Thursday, October 20, 2011

Law & Order SVU “Missing Pieces” Recap & Review

Law & Order SVU “Missing Pieces” was sure missing something. The episode was dull and predictable, and all the actors seemed like they were going through the motions. This was the first episode that I got the feeling that they were cramming  as many actors in the scene as possible in order to get the feel that the whole team is on the case,  and at the same time get the audience acclimated to the newer additions to the cast. An example is the scene at the beach (where 4 detectives stood around and waited for the body to be located) and even at the end, where they were standing around watching Tim and Ali hugging each other.  Casey Novak's  presence was not much more than window dressing.

I also became bored quickly with the scenes of the parents in for questioning. Too many scenes of one person questioning another slows the   momentum. It doesn’t make a difference to me whether they switch back and forth between the characters being questioned – I have a tendency to mentally “drift” when there are too many scenes in interrogation or interview rooms,  which themselves are visually boring.

While the SVU squad is involved in the missing baby case, we get constant reminders of how much time has passed. Sadly, it felt like the same amount of time passed while I watched this episode…hours and hours and hours. I know that the detectives wanted to soft pedal their interrogation tactics with the parents to avoid getting lawyers involved, but there were times that I felt that taking a tougher stance may have been more effective and gotten to the truth faster.

I have to echo Rollins’ question at the end when she said “Really?” when Benson said they had to let them go. This action made no sense whatsoever. Sure, these parents did not kill the baby, but they lied and led police and the media on a wild goose chase. Amaro’s comment that they are going to be paying for it for the rest of their lives was laughable. My youngest sister died in her crib in 1966 and yes, this death has affected the whole family for our lifetime. But my parents didn’t cover it up – in fact, the first reaction was to call for medical help to try to save my sister. Tim and Ali  abused the Amber Alert process to cover what they thought was a death by their own negligence. They also buried a body on the beach! I can’t believe they weren’t charged with something just to make a point that what they did was wrong.

There was a scene where Benson and Amaro left the morgue that seemed  off.   Benson asks Amaro if they should tell the parents that the baby died of natural causes and Amaro says no, the ME is not positive. Benson is supposed to be the experienced one and she should know that you don’t tip your hand until you have the facts. I can understand if their dialog was reversed and Amaro had asked that question…but it seemed uncharacteristic for Benson to not know that she should keep her mouth shut about the ME's suspicions.

Here is the recap:

Mariska Hargitay – Detective Olivia Benson
Ice-T – Detective Odafin “Fin” Tutuola
Richard Belzer – Sergeant John Munch (did not appear)
Dann Florek – Captain Don Cragen
Kelli Giddish - Detective Amanda Rollins
Danny Pino - Detective Nick Amaro

Guest Stars
Tamara Tunie – Dr. Melinda Warner
Diane Neal – ADA Casey Novak
Lisa Joyce – Ali Martel
Dennis Flanagan - Dennis Flanagan
Charlie Tahan - Calvin

It’s Halloween and Benson is out for Halloween festivities with Calvin and Amaro is out with his daughter and his mother. Fin and Rollins are checking up on sex offenders to make sure they are not opening the doors for trick or treaters.

Ali Martel walks into a store looking for organic diapers, and suddenly she runs out of the store and screams. The detectives all get phone calls and have to cut the Halloween activities short.

Ali tells the officers that they stole her car and her son was in the back seat. She cries out that someone stole her baby, her son.

Later, Captain Cragen, Benson and Amaro are on the scene. Benson tells them that Ali said that her car was stolen with her 3 month old in the back seat. There were no witnesses and nothing on the traffic cams. Amaro says the parents, Ali Martel and her boyfriend Tim Holland are tourists from Buffalo. Tim went to check out a rental apartment and Ali won’t go to the precinct without him. Cragen does not want to give her a choice.

Benson and Amaro approach Ali and she is frantically trying to reach Tim by phone. She last spoke with him an hour ago. Meanwhile. Fin and Rollins speak with the store manager who never saw a baby.

