Thursday, February 23, 2012

Law & Order SVU “Hunting Ground” Recap & Review

All Photos by NBCUniversal

Warren Leight et al. pulled out another thriller of an episode in “Hunting Ground.” It was a “ripped from the headlines” story reminiscent of the real life Long Island serial killings. The episode opened with a little romance between Benson and EADA Haden. The glow of the weekend ends quickly with the case of a missing girl which evolves rapidly into something much bigger. Benson and Haden’s relationship gets tested when Benson tries to enlist Haden’s support to identify the girl’s abductor by going after a local newspaper and their advertisers. Sadly, it takes a lot more bodies for Haden to see the light. But, did Haden have the press conference to call out the escort services and newspapers out of outrage over the number of victims and the way the newspapers were facilitating prostitution, or did he do it for political motives as it was a high profile case? I would like to think that Benson had something to do with his change of heart, but something in the back of my mind makes me worry that he is not what he seems. (I guess I have trust issues.)

Television has seen its share of serial killer stories over the years, to the point that I think it’s overdone. Still, this episode gave more than a creepy killer, bodies, and detectives working the case;  we got to see a little more about how their personal lives can be affected by working these horrific cases.

Was it right for the police and Amaro to leave Benson alone with the victim while they searched the surrounding area for the killer? How did the killer get back into the building without all those police nearby,  searching the immediate area? Had they simply left someone stationed at or inside the door while Benson stayed with the victim, she would have likely not been placed in harm’s way.

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

Guest stars:
Tamara Tunie – Dr. Melinda Warner
Harry Connick Jr. – EADA David Haden
Fred Arsenault – “Brewster”/Graham Winger
Emily Kinney _ Haley
Reyna deCourcy - Lizzy
Josh Mostel – Dylan Roth
Laura Benanti - Maria
Alison Bartlett – Haley’s Mom
Walter Belenky – Miranda’s Husband
Stephanie Pope Caffey – Manager, Escort Service
Mary Ann Urbano – Dr. Jergens
Jimmy Palumbo – Officer Clark
Santo Fazio – Kostas
Shaun Licata – Miranda Galton
Gregory Lay – Andre
Michael Heckler – State Trooper
Kevin Prowse – ESU Sergeant
Yu Lew – MLI Tech

Teleplay by: David Matthews & John P. Roche
Story by; John P. Roche & Warren Leight

Benson and Haden leave a movie theatre and when Haden puts his arm around her, she asks what he is doing. He tells her not to worry, nobody they work with could sit through two hours of black and white with no talking. Benson says she is a little confused by the rules. Haden replies that officially, if this works, they just need to disclose their involvement. Benson asks if “disclose” means to send out a memo. He says yes, one to her boss and one to his. Benson comments she doesn’t know if she is ready for that, and Haden tells her to take some time and back off to take some of the pressure off. She thinks that’s good. He says there is a great bistro down the street and asks if she want to get something to eat, but she counters with an invite to her place for some takeout. He says he likes it...a lot.

As they walk off, a man with his dog standing nearby pulls a newspaper out of a nearby vending box. Later, in his car, he is looking at ads and is on the phone, telling the person on the other end there will be no credit cards, his wife looks at the statements, and he will give cash up front. He tells them to have her wait for him at 14th and 7th, adding “Starbucks, 9PM.”

Elsewhere, a young woman, Haley, who is holding a baby, is on the phone and says “9 PM” and that she can do it. She tells the caller to let her get dressed.    When she hangs up the phone her mother walks in and is surprised she is going out, but Haley says she can’t turn down catering stuff, they will start calling other people. Her mother asks who has dinner this late? Haley says rich people, and her mother says that is good, maybe she will meet someone.

Later, at dinner with the man we saw earlier – Haley calls him Brewster – she seems perplexed that he wanted to take her to dinner, saying most men want the experience in bed. He says that the chase is half the fun, and encourages her to get a steak as a woman needs meat on her bones to survive these winters, She says she likes to stay inside, but he likes to be out, walking the beach. The waiter asks “Brewster” if he is done, and he instructs him to wrap up his leftovers for his dog.

Later, he opens the car door and his dog Orion is in there and she hesitates. He tells her that the dog does not bite but Haley says she usually does not get in cars. He asks if she is scared but she asks if the dog has been in there the whole time. He says the dog likes it. She gets in.

