Thursday, May 3, 2012

Law & Order SVU “Father Dearest” Recap & Review

Law & Order SVU “Father Dearest” was one of those cases where the Special Victims Unit was called in to investigate but exactly who was  the special victim at that time was questionable. The detectives respond to a  911 call  from a young boy who says his mother is injured and unconscious - a call that I would think the police,  not SVU,  would initially respond. The young boy tells them that his sister had an argument with their mother before the injury, and we soon find that the mother’s injury and the argument are unrelated. But, as the daughter is thought to be missing, the detectives work to track her down, and in doing so, uncover what seems like a sperm donor trying to reconnect in a not-so-innocent way with his progeny.

While the sperm donor – Colin Barnes, a respected doctor with a God complex – seems to be the pervert of the week, we soon find that the real pervert is the former boyfriend of Colin’s wife, Anne. It’s that ex- boyfriend that is chasing down Colin’s biological children and pretending to be their father, in some twisted need for payback/revenge. He then plays on the girl’s perceived biological “chemistry” between them to initiate physical relationships with the girls, in one case, producing a child.

The episode brings back Dr. George Huang for a quick consult. Huang explains he’s in town for a convention, and is a “single, gay, Chinese-American man living in Oklahoma City, opposed to the death penalty – it’s heaven” He does provide some superficial input on the case. It was good to see BD Wong back on the show.

I haven’t made up my mind whether I liked or disliked the episode. It was hard to relate to any individual victim or realistic issue. The scene where the pervert of the week dances with his ex-girlfriend in the interrogation room while her husband watches from the observation area seemed an odd way to question a suspect. Yes, I know that they allowed it in order to help find Barnes' missing daughter, but that still didn’t make the scene work for me. When dancing, and he whispers into her ear that he killed her daughter, it seemed too predictable that she was not really dead and he just wanted to hurt his ex-girlfriend. I can’t quite put my finger on it as to why, but this episode just left me with nothing.

By the way, the song "My One and Only Love" sounds like the 1960s version sung by Johnny Hartman (with John Coltrane on sax).

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:
Eric Close – Colin Barnes
BD Wong – Dr. George Huang
James Van Der Beek – Sean
Sonya Walger – Anne Barnes
Clarke Thorell – Geoff Avery
Tina Benko – Grace Avery
Ryann Shane – Ashley Riggs
Shannon Maree Walsh - Cate Avery
Kathryn Rossetter - Ashley’s mom
Gretchen Egolf – Colin’s lawyer

At a 911 dispatch center, a call comes in from a young boy, Sam, who says his mommy is asleep and she won’t wake up. He is home alone as his big sister left and he says his big sister was mad. He doesn’t know his exact address so the 911 dispatcher tries to get details to help locate him.

Detectives Benson and Amaro arrive at the apartment and Sam opens the door. His mother is laying on the floor, unconscious and there is some blood. As Amaro gets EMS, Sam explains to Benson his mother and sister were fighting about a bad man taking his sister away.

At the hospital, Amaro tells Benson he reached the father and he is on the way. They are doing an MRI on the mother as she has a gash on her head. The neighbors heard raised voices. Benson informs him that Sam heard his mother and sister fighting about a bad man. Jeff Avery, Grace’s husband races in and is relieved Sam is OK. He wonders where his daughter Cate, who is 16, is. He can’t reach her by cell phone as she was texting at breakfast and he took her cell phone away. Jeff was at his sisters clearing out his mom’s apartment as she passed away last week. He wants an amber alert issued for Cate but Benson advises him no one saw her be abducted so they can’t issue one. There are signs his wife fell and that she had been drinking. Jeff doesn’t know much about Cate’s personal life and suggests they check with Angela Riva, his best friend from kindergarten. As they walk off Amaro asks Benson what’s her gut say, and she doesn’t want to take a chance this is a homicide and wants to keep going.

At Angela Riva’s apartment, Angela tells Fin and Rollins that she and Cate have not been friends since the fifth grade. Angela’s mother wonders what kind of trouble Cate is in, and she says she was Cate surrogate mother as she spent a lot of time there. She didn’t want Angela hanging out with her because Cate hangs out with a bad crowd. Angela says Cate has been different and has seen her a lot at the library on the computer and has been trying to turn her grades around. As Fin and Rollins leave, they suspect she doesn’t want her parents to know who she is chatting with on line.

At the library, Fin and Rollins ask for the books that Angela checked out, and the librarian gets prickly and tells them they need a warrant. But the detectives explain the situation and after the librarian gives them a short lecture on civil liberties, she gives them the info. Two of the books Cate checked out were about children born through sperm donation. The librarian points them to the computer Cate used.

