Thursday, November 17, 2011
Law & Order SVU “Educated Guess” Recap & Review
Law & Order SVU “Educated Guess” was an episode without a lot of action or frills, yet it told a very compelling story. It’s a case where someone who has questionable mental health has been abused by a relative for years – and no one believes her. When another person who also has mental stability issues of his own witnesses an attack, the abuse comes out into the open (thanks to a judge who forces the investigation with SVU). Even more sickening than the girl’s mother dismissing her daughter’s claims of abuse because she felt her daughter was crazy was her Aunt Bella’s apparent denial and cover up of her husband’s dirty little secret. Bella seems to want control over every situation, unfortunately for her the secret can’t stay hidden under the bed forever.
Again, SVU is making good use of the entire cast, giving everybody (except for Captain Cragen) a hand in working the case. I can’t explain why, but this episode seemed to have a heavy Law & Order Criminal Intent vibe to it; I suspect that it is from the opening scenes where we are given a view into the crime as it happens. I missed having a presence from the DA’s office, but based on how the case was worked, it didn’t seem necessary to have one. The story was also a bit predictable, especially when it was established that the two sisters are living in a duplex. Still, the acting on the part of the guest stars – especially Carrie Preston who was perfect as the over-controlling Bella – was very enjoyable and helped to tell a very intense and believable story.
We also find that “something” happened to Rollins on her previous job which triggered her to leave, but we don’t find out exactly what. There were also instances where the team members complemented each other for a nice job; this shows that the detectives are beginning to behave as a real team working towards a single goal. It was a nice touch having Benson reassure Amaro that her old partner had similar feelings as Amaro was experiencing, and also give him insight into how she has learned to cope working special victims cases. All in all, this was a fine episode and I believe this is one of the best seasons we’ve seen from SVU in many years.
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
Kelli Giddish - Detective Amanda Rollins
Danny Pino - Detective Nick Amaro
Carrie Preston - Bella Zane
Natasha Lyonne - Gia Eskas
Tim Guinee - George Zane
J. Smith Cameron - Diane Eskas
Karen Young – Dr. Meg Whitmere
Gavin-Keith Umeh – Charles Lee
David Pittu – George’s Lawyer
A guy is running in the park and calls out to Amber, who is standing off the trail. She takes off her clothes and he follows her into the brush. Elsewhere in the park, Rollins is jogging and comes up to Fin, who is sitting on a park bench. She asks if he has seen anything and he tells her it is late and he doesn’t think the guy is going to show. Rollins comments that the man groped 10 women in the last 6 weeks and she doesn’t think he will stop now. Fin thinks it is getting too cold. They hear a man call out asking where did you go, and he runs out of the bushes just wearing his shorts. He seems to be talking nonsense. As Rollins and Fin try to control the building crowd, the man collapses. He looks up and Rollins and Fin and sees the girl standing behind them wearing just her underwear. She is laughing at him. He says she is just a bitch, and Fin looks around and asks who is he talking to? He says it is his girlfriend Amber and she is right there. He asks them to make her stop. Rollins notices the man is burning up and Fin calls for a bus to the pysch ward.
At LaGuardia Psychiatric Hospital, Rollins tells Fin the guys Is not nuts, he’s just having a bad trip. She says she can tell the difference as she grew up around both and her sister had it rough. Fin says they all come from something.
Inside the hospital, they speak with the security police Captain Lee, who said he just saw them pinch the “naked fish” on YouTube. They also speak with the doctor and Rollins tells him she thinks it is PCP. The doctor says the patient is his for now and he will run tests, and the police captain says there is no need to baby sit and the police captain suggests they go home. They leave.
Later, the patient is being watched by a security officer, and he complains he is sick. But when a hospital alarm goes off, the office leaves the patient to check it out and she tells the man to stay there. He makes a quick exit out of the room and as he tried to find a place to hide, he hears a woman crying out and when he opens a door, he sees a woman being raped and a man yells for him to shut the door. He does. He calls out of help, saying “Rape! Rape!”
Later, in the hospital, there is a hearing for Darren Bickford, the almost naked crazy man from the park. He claims he saw a girl get raped last night. As he insists about what he saw, Rollins and Fin give each other a glance of disbelief. He says he told the doctor and the guard. The judge asks Fin and Rollins to investigate but Rollins protests, saying that the suspect was caught masturbating while in a drug-induced hallucination. The judge asks if he was seeing things when he witnessed the rape and Rollins says she would have no way of knowing. The judge tells Rollins “Then don’t speculate.” She tells them they will reconvene in two weeks and she expects to hear from them on Darren’s complaint.