Back at Benson’s apartment Benson and Haden are looking over carry out menus and Benson asks if he sees anything he likes. He says yes, and moves in to kiss her. She pauses and asks if that is what he meant by taking is slow and taking the pressure off. He asks her what is wrong and she says nothing. He tells her he understands that this is really hard for her, but whatever it is, he can handle it. He’s not going anywhere, okay? She says okay. He replies, “so come here” and she smiles and kisses him.

Later, “Brewster” is driving in his car with the dog in the front seat, and Haley is in the back seat behind a wire screen, and she tells him please, she will do anything, he doesn’t have to pay her, and she doesn’t want to die. He comments that is up to her, isn’t it? She sobs.

The next morning, Benson and Haden are in bed together, asleep, and they are awakened by a phone call from Cragen. She shuts off the phone and lays back down. He says he guesses the weekend has to end sometime.

Benson arrives at an apartment and Amaro asks if she had a good weekend. She says he had a few errands. Amaro comments “good for you” and says it is nice to see her looking happy. She asks what have they got, and he tells her it is a missing 16 year old girl, gone two days. He knocks on the apartment door. When inside, Haley’s mother plays a phone message from Haley who says she is sorry, she was a bad girl. She screams and then goes on to say she has sex with men for money and she wants her to know who she really is – a dirty whore. Haley’s mother says Haley is a good girl and someone made her say that, adding she last say Haley Saturday night and she had a last minute catering job and left at 8:30 and has not been home since. Amaro questions why she waited until Monday to call, and she explains she called Sunday and the cops said she was probably out partying. She got the message this morning. She does not know the catering company, adding that she subs different ones. She says it is just Haley and her, Haley was getting her GED and she wanted to be a good mom.

Back at SVU, Benson tells Cragen, Amaro, and Rollins that the voice mail from Haley came in at 9AM but TARU said it was a tape recording to a pay phone in Grand Central. Cragen says that is rush hour and no way can the cameras ID it. He tells Benson and Amaro that they know the drill, but Rollins thinks that tormenting the mom like that may mean a psychopath and it does not sound like an acquaintance rape. Amaro says they still have to rule them out. Fin enters and says the last ping on her cell phone was just before the Tappan Zee bridge and the phone must be swimming in the Hudson by no but they do have the dump on the phone. Benson says there is no toll booth going northbound so there is no video. Fin adds that the cell phone number that called her Saturday night was a 347 number out of Queens G&S Services. Cragen says that is a front, and tells Fin and Rollins to head out to Queens and see what the caterer is serving. When Fin walks off, Cragen asks Rollins if she got through Super Bowl weekend alright. She skipped the game and went to three meetings instead, standing room only at every one.

At G&S Services LLC, the woman there says she facilitates encounters with consenting adults. When Fin shows her Haley’s photo, she says Haley just started with them, and emphasizes she is just a matchmaker and if Haley did more, that is on her. Rollins says she is missing and she just turned 16. The woman said her ID says 22. She says she set her up with a first time caller, showing them the name of Brewster and shows them her cell phone number. He wanted a girlfriend experience so they met at a Starbucks so she could check him out. It was a cash transaction. He only gave the name of Brewster and when Fin gets on her for only getting one name, she says she takes care of her girls. She said Haley didn’t feel safe at her other agencies, one of the girls went out on Christmas Eve and never came back. Rollins wants the name of the other agency.

At the other agency, the guy running it says it was an employee who quit on Christmas Eve, and says the girls are not the most stable. Fin says two girls are missing and they both work for him. The guys says Haley was terrible and never hire someone with a baby. He let her go a month ago and says it is not his problem. Rollins states that when Haley was working for him, she was 15 years old. He says technically he sent her out as an SAT tutor, and Rollins tells him he can tell that to t he DA or they can tell them about the other girl who went missing on Christmas Eve. He says it was Roxie, his top earner, into meth, and he spent 10 grand to fix her up and she split on him. Her john says he has a nosey wife so he paid cash and gave the name of Brewster.