As Benson and Amaro strongly coax Ali to go to the station, Tim approaches. Ali tells him that Nate was in the car when it was stolen. He becomes very upset and explodes. Benson and Amaro separate Ali and Tim. Amaro speaks with Tim. Tim says he was out meeting a jerk who screwed them out of $200 for a rental for an apartment Tim made on Craigslist because the apartment already had 6 gay guys staying there. Tim said they were a day late and got a slow start and they were tired so he pulled over and slept in the car. Ali tells Benson that the baby was sleeping and Tim parked the car and said he would be right back. Ali says they need to find Nate as he is lactose intolerant and only drinks soy formula. Benson assures her they will find her baby.

Back at SVU, with Nate missing 3 hours, Cragen, Fin, and Rollins watch TV coverage on the missing baby. Cragen complains that is just what the city needs, another tourist horror story, and he asks Fin and Rollins to tell him they have a lead. Fin says “stone cold no.” There is nothing on the surveillance camera and no witnesses to the car theft. Rollins adds that they have an alarm out of the Accord but there have been no hits at the toll booths. As Benson walks in with Ali, she asks where it Tim, and Benson explains he with Detective Amaro. Benson asks if she can get her anything, and Ali says she guesses she can’t smoke in there. Benson offers to have someone take her outside, but Ali replies she has to quit anyway, Nate started to grab the butts out of the ashtray,

Meanwhile, Tim is in an interrogation room with Amaro, and when Tim asks why he is there, Amaro says it is to give Tim privacy. Tim asks if Ali is OK and Amaro says to give them a minute.

Cragen tells the detectives to verify the parents’ version of their stories and to pull their cell records, credit cards, and track their route into the city. He asks if there are any holes in the story, and Benson says they are backing each other up, but Amaro says Tim has some issues. Cragen says he will get in touch with Buffalo so see what’s not on paper and tells Fin and Rollins to talk to the Craigslist renter.

Later, Amaro is on the phone with his daughter, and when he hangs up, he tells Benson everything with his daughter is a negotiation. Benson comments that she wonders where she gets that from. There is no sign of Nate, Benson asks Amaro what is his gut on Tim, and Amaro says they got off to a bad start and he got Tim’s ego up. Benson said Ali saw him as protecting her. They decide “do-se-do” and switch who they question. Cragen tells them he just heard from the precinct captain in Buffalo saying that Tim Holland has a domestic violence report from 6 months ago. It was called in by Ali’s sister as Ali refused to cooperate. No charges were filed.. Cragen is sending Fin and Rollins to Buffalo and tells Benson and Amaro to get Ali and Tim’s version.

At 4 hours missing, Fin and Rollins are at The Stuffed Monkey walking to the Craigslist guy. He tells them that Ali and Tim showed up a day late. He only met the guy. Fin gets a message and tells Rollins they are on the next plane to Buffalo.

Back in the interview room, Amaro speaks with Ali about the domestic violence issue and she says he never hit he. Tim found out she had a drink with an ex and Tim found out and twisted her arm and her sister overreacted. She says she can handle Tim and his moves is like waves. She says Tim fell in love with Nate and shows him a photo of Tim in the delivery room, saying Tim was bawling at the time.

Meanwhile, Benson speaks with an agitated Tim. He says the report from Buffalo was a misunderstanding. He said her bitch sister hates him. He loves Ali and she knows it. He apologized about it and he was on his knees. Benson asks if he apologized when he get angry and does things he regrets, and she hears a knock and moves to leave the room. Tim jumps up and says he wants to talk to Ali and asks what are they putting in her head. Benson calmly tells him to sit tight.

Cragen tells Benson and Amaro they have a lead on the car, it was abandoned at the Willis Avenue Bridge.

Benson and Amaro race to the car and sees that the window to the car is broken. They pop the trunk and there is no baby. Benson calls out that they need a level one mobilization to check the hillside, woods, and the river.

Back at SVU, Cragen comments it has been 16 hours since Nate went missing and there are no leads. There is no sign of could play with the car and the only prints on the steering wheel were Tim’s. Cragen comments that either the car thief wore gloves or this did not go down as they say. He tells Benson and Amaro to keep them talking.

Amaro speaks with Ali and tells her they found the car but not Nate. He asks about Nate being on the car seat. He begins to question her about why they made the trip and other small talk about her life. He also asks about Tim and his job and she indicated work is sparse but it is hard for everyone up there.