Back at SVU in interrogation, Fin and Rollins question Darren. He explains what he saw at the hospital, saying he saw the man raping a woman and her also being choked. He could not see the man’s face. He also adds the woman was wearing a hospital bracelet and she had a big scar on her arm. He says she was in ward 6 and she is real. The detectives hear a knock on the interrogation room window and Fin and Rollins walk out of the room to a waiting Munch, Benson, and Amaro. Munch asks if they can farm this out but Rollins tells him not according to the judge. Benson doesn’t know why the man would lie. Munch says they have a description, they should go to LaGuardia and find her.
Back at LaGuardia Psychiatric in Ward 6, Benson and Rollins speak with Dr. Meg Whitmere, Assistant Director of the hospital. When they describe the victim, she realizes it is a patient named Gia Eskas. Whitmere is stunned at the rap accusation, saying she got no report of it but admits Gia had to be sedated last night. She said she should be lucid now, and when Whitmere says she should go in with them, Benson tells her it is a criminal investigation.
Amaro checks out the room where the attack occurred and finds a hair, and comments to Munch that the color matches the description of the victim. The security officer standing by says they should find many, the doctors crash there all the time when they have patients on the ward. Amaro says sleep is not the only thing going on and mentions the other stains on the couch. The officer makes a flip comment about it being from quickies with doctors and nurses, and Munch asks how would she know, she left her prisoner unattended. She says Darren was handcuffed to a chair in a locked ward. The officer says there was a call that a patient was going wild in Ward 6 and all hands were called. Munch asks about surveillance cameras on the ward and the officer says she will get him the footage.
Benson and Rollins speak with Gia and a girl comes up to Gia saying mommy just brought them some ciggies and when she sees the two detectives, she asks if it is bad time. Gia quips that Cagney and Lacey were just leaving. Benson asks for another minute and continues to talk about what happened last night and why she had to be sedated. Gia is evasive but then adds she was working to find her triggers which is why she is there. She was making a noose and they caught her ripping her sheets and the last time she used a razor. Benson shows her the photo of Darren and Gia says her recollection is fuzzy. Rollins tells her the man saw her get raped. Gia tells her she think she would remember that. Benson tries to explain they can protect her, but Gia asks from who , herself? Rollins suggests a rape kit. Gia asks what happens if they find something? When Benson asks if they will, Gia asks if they do the test, will they leave her alone? Benson nods yes.
As Gia is taken back to her room, Benson tells Rollins that Gia wants them to find proof. When Rollins seems to dismiss this, Benson explains that Gia shows classic signs of assault: hyper-vigilance, fear, denial. Rollins thinks these are symptoms of her mental illness, but Benson feels Gia thinks nobody will believe her and Benson thinks she is right. Rollins says she is not saying that she is a liar, but Gia is not even saying she was raped and she could be dissociative or delusional and they don’t know what kinds of meds she has been on, and it may be hard to get anyone to believe her. Benson thinks this makes Gia the perfect target.
Benson and Rollins speak again with Dr. Whitmere and they tell her Gia agreed to a rape kit. Benson thinks that Gia wants them to find something without having to admit it. Rollins asks who has access to the locked ward, and the doctor replies employees and other patients. There are no issues with the staff and every hire is vetted. There are no patients there with a record of sexual assault. Benson asks about visitors, and Whitmere explains that Gia’s mother comes on weekends and that is her only visitor. Benson asks for a list of everyone on the ward on Monday night. Whitmere agrees. Rollins pushes Whitmere to have access to Gia’s medical records. When Whitman refuses, Rollins asks for the incident reports, because if Gia was raped, it was by someone on this ward. Whitmere says she will send her what she can. Benson gives Rollins a smile of approval.
Back at SVU, Munch approaches Benson and Rollins who are working on the incident reports. No evidence of sexual complaints. The rape room is in the blind spot of the surveillance video. Amaro brings them the information that the rape kit showed sperm and DNA from an unknown male. There were no recent signs of force, but Benson notes there were laceration scars and perianal tags and thinks Gia has been sodomized for years. Rollins thinks there could be an explanation which is why they need her records. Munch tells her that is a tough court order to get. Benson thinks if Gia is hiding it she won’t give them access. Rollins explains it may not be Gia’s call; considering her psychiatric history, her mom may be her legal guardian.
