekker prevented them from hearing evidence and they did not get a fair trial. When Dekker closes, he says there is no doubt Amy’s loneliness made her prey to people with evil intent, and Terry Walker is responsible for the explosion. He said there is no doubt that the taking of innocent lives should never happen and it is only right and proper for someone to speak for the innocent victims, and they can speak for two of them. Murder is murder, and let everyone watching this trial know it. Hardin exits the courtroom.

Later, they are all found guilty of murder in the first degree on both counts. Terry begins to rant that there are more of them and they are everywhere. They are whisked out of the courtroom.

When Dekker and Stanton exit the courtroom, Kevin Miller is waiting there and he thanks them for everything. Dekker tells them it may be years before they face execution but he will get a call when it happens. Kevin says he and Kim are not interested, they’ve seen enough. As Dekker and Stanton walk off, the sad family sits on a bench as we fade to black.

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Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Law & Order SVU “Branded” Recap & Review

All photos from NBCU

Law & Order SVU added back the courtroom drama with the episode “Branded.” It also added their newest ADA, Jillian Hardwick, played by Melissa Sagemiller, an improvement over the ADAs from season 11. She also gets the best line of the season to date, when she comments - with an unintentional double entendre (and/or Freudian slip) - “I’m a big fan of your unit” which seemed pointed at Stabler. (I bet every woman (and probably some guys) who were watching this episode agreed that they too are big fans of the Special Victims Unit and also Stabler's, well, you know.) As I had enjoyed Melissa’s performances as a defense attorney in the TNT series “Raising the Bar,” I was very comfortable with her as the new SVU ADA. In her first outing, she managed to do what they all do – remind the detectives what she can and cannot legally do and serve as a roadblock. At least in this case, it appears that she took Benson’s repeated lecturing to heart and found a way to do the right thing with the case.

The only thing that left me unsatisfied is that I felt Camille needed some mandated medical treatment or counseling for her previous trauma, and I didn’t get the sense that anyone was pushing for it. Drugging and branding someone, regardless of the reason, is serious psycho stuff and that crime should not have been swept under the rug. I also found it a huge stretch that Camille would have that chance encounter with her own daughter years later, plus be able to recognize the similarities in her daughter's laughter with her own. But, while many crime shows use plot contrivances these days, I'm willing to look the other way on this one.

With the support of several great guest stars, the episode remained suspenseful throughout. While it became evident that each of the three men were being punished for their own involvement in a rape, finding out who would pay the biggest price for their crime was a question that carried through to the very end. I wasn’t bored for one minute watching “Branded.”

Here is the recap:

Bill Dixon (Michael Gladis) is found by his wife, laying stripped and bound on the kitchen floor. Later, Detectives Benson (Mariska Hargitay), Stabler (Chris Meloni) and Fin (Ice-T) are on the scene. It does not appear the perp entered through the front door. Benson and Stabler speak with Dixon. They find the word “ruiner” carved into his chest.

Benson and Stabler are at the hospital to check on Dixon. He has broken ribs and the word was carved into his chest with a wire hanger, fire tipped by a blow torch. He was knocked out from behind using a ketamine injection and they found three dice and a metal timer in his rectum. (Ouch.) Stabler speaks with Bill and who has no idea why he was branded. He denies having an affair. Meanwhile, his wife tells Benson that Bill would never cheat on him and has no business rivals or problems with the law. Bill and his wife both wonder if it is Jonas Rothenberg, the president of the Crooked Pond Greenbelt Association, who tried to stop Bill from making snakeskin belts. Rothenberg felt Bill ruined everything he touched and once left a letter taped to their apartment door, somehow he got in to their building.

Later, Benson and Stabler speak with Rothenberg who explains how he got into the building. Rothenberg took Dixon to court over the cruelty he inflicts on animals. Rothenberg shows them an animal trap that looks like a coat hanger. Stabler gets a call while Rothenberg tells Benson he was at a lecture the night before. Stabler thanks him for his time, and then he tells Benson Fin may know how the perp got into Dixon’s building.

