Thursday, October 6, 2011

Law & Order “Blood Brothers” Recap & Review

Law & Order SVU “Blood Brothers” was another great episode with a case that starts out with the rape of a teenage girl, and ends with the murder of her rapist, also a teenage boy. There was no shortage of drama here.

It’s clear that things are still tense with Olivia Benson, and it’s manifesting itself in many ways. Benson is unhappy with having to work with anyone, but Amaro seems to be able to put out Benson’s short fuse and keep things calm. He’s also smart enough to know when to make a quick exit; when Benson and Novak begin to butt heads,  the safest place is anywhere but being in the same room. Later, Benson takes it out a vending machine. Benson’s argument with Novak is that she thinks Novak and the DA’s office have lost their nerve, and Novak thinks Benson is off. From a viewer’s perspective they are both right. Benson is clearly on edge, and Novak seems to be too quick to throw in the towel on a rape case. Hopefully their discord will blow over. At least Amaro was lucky that he managed to get a complement from Benson, which is a step in the right direction for her.

With an episode name like “Blood Brothers” it was easy to pick up on one element of the storyline – that Andrew Raines would be Arturo’s “baby daddy.” While I was hoping to see the smarmy Tripp Raines get knocked down a notch by being charged with rape, I was surprised to see him turn up dead at the end. I actually felt a little robbed with this turn of events – I think I was gearing up for a nasty trial. Guest stars Kyle MacLachlan and Paige Turco were excellent as the rich political family who thinks that they are above everything. They learn the hard way that money can’t buy a scandal free life.

The only downside was the last 6-7 minutes of the episode, which seemed to drag for me. It almost had the feeling of a Law & Order Criminal Intent episode, which sometimes had long interrogation scenes toward the end where I usually found myself drifting off a bit. The interrogation room is one of the most visually boring places in SVU, and that may be another reason why the scene seemed to go on forever.

Here is the recap:

Mariska Hargitay – Detective Olivia Benson
Ice-T – Detective Odafin “Fin” Tutuola
Richard Belzer – Sergeant John Munch
Dann Florek – Captain Don Cragen
Diane Neal – ADA Casey Novak
Kelli Giddish - Detective Amanda Rollins
Danny Pino = Detective Nick Amaro

Guest Stars:
Kyle MacLachlan:Andrew Raines
Paige Turco: Kathleen Raines
Judy Reyes: Inez Rivera
Anthony Keyvan: Arturo Rivera

In a church, while Ella Mendez watches a play teaching kids about the dangers of drinking and sex, she collapses to the floor. Her friend Arturo rushes to her aid as the teachers also race to help. Later, at SVU,  Captain Cragen introduces the Monsignor from Blessed Savior church to Detectives Benson and Amaro, and Amaro already knows him. The Monsignor explains that a 13 year old at the school is pregnant and Cragen says they will look into everybody in her life. After the Monsignor leaves, Cragen tells the detectives that he had the girl taken to the child advocacy center. Benson says she will head over, and Cragen instructs Amaro to go with her. Benson voices an objection but Cragen says Amaro’s Spanish is better than hers and the girl lives with her Puerto Rican grandmother.

At the Child Advocacy Center, with ADA Casey Novak with them, Benson tells Novak the doctor said the girl showed no signs of abuse and her hymen is intact and there are no signs of external trauma. Novak sees the girl clinging to her grandmother. Amaro thinks he can get her to open up. When he walks over to speak with Ella, Novak asks Benson if that is her new partner, and she coldly responds, “Oh no. I’m just showing him the ropes.”

Amaro gets Inez Rivera into another room and questions her. Ella’s mother died when she was young, she was also pregnant at 15 and she didn’t want Ella to be like her. Meanwhile, Benson questions Ella who said she did not have sex and nobody did anything. Benson continues to press, and says whatever happened was not her fault. Ella explains that her grandmother told her how babies are made and she knows how she got this baby, but says Benson will not believe her. Benson says she promises whoever hurt her will not be able to do it again. Ella pauses, and then says it was God, she did not have sex, adding that the baby is a miracle.