At 17 hours missing and at the home of Ali’s sister Moira Martell, Fin and Rollins, Moira explains that Tim stays with his mom and Ali stays with her. She has never seen him abuse Tim. She said that Tim twisted Ali’s arm so bad it was purple for a week. She says Tim is in Ali’s blind spot. Fin asks to look in Nate’s bedroom, and he sleeps with Ali. She last saw Nate on Sunday before they left. They got a late start as the car needed a new fan belt. She saw them put Nate in the car, sucking on his toy key and holding his dinosaur.

Back at SVU, Tim asks Benson when are they going to find his son? She tries to reassure him but he doesn’t understand why all the questions. She explains that anything he remembers may help them. But he claims he wasn’t even there. She knows he was meeting about the Craigslist rental, and adds that she talked to the guy. He claims he is not lying about that. She continues to try to calm him but he is upset he was not there to protect his boy. He says he screwed it up, and Benson whispers that it is OK. He says it is not and that she doesn’t think so and that Ali doesn’t think so. He thinks Ali will find a way to blame him.

A man walks in to SVU with a car seat and says he needs to talk to somebody, adding that he didn’t do anything. Later, Cragen tells Benson and Amaro that Mr. Hernandez bought the car seat from a peddler in Tompkins Square Park and his wife recognized it as the one from the news. The car seat matches their photo, down to the toys. Cragen adds CSU is processing it and he has officers canvassing the park. Cragen tells them to take Hernandez to the park to find the peddler.

At Tompkins Square Park, the peddler is located and he is selling baby items. Benson asks him where he got the stuff and when he says he has suppliers, Amaro asks for their names. The man says it is confidential, and Benson tells him to have it his way and Benson arrests him for larceny.

Back at SVU in interrogation with Amaro and Benson, Mr. Coogan says he didn’t see a baby and won’t admit to breaking into the car. He realizes that they don’t care about the stolen items - this is about a baby. He then admits to breaking the window and taking the items, but no baby. The car was locked. It was just as it was getting dark. He then asks for a lawyer.

Afterwards, Amaro tells Cragen that guy did not take the kid, and ADA Casey Nowak asks where are they with the parents. Benson says that neither of them are hard core criminals but something happened between there and Buffalo but though they would come up with a better story. Novak instructs them to keep them talking as they don’t have enough probable cause for an arrest. Amaro has the prelim report on the items in the car – the lab found traces of fecal matter and soy formula in the cooler. When Benson asks if they put the baby in the cooler, Cragen adds it was the baby’s body.

Later, Amaro walks into the interview room where Ali is sleeping. He stares at her and then closes the door loudly enough to wake her. She knows that they haven’t found Nate yet and asks if he is dead. He asks if that is what she thinks, and she says he would have found him by now. He asks her to go back to Buffalo and retell her recollection of events, saying that sometimes the smallest detail makes a difference.

Meanwhile, Benson is with Tim and she shows him photos of the recovered items and he says they are his but when she shows him the photos of the cooler he gets quiet. He then says the coolers all look alike. He starts to evade her but she says this one has his fingerprints on it. She also tells him what the lab found in the cooler. He wonders if Ali put a diaper in there, but Benson counters that no mother pouts a dirty diaper in a cooler. Benson tells him he has two choices – the good outcome would be that this was an accident, that the baby fell and hit his head, and the bad outcome would be that he lost his temper and maybe shook Nate. When he says that did not happen, she asks him to tell him what happened. He becomes irate and gets in her face and tells her not to attack him. She glares right back at him and he begin to cry and calmly says he is sorry. Benson whispers that that doesn’t matter and asks how did Nate end up in the cooler. He doesn’t answer.

Later, Benson tells Cragen that Tim is overloaded and he shut down. Cragen tells her that Amaro and Ali “haven’t left Buffalo yet.”

Amaro continues to talk to Ali about what happened that day. When Amaro brings up them getting into New York late, Ali mentions that Tim was too tired to drive so they slept at a rest stop. Amaro coldly tells her to stop it, saying so far she has been telling the truth, but the thing with sleeping in the car is a lie. She say it is not but he tells her again to stop. She explains they had to sleep in a motel, the Binghamton Motor Lodge. Tim did not want her sister to know. Amaro looks out to Cragen and Benson who are observing behind the mirrored glass, and Cragen moves to make a phone call, saying that is the first lie. He gets Fin on the phone and asks where is he.

