Monday, November 29, 2010

Law & Order LA “Playa Vista” Advance Photos

Here are some advance photos from Law & Order Los Angeles “Playa Vista” which will air on Wednesday, December 1, 2010 at 10 PM ET on NBC. The photos feature Terrence Howard, Megan Boone, and guest stars Peter Mackenzie (as Kurt Simms) and Bellamy Young (as Monica Jarrrow).

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

Photo by: Trae Patton/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.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Peter Davison, Dominic Rowan Join Law & Order UK reports that Peter Davison and Dominic Rowan will be joining Law & Order UK when they begin filming the next 13 episodes of Law & Order UK, along with returning cast members Bradley Walsh, Jamie Bamber and Freema Agyeman. Davison will play Henry Sharpe, who takes over the job of Director of the CPS replacing George Castle (Bill Paterson). Rowan will play Senior Crown Prosecutor Jacob Thorne. The article notes that Paterson will return in the future as the newly appointed Director of Public Prosecutions.

You can read the full article here: Peter Davison joins Law & Order UK

This is a bit of a surprise to me as I never heard that Bill Paterson or Ben Daniels were out, and I enjoyed both of them on the show. Oh well, as many fans of the Law & Order brand know, cast changes do happen! Hopefully these two additions will be just as enjoyable.

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.

Neal Baer to Exit Law & Order SVU for CBS

Several sources are reporting that Law & Order SVU showrunner Neal Baer will be leaving the show at the end of this current season. Baer is heading over to CBS, who has offered Baer a three-year development and production deal. Baer himself said via Twitter “Hello, SVU-ers! Yes, I'm going to CBS AT THE END OF THE SEASON. But I'm still on SVU and we've got great shows coming...”

It’s a big loss for SVU, but a big gain for CBS. Best wishes to Neal and a big thanks for being SVU’s biggest cheerleader!

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, November 18, 2010

Law & Order LA “Ballona Creek” Recap & Review

All photos from NBCU

Law & Order Los Angeles “Ballona Creek” was an episode truly worthy of the Law & Order name. It was an interesting case that was skillfully presented. Some shows glamorize serial killers but this episode seemed more grounded in reality ; serial killers often seem to “hide in plain sight” which is why sometimes they can get away with killing many people before anyone can put the pieces together. The episode also touched on the issue of the use of familial DNA to crack a case, in addition to related privacy issues. Should law enforcement be able to go through your trash to pick out your DNA? Trash left outside is usually considered fair game, but should there be limits on when law enforcement can go through your trash to get it? Just because trash out on the street and can be taken by anyone shouldn’t necessarily mean that police should collect, store, and compare your DNA without cause.

I think there was a great improvement in Terrence Howard’s delivery and thought the closing scene was very well done. Megan Boone is still a bit of a weak link; there is something so bland and expressionless with her face, at times it seems mask-like. Skeet Ulrich and Corey Stoll carry their segments very well and I loved the scene where Valdez is arrested and TJ comments that it is like a cop movie. I also liked the way all the scenes were staged and shot; they use some interesting camera angles.

All in all, this may be the best episode so far for LOLA!

Here is the recap:
When a worker from the Public Works Department, Luis Valdez, finds the body of co-worker Don Heller (Dan Kinsella) stabbed to death in the creek. Detectives Rex Winters (Skeet Ulrich) and TJ Jaruszalski (Corey Stoll) are called to the scene. They speak with Louis Valdez (Julio Oscar Mechoso) who last saw him at 4:00 and some gang kids were throwing things at Heller.

At the Robbery Homicide Division, Lt. Arleen Gonzales (Rachel Ticotin) and the detectives speak with Heller’s wife but she offers no insight. After she leaves, they find Heller’s truck was found two miles from Ballona Creek at Marco Place – the Venice 13 turf.
The detectives check out the truck and they find water samples with dates and locations. They head to where the last sample taken which was at Ballona Creek at Berryman Street. At that location, they find Heller’s hard hat and blood – the crime scene. But this is not gang turf.

They speak with his manager and check out Heller’s car which was parked at work. They get the locations where he was at from his GPS. They check out the location in South Central and come up with nothing and don’t know why Heller was there.

They check with his wife and she has not clue either. But TJ sees information that Heller was collecting on murders of woman that happened in the area over many years. One of the locations matches Heller’s GPS.

At RHD, they map out all the murders and the locations of the murders that Heller was following. Four of the cases had been investigated by Bob Reedy from Southwest Division who retired 10 years ago. The killer stopped after 1991. They found one case where the victim survived, Diana McDermott, and they have a sketch of her attacker.

The detectives speak with Diana and she can’t pick out a picture from an array. She recounts her attack. A man offered her a ride home and she got in. He later put a knife at her throat and pinned her down. He fondled her and sucked on her bra. He pulled her out of the car and started stabbing her. She still doesn’t see the person in the photo array.

Later, the detectives get a call to another crime scene where a woman was stabbed and murdered. There is no ID on her. The possible weapon used matches the ones from the other murders.

Back at RHD, their working theory is that Heller may have been on to the killer and knew who he was. The killer left no DNA and Gonzales suggests they use new technology to check out the old evidence. They do so, and find the evidence is a mess and not tagged very well. Rex recalls that Diana’s attacker sucked on her bra and wonder if they can pull DNA off of it. But which bra belongs to who?

At the home of Sheila and Charles Watson, the detectives tell them they may have a lead and ask them to ID some of the clothing. Her mother recalls the pink bra. They tell her that other girls were killed by the same man – 9 girls in all. They are shocked and upset to hear this may be a serial killer and there were four others before her daughter.

Outside the house, the detectives are also angry that no one told the residents that there was a killer on the loose. TJ gets a message – retired Detective Bob Ready just came in to RHD.
Back at RHD, Reedy (Bob McCracken) tells them they called them the Betty Basehead murders and he worked all of them. They did not want people to panic and it wasn’t his call not to tell anyone about it. After the Rodney King riots they got pulled off the case, no one wanted to have anything to do with cops.

Later, as DDA Lauren Stanton (Megan Boone) reads a new story in the Los Angeles Post about the “Slauson Slasher” and the detectives tell her that the lab found trace DNA but is not in the database. They want to run it against familial DNA. Stanton said she’ll work to get the OK from the Attorney General.

At the State DNA lab, the detectives get a familial match to a Brandon Duffy born in 1992. He has a record for joyriding and got probation.

As they wait outside Duffy’s home, his father and Brandon drive up. They see Mark Duffy throw a coffee cup into the trash. They tell him about the partial match and ask him for a DNA swab and he refuses, saying he is calling a lawyer and to stay away from his son. TJ picks up a cigarette butt from Duffy which is laying on the ground and thanks him for it.

Back at RHD, they were able to get Mark Duffy’s DNA off the cigarette butt but it will take a week to run the match. There are 4 males in Brandon Duffy’s family who match the profile but none have priors. Gonzales gets served with a restraining order from Duffy for the evidence and the ACLU is backing him up.
In Superior Court, Duffy’s attorney and Miss Caffey (Sophina Brown) from the ACLU argue that the police went through the families' trash to get DNA and it targets innocent people. DDA Joe Dekker (Terrence Howard) argues that the police had permission from the AG. Judge Farbricant does not agree with Dekker and issues a restraining order to stop further testing of the Duffy DNA and to stop investigating and surveillance of the family without probable cause.
Outside the courtroom, Dekker is unhappy that the appeal could take months and the killer could disappear. Rex comes in and alerts them that another body has been found. Dekker stops Caffey as she exits the courtroom and shows her the latest killing in the same area as the others. He tells her the next one is on her.
Back at RHD, the detectives and the DDAs but their heads together. They had found that Mark Duffy and his family were granted an order of protection from Maria Cordero, a 47 year old Latina living in Santa Anna. Dekker thinks Mark Duffy has something to hide.

