Law & Order SVU “Rescue” was one of those episodes that was more soap opera than special victims. The special victim case – a girl who was raped by an EMT while being transported to the hospital for a head injury – was far more interesting that the secondary story of Olivia/Calvin/Vivian. It’s a shame that the EMT storyline ended all too soon.
I wasn’t a big fan of the whole Olivia/Calvin/Vivian storylineto begin with and hope that we won’t be seeing Calvin or Vivian ever again. The set of circumstances which brings Vivian back into Benson’s – and Calvin’s – life was too contrived and I found myself rolling my eyes and saying, “Oh Puh-leeze” more than once during this episode. And while it seemed ridiculously easy for Benson to get custody of Calvin in the first place, now she finds herself shocked that someone could just as easily take him away. I would think that Olivia, seeing that she works with special victims and issues with children all the time, would not be so shaken by the way child custody cases can work, even when it involves her. Her attachment is even more unbelievable when one considers the very short time that has passed between Benson getting custody and the current events in this episode. By matching the dates on the some of the scene title cards in both episodes, less than one month has passed. While it make sense that Benson would be worried about Calvin’s well being, she should not have been at all surprised at loosing custody.
Maria Bello did a fine job in her role as the crazed, drug addicted mother, and it’s a pity that it was wasted on such a horrible story line. That whole ending with Calvin’s biological father killing Vivian's soul mate Sarah, plus the added appearance of Walter Burlock’s prison “bitch” at the same time and place of that murder was just plain ridiculous.
Here is the recap:
Caitlin Lamarck is found at a party, laying in bed, bloody and passed out and with her face marked up with magic markers. The EMTs are called and she is rushed to the hospital. Jill, the girl hosting the party, indicated Caitlin was not welcome at her party.
Meanwhile, back at home with Detective Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay), she is getting Calvin off to school. They talk about his mother and if he recalls his father. He gives her a picture her drew of her in art class and he signed it Calvin Benson (pause for eye-roll on my part).
At the hospital, Detective Elliot Stabler (Chris Meloni) talks with Benson about her playing mom and asks about her progress in finding Calvin's father. They find Caitlin has died and is in the morgue. ME Warner (Tamara Tunie) says Caitlin died from the cut in her head when she hit a mirror. She cannot tell if she was raped. She found an odd blue substance that she sent for analysis.
Back at SVU, Munch (Richard Belzer) and Fin (Ice-t) show Benson and Stabler Caitlin’s treatise called “My Lay List” documenting all the information on the 15 men she slept with over the last three years, with a bar graph of penis size. She was bombarded with hate mail and dropped from her job because of the negative publicity. They decide to speak with the men who were on the Lay List who were invited to Jill’s party.
Benson/Stabler and Munch/Fin speak with the guys, all who deny being involved with killing Caitlin. They bring Jill - the party host - into SVU for questioning, and Fin and Stabler confront her with the fact that she did invite Jill to the party. She said she did not mean for her to die, she just wanted to humiliate her. Jill explains that she argued with her and grabbed her and her shirt ripped, and then she shoved her and her head broke the mirror. When she saw blood she panicked and threw her on the bed so others would think she was drunk. She denies sodomizing her.
Outside of interrogation, Stabler tells Captain Don Cragen (Dann Florek) that he believes Jill and they wonder which guy at the party was the rapist. But ME Warner arrives and tells them it wasn’t one of them. The blue substance inside of Caitlin was defibrillator transmission gel and silica powder from a latex medical glove. They realize one of the paramedics raped Caitlin.
Later, the detectives look at the information on the paramedics, Mike O’Doole (Mike Starr) – who seems squeaky clean - and his partner, Clark Tinta (James Martinez ) who has a record of complaints.
Benson and Stabler speak with O’Doole and Tinta and ask about Caitlin. Tinta says O’Doole was in the back of the ambulance, and O’Doole said Caitlin never spoke. Things get cut short when they get the alarm for another run.
Back at SVU, Munch noticed that there are records of robberies in the places where Tinta and O’Doole are called on EMT runs. They think O’Doole is the weak link and Cragen tells the detectives to hit him hard. Cragen tells Munch and Fin to take CSU to the last place where people reported a theft,
At the Donoho residence, Munch and Fin hear that Mrs. Donoho’s wedding ring was missing after the EMTs were called.
