Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Law & Order SVU “Bang” Recap & Review

Law & Order SVU “Bang” was one of those episodes that I can’t decide whether I liked it or hated it. Maybe as I write my review, the answer will become clearer.

The SVU team gets a case where a baby is abandoned in an alley, and that crime is quickly solved. But most of the episode deals with designated sleezeball Ken Turner, who is designated as a “reproductive abuser,” meaning he likes to make lots of babies with women by using trickery, force if he has to. The detectives commented a few times that what Ken was doing was not a crime, and the invisible ADA Hardwicke said the case wasn’t worth her time, so why were they continuing to work the case? Sure, Ken Turner was a creep and what he was doing was morally wrong, but the SVU team did not have anyone filing a complaint about him. Maybe it’s because “the inmates are running the asylum” at SVU. Where is the voice of authority and reason, Don Cragen (Dann Florek)? Had he been there, I am sure he also would have called a halt to the detectives digging into Ken Turner.

Also continuing to be missing in action is John Munch and there has been no explanation for his absence. Considering Richard Belzer was a long time staple on this show and he still appears in the opening credits, I find it shameful that the series continues to disrespect the fans by not offering some story to explain why Munch doesn’t seem to work at SVU anymore. This episode was also missing Tamara Tunie and BD Wong, which is not unusual seeing that they are frequently missing. I can understand Tamara not being in it because there wasn’t a body until near the end, but why bring in someone else to consult instead of an established character? Yes, I know that they needed this nutty doctor - who clearly was not properly vetted before Benson brought her in for a consult – to advance the story later. But just because Benson attended one of Audrey’s seminars doesn’t mean that Audrey has no skeletons in her closet. Bringing her in instead of Dr. Huang made it more obvious that she would be trouble later.

It also seemed too easy that they could track down Ken to his exact hotel room so quickly, and also very conveniently just as he was poking holes in the condom. I didn’t understand why Fin handed the damaged condom to the woman in the hotel room – couldn’t that have been considered evidence of Ken’s plot to impregnate women without their knowledge? I also want to know how Ken can so easily pick women that apparently aren’t using their own method of birth control. Frankly, I would think these days that any woman that is planning to have sex with a man but doesn’t want to get pregnant should have a backup plan of her own.

Also, how convenient was it that Audrey went to look for a knife in Dede’s house and find the explosive wasp knife? Who would leave a knife like that unsecured and easy to find when there are children - or even other adults – in the house? If Audrey felt that something clicked with her when Ken first asked her to meet at Dede’s house, why didn’t she come with a weapon rather than have to go looking in someone’s house for one?

Are there really people like Wade who are that stupid they would take a baby out of someone’s home and leave it in an alley in an attempt to save the baby from a possible bad home? I would like to think not. That part of the story was laughable.

John Stamos did a good job as the charmy-smarmy Ken Turner. I thought he had more chemistry with Stabler than he did with some of the other women, though.

In the scene where Fin and Stabler look on Ken’s gruesome body, Fin says, “Just when you think you’ve seen everything.” That summed it up for me for this episode. Just when I think that SVU is getting better, they serve up a odd episode like “Bang.” I guess I’ve made up my mind…"Bang" was a dud.

Here is the recap:

A woman finds a baby abandoned behind a playground near the trash. Later, at the hospital, Detectives Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay) and Elliot Stabler (Chris Meloni) find the baby boy does not appear to have been abused and was only about 2 months old. The onesie and blankets he was wrapped in were sent to the crime lab. They are warming him in an incubator. Stabler wonders why someone would do this, and he gently touches the baby.

Back at SVU, Benson tells Stabler the canvas turned up nothing and Stabler says there are no missing persons report for a baby. The lab is running the DNA. Detective Odafin “Fin” Tutuola tells them the logo on the onesie comes from a high priced store on the upper east side.

Benson and Stabler check out the store and speak to the store clerk (Kathy Brier). She identifies the baby as Jasper, Dede Aston’s baby. She says Jasper was adopted, and she gives them Dede’s cell phone number, email, and address.

At the brownstone of Dede Aston, Stabler and Fin find she is not home and she is not answering her phone. A neighbor, Wade (Jordan Dean) hears them talking about Jasper being taken, and he has not seen Dede for a few days. He did hear yelling coming from her place last night, and when Fin knocks on the door again, he can hear a voice speaking Spanish. The door is unlocked and they enter to find a woman praying at the crib. She says they took the baby. Her name is Imelda (Marta Milans) and she is taking care of the baby while Dede is in Boston. When she went to bed last night everything was fine, and in the morning the crib was empty. She is praying someone will find him. Fin tells her that her prayers have been answered. He mentions the screaming from last night and she said she was alone. Stabler shows that he found a condom in the bathroom that looks fresh. She admits that her boyfriend was there but he is a rich guy and would never take the baby. Stabler asks for a name.