At the home of Maria Cordero, she tells them her lawyers say she cannot talk about it. She then says she just wanted to see Brandon. He daughter was raped 20 years ago and she got pregnant from the rape and Brandon is her son who was adopted by the Duffys. Maria just wanted to see her grandson. Duffy did not want Brandon to know how he was born.

Back at RHD, the detectives have to look for relatives of Brandon’s biological parents – Angela Cordero and her rapist. The check out the others who lived at the address where the Corderos lived at the time of the rape, and hone in on a Louis Cordero, 54, whose last address and job say he was a janitor at the Rampart Division.

At LAPD Rampart Division, one officer recalls a man there who used to listen to the scanners that they called “Echo” because he would repeat the last thing you said.
Later, the detectives come back to Louis Valdez and they ask him about his other job at Rampart. They mention Louis Cordero and Louis runs off, with Rex tackling him in the water from the creek.

The detectives search Louis’ home and find he is taking medication for an enlarged prostate. They also find a hunting knife that seems to have been bleached. They find bras stuffed between the mattresses, TJ calling it Louis’ trophy case.
At arraignment court, the prosecutions presents the information against Valdez and his attorney Mr. Solomon (Patrick Fischler) says the bras could have been found in the creek. Dekker says Valdez is a master at hiding in plain sight. Dekker also mentions that Valdez took his mother’s maiden name. He wants him remanded without bail, and the judge agrees.

Outside the courtroom, Mark Duffy races up to Dekker and Dekker says they won’t be bothering him or his family any more. But Duffy wants their help as their son doesn’t know how he was conceived and is concerned it will come out in the trial. When Duffy asks Dekker to plea bargain with Valdez, Dekker says he does not hog trade with a serial killer and he has to speak for the murder victims and their families.

In the Chambers of Judge Ridgeway, the DDA listen to Caffey make her argument about protecting the fact that Duffy is a child of rape and says that his DNA was inappropriately taken when he was 15 which is how it got into the database. Even Solomon argues that all the police evidence against Valdez connects to that tainted DNA match. Judge Ridgeway agrees with the defense and dismisses the charges and released Valdez. This distresses Dekker and he reminds the judge there is one victim who survived that may be able to ID Valdez and ask to have him put in a line up. The judge allows the lineup.

Later. Diana McDermott is viewing the line up and she is not sure.
Afterwards, Dekker, Stanton, Rex and TJ watch as Valdez is being led out by Solomon, and Dekker tells the detectives he wants 2 cars on Valdez 24-7.

Back at the office, Dekker knows that now they have to start from scratch. They have to get Valdez’s DNA back into the system but he has to get arrested again. Dekker says they have to make that happen, and Dekker wonders if something already has.

Dekker speaks with Maria Cordero who said Louis is her brother in law and Angela’s uncle. Dekker asks why they moved out of the house they once all shared, and she tells them that she did not feel comfortable living with Louis. Dekker asks Angela about her rape and says she can help them, maybe with many cases. She says that when they just moved into the house, she was sleeping in her bedroom and she woke up and this man was on her back raping her. She couldn’t see him, he pushed her face into the pillow. She did recognize his voice. Dekker shows her the photos of the other dead woman and says she can stop him. Her mother urges Angela to tell him. Angela said he whispered in her ear, like she was underwater, but she knew it was Louis. He said if she told her mother or told the police he would kill her. Her mother did take her to the doctor and she was bleeding. Dekker says the rape happened outside their jurisdiction so he needs to report it to the police in Santa Anna. Dekker promises her she will never have to face him or to testify and says she needs to be strong and to stand up for herself.

At the Orange County DA’s Office, Dekker and Stanton speak with Karen and explain why it took so long to report it and the records that they do have on the matter. Dekker says they just need her to prosecute him for the rape.

Later, Rex and TJ watch as Louis is working, and the Santa Anna police arrive in force. TJ says it like watching a cop movie. Valdez is arrested.

Back at RHD, Rex says their Jane Doe has been identified - Kelli Torneau, 17, from New Orleans. They see that Valdez DNA is now in the database and it matches the DNA found on victim Sylvia Watson. They have him.

Back in Superior Court, Dekker explains that they now have Valdez properly in the database and the arrest was proper. There is also no time limit on a sex crime against a minor. The judge denies Solomon’s motion to dismiss.

Later, Solomon tells Dekker even if Dekker wins at trial, Solomon will have him tied up with appeals for the next 10 years. Dekker says he will be riding shotgun with the AG on any appeal. Dekker says the case will end when Valdez receives a lethal injection from the state of California. Solomon thinks Dekker won’t go for the death penalty but Dekker says he will enforce it. Valdez says he was good when he took those pills, but if Don Heller wasn’t so nosey…Heller found out he changed his name and he asked him questions all the time and would not leave him alone. He said he will take the pills again and be good again, and he begs Dekker not to let them kill him. Dekker says if he can convince a jury that he deserves mercy, so be it, but Dekker will show hi the same mercy he showed those women.

At trial, Dekker makes his opening statements describing the murders and how the murders were not given the proper due by police and the evidence was packed away and the cases faded away and the victims were forgotten except by their families. He says he will prove Valdez is a vicious serial killer and everyone will know the names of his victims. On a monitor, he shows pictures of the victims and their names. He says finally they will all have their day in court. As we see their faces on the monitor, 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.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Law & Order SVU “Gray” Recap & Review

All photos from NBCU

This episode of Law & Order SVU certainly lived up to the hype. It was a very dramatic episode which easily drew me in. The story line is one that many can relate to: those college years where kids are on their own for the first time, with easy access to drinking, drugs, and sex, and anything can (and does) happen. "Gray" exposes “gray” rapes – when consent to sex is unclear, especially when alcohol is involved. The episode fixates on the issue of alcohol – not only with the rape victim and her rapist, but also with returning “temporary” ADA Sonya Paxton (played perfectly by Christine Lahti). Paxton was forced into alcohol rehab from events in am earlier episode of Law & Order SVU, “Hammered”. I enjoyed Lahti in her previous appearances on SVU and I thought she was fantastic in this one. Paxton works with the detectives despite the fact that they had a flimsy case to start and she thinks they expect her to work miracles. She’s right – the detectives seem quick to arrest their suspected rapist despite no evidence or witnesses, and they even arrest him again when someone assaults him with a pitcher of beer. Paxton also has to endure a few uncalled for comments from Stabler, one of them which prompted me to call Stabler a jerk (and a few other choice words) out loud.

Despite Stabler’s put down, Paxton still helps him by avoiding using his daughter Kathleen to testify on how Kathleen came into possession of the alleged rapist’s personal file from the university. Stabler can sure dish out the low blows, but it seems he can’t take the heat when his own daughter creates a mess that could get her kicked out of college. Personally, I think Stabler should have known that coming into possession of that file would risk raising ethical questions and exposing his daughter's involvement. He should have told Paxton immediately but we know that Stabler has a huge blind spot when it comes to his family.

The episode received a lot of press about its subject matter. Alcohol on college campuses - and related sexual assaults - is a problem, but it is not new. I recall this being an issue on college campuses (and even in high school) in the early 1970s. The big difference these days is there are many more outlets to talk about it – such as the Internet and television – and it gets far more exposure now. As part of the media blitz on the subject, Mariska Hargitay gave some of her own comments on the episode. I was slightly alarmed at what I perceive as a na├»ve and irresponsible attitude towards pot that came out of an in an interview that TV Squad conducted with Mariska where she commented about the buddy system:

“I think that my message to students is drinking impairs our judgment. That is a fact. You've got to take precautions if you want to do that, you have to find ways to take care of yourself so you don't put yourself in situations where you can't protect yourself.