Back at Dixon’s building, Fin shows them a large package that was delivered to the super before the attack. It looks like the perp had himself delivered in the box, and the delivery company was Transfer To Go. Later, at Transfer To Go, they speak with Camille (Bess Rous) to get delivery information and it looks like the delivery order was hacked in to the system,

Back at SVU, TARU tech Morales (Joel de la Fuente) explains how difficult it was for the person to hack in and how hard it is to track where it came from. Fin tells them Rothenberg’s alibi checks out and there doesn’t seem to be evidence that Dixon was having an affair. Captain Cragen (Dann Florek) enters and tells them there is another victim.

At the apartment of Victor Ramos (Kevin Alejandro), as EMTs treat Ramos, Benson and Stabler arrive and see he is branded with the word “traitor.”

At SVU, Ramos explains what happened to him to Stabler. Ramos was drugged and knocked out, and he doesn’t know why he was branded, and he was also sexually assaulted with a candle. He knows of no one who is angry with him. His wife died of a brain tumor two years ago and he is dating a woman from his church and has never been a traitor to anyone. He does not know Bill Dixon.

Afterwards, Dr. Huang (BD Wong) tells Benson and Stabler that Ramos’ anguish is real. Huang thinks there is a connection and if Ramos and Dixon victimized their attacker together they would not admit to knowing each other but may at some point reach out to each other. He suggests tailing the victims. Since both victims have not seen Fin, they have Fin do the tailing. Fin watches and follows as Ramos gets into a cab, and meets up in another location with Dixon and another man outside Gammon Imports. The three men are arguing and Fin takes a video.
Back at SVU, Fin shows them the video and tells them what he saw. The third man is the importer himself, Alexander Gammon (Jason Wiles). Dixon seems to be telling Gammon that he is next. Cragen tells them to contact Gammon.

At Gammon’s apartment, he denies knowing the two men. They show him a photo of him talking to Dixon and Ramos, and then he admits it was s business discussion. He says he supplies Christmas gifts for Dixon’s high end clients and says Ramos speaks Spanish and also does accounting work. They tell Gammon he is the only connection between the two men.

Outside Gammon’s building, the detectives comment that they don’t buy Gammon’s story. But, as they walk the car, they see another large box, just like the one delivered to Dixon’s, being wheeled up to Gammon’s building.

Later, and back inside Gammon's building, Benson and Stabler watch the box sitting in another room from a video feed. They are there waiting a long time. Finally, the box opens from the inside and a person dressed all in black comes out. They watch as the person races up the stairs to Gammon’s apartment. As the person approaches who seems to be Gammon sitting in a chair, Stabler swings the chair around and points his gun at the intruder, Benson doing the same from behind. It’s a woman, and she lunges a syringe at Stabler, who stops her and gets her to drop it. It’s Camille from Transfer to Go. They arrest her.

With Camille Walter in the SVU interrogation room, Benson talks to Canmille about her past childhood and drug problems. She also notes that Camille has an exceptional IQ, but a psychiatrist said she hates authority figures. When Benson asks who Camille is, she says she is nobody and asks Benson if she is nobody too.

Stabler brings in Gammon, Dixon, and Ramos into the observation room and shows them Camille in the interrogation room. Gammon and Dixon say that she could not have done this because of her small stature, but Ramos says anything is possible, but still insists he was attacked by a man. Stabler says she went after them in order to brand them, and Dixon and Gammon says she is mentally ill. Ramos is silent. When the guys leave, Stabler tells Cragen that they did not ID Camille and none of their backgrounds show a connection to Camille. Cragen thinks they have her for the crimes and they are done. Later, Benson asks where they go from here, and ADA Jillian Hardwick (Melissa Sagemiller) enters and says nowhere, she can’t prosecute the case. Cragen introduces Hardwick to Benson and Stabler. She says she doesn’t have enough evidence. Looking at Stabler, she also says the DA poached her from the Brooklyn blue zone and she’s glad they did, adding, “I’m a big fan of your unit” (hold for snickering from viewers) and then adds “that came out wrong.” They explain that they have Camille when she tried to brand Stabler, plus evidence linking her to the other attacks. Hardwick says Camille’s cell phone has her at a midtown Macy’s and a Harlem Target at the first two attacks and debit card records back it up. They remind her she is a hacker and the guys could not ID her. Cragen reminds her about the attack at Gammon’s place and Hardwick says Gammon’s lawyer says Gammon does not want to press charges. When Benson says that those men made her do something that made Camille attack them, Huang enters and says he never thought he would hear Benson blame the victims. Huang thinks if she did attack those men they may find a clue in her method of assault - the branding. He thinks whatever happened to her, she may feel branded herself and she is suffering from suppressed anger and a catalyst brought it back to the surface. Sometimes people keep a physical reminder of their secret – a marker of sorts. Benson says not to release Camille just yet, and Stabler tells Hardwick to get them a search warrant. Cragen tells Hardwick “Welcome to Special Victims.”