Later, back at SVU, Benson informs everyone that Ella is confirmed 8 weeks pregnant. When Amaro questions the unbroken hymen, Benson said that is not that unusual. Fin thinks Ella is protecting the father or it is someone she knows, and either way it is someone that she knows. Amaro thinks the Monsignor is one of the good guys, but Cragen wants Munch to double check that. Rollins asks who are the adult males in her life, and Benson explains Ella’s grandmother doesn’t date and no other men have access to the apartment. Her father is estranged, but Cragen tells Fin and Rollins to talk to him anyway. He orders Benson and Amaro to go to the school to see if Ella confessed the secret to one of her friends.

At Wright Brother Park, Fin and Rollins question Ella’s father, who doesn’t know much. He seems unfazed that his daughter is pregnant, saying he barely knows her and is not even sure that it is his.

At the school, Benson and Amaro speak with one of the sisters who insists if something happened it did not happen there. She did say Ella seemed happier and heard her signing to herself in the stairwell a few weeks ago. They speak to a friend who says Arturo follows Ella like a puppy and when Ella passed out, he freaked. Nick, meanwhile, speaks with another boy who says Arturo likes Ella but she is not into him. He adds Arturo was always puffing in to an inhaler. He adds that Arturo has been absent since Ella got sick.

At the co-op of Inez and Arturo Rivera, Inez says Arturo was up all night with asthma. Benson asks for a glass of water to get Inez out of the room and Amaro questions Arturo. He says Ella is his best friend. She never talks about a teacher or a friend’s father. Arturo is having problems breathing and says he doesn’t know anything, then looks for his inhaler. Afterwards, Amaro thinks Arturo knows something as his chest tightened up when he began to push him. Benson thinks Ella and Arturo are both scared. Amaro gets a message that Munch got a hit off the database for one of her teachers.

Back at SVU, Munch tells them that Luis Cordova was the science teacher for the past 5 years at the school and that he “rose from the dead”. Munch leads Amaro into the interview room and tells him to “watch and learn.” When Munch tells Cordova according to city records he has been dead for 15 years, Cordova says Luis Cordova is his uncle and his real name is Diego Ramirez. Amaro thinks that Diego couldn’t get a job because he has a record, and Diego says he shouldn’t have one but his is on the sex offenders registry. When he was 19 he had sex with his girlfriend on prom night 2 days before her 17th birthday and her father knew somebody and pressed charges for sexual misconduct. He used up all his savings to pay lawyers to get his name removed from the list and he could not get a job. Munch tells him he just lost another one.

Munch and Amaro exit the room and discuss Ramirez with Benson and Cragen who were observing the questioning. Munch says he does not like Ramirez for this, there are a hundred ways on to the list but no way off. Benson said he is a convicted felon who used another name to get a teaching job to minors, including Ella. Cragen tells her to talk to Ella, and that Ramirez will wait.

At Ella’s home, Benson asks her about her teacher, showing her a photo of Ramirez. She says he likes talking about gross stuff like bugs. She says she has been alone with him and he is the one, and that she was scared to tell them. It was a few months ago at his house. Benson asks if she got there in his car, and she said yes. Benson tells her that he doesn’t own a car and he can’t drive, and presses Ella that he is not the one. Benson sees a vase of dying roses in the room and Ella says she got those for herself. The card says, “To Ella, still dreaming of you” with no name. Ella says the man she is going to marry is rich and handsome and she will be his princess.

Afterwards and outside, Benson tells a waiting Amaro that Ella got the roses from a Madison Avenue florist, A Fleur de Tois.

At A Fleur de Tois Florist, Benson and Amaro question the florist who says he doesn’t have record of that delivery. Benson tells him to check again, but he says even if he could find the record he can’t reveal the client. Benson says there is not florist/client privilege, and the flowers were sent to a 13 year old girl. He asks don’t they usually need a subpoena? Benson tells him to have it his way, but they will also call the department of finance and they will be combing through his bosses taxes for a few months. As she begins to walk off, Amaro says they are trying to do their job and her is trying to do his. Amaro tells him he doesn’t have to see the name, all they have to do is see it on a screen and it will never come back to him. The florist brings up the name on the computer and walks off, and Benson tells Amaro “very nice.” The screen shows the name of Andrew Raines at 39 E 76th St. in NY for 2 dozen long stem roses for $209.99. Amaro seems to want to jump at this but Benson says they need to loop in the Captain on this one.