Back at SVU, Munch gets an update from Benson and Amaro. There are no hits on the ATM and no contacts added on her cell phone. Fin and Rollins approach with Dr. George Wang in tow. Huang is in town for a convention, and thought he could help with the case. He says he’s a “single, gay, Chinese-American man living in Oklahoma City, opposed to the death penalty – it’s heaven.” Benson asks what he knows about the psychology of donor children. Huang informs them that sperm banks have always protected the identity of donors until recently nobody thought about how that affected offspring. Rollins says they have a missing girl who is researching this and just joined a web site “meet your donor children.” Munch makes a comment about “turkey baster children” -  Huang dryly corrects him to refer to it as artificial insemination -  and Huang says it is not uncommon for kids to try to find the donors. Huang thinks the girl searching for her roots could cause some tension. Amaro gets a message saying Grave Avery has been released from the hospital.

At the Avery residence, Grace, she explains she slipped an hit her head. Benson asks about Cate and the fight and the “bad man” and Grace says Cate has an imagination. Benson explains they know Cate was searching for donor relatives. Grace says her husband can never know – Cate was conceived with donor sperm and somehow she tracked him down on line and was about to meet him. She said no and they fought. Jeff thinks he is Cate’s biological father. She went to the sperm bank and got pregnant with Cate and she and Jeff got married. Twelve years later she used the same sample to have Sam. Cate was making a memory book for her grandmother and going through old boxes and found a medical card for New York Cryogenics, donor 141.

After they leave, Amaro questions that Jeff never knew anything about this. Benson comments, “family secrets.” She gets a message while Amaro goes on about how race lied to Jeff for 16 years. Benson stops him mid-sentence and says they got a hit on Cate’s debit card for $24 at a coffee bar at Lincoln Center and Fin and Rollins are en route. Amaro thinks for $24 Cate may not be alone.

At the coffee bar, Cate is waiting at a table and Fin and Rollins identify themselves as police and say her mother is looking for her. Cate looks around and Rollins asks if she is expecting someone. Cate does not reply.

At SVU in the interview room, Cate speaks with Benson and Rollins She says she was not kidnapped. Benson explains they know about her search for her biological father, and Cate feigns ignorance, saying she was out with a girlfriend and says she didn’t do anything wrong. Benson explains that she left her brother home alone and her mother on the floor, and Cate says that was her mother’s fault as she had been drinking and fell. Cate says they don’t care about her so she doesn’t care about them, and said they lied to her for her whole life. Benson reminds Cate she is 16 and was out all night with a man she met on the Internet and says they will find him. Munch brings in Cate’s father and when he is relieved she is alright, she sarcastically asks if he is there to clean up another mess, and she storms off with her father following. Munch asks Benson and Rollins if that makes them wish they had a daughter.

Afterwards, the detectives discuss Cate’s excuse for where she was doing. Benson notices on the video surveillance of Cate at the coffee shop that the man had his back to the camera and once she charged the coffee, he made a quick exit. They discuss Cate’s behavior and the issue of Cate’s reaction to her father not being her biological father. Fin wonders what is the donor’s agenda, he thought the whole purpose was to “fire and forget.” Rollins informs them that Cate is not the only one on the donor’s radar; she’s been tacking four other girls who have been posting on the forum about donor 141. Ashley R. said that donor 141 is a great man and she went to New York to meet him and the others should do the same. Munch tells Fin and Amaro to take a drive to “Charm City” and tells Benson and Rollins to go to New York Cryogenics. Benson explains she already spoke to them and they are not going to compromise donor confidentiality and Rollins add they don’t have enough for a warrant. Munch replies that he is sure those two can think of something.

At New York Cryogenics. Benson and Rollins are at the reception desk and are holding hands. They fake being lesbians looking for a donor. They find that donor 141 is not available as they ran out five years ago. Rollins asks if they can show them his profile so maybe they can find someone who is close. The receptionist complies.