At Camille’s apartment, the detectives search and Benson finds a report card and some old photos. There is a picture of a group of campers with one female camper’s face erased, and what looks like a young Alexander Gammon in the photo.
At Clean Air Camp, Mrs. Holmes tells the detectives that Gammon worked there one summer in 1996 and he was a jerk. She also recognizes Bill Dixon and Victor Ramos who also worked there. She says Camille came from abusive foster homes. There was no indication that Camille was molested or assaulted. She did recall one morning when she came to the dock and found Camille dazed and out of it and when she asked Camille what was wrong, she said “I’m nobody, who are you? Are you nobody too?” Benson seems to recall Camille saying those same words to her,

Back with Camille, still being held, Benson tells Camille she is not nobody. She tries to get Camille to open up about what happened at the camp. Camille tells her that Alexander said bunch of people were going off into the words to play games, and Victor and Bill were there. They led her into the woods, they were drunk, and told her it was a private party. She begins to cry. She explained that Alexander and Bill held her down and Alexander raped her, then Bill. She was bleeding. Victor didn’t want to but Alexander pushed him into it. Alexander told her if she told anyone he would deny it and who would believe the word of a nobody. She admits that she branded them so they would never forget, and then said she wished she could have branded Alexander with the word HELL because that’s where she was going to send him. Benson asks why she would have waited 14 years after the rape, and she says that a few weeks ago she was walking down central park south and heard a laugh, and it was exactly like she used to laugh and she knew it was her daughter. The rape got her pregnant. She could not bear to keep the baby, knowing that one of them was her father so she gave her up for adoption the day after she was born. Camille continues to sob.

Back at SVU, Benson goes over the record of the birth of Camille’s daughter in February of 1997 and that one of the men is the baby’s father. Hardwick is skeptical and Benson thinks the latter is easy to prove – they find the girl, take her DNA and see if it matches one of the three men. Hardwick reminds Benson the statute of limitation has passed on the rape. She also says Stabler’s suggestion of getting the men for obstruction will get quickly tossed too. She tells an incredulous Benson she has no choice but to prosecute Camille, they have Camille’s confession on tape. Benson is upset that Camille can go to prison for a post-traumatic effect from being gang raped, and the guys will walk away free. Hardwick testily tells Benson to bear in mind that she sodomized two men and branded them with a searing coat hanger. Benson tells her to bear in mind that Camille was raped, or is keeping her percentage up is too important. Hardwick tells Benson that Benson did her job, now it is time for her to do hers, no matter how much it hurts.
In court, the jury sees Camille’s video testimony, and when Hardwick asks for Benson to corroborate, Benson says Hardwick has not played the entire tape. Judge Andrews (Lindsay Crouse) tells the jury that she redacted portions of the tape that she deemed irrelevant to the case. When Benson says what Camille said is not irrelevant, Hardwick quickly says there are no further questions. When Benson continues to whine about it, the judge threatens Benson with a contempt citation and orders Benson’s last comments stricken from the records.

