Thursday, March 1, 2012

Law & Order SVU “Child’s Welfare” Recap & Review

All photos by NBC

Law & Order SVU “Child’s Welfare” featured two cases, one of which hit close too home for Olivia Benson. The SVU team was involved in a case of an abandoned baby, which evolved into a more complex case of kidnapping and imprisonment of young girls. Benson, however, was highly distracted by her half brother, a loose cannon who appears after a long absence only to suck her into his web of personal drama which is mostly of his own making. This storyline was very predictable and as a standalone, it would not have held much interest for me. But, it worked well combined with the creepy case of a husband and wife who abduct girls and imprison them so they can give birth to girls, while abandoning any boy babies.  Benson had her mind on her brother, and in the true spirit of teamwork,  the detectives were quick to cover for her.  Cragen, however, cautioned her about Simon. I was thrilled when Benson eventually told Simon to grow up.

Andre Braugher is perfect in his role; he makes Bayard Ellis appear very confident and authoritative inside the courtroom and out. (Every time I see Braugher on SVU I find myself wishing that someone would bring the Law & Order mothership back and somehow find a way to work Ellis into working in the DA’s office.) Benson, however, needs to be careful that she does not wear out her welcome with Ellis by sucking him into her family drama – and likewise she should be careful about getting EADA David Haden involved.

It seems that every week there must be a dumb mistake that the police make, and in this episode, it was giving one of the kidnapping suspects the phone so she can call her husband to the basement. It was an open invitation for her to warn him. At least it did give viewers a nice chase scene, forcing Amaro to work his legs by running up a fire escape. In fact, I found this entire episode visually very interesting, with plenty of varying location shots and nice splashes of color.

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:
Andre Braugher - Bayard Ellis
Michael Weston - Simon Marsden
Kevin Kane - Greg Wilcox
Nicole Beharie - Tracy
Veanne Cox – social worker
Priscilla Lopez – Judge, family court
Halley Wegryn Gross - Laurie
Peter Van Wagner – Judge Himes
Tabitha Holbert - ADA Rose Caliay
Ami Brabson – Judge Blake
Julie Lauren – Jenna Fleming
Glenn Kalison – Will Fleming

In a dark industrial looking basement, a woman screams as she gives birth. Another woman reassures her that she can do it while a man paces in the room.

Elsewhere, Simon Marsden and his fiancée Tracy are with a woman from Children’s Services who asks their son Ty what happened to his head. He says his dad was making him fly, Simon adding that they were playing airplane and he fell. The social worker says she needs to hear it from his boy. Simon apologizes, and Ty says he dropped him. Tracy says her home is safe, and they are good parents. The social worker says she has all she needs for now, and Tracy questions that she is coming back. The social worker says she is giving her report o the administration at Children’s Services and they will be in touch. Simon asks in touch about what, and the social worker says that someone will contact them within 24 hours.

Back at the first scene, the man is upset that the baby is a boy, and says no. The mother asks him to please not take the boy, but as she continues to plead he takes the baby.

Back at the Marsden household, Mrs. Marsden tells the police not to take them, and Simon adds they can’t do this, no one called them. The social worker shows him an emergency order from the city of New York, and Simon grabs it to read it. As the social worker says the children are being removed for their own safety, Simon claims this is a mistake, but she says he will have a chance to have a hearing but they can request one. The children cry out for their mother, and she and Simon tell the children it will be okay. The door shuts and Mrs. Marsden looks at Simon and shakes her head and says nothing,

Elsewhere. a homeless man, sleeping on the steps of a church, hears a baby crying but thinks it is a cat. A woman sleeping near him sees it is a baby left there in a cardboard box.

At SVU, Amaro gets the call about the abandoned newborn at St. Matilda’s Church around the corner from Mercy Hospital. Fin asks if the baby is OK, and Amaro replies that it sounds like it. As Benson gets her coat and tells Amaro she is right behind him, Simon rushes in to the squad room. She is surprised to see him and he says he had to see her. Amaro asks if everything is alright, and Benson introduces him to her brother. She tells Simon it is not a good time, but he says it is an emergency. Rollins says she can cover, and Amaro tells Benson to do what she has to do, they have this. Benson asks Simon what is going on, it’s been 5 years with not a word, no call. He says he knows, he kept meaning to, and goes on to say it is about his kids, the city just came and took them. Benson is shocked that Simon has kids. Simon tells her he has a stepson, Ty, who is 5, and a one year old that he named after her, telling Benson that Olivia is her niece. He explains they just took them, it is his fault, but she has to help him.