Later, back at SVU, Ken Turner (John Stamos) the nanny’s boyfriend, arrives. He used to be an ADA in Nassau County. He works now for Daschle Private Equity. He said the sex with the nanny was “enthusiastic” not rough. He said Dede does not know about it and Jasper is a beautiful baby, he loves babies. He gets panicky when Stabler tells him that Jasper had been taken. His prints are on the crib because he checked on the baby at midnight and then he left. He is fond of the boy but said Imelda is not nanny material and she can’t handle it. He thinks Imelda snapped.

When Stabler leaves the room, he tells Benson and Fin that Ken can’t be ruled out but that Ken ruled Imelda in. Fin leaves to pick her up, and Stabler thinks they should let Ken go, for now. But Jasper’s mother Dede (Lori Singer) arrives and asks what is going on. But when she sees Ken, she races into his arms. She tells the detectives that Ken is her fiancé. She demands to know what is going on.

Later, at the hospital, Dede checks on Jasper. Benson tells her the baby can’t go home with her until they know he will be safe. They know she was out of town but they have to rule out anyone else with access to her home. She dryly asks how she can help. She adopted him 7 weeks ago, does not know the birth mother’s name, and Ken did the legal work for the adoption. A friend of an associate knew a pregnant girl who could not keep her baby and Ken knew she was looking for a baby. She barely knew Ken at the time and the adoption sparked things for them. Dede moves to answer her phone and tells Benson she had a many work demands and never had time to date. She says making her a mother made her human again and able to fall in love. She says Ken is perfect. Benson says Jasper is in good hands and asks her to come back to the precinct.

Back at SVU, Stabler is still questioning Ken. He said Imelda jumped him and it was a moment of weakness. Meanwhile, Fin is talking to Imelda, and while doing so, she sees Dede walk into the other interview room. Fin turns down the volume so Imelda can’t hear Dede, and asks if Ken loves her so much, what happens when he marries Dede? Imelda says he isn’t going to marry Dede, he is just waiting for the right time to dump her. She swears she would never hurt the baby. Fin asks her if she is worried about getting pregnant, because Ken’s condom broke last night. Imelda flippantly says that Ken is a maniac in bed.

Meanwhile, Dede raves about Ken to Benson and when Benson comments that Dede has no idea what Ken is doing behind her back with Imelda, Imelda watches Dede get upset through the window. Dede gets up from the table and shouts through the window to Imelda that she is a slut and accuses Imelda of putting Jasper in the alley so she could have Ken. Imelda races through the door and lunges at Dede, and Benson and Fin must pull them apart. When Imelda is taken back into the other room, Benson continues to question Dede about her whereabouts and demands to see her airline boarding pass. Dede admits she never went, she was at the Waldorf, and then asks Ken to be her lawyer.

Later, with Ken in the room, she admits she was not in Boston and then is upset that he slept with Imelda. Ken tries to charm his way out of it. Benson presses Dede on why she was at the Waldorf. She said she was thinking about what to do – she’s pregnant. She was not sure she wanted to have it and Ken is thrilled and presses her to have the baby. He says he has never been happier and is happy that condom broke. Benson comments to Dede that the pregnancy was unplanned and asks if they use condoms, and that she bets Ken’s condoms break a lot. Dede is shocked that she knows that. Benson says it was a lucky guess, and adds that Ken is a “reproductive abuser” and that he wants babies and uses women to make them. She says the standard fail rate is 1% and thinks Ken’s fail rate is higher than that, and that she thinks he pokes tiny holes in them before he puts them on, saying this is typical behavior of a reproductive abuser. Ken turns on the charm but Benson calls it phony sweet talk and it is just to get her to give in. Ken says unless they are charging them, they are leaving. As they walk out Benson continues to work on Dede and Ken continues to charm Dede. As the two of the walk out, Benson tells Stabler what she learned and thinks only Ken wants the baby. CSU Tech Sung (James Chen) enters and says that he does not think Ken took Jasper. Most hairs on the blanket match Dede and Imelda but there was one red hair, and they have enough of the follicle for a DNA sample and they can also tell the person has blue eyes. Stabler says this sounds like Dede’s downstairs neighbor, Wade Fisk.

