Law & Order SVU “Wet” featured an offbeat story and it was an oddly entertaining episode. The detectives get a case that looks like a rape and murder, but it turns into murder by toxic mushrooms. (Why the case remained with the Special Victims Unit after rape was ruled out I do not know.) While the story was the weakest of the season, it was made better by some great guest stars. David Krumholtz was well cast in his role as the single minded activist whose behavior may or may not have been affected by toxic fungi (but he was affected by love). I kept flashing back to seeing Krumholtz as the crazy schizophrenic who stabbed Dr. Carter in an old episode of "ER", an image that I finally purged from my head after watching Krumholtz in a few episodes of “Numb3rs”. But, his SVU role returned that old image to my brain, and now Krazy Kreepy Krumholtz will stick with me again. The person who really nailed her role was Rosemary Harris. Viewers may have expected to see her as the stereotypical kindly old lady, instead, she was an icy-cold grandmother, and her attitude may have been behind what drove her granddaughter to be a problem child and even a killer. I disliked Harris' character almost immediately and found her behavior chilling at the end.
It was nice to see the SVU team in their new digs. Even though it looked like they were working amid renovations (maybe for real, maybe for show, maybe a bit of both), the setting already is 100 times better than what they had. It is a shame that Paula Patton won’t be staying on. While her role as the newbie pompous ADA was standard fare for SVU ADAs, they had a chance to develop a great character. Oh well, they DO go through ADAs pretty quickly on SVU, so it’s best to just move on to the next one.
The episode was preachier than most SVU episodes, covering topics which don’t have anything to do with special victims – high fructose corn syrup and fresh water rights. Whether obesity can be caused by HFCS alone, or people eating/drinking too much of it (or food in general) is a debatable issue. Fresh water, however, is something that most people take for granted. Not me. I live less than 3 miles from Lake Erie and at one time there were many companies who wanted to tap Great Lakes waters to feed their own need or to bottle and sell. With many Americans moving away from the Great Lakes to drier climates, something had to be done to protect the Great Lakes water from being siphoned off and moved with them. The end result was the Great Lakes Compact, signed into law in 2008. It protects the water in the Great Lakes watershed from being removed outside the watershed area, and regulates its use by industry within the watershed. (Even the tiny creek that runs through my property is protected by that law as it is part of the Lake Erie watershed.) As far as this episode is concerned, it is not a stretch for someone to be concerned about others finding their fresh water at risk of being taken by corporations or any other entity. Fresh water is a hot commodity and who knows, some day the desire for it, and the price of it, will exceed that of oil. It is something to think about – but not something that deserved to be so high on the Special Victims soapbox.
Here is the recap:
A woman is found dead in a fountain from an apparent drowning. Detectives Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay) and Elliot Stabler (Chris Meloni) are called to the scene. It appears someone cut off a hunk of the victim’s blond hair.
At a new location for their precinct, the team has more space and better light, and renovations are in progress. Fin (Ice-T) says they have a suspect who was in Central Park trying to cut a woman’s hair. Later, Benson is in the park as bait and the hair bandit, called "Sassoon," tries to clip her hair and Stabler catches him in the act. “Sassoon” has blond hair in his pocket.
Back at the precinct, Sassoon insists the girl was already dead when he cut her hair. He has a “lullaby” (he means alibi). Munch (Richard Belzer) has no hits on the Jane Doe’s prints. The move to their new location along with the renovation of it is also getting on Munch’s nerves.
Sassoon’s alibi checks out. Mikka Von, the new ADA, arrives and introduces herself to Benson and Stabler. She seems annoyed they don’t give their first names but Benson says they go through ADAs pretty fast. Von has DNA from the semen inside the victim but it is only a partial match, to Monica Worley who has a record for assaulting a cop. It could be that Monica’s brother is the perp.