You never hear anybody say, "Oh I smoked a joint then I killed my wife. I smoked a joint then I couldn't drive a car." You know what I mean? [Alcohol] causes fetal alcohol syndrome, it makes people make dumb choices, it makes people violent. People don't smoke a joint and then beat the sh-- out of their wife, right? They get drunk and then batter their wives. It's something people need to think about. “

I certainly hope she is not advocating smoking pot as a safer alternative to alcohol. It is not. I also hope that she is not saying that smoking a joint will not impair a person in any way, because it can. Alcohol and pot are two different drugs, but both can impair. The message should be that a person should take every precaution to make sure that they are not impaired in any way - by alcohol, pot, or drugs - if they are concerned their condition may affect their safety and the safety of others. (I'm not making an anti-pot rant here. I am 100% in favor of legalizing and regulating marijuana for medical use; as far as full legalization for everyone, I feel we should proceed - with caution.) As far as Mariska’s comment that one never hears anybody say, “I smoked a joint then I couldn't drive a car” – it sounds similar to the warped logic that some drinkers use when they get behind a wheel of a car ("I only had a few drinks, so I'm not drunk and I am OK to drive"). A person who is under the influence (drink or drugs) doesn’t always think they are impaired. Frankly, I am very disappointed in her cavalier attitude about marijuana in respect to this very serious issue that is raised in “Gray.” With drinking and sexual assaults being a problem in campuses, we don’t need anyone to imply that if one smokes grass there won’t be a problem with a impairment.

All in all, "Gray" was a very good episode which is sure to have people talking. Hopefully, it will also help people to start thinking and taking appropriate precautions.

Here is the recap:

At a “take back the night” rally, many women are recounting their rape experiences. Detective Elliot Stabler (Chris Meloni) arrives and sees his daughter Kathleen (Allison Siko). He discovers he has to speak at the event for Detective Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay) who could not attend. Before he starts to speak, Bethany Jennings runs into the crowd and accuses Chuck Mills of raping her. Chuck (Charlie Barnett) is also there and Stabler cuffs him.

Back at the SVU precinct, both Bethany and Chuck have conflicting stories. Munch (Richard Belzer) finds that Bethany has a web site, Mills claims the web site is a lie.

The detectives wonder if Bethany is out for revenge or justice. They also argue whose responsibility it is to prevent these kinds of situations - is the woman at fault if she gets too drunk or the man’s because he can’t get proper consent to sex? Fin (Ice-T) says ADA Hardwicke is in Albany meeting with the Attorney General, and find ADA Sonya Paxton (Christine Lahti) has been assigned to the case. She tells them there is no evidence and no witnesses, and while rehab did wonders it didn’t turn herself into a miracle worker. She calls it a “gray” rape (as in the case is not black or white and consent is not clear) and says to cut Chuck loose.
The detectives are at Hudson University with campus police; it seems they didn’t do much investigation on the initial claim of rape. The problem is that the case is handled by campus police and not “real” police who can actually make the charges. The Hudson dean and his committee had written off the rape claim as bad judgment. When the dean won’t give them access to the detailed file, Stabler wants the names of disciplinary committee members.

A woman who was on the committee now works at a woman’s crisis center and she tells the detectives she can’t speak about details but is unhappy with how things are handled at the university. She started a buddy system to make sure college students don’t do something stupid. She tells Stabler to ask his daughter about it.

Stabler speaks with Kathleen – her friends know she can’t drink so everyone asks to be her buddy. She was Bethany’s buddy and Kathleen became distracted and left Bethany alone when the rape occurred.

The detectives go to the bar in question where the rap happened and Chuck is there. When an altercation with Felecia Zorn occurs – she dumps beer on Chuck - the detectives arrest him.

They bring him into SVU but Paxton tells them to release him.
At home, Stabler and his wife Kathy (Isabel Gilles) talk about when they first met at college. Things turned romantic until their daughter Kathleen comes in to give Stabler Chuck Mills’ disciplinary file. A guy Kathleen likes stole it for her. She feels guilty over what happened to Bethany. She learned in a law class that as long as she didn’t act on behalf of the police, Stabler can use the file.

Back at the precinct, Stabler and Benson go over the file but find one incident where Chuck was the victim because Felicia publicly - on a bed sheet banner - labeled him a murderer. They speak with Felicia and she is being expelled for what she did and she decided to leave when they ordered her to apologize in writing. She accuses Chuck of killing Carla Vincent’s baby. He got Carla pregnant on their first hook up but she had a miscarriage and Chuck seemed to be happy about it.

They speak with Carla (Gwynneth Bensen) and she thinks Chuck is a nice guy and the girls are all lying. She said they had sex right before she miscarried. Chuck gave her something he called “love potion #9” that he mixed up himself. She miscarried the next day. The detectives convince her to help them get Chuck to use it again,

Later, when Chuck enters Carla’s darkened room, it’s Paxton in bed waiting and the detectives are also there and get the love potion from Chuck. Carla is also very upset with what Chuck did. They arrest him for abortion in the 2nd degree.

ME Warner later tells the detectives there is petroleum jelly in what Chuck gave them, plus an drug called misoprostol which is an OTC med for used for ulcers. It can cause contractions and had been selling a lot since the warnings came out. The drug has helped in poorer countries for abortions. Chuck is pre-med so he knows what the drug can do.

Back at SVU, Chuck is there with his attorney Carolyn Maddox (CCH Pounder) and he is willing to confess he used the drug. Sonya wants to go after him for depraved indifference for human life. Chuck claims he used the drug to treat his erectile dysfunction which was brought on by drinking. Maddox says all he is guilty of is poor judgment.
Later, the detectives and Paxton discuss that they need to prove Chuck intended to cause harm to the baby, and they hope maybe Chuck said something to the pharmacist (Lenny Wolpe). Lucky for them, the pharmacist does recall Chuck. He says Chuck was stressed out about getting the drug and said Chuck looked too young for a penis pump - the drug will not work without one.
Carla can’t recall if he used a pump, though. Carla also tells them she was pregnant once before in high school but had an abortion and worries that people will think she just wanted to have another abortion. She says Miss Maddox told her that is what would happen.

Later in Judge Quinn’s (Kate Nelligan) chambers, the judge is displeased with Maddox speaking with Carla and Paxton adds her two cents. Maddox thinks they are just going after Chuck. It comes out that Stabler has the confidential disciplinary files. Paxton later gives Stabler an earful about it and Stabler gets defensive. Stabler says “You know something? I hope you’re not on the sauce right now ‘cause I got a policy against strangling drunks.” Benson and Paxton both look stunned, and Stabler ads, “go have a drink.” He then seems to want to apologize but Paxton stops him and collects herself. Stabler tries to explain why Kathleen got involved but Stabler is not happy when he hears that Paxton will have to subpoena Kathleen because of it.

Stabler later visits Paxton in her office and apologizes for not telling her about the file and insists he did not tell Kathleen to get the file. Stabler is worried she will get kicked out of school but is also worried Kathleen will fall apart and begs Paxton not to do it. Paxton decides to refer to Kathleen as a confidential informant and not use her name and tells Stabler to be there at arraignment.

Chuck Mills is arraigned and he pleads not guilty. Judge Quinn sets a high bail as Paxton requests, but Maddox claims Quinn is biased because of the type of case and the judge calls a recess. Later, Paxton enters Quinn’s office with Maddox already there and Paxton accuses them of having an ex parte discussion. Quinn is recusing herself and Judge Ridiger (Dick Latessa) is replacing her, and Paxton wants another judge because he was on the ethics board that sent her to rehab. He says he will be impartial and wants a probable cause hearing.