At the Binghamton Motor Lodge, Fin and Rollins speak to the motel manager and he says he saw Ali and Tim in there, and Nate was there in the car seat under the table. Ali and Tim acted like he wasn’t even there. They were arguing about Nate’s Halloween costume. They were there until closing time at 4:00.

Back at SVU, Amaro questions Ali about what they found out about her being in the bar at the motel. She said they had to bring Nate in, there was no one to watch him. Meanwhile, Tim tells Benson Ali lies sometimes and likes to tell people what she thinks they want to hear. Benson question him about the motel, adding whatever happened was not his fault, it was the alcohol. She does not think he left the house with the intent to hurt his son. She thinks it was not intentional. Tim cries and said he didn’t do it. Benson said it was Ali and that they had been arguing in the bar. Amaro is trying to get Ali to admit that Tim did it, but she says she just wants to go back and make it not happen. She says she is so sorry. Tim tells Benson that Ali is smarter than he, and she talks faster and sometimes he needs her to shut up. Benson tries to push Tim, and he mentions the stupid costume. When Benson quietly suggests that Tim was frustrated and he took that out on Nate, he says no. he says that Nate was in his car seat and the car got stolen, like Ali said. Benson reminds him he just said Ali is a liar and asked which one is it.

Observing, Novak asks Cragen when is this guy going to give it up and Cragen says Liv is getting to him and he is going to go. Novak asks if they have been Mirandized, and Cragen replies early on. Amaro walks in and says Ali is going to draw a map of where they buried the baby.

At Twin Island on Orchard Beach at 39 hours missing, the baby is found buried with his blanket and his toy. Amaro says Ali did not want him to be alone.

In the morgue, ME Warner tells Benson and Amaro that Nate was healthy and well developed an there were no signs of abuse and the way he was buried indicate he was loved. She does not know how he died. There is no signs of trauma, no needle marks. They will have to wait for the tox screen. She says it would help to know where he died, and Benson says they are working on it. Benson catches up to Amaro who is walking away and asks if he is OK. He doesn’t answer, but says whatever happened Ali and Tim are covering for each other. Benson says they aren’t going anywhere and suggests that Amaro go home and hug his daughter. He says she is taking a nap.  Benson tells him she used to be him, and he says he knows. She said she is the last person giving parental advice. He says this kid needs them.

Back at SVU, Amaro and Rollins speak with Ali who comments that they found him and if he was OK. Rollins asks Ali to tell them what happened. Meanwhile, Tim tells Benson and Fin that he did not kill his son and Ali would not either. Benson asks how this happened and he says he does not know. He wants to talk to Ali. Amaro and Rollins continue to work on Ali to turn on Tim, but she won’t. Fin presses Tim to make a decision and when Tim asks if maybe he should call a lawyer, Fin says a lawyer will only tell him to stop talking and look out for himself and that Tim is not that kind of man. Tim says he asked Ali to marry him when she was pregnant but she did not want to do it like that. He didn’t feel obligated. Benson says he loves her and that is why he is going to do the right thing. Benson asks him to tell them what happened in the hotel room.

Ali tells Amaro that she didn’t take care of Nate, but Amaro says the ME said Nate was loved and cared for and that she will tell him what Tim did to Nate. Tim tells Benson that Nate would not stop crying and he just wanted him to stop so he could close his eyes. Tim cries and said he picked him up and shook him. Ali was screaming at him. But he kept shaking him until he stopped crying. Buy Ali says it was not Tim’s fault, and says she did it. Nate was crying and she thought if she gave him a bath he would quiet down. She put him in the tub and dozed off, and when she woke up he was under water.

Outside of interrogation, Cragen comments to the detectives and Novak that Ali and Tim are still protecting each other. Benson reminds them Warner saw no signs of trauma. Amaro said that Warner said there were no water in the lungs but what Ali said seemed real. Rollins wonder if they are playing them to create reasonable doubt. Benson does not think they are that sophisticated. Novak says they have two confessions and she will charge them both and let a jury decide. Cragen asks on what – there is no cause of death, and suggests if she wants to help, she should lean on the ME.