In the conference room, Simon explains to Benson that he met Tracy 2 years ago when he was working at a clinic and she brought Ty in for a checkup. They are getting married in June and Ty already calls him dad. He shows her a photo of the family and says Olivia looks like her. Benson tells Simon if her wants her help he has to be honest, the city does not remove kids without a reason. He says he made a mistake, two days ago he rolled through a stop sign while he was with Tracy and the kids. The cop that pulled him over had an attitude and he made him empty his pockets and that is when he found the joint. When Benson comments, “Oh, I see,” Simon tells her it is not like that, he had dental work and he couldn’t eat and he lost a lot of weight and he smoked a little to boost his appetite. Benson questions that the cop arrested him for one joint. Simon says he made him pull it out of his pocket and then said it was public display and he must have called Child Services. Benson says that is enough for them to go to his house, and she asks if he lives with Tracy. He says they live in a walk up in West Harlem, and says the social worker got bent out of shape because Ty had a bruise, and Simon insists it was an accident and insists they would never hurt their kids. Benson asks if he has a copy of the removal order, and he shows it to her and asks if there is anything she can do. She says she does not know but she will try. She tells him nothing but the truth this time, and asks if he understands her. He replies “Understood.”

As Simon leaves, Captain Cragen walks out of his office and approaches Benson, asking if there is anything she wants to tell him . She sighs and says it is complicated, then adds she has a niece. Cragen congratulates her, and then asks what Simon wants from her, adding that the last time Simon showed up it almost cost her her shield. She says he was being framed, and Cragen presses again on what Simon wants. Benson says Simon is the only family that she has, and Cragen counters that Simon knows it. He cautions her to watch her step.

At Mercy Hospital, Amaro and Rollins hear that the baby was cared for, and whoever left him wanted it to be found. Rollins asks who would leave a baby on the street, adding there are safe haven laws. Amaro thinks it was someone who did not want to deal with the system. The detectives see the baby and find that the baby was delivered within the last 24 hours and the umbilical cord stump wasn’t even dry, and it was cut and the baby’s lungs were clear. Amaro thinks whoever delivered the baby had help. Rollins asks the doctor for a DNA sample and he agrees. Rollins tells Amaro she is used to missing kids but seems unsure about how to handle this, and she suggests a same neighborhood canvas. Amaro wonders if someone will remember a pregnant woman who is now not pregnant – with no baby.

Munch and Fin speak with the homeless people who found the baby, and Munch thinks whoever dumped the baby there knew they would do the right thing and wonders if they noticed anyone scoping them out. The woman tells them the other day there was a beat up red van that went around the block and then stopped and watched them but they figured it was the cops.

Meanwhile, back at SVU, Benson is alone in an interrogation room and is on the phone with EADA David Haden and she says she knows it is another court system but she thought that may be could…then says she knows, she gets it, and it is OK. Cragen walks in and she ends the call. Cragen apologizes for interrupting.

In the squad room, Munch, Fin, Amaro, and Rollins are sitting around the table and Munch explains about the red van that was seen driving around the area for a few days. Benson and Cragen approach, and Cragen asks about the neighborhood canvas. Amaro explains where they are checking and adds there are no leads yet. Rollins says they are doing a familiar search on the DNA but so far no hits, complaining that the national registry is still being compiled and it is unbelievable in 2012. Benson checks her phone, clearly distracted. Cragen tells them to keep digging, this will be a media circus and he will need everyone focused, looking at Benson.

At the office of Bayard Ellis,  Ellis tells Benson that he looked into her brother’s case after she called. Benson says he has never been convicted of anything and she can’t believe that Child Services can take kids from parents from just one joint. Ellis explains they can do an emergency removal if they think it is in the best interests of the children, and they’ve done it before after a minor pot bust. He adds that in almost all of the other instances the parents were black or Hispanic. Benson informs him that Simon’s fiancée is black and she was in the car when he was pulled over. Ellis says that makes sense now. She comments, “So you’ll take the case.” Ellis says there is a clear pattern of profiling and the only way to give the system a conscience is to challenge it. She thanks him, and adds she didn’t want to bother him with this, she called David Haden – and Ellis stops her and asks “David Haden?” He asks why she would pull his tie. She says they worked a case together last month. Benson tells Ellis she just wanted him to know how much she appreciates it. He comments that her brother has a different last names, and asks if they grew up together, Benson admits she did not know Simon existed until about 5 years ago, and adds that they share the same father. There is a pregnant pause, and Ellis comments, “Family secrets.”