At the apartment of Ashley Riggs in Baltimore, Fin and Amaro meet with Ashley and her mother. Her mother knew Ashley was meeting with her donor father, they had been emailing and when her school took a trip to New York she met with him. She says Dr. Baker is amazing but has a family all his own and says they can’t know about him. They talked about his work, he is one of the best doctors in New York, an ex vivo lung transplant doctor who saves lives. He told her he feels close to God when he holds someone’s life in his hands. She only met him once between shows and then went with the class to see Phantom of the Opera. Her mother said Ashley brought her a signed playbill. Amaro says his wife made him go to that, and asks wasn’t it sad when they sent a guy to prison for stealing bread? Ashley said that was really sad. Amaro smiles, knowing that did not happen in the play. They hear a baby cry and Ashley excuses herself to take care of Brendan. Her mother said Ashley dropped out of school to take care of Brendan, and Fin asks if the baby’s dad is still in the picture. Her mother says Joey is sort of in the picture, and is just a kid himself. He is shy and sickly and the other kids bully him. She never thought she would have to worry about him around her daughter. Ashley brings the baby in and Amaro asks if he is three months old. Ashley says just about. Amaro wipes Brendan’s nose and keeps the tissue. As mother and daughter walk away to care for the baby, Amaro tells Fin there is no stolen bread in Phantom and she was somewhere else that night. Fin thinks she was with the donor dad and do the math – the baby was born 9 months later, and maybe shy Joey is not the father. Amaro hold sup the tissue and says this should tell us.

Back at SVU, Munch asks if they are saying the donor father had a child with his biological daughter. Amaro says they are testing the baby’s DNA now. Benson wonders what kind of predator they are looking at. Huang wonders if it is a predator or if they are looking at genetic sexual attraction. He explains when children are separated early from their biological relatives the reunite many years later, there are often overwhelming feeling of sexual attraction. Between siblings or father and daughter. Fin looks grossed out. Benson said the donor profile shows him as 6'1", brown hair and blue eyes, and is a Cornell undergrad, 1993 pre-med. Fin says Ashley said he was a doctor named Calvin Baker, Amaro adding he was an ex vivo doctor. Rollins says there were none under that name, but finds a Colin Barnes, a surgeon at Grollier Lemay. Rollins quickly find a video on line where Barnes is talking about saving a senator’s life, saying he felt close to God, a comment Ashley said the donor dad made. Benson says it sounds like they need to pay this doctor a house call.

At the home of Colin and Anne Barnes, Benson and Amaro arrive and a party is in progress. Anne is holding a baby and walks away when Benson suggests they talk to Barnes privately. They ask about his relationship with the daughters he fathered as a sperm donor. He says there is some mistake, and when his daughter Taylor walks up and asks what is wrong, her mother, standing nearby, says everything is fine. He reassures her and tells her to go back to the party.

Down at SVU, Barnes is upset and asks if someone is trying to contact him because he donated under the condition of anonymity. He says he never contacted any of his offspring and never told his wife. Under no circumstances would he agree to anyone finding him. Thursday night he was home with his family. Amaro asks about a hotel charge to Barnes’ card at the Empire Hotel that night, and Barnes says he does not have a Master Card. Benson says 3 of donor 141’s daughters says they met him and he thinks someone is trying to extort money. She says if any girl says she met him, she is lying. Amaro says this does not make sense. When Benson asks if he would submit to a line up and DNA test, his lawyer races in and tells him not to say any more and tells Benson and Amaro she needs to consult with her client. Amaro says if he doesn’t cooperate it makes them think he has something to hide. His lawyer sarcastically thanks him and says she will keep that in mind, and then tersely asks Benson if they can have the room.

Later, Barnes goes through line ups with Ashley and her mother, another donor child Melissa, and with Kate, and none of them pick out Barnes. Barnes’ lawyer says she is taking her client home.

Afterwards, Fin is looking at the coffee shop video and says the man has the right height and build and could be Barnes. Amaro says his wife alibis him for that night but wives lie. Munch wonders if all the girls are protecting him, and Rollins replies if he had sex with them they might be. Munch comments he must be a busy guy – successful surgeon, family man, and he has time to seek out and seduce his donor daughters. Benson reminds Munch that Barnes does have a God complex. Fin explains they are tracking the hotel room charges; Barnes claims the card is not his but the billing address is to a PO box a block away for his office; Rollins says they have to wait to process the DNA on Ashley’s baby, Colin, and the girls. Benson wonders what if Barnes is telling the truth, asking who did these girls meet with.

Later, Cate explains to Benson that she is not protecting anybody and her father was not in the lineup. Benson says donor 141 was there, but she says that can’t be. Benson explains that the man she met with Thursday night is not her biological father. Cate thinks they look alike, and everything he told her matched the profile. He said he had been trying to get in contact with her for years but her mother would not let him. He mother was afraid of losing her so she would not let her meet her real father.

Meanwhile, Huang speaks with Melissa who says he was wearing running shoes when she met him. He was training for a marathon and he was not surprised when she told him she was training cross country at school. Huang asked if she posted anything about cross country on her Facebook page.