Warner tells Amaro and Benson if that is what the parents told them, they are both lying. The baby was not dropped, shaken, drowned, or smothered. There is nothing on the tox screen and it was not murder or an accident. Warner needs to examine the motel room and the home, and asks if the mother was a smoker. Amaro answers yes. Warner indicates that is a risk factor for SIDS – sudden infant death syndrome. It will take a while to confirm but that is what her gut is telling her.

Afterwards, Benson tells Amaro that they each confessed to killing Nate because they love each other. Benson asks if they tell them the baby died of natural causes. Amaro says no, the ME is not positive, and they need to tell them what really happened and until they do, they will never know for sure.

Back at SVU, Tim admits he did not shake him and the truth is he does not know what happened. He passed out and when he work up Ali was holding Nate on the bed. Separately, Ali tells Amaro Nate was fussy and wouldn’t settle and she was afraid she would wake Tim so she put him in their bed on his back. She was careful. No covers, no pillows. She work up and Nate was not breathing. Tim said she was rocking him and singing to him and he asked her what was wrong. She did not answer him, and she just kept signing. Ali said she tried to get him to wake up and tried to breathe into his mouth. She did not call for help as she doesn’t know who would believe them. She said it was her idea to put Nate in the cooler and drive to New York and bury him. Tim left the car under the bridge and then she told the police that the baby was taken as everyone knows in New York City bad things happen all the time. She says she did it, and she must have rolled over on him or something. She cries and said she killed her baby. But Amaro tells her that the ME says that Nate died of SIDS and that sometimes babies just die. She asks if he is sure, and he says yes. Ali says that the three of them lying in bed together – Tim snoring – it wasn’t perfect but it was good and she was happy. She asks why us. She said when Amaro woke her up before, she was dreaming Nate was dead and then when she woke up she thought maybe it was just a nightmare and he was just asleep and everything was fine. Then she remembered. She asks if she can talk to Tim now, and Amaro says yes.

As Tim is led into the room, Benson, Amaro, Fin, Rollins and Cragen watch as he and Ali embrace.  Cragen asks now what. Benson says they let them go. Rollins asks, “Really?” and Fin adds “After what they put the city through?” Amaro says they will be paying for this for the rest of their lives. Benson shakes her head, and says “Just send them home.” Tim and Ali hug each other and Benson and Amaro watch as we fade to black.

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Esaul said...

Well the only thing I found predictable about the episode was having Tamara Tunie's name in the opening credits. This episode is still better than a lot of the ones from last year. I'm finding with each episode this season, the more I miss Stabler.

Laura said...

I might be in the minority here, but I thought that this episode was a significant improvement over last week’s episode. The interrogation scenes did drag on a bit too long, but other than that it was a pretty solid episode. Yes, a few things didn’t really make any sense (e.g. I agree that there’s no way they would actually let the parents go without charging them with anything), but that’s been par for the course on this show for several years now. Watching SVU involves a willful act of suspending one’s sense of reality. I’ve found the fewer questions I ask, the more I enjoy the episode.

With that said, I’m really starting to like Detective Amaro. When I saw the pictures of Danny Pino before the season began I thought there was no way he could hold down the role, because he simply didn’t look like a cop in my mind. But after seeing his work in this season so far, I must say I’m impressed. Maybe it’s because he reminds me a lot of a younger Benjamin Bratt. It was also adorable seeing him trick-or-treating with his daughter at the beginning of the episode.

Rollins was much less annoying in this episode, probably because she was mostly relegated to a background role. They should keep it that way. (If only Mariska would stay on board as the lead for the entire season!) Looking to the future they’ve got to ease Rollins into the role somehow, but I prefer when she serves in a Monique Jeffries kind of capacity. (Oddly enough, I would have enjoyed seeing a lot more of Jeffries when she was on the show in the first and second seasons; she seemed to fit in the squad much better than Rollins does.)

I kind of liked that they used all of the squad in the episode (except I don’t remember seeing Munch, which sucks). It didn’t feel like they were trying to cram in as many actors as they could to me, I guess because I assumed that in such a situation where time is of the essence, everyone would be doing everything they can. I liked that they at least had Casey in it, although it seemed that her presence was rather pointless. (It’s become rather obvious by now, but I do miss the court scenes terribly and wish they’d give the ADAs more to do.)