Back at SVU, Rollins says they have two missing escorts, Haley and Roxie, and both disappeared after being with Brewster who used a burner cell phone and paid cash and said he would buy them dinner. Munch asks if Roxie gave a real name. Fin says no, and there is no missing person report matching her photo. Cragen hopes Haley is still alive. Benson says both girls were advertised in the back pages of the Downtown Voice. Munch says them and the Village Voice are the last of the muckrakers, adding that the Downtown Voice would have folded a long time ago if it wasn’t for those ads. Rollins says he likes them young and this is a predatory psychopath who is grooming his victims and hand picking them out of the paper. Munch says it is a little early to be profiling this guy; Roxie was a prostitute, a meth head, and no one has reported her missing. Benson asks if that means they don’t care about her? Amaro tries to get them to focus on Haley. Cragen thinks this could be a pattern, and tells Fin and Rollins to check out the other agencies that advertise in the Downtown Voice and see if Brewster had other dates. He asks about the canvas of the Starbucks area and Benson says they are hitting every restaurants within walking distance.

At one restaurant, they find a waiter who recalls seeing them. He recalls the girl and says the guy had thick glasses, brown hair, and he paid cash. He could tell it was a first date. They left together at about 11. They guy asked for a doggie bag and there was nothing left of his plate but a bone.

Elsewhere, we see Haley running in a wooded area, being chased by Brewster’s dog and what appears to be Brewster. She stops to hide by a tree and a laser light shines nearby and she ducks before getting hit by a dart,

Back at SVU, Amaro gives Cragen, Fin, Rollins, and Munch the description of Brewster, and there are no security cameras on the block. Rollins thinks he is smart and is staying underneath the radar, She adds that they called 10 agencies who advertise in the Downtown Voice and Brewster only rings the bell once. Fin said one girl freaked when Brewster tried to get her in his car and had a bad feeling and bolted. Rollins says her name was Miranda and she left the agency and they are trying to track her down. She only had an ad in the Downtown Voice on line edition, and Rollins shows her the photo. Benson says that the newspaper has become a front for escort services and underage sex trafficking. Munch says he would not hold the advertising against them, they are one of the few papers in the city doing real reporting. Benson thinks they need to go down to their offices and appeal to their conscience to see if Brewster set up an account. Amaro tells her good luck. Munch says they will preach first amendment, but Cragen says this is why he is sending him, to play the civil liberties card, and tells Benson to go with to make sure Munch does not defect,

At the offices of The Downtown Voice, Benson and Munch speak with Dylan Roth, who is reluctant to turn over the information. They beg him for the information, but thinks it is payback from the NYPD. Munch says this is nothing to do with politics. As Benson continues to press, Roth says it is harassment and says their DA should get in touch with his lawyer. Benson and Munch can’t believe it, and Benson tells Roth he is on the wrong side here and he does not want this fight.

Meanwhile, Rollins and Amaro are at the apartment of Miranda Dalton and they explain why she is there. She steps into the hallway and when they ask her about working at the agency she claims she doesn’t know what they are talking about. Rollins says they are not here to bust her but asks about Brewster, and he husband opens the door and asks if everything is OK. When they tell them they are looking for a neighborhood groper and ask them to come to the station to look at mug shots, he doubts he could help,  he just finished his deployment two weeks ago. Amaro says his wife is over in Kabul, and then says as the guy is Marine Corps, maybe he did see something. He agrees.

Elsewhere, Benson meets Haden in a donut shop, adding he certainly knows how to woo a cop. Haden says he likes donuts, and it is nowhere near his office. She shows him an article written in the Downtown Voice about a study where few underage prostitutes work with pimps. He said it makes some good points. Benson says they are claiming these girls work alone, and if there are no pimps, the Downtown Voice can’t be an accessory. He asks an accessory to what? Benson says they are facilitating underage sex trafficking, and Haden says it’s gonna be hard enough to get a warrant for their digital subscribers. Benson explains this is why she wants to go after them with everything they have; they know what these ads are and what they are doing.  She says they can set up a sting and prove what they know, adding this would have to be enough for an injunction and shut the back pages down. Haden says not likely, the ads don’t explicitly promise sex and they can’t prove they benefitted materially, saying the paper hasn’t broken any laws. Benson says everybody knows what is going on. He tells her to hang on, and says they can’t call in any chits on each other and this – us – only works if he doesn’t get near a case she is working on. He says for the record – detective – he does want this to work. He leans in to kiss her and she smiles and she kisses him. A message from the missing girl’s mother interrupts them. Benson gets up to leave.