Back at SVU, Paxton breaks the bad news to the detectives and wants to lower the charge. But Judge Quinn comes in and says nobody is making any deals and thinks Maddox dug into her past which is how she got all the inside information. She wants to help them win the case and wants to persuade Carla to testify.

Later, Quinn is with Carla and Quinn explains how she was raped 40 years ago and how she was forced fed pills to make it look like she overdosed. The police made her appear to be the guilty party and she never got justice. Paxton and Benson, who are also there, ask Carla not to let Chuck get away with it. She agrees to do it and will be there for the probable cause hearing.
At the hearing, they are all waiting but Carla does not show up. Judge Ridiger chastises Paxton and when she tries to stall he asks her to approach the bench. She accidentally trips on the leg of the table. The judge asks her if she has been drinking and she says no, her case is in order. She begs him to give her time for Carla, not for herself, and the judge gives her to the end of business that day or he will dismiss the case.

Back at the dorm, Benson gets access to Carla’s room from security, and finds her laying on the bathroom floor.

Later, Carla is on the table in the morgue, and ME Warner tells the detectives Carla died from toxic shock from an infection from the incomplete abortion/miscarriage. Her immune system was compromised by the misoprostol because it was applied directly to the cervix. They realize now they have Chuck.

Later, Chuck is drinking at a bar and Benson and Stabler, along with Paxton, enter and the detectives arrest Chuck for manslaughter in the second degree from the effects of Chuck’s “love potion.” As they walk him out in cuffs, 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.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Law & Order SVU “Rescue” Episode Information

NBC has released information for a new episode of Law & Order SVU, “Rescue.” Maria Bello returns as guest star. Here are the details:

Law & Order SVU “Rescue” Air Date December 1 2010 (9PM ET/8C Wednesday NBC)

DETECTIVES STABLER (CHRISTOPHER MELONI) AND BENSON (MARISKA HARGITAY) INVESTIGATE A RAPE CASE WHILE CONTINUING THE SEARCH FOR A YOUNG BOY’S MOTHER (GUEST STAR MARIA BELLO) With young Calvin in her care, Detective Benson (Hargitay) continues the search for his drug-addict mother, Vivian (guest star Maria Bello), but Detective Stabler (Meloni) notices a strong bond forming between Benson and the boy. When Vivian’s name comes up during a rape investigation, Captain Cragen (Dann Florek) assigns Detectives Fin (Ice-T) and Munch (Richard Belzer) to the case instead. However, it will take more than Cragen’ s orders to keep Benson away. Also starring: Tamara Tunie and Melissa Sagemiller.

My recap and review of Law & Order SVU "Rescue" 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.

NBC Makes Schedule Changes; SVU, LOLA to Move

(Note: the highlighting is mine, not NBC's)

Press Release by NBC


UNIVERSAL CITY, Calif. - November 15, 2010 - NBC today made several mid-season schedule announcements, including the premiere dates for four new series - the dramas "The Cape" and "Harry's Law," the comedy "Perfect Couples" and the alternative series "America's Next Great Restaurant." The lineup also includes series time period changes for "Law & Order: Los Angeles," "Chase," "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" and "Parenthood."

Additionally, returning series "Parks and Recreation," "The Biggest Loser: Couples," "Who Do You Think You Are?," "Minute to Win It," "The Marriage Ref" and "The Celebrity Apprentice" resume on the schedule while other moves maximize the amount of original, non-repeat programming on the network.

Following are night-by-night details:


The new action-filled drama "The Cape" will premiere with a two-hour episode on Sunday, January 9 (9-11 p.m. ET). An encore broadcast of the two-hour episode airs Monday, January 10 (9-11 p.m. ET) with new episodes starting in its regular time period on January 17 (9-10 p.m. ET). The highly buzzed-about drama "The Event" returns with a two-hour edition on Monday, February 28 (9-11 p.m. ET) and begins airing in its regular 9-10 p.m. (ET) time slot on March 7. The new drama "Harry's Law" debuts at 10-11 p.m. (ET) starting on January 17. "Parenthood" will return on January 4 with new episodes in its current time period (Tuesdays, 10-11 p.m. ET) and will move to Mondays on March 7 at 10-11 p.m. (ET) with original episodes to complete its second season. "Chuck" continues at 8-9 p.m. (ET) on January 17.


The new season of "The Biggest Loser: Couples" premieres on Tuesday, January 4 at 8-10 p.m. (ET).
"Law & Order: Los Angeles" will move to Tuesdays at 10-11 p.m. (ET) on February 8.


Beginning January 5, "Minute to Win It" returns at 8-9 p.m. (ET). The freshman drama "Chase" relocates to a new night and time at 9-10 p.m. (ET) beginning January 12. "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" moves to a new time beginning with a two-hour episode from 9-11 p.m. (ET) on January 5 before resuming in its regular time of 10-11 p.m. (ET) the next week. The new alternative series "America's Next Great Restaurant" premieres from 9-10 p.m. (ET) on March 16.


The new Thursday-night lineup features wall-to-wall comedy beginning January 20 with "Community" at 8-8:30 p.m. (ET) followed at the new comedy "Perfect Couples" at 8:30-9 p.m. (ET). "The Office" continues at 9-9:30 p.m. (ET) and "Parks and Recreation" returns from 9:30-10 p.m. (ET). NBC opens a new hour of humor with "30 Rock" moving to 10-10:30 p.m. (ET) and the freshman series "Outsourced" concludes the night at 10:30-11 p.m. (ET).


The alternative genealogy series "Who Do You Think You Are?" returns on January 21 (8-9 p.m. ET). "Dateline NBC" will return on January 7 (9-11 p.m. ET).


"The Marriage Ref" returns for its second season on March 6 (8-9 p.m. ET) followed by the return of "The Celebrity Apprentice" (9-11 p.m. ET), also on March 6.

The premieres of the new January-March program schedule follow in a grid (all times ET); new series are capitalized.

8-9 p.m. - "Chuck"
9-10 p.m. - "THE CAPE" will premiere with a two-hour episode on Sunday, January 9 (9-11 p.m.). New episodes start in its regular time period on January 17 (9-10 p.m.)
10-11 p.m. - "HARRY'S LAW' (beginning January 17)
9-10 p.m. - "The Event" (returns on February 28, 9-11 p.m.; resumes in its regular time slot March 7)
10-11 p.m. -- "Parenthood" (debuts in this slot March 7 with all originals)

8-10 p.m. -- "The Biggest Loser: Couples" (beginning January 4)
10-11 p.m. - "Parenthood" (beginning January 4 for four episodes)
10-11 p.m. -- "Law & Order: Los Angeles" (beginning February 8)

8-9 p.m. -- "Minute to Win It" (beginning January 5)
9-10 p.m. -"Chase" (beginning January 12)
10-11 p.m. - "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" (originals beginning January 5 with two-hour episode, 9-11 p.m. ET)
9-10 p.m. - "AMERICA'S NEXT GREAT RESTAURANT" (beginning March 16)

THURSDAYS (all beginning January 20)
8-8:30 p.m. - "Community"
8:30-9 p.m. - "PERFECT COUPLES"
9-9:30 p.m. - "The Office"
9:30-10 p.m. - "Parks and Recreation"
10-10:30 p.m. - "30 Rock"
10:30-11 p.m. - "Outsourced"

8-9 p.m. -- "Who Do You Think You Are?" (beginning January 21)
9-11 p.m. - "Dateline NBC" (beginning January 7)

7-8 p.m. - "Dateline NBC"
8-9 p.m. - "The Marriage Ref" (beginning March 6)
9-11 p.m. - "The Celebrity Apprentice" (beginning March 6)

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, November 12, 2010

Law & Order LA “Playa Vista” Episode Information

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

Law & Order Los Angeles “Playa Vista” Air Date December 1, 2010 (10PM ET/9C Wednesday NBC)

TROUBLE ON THE LINKS WHEN A PRO GOLFER TURNS UP MURDERED - When pro golfer Kristin Halstead (guest star Maggie Contreras) turns up murdered, Detectives Rex Winters (Skeet Ulrich) and Tomas "TJ" Jaruszalski (Corey Stoll) quickly discover clues leading them to married pro golfer Chip Jarrow (guest star Marc Blucas). However, after a suspicious event occurs between Chip and his wife Monica (Bellamy Young), it's up to Deputy District Attorney's Dekker (Terrence Howard) and Stanton (Megan Boone) to uncover the truth. Rachel Ticotin also stars.