Which brings me to my final point: What the hell happened to Alex Cabot? They have her in the first two episodes of the season, and then by the third episode she’s gone with no explanation whatsoever. Talk about a bait and switch! I like Casey, but it’s past time to have Alex back for an episode or two (or more). I’ll keep watching in hopes of her showing up until they decide to write her out, but this is getting rather frustrating.

Joanne said...

I felt like the concept of this episode has been done before - I actually thought for a split second that I was watching a rerun by accident which of course I wouldn't have been since Danny Pino was there. Perhaps I saw a similar story in another procedural. The episode was just sort of plodding along.

I did enjoy it more than last week, but that's probably just because last week's featured Rollins heavily and I'm not liking her at all. Danny Pino, however, I am impressed with.

xfool said...

I thought it was OK but not great. Even though the clock kept ticking there was no suspense. NONE. Yes this season is much better than the last as far as writing and the story line, but I do get the sense that someone told the writers to stick a lot of the top billed actors in certain scenes, I wonder if they think we won't notice that Meloni is missing. Danny Pino is likeable, though, but I miss that "spark" that Benson and Stabler had going.

There is no chemistry with Rollins and anybody. She is just there.

They didn't need all four detectives standing on that beach doing nothing but waiting!

Why bother having Diane Neal there if Casey Novak isn't going to significantly contribute to the story? You are right ATLAO - it's window dressing. The SVU fans are smarter than that.

Next week we should get more legal drama, and that should be great. But as far as Missing Pieces is concerned, it was really missing a big piece - suspense!

totowolf said...

The biggest thing for me was the content. I can say that I don't know anybody who has lost a baby-child to SIDS. I kept wondering how Mariska could play the part with a 5 year old and a new baby (at the time) two babies. I know it is "only" acting a part, but I still found that aspect pretty emotional, but I'm pretty emotional.

I have to admit to looking at the clock numerous times thinking the episode was almost over when it wasn't...maybe 5 minutes would have gone by. That hasn't happened with any of the other episodes this SVU Season, but I hadn't thought about it until you wrote it!

Unlike you, however, I found the episode thought-provoking...maybe not as good as the first four, but thought-provoking, nonetheless, for me.

Nalini said...

i think this episode was interesting and have alot of experience and things to learn from, not all svu episode can be all about on the hunt for the criminal, so i loved it alot.

Esaul said...

@ Laura - Mariska is in for this whole season.

janethyland said...

SVU2 held steady in the ratings,2.1 key demo and 7.58 total viewers, so it is keeping its audience.

In contrast, Parenthood went down this week to 2.0 key demo.Revenge dropped to 2.5 this week.

There are no fast runners on NBC,but SVU2 does seem to have the best of both worlds there because it holds second highest total numbers and the highest key demo for a scripted drama.Its in a good position both ways.

Otherwise shows on NBC have low total numbers, mostly under 5million,whatever the key demo number.

Meanwhile it will be interesting to see what NBC does with Harrys Law,lowest key demo at 1.2, but highest audience numbers at over 8 million.Which way will NBC jump?!

Anyway SVU2 is doing well for a show thats going through so many changes.

Laura said...

@ Esaul: Yeah I know that she’s signed on for the entire season, but I heard from a lot of people that after the first half of the season she’s taking a back seat and Rollins will be the lead female detective. I hope I’m wrong, but that’s what I’ve surmised.

nygma619 said...

@ xfool, I think rollins and fin have a decent enough dynamic.

Anyways this episode felt like the 1st half of that hillary duff episode stretched out to 60 minutes. That episode wasn't good, but this episode was just capital B boring.

And it certainly needed something more than the boring sids payoff.

ConnorBehan said...

The part I liked was busting the pedophiles who accept trick-or-treaters. Something we've never seen on SVU - and very in character for Fin. Other than that, a very anti-climactic episode indeed.

People have been spreading that "Mariska is about to leave" FUD for years. I wouldn't count on it.

jelyjiggler said...

I actully liked that all of the actors were in it, it didnt feel cramed to me at all. But the interrogations were WAAAAY to long it just gave me a headache seeing a tearfull moments that arnt tearful when i glance at the clock- its onlly 15 minutes in! I felt i was sitting there for the 17 hours or whatever just following these guys.

janethyland said...