At SVU, Miranda’s husband is looking though mug shots with Fin and Munch walks up and tells him to pick out anyone that looks familiar. He says these guys all look shady, and Fin says if they didn’t they wouldn’t be in that book. Meanwhile, Miranda speaks separately with Rollins and Amaro and she says her husband can never find out what she did. Amaro says they know, they are keeping him busy. Rollins asks about Brewster. Miranda says they had a nice dinner and then walked to his car and his dog was in the back in a cage. She saw shovels on the floor and it creeped her out. He wanted to go for a drive and said he knew a romantic beach 30 minutes away. There was something about him and his dog, she said she was feeling sick and she got out of there. She said Brewster had brown hair, and average guy, average looks, with dark rimmed eyeglasses. He had a gray jeep. She doesn’t recall a license plate but remembers a bumper sticker a little oval one with MV or MB. She said the dog had spots with dark fur and a tail like a raccoon. There is a knock on the window and Rollins and Amaro leave the room.

In Cragen’s office. Benson explains that Haley’s mom got another message from Haley. She sounds tired and says he is cold and she doesn’t want to play anymore but if she stops he will kill her. She asks her mother for help. They hope she is still alive. Amaro says it could have been taped two days ago, and Haley could be gone, and maybe he is getting off on torturing her mother. Cragen says they have a sketch artist coming in and tells them to keep working the witness.

Later, Munch looks at the sketch and comments it is a face that doesn’t stand out in a crowd and he bets even his own mother couldn’t ID him. Benson wonders if this is how he gets away with it, nobody notices him. Amaro found the breed of dog, it is a Blue Heeler, a rare hunting dog. Fin says he is checking on all the breeders and kennels in the area. Benson asks about the vehicle, but Amaro says are thousands of Jeeps like that, but when Rollins mentions the sticker, Munch says it could be Martha’s Vineyard, there are a lot of criminals up there. Benson says that is 6 hours and a ferry ride, and Brewster said it was a 30 minute drive. They try to figure out where MB may be, and Cragen thinks it might be Mill Basin or Manhattan Beach. Amaro says a lot of guys on the job live out there and somebody may have seen something. Cragen tells them to take a ride and hit the 6-0, 6-1, traffic stops, parking tickets, anything they have on a gray jeep or a blue heeler.

On Oceanview Avenue at Manhattan Beach, they speak with an officer and he doesn’t recognize the sketch or the photos of the two girls. He did see a guy walking a dog just like the blue heeler, the dog was not leashed and he almost wrote him up. It was at Dead Horse Bay, it was New Years Eve and the guy had a shovel and said he was burying his other dog. Benson and Amaro look at each other.

Later, at Dead Horse Bay, Benson and Amaro approach as a the hand of a woman is being uncovered buried on the beach. Amaro says it is too much decomp for Haley. They hear search dogs barking and Olivia walks off to see what they found. She says “My God. We need backup” as several dogs sit down in multiple locations showing where bodies may be buried.

Later, with ME Warner on the scene, Warner explains that 100 years ago, Dead Horse Bay was the city’s burial ground for horses. She does not think the women were killed there, he just dumped them. There are 7 bodies and some partials. One has only part of an arm and dental remains after the decomp. Amaro asks if there is anything to rule out one killer, and Warner says that will take time to sort out. Benson explains they are looking for a girl who went missing Saturday night, and Warner replies that no way the dogs would have missed her. The freshest body they have has been buried about 30 days. Amaro thinks Haley is not there.

A black SUV pulls up and Haden steps out of the back seat. Amaro says Haden is real hands on. Haden wanted to see for himself and he wanted the scene in his head before he went after the Downtown Voice.

Back at SVU, Amaro is skype-ing with his wife and he explains the case and that it is a serial killer. He says she has been tough to get a hold of the last few days. When she says she has been in the field, he angrily tells her if she can’t reach him to shoot him a text, he has no idea what goes through his head. She says with sarcasm - he has no idea what goes through his head…wow, I’m fine. He says he knows she is fine, and Rollins opens the door to the room and says the ME is ready for them. He starts to talk again but she says she knows, and he tells her to be safe. She says, “You too” and smiles thinly.