Back at SVU, Benson and Stabler question O’Doole about the theft at the Donoho residence and that they found O’Doole’s pubic hair in the bathroom, close to where Mrs. Donoho’s ring had been. He admits that he went to the bathroom and said he must have used the wrong bathroom. They continue to press him, saying they know that Tinta was in the back of the ambulance and that O’Doole is covering for him. O‘Doole admits that he took a few things he shouldn’t have, and says he doesn’t know what Tinta was doing back here. O’Doole admits he is an idiot and he should have said something. He says there must be some way to make it right, and Benson says he should help them nail the son of a bitch.
Afterwards, Benson gets a call saying that Calvin got in a fight at school so Stabler gets Fin to help him get Tinta. While Stabler waits for Fin, he moves to close Benson’s desk drawer that she left open, and sees a swab for a DNA test for Calvin – she never sent it in.
Stabler and Fin are staking out the EMTs and O’Doole gets Tinta to admit to what he’d been doing with the other women in the back of the ambulance. But Tinta sees Stabler and Fin walking into the restaurant and when Stabler pulls out his earpiece, Tinta gets angry at O’Doole because he realizes he was wired. Tinta flies into a rage, throws a chair and breaks the window and flees the restaurant. Tinta locks himself in the ambulance and injects himself with something and drops dead.
Later, Stabler comes to Benson’s apartment and says he has news, but she says Fin already called saying that Tinta gave himself and air embolism. Stabler says that’s not why he is there. CSU ran the fingerprints from the Donoho place and a thumbprint off the medicine cabinet matched Vivian Arliss – Calvin’s mother.
Back at SVU, they discuss Vivian and the fact that her friend Sarah Hoyt’s prints were also found in the Donoho living room, they think they came to the Donoho open house to look for drugs. Stabler also says he thinks Benson doesn’t want to find Calvin’s mother or father and says he knows she did not send in the DNA swab. She’s upset he went through her desk but he says she left the drawer open. She says she may have thought she sent it in and she made a mistake and will send it in, and Stabler says he already did. Benson asks him to let her take point on the investigation with the Donoho robbery and he agrees to follow her lead. Before they leave, Cragen stops them saying they are not going anywhere. ADA Hardwicke (Melissa Sagemiller) tells Benson that as she has custody of the suspects son it is a conflict of interest. When Stabler reminds them that Vivian signed over Calvin to Benson, Cragen says it could be seen as a confused move by an addict being manipulated by a detective desperate to start her own family. (Yeah, no kidding!) Benson gets a call that Calvin got in another fight so she will stand down as they asked. When Benson storms off, Cragen asks Stabler if she is OK, and he says she is fine and will be better when Vivian is in custody. Cragen tells Stabler he is off the case too because of his close partnership with Benson. Cragen has Fin take over.
Munch and Fin are at the Donoho residence, and Mr. Donoho identifies the photo of Vivian as someone named Claire who came to their open house. Sarah was also there. He shows them a sign in book from the open house and gives them the details from Vivian’s visit, and also mentions that Benson was just there 20 minutes ago for the same information. Munch thinks Benson faked the call from Calvin so she could go ahead to try to find Vivian.
Elsewhere, Benson questions a cabbie about Vivian and Sarah and shows him a photos from a security camera which shows the two women getting into his cab. He dropped them off in the south Bronx in a bad part of town.
At Whittier Street in the Bronx, Benson enters a dilapidated building and sees Vivian there, looking like a wreck. Benson wants to help her but Vivian just wants her to leave. Benson tells her she has to cuff her, but Vivian says Benson ruins everything and wherever her home is, Benson comes in and pisses all over it. Vivian goes off on Benson and when Benson tries to reason with her, Vivian says she is nothing like her. Benson arrests her and reads Vivian her rights. Benson also says Vivian deserves better than this, but Vivian says Benson wants to keep Calvin. Vivian says if Benson walks away right now Benson can keep Calvin. She left Calvin with Benson because he would be happy with her. Stabler chimes in, asking Benson to make a decision. Benson says it is time for Vivian to tell them about Walter Burlock.
In the interrogation room. Vivian tells them that she knocked on Burlock’s door and he invited her in. She walked into the kitchen and saw the frying pan on the stove, put on an oven mitt, and she smashed his skull, twice. She says the fact that he was her father only made it better. Cragen bursts into the room and orders both Benson and Stabler out of the room.