Viewing figures were adjusted up to 2.2 key demo and 7.66 million total.

Pity next week is a repeat because it will interrupt the flow.

Esaul said...

Originally the plan was for Mariska to be on board for only half the season, and her character would receive a promotion, she'd be showing the ropes to the two new detectives. However, that has since changed, she will appear in every episode this season, and they will continue to do these ensemble works.

OhSusannah said...

This episode didn't captivate me the way I thought it would, frankly.Way too many interrogation scenes between Benson and Tim Holland.The tiny scene with Benson being with Calvin-totally out of context-irritated me to no end.It seemed very gratuitously don e to me:exec producer(and writer of this episode) Warren Leight is teasing the Calvin/Olivia fan base with microseconds to keep them watching.As much as the case involved a missing baby,it felt very flat and uninteresting to me. Not my fave of this season by any means.Its still early in S13,though so there's still room for areas of improvement. ATLAO, I love your insightful comments!They always bring a lot to the table to think about after every episode airs.

Laura said...

@Esaul: Thanks for clarifying. I’m glad to know that she’ll keep the same role for the entire season.

@OhSusannah: There actually is a Calvin/Olivia fan base? I guess the E/O and A/O shippers have moved on.

All Things Law and Order said...

OhSusannah - your observation on the Calvin scenes was spot on.

Laura - surprisingly yes there is a group of people who are into the Olivia/Calvin releationship and I have never been able to figure out why. I found the initial Calvin story line a complete turn off and frankly wasn't thrilled to see him pop up in this episode in what I felt was a throwaway scene.

ConnorBehan said...

Teasing would be showing Calvin in the preview but not the episode. This may sound pretty lame but it makes sense to show Olivia interacting with other characters in a motherly way. Having scenes like this allows them to take advantage of an obvious talent that the actress has.

Of course they shouldn't make an episode about Olivia going to Vermont or Calvin going to New York, because Law and Order needs to stay focused on the crimes. These things are just supposed to happen without us seeing how they happen.

So yeah, I'm glad they brought back Calvin. Now I just need to wait for Simon Marsden...

Arleen said...

Dull and predictable? I thought they did a great job of showing how the police suspicion switches around - first they think the baby was kidnapped by strangers, then the parents were the suspects, then finally the simple "natural death" truth. It made me wonder how many real people are in prison - because of some police interrogation pressure and trickery.

The only problem real I saw with this episode is that it really belonged to the "Homicide" detectives, not SVU. There was nothing really sexual about the case.

All Things Law and Order said...

Arleen, I suspect that SVU became involved because it started as a case of a missing baby (who is then probably defined as a special victim). It didn't become a homicide until they found the baby's body. Maybe as SVU started the case, they had to wait for the cause of death to determine if it actually was a homicide.

nygma619 said...

@ Ohsussanah & allthings: Why is it that just because they show Calvin interacting with Olivia you guys suddenly interpret it as Warren Leight "teasing" fans of his?

Is it too hard to imagine he was just put in there for one measely scene, to interpret Olivia having some form of stability in her life considering what she's been through lately? Is she not entitled to a bond with someone that brings just a little bit of happiness in her life?
I think this blog has the only people interpreting that scene that way.
My interpretation was that they were using that to tie in to the whole parenting theme in the episode (as hollow as it might sound), hence them splitting back and forth between Oliva/Calvin & Amaro/& his daughter.

Although I have to wonder why they didn't have Fin interacting w/ his son Ken @ the beginning if that were the case. Especially since they went out of their way to move the heavens and earth just to have Olivia be a part of Calvins life still.

Look, no I don't want to see stories revolved around Calvin, but as long as his scenes w/ Olivia don't take up much time and show Olivia having a life outside her job, I'm fine with it.

I think the past soap opera stuff has started to make some people paranoid about any personal stuff shown on this show. Not that I don't understand why people do feel that way, but lets wait to cross that bridge when we come to it under Warren Leight's tenure.

ConnorBehan said...


But I'm not sure if working Ken into a minute long scene at the beginning would have worked. That relationship is too complicated. It demands more time.