At the morgue, Warner speaks of the serial killings, the numbers are up to 11, all women, 18-25 and no IDs yet. All the victims whose cause of death they could confirm were asphyxiated; some hanged, strangled, and they all had ketamine on their tox screen. One body, has a time of death of 4 weeks – around New Years. Benson wonders if it is Roxie. Rollins looks at the teeth and sees veneers. Warner tells her to look at the plaque buildup; she hasn’t brushed in a while. He says that does not make sense for an escort. Warner says neither does her diet, she found acorns in her GI tract . Her under arms and legs were unshaved. Benson says there were no oak trees on that beach. Rollins thinks his kill site could be anywhere. Warner said the girl had ticks which could help them; since the spread of lime disease, tick DNA has been cataloged down to the county and this might get them to where she was infested,

On the beach, Haden is giving s press conference saying it is not just the killer they are putting on notice, it is the escort services and the back pages of the papers like the Downtown Voice who pimp out these woman and mark them for easy prey. He says the victims are more than the sum of what they did for a living and they will not be forgotten. Haley’s mother is standing behind him and asks why they haven’t found her daughter, and he says they are doing everything they can. She asks – like they did for these girls? He says nothing and walks off.

Back at SVU, Munch and Fin are working with a task force to help identify the killer. Amaro tells Fin and Rollins that Haley’s mom got another call and Benson is with her now. Amaro confirms ketamine was found in all the victims. Warner enters and says she may have a lead on the killer, the DNA on the ticks traced back to Ulster County in the Catskills. Rollins notes that Haley's phone last pinged at the Tappan Zee which is a straight shot to the mountains, she guesses his killing ground is upstate and the bay serves as his trophy case. She thinks he might live near there and want to keep them close by. Cragen tells Fin and Rollins to head upstate to talk to the Ulster PD and use what they have – the sketch, the jeep, the dog. He tells Amaro to pick up Benson and head to the ERs to see if someone got away from the son of a bitch.

At Saugerties General Hospital, Benson and Amaro speak with a doctor who did have someone come in who had been given ketamine and was roughed up with rope burns on her neck. They did no rape kit as she did not say she was raped, she could not even remember her own name. She was fighting and they had to restrain her. They treated her for dermal abrasions and got her hydrated and when she came down she could still not remember anything. When they asked for her next of kin, she kept saying “Brewster.” There was no missing persons on her and no ID. She sent her for a pysch evaluation and for all she knows, she is still there.

Elsewhere in the hospital, Benson and Amaro speak with Lizzy who is still freaked out, saying the doctors don’t believe her. Benson tries to assure her, but Lizzy says not to make them go back there. She tells Amaro she does not want to play anymore. Benson asks if she can look at Lizzy’s neck, and she sees a scar and asks if Brewster did that to her. Lizzy says she did it to herself, it was the only way to end the game.

Later, Lizzy explains that Brewster gave her a rope and said she could end the game when she got tired of it and she got tired but the branch broke. He told her to run and hide and he would come after her with Orion, his dog. She could hear them out there and then the dart would go into her. Then he dragged her to the shack and she could not move her arms or legs and all she could do was watch him inside of her. She says that she was in the woods and there was water on three sides and an electric fence. There were a lot of birds. Sometimes he would leave, sometimes he would stay in the shack. There was a scrawl space underneath and she hid there once but he knew. He was cleaning his gun and talking to the dog about what he would do to her, it was all part of the game. She got away one night where there was a big storm and she got out to the fence and it was wet and she thought if she touched it, it would be over. But she didn’t get shocked. Amaro thinks it was from Hurricane Irene when the electricity was out. She climbed over and ran, and the cops picked he up the next day but nobody believed her. Benson assures her that they believe her, and they will help her get back home. But Lizzy gets upset and says no, it is safe here, he can’t get her, and asks if she actually mattered to anyone, wouldn’t they have found her by now?

Back at SVU, Rollins says the killer plays with the victims like a cat, if the prey stops fighting back, he ends the game. Cragen comments that Lizzy got away and walked for a day to before getting picked up by the Saugerties PD. Benson thinks in her condition, Lizzy could not have gotten more than 5-6 miles.. Amaro comments they are looking for someplace surrounded by water on 3 sides with oak trees and birds, and Benson sees the Hammond Island Wildlife Preserve, about 6 miles from where she was picked up. Munch notes it is straight down 87 to I-95, one could dump a body in Dead Horse Bay in 3 hours. Rollins notes it has plenty of acreage and is enclosed and would make a great hunting ground. Fin says the preserve is run by Hudson University and he is on the phone, on hold, with them now. Munch calls the state police. Amaro notes that the mountains are hard country this time of year. Fin says the preserve has one full time keeper, his name is Graham Winger, 39. Rollins wonders why “Brewster” is an alias, and Munch says Brewster McCloud is the guy who thought he could fly in the Altman movie, Fin adding the guy liked his birds. Fin says Hudson says his payroll address is in Manhattan Beach. Benson says the bastard likes the hunt, let’s see how he likes being in the crosshairs.