Back at SVU, Cragen and the SVU team discuss the roses sent by Ambassador Andrew Raines to Ella. Cragen comments that Raines is about to announce for his father’s old Senate seat and do they really think he is having sex with a 13 year old. Cragen says it has been a bad month for the NYPD and the DA’s office, adding that this is a very sophisticated family with unlimited resources, so be thorough, but be discreet.

Benson and Amaro are at the townhouse of Andrew and Kathleen Raines, and the housekeeper tells them if this is about Tripp, he is still at school. Amaro sees Andrew Raines inside and calls out to him, moving past the housekeeper. His wife Kathleen is also there and Benson says they need to speak with Andrew and it would be best in private. He says they have no secrets. Benson asks him about the roses sent to Ella Mendez. Kathleen scoffs at a floral delivery scandal on the day they announce. Benson tells her Ella is a 13 year old girl who is pregnant. Amaro shows him a photo of Ella and asks if he knows her, and Andrew asks if she said she knows him. He says he meets a lot of people and dozens of staffers have access to the floral account. Kathleen asks if the maid has their card, then pulls Andrew away, saying if they hear anything they will call them.

As they leave the townhouse, Benson comments that the housekeeper assumed they were there about their son Tripp, and says maybe they are, She makes a phone call.

At the Dowland School, Fin and Rollins wait for Tripp to leave. They approach him and he tells his friends to wait by the car. Fin asks about Ella Mendez and Tripp says she will never forget about him. He said he “threw her some charity”. Tripp’s driver approaches and tries to break up the conversation. Fin recognizes him as someone who used to work Major Case, and asks if his name is Briggs. Briggs asks if Tripp is in custody and when Rollins says no, he tells them they are done now. Tripp grins and walks off. Fin is annoyed, saying the little punk thinks he can’t be touched, and Fin makes a call.

Benson gets off the phone and tells Amaro that Tripp is Ella’s prince. Amaro comments Tripp is about the same age as Ella so there goes statutory. Benson says he is a sophisticated player and she’s a pregnant little girl. While Benson and Amaro wait in their car outside the Mendez home, they see Ella's grandmother pulling a resistant Ella into a waiting town car. The detectives get out of their car and pull Ella and her mother apart. Ella says he does not want to go, and sobs to Benson that she wants to keep the baby. Benson consoles her.

Later, Benson speaks with Ella privately, and Ella tells her that he said if she got the abortion they could be boyfriend and girlfriend. She tells Benson that Tripp is the only boy she had sex with, once at the 4th of July party and she went to a party at his house, adding that Arturo was invited as his mom was the Raines’s maid. She had never been in a house that big. Tripp was so nice, and everyone was drinking jungle juice and she said she doesn’t drink so he got her lemonade. He showed her his parents’ room and it was like a palace. Meanwhile, Amaro and Novak are watching and listening from the observation area. Tripp showed her his room and he had a king sized bed, and she got dizzy so he brought her more lemonade and told her she should rest on the bed, It got fuzzy and he was kissing her and put her hand on her shirt. She told him he shouldn’t as her grandmother would be mad, and he told her not to tell her. He said she was hot and that he liked her. He pushed her down on the bed and pulled down her skirt and put it inside. She did not want him to do that and it hurt. She told him no and was crying and he got mad, saying it was her fault that he couldn’t stop. When he was done he told her to clean herself up, and she tried to find Arturo but he was gone. She took the bus home. She said the next day he sent her the rose and asks if he would not just do that for anyone.

Afterwards, Benson comes in to the observation room and when Amaro says there is not much doubt there, Novak says she does not know. Benson said Ella is describing a rape, but Novak thinks a jury won’t think so. She thinks it is sexual misconduct if they are lucky, and with his legal team, consensual. Benson is stunned, saying Ella is 13, and Novak reminds her so is Tripp. Benson argues Tripp got her drunk and the lemonade was spiked. She said it hurt and she said no. Novak said there was no outcry afterwards a and he sent flowers and Ella told Benson she thought they were going to get married. Amaro says that is his game, he knows how to take advantage of girls like this. Novak asks Amaro if he can back that up, saying Ella has changed her story 3 times and they can’t prove she’s carrying his baby unless they want her to compel a fetal DNA test. Benson said it took a long time to earn her trust, and Novak sarcastically comments that she is sure it did/ Benson glares at Novak, and asks what the hell is that supposed to mean. When Novak doesn’t answer, Benson asks the question again. Novak glares right back and looks over to Amaro, who picks up on the signal for him to leave. He exits and Novak says she understand Benson has been going through a lot. Benson snaps back, saying “Oh. No. Don’t you patronize me.” Novak tells Benson she’s “off” and that Benson’s anger pushed her disclosure. Benson can’t believe it, saying that she sees an ADA that’s too afraid to follow the facts because the family has too much muscle, adding she and her office have lost their nerve. Benson storms out.