At the Zane/Eskas Duplex, they speak with Gia’s mother Diane Eskas who says Gia made rape accusations before when she was 14, just before her father was diagnosed with schizophrenia. Gia accused a doctor, neighbor, and male teacher, and they were told it was Gia’s coping with the loss of her father. An alarm rings and Diane excuses herself to take care of some soup on the stove in her apartment as her sister is on a restricted diet. As Diane walks to the next apartment, she explains Gia’s father is in Four Winds hospital and has been there the last 10 years. She was going to call the police about the rape accusation but Gia admitted she made it up. While Rollins looks at family photos, Benson explains that a lot of victims recant and ask her if she ever got the sense that something really happened to her daughter. Diane says Gia was sick like her father and she did the best she could. As Gia gets older it gets worse and she stops taking her meds when she thinks she is better. She self medicates with drugs and alcohol and told her where she wants her to find her body. Sometimes she thinks her daughter hates her. She agrees to get them her records but warns it will take a while to get through them.
As Rollins and Benson leave the apartment, Rollins says Gia has a history of false accusations and recanting. She doesn’t admit to being raped and Rollins tells Benson if she wants to call the DA, good luck. Benson tells her that just because a case isn’t winnable doesn’t mean they stop investigating. Rollins replies she isn’t saying that. But before Rollins can finish her thought, a man calls out to them and a woman with him asks if something happened to her sister. When Benson tells her she is fine, the woman – Bella - asks “Gia. What now?” She adds that she just tried to visit her at La Guardia, and Benson asks when. She says Monday, and that she was there for minor surgery and they brought her flowers before she was admitted. Bella’s husband George says Gia is sweet and Bella adds troubled, saying sometimes Gia turns on the people who care for her. Benson replies, “So we’ve heard.” Rollins comments that it must be hard having her in their home, and Bella says they can’t just abandon her, she’s had so much loss. Bella’s husband George says that they are family. Diane comes out of the house and calls to Bella and tells her to come inside, she made soup for her.
Back at SVU, Amaro is working on the files and Munch tells him to call it a night. Amaro thinks he found an incident involving Gia a few days before the rape when things got heated with her and a patient, Jay Delaney. Jay was shaking Gia like a rag doll and a security guard got in the middle and Jay busted his lip.
At the hospital. Amaro and Rollins speak with Jay about the incident and he says he overreacted with Gia. Amaro makes him uncomfortable and Jay gets upset that Amaro is standing behind him. As Rollins continues to press her he becomes highly agitated and picks up a chair and flings it at Amaro. Amaro restrains him and then cuffs him as Jay sobs he is sorry.
With Jay back at SVU, Jay is in interrogation with Fin. Jay insists he was protecting Gia from a guard who makes girls go into empty rooms to have sex with them. He is worried the guard will come after him. Fin says if Jay wants him to believe him, he has to give him something. He tells them the name is Lee. Fin asks if he means Charles Lee, and Jay says that is him.
Back at the hospital, Fin watches Lee as Rollins searches his locker. He says he has nothing to hide and if this is about the rape, he is not their man. Rollins says the stains on a uniform in the locker that are by the zipper may tell a different story. Fin glares at Lee and says, “Let’s go.”
Back at SVU, Lee is in interrogation with his union representative and says before Munch and Amaro say anything, he has something for them. The rep wants to postpone the interview until Lee’s lawyer arrives. Lee insists he has done nothing wrong, adding Jay is so doped up you can’t trust a word he says. Lee tells them that he does not have sex with patients and he knows the law, anyone in a pysch ward is incapable of consent. The stuff on his pants was from him doing his job. On Tuesday night, Gia came to her and corners him in a stairwell saying she needs a gun. She dropped to her knees. He had a responsibility to find out what she was planning but she did not tell him. Lee’s lawyer arrives when Munch tells him what Lee told them, Lee said he did not give her a gin and it was not sex, it was just a “BJ.” Lee’s lawyer stops the questioning.
Outside the room, with Munch, Amaro, Fin, and Benson, Rollins comments that the guy is smarter than he looks, he fudged the timeline and fudged the sex act, claiming Gia wanted his gun. Fin says it is his word against hers, and Munch adds that unfortunately they don’t have her word. Amaro wonders what if he is telling the truth, if someone attacked Gia on Monday, maybe she did go to Lee for a gun the next day.