With Amaro, Ashley has a similar story and Amaro asked why did the man give her a fake name. She says he is wrong about him, the second she saw him, he was the dad she dreamed of. He took her to a restaurant and treated her like a grown up, and speaks French. After dinner, they went to his hotel and they danced and then she knew it was wrong but he was her biological father and she didn’t care, she had to be with him and be close to him. Amaro asks if Brendan is his baby, and she nods yes.

Meanwhile, Melissa admits to Huang that she spent the weekend with him and says it was not what he thinks. They held each other and danced, and he played this romantic song and she felt like she was in love. He said they could never see each other again but they would be in each other’s hearts.

Cate tells Benson that he told her he wanted one thing in life, to give her away at her wedding, to walk her down the aisle. He wanted to dance with her like fathers danced with their daughters, and played this awesome song, “My One and Only Love.” After they danced, they kissed and she knew people would not understand being with her father like that, but she did not care. She did have sex with him but she thought he really loved her, and that he was the real father she had been waiting for. Cate asks, “He wasn’t?” and when Benson shakes her head no, Cate says, “Oh my God.” Her father walks in, and Cate runs to him and cries that she is sorry. He glances at Benson and she shakes her head and signs, and he and Cate leave.

 Rollins then tells them all that the DNA results come in, and Colin Barnes is the father of Cate, Melissa, and Ashley, but Ashley’s baby is not his. It is not Joey’s either. Whoever the father is, his DNA is not in the system. Amaro checked Barnes’ calendar for the last year, and last Memorial Day weekend, he and his family were renting a villa in Tuscany. Munch says the girls weren’t sleeping with their biological father but someone posing as their father. Benson says Cate is devastated, and Amaro adds so is Ashley and whoever did this knows how to seduce. Huang adds that he knows WHO to seduce, two of these girls fantasized their whole life about the father they never new. Cate just found out the man she thought was her father, wasn’t. Benson adds desperate for a father’s love, the perfect prey. Huang explains that the moment they met him, they were vulnerable, and overcome with emotions, their inhibitions disappeared. Rollins states this goes beyond genetic sexual attraction and statutory rape, they are dealing with a sociopath. Munch suggests getting a sketch artist to work with the girls and get an ID. Benson thinks whoever this is knows a lot about Colin Barnes, mentioning opening the credit card in his name. Munch tells her to go back to Barnes to see who has a vendetta against him.

At the Barnes home, Taylor is running away from her parents as they call for her to come back. She tells her father he is sick, asking how many kids he has, wondering if she could be dating one of her own brothers. When she moves to leave, Colin says she’s not going anywhere, and she shouts back that he can’t tell her what to do. As Taylor storms out, Anne tells Colin that Taylor is right, asking what was he thinking. As Taylor stormed out, the front door is open and Benson and Amaro step in. When Benson asks for a moment of his time, Colin comments that they have done enough and orders them out of his house. Amaro says he understands he is angry, but thought he would want to know that someone raped his donor daughters and did it in Colin’s name. Anne is shocked and Benson asks her to sit down and talk.

In Barnes home office, Amaro listens as Barnes says how much his patients and colleagues love and respect him. Anne walks in with Benson and asks Colin if he told them about Philip Kelly – Benson adding that is a fellow surgeon that Colin fired a year ago. Colin and Anne explain that last Easter at a party at Philip’s in the Hamptons, Anne was pregnant and she felt queasy and Philip poured her a ginger ale. Collin saw his hand shake, Colin saying it was an obvious attention tremor. He felt the hospital was lucky they were not hit with a malpractice suit and the next day he let Philip go. He did not take it well, they were in medical school together and Philip thought that meant he would look the other way.

Later, at Flannery’s bar, Fin and Rollins speak with Philip Kelly. He said last weekend he was at North New Jersey State prison on the graveyard shift in the hospital wing. He says Colin was a bastard who ruined his career. He was on Haldol and thought the tremor was under control, and admits to a couple drinks. He hates Barnes, but says nobody likes him. Colin bragged to anybody who would listen about being a sperm donor. When Rollins mentions contacting the donor daughters, Philip doesn’t know what she is talking about and only knows about Colin’s teenager, and even she thinks he is a blowhard. She was complaining about Colin at Philip’s party, to some guy but he doesn’t remember who. He said the guy got an earful.

Elsewhere, in a hotel room, Taylor is dancing to the song “My One and Only Love” with another man – Sean. She tells him she couldn’t take it another minutes in the house and her father has been lying to her. He reassures her, saying she is with him now. They continue to slow dance.