Later, the police storm in to Graham’s apartment, Rollins and Fin find no sign of Graham or Haley but Rollins sees that Graham has a Canada goose whose wing is broken and he is nursing it back to health. There are also books on anesthesia and drug interactions, and tranquilizer darts. He also has a log of all his kills and how long each girl survived. Fin suggests they back out of there and seal the place off until they get the search warrant, he doesn’t want the stuff tossed out of court.

At the nature preserve, Benson and Amaro, along with other police, begin the search. The police break the lock to the gate, cut off the power to the fence, and move in. Graham is out with his dog and the dog barks starting the birds in the nearby trees, and he moves off. Benson, Amaro, and the police approach an small building with guns drawn and Amaro sees a vehicle with an MB sticker on it. Benson kicks open the door and sees Haley laying unconscious on a bed. She tries to wake her.

Meanwhile, Amaro and the police go off to check the outside area. Benson asks Haley to squeeze her hand and she does so, but them makes a sound and Benson turns to see Graham standing behind her. Graham tells Haley it is good she found a playmate, then comments Haley was just about out of fight. Benson moves her hands up and he tells her he needs to count 10 fingers, so she shows both hands. He then tells her to give him her gun. She does so and says he is in charge. When he tells Benson to asks her how it works, she says she knows about the game. He tells her to shut up and knows she has backup and does not care, he knows the woods better than anyone. He says she and him will play. He says he will gentle her down some, and points his rifle at her. The dog barks, and we see Amaro is hiding outside. Graham goes to check and sees nothing. Amaro sees the crawl space underneath and heads in. Graham tells Benson there is an order to everything in nature, hunt, feed, breed. He says animals don’t lie about what they want, not like you whores who tell you they want you and long as you pay. Benson tries to calm him, saying he doesn’t have to use that, she just wants him to talk to her and help her understand. He says she is a liar too. He says he tried, he held doors, he bought dinner, and they looked past him every time like he was nothing, until he paid them. Then he was good enough. Benson says no one is lying to him, and she reaches below. He asks if that is why she is reaching for her ankle gun. She stops, then pulls the gun out and hands it to him, He points the gun and gets ready to shoot, and a shot is fired. Amaro has fired through the floor and shoots a second time. Graham falls and Benson breathes in relief.

Back at SVU, Munch announces that the number is holding steady at 11 victims from the beach. Rollins tells him, along with Fin and Cragen, that Graham’s logs show 15 escorts he hunted. She tells Munch he has to tell them to keep digging. Fin can’t believe the guy nurses birds but kills women. Munch says he is a big fan of people like Graham facing due process, but he will sleep pretty good tonight. Benson walks in with Amaro and when Cragen asks if they are OK, Benson puts her hand on Amaro’s shoulder and says they are good, adding that Haley is in ICU and she is going to make it. Cragen tells Amaro to take a few days to be with his daughter, but Amaro says he is alright. Cragen says it is not negotiable. Benson tells Cragen it was a good shooting and she would not be here if it wasn’t for him. Cragen says he still has to get reviewed. He asks Amaro if it is his first one, and Amaro says it is his first kill. Cragen explains he will walk him though the paperwork. Amaro asks if he can have a minute.

Amaro is speaking to his wife again via Skype and explains what happened. He asks about her and she says everybody is fine there. He says good. She says she loves him, and he says he loves her too. She looks at him sadly. He tells her to stay safe and she smiles and says, you too. The call ends, and Amaro sighs as we fade to black.

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.

All Content (Recaps, Review, Commentary) Copyright © unless otherwise noted


OhSusannah said...