Later, Benson and Rollins speak with Gia about the gun and she says nothing happened. Gia reminds Benson that she carries a gun and Benson says bad things have still happened to her, she has been stabbed, assaulted and her gun did not save her. Gia admits then she did get on her knees and then Lee reneged. She says nobody has ever believed her, even her mother. Benson says she believes her. Gia says all it took was for someone to pay attention to her. He was interested in what she had to say and finally someone sees her. Now she wishes she could disappear. Benson asks who raped her, and Gia says it was her Uncle George. She thought he was safe in there but he got in and raped her which is why she wanted the gun. He has been raping her for years, sometimes in his garage where he has cameras and a cot. Sometime he did it in his bedroom and took photos. Her mother would not believe her as George takes care of it and pays her rent or get groceries. She falsely accused men because George was family and then finally gave up, telling her mom it never happened. Benson tells Gia George is going to prison and will never touch her again. Gia says Benson can’t promise her that, in the real world, he is sane but she is not.
Afterwards, Benson tells Rollins this will be an uphill battle. Rollins replies this is why they do it. She asks Benson about her telling Gia that she was assaulted and Benson says yes. Rollins says something happened to her on the job, which is why she had to leave. When Benson asks if it was somebody she worked with, Rollins tells her it was something not worth pursuing. Benson explains that this is how they win, and they will not let that happen to Gia.
Back at SVU they watch the security camera recordings. They observe Gia’s Aunt Bella dropping off the flowers as she had said, and George is not with her. Then they see someone that could be George at 8:30 enter the ward wearing what looks like a doctor’s coat. They think he lifted a key card badge off an employee. Munch tells them to find whose key card was swiped at that time and to go pick up Uncle George.
Back at the Eskas/Zane household, the detectives arrive as Diane is unloading George’s and Bella’s car, with Bella barking orders to her. Benson arrests George for Gia’s rape and Bella objects that Gia is doing it again. George tells Bella it is not her sister’s fault and to call a lawyer. Diane says Gia is crazy and Bella asks them not to do this. Rollins says that is probably exactly what Gia said to her husband the first time he raped her.
Back at SVU, George is in interrogation, who tells Munch and Amaro that Gia was in bad situation when her father became ill and she became attached to her and he became attracted to her. He says he is a cliché, a middle aged man in love with a girl half his age. He says what they have is real. Amaro says he gets it, he is an a tight spot, the heart wants what the heart wants. George says he tried to fight it when she was a teenage and did not touch her for a long time, which is why their relationship is so strong. He says he was her first and she was so shy in her pink bra. Amaro asks how long they have been dating, and George laughs, saying that Amaro means how long have they been having sex. Amaro nods. George said he made them wait until she was 17, and George’s lawyer pipes up and said it was the legal age of consent. Amaro asks about him and Gia in the on call room and George admits it was. While Benson, Fin, and Rollins observe from outside the room, Rollins comments that puts him in the room, Benson adding “Nice work.” Amaro asks why Gia said this was rape, and when the lawyer mentions Gia’s mental illness, George jumps in and said Gia is dramatic and can’t live without him and has made threats to kill herself and she wants him o leave his wife. He can’t do that because Bella has cancer. The lawyer says this is why George impersonated a doctor to visit the girl, he did not want his sick wife to find out. He tells George to show them the letter. George brings out a letter and Amaro reads it. It is from Gia saying that she loves George, the lawyer saying a rape victim would not send her abuser a love note. Munch says they are done there, and when the lawyer asks if George is free to leave, Munch explains that they have facts to check so they should cool their heels for a while. Amaro thanks George for the letter, and George has a weird smile on his face.
Outside the room, the SVU team discuss whether the letter is real or if George forced her. Rollins says the defense could say the letter proves a prior relationship and that Gia lured George in. Munch says he does not want that prick to slip out of this, telling them to go back to Gia and see if she spoke to anybody else. Then they see that Bella and Diane have arrived at SVU.