The next day, Benson and Fin are back at Colin’s home and he is worried something happened to Taylor as she did not come home. He says she doesn’t have time for a boys, she is early admission to Brown, pre-med. Benson comments that is a lot of pressure, and Collin thinks she thrives on it. He says Taylor is too mature to run away to hurt hum by running away and he thinks something terrible is going on.

Meanwhile, Amaro and Rollins speak with Anne and she reminds Amaro that he saw how Taylor storm out of there yesterday and says Taylor must have left her cell phone. She was really angry and she just left. Amaro looks at her computer and asks if Taylor is a jazz fan, and Anne says no. Amaro sees someone emailed her the song “My One and Only Love” under the name Cyrano. Anne does not know who that is and says this is not the music Taylor listens to. Anne says she has not heard that song for years, a guy she dated at Cornell that she dated – Sean – used to play it all the time and dance to it. She has not seen him for years. She doesn’t see how Taylor would know him, but then says there was the party last Easter at Philip Kelly’s. Rollins says Philip saw Taylor talking to a man at that party and asks if it was Sean. Anne thinks possibly, and worries that he has Taylor.

At SVU, they show Anne a photo and she says that is Sean. Colin asks why they haven’t picked him up. Amaro says his apartment is empty. Benson informs them he works for a medical supply company and is on the road. Fin says TARU informs them his cell phone is off so there is no GPS, and they traced the Cyrano email address back to Sean. Colin gets upset and tells them if they are not up for this to call the FBI, but his lawyer tells him to take it easy. Benson asks if he knows any reason why Sean would hurt them, and Colin says they barely knew him, saying the guy was a loser and probably just jealous. Amaro thinks this is more vindictive than simple jealousy, and Benson reminds Anne that Anne dated him in college. Colin comments that was 20 years ago and they barely went out. Amaro says they weren’t asking him. Anne uncomfortably says that Sean could be under the impression that Colin stole her away; after she broke it off with Sean, Colin asked her out. Rollins asks them if they know anything about this – and shows them a news story about an MCAT scandal and Colin says Sean was caught cheating on his MCATs. He adds that Sean was taking the test for someone else. Colin walked in to take his test and saw Sean sitting there and he knew he’d already taken his test. He asked Sean what he was doing, and he said making $350. Benson asks if he blew the whistle on him, and Colin replies “Damn right I did.” Anne sees she has a text from Sean and he wants to see her, saying if she doesn’t come, she won’t see Taylor again.

Later, Fin and Rollins meet up with Sean at a small restaurant – he is waiting there with flowers - and Rollins asks where is the girl. He says it looks like he got their attention, and Fin asks if he is deaf, his partner asked him a question. He asks where is Anne, but Rollins says Sean doesn’t ask questions, he answers them. Sean says he was pretty clear that he will only talk to Anne. Fin tells “Cyrano” if he wants to play like that,. Then tells him to get up. The escort him out.

At SVU in interrogation, Benson asks Sean where is Taylor. He says he will only talk to Anne, and when Amaro says she is on her way, Sean says he will wait. Benson says he has Taylor and holds all the cards, they get it/ He says Taylor wants to be with him and she contact him. She needs him right now and says they shared a connection when they met. Amaro says she was 15 when Sean met her at Philip’s party and says she is beautiful and special. For a few moments he could swear he was looking at Anne. She was happy to have someone to talk to; Colin was busy pontificating and Anne was pregnant and distracted. In the observation area, Colin asks if they have seen enough of this charade, but Huang says the detectives know what they are doing – empathy, projection, getting him to talk. Meanwhile, Sean tells Benson and Amaro that Colin wanted Taylor kept on a shelf like and Ivy League trophy. Benson comments that Sean gave her attention, like he did with Colin’s other donor daughters. Sean is quiet and then he gets up and walks to the window. He turns around and says he knew Colin donated sperm in college and when he talked to Taylor and knew how lonely she was, he decided to talk to the other daughters. He says Colin is playing God and he has 100 kids out there and never thought for one second about them going off with a hole in their lives, in pain, fatherless. Amaro outlines what Sean had done, and Sean says he just wanted to give them a father’s love. He says the emotions were so strong they needed more, so he gave them what they needed. He says he was a better father than Colin was and Colin doesn’t deserve a family. Sean looks around and asks “they’re out there, aren’t they?” He knows Anne is there, and Benson says she is right outside, and tells him to talk to her. He looks to the mirrored window and says Colin doesn’t deserve her, and walks to the window and looks directly at her even though he can’t see her. He says he will never forget seeing her at that party, pregnant, glowing, and she smiled right at him and said they were so blessed it was a miracle baby. He slams his hand down and says there are no miracles for him, he never found the right one, until now, until Taylor. Amaro asks him to tell Anne where her daughter is, and Sean says he will tell her – only Anne, but he needs to see her first.