Benson and Stabler track Monica down and talk with her about her brother. She gives them his location and they bring him in. He says he had sex with her but denies killing her, adding the woman said she was hot and wet. He claims she took out a tampon before they had sex and his dog ate it. (Ew.) He also took video and has it on Sex Prowl, the YouTube of sex. The detectives watch his video and Von says they won’t get rape from it. They also say that the suspect was at the vet until 6 AM when the dog coughed up the kotex. They release him. Von introduces herself to Fin and she’s happy she got his first name. She sends him out to look for the victim’s purse. As Stabler moves to close out the video, Munch approaches in a police uniform, which he's wearing because of the wet paint and he has no clean clothes. A man approaches and says he was sent there from missing persons, and then takes a swipe at Stabler, calling him a son of a bitch. He said they were supposed to protect them and someone emailed him that video. He says he is Greg Elding (David Furr ) and the woman in the video is his wife.
Later, Greg speaks with Munch and confirms the body is of his wife Lindsay. He says his wife is a recovering coke addict and she would never go back. He doesn’t understand her behavior, saying it is not like her. Her company, Colanow, donates jungle gyms to charity. Stabler enters and says Greg’s alibi has been confirmed.
A Colanow Corporate Headquarters, Munch speaks with an executive there and he says Lindsay was good in charming everyone. But Fin is speaking to someone from the Union for Healthy Kids who says Lindsay knew their product was poison. He refused money from the corporation to silence their objections. He refers them to the mother of a boy who took his own life because he was addicted to cola. She tells Benson that the jury did not agree, and adds that Lindsay had a Colanow athletic center built. Stabler speaks to a coach at the center who says Lindsay was a hero.
Back at the precinct they talk about Lindsay being loved and hated. They have a discussion about corn syrup, cola, and the company. They wonder if Lindsay had guilt about what the company was doing and went back to drugs. Dr. Huang (BD Wong) enters and tells them Lindsay was poisoned by South American mushrooms which contained high doses of muscarine, a toxin that makes you hot, sweaty, and sexually aroused. It explains why she was hot, why she threw herself at the guy, and why she went into the fountain. But the mushrooms can lead to respiratory failure. It looks like they got into her system around dinner time, and she was at a fundraiser then for the Wishing Time Foundations.
A Wishing Time, the detectives speak with Francine Brooks (Rose Mary Harris) who tells them how her family, since her grandfather, has helped to grant wishes to underprivileged children. She speaks highly of Lindsay. Benson sees a photo of Lindsay from the recent event and she has mushrooms on her salad. Francine says no mushrooms on the menu and speaks with her granddaughter Emma (Amanda Fuller), who shows them more photos from the dinner. Emma says she met Lindsay in rehab, and Francine doesn’t want Emma airing dirty laundry. She also adds that Emma’s parents died when she was 10. Lindsay is the only one who had mushroom on her plate. They also see what looks like a homeless guy looking for food, but Francine says the man accosted Lindsay and yelled at her, ranting about Bolivia and that one can’t own the rain.
Back at the precinct, Munch says Bolivia is at the center of the water wars regarding the export of fresh water. He shows them a blog about the issue in New York with fresh water and it is run by the suspected protester, Vincent Prochick (David Krumholtz) who is also a professor who works at the museum of natural history, specializing in toxic South American mushrooms.
At the Natural History Museum, Benson and Stabler find Prochick and he is cooking mushrooms. Benson lifts the lid on the pot and gets a whiff but he quickly covers it up. They bring him down to the precinct and he speaks about Lindsay and the water issue. He’s happy she is dead. Benson starts to act very odd, and then collapses. Stabler catches her as she falls and he yells for a bus.
Later, in the hospital, Benson wakes up to see Huang standing by the beside. He tells her when she entered the lab, Prochick had been boiling mushrooms that were potentially neuro-toxic. Benson asks for a ride back. Meanwhile, Stabler is getting his ear bent by Prochick about the water issues. Benson returns and Prochick is happy she is OK. But Prochick is preachy about the nature issues and he says it is about Lindsay, and saying how Lindsay’ corporation wants the water. He denies killing her.
Outside the interrogation room, Huang tells Von that Prochick developed a tolerance for the mushrooms over the years. I may explain his behaviors. Huang says he is odd, but sane. Defense attorney Dave Seaver (Michael Boatman) approaches Von and says he was retained by Prochick’s sister to as counsel. She tells him he can chat with his client at arraignment.