Later, at a vending machine that doesn’t seem to be working, Benson kicks it out of frustration and then pauses to simmer down. Amaro approaches her and Benson asks him what is wrong with these people and how can they not see? She comments that Novak is not going to press charges, but Amaro suggests that they should pay the Raines a visit before they find that out to get Tripp to tell his side of the story. She nods.

At the Raines home, and dressed in formal attire, Kathleen says if she said he forced her, she is a liar and girls throw themselves at her son all the time. She adds the abortion story is also a lie. Amaro says unless they talk to Tripp, Ella’s story is the only version they have. Andrew says he told them to talk to his lawyer. Benson asks if he trusts his son, and he says yes. Benson suggest they let them talk to him before the DA digs in. Andrews agrees over Kathleen’s objection, giving the detectives 5 minutes with Tripp, with them in the room and it is off the record. Benson says it is a deal.

As Andrew races up the stairs to get Tripp, Kathleen looks uncomfortable, saying her husband is a politician and he wants everyone to like him. She doesn’t. She adds if they think they are going to take this girl’s fiction and hurt her son, they are going to go down, hard. Andrew comes back down the stairs and says Tripp is out, studying with his friends. But Kathleen is alarmed, saying he should be up in his room. Andrews says he will call the DA’s office in the morning, and tells the detectives to have a nice evening.

Benson and Amaro watch as the Raines leave the townhouse, and Benson comments that Kathleen seems worried about Tripp. Amaro thinks that Andrew is too, that he is just covering. He thinks Tripp is on the run.

Back at SVU, Fin says there is no sign of Tripp, he never came home. Cragen said the family has not reported him missing, and asks what about the other residences. Rollins says there has been police presence in all other locations and so far Tripp has not showed. Novak walks in saying she just got a call from the Raines family lawyer who is worried she is about to indict Tripp. Benson asks if that leverage upsets her. Novak says yes, and Cragen asks them to back up. Cragen asks if this means his folks know where he is, and she doesn’t know what Cragen is talking about. Fin tells her Tripp is AWOL and Novak said the lawyer never mentioned that. Kathleen Raines arrives.

In Cragen’s office with Benson and Amaro, Kathleen says something has happened to her son, no one knows where he is, even her husband. She think it is hard on Tripp growing up in the spotlight but he is not a bad kid. Briggs brought him to his 4:00 fencing lesson the day before and told Briggs he was going to walk back. Cragen says they will find her son.

Rollins shows Fin Tripp’s cell records from yesterday and at 3:45 he made an outgoing call to Inez, Arturo’s mother. Fin says he will call, but Munch says he will, he’s Sergeant.

At Arturo’s, Amaro speaks with him about Tripp’s call the day before. Arturo said he wanted to come visit and he waited for him and he never showed. Amaro asks for more details on how Arturo knows Tripp, and Arturo says he lived in that house his whole life, and now he’s here. Amaro thinks now he knows why Arturo is covering for him. He thinks Arturo didn’t tell them about bringing Ella to the house and asks if he is still lying. Arturo says he is done helping him because he is a jerk and is done helping him.

Benson speaks with Inez about her years in the Raines household and she doesn’t know where Tripp is. Benson asks if there was any place they used to go when they were scared, and Inez says he and Arturo used to play cowboys and Indians in the park. Benson gets a call from Fin saying the Tripp’s Amex was used in 3 retail stores on Bleeker and for the last hour he has had an open tab at Pistols and Petticoats and he and Rollins are on their way.