Shortly afterwards, Anne is in the interrogation room with Sean, asking where is her daughter. He asks why they can’t just talk. She says she knows she hurt him but she wants him to know she is sorry. He says he wants one simple favor, and he walks up to her and touches her hair. He asks for one dance, saying they never got to dance and she always said next time. He asks how about now, and she says whatever he wants. Sean says he wants her husband the doctor to watch, he wants him to feel what is it like to see her with another man. He puts on the song “My One and Only Love” and they begin to dance as Colin watches from the observation area. Sean begins to sing along as he dances with Anne. He says he always dreamed about giving away his daughter at her wedding. Anne says that is very sweet, saying may that will still happen. But Sean says no, our daughter, he says Colin gets to do that instead of him, with Taylor. Sean says there is one little problem, and he whispers into Anne’s ear. She pulls back and screams “NO! NO!” and lunges at Sean, Benson trying to pull her away, She continues to scream NO as Colin tries to get into the room. Fin stops him and tells him to take it easy. Anne comes out of the room and tells Colin that Sean killed her. She repeats it over and over as Colin takes in the bad news with horror.

Later, Rollins comments that she doesn’t get it, why kill her, it is not part of his MO, Huang says he wanted Anne to hurt the same way he did. Amaro says he won’t tell them where Taylor is, and Munch says they canvassed all the hotels and cafes they know they hit but nothing yet. Benson recalls that Sean said that Taylor is special and Sean’s usual hotels are modest, she thinks they should be looking at the east side.

At a high class hotel, Benson and Amaro are being escorted to a room by a hotel employee where Taylor may be staying. He opens the door and Benson and Amaro see a very much alive Taylor laying in bed, thinking it is Sean opening the door. Amaro radios that they have the girl and she is alive. Taylor asks what is going on and where is Sean, and Benson explains that Sean told her parents that she was dead. Taylor thinks Benson is lying and that he would never do that. Benson says she doesn’t know who Sean is, and Taylor says she does. She says there is a reason why she never felt close to her dad, it’s because Sean is her biological father. She says last night Sean told her the truth. Benson tells her that is not true, but Taylor insists it is. When Amaro tells her to put her clothes on, she shouts for them to get away from her and says she wants Sean, she wants her father. As Benson and Amaro look on silently, we fade to black.

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

Check out my blog home page for the latest Law & Order information, on All Things Law And Order.

Also, see my companion Law & Order site,These Are Their Stories.

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

Check out my blog home page for the latest Law & Order information, on All Things Law And Order.

Also, see my companion Law & Order site,These Are Their Stories.


Icy said...

I like this episode, liked the fact that Huang appeared in this episode.

Also I Knew from the start that the girls did not meet their donor father. Something didn't add up right.

Nice undercover work by Liv and Amanda...

Barnard LGR said...

This episode was NOT great, IMO. It had no closure. Where's the LAW part of L&O? THAT would've been an interesting trial. And why didn't we see Huang shrink down one of the girls? (Or all of them in a montage sequences type thing like they did in Closure back in season 2?) I just felt like there was a lot of unfounded potential here.

Icy said...

Barnard LGR- There was closure, knowing that the rapist wasn't the girls biological father and that the man who did it is going to jail.

The girls also realized that they never met their father, and that the SVU detectives were able to find out why this guy did it.

YEs there should have been more, but Due to a time restraint they didn't add in a trial


janethyland said...

Yes! Its a good one!

Ratings went up this week to 1.8 key demo and 6.4million total viewers.


janethyland said...

Just to add that SVU equalled Smash in key demo this week, and beat it in total numbers.....and SVU is a 13 year old show where as Smash isnt one year old that says alot about why NBC should keep SVU!!!!

ConnorBehan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
CLA said...

SVU ratings were adjusted to 1.9 with 6.620 million viewers. Things are really improving.

ConnorBehan said...

(post above had a typo)

I loved the first half of this episode. Huang believably profiling this type of predator and Munch acting like a sergeant in Cragen's absence.

But then it lost my attention. I would've much rather seen a court case than Sean's stupid mind games.

janethyland said...