Back at SVU, Cragen asks Fin and Rollins if they found something. Fin asks Cragen if he recalls Celia Barber, a 13 year old who got kidnapped outside of Montclair 3 years ago. Cragen says she was never found. Amaro says her DNA is in the system and Jersey State Police need to rule her out as a deceased Jane Doe. Rollins says after she exhausted CODIS, she ran the baby’s DNA through tri-state databases and got a mitochondrial match – Celia is the baby’s mother. Fin explains that the police report says she was snatched up by someone in a red van. Cragen asks if this girl, who is now 16, gave birth and whoever she is with discarded the baby? Amaro says at least they can tell her parents she is still alive. Cragen guesses as of yesterday she was near that hospital and suggests they find her.

At the home of Celia’s mother, Rollins and Amaro asks if she has had any contact with her daughter, not since the morning she disappeared while Celia was with her ex-husband Leo - she has since remarried. She said the story never made any sense, she was not the only one who had doubts and they questioned her ex’s story and questioned whether Leo and her were too close. She said Celia was always a daddy’s girl and thought something had happened between them and he had covered it up. Rollins says they are sure Celia is the baby’s mother. Her mother wonders if she blamed Leo for something he did not do.

At SVU with Benson and Fin, Leo explains that they were riding up Eagle Rock and she got ahead of him. He saw a red van pull alongside and someone yanked her in. He tried to catch up. He says he has been praying for this day, and adds nobody would believe him. He has nightmares about chasing that van, he lost his marriage, his savings, and spent all his money on a PI trying to find Celia. Fin asks if he ever got any leads, an Leo says two years ago the PI found a clerk in a thrift shop in East Orange who recognized Celia’s picture. Benson reads the statement which says the girl started crying and asked o call her father and the older woman with her said her daughter was acting out and pulled her away. The clerk said Celia was shopping for baby clothes and was pregnant. Fin asks if he is sure it was 2 years ago, and Leo says he talked to the clerk himself. Leo asks if they are telling him his daughter may have two kids. Leo’s phone rings, and it is his ex, and he walks off to take the call. When Fin says they need to talk to the clerk, Benson tells him she has a court thing and asks if he can cover for her. He says sure.

At a pre-trial hearing, Ellis asks Officer Wilcox if his testimony was that routine traffic stop of Marsden led to a drug arrest and a call to child services. Wilcox responds yes, and Ellis asks how he found the marijuana. Wilcox testily answers that Marsden took it out of his picket, which is why he arrested him. Ellis questions that Marsden spontaneously presented a joint while he was writing the traffic summons, and Wilcox said he smelled it and then asked Marsden if he had anything on him that he didn’t want him to find on his own, and he took the joint out of his pocket. Ellis comments that he must have quite a nose that he smelled an unlit joint in his pocket. The prosecutor, Miss Caliay, objects as it is argumentative, and Ellis withdraws the question. Ellis presses on, and asks Wilcox if he is aware that the police commissioner issued an order last fall about how to handle arrests for small amounts of marijuana, and Wilcox says, “No public display - no arrest.“ Wilcox argues that Marsden showed him what was in his pocket and it was a public display. Ellis says Marsden did what he asked and Wilcox is using that as a pretext to arrest him. Caliay objects, saying she does not hear a question, and Ellis withdraws the question.

As Benson enters the courtroom, Ellis goes on to ask Wilcox how many traffic stops he’s made in the last 6 months, and Wilcox estimates between 60 and 70. Ellis states it is 78, and asks in how many of those arrests he wrote a ticket for another summons. When Wilcox says he has no idea, Ellis asks if he would be surprised to hear it was 22, and all but 3 were above 96th St. Wilcox says he has no opinion about that. Ellis reminds Wilcox he is under oath. When Wilcox glares back and does not answer, Ellis asks why he asked his client to empty his pockets when he was not under arrest, and Wilcox states that something seemed off to him. Ellis tersely states if he means it was a white man and a black woman driving through Harlem with two mixed race kids in the back? Caliay objects and the judge asks the attorneys to approach. The prosecutor says they are ready to plead this down to disorderly conduct, but Ellis thinks that is too much, adding it is a bad search, pure and simple. The judge tells Caliay that Ellis is right, and he is granting his request and dismisses the case.

As Simon and Tracy leave the courthouse with Benson and Ellis,  Simon thanks them for their help and Tracy asks when will they get Ty and Olivia back. Ellis says the next step is Child Services, they have lost their main rationale. Benson tells Ellis nice work, and he says it is what he does, and he walks off. Simon asks Benson if she wants to meet her niece.

At Child Services, Benson holds Olivia and also meets Ty. Simon says this is her family, and when the kids come home, they should set up a regular Sunday dinner. Benson says she would like that.