Fin and Rollins are at the club and call out for Tripp, and after a few calls out, one boy turns around and it is not Tripp. They take him in. Later, at SVU, they question him and show him Tripp’s photo, and he says he’s never seen him before. Fin asks if he saw his body, and the kid swears he found the stuff in Central Park at the ramble under a bridge. He said he was giving the “tug and chug” to a middle aged breeder in a Grateful Dead T-shirt. He has no proof. Fin says he is going to show them where the bridge is. Benson, Cragen, Amaro, and Munch are observing, and Munch says the guy has plenty of ways to make money than to roll a kid and Amaro thinks if he know how hot that card was he would not have opened up a bar tab. Munch says you’d need an Army to the into the ramble and Cragen tells him to get one, to have the Central Park sergeant call a level 1 mobilization. Cragen wants aviation, K-9, and divers in the lake.

As all the detectives assist in the search in Central Park, they hear the K-9 bark – and Tripp’s lifeless body is located.

The news media flocks to the Raines household, one of them broadcasting that the body was found in the gay cruising section of Central Park. The media floods Andrew Raines as he tries to leave his home. At the morgue, Andrew sees Tripp’s body. He comments to Benson that the media said Tripp’s body was found in the gay section of the park and his son is not gay. She tells him they don’t think that’s the reason he was there. She tells him there were a lot of blows to Tripp’s head and asks if he can think of anyone that may be angry at Tripp. Amaro asks about Arturo. He says Arturo is a sweet kid. Amaro says Arturo was the last person to see Tripp, and asks Raines if he fired Arturo’s mother. Raines replies that there were immigration issues and with his campaign he has to be above board. He cleared it up and gave her a generous settlement. Benson wonders if Arturo carried some resentment, but Andrew says there is no way Arturo did this. He adds that Arturo is small for his age and slow and doesn’t have the physicality. He said Tripp is an athlete and everything he did was…he was a star. Andrew walks off and Benson tells Amaro that Arturo looks good for this, and all that rage. Amaro comments over a girl… he doesn’t see it. Benson thinks something else put him over the edge. Amaro questions the story about why Inez was let go, and asks if that rings true. Benson says no.

Back at the SVU precinct, Rollins tells them she did some digging at INS and Inez has been a naturalized citizen for over 15 years. Cragen said Andrew was lying, but Fin adds not about the settlement. Six months ago Raines wired a quarter of a million into her savings account. Benson adds that her co-op was purchased for her last March, all cash, and was purchased by a Raines family trust, Fin wonders if Inez stumbled onto something that Raines did not want to get out. Benson thinks Inez is not a blackmailer. Munch says on Arturo’s birth certificate that a Ricardo Rivera is listed as the father and they were divorced 5 years ago. They both stated on the certificate that they had no children together. Benson thinks the settlement is child support.

Later, with Arturo in interrogation with his mother, Amaro and Benson question him and mention the cell phone call. Arturo said Tripp wanted to talk to Ella and wanted Arturo to bring her. Tripp started yelling at her and Ells starting crying and that her makeup started running and Tripp said she looked like a cheap whore. Arturo told Tripp to leave her alone, but Tripp said it was Arturo’s fault, he should have never brought that girl to his party in the first place. Tripp tried to give him money but he would take it and Tripp pushed him down and shoved his face into the dirt. He said he did not care how much it costs, he just wanted Ella to get rid of the damn baby. He threw the money down and started to walk away. Arturo said you can’t just give people money to pretend they didn’t exist. Amaro comments that is like how Tripp’s father paid him and his mother to go away. Arturo nods yes, and his mother asks what did he do. He says he is sorry. He says he picked up the rock and threw it at him and it hit his head and he fell down. He picked up the rock and hit him again. His mother lets out a gasp. He told Ella to run and made her promise not to tell. He said he could have made her a princess, he is a Raines just like Tripp. Inez asks what he is talking about, and he says he knows all about it. He admits he found out after New Years, he thought he heard them in his bed, and he got a home paternity test at the drug store. He used a toothbrush and got the results in the mail. He showed it to Andrew and he got really mad and that is why they moved away. He asked her mother why she didn’t tell him, and she said she did not want him to get hurt. He said he was told if he told anyone he would lose the new apartment. But he didn’t care, he was the only one he wanted to talk to about it. Amaro tells him to tell him now, his daddy is out there behind the mirror. Arturo says to Andrew he just wanted him to call him son and say he loved him, and why couldn’t he? He is his son too.