Great to see the adjustment up in ratings, key demo and total viewing numbers.
Thats the best in ratings since january. This show defies gravity.
SVU does better without the court scenes if it wants to bring in more audience.
They dont want to make the same mistake they made with LOLA.

Congratulations on the ratings.

Joshua Morton said...

Been a minute since I been here, but I've been watching SVU.


"SVU does better without the court scenes if it wants to bring in more audience.
They dont want to make the same mistake they made with LOLA.

I beg to differ, I've been watching SVU for years and I've noticed that the ratings were MUCH higher back when episodes had trials. SVU NEEDS court room scenes, even Chris (Zimmer aka ATL&O) agrees with that!

What they need to do is "co mingle" them. Police procedure first 30 minutes, court room scenes MIXED with police procedure in the last 30.

Trust me, Warren Leight could put some "play" in the writing to make the episodes fit with trials. I like WL's writing compared to the last 5 seasons, but Neal Baer gave us trials.

I am actually surprised that Dick Wolf is letting SVU go so many episodes without SOME court scenes. The title of this show is LAW & ORDER: Special Victims Unit. If WL wants to drop court scenes and the ADA characters, why not just drop the words "Law & Order"? I mean at this point they might as well.

Joshua Morton said...

I mean NBC advertises the show as "SVU" anyway, they often used to call it "Law & Order: SVU", I haven't heard that from NBC since the promo for "Gray" I do believe.

I can see the title card come in without the words "Law & Order" in the opening titles. They don't even have to change the voice-over.

But there is a downside: SVU would have to change it's background music, opening theme, and remove the iconic Law & Order "dun DUN" card sound... bad idea.

I want the "Law & Order" put back into "SVU", and the "Criminal Intent" taken out, but Warren Leight won't listen, he insists on doing the show his way. Kinda glad, at least he's not doing what Neal Baer did and listened to the majority of the shipper fans.

Arleen said...

This was one of the worst episodes SVU has done in awhile - what were they thinking?

First of all, SVU detectives are not sent out on initial calls by a dispatcher. The little boy's 911 call would have been responded to by patrol officers and EMTs. After that, SVU detectives are also not going to search for missing people, and especially not without a sex crime involved. Once the girl was found, they should have immediately dropped the case. There was no "complainant" after that! There was no case. Detectives don't go out on scavenger hunts looking for possible crimes (meeting up with a sperm donor is not a crime); they usually have tons of REAL cases of rape and abuse without making extra work for themselves. They had 5 of their best detectives looking for a sperm donor because....why exactly? What was the original crime they were investigating?

janethyland said...

Opinions differ, statistics state.
Its not a problem. Those of you who like Law carry on watching, those of us who dont dont. The ratings have the last word.

OhSusannah said...

I have mixed feelings about Father Dearest. On one hand I found it a pretty predictable storyline,and also questioned why SVU team would be called in so quickly.There was a strong 'ewww'factor for me when I realized that it involved father-daughter 'relations',if you will.Nice to Dr. Huang back on board, even briefly. He always brings a fresh perspective tot he table. I did question his "Genetic Sexual Attraction' theory.They've covered other instances of sperm donor cases and never mentioned this theory before. He's the medical expert, though- not me!I liked James Van der Beek in this role. He's good at dramatic, tightly-wound roles- excellent as the villain in a episode of Criminal Minds a couple of seasons ago.L&O is known for casting actors against type, and they did well with this role.All in all, an interesting case.I'm pleased to see the ratings went up,of course.

ConnorBehan said...


Of course the ratings were higher back when SVU had regular trials. But that was back when more people watched NBC and TV in general. There is a correlation but not causation. That said, I also scratched my head when I read that having a court room scene decreases viewership. I didn't really buy that but then again, I like the trials so I'm biased.

Does Dick Wolf really have a say in the direction of the show? I always thought that spin-offs treated him like the Queen of England.

janethyland said...

Giggle to Wolf as Queen of England!

Ive always thought, though he LOOKS conventional theres something unorthodox about Wolf.He got on well with VDO, he appointed Leight for SVU, and he did a film on The,in the episode on the Law and Orders for the Actors Studio,when he entered he walked BEHIND the actors,not in front of them. To me that little unconscious action says a lot about the man behind the business!Thats the moment i thought he might be alright after all!

janethyland said...

And all that is to say,in agreement with you, that Wolf is the Queen of England!

Joanne said...

I didn't enjoy the episode all that much, it felt like it dragged on and like some others have said, there was a feeling of having unanswered questions.

I haven't seen James Van Der Beek since Dawson's Creek!