Good episode yet again!You always pick up the subtle little questions we have...that comment about the scene in the cabin: why would they leave so vulnerable to attack?They were actively searching property for armed killer and she's tending to this victim on the bed, her back turned to open door for two minutes.Very peculiar, but Liv in danger is a a staple that drives many scenes.It's nice to see Liv in a normal adult intimate relationship and they handled her scenes with David perfectly. Warren Leight gave TV Guide a really good interview about the tone they were setting for her being a 40+yr old woman entering into her first sexual relationship in a long time. Very believable.Can't wait to see what happens there in future episodes.This was a good one, on every level...

Maca333 said...

It may just be me, but the "romance" between Olivia and ADA Haden was DOA when it started, and it's still terrible now when it gets some serious screentime. Hargitay and Connick Jr. pretty much have negative chemistry.

I laughed a little with that SWAT breach and entry into the killer's apartment. The first guy? Would be dead. The second too. Also love how the SWAT team basically disappears afterwards.

Aaaand Benson finds herself taken hostage by the killer again. Because posting a guy with an assault rifle at the door for security is for chumps. Maybe the Sheriff's deputies were genre savvy enough to realize that getting in the way between the Baddie of the Week and Our Heroes is tantamount to a death sentence. Smart mindless, faceless, extras.

Damn it, continuity. When Amaro kills a guy in the woods it's A Big Deal. When Rollins kills a guy in the middle of a crowded beachfront cafe nobody bats an eye. Where's people checking in on Rollin's mental state, huh? At least there's that reference to her gambling addiction. Here's hoping that our favorite Southern fried detective might actually make some friends in Gambler's Anonymous, or even meet a guy (or a girl, have to stick with the times here), so she can be anything but like Benson with no life outside the job (until now).

janethyland said...

Ratings were low,but then it is following Rock Center which hardly registers any ratings at all! The break might help if it kills off Rock Center.

1.6 key demo. 5.94 million.

Not one of my favourites but it was making some interesting points.

Laura said...

Honestly, I couldn’t watch it after the cold open. The opening scene with Benson and EADA Haden, followed by the abduction of the female escort by the guy with the glasses, made me cringe. The entire romance between the two feels completely forced, and I always hate it when they reveal who the perp is at the very beginning of the show. Even during dinner, it was pretty easy to tell that the guy had bad intentions and was going to do something to her. When they take away the whole “whodunit” aspect of the show, it makes the episode much less enjoyable. My boyfriend’s parents, who used to be devoted fans of SVU, couldn’t bear to watch it after the first five minutes either.

I find myself enjoying this season less and less as it goes on. Obviously I’m not feeling HCJ’s character, and I still don’t like Rollins very much, but episodes like this just make me wonder why I still watch this show. I wholeheartedly agree that, overall, the writing has improved this season when compared to last season. But it’s still a far cry from the quality of the first five seasons.

In my opinion, at the beginning of this season they had two great opportunities that they have completely squandered. The first was the opportunity to have an episode with both Novak and Cabot. (The only time they’ve done this was in “Ghost” from the sixth season, which was one of their best episodes.) Instead they chose to alternate between the two of them, and for some of the episodes neither of them are even in it. And for the episodes that actually do have either Cabot or Novak, they don’t have them do much. The second missed opportunity was to do something with Cutter. A lot of L&O fans (including me) were excited to have him return, but instead of giving his character any significant storyline, they made him more of a token character who appears every now and then without really contributing much to the episode. (Also, I have no idea why HCJ’s David Haden was made EADA and Cutter was demoted to SVU bureau chief. It really makes no sense.)

I really enjoy being a part of the ATL&O community and exchanging opinions with other people that like SVU, but it’s getting really hard for me to remain excited about the show and watch each week when they continue to make episodes like this.

dryice said...

Laying in bed with david is olivias idea of taking it slow??? Wow

ConnorBehan said...

I found myself loving this episode one moment and hating it the next.

It had unbearably sappy kissing scenes between Benson and Haden but then again, it also made great use of Munch. It ruined the mystery by showing us the killer's face at the beginning (coincidentally on the same street as Benson and Haden no less!) but then again, Warner evoked a medical prowess that I have not seen since the Neal Baer days. The accounts given by victims were ridden with stupid flashbacks but then again, it ended with a shooting - a rare treat in "realistic" cop shows.

I'm sure Rollins had to do a psych eval too, it just happened off screen.

Tinamarie said...

Loved how in depth you were. Spot on...funny thing is saugerties doesn't have a general hospital. Being from saugerties, it was interesting to see it on tv...