Back at SVU, Fin explains that the clerk at the store in New Jersey backs up what Leo got from his PI. Benson wonders if that baby was abandoned too, but Amaro says there are no cases of abandoned babies that year in East Orange. Rollins adds the closest open case is in Newark but it happened a year before, Amaro says that’s 10 minutes from East Orange. Benson asks if there is anything connecting the Newark baby to their case, and Rollins sees the circumstances are identical, including that the baby was left near a hospital. Cragen tells them to run it down.

Elsewhere in family court with Benson, Simon, and Tracy present, Ellis explains to the court that the charges were dismissed and the court has no legal basis to take the children, The judge says the joint was still illegal. The social worker said it is not just about the marijuana, on his follow up visit, she found that the home was disorganized and Ty had a bruise on his forehead. Ellis says that was sustained accidentally. The judge says Simon has a history with the police, saying he was a suspect in a rape case and jumped bail. Ellis says Simon was cleared on all counts, adding those charges were a result of a personal vendetta by a now disgraced police officer. The judge says where there is smoke there is fire, the state has an interested in protecting the welfare of the children and they have too many cases where neglect and abuse have led to tragic results. Ellis argues that what is in the best interest of the children is being with loving parents and that in similar circumstances if these were two white parents, the children would not have been removed. He says this is unconscionable, and begins to rant on discrimination towards mixed race couples. The judge tells him that is enough, and they will revisit the situation within 6 months and that Simon must complete drug rehab. She says in the meantime the children will remain in foster care. Benson, Ellis, Simon and Tracy seem stunned.

Outside the courtroom, Simon is incensed, asking how can they drop the pot charge and still keep the kids. Ellis says it is the smoking gun theory, possession is considered evidence that other abuse and neglect is going on. Tracy asks what will happen to the children and Benson says they will fight this. Benson shouts they will not let them keep their kids no matter what. Benson tries to calm him and asks for his trust. He says she know what he has been though and now she is asking him to trust the system? He storms off, with Tracy following. Benson and Ellis look on.

Back at SVU, Rollins and Amaro enter Cragen’s office, and Rollins says she thinks they found the connection between Celia’s baby and the baby abandoned in Newark. Amaro says they ran the DNA of the first baby and Celia is not the mother, but both boys have the same father, Amaro thinks the father has been at this for years.

Later,  Amaro explains to the team that 4 days ago, baby John Doe #1 was abandoned on West 33rd St., but 3 years ago, baby John Doe #2 was abandoned in Newark, both were well cared for and left near hospitals. Benson says they share paternal DNA so they have the same father, and asks if they still have no hits. Rollins replies so far no, and whoever he is, Johnny Appleseed hasn’t been locked up since the system was put in place. Amaro asks if there are any matches to any other abandoned babies or missing kids, and Rollins says so far no, but it is a state by state, lab by lab search. Benson sees she has a message on her phone, and Fin asks what about the police report on baby John Doe 2, was there any red van or witnesses. Rollins tells him there is nothing, adding that the hospital that treated him closed down last year, but the social service agency that placed the baby is still around. Benson sees a message on her phone from Simon, saying “We need to talk." Benson then tells Rollins good luck with getting help with that, and she walks off. Amaro comments to Rollins that she always wanted him to show her Newark. Rollins quips that dreams do come true.

At the social service agency in Newark, Amaro and Rollins find Dylan – the "miracle baby" – was perfectly healthy when he was found and they never heard from anyone claiming to be the parent. She did get a strange call last summer from the foster family who adopted him two years ago, asking if there was a statute of limitations on when a biological parent can claim their children.

Back in Ellis’s office, Benson walks in and apologizes for Simon but Ellis says there is a clear abuse of government power. Benson asks what they can do, and Ellis has been reviewing Judge Suarez’s decisions and in case involving one or two minority cases, she has upheld the removal of the children. And has ruled the other way in case involving two white parents. He is trying to set up a hearing to get her ruling overturned. Benson asks if he wants Simon there. Ellis says only if she can keep him calm, blowing up in court is not going to help,

Meanwhile, at the home of Will and Jenna Fleming, Will tells Amaro and Rollins they don’t understand why the NYPD is at their house. Amaro says they are following up on a related case, Rollins interrupting, saying they asked questions about Dylan’s biological parents and their rights, and she asks why. Will says something happened in July. They were in the city house sitting for Jenna’s folks, and Jenna says a young homeless girl came up to them in Central Park and asked how old Dylan was and then said he was her baby and he had been taken. When they first adopted Dylan, the Times ran an article and there was a picture of them in Central Park and she kept it. Will says she was crazy, and a lawyer said when she dumped the baby in a box she forfeited her rights. Jenna said the girl told them she had been coming to the park for years hoping to find them. She picked up Dylan’s hat and sniffed it, that is when she knew for sure. Rollins asks them to describe her, and Jenna says Will took a picture with a cell phone in case they needed to file a restraining order.