At arraignment, Seaver asks for remand but Von says Prochick is a flight right with ties to criminals in Bolivia. Seaver mentions Prochick’s special fungi and Von says mushrooms are not like children. Judge Miranski (Zach Grenier) asks her if she has not heard about his roses, saying he would sooner leave his wife than his roses. He lets Prochick got on bail but he has to surrender his passport. When Von leaves, she sees Stabler there waiting to escort her through the press, saying she’s never been through the press in New York. As she exits, the press swarms her and she does the “no comment” routine. She tells the reporters to ask Prochick about water, and they swarm him, He goes off on his usual rant. Later, back at the precinct, Benson, Stabler, and Von watch the news report of Prochick’s diatribe. Benson tells Von the mushrooms in Prochick’s lab are a genetic match to the one who killed Lindsay. Seaver arrives with Prochick and they hear this news and want to discuss a plea.
Francine Brooks and Emma arrive, Emma carrying a box of all the photos and a flash drive with all the photographs from the event where Lindsay ate the mushrooms. She sees Prochick in an interrogation room and asks if that’s him. Her grandmother tells her not polite to stare, it’s rude. She adds that in her day they did not emote in public, and Emma says her says are long gone. Her grandmother brings up the drugs and says as long as she wears her Intaglio necklace, she will mind her manners. She tells Benson it has been in her family for 5 generations. They hear Prochick yell out and Brooks and Emma make a quick exit. Von calls in Benson where Seaver tells them they are asserting a mental defect defense from Seaver’s years of inhaling mushrooms. Prochick is incensed, saying he is not crazy. Seaver tries to calm him and Prochick asks if he can fire him. Von quickly says yes and Prochick fires him. Seaver tells him it is a big mistake. Prochick says he wants to plead guilty and Von says he can’t change his plea without a lawyer and Von says this is a police building and there should be one there.
Later, in court with another lawyer who seems in over his head, the lawyer pleads murder two, with some prodding from Von. Judge Miranski asks him if he knows what he is doing, and he says yes. When the judge asks him for details, he gives a whole list of details, and Stabler is looking over some notes and calls Von over, telling her to call a recess. The judge asks Von what is going on and she says Stabler was just sitting down, but Stabler approaches the bench. The judge doesn’t want his personal schedule disrupted so he sternly orders Stabler to sit down. Stabler moves to do so, but starts acting nutty, saying he is hot and starts rambling nonsense. The judge finds him in contempt and they cart him off, and the judge orders them to call an ambulance.
Back at the hospital, Von tells Stabler the doctor said nothing is wrong with him. He says he is sorry but he tells her he said he needed a recess. She says she should have given him a beat down. Stabler says that Prochick mentioned three mushrooms but there were four and a man like Prochick doesn’t forget something like that. She wants her first case not to make her look like a total flake, but he wants more time. She says he has until 9 the next morning.
Back at SVU, they all look over the photos and Fin gripes. Von says she is pulling the all nighter with them and she is a team player. They see that at 7:51 there were no mushrooms on Lindsay's salad,, but by 8:02 they were on the salad. The only people near the table at that time were Francine and Emma, Lindsay’s boss, and a woman from the athletic center and some people not ID’d. Prochick was not there. They wonder which one of them had motive. Von makes a call and then quickly announces she is leaving, saying she has to get her beauty rest and that this will take days not hours and she is not going to delay a solid case because Prochick missed a mushroom. She comments now she knows why they go through ADAs so fast. When Stabler gets on her case, she says to be clear on how this works, they are the pots and pans, and she is the chef. Fin says, “Team player, huh?”
At arraignment court, the defense attorney is not there, but Stabler arrives. The judge finds that the defense counsel went on vacation and forgot to inform. Judge Miranski orders someone to get him on the phone to see if he can squirm out of a contempt citation. Afterwards, Stabler asks Von if she got Prochick the worst possible lawyer, and Von says he could be the best if buys them time. It seems that is who Von called last night and she told the lawyer he looked like he needed some R&R.