Kathleen, who is also watching along with Andrew, angrily asks him what did he do. Andrew said it did not mean anything, but Kathleen says their son is dead. He moves to embrace her but she pulls back, saying “No! Don’t! Don’t touch me.” Andrew says he couldn’t tell her but she says to stay away from her. As she moves to leave, Andrew says he could not hurt her or their family. As she runs off he says he is sorry. Meanwhile, Arturo is crying and being hugged by his mother. As Andrew watches from behind the mirror, 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.


Laura said...

Although I found the episode a tad too predictable (seriously, who didn’t know that Arturo was Andrew Raines’ son right after they revealed that his mother was the maid?), it was still a lot better than most of the episodes from last season. I’ve come to accept that they will never make another episode of the same caliber as “Guilt,” “Grief,” or “Loss.” They just can’t match the quality of the second, third, fourth, and fifth seasons.

I think they could have done without forcing a version of the Schwarzenegger scandal into the episode. It wasn’t apparent to me the first time she appeared on SVU, but Paige Turco does have an uncanny resemblance to Maria Shriver. I think it kind of worked against them having someone so closely resembling Shriver as the cuckolded wife, but that’s just my opinion. Personally, I preferred her as Pam Adler, the pretentious lawyer who is accused of raping a man in the third season. Her character was much more interesting.

Good to see Novak back, but once again they offer absolutely no explanation whatsoever why she’s back handling the case instead of Cabot. They just act as if she’s always been there and never left. I remember last season when she came back for an episode she said she was just a temp, so I assume she’s still serving in that capacity. I understand that the ADAs aren’t really primary characters in the show anymore (which sucks, because for me Cabot and Novak are the two most entertaining characters), but it still would be nice if they’d give just a few lines to explain their reappearance and the apparent rotation between the two. (By the way, when will we see Cutter again? Was that just a tease in the first episode to get us to watch?)

I have never watched a full episode of Criminal Intent, mainly because there is so little courtroom drama. That’s one of the things I loved about SVU: Usually, it had both action in the field and action in the courtroom. I don’t want this show to be like L&O CI. Stephanie March and Diane Neal are two extremely capable actresses, but they give them so little to do it’s a crying shame. When they added both of them plus Cutter to the show before the season began, I was expecting a lot more courtroom scenes. There were some in the first episode, but in this episode and “Personal Fouls” there were none at all. I miss the days of Cabot or Novak arguing before a judge, cross-examining witnesses, and trying to cut deals in the interrogation room. Plus when you’ve got them in the courtroom, sometimes they had other great characters that they don’t have on the show nearly enough, like Peter Hermann as arrogant defense attorney Trevor Langan and Judith Light as the take-no-bull judge Elizabeth Donnelley. They really need to bring back the “Order” in Law & Order: SVU.

janethyland said...

Ratings held steady for SVU2,up a tenth, according to These are preliminary ratings so they could change a bit.

SVU got 2.1 in key demo and 7.88 total viewers.

7.88 total is higher than its premiere and also higher than Revenge total numbers this week (7.6 million).Revenge key demo fell again this week by 7% to 2.5 key demo.

So theres a bit of jostling going on, and some levelling out. CSI key demo was under 3 this week,fell 6% to 2.9.

Big talking point is Harrys Law, which only got 1.2 in key demo but got high viewing numbers of 8.22.Better advertise more life insurance in the breaks!

Free Agent was flat at 1.0 key demo and only 3.2 million total viewers, so it may be the next show that NBC axes because Playboy Club was bringing in similar numbers.

Anyway things are solid and holding well for SVU2.

ConnorBehan said...

Yeah pretty good. It's much lower than SVU's all time peak number of viewers but then again, there's been a decline in the number of people watching regular TV.

So they need to put the "Order" back in "Law & Order"? Everyone keeps saying this but I always thought that "Order" referred to cops while "Law" referred to lawyers...

Michael Chan Yee said...

What was the point of bringing back Novak and Cabot if they're going to be one-scene wonders? I want more trial scenes. "Scorched Earth" was a good start; I especially liked when Cabot wanted to press on due to her experience with rape victims in the Congo. It reminds me of SVU's first season, when Angie Harmon showed up for 10 episodes before they got a full-time ADA for SVU cases.