My recap and review of Law & Order Los Angeles "Playa Vista" 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, AOL TV Partner for Campus Screening (NBC Press Release)

NBC Press release

REVISED 11/12/2010

NEW YORK, N.Y. - November 12, 2010 - The producers of the hit Wolf Films/NBC series “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” have partnered with NYU and AOL TV to screen a special episode of ‘SVU’ focusing on drinking and date rape on a college campus, which airs Wednesday, November 17, 9:00 ET/PT on NBC.

“SVU” creator and Executive Producer Dick Wolf and "SVU" star Ice-T will head a panel following the screening of the episode (titled "Gray") at AOL’s corporate headquarters in lower Manhattan. MSNBC anchor Tamron Hall will moderate the panel/Q&A which also includes representatives from anti-sexual violence organizations RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network) and the Joyful Heart Foundation (founded by series star and Emmy winner Mariska Hargitay).

“Sexual abuse on college campuses is unfortunately all too common. By the time a young women graduates from college, one out of four co-eds will have been raped or sexually assaulted,” said “SVU” Executive Producer, Neal Baer. “Alcohol use -- and abuse – is often a factor in these assaults and colleges must address this problem on their campuses.”

Ted Magder, Associate Professor of Media, Culture, and Communication, and Director of the Center for Media and Culture at NYU, will host the evening with the Center for Communication.

"NYU Media, Culture, and Communication students study the ability of content producers to embed or explicitly address social issues within narratives, and our students consider the implications of the presence of those messages. The television medium is more than a carrier of entertainment content. The long-form, dramatic series format offers an opportunity to engage the audience in serious deliberation over personal and collective concerns. We are delighted to partner with “SVU” and to provide our students with the opportunity to hear from Dick Wolf, one of most talented producers of dramatic television in the U.S.”

Fans are invited to submit their questions for the panelists at (Discussion tab), or tweet their questions to @WolfFilms, with the hashtag #1in4. After the episode, viewers can find excerpts from the panel and see their questions answered at AOL TV will also have exclusive behind-the-scenes content, including interviews with actors, writers, producers and experts on their personal experiences with sexual abuse and filming this episode.

Further information on anti-sexual violence programs and recovery resources can be found at and

Please follow us on and at

“Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” is a Wolf Films Production in association with Universal Media Studios. Dick Wolf, Ted Kotcheff, Neal Baer and Peter Jankowski are executive producers.

About AOL

AOL Inc. (NYSE: AOL) is a leading global Web services company with an extensive suite of brands and offerings and a substantial worldwide audience. AOL’s business spans online content, products and services that the company offers to consumers,publishers and advertisers. AOL is focused on attracting and engaging consumers and providing valuable online advertising services on both AOL’s owned and operated properties and third-party websites. In addition, AOL operates one of the largest Internet subscription access services in the United States, which serves as a valuable distribution channel for AOL’s consumer offerings.

About NYU Department of Media, Culture and Communication

The NYU Department of Media, Culture, and Communication (MCC) is at the forefront of innovative scholarship and teaching. Our research and curriculum emphasizes the study of global media and culture, digital media and new technologies, media history, visual culture, sound studies, media institutions and industries, and political communication.

About Center for Communication

Center for Communication is an independent, nonprofit media forum, founded in 1980 to bridge the gap between the media industry and colleges and universities to educate tomorrow’s media professionals by connecting students to leaders from all fields of the industry. Each year, the Center provides 45 free seminars and conferences, featuring leading media figures who present students with a realistic and up-to-date view of the today’s industry; alert them to new developments in the ever-evolving media landscape; and provide them with internships, valuable contacts, and entry-level jobs. Many thousands of students from over 185 colleges and universities in the Tri-State area attend these events during the spring and fall semesters. These events also appear on the Center’s weekly television show MEDIA CITY on NYC TV, available to over 8 million households.


RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network) is the nation’s largest anti-sexual violence organization and was named one of “America’s 100 Best Charities” by Worth magazine. RAINN created and operates the National Sexual Assault Hotlines (800.656.HOPE and in partnership with over 1,100 local rape crisis centers across the country. The hotlines have helped more than 1.5 million people since 1994. RAINN also carries out programs to prevent sexual assault, help victims and ensure that rapists are brought to justice. For more information about RAINN, please visit

About Joyful Heart Foundation

The mission of the Joyful Heart Foundation is to heal, educate and empower survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence and child abuse and to shed light into the darkness that surrounds these issues. Since its founding in 2004 by Mariska Hargitay, Joyful Heart has invested more than 9 million dollars in innovative programs, education and awareness campaigns, coalition building and partnerships in our three hubs in New York, Los Angeles and Hawai'i, as well as across the country. Joyful Heart has directly served thousands of survivors and the healers who support them. Tens of thousands more have taken that first important step to get help through our web-site. Our participation in national educational, media and advocacy initiatives has planted the seeds of a changed awareness in the lives of millions.


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 “Gray” Advance Photos

Here are some advance photos from NBC for the November 17th episode of Law & Order SVU, “Gray” featuring Chris Meloni, Mariska Hargitay, Ice-T, Richard Belzer, and Christine Lahti as ADA Sonya Paxton.

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

All photos by: Virginia Sherwood/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, November 11, 2010

Law & Order Los Angeles “Hondo Field” Recap & Review

All photos from NBCU

Law & Order Los Angeles “Hondo Field” involves a murder of a male oil worker at the hands of female boss. She tries to use self defense - and attempted rape - as excuse. But DDA Dekker (Terrence Howard) outmaneuvers the defense attorney and gets a murder conviction. The episode had an good first half, with the detectives having to head out to an oil rig as part of the investigation. But the second half didn't deliver. I found Terrence Howard much better in this episode, and saw glimmers of a personality in Megan Boone’s character. But, there is something about the dialog that I just can’t put my finger on. Sometimes it seems the actors are delivering the lines as if they were just reading them off the script. There is still a sort of stiffness with the delivery – with everyone, even the secondary characters like the judges or people being questioned by the detectives. The dialog sounds as if the characters are automatons and not real people.

I usually don’t have a hard time writing reviews for the shows I cover, but in this case I feel that I have nothing much to put my arms around. The case didn’t move me or pull me in at all. The episode was neither bad nor good; it’s middle of the road TV which isn’t drawing any real emotional response from me. Overall, I do like Law & Order Los Angeles but wonder if I am watching it out of habit or to pass the time than to be truly entertained or be drawn into a story. Even with the worst episodes of Law & Order SVU I am left with something, and in the case of “Hondo Field” I am coming away with no real opinion whatsoever. There is no solid attachment or bond that I am making with any of the characters and I think that is very important – at least for me – in order to enjoy a show. I am not sure what I want to get out of Law & Order Los Angeles; all I can say is I do want more than what I’m getting. I'll be the first one to admit that the problem may be with me and not with the show, so I would appreciate any feedback from fans about this episode.

Here is the recap:
A man, Freddy Ramirez, is found dead in the water by a couple taking a late night swim.
Detectives Rex Winters (Skeet Ulrich) and TJ Jaruszalski (Corey Stoll) are called to the scene, the body now on the beach. Freddy is a oil worker, a rig is also spotted in the distance.