They bring Wade into SVU and Stabler accuses him of taking Jasper, but he denies it. He then says he was trying to save Jasper from that hellhole upstairs. He says Dede would be a great mom without Ken and Ken is always banging somebody and uses Dede’s place as a party pad. Last night, Ken and Imelda ignored the baby’s screams. He left the baby wrapped up real well but he put the baby by the back door so people who worked there would find him. He thinks Ken is a monster, he has heard him on the phone saying awful things.

Back at the hospital, Benson and Stabler see Ken and Dede visiting the baby. They tell him Wade heard Ken on the phone about his exploits. Benson said they did a record search and show Dede a listing of 20 birth certificates, over the last 10 years, with Ken’s name as the father. Ken tells Dede he always told her he loves kids. Benson adds that they ran Jasper’s DNA against the semen found in the ripped condom and Ken is his father. She is shocked and he is nonplussed.

Back at SVU, when Fin asks if they’ve busted the creep yet, Stabler says being a creep is not illegal. Benson brings in Dr. Audrey Shelton (Noelle Beck) who lead a seminar that Benson took on reproductive abusers. She says reproductive abusers use verbal coercion to make babies, and in some cases they use their fists. They decide to check the other baby mommas to see if Ken beat them. Audrey adds sometimes it can lead to rape. They decide to start with Jasper’s birth mother as there is no record of the adoption.

At Empire Skate, Benson and Audrey speak with Bridget (Olivia Horton), the birth mother, who was an addict. She only wanted him to pay for the abortion but he checked her into an apartment and got her into rehab and promised to marry her. At first, she was clean and in love, but the week after Jasper was born, she did a little blow and Ken found out and he told her he found someone who would give Jasper a better life. She felt that she had no choice and Ken was so convincing. Ken told her it was too late to get Jasper back, but here was no record of the adoption. She did sign paperwork, and she wants her baby back. As Benson and Audrey walk away, they think they now have something they can arrest him for, as he didn’t file the paperwork that means Ken stole her baby.

Benson and Audrey return to SVU and Stabler tells them the warrant to locate Ken via cell phone has been executed. They see his location at a flower shop and then see him on the move across the street to a hotel. They think he has another woman there.

Stabler and Fin get to the hotel room and when a woman opens the door, Stabler shows his badge and motions for her to be silent. She lets them in and they find Ken in the bathroom poking holes in a condom. They confiscate the condom and arrest him for endangering the welfare of a child and an illegal adoption. As they take Ken off, Fin gives the woman the condom package with the holes in it.

With Ken in interrogation, Stabler questions him about Ken taking Jasper. He thinks he has done nothing wrong. He asks Stabler why he has such a hard on for him, and Stabler quips it’s because Ken can’t keep his out of unsuspecting women. Ken thinks he is following his natural urge to procreate, but Stabler disagrees. Ken thinks he is making their lives richer with his progeny and his money. He asks Stabler about how many kids he has, and Stabler has 5. Ken says the national average is 1.83 and that Stabler understands the urge but is limited by weakness, means, and mojo. He thinks at heart, Stabler wants to be him. Stabler thinks Ken has an inferiority complex but Ken sees himself as Montezuma with 4,000 concubines. Stabler says he give his own children love and attention and Ken does not properly support his family. Ken tries to charm Stabler to his way of thinking, and Stabler thinks he is a sick son of a bitch.

After Stabler leaves the room, Audrey says Ken is the worst she has even seen. She says his charm is what makes him dangerous and she thanks God that they arrested him. But Benson says they won’t make it stick, Hardwicke said a paperwork misdemeanor is not worth her time and any defense attorney could get him off with a slap on the wrist. Stabler said they thought their DA might punt so they have a backup plan.

Stabler enters the interrogation room and when he sees Ken on a cell phone, he tells them no phones are allowed in there. He tells Ken he is free to go. Ken says that he would sue for harassment but he would hate, for Stabler’s kids’ sake, for Stabler to lose his job. Stabler sarcastically says that is sweet of him.

On the way out, Ken finds a large group of women and children waiting for him – all victims of his reproductive abuse. Dede looks surprised. Someone asks Ken what is going on, and Ken says the NYPD is trying to embarrass him. The women are clearly angry. Ken tries to smooth it over with them and it doesn’t work and Dede walks off. He sees a woman there he does not know and questions if he slept with her. She said he slept with her daughter Trish, and she tells him Trish and her son with him are both dead. When he refused to let them move in with him, she killed herself in the car with carbon monoxide, along with her son. Audrey laces into him, and Ken thinks he improved the women’s' lives. He also adds they only checked New York, he has been around the country and to Europe and has 47 children and he loves all of them.