I too was gearing up for a nice trial part, especially after Kathleen was all, "you are going to go down hard" if they pressed rape charges against Trip. Boy was I blindsided there. not too thrilled to see the pregnancy angle drop out after the first half-hour and no resolution on what happened there.

Laura said...

I too had always thought that "Order" ought to refer to the police (who maintain order) and that "Law" ought to refer to the lawyers (who interpret the law), but Dick Wolf conceptualized it differently. I guess because the police enforce the law and… actually, I’m not really sure why “order” refers to the district attorneys. It makes more sense the other way around, but that’s how it always was on the original L&O.

nygma619 said...

"The interrogation room is one of the most visually boring places in SVU"

I think it's the new interrogation room that's mostly boring. The old one usually had a gritty feel to it, when used right (Think the episode Rage).

For some reason, I just wasn't feeling this episode. I mean it was okay, but the minute I heard "he was paying off the former maid for child support to keep her quiet" I figured out this was ripped from the headlines of the Schwarzenegger scandal and it was just going to end that way.

Personally I was much more interested in the story with the pregnant 13 yr old and wish they would've stayed on that.

nygma619 said...

One more thing. Does anybody know WHY they cut Casey line: "If Elliot were here he'd give you a reality check."?

janethyland said...

wow. SVU total numbers went up to 7.98million, and Revenge went down to 2,4 key demo. they are getting closer to each other.

Meanwhile Harrys Law total numbers went up to 8.45million. That makes it very popular on NBC, whatever the age group.

ConnorBehan said...

@nygma: Ah, so this was the episode with the "reality check" line. It doesn't seem like there's any reason to cut it so maybe it will be on the DVD.

When Ella said that she had a "virgin birth" at the beginning, is it weird that I pictured B.D. Wong talking about autofertilization in reptiles?

Catherine said...

Sorry but SVU's ratings are not "solid and holding up well". They are down quite a bit from last season. Especially in the 18-49 demo group that is the important number. Going up 100,000 viewers without raising that number is not a good thing. Adding more but older viewers makes it harder to sell the show to advertisers.
Last season in the third week, SVU had 8.69 million viewers with a 2.6 rating. That was at 9PM going up against Modern Family, Criminal Minds and Hell's Kitchen. That's much stiffer competition than they have now.

Catherine said...

This is another weak episode. The cheese factor may be down from last season but so is the substance factor. The stories have no depth and the same with the characters. Laura is right that the days of quality writing are over.
At least in this episode Novak has enough sense to know she can't charge Tripp with rape. But after 13 years at SVU Olivia should know that as well. It is past time for Cragen to sit her down and give her an ultimatum: get help or get out. Showing the ugly nature of the real Olivia Benson is not helping the show.

janethyland said...

You are not looking at SVU" within the context of this season, as has been collated elsewhere here.

You are looking at it in comparison with last season. Last season it had Meloni and did not have CSI in competition. Of course its lower.But its still a good solid start.

But I think you are right to stress negative, because they can build on that. Its better than starting high and falling down.

It so obviously is not badly written either.You might not like what is written, but none of it is bad.These are professional writers with awards and this episode is no different from any other.

We will have to agree to differ, thats all.

nygma619 said...

@Catherine: "get help or get out."?

With what? Olivia's just going through a phase. She just needs time, even Cragen would now THAT.

Casee said...

Does anyone know who played Tripp in the episode?

Eduardo said...

Great episode and best of the season so far. I'm not really liking, however, the fact that all stories so far had been ripped from headlines. In this episode at least it was only inspired, and not a shameless copy like they did in "Scorched Earth", but as we already knew the story was based in the Schwarzenegger scandal, all of us could have predicted the ending.

Warren Leight is a truly amazing writer and Julie Martin's work in the Law & Order family is also very respectable. I hope they continue to write such amazing episodes through the season.

Joanne said...

Kyle MacLachlan was good but I really don't like recycled guest stars. I saw his other episode on rerun just earlier this year and the character left such an impression that it seemed silly to see him as someone else in the same show.

janethyland said...

SVU2 was the highest rated drama on NBC this week. Congratulations.

Watch out for Grimm in October though. It has an element of escapism which is popular at the moment.

nancy said...

Cragen gives Olivia too much slack. She drives me insane these day.