He is angry at Benson for not standing down and also gets on Stabler, Munch and Fin for how they handled everything. Benson tries to take the blame but Cragen says everyone is going to get burned and any half-assed attorney will have Vivian recanting before she leaves the room. But Sarah (Kat Foster) comes in, and says Vivian did not kill Walter, she did.
Later, with Sarah in interrogation with Fin, she says she is glad she did it. Vivian tells Munch that Sarah killed him because she loves her. Sarah says she knows she and Vivian were soul mates and realized it when they were in rehab. Vivian says Sarah killed Burlock because it would take her pain away, but she will never be free of the pain. Sarah says Vivian feels very deeply – pain and love – and it is sometimes hard to tell the difference. They both say they will be together forever. Meanwhile, as Benson and Stabler watch, Hardwicke says the two women are co-dependent and drug dependent. Benson comments that Vivian never once mentioned Calvin. Hardwicke will charge Vivian with stealing drugs from the Donohos to get Vivian into rehab. Benson says Vivian got money when her mother died and she will make bail in 5 minutes and Stabler says she will be back on drugs in 10.
In arraignment court, Sarah pleads not guilty to murder, her lawyer Mr. Hunter saying the confession was coerced. Vivian watches from the gallery. The defense brings up Benson’s interest in Calvin. Judge Petrovsky (Joanna Merlin) sets bail at $300K.
As Vivian bails Sarah out, she sees a waiting Benson on the courthouse steps. Vivian wants to see Calvin but Benson balks. Benson tells Vivian she needs help, but Vivian stays not everyone can be helped, some people are too damaged. They hear gunshots ring out and Benson races down the courthouse steps. Benson finds Sarah in a car in a parking garage, slumped over the steering wheel, blood on her head. The windshield has been shattered by bullets. As Benson calls for a bus, Vivian sees a dead Sarah and goes bonkers and Benson tries to restrain her. Vivian tells Benson everything is bad because of her.
Back at SVU, Fin and Stabler look at surveillance video from the courthouse parking garage and see Jason Gambel (Joseph Sikora), the guy who was Burlock’s cellmate and who Burlock terrorized, race into the garage. The doorway is 50 feet away from where Sarah was killed and they think Gambel killed her.
Later, with Gambel in custody, he denies killing anyone. He says he hated Burlock and says he was outside court and all he wanted to do was find the girl who killed Burlock because she set him free. He says he saw another man there who walked up to her car and shot three times and then he spit into her face. When Gambel screams to Stabler he did not kill Sarah, ME Warner pipes up and says he is telling the truth. DNA from the saliva on Sarah’s face does not match Gambel but does partly match the DNA sample that Stabler dropped off – the man who shot Sarah is Calvin’s father.
The detectives burst into the apartment of David (not sure of the last name) Druckner (Jack Gwaltney) with guns drawn, and he says he will not fight them. He seems to have been waiting for them. He says Sarah stole Vivian, and his son, from him. He says he got clean and convinced Vivian to go to rehab, where she met Sarah. Sarah pulled Vivian back into that hole and they took off and took Calvin with him. He pleaded for her to come home or let him take the boy, and Sarah would not let her, she just kept filling Vivian up with drugs. Sarah had to pay for all that she did. The detectives take David away.
Back at SVU, while Benson watches Calvin and Stabler play rock/paper/scissors - shoot (?),
someone from child protective services enters and tells Benson she is no longer Calvin’s legal guardian. Vivian is also there to take Calvin back. The man explains that Calvin’s biological father has assigned custody to Calvin’s grandparents. Vivian tells Calvin it is time to go and tells him he is going to live in Vermont while she gets her head together. Calvin does not want to go. As Benson says they are making a huge mistake, the man tells her that if she wants to contest it, she should file a claim with the court, he is there to escort Calvin to where he belongs. Benson says Vivian is the one who talked to David and she’s the one who is shipping him off to Vermont. Vivian says this is the best thing for him, because she is his mom. As Stabler tries to calm Benson, Calvin says he does not want to go anywhere and races to Benson and holds on to her. But Calvin is pulled away and he screams Olivia’s name. Benson looks devastated as we fade to black.
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