CLA said...

I loved the episode and I'm loving the romance between Olivia and Haden. They have no chemistry? Heresy. Olivia lying in that beautiful chest kissing with Hadem worth the show. I want a love for Olivia. She deserves it. And Haden is perfect for her. But I know that will come to an end.

janethyland said...

Its very strange.
"Smash" should be the new vibrant NBC show bringing in big numbers but its total viewers this week was 6.4 million, where as SVU which is a very old show is still and almost equally bringing in 5.99 million viewers.So there isnt much difference between them in terms of popularity,despite all the publicity for "Smash".

Thats good news for an old show like SVU, but not for a new show like Smash!

Sean Cooper said...

Laura's comments on this week's SVU pretty much sum up how I feel about this season. I was never a fan of SVU - the whole concept of sexually-based offenses makes me uncomfortable. I would rather have a good old fashioned murder like the Mothership used to do. I started watching SVU this season after L&O: LA got the boot last year (which was pretty horrible... I kept thinking, I want the Mothership, not this trash!). I was hoping somehow the Mothership could live vicariously through SVU. Unfortunately, this season hasn't turned out that great. I liked how on Law & Order: LA Connie was given a meaningful role - that's more than I can say for Michael Cutter - besides playing a meaningful role in the season premier, he's lucky to say more than a couple lines in any of his other appearances. This isn't the Michael Cutter I know and love - the man who would instigate a suspect to get a conviction (the Bipolar Roller episode being a great example). Now he has to share screen time with replace, who couldn't act his way out of a cardboard box. The recent changes to the Law & Order universe have not been good. I missed the style of the latter seasons of the Mothership - there would be a cold opening and then suddenly the scene would switch to the detectives finding the dead person (without anything gruesome murder scene). I didn't like Law & Order: LA because it was too gory - my god, I was shocked and horrified by the amount of gore they showed! To sum everything up, I wish the Motership was still on - then I wouldn't have to watch SVU every week hoping it would show a glimpse of the greatness of the Mothership. Season 19 was simply brilliant. I pretty much almost stopped watching SVU after the premier episode when not only Linus Roache didn't appear in the opening credits (I thought he would be a regular character, not a token recurring character), but it was also mentioned there was a new DA (how can the legendary Jack McCoy disappear like that? Unacceptable! Any thoughts?

janethyland said...

yes. I cant stand the mothership and its patronising moralogues. Thank god SVU is not like that.Ratings for mothership didnt warrant another season.NBC was just being practical.
Hit me.

Joanne said...

"Benson arrives at an apartment and Amaro asks if she had a good weekend. She says he had a few errands. Amaro comments “a few” and says it is nice to see her looking happy."

Chris, I think he actually said "Good for you"?

I don't mind the occasional episode where the perp is revealed early on but it's more of a Criminal Intent thing and I just don't like SVU doing it so much. It feels like we've had a few this season but then I have a poor memory so I could be making that up. I did like the episode though.

Chris Zimmer said...

Joanne - you're right, thanks! I fixed it.

janethyland said...

Saturday repeat of SVU did better than Saturday repeat of "Smash", so they better keep SVU going for the repeat value alone.

SVU got 0.6 key demo and 3.5 million viewers
Smash got 0.4 key demo and 1.9 million viewers.

YolandaB said...

I felt that the show couldn't possible carry on once Chris Meloni left the show, and the season started rather slow, but it's back up to speed. This was a nailbitting story from start to finish, hoping that the girl would end up safe and sound,the dogs on the beach showing that there was more than one body...just brutal.

Stacie West said...

I love Law & Order SVU but they need to do their research. A Blue Heeler is not a hunting dog, nor is it rare. Lol!

dalia.hasan said...

This was an alright episode but not totally great either

Heeler house said...

Thank you Stacie for pointing out that a blue heeler is neither a hunting breed nor rare. They are in fact one of the more well known herding breeds. I can't believe no one in the crew knew that and corrected it before filming.

LauraK said...

I played "roxie", I appreciated the episode for the "ripped from the headlines" aspect which allowed me to not get hung up on the fact that I too dislike when they reveal the killer early on. I've been a huge l&o fan forever bUT honestly svu has become too ridiculous and salacious over the past 5 years or so. When they got too melodramatic and involved with the detectives lives it went downhill