The writers at SVU must not know any Spanish. "Ella" is Spanish for "she". No Puerto Rican would name their kid "she".

janethyland said...

In Ireland there is the name Colleen. Colleen is Gaelic for "girl".Lots of women have that name.

janethyland said...

Rider Haggard wrote an interesting book called "She" too, set in Africa about woman power.Its a bit dated in some ways, but not in others.

Catherine said...

“You are looking at it in comparison with last season. Last season it had Meloni and did not have CSI in competition. Of course its lower.But its still a good solid start.”

Comparing ratings from last season to this season is quite reasonable. It defines expectations. It’s also the basis for NBC to try to sell advertising time last spring and summer. They had to expect that Meloni’s exit would lower the ratings. But if they didn’t realize how much they would drop, it can be costing them a lot to make it up to advertisers.
It is important to note that SVU’s highest rating this season is about the same as their lowest rating last season. That is not a solid start. And since shows historically go down from their premieres this does not bode well for the rest of the season.
Even if SVU is NBC’s best rated drama this week, that isn’t saying much when the ratings are so low. There is a threshold where it is no longer financially viable to keep a show on the air. Given how expensive SVU is to make, a rating of 2.1 in the 18-49 demo may well make that that threshold.

“But I think you are right to stress negative, because they can build on that. Its better than starting high and falling down.”

Starting low and staying low is the problem here. What is it you think TPTB will be able to build on?

“It so obviously is not badly written either.You might not like what is written, but none of it is bad.These are professional writers with awards and this episode is no different from any other.”

Professional just means you are getting paid for your work. The fast food fry cook and the head chef at a four star restaurant are both professional cooks. But there is a huge difference in quality. SVU’s writing is much more like MacDonald’s than The Four Seasons.
This episode has some of the same problems SVU episodes have had for the past several seasons. There are too many plot elements. They go from one point to another without consideration or explanation as to why things are happening. That means the characters are shallow and superficial as well.
Good writing is all about the why. Even if there is no good answer (as there often isn’t in real life), you have to at least ask the question. It’s one of the things that made the writing so good back in seasons 1-6. The writers looked at a situation from multiple angles instead of just the “right” point of view. They developed characters who were more than tissue paper thin. That required time not only to create but also screen time for the audience to learn about the characters. They didn’t take that time in this episode. Characters weren’t on air long enough to make an impression.
Julie Martin is capable of doing good work. That was apparent from her work on Homicide. But she didn’t do it for Blood Brothers. Bryan Goluboff is capable of doing good work. That was apparent from his work in Lights Out. But he didn’t do it in Personal Fouls. David Mathews has written two scripts so it is questionable whether he can do good work. But he didn’t give us any in Scorched Earth.

Catherine said...

@ nygma619
@Catherine: "get help or get out."?
With what? Olivia's just going through a phase. She just needs time, even Cragen would now THAT.

Olivia’s behavior is more than a phase. She has always had a problem with making everything that happens revolve around her. Elliot’s choice to retire isn’t about Olivia. But she is so intent on having people seeing how much it affects her that she’s not doing her job. She is so busy being angry and hurt and pissed that she isn’t seeing the effect it’s having on people who have to work with, including victims. Even Novak questioned how Olivia’s attitude in the interview with Ella could be seen as influencing her statement.
This isn’t going to get just by giving her time. She has had plenty of time to get used to the idea that Elliot isn’t coming back. Three months have passed since Elliot turned in his papers. If she hasn’t dealt on her own by now, she needs help to do so. Cragen needs to make her get that help before her behavior puts her fellow officers at risk. Or you do think Rollins or Amaro need to be injured before Cragen takes steps to send Olivia to Psych Services?

janethyland said...

For your own sanity you should stop watching the show if its not for you. The networks arent listening to you....NBC just ordered more Harrys Law scripts on the strength of a 1.2 key demo.they have their own criteria I suspect.

Just realised Ella is also a diminutive of Isabella, as in Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain.

nygma619 said...

@ Catherine:

"Olivia’s behavior is more than a phase. She has always had a problem with making everything that happens revolve around her."

WHAT? Since when?

"Three months have passed since Elliot turned in his papers." I think it was more like two. Even then some people move at a different pace. Olivia's still getting the job done at the end of the day, and that's what counts.