Later, Rollins and Munch show the photo to someone at a homeless shelter food station. She says they girl is Laurie and she had an old prescription bottle for Lithium that they tried to get her to refill. Munch calls Lithium the breakfast of champions for bipolar adolescents. The woman says she was in her late teens but she had a lot of mileage on her; something happened to her that put her over the edge. She had some story about being kidnapped and being held in a dungeon. She last saw her last summer and Laurie said she had found her baby and was going to be a real mom. Rollins asks if she has any idea where she would be now, and the woman says no. Munch suggests they start with women’s shelters.

Outside the precinct, Benson thanks Amaro for covering for her. He tells her Munch and Rollins hit every soup kitchen in the city and found Laurie at a homeless shelter six blocks from there. Amaro suggests he can take it himself, and as Benson says no, Simon rushes up to her. Amaro tells Benson he will meet her at the car. Benson tells him it is not a great time but he says he does not know what else to do. He complains about the food in the foster home and then says he heard someone say they will put the kids up for adoption. Benson explains that Ellis will not let that happen and he is trying to schedule a hearing to get the ruling overturned. Simon seems hyper and asks when. Benson says he has to give Ellis a chance to do his job and he is a pro. But Simon is not consoled. She tells him to go home and be with Tracy, there is nothing he can do right now. He walks off in disgust.

At a woman’s shelter, Benson and Amaro speak with Laurie who said she ran away a lot but she usually came back, except for the last time where she was kept locked up. She said it was a man and his wife. They made her call them mommy and daddy. They got her at Penn Station when she was begging for a ticket back home. She said they would give her a ride in their van and thought it was OK as they were a couple. She described the man as big and sweaty and not a lot of hair, and she was shorter with long dark hair. She was drugged and woke up in a room that she thinks was in a basement where she could hear a boiler. She was let out once or twice but they did not go far. Benson gets another message on her phone. She noticed a tall building a few blocks up with silver windows with giant triangles. Amaro thinks it is the Hearst building on 57th. Benson asks how they treated her, and Laurie says okay, they did not beat her but they gave her lemonade and vodka and it made it easier when he got on top of her. She was there over a year until she had her baby, and he said no boys in the house. After they took her baby she could not stop crying so they took her in a van and dumped her by Yankee Stadium. Benson sees Cragen walk into the shelter and excuses herself. Cragen asks her when the last time she talked to her brother, and she said an hour ago and he has been calling her but she has not picked up. He asks her if she knows where he is, and Benson says she has no idea. Cragen tells her Simon and his fiancée just kidnapped the children from foster care and there is an Amber Alert out for them. Cragen says as Simon has been calling her, he will need her phone, and she does not have a choice here. She gives him her phone.

Later, the police have arrested Simon and Tracy,  and Benson, along with Cragen, arrive on the scene as Simon is being restrained and cuffed. She tells the Sergeant to take it easy as Simon is not resisting, but he asks who the hell is she. Benson and Cragen introduce themselves. The Sergeant says they are arresting “this punk:” for kidnapping. Cragen says they don’t have to make this a federal case, the call came from their side of the river and kids are involved and asks that after they file, to let them take custody. Cragen adds that he promises that if anyone has a problem with it, it is not going to be him. The Sergeant says they can follow them to booking, and he takes Simon off.

Later, Benson meets with Simon in the holding cell. She asks him what was he thinking, and he says obviously he wasn’t. He says Tracy had family and maybe they would stay with them for a while. He says he messed up, and she replies yeah, he did. Simon says all he wanted was to be a good father, and Benson says she knows that. Simon says the weird thing is that his own dad was a better father to him than he is to his kids. When Benson says nothing, Simon say sarcastically that is just what she needs to hear. Simon says if she is done with him he understands, and Benson tells him to please stop. She takes a breath and says she will talk to Ellis and bail will be hard. Simon replies that he gets that. As Benson leaves the cell, Simon tells her he is sorry. She tells him if he wants to be a good father, “grow up.” She walks off.

Meanwhile, Rollins is questioning Laurie at SVU about her time in the basement, Laurie says she only saw the man and the woman but sometimes heard other people when they had parties in the courtyard. She did not call out for help as she knew the rules, but once when the police came she started screaming and mommy came in and gagged her and drugged her with a needle. Amaro asks if she is sure it was the police, and Laurie says she heard the radio, she thinks someone got shot. She heard a gunshot and a man screaming and sirens. It was July 5th, the first year with them, she heard the fireworks the night before. Laurie says she does not want to go back to the shelter, and Rollins says she does not blame her and she will try to make some phone calls to get her to a place where they can help get herself back together.