Outside the courthouse, Stabler and Von run in to Captain Cragen (Dann Florek), and Von introduces herself. He says “nice knowing you” and then adds her boss called, he was tied up and asked him to deliver a message. He tells her to pack her bags and go back to Chicago. She is stunned that she is being fired by proxy, and he said apparently she sent a defense attorney on vacation sub rosa, and the DA doesn’t like dirty tricks. Stabler comments, “Unless he’s the one that’s doin’ em.” Cragen apologizes, and Von says she has to go take her loft off the market. Stabler says it has been nice working with her, and she says, ‘Back at ya.” After she leases, Cragen asks if she one of the good ones, and Stabler responds, “Yeah.”
Back at the museum, Stabler tells Benson they are poaching a hot shot out of Brooklyn to take Von’s place on the case. They approach Prochick and tell him they know he didn’t do it. He says he confessed for the cause and people were starting to pay attention, saying some things in life are dear. They ask him who had access to his lab to steal the mushrooms, and show him the photos from the event they got from Brooks. He says none of them, but his mood clearly changes when he sees a photo of Emma.
As they leave the museum, they see Prochick race out, and believe he is protecting Emma. They follow him and he heads to Emma’s home and they find his telling her about the photo. She asks if he is crazy coming there, and the detectives walk in and see them talking and accuse them both of lying. Francine enters the room and asks what is going on. Stabler replies that Prochick supplied the mushrooms and Emma tossed them in Lindsay’s salad – they are accomplices. Prochick says it was all him.
Back in interrogation, Benson questions Prochick and he gives her the details about the mushrooms. He said muscarine was used, but seems unsure. Meanwhile, Benson has Emma in another room, confronting her about stealing the mushrooms. Prochick says Emma came to the water rights group in April and told them about her grandmother’s land deal in the Catskills with Lindsay, and Francine was quietly buying up state land and selling the water rights to Colanow. If Colanow taps that aquifer, half of New York City dries up, Emma says they begged her grandmother not to do it, and Emma says her grandmother thinks she is a screw-up. Benson says he is in love with Emma and that is why he confessed to protect her. Emma says love in her family meant being at the right social event in the right dress and she never understood it. Lindsay did, and she was Francine's favorite. Emma denies killing her. Stabler walks out and knocks on the window of another room and comes back in to speak with Emma. He says her grandmother is not there and doesn’t give a damn about her. He also tells her that Prochick is outside the room, watching. Prochick asks Benson if Emma can't see him, and Benson adds she can’t hear him, either. Emma walks up to the mirrored window and says she is sorry, saying she loves Vinnie. But he is hesitant to confess. Benson turns up the light so Emma can see Prochick on the other side of the window, and Emma says she is sorry she didn’t say anything. She admits she killed that two faced bitch and that Lindsay walked right over her to get to her grandmother. Prochick said it was not about the water, it was about revenge. He races in to see Emma and Emma is stuffing the mushrooms fro the evidence bag in her mouth,. Benson races to call a bus. Emma tells Stabler to tell her grandmother she is rid of the problem child.
Later, Emma wakes up in a hospital bed. Benson tells her the doctor pumped her stomach and she will be fine. Francine arrives, and as Emma apologizes, she touches her grandmother. Francine sternly orders her to take her hand off her. She says she is not her grandchild. She only came to get her Intaglio necklace, which she removes from Emma’s neck. Benson is stunned, saying Emma could sell it to help pay for her defense. Emma quickly says she would never do that. But Francine does not believe Emma, bringing out all of Emma’s past transgressions. Francine says she is giving the necklace to Lindsay’s daughter and Emma will inherit nothing. Emma can’t believe Francine thinks Emma wants her money, and Francine says she doesn’t care. Emma says she just wanted a mom, and Francine coldly reminds her that her mother died. Francine exits and sees Prochick standing there with flowers. He says he is there for Emma, saying nobody is perfect. Benson and Stabler an odd “I can’t believe what I just heard” look on their faces and walk off as we fade to black.
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