Afterwards, Benson and Stabler discuss that it is amazing nothing Ken did was illegal. But Fin enters and said being a world class creep can get you dead as a doornail. Ken Turner was just found dead in a garden behind Dede’s brownstone – and it was gruesome.

Fin and Stabler arrive at the location of Ken’s body and it is indeed gruesome. Fin comments “Just when you think you’ve seen everything” and Stabler adds, “It looks like he ate a bomb.” They think Dede did it.

Later, as the body is being carted away, Stabler tells CSU Tech Sung that they have not found the weapon. Sung said whatever did it, did it fast as there were no defensive wounds. Fin is not sure it was Dede as it seems she has not been home since she left the precinct. They check with the neighbor, Wade, who denies killing him but is appears he is looking to flee. Stabler asks to check his place and Wade lets him in. Stabler sees diving equipment and says he knows how Wade killed him.

Back at SVU, Stabler tells Benson and Fin that the weapon was a wasp injection knife, developed for the Navy Seals for the special punch it packs. Inside the handle is a canister which injects CO2 into whatever you are stabbing, and it blows them to bits.

Benson and Stabler confront Wade with this information, who knows what kind of knife it is because he is a diver. Benson says Wade has motive and opportunity. He said Dede is a diver too, they met on a dive trip, and Dede owns one of those knives.

They question Dede about it and she said yes she had a knife like this, it saved her from a hammerhead. But Dede says someone took her knife and used it on him. She said Ken also had a key to her place and used it like a love shack with dozens of other women while she was away. She said Ken was so good at sweet talking her. She said Audrey convinced the other women that SVU brought in to go to a restaurant and talk about what Ken had done to them and that’s where Dede was when Ken was killed. Stabler comes in and tells Benson she needs to see something. All the other women are back, and they tell them Dede did not do it, they were all together. But Benson realizes that Audrey is not with them, and they hear that Audrey left the restaurant early after her phone rang and she went outside to take the call.
At Audrey’s home, Stabler beats on the door and Benson calls for her to open up, but Audrey tells her the door is open. They enter and see Audrey sitting in a chair in the living room with a glass of wine and the wasp knife. She knew they were coming. Stabler tells her they know about Buffalo, and she says she is impressed. Benson said she assaulted a guy with a baseball bat and put him in the hospital. She said the man was raping 10 year olds and the newspaper called her a hero and the DA declined to prosecute. Stabler reminds her Ken Turner hadn’t broken any laws. She tells Stabler not to give her that, he wanted him punished too. Stabler admits he did want him punished, not dead. She thinks of all the suffering she prevented. He called her last night 2 hours after they left the precinct and asked her out and invited her over to Dede’s place. Benson tells her she did not have to say yes. Audrey was about to tell him to go to hell but something clicked, like with the perv in Buffalo. As soon as she got there he invited her into the garden and tried to seduce her, she said she had to use the bathroom and went looking for a knife and found herself a doozie. She joined him in the garden and just meant to cut his penis off but boom – Ken burst open. Audrey laughs, and Benson tells her it’s time to go. Audrey asks to let her have a few more sips of her wine, because where she is going they don’t serve wine. As she takes a drink, we fade to black.

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Anonymous said...

Do you know who's the extra that played the girl in the hotel? She was HOT!

sirmikelogan said...

This was pretty bad. It dragged along, felt like nothing happened for virtually the entire episode. I swear, at the commercial break right after Ken's death, I looked at the clock expecting it to be around 10:30 (halfway through the show), and it was almost 10:50.

It wasn't Bully, Spectacle, or Rescue-bad, but it was bad.

nygma619 said...

Not exactly an exciting return. It wasn't bad but it wasn't exciting either. These episodes in the 2nd half of this season are lacking good cast interaction. That might of been the reasoning behind the entire cast being used in Flight, they foresaw a situation like this. Forget Neal Baer, they should fire the accountant who managed the budget for THIS Season.
Also this episode had no logic flaws off the top of my head, which I think is a first for a script penned by Speed Weed, that's probably the nicest thing I can say about this script. Also this was an episode that was dying to take place in the court room, given the perp that is.

I also figured out Audry (I think that was her name?) was the killer and not the other 21 women Ken banged up, thanks to Roger Ebert's law of conservation. The killer had to be someone significant, especially since the red headed guy was ruled out, making it one of the 20 wouldn't feel special, okay DD maybe, BUT making it Audry probably felt more special from their POV.

I wish this episode would've been based in the courtroom, or does doing that cost money now these days? Hell they got 20 people to play the women they could probably get that many to fill the court room; but I digress.