Dixon is on the stand and Hardwick questions him. He denies any contact with Camille at the camp and says Camille is insane. Camille’s attorney, Swift (David Alan Grier), asks why he is so sure it was Camille who did this since Dixon told the detectives he didn’t know her. Dixon says it’s because the police told him what she had done with the other men. Later, Gammon is on the stand, who describes Camille at camp as moody and sexually provocative. Camille stands up and calls him a liar. He says she used to loosen her bikini top so it would slip off in the lake and they could see her breasts. He said it was a school girl crush and he let her down gently. When Gammon starts talking about Camille’s father being a nut job, Camille gets irate and leaps up, calling Gammon a son of a bitch. She is restrained by Swift and the judge calls for order and tells the jury to disregard what Camille said. She then calls for a recess.
Outside the courthouse, Stabler approaches a waiting Ramos and tells him he should have heard the wild accusations that Camille made against him. Ramos said the girl is nuts and tells Stabler to leave him alone. Stabler says that Ramos is a decent guy and what Camille did to him was horrible but the other two are painting her with a black brush. He reminds Ramos of his own daughters who are the same age as Camille at the time of the rape.

On the stand, Ramos says the truth is complicated. Camille did have a crush on Alexander and wanted to hook up with him all summer but he has no idea why she went after him and Bill. Camille continues to shout out and the judge again warns her.

Later, in Hardwick’s office, Benson asks her if she is happy that she trashed Camille. Hardwick says her job is to win the case. Benson counters that her job is to be sure justice is done and convicting Camille is not justice and Hardwick turned Camille into a crazy slut. When Benson turns to walk out, Hardwick tells Benson since Benson is storming off, could she drop off a file for defense counsel that a friend gave to her. She tells her not to look at what’s inside which Benson of course does. With her back to Benson, Hardwick gives a glance and then tells Benson she’ll see her tomorrow. Benson looks stunned at the contents of the folder .

Back in court, the defense calls Hannah Milner (Odeya Rush) to the stand. Benson walks in with a young girl, and Camille whispers it is her. Gammon asks Hardwick who she is and Hardwick evasively says it is a defense witness. When asked, Hannah points out her parents in the gallery, and then says she was adopted. When asked about her biological parents, Hannah said that yesterday Swift found her and took her DNA for a test and then contacted her about her biological parents. She points out Camille as her biological mother. She goes on to point out her biological father, and at first it seems it might be Gammon, and he becomes even more upset and the judge orders him to sit down. But it’s Ramos who is Hannah’s biological father. Ramos says it is true, and then stands up and said she is his daughter and all three of them raped Camille, and as Gammon tells him to shut up, the judge demands order. As Ramos is being led out of the courtroom, he says Gammon has been paying them off for years and Gammon talked them into it. He adds that Gammon has raped other women and has paid them off to keep them quiet. Gammon says Ramos is crazy. Ramos continues to yell that Gammon is a rapist as he is being taken out of the courtroom. Gammon, looking uncomfortable, sits back down, and Hardwick has a satisfied smirk on her face.

In SVU interrogation, Stabler questions Gammon. He tells Gammon that Dixon and Ramos are going to do some time for perjury. He tells Gammon he is looking at a long bit. Gammon asks how they knew Ramos was the father, and Stabler says they matched the DNA against a coffee cup he tossed out and the DNA from blood work done at the hospital on the other two. Stabler shows him photos of two women who says Gammon was paying them for their silence. They are paying Gammon back and are pressing charges. The statute of limitations hasn’t run out on them. Gammon asks what happens now, and Stabler says “Go directly to jail. Do not pass go. Do not collect $200.”

In the observation room, Camille thanks Benson. Benson reminds her she still needs to see the judge about sentencing but on two minor counts of trespass, she should do OK. Benson takes Camille out to meet Hannah, who is waiting with Hardwick. Hannah wishes her good luck in court. Camille says she is sorry that this is the way they had to meet, but Hannah is not. They embrace and both are crying as we fade to black.

All Text Content (Recaps, Review, Commentary) © unless otherwise noted

Check out my blog home page for the latest Law & Order information, on All Things Law And Order.

Also, see my companion Law & Order site,These Are Their Stories.