The Medical Examiner (Tamlyn Tomita) tells the detectives said there were peanuts and alcohol in his stomach. TJ says Freddy clocked in at the Hondo Field rig at 2:36 AM, and assume he was drunk and fell off the rig and drowned. But the ME says he did not drown, he was dead before he hit the water and believes he was beaten. Since he washed up on their beach, it’s their case.

At the offices of Goldshore Oil, they speak with Mr. Braden who tells them they have a zero tolerance for alcohol on board. They have a warrant for Freddy’s personnel file.
Later, they look at the personnel file, and Freddy has had four suspensions for violations. They head to the rig. On the rig, Freddy’s hat was found with what may be blood or drilling mud on it. He was missing for 18 hours before it was reported, his buddies had reported him on duty. Lucas (Jeffery A. Baker) saw him at check in. They speak with Freddy's co-workers and they say his supervisor was a pain in the ass. The detectives speak with his supervisor, Valerie Roberts (Sprague Grayden) who does not think anyone from the crew did it and she thinks she would have noticed if trouble was building. No evidence was found on the gangways or railings, so they go to check his bunk.

In his room, the detectives find nothing and wonder why Lucas was the only one that saw him at check in time.
At the San Pedro Motel, they speak with the hotel manager who lets them into Freddy’s room. They find a notebook with numbers and dates and a federal certificate of inspection saying the rig passed. Rex sees some stuff on the floor that the hotel manager thinks came from the newly paved parking lot. They also find some of the same stuff in the parking lot lot and it looks like the stuff that was on Freddy’s cap. Rex thinks they are being played.

They head back to the rig and press Lucas who sticks to his story. They think he’s lying and press him and he finally admits he took a break and when he got back he saw that Freddy had swiped himself in – he didn’t actually see him. TJ gets a message – the lab matched the dirt on Freddy’s cap to the tar at the hotel, it was mixed with his blood so they think he was killed there and then dumped at sea. They think the killer swiped him in at the rig and planted his belongings there so it would look like he fell off the rig.

The detectives head to a bar and speak with the bartender who identifies the rig workers were there and said Valerie was there with Zack, her boyfriend, who does not work on the rig. He last saw Freddy on the pay phone at 11.

At the home of Douglas Kasdan, he says Freddy probably called their maid, Lucy. They speak with Lucy Ramirez, Freddy’s mother, who is crying over Freddy’s death. When he last called he said he would be away for two weeks. Stephanie Kasdan, Douglas’s daughter, comes in to console Lucy; Stephanie and Freddy grew up together. Freddy also told Lucy that Freddy said he may have to quit because it was getting dangerous. Outside, the detectives wonde, based on the notebook and the certificate that they found in Freddy’s room, if he had a beef with the company.

At the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, the manager is surprised that Freddy had the certificate in his home. There was a complaint filed by Jason Callahan, a floor hand on the rig, for a safety valve problem that has been fixed 6 months ago. The detectives show the manager the list of numbers that Freddy was keeping and he says it looks like a record of feet drilled per day, and it looks like they are drilling faster every day. They ask for a copy of the file.

Later, they speak with Jason about the complaint and said his supervisor Valerie Roberts made his life living hell over it. They wonder if Freddy decided to stand up to her.

They head back out to the rig and Valerie is not there and someone else is using her berth. The guy is a former “jarhead” and said he just finished cleaning up, saying there is nothing worse than female mess. He adds there was blood there. The see blood on the floor, maybe from her boot and decide to call the crime scene people back out there.

Later, Rex and TJ find Valerie at the bar with the other workers and they arrest her.

In court, Valerie is being arraigned and Sarah Goodwin (Natalie Zea) is her attorney. Valerie pleads not guilty. DDA Lauren Stanton (Megan Boone) request $1 million bail because of the brutal murder and cover-up, and the judge agrees.

Later, Stanton tells DDA Joe Dekker (Terrence Howard) that Goodwin has the case. Stanton says lawyers who do TV belong in the 7th ring of hell. He tells her not to let Goodwin distract her. Goodwin made a motion to exclude the blood found in Valerie’s berth.

Goodwin arrives at the courthouse and meets up with Dekker and Stanton. They discuss the case and Goodwin says it’s men behaving badly, saying the male ego is responsible for all society’s ills.

In the chambers of Judge Martha Dreyer, Goodwin argues the detectives had no right to search the berth because the guy who gave them the OK to search is not her roommate – the berth is shared on alternate shifts. She adds that Valerie did not know someone had replaced her on that shift. The judge rules the blood evidence inadmissible.

At the Robbery Homicide Division, Stanton, Rex, and TJ go over the evidence collected form Valerie’s apartment. They do find a t-shirt from Zack’s Dive Tours, and a dive boat may be been a help to Valerie in dumping the body. Valerie's boyfriend’s name is also Zack.
They bring Zack (Sam Ball) in to interrogation and tell him they found Freddy’s hair on his dive boat. He says he took him diving once. They also found a plastic bottle of crude oil. They tell him they can use the blood evidence found in Valerie’s berth against him. He admits that Valerie called him and said Freddy was drunk and hit his head and she said they had to get rid of the body. Then Zack asks for a lawyer

In Superior Court, Goodwin makes a motion to exclude saying Zack’s statement can’t be admitted without corroboration. Stanton tries to argue back with no luck. Dekker says their problem is charging Zack as an accomplice. In court, Dekker says there is no evidence Zack is an accomplice, and reads back Zack’s statement to police which supports that he did not help Valerie and they are not charging him as an accomplice. The judge tells Dekker this was well played and when Goodwin has no counter argument the judge allows Zack to testify against Valerie. Goodwin then asks leave to file for an affirmative defense, saying that Valerie killed Freddy in self defense as he tried to rape her and she was sexually harassed by the male workers on the rig which was aided and abetted by Goldshore Oil.

Goodwin and Valerie are on a TV news show and Dekker is watching in his office. As Goodwin talks about the issues women face in blue collar jobs, Stanton walks in. She says that it seems to her that Goodwin has Dekker’s mind now, and she walks out.

At Superior Court, Dekker makes his opening statement, saying there was no evidence of attempted rape and says the evidence was staged to make Freddy's death look like an accident. Goodwin counters by describing how it was for Valerie to work with the boys and the harassing comments they made and she was the lone woman among 150 men. She says Valerie’s complaints were ignored by the oil company. When Goodwin asks the jury what they would do if they were in alone in the dark with a drunk illegal Mexican , Dekker objects and Judge Dreyer orders them to her chambers.

In chambers, Goodwin shows that Freddy is illegal. Dekker reminds them Freddy is the victim and asks for mistrial, saying it is prejudicial and the bell can’t ne un-ring, but the judge denies his request.

Later, Dekker is out having a beer and Goodwin approaches. She asks if he really thinks he is a racist, and when he doesn’t respond, she says maybe racism is in everyone’s DNA. She thinks all she needs is one woman on the jury, but Dekker asks her what about the truth. She brings up when they had law classes together. She asked why he never asked her for help in class, he asked Mike for tutoring instead. He asks if she is implying he was being sexist. She says, “res ipsa loquitur” (Latin for “the thing speaks for itself”). He says they just didn’t click.

Back in Superior Court, an oil rig worker testifies about how difficult it was working with Valerie. Freddy was like her whipping boy. Goodwin cross examines him and brings up how they burst into Valerie’s shower.