At arraignment court, Ellis is arguing that Simon and Tracy are not a flight risk, and they want more than anything to be with their children. Judge Blake calls it one way to rationalize kidnapping. Benson watches from the gallery. She grants bail to Tracy as she has no record but Simon has jumped before and she denies his bail.

Outside the courthouse, Ellis tells Benson they’ve lost the high ground, saying it is one thing to argue the city had not right to take his kids, but second degree kidnapping is a class B felony and he could get 25. Benson argues that there had got to be a way to reduce the charges, adding she hates to keep pushing him. He knows Simon is family but Simon has made it hard on himself. He can try to plead this down but how is he going to argue the kids will be returned to a stable home? Benson asks about filing a class action suit, that he said it himself ... and he interrupts, saying he is willing to do that but has to find a different test case and that Simon is not a good candidate for lead plaintiff.

Back at SVU, Amaro tells Fin he drove Laurie through Hell’s Kitchen and nothing looked familiar except the Hearst building. Fin says you can see it for 20 blocks. Munch brings up the police radio she heard, and asks if any police reports match up. Rollins says there are dozens but it is mostly neighbors complaining about firecrackers. Munch thinks on the 4th of July weekend a lot falls through the cracks. Munch suggests they check the local ERs. Rollins is skeptical someone will remember an incented from 3-1/2 years ago, and asks what are the odds on that. Fin glares at her, and she tells him easy, it is just an expression.

At Mercy Hospital, a nurse mentions a case where a man claimed he was shot in the foot by his uncle who was aiming for a rat. The guy was drunk and the wound had been well taken care of before he got there. His aunt brought him in, Magda Plasky, who works there as one of their best neonatal nurses. She has worked there about a year. She came there after Newark General closed.

The detectives find Magda at the hospital and she tries to blow them off by saying she has a baby in the NICU that needs a transfusion. Amaro tells her not to make them chase her, and she says her shift ends in an hour. Rollins tells her to try now, and asks her where is Celia. Magda plays dumb. They continue to press her and when Amaro says she made sure both babies were taken care of, Magda says she would never let anything bad happen to them. She says daddy did not want boys. Amaro says she means her husband, and this is not on her, and tells her to tell them where he is keeping Celia.

Later, the police arrive at the basement location with Magda and Benson sees the door is locked from the outside which means he is not in there. She calls out to Celia They open the door to find Celia there,apparently alone. Benson approaches her and tells her it is OK and reassures her she is safe now. Celia says no, and says not to hurt her. Benson asks who, and a young child comes out from behind Celia. Benson tries to assure the little girl, and picks her up. The girl reaches for her mother.

Meanwhile, outside the room, Amaro asks Magda where is her husband. She says she does not know, he is the super. Fin tells her to call him and get him down there now. She does so, and speaks a warning to him in another language. Amaro races off and tells the offices to watch Magda and to cover the exits and take the front. Amaro sees who he thinks is her husband and races after him, running outside and chasing him up the fire escape while Fin radios they are in foot pursuit. Amaro continues to climb the stairs and reaches the roof where he orders Magda’s husband John to stop. He continues to chase after him and catches up and tackles him and cuffs him. He tells him that “it's over, daddy.”

Back at SVU, John is in interrogation and he tells Benson and Amaro he saved those girls. Benson says she has heard enough and Amaro says to get him out of here. Benson walks out of the room and tells Rollins and Cragen she needs a shower, then adds that they are done. Cragen tells her he will call the DA.   Rollins says Celia is reuniting with her family and her father is going to petition for custody for the baby and her two year old daughter. Rollins adds that Laurie is also getting help and the adoptive parents have agreed to let her have visitation. Cragen tells them it was nice work, and Benson gets another message. As she stares at her phone, Amaro asks if she is alright, asking if it is her brother, she says yes, and then walks off.

In a jail interview area, Ellis and Benson are with Simon, and Benson explains that Ellis worked out a deal between Children’s Service and the DA’s office and Ellis adds the will reduce the kidnapping to custodial interference – a misdemeanor. Benson says he only has to serve 60 days. He asks shouldn’t Tracy be here, and Benson explains that Tracy had to get her own lawyer, they had to separate the cases, it was the only way for Tracy to regain custody. Simon asks what is she saying. Ellis says one of the conditions of the reduced charges is he had to give up his custody petition and the judges ruled that he can only visit his daughter in a supervised setting for the next three years. He will have to move out of the apartment and get his own place. Simon expresses disbelief, asking Benson if this is the best Ellis can do. Benson says it is better than her daughter visiting him in jail; he was looking at 25 years. Ellis says the judge will reconsider the term at the end of the year, if he does not violate his parole. Simon asked if Tracy went along with this, adding they are getting married. Ellis says “Not right now, son, she needs some time.” Simon comments to Benson “So that’s it” and adds he thought he could get it right this time. Benson says she knows, and reaches for his hand, replying, “Me too.” As they look at each other, we fade to black.