Aline said...

I just wish Neal Baer would come back, I miss so much that old SVU, the writting was so much better.I don't dislike Leight, but the show is different now...and I don't mean that in a good way :(

janethyland said...

Something else about the good ratings for SVU this week....the previous weeks either CSI or Revenge were in repeat, but this week they were both new episodes,however SVU ratings STILL went up. Thats quite an achievemnet at this stage of the season and against two new episodes on other networks.

Its definitely against trend because most NBC drama show ratings went down this week...Smash, Grimm,Harrys Law...all down...but SVU was UP!

They must be doing something right, considering they lost a major limb with Meloni going.

Jordana said...

"I want the "Law & Order" put back into "SVU", and the "Criminal Intent" taken out."

I think that while the newer SVU episodes may be doing really well in their initial airings (which, for whatever reason, is the sole thing that matters for ratings and whatnot), they lack re-watch-ability. The newer episodes go for the shock value (I'm specifically thinking of seasons 9 and 10 here), but those are so much less fun to re-watch: the twists are more memorable, and once you know the twist the whole episode is kind of eh. THAT'S what I love about the older episodes (and even a few this season); it's about the JOURNEY, and once they get the guy, the trial. It was less about what this episode was, e.g. lots of twists and turns with no real case (agreed with ConnorBehan).

Also, @Icy-- that was my problem exactly, though! We DON'T know if he's going to jail! There was no trial! It's nice to think so, but if all these girls really believed him and whatever and they wouldn't prosecute, I'd be especially interested to see how the trial went.

This episode was about the shock value, and personally, if I wanted that, I'd watch a soap opera or a melodrama. BRING BACK THE LAW!

janethyland said...

Great UK headline in support of SVU being renewed! It does well on channel 5 and Universal. Its the most popular of the imports there.

TV ratings: US second series of The Killing loses out to a Channel 5 repeat
Channel 4 show attracts fewer viewers than original series on BBC4 as Law & Order: Special Victims Unit beats it

Esaul said...

Glad SVU is renewed. I don't know why I've been taking so long to comment on the recaps. I should do better on that so I don't miss the interesting conversations.

Ratings up for SVU against new episodes of CSI and Revenge bodes real well for SVU. This is a great sign. I enjoy how Smash has low ratings for a new show. It should've been axed instead of renewed. It's probably NBC's second most embarrassing show of the season (right after Whitney ((which is just repulsive))).

I think SVU is heading in the right direction now. Bringing back Huang for an episode was brilliant. Giving Munch more scenes and serving as Sergeant was brilliantly done. I love seeing more of Richard Belzer.

The show IS Law & Order for a reason. Law is the detectives and the Order is the court room drama. Doesn't mean we should have every episode with a court scene. And that isn't where LOLA went wrong. There was NOTHING wrong with Los Angeles. The reason the show failed isn't because of the show itself. It's because of NBC. They rushed the show to series instead of being able to take the time with it. Then they asked Wolf to retool it. He did, came back brilliantly better, where it should've been from the start, and NBC did the show injustice by moving it to a dead Monday night with dead-beat shows. LOLA did great with SVU.

I enjoyed the episode for the most part. I mean I was captivated by it. I was disappointed that the daughter was actually live. It kinda kills the dramatic effect it went for, because I (probably because I can be naïve with procedurals) believed him. I love James Van Der Beek too much maybe.

It would've been interesting to have a court room scene with this. I'd love to see how it'd play out. But there is only so much a show can fit into an episode, especially in SVU, without having to do a TBC.

Lucine said...

Pleas, full recap!

Chris Zimmer said...

I've been working on it while trying to get caught up on other stuff. Hope to have it done within the next few days.

ConnorBehan said...

Thanks! I wish Munch was in the season finale. I missed him in the last one too.

Aline said...

the show never portraited a true picture of a Olivia straight, she was always something above sexuality.It didn’t help that she never had any chemistry what so ever with any man, except with Meloni, but it was always like brother and sister.Olivia is gay, at least gay for Cabot(I would go gay for Cabot LoL).The way they get along,the look in their eyes,they are always feeling so complete together…and don’t make me start with the fights…it’s not wishful thinking, I don’t even care if Warren Leight is going to put them together, but if Olivia ends up with a man, is not going to be reliable.I vote for Olivia ending up with Alex and that’s it.If you watched all the seasons, you would know, that during the time Cabot was in the show,Olivia never look at a man, that’s the truth, and Cabot had no chemistry with Trevor Langan either.So I rest my case!!!!!