Back in the office, Stanton and Dekker discuss the case. They need to find a witness who can say something good about Freddy and Stanton can’t reach Freddy’s mother. Stanton gives him the number and Dekker calls it and is given another phone number to reach Freddy’s mother. The number Freddy called before he was killed was Stephanie Kasdan’s – not his mother’s.
Dekker and Stanton speak with Stephanie who says she and Freddy were friends since they were kids. Dekker says they will put her on the stand, and she says her parents do not know about her and Freddy and they would fire Lucy. She says he called her to apologize for not seeing her before he left and he was with his buddies. She said Freddy would never rape that woman and if there was a problem it was with Valerie, she would never leave Freddy alone. Valerie would call and text him non-stop and it was so bad he had to get a new phone and a new phone number. She saw some of Valerie’s texts to him telling Freddy to do things like wash her car.
In Superior Court, Valerie is on the stand saying how tough it was on the rig, that they call the women clams and how they broke into her shower. She said she was told it was just hazing. She said that with the increased pressure after the Gulf Oil disaster, the crew took it out on her. She could have lost her hand a few times in accidents they caused. She said he was just helping Freddy that night because he was drunk and claims Freddy tried to drag her into his room and she told him to stop. She said he said he was illegal and would just run away to Mexico. She describes the attack and said she was scared because he was like an animal. She kicked him until he let go and saw he was dead. She panicked and called Zack and made it look like Freddy fell from the rig. She says she is sorry and it was stupid but she just felt it was her against all those me.

Under cross examination. Dekker asks if that was the first time she heard Freddy was an illegal alien and she says yes. Dekker shows the jury the text messages Valerie sent to Freddy, where she told Freddy to detail his car, to fix her garage door, Dekekr saying that she was blackmailing him. He shows a message where she tells Freddy to “get with the program or you and mama will be on a bus back to Mexico,” the message dates two months before she said she learned Freddy was illegal. She says Dekker does not understand. Dekker says she used Freddy to watch her back and she threatened him. He goes on to say the more they others harassed her, the more she put pressure on Freddy. Dekker continues to push on her, showing a message where Valerie said, “My little brown man, ur only here to make me feel good” which was sent two days before he was killed. Dekker asks if that was one of his chores. Dekker also shows a naked picture of Valerie that she sent to Freddy’s phone two days before he was killed. Dekker says Valerie was sexually harassing Freddy. He shows another message where Valerie told Freddy “4 get ur grlfrnd. Out there u belong 2 me” which was sent the day he was killed. Dekker says Freddy was resisting her and says that Freddy defied her and said he would report her . She counters that Dekker does not know what is it like, saying how hard it was for her to work there and the men will not let her forget that she is just a chick.

Later, Valerie is found guilty of murder.

Back in Dekker’s office, Stanton said Valerie found the one guy on the rig that couldn’t fight back. Dekker says the guys humiliated her and she humiliated Freddy – it is the nature of oppression. Stanton said Valerie is like a lot of women, they still haven’t learned that nobody is going to give them power – they just have to take it. Dekker asks if that is Gloria Steinem, and she says “Roseanne Barr.”

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.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Law & Order SVU “Penetration” Recap & Review

All photos from NBCU

Law & Order SVU “Penetration” brings back guest star Marcia Gay Harden as FBI Agent Dana Lewis, this time as a victim of rape. She tries to enlist the help of Detective Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay) to find her attacker and apparently Dana doesn’t know Benson as well as she thought because before Dana knows it, Benson has Stabler, Cragen, Fin and Munch helping to work the case. They ultimately cause Dana’s current cover to be blown and forces the FBI to raid a compound earlier than planned and many deaths result. It’s one of the flaws of the SVU team – sometimes they go in head first without thinking of unintended consequences.

The story line dovetails with the SVU season 7 episode titled “Raw” where the SVU team first meets up with Dana, not realizing she is working undercover. In "Penetration”, one of the parties involved in the case from "Raw" finds a way to reach outside his prison confines to exact his revenge on Dana.

It’s surprising that it Dana didn’t realize the connection between a comment her rapist made, telling her “you sure are a star”, and one of her undercover aliases, “Star.” Benson had to point it out to her after Dana mentions it on the witness stand. It is odd that this comment the rapist made wasn’t mentioned to the detectives earlier in the investigation. I know that Dana only wanted them to run the rape kit and not get involved any further, but seeing she was so worried at first that one of her covers had been blown, it seemed that she should have made the connection much earlier without help from Benson.

Benson has apparently decided that being the legal guardian to Calvin (from last week’s Law & Order SVU episode, “Trophy”) means she can take physical custody while she works to track down his father. I found the opening scene with Calvin playing with a squirt gun somewhat odd, and felt that the comment Dana made saying now that Calvin knows she’s FBI she’ll have to kill him was a bit weird, especially since Dana had no idea who this kid was.

On a side note, I don’t recall Benson being called a bitch in the episode, so maybe the series finally broke their streak. I may have missed it, though, being somewhat distracted by references to Stabler’s “ample ass” and the gratuitous yet welcome scene with a shirtless Stabler. In fact, I think I don’t remember much of the episode after that scene (just kidding). Yes, watching SVU does have its fringe benefits.

Despite NBC initially listing Melissa Sagemiller’s character as being named “Jillian Hardwick”, she now is “Gillian Hardwicke". Yes, I know this may be nitpicky but I find changes like this simply annoying, it suggests a lack of attention to detail. It’s not the first time this has happened in the Law & Order universe, and it happens quite frequently, especially with the character names for guest stars. Why is it so hard to get the name right the first time?

It was nice to see Richard Belzer again – he seems frequently absent from the show these days – and I was glad that he got to use his paranoid conspiracy expertise to help work a case. After all, it's what Munch does best!

Here is the recap:

Detective Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay) is asleep on her couch and a shadowy figure approaches her with a gun. But it’s just Calvin (Charlie Tahan), the boy to which Benson had recently be made legal guardian, and it’s only a water pistol. She grabs the water pistol and shoots back, and then tells Calvin to get to bed. There is a knock on the door, and it’s FBI Agent Dana Lewis, and she asks Benson to test a rape kit as a Jane Doe – and the rape kit is her own.
Later, on the rooftop of their new precinct, Benson and Detective Elliot Stabler (Chris Meloni) tell Captain Don Cragen (Dann Florek) about the rape kit for Dana. The secrecy in the case is because Dana can’t tell the Feds or they may pull her out of her undercover operation. Because of this, the SVU team can’t contact Dana but she promised to contact them.

At St. Paul’s Chapel, the detectives meet with Dana and she is not happy that Benson brought Stabler. She only wanted the lab report, but the detectives try to convince her to let them investigate. She tells them she will give them the address of the location where the rape occurred and they can meet her there.

The detectives go to Dana’s beautifully decorated “crash pad” where she was raped. This is her own apartment. She is still married to her husband and they have two kids who lives with their father in DC. She walks them through the rape and describes her attacker and how he disabled her. He injected her with a paralytic agent and she could not move or scream. The drug wore off after he left and she did her own rape kit. She wants to go right back to work and the detectives express their concerns. She does allow them to come along to help her but says they must blend in so as not to blow her cover.

At Park51, there is a protest going on against building a mosque there. Benson makes a comment in order to antagonize the group. Dana uses this situation to ditch them but they see her and follow, but someone is racing off with her in a van. Benson sets a photo of the van’s license plates.

Back at SVU, Fin (Ice-T) tells Stabler that the van is registered to David Worthy from Akron and a BOLO is out to notify, not apprehend. Cragen won’t tell Fin and Munch (Richard Belzer) what the case is about and Munch gets testy about it. Munch says that Worthy is on 6 different watch lists and is a high ranking member of the SCB – Sovereign Citizen’s Brigade - which is an anti-US government group. One of their members, acting on their own took out an IRS agent. Cragen tells Fin to call Elliot back and let them know who they are dealing with.