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sunshinez1975 said...

I really liked this episode. Liv was really happy to meet her niece and I was hoping the judge would have granted her temp custody of the kids. Simon is a pain and I was glad Liv told him to grow up. He's been living in the city all this time and nevertricked up the phone to call his sister or tell her she's an aunt. If i was Liv i would have been pissed. He only calls on Liv when he needs her.

I liked the fact Munch was there and everyone seemed to be working as a team.

Is it me or did Bayard Ellis seemed a little jealous that Liv went to David for help? I love Andre Braugher and I'm so upset Warren Leight couldn't get him to stay. Liv has more chemistry with Ellis than she has with David.

Heather said...

The Simon/Olivia part of the storyline was kind of predictable, but I enjoyed it still. But, I kind of thought that since in the past the show has twice attempted to make her a mother to both Mischa Barton and Maria Bello's characters children, that they'd might actually go for the "third time's a charm" and write it so that Olivia would end up with her niece. I'm glad that's not what happened!

As for the kidnapped girls/no boys allowed storyline? Well, I'd seen it already, a few years ago when Criminal Minds. SVU's episode is almost a complete rip-off of "Cradle to Grave"

janethyland said...

Ratings were similar to last week,1.6 key demo and 5.38 million total viewers.

They need to move SVU away from Rock Center because no one is watching the lead in.

At 1.6 key demo,SVU was highest rated show for NBC that night.

OhSusannah said...

I wonder if the fact that Liv mentioned calling on EADA David Haden to Bayard Ellis may be their downfall. He looked very puzzled that she'd call Haden.He didn't really look convinced of her brief acquaintance with the EADA I thought. When Simon comes around, he always gets Liv in trouble.The conflict between her job and any kind of a personal life is very well played and written. Good continuity. The ending was very ambiguous,perhaps meaning we'll see more of Simon or at least Liv's namesake Olivia in the future.The other plotline reminded me very much of the Jaycee Dugard real life horror story of a young woman abducted and forced to bear her captors children. I like that they keep the "ripped from the headlines" ideas relevant.I do wonder after Liv had to give her phone to Cragen if a record of the texts /phone calls David Haden sent her several times will come back to haunt them and put an end to their secret relationship.Initially she resisted David with the comment that a relationship between them was a 'clear conflict of interest waiting to happen'.If Cragen had taken her phone he could have scrolled through the texts.Warren Leight has suggested the purpose of the romance between Liv and David is just to move her character forward, and away from all the emotional entanglements with Stabler who's now gone for good.Nothing permanent in mind when written. We shall see !

sunshinez1975 said...

@OhSusannah- I totally agree with you. Hopefully we'll see "Olivia" again and maybe, just maybe Simon will be as to get his sh*t together. Craven was right about one thing, Simon knows he's the only family she's got and she'll bend over backwards to help him. Bayard Ellis has one more episode left so we'll have to see how this David thing is going to play out. The funny thing is Liv have asked David twice for a favor and he's let her down twice. Everytime she goes to Ellis, he's there for her. Personally, I'd prefer to watch Andre Braugher than HCJr.

sunshinez1975 said...

I'm using my iPhone so a lot of missed spelled words. Sorry!!

OhSusannah said...

sunshinez1975- I totally agree that Andre Braugher is the better actor and has tons more screen presence and more chemistry with MH.You're right in that Liv's asked David for favors twice and been refused whereas Bayard Ellis came to her personal help earlier in another episode.Clearly he at least respects Liv as a work colleague though maybe there's more to it than that.I would have no problem if she became romantically involved with Bayard Ellis. It would be very interesting to see that played out. When Andre B first started playing this role, there was some speculation over whether he'd be a love interest for Liv. The writers never indicated as such, but I'm sort of hopeful. He' s a good guy who respects her.God knows she needs that in her life.

CLA said...

@ OhSusannah @ Sunchinez 1975

Another excellent episode. Regrettably however, what is going on with SVU. The fans are abandoning the series. Given its cost, I think is in danger of cancellation. I noticed that the episodes in which it appears HCJ fell in the rankings. Something tells me that shipers Elliot / Olivia did not accept this novel. My hope is that with the departure of the HCJ shipers again. I would like to hear from you guys who really love to know SVU.

janethyland said...