2 episodes left this season, Melissa Sagemiller's not gonna be a part of next week because apparently she's "still in Florida". But John Munch returns and I have no problem with that.

nygma619 said...

"I also want to know how Ken can so easily pick women that apparently aren’t using their own method of birth control. Frankly, I would think these days that any woman that is planning to have sex with a man but doesn’t want to get pregnant should have a backup plan of her own."

Obviously he gets to know the woman and whether they're pro-choice or not before getting it on.

"Also, how convenient was it that Audrey went to look for a knife in Dede’s house and find the explosive wasp knife? Who would leave a knife like that unsecured and easy to find when there are children - or even other adults – in the house? If Audrey felt that something clicked with her when Ken first asked her to meet at Dede’s house, why didn’t she come with a weapon rather than have to go looking in someone’s house for one?

Are there really people like Wade who are that stupid they would take a baby out of someone’s home and leave it in an alley in an attempt to save the baby from a possible bad home? I would like to think not. That part of the story was laughable."

To their credit, they at least picked one idiot character who made those moronic choices. And not more than one.

Jojo said...

"I thought he had more chemistry with Stabler than he did with some of the other women, though."

I noticed that too, it was bizarre. I love John Stamos, though.

It was a pretty draggy episode, which is disappointing considering it's been on hiatus for a few weeks and I was expecting a big return. And the random comment from Ken about Stabler wanting to bang his partner was pretty unnecessary.

Thanks for the writeup, ATL&O.

Esaul said...

Again I get to be the odd man out here. I actually enjoyed this episode, better than what was depicted in the review, which I read before hand. The only part I didn't like was the last bit with Audrey. John Stamos did EXCELLENT in his role, and did great with Chris. Very good chemistry. And actually, I'm afraid Cragen would've told Benson and Stabler to continue to look for something. Audrey made a good point saying that there's a chance that he assaulted or raped someone if they were somehow "immune" to his charm. That would require them to interview each and every woman, and he went and said later on that he had more children across the states and in Europe, making the chance that he actually did something illegal even greater. Hell, if I were them I'd find something, anything to keep him there despite what he was doing wasn't "illegal."

Tess said...

'Reproductive assault'....Can't say I've ever heard of that. I thought this episode was painfully bad...I also found it hard to believe that so many women only use condoms as their form of birth control.

xfool said...

This episode was nearly unwatchable. They could not legally prosecute Ken Turner so they go looking for something???As far as Ken Turner - There.Was.No.Crime. And now the guy is dead because they bring in a doctor who they didn't do a background check and she kills him. This was a mess of an episode.

In the scene with Stabler interrogating Turner I was waiting for one of them to plant their lips on the other. Stabler looked like he was leaning in for the smooch!

I don't like the fact that they are skimping on the regular cast. I miss Munch and Fin working together.

Sevorah said...

Well again, Audrey brought up a good point that there's a chance that someone could have been raped or beaten by him...that isn't worth looking into at all? At most, they would interview people that he's slept with, Ken would still be a free man, since they can't hold him for more than 48 hours and they wouldn't dare arrest him until they had something solid.

CLA said...

I think the blogger and the commentators are very demanding. Not the best of the season but was a good episode. I do not miss Munch. I love the tune Eliot / Olivia / Fin. And just for illustration SVU is top-rated in its time slot. After 12 years the series is still strong. It's amazing the popularity of this show.

xfool said...

Sevorah - my issue is that they don't have anyone filing a complaint against him. Sure, he's a mjor jerk, but can the police check into your personal life if they don't have anyone filing a specific complaint against him that he's done something illegal? This is what is irking me about SVU, they seem to have a complete disreguard for the law. The show used to have a great legal angle but Neal Baer seems to be throwing that out the window (along with half the cast).

Anonymous said...

xfool, that's why this is called television. It's NOT real otherwise it would be incredibly boring! So if you watch tv for realism I suggest you stop wasting your time and go follow a real trial. On another note, I liked the episode. I certainly believe it wasn't one of the better ones, but it wasn't bad at all IMO

nygma619 said...

to xfool didn't the one lady say that she never filled out any papers making an adoption legal? I think that would be cause for concern.

To the one after him, no tv is not real, but SVU is supposed to adhere itself in a realistic setting. Yes, this has been a problem with SVU in it's later seasons, though what is considered an SVU like case by people here is something I don't always agree with since they've been doin some of the stuff that veered in to non-SVU cases since the early seasons. Take Loss, for instance. Some consider it the best episode of SVU, but it got to the point where it wasn't really about anyone being sexually assaulted or any child being abused, after a certain point.