The detectives arrive to the location where the van was found burned and abandoned. The officer decided to follow the van. There is a male body in the driver’s seat, burned to a crisp. The trooper said Worthy was driving. She also saw the explosion in the rear view mirror as she drove past them. There were 5 men and one woman in the van and when the trooper got back to the van the others were gone.
At FBI headquarters, Benson and Stabler tell an FBI Agent (Dion Graham) that they have to pull Dana Lewis out, but find that she is not working on a case for the FBI, she left the bureau a year ago.

Outside the bureau, the detectives wonder who Dana is working for. They think she is playing them but decide to call in their expert of paranoid conspiracy theorists. That happens to be John Munch.
Later, at the Learning Arena, Fin and Munch arrive at a seminar being conducted by Tom Marshall head of the SCB. Marshall is talking about a secret identity everyone has that was created at birth called the “straw man” which is linked to an account at the US Treasury which the government uses as collateral on foreign debt. .Munch chimes in and says if you file the right documents at the right offices, that money can be yours. Fin asks how he can break his shackles and as Marshall explains the process, Fin and Munch take over and tell the seminar attendees that it is a scam. Fin shows his police badge and they arrest him for fraud.

Back at SVU, Stabler questions Marshall about Worthy and mentions the kidnapping of a Federal Agent. Marshall says Worthy started to sound crazy on his blog and said the time for non-violence was over. This is not the way of the SCB, but says Worthy found someone who would go for the violence. Later, Stabler, Munch and Fin tell Cragen about Patriots Against Tyranny and they are stockpiling weapons. Fin finds their compound is in Staten Island.
When Benson and Stabler arrive there, police and FBI are already all over the scene and bodies are everywhere. They also see the same FBI Agent they spoke to about Dana is there. They are pissed that he lied to them but he said they never gave him the code and if Dana wanted to share information with them, they would know it already. He adds they are interfering. Benson sees the guy from the alley who shoved Dana into the car, he's laying dead on the sidewalk. The agent says the detectives’ surveillance blew her cover and they had to get her out, she was embedded when the raid went down and she is in the house. They think she may be dead but she is very much alive and annoyed with them. She says the van explosion would not have happened had the state trooper not followed them. They wanted to kill a cop and the death of the trooper would have allowed them to blow up more cops at the services. She stopped it by reminding them all the PATs were supposed to be there when the spark was ignited and they were a few members short. But had the raid gone down when it should have, the big boys from out west would have been there. When Worthy pulled off in the van he accidentally hit his brights and they thought he was signaling to the trooper. The others came straight to the compound. She is upset that she killed three people today that she meant to take in alive. She asks them for her lab report and tells them to direct all the evidence to the FBI as they will be handling it.

Back at SVU, Benson says she will not hand it over to the FBI and Stabler tells her to let it go and Dana will never cooperate. Munch tells them they need to get Dana down there ASAP because they found another rape case with a similar MO to Dana’s. The victim is Jennifer Briggs and she is an accountant. She is also dead.

Back at the FBI, they speak with Dana who is at a desk handling paperwork. They tell her there is another victim who is now dead. They give her the lab report which had no DNA. They tell her they need to work the pattern and can’t do that without her. She suggests they talk about it elsewhere. They then show Dana the photo of Jennifer and she does not know her. As Jennifer worked in the diamond district, Dana thinks that may be the connection and wonders if she was caught stealing diamonds from her employer, Kauffman Fein Jewelers. Jennifer’s fingers were all broken. They wonder if the rapist had a closer connection to Jennifer as he seemed more angry with her. Dana said when the attacker was done with her, he held her hand and he said, “You’re just lucky you never did anything to piss me off.”

At Kauffman Fein Jewelers, Munch and Fin speak with Kauffman (Bruce Winant) who says Jennifer was a model human being. She wasn’t seeing anyone and spent her time doing charity work for many organizations. She used to write to prisoners and used a pen pal service that only reached out to Jewish inmates.

Back at SVU, Munch and Fin tell the others that Jennifer corresponded through Project Mitzvah and she corresponded with 8 different prisoners. Dana doesn’t recognize any of the names. Three of the 8 prisoners are out and when they look at their records, the most likely fit is Seth Coleman but they don’t understand what would be his connection to Dana.

At the Division of Criminal Justice Services, Munch and Fin find Seth was a jailhouse convert to the Arian brotherhood. He was very hard to place since he was a sex offender. Elsewhere, Stabler and Benson check out one of the possible locations and Dana is there and she seems to be following them. Stabler sees Coleman (Jeremy Davidson) walking down the street towards them and Coleman spots them and runs. Dana chases after Coleman on her motorcycle as the detectives race to catch up on foot. They see her motorcycle parked and they run into the building, guns drawn. Dana has Coleman at gunpoint and Coleman is pointing a nail gun back at her. Dana taunts him, but Coleman wisely decides to put the nail gun down. This only incenses Dana more, and she shoots at him, purposely missing. But Stabler cries out in pain, Benson holds his shoulder saying that the bullet ricocheted off the beam.
Later, Stabler is in a hospital bed, recovering and Dana arrives with flowers, apologetic. She tells them they rook her gun away and she is suspended without pay. He chastises her. He tells her that Coleman confessed to raping and murdering Jennifer Briggs and they found his DNA. Back at SVU in interrogation, Benson is questioning Coleman who denies raping Dana. Benson brings out other rape cases and Coleman says they women were asking for it. Jennifer stopped writing to Coleman when he asked for naked pictures. He says he just hung out with neo-Nazi’s in prison for protection. Observing the interrogating, ADA Gillian Hardwicke (Melissa Sagemiller) asks Cragen where Benson is going with the questioning. She only has three hours before she has to arraign him and thinks Munch and Fin would do better than a women in interrogation.

Later, Munch and Fin are questioning Coleman but he continues to deny having anything to do with Dana. He asks for a lawyer.

At Hardwicke’s office, she tells Dana that Coleman refused all pleas and they are going to trial. Dana is reluctant but Benson and Hardwicke tries to encourage her. Dana tells them to make it go away. Benson says it is the only way she will ever find peace.

Later, Dana heads to the jail where Coleman is being held and Benson follows her trying to talk her out of confronting Coleman. She goes ahead anyway and asks Coleman for an explanation. He says he does not know her but Dana continues to press. Benson tries o pull her away and as she does so, Coleman whispers “ bye bye sweet dreams, I know I will.”

In Supreme Court, Dana testifies about her rape and being paralyzed. It comes out that she pulled a gun on an unarmed man and that she did not ID herself as law enforcement and that she took her own rape kit. Hardwicke has Dana go through the rape and Dana repeats what her rapist says. She goes into detail and breaks down on the stand. When she says the rapist said “you sure are a star” Benson, listening to the testimony, gets a look of realization. The judge, seeing Dana very upset, orders a 10 minute recess. Benson asks Dana about the star comment, and Dana also gets a look of realization.

Back at SVU, they look at a mug shot of Brian Ackerman and a photo of Kyle Ackerman and Dana says she should have put to together herself. She said she has not used that alias Star Morrison for over 4 years. Brian ran the Revolution Arian Warriors and knows Coleman from Attica, where Dana put him. She killed his son Kyle to save Stabler’s “ample ass” in that courtroom shoot out.
Stabler, Benson, and Dana head to Attica and speak with Ackerman (J.C. MacKenzie). Dana asks how much he paid Coleman to track her down and rape her, and he said it was bargain. He says he’s already doing life and think they can’t do anything more to him. He adds it hardly makes it even for her killing his son Kyle. Stabler says Ackerman will get solitary but Ackerman says replaying everything Coleman did to Star will get him through. She says her name is Dana, and she will get past this. She will go home to her loving husband and she will watch her kids grown up. Unlike him, she will have a life. She turns and walks away, leaving Ackerman to sit there as we fade to black.

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