Not in danger of cancellation since "Awake" just premiered to an awful 1.9key demo last night. thats a real shock. it was one of their flagship pilots. they are going to need SVU next season. They dont have anything else to offer.

Thats good for SVU of course but sad for "Awake". Was it really that bad, or perhaps it was too good for NBC and should have been on cable?

ConnorBehan said...

Haden has one episode left and Ellis has one episode left. Maybe they will be the same episode! You guys can keep hoping that Olivia makes "the switch" but I want her to go back to being a regular cop with no conflict of interest. Honestly, hearing a phone ring and then "good luck with that" as she walks off is one of the most uncreative ways of changing scenes.

Cardinal said...

Connor, I'm with you to a point. :) There's a part of me who would just like to see Benson be a "regular cop," as you said. It would do her a world of good to just emotionally sit back and chill for a while, especially after all the constant drama with Stabler (whom I secretly loved, but got bored with) -- and please, no more drama with that brother of hers. Simon is SUCH an IDIOT.

OTOH, I've been an Andre B fan for many years. It would be very satisfying for Ellis and Benson to hook up. Could she really hang on to a man who isn't a rage-filled head case? Someone who respects her and doesn't take her for granted all the time? Tough call on that one! ;)

Janet, thank you for the info on how "Awake" did in the ratings. I've really been looking forward to it since BD Wong chatted about it on Twitter. I have it on the DVR, but still need to watch it. I have a very deep hunch you called it: Perhaps it's better for cable than for network TV. The premise is much more unique than anything we've been given in ages.

A little info from Warren Leight, who graciously answers questions posed to him via Twitter: I asked him if we'd get a Munch-centric ep either this season or early in s14. He said this season, episode 19 would have a nice amount for Munch to do, as well as Fin...and Ken! (I've always liked seeing Fin's son.) That's something cool to look forward to.

I have always appreciated CZ's episode recaps, but I have an even greater regard for her now that I've needed to recap an entire movie for a friend of mine. (An indie film with Belz in it.) I couldn't take notes while watching and my memory certainly got a workout! ;) Thanks for all you do for us, CZ -- you *rock*!

janethyland said...

SVU repeated best again for NBC on SATurday night.
It got 0.7 key demo, 3.81 million.

Smash got 0.4 key demo, 2.21 million.

Firm got 0.4 key demo, 1.78 million.

People watch Smash once,but they dont seem to come back for the repeat.

Law and Orders always had good repeat value.Thats why NBC has to keep SVU going.

janethyland said...

Also I see Freema Agyeman has just signed on the CW pilot of "Carrie Diaries".

Does this mean she has left LOUK or is she doing tandem?

Anonymous said...

why exactly does Simon need to grow up?

The system has shown itself to be out to get him, and when it's called on it it gives these half apologies.

He should become a massive anti-gov't conspiracy nut if anything

Tevin Youngblood said...

I do wish that that they had focused on SImon's story since his was the more interesting.
As far as the character's actions in this episode, I can't really blame him. I don't have kids, but I know that it could probably hurt to have your kids taken away, especially over something so petty.

I wouldn't call him rash and immature since every time we've seen him, he keeps getting screwed by someone from the system. I mean if i recall correctly, he was being framed for a murder he didnt commit, because of some rape that he didnt commit. Now he's getting his kids taken away because of a bunch of petty nonsense.
-A cop called CPS on them cause of a bag of LEGAL weed
-The CPS took the kids away (apparently) because one of the kids had a bruised knee.
-The judges upheld the action cause of the aforementioned bogus rape charges, even though they should have known they were false to begin with.
I wouldnt say Simon was immature, i would say that he has no trust in the system which is sort of justified at this point. Kidnapping the kids may have been a bad idea, but this is the second time his life has gotten turned upside down cause of some jerk in a position of power. He got desperate, which is why i was more sympathetic to him. I hope the next time they show him, the writers let him have a win.

As for Olivia, she may have tried to help, but she was not that sympathetic. Even before the kidnapping, she acted like Simon somehow did something wrong to justify what the CPS did and was the screw-up who couldn't do anything right. This is despite the fact that the only run in with the law he had was fabricated and that her lack of faith in him almost resulted in him dying for a crime he didnt do. She had the nerve to tell him to grow up, as if this the thousandth time she had to bail him out of trouble.

She saw how he was getting treated and she acted like he was making a big deal out of nothing and should have had full faith in the system. I hope that when he makes another appearance, she acts a little nicer and empathetic because at this point.
-She helped a woman run off with her kid in Legitimate Rape
-She has adopted Noah and had to deal with a lot of hassle from a CPS worker, who practically said that her being single and employed made her unfit.

But This is my opinion. If anyone agrees/disagrees, please reply.