With Bella and Diane in the interview room, Bella asks Diane to tell Munch and Amaro that Gia is out of her mind. Diane explains this is not the first time Gia has accused George. When her father became ill, Gia accused George of raping her, Bella admitted that this was a lie. When Munch give the go ahead, Amaro tells Diane and Bella that George just confessed to a consensual sexual relationship with Gia. Munch adds he said it has been going on for 10 years. Bella says this is impossible and they are lying. Amaro goes on to explain the details, mentioning Gia’s pink bra and that George says they are in love. Bella gets up and says she is leaving and she will not listen to this and she wants to see George. When Munch tells her George is in custody, she says they are leaving now, and she calls to Diane. But when Diane doesn’t get up, Bells says now and grabs her hand. Diane reluctantly leaves and looks back at Amaro.
Afterwards, Rollins tells Amaro that Munch said Bella and Diane both think George is a saint. Amaro tells Benson that Gia’s mother has to know but she just can’t.... he says talking to George about raping Gia over and over….he sits down and sighs. He said he wanted to tear his head off. Benson said her old partner came pretty close a few times. Amaro asks how she handled it, and she says you do everything you can to make sure he never sees the light of day again. She gets up and pats him on the shoulder and walks off. Amaro says “If he walks…” and Benson assures him he won’t.
Back at the hospital, Gia is appalled at what George told them. Benson said they just came there to ask them a few questions, and Rollins shows her the note. Gia crumples it up, stunned that George kept it, saying she gave it to him when she was 12. Gia worries he will get away with it Rollins says he will claim it was consensual and they have to go over all the details to prove he is lying. Rollins says Gia may think no one will believe her but Rollins says this is not what this is. Gia sarcastically says he makes the perfect witness. Benson explains Gia is just like any other survivor who has to tell their story over and over to get justice. Benson assures her she will get justice. Gia asks if her mother knows George has been arrested, and Benson nods yes. She asks if her mother said she was crazy. Gia laughs and walks out the door. After she leaves. Rollins asks Benson if they can blame her, she would give up too. Benson comments that Gia said George made them pose for her, and that if he hung on to that letter all those years if he kept other trophies.
Later, the detectives break open a lock to a garage door and don’t find a cot or cameras or photos. Rollins asks when George cleaned out the garage, and Bella said she did not know, she has been recuperating from surgery. Rollins says she is sort to hear about her cancer, and Bella gives Diane a look. Diane asks, “Cancer? Well, she just had her gall bladder removed.” Benson asks why at LaGuardia, and Bella says George wanted the best surgeon. When Benson asks if it was George’s decision to go there, Bella tells them Gia is crazy and she made up the whole thing. Benson comments so they won’t mind if they search the whole house. Bella says to help themselves.
Benson and Rollins do a search and Benson and Rollins find s a box under the bed. Bella says it is his toolbox. When Bella says it has always been there, Diane counters that it hasn’t, Bella says it has and Diane looks at her in the eye and says no, it has never been there before. Bella gets angry and tells her to stop it, but Diane holds firm and tells them it has never been there before and she would know, she has cleaned their house for 15 years. Rollins notes it is a combination padlock, and Benson asks when is her husband’s birthday. When Bella does not answer, Diane says George’s is September 29. Rollins uses that for the combination and it does not work. She mentions her sister’s birthday which is June 16. That also does not work. They asks for Gia’s and despite Bella’s objection, Diane says 4/24. The box pens and they find a lot of pictures, Benson holding up one to Bell and Diane that shows Gia in her pink bra, just like George had said. Diane is appalled. She turns to Bella and accuses her of knowing. Bella claims that is a fake, that George wouldn’t, ordering Diane to tell them. Diane says George is Bella’s husband and it happened in their bed and Gia is her niece and they are family. Bella runs out of the room as Diane asks her, screaming, how could she let this happen. Bella sits on the bed and repeats, “Oh my god!.” Benson shows her the photo which is dated April 24, 2001… Gia’s 14th birthday. Diane sobs.
Later, Benson and Rollins are at the hospital and Benson tells Gia that George is looking at multiple counts of sexual assault going back 10 years, Rollins adding 25 years for each count. Benson tells Gia it is over, and she is safe now, he is never getting out. She asks if her mother has some to see her yet, and she says no. She knows she has to forgive her in order to move on, but not today. Rollins tells Gia she sounds strong, but Gia said Dr. Whitmere said it is only temporary and it will be a long road back and she will probably screw it up. Rollins says she won’t. Benson says she knows it is hard to imagine right now but Gia survived the abuse and she will survive the recovery. As Gia looks back at Benson and gives a slight smile, we fade to black.
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