Thursday, May 24, 2012

Law & Order SVU “Rhodium Nights” Recap & Review

The season 13 finale of Law & Order SVU, “Rhodium Nights” was probably the best season ending ever in SVU history. The episode had it all – sex, scandal, conspiracy, pimp wars, farm animals, and Dean Winters. It also had an intense cliffhanger involving an unlikely SVU character – Don Cragen – and hints of corruption that permeates all level of law enforcement and government.  Fin and Rollins appear to get through the episode unscathed, but the others face personal challenges: Benson finds that maybe Haden is not as trustworthy and genuine as he seems; Amaro’s marriage may face a further threat from his work on the current case; Cragen wakes up with a dead hooker in his bed, one who was ready to tell her story in exchange for protection. Who knows, Detective Brian Cassidy, who is now working undercover, may even have turned over to the dark side. Everyone with SVU may now be forced to work by the X-Files motto: TRUST NO ONE.

It was great to have Dean Winters back on the series. For the short time Winters was on SVU in the first season, he was one of my favorite characters and I always hoped one day he would return. When Cassidy started working for SVU years ago,  he was ill equipped to handle the nature of some of the SVU cases, and he eventually transferred to narcotics. Clearly his work subsequent to SVU has taken its toll and he is a more weary, jaded detective. Now that he is working undercover, his character could go in either direction – good or bad – but at least it brings hope that we could see him again in season 14, maybe bringing mayhem with him.

If I had to describe the episode in one word, it would be "perfection."

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 = ME Melinda Warner
Dean Winters – Detective Brian Cassidy
Ron Rifkin – Marvin Exley
Peter Jacobson – Bart Ganzel
Laura Benanti – Maria Grazie
Pippa Black – Carissa Gibson
Brooke Smith = Delia Wilson
Reg E. Cathey – Defense lawyer
Eric Laden – Clayton Hannigan
Matt Burns – Will Brady
Amy Hargreaves - Iris Petersen
Tabitha Holbert – ADA Rose Caliay
Sam McMurry – Will’s lawyer
Gretchen Egolf – Kendra Gill
Royce Johnson – Uni cop 1
Joel Brady – Uni cop 2
Chris Stack – Wall Street Guy 1
Bjorn Thorstad – Wall Street Guy 2
Meg McCrossen – Maggie Murphy
Stephen Bradbury _ judge Colin McNamara
Sandra Landers – Heide
Pei Pei Lin - Yuko Sakura
Paul Borghese - Detective

A man is recording on video a private party with lots of scantily clad women, drugs, drinks, and cigars. A few guys are out on the rooftop with women, being serviced in various ways and one of the men is called away by the host, Clayton Hannigan, saying that they have a “situation”. He goes out of the room and they see two officers from the 3rd precinct saying they have complaints about the noise. Clayton tells the officer he is throwing bachelor party and promised to keep it down. The officers apologize for bothering them and leave. The party continues, and Clayton goes into a darkened room with another woman, Carissa. so she can “take care” of him. As they get into their sexual foreplay on the bed, the woman feels something underneath all the coats laying on the bed and removes one to see a woman staring back at them, dead.

Later, Benson and Amaro arrive on the scene and the two officers explain the penthouse belongs to Clayton Hannigan, who Benson knows is a cable news host. The officers state there was a bachelor party and there was a woman found in the rooftop pool. The guests were in such a hurry to get out that they overloaded the penthouse elevator and it has been stuck for over an hour. Benson tells them when they get them out, to bring them up.

Up on the roof, Benson comments that the dead woman looks so young. Hannigan tells the detectives that his cater waiter found the body. He jumped in and pulled her out and did mouth to mouth but it was too late. He does not know the girl and thinks she was someone’s plus one. He has no invite list, the party was a word of mouth thing,. Benson tells him he is a journalist so do his best to reconstruct the list.

Fin and Rollins approach and Rollins says she thinks she found out why the local precinct didn’t touch this one. Benson asks who was in the elevator, and Fins says one former Yankee, two current major leaguers and one NHL, 2 hedge fund guys and two secret service agents. Rollins says there is also the bachelor, Will Brady, the police commissioners son.

Will Brady explains that he spoke with his dad who told him to cooperate completely. He doesn’t know who the girl was hired by or who she came to the party with, and tells Benson to ask Clayton, he doesn’t know if anyone was and that is not a crime. Benson says the problem is with all the guys crammed into the elevator, it looks like they were fleeing the scene., Cragen approaches as he listens to the questioning. Will says he gets that Benson is in a tough spot here. Benson says, “Excuse me?” and Cragen interjects that they appreciate the cooperation. Will says he should call his fiancée before this goes viral.

Clayton tells Amaro and Fin that he and Will were in college together and he is his best man. He says the dead girl is tragic but he does not know her. Amaro asks Clayton where he was when the body was discovered, and Clayton explains he was in the living room giving a toast will and all the guests were there. Fin asks if this includes call the girls he hired, and Clayton feigns surprise at the question. Fin presses about them coming from a strip club or escort service and Clayton counters that he can’t keep someone from bringing a date. Amaro ask how he is doing on the guest list.

Rollins shows another guy the photo of the girl and he says all he remembers is the top of her head and she could barely talk. Rollins asks if she was on something, and he says it was nothing that he gave her. He asks Rollins if she’s ever used her handcuffs in bed, and she asks him if he has even gotten laid without paying for it.

Back on the roof, Benson comments to Cragen that nine gentlemen stuck in the elevator are all deaf, dumb, and dumber. Rollins says one suit said the victim seemed woozy. Fin suggests they pull the security footage from the elevator and lobby cam. Amaro says this was a bachelor party, guys filmed the action and they should confiscate the cell phones. Cragen replies that with these people, not without a warrant, and urges them to slow down until they hear from the ME. As Cragen walks away, Benson follows and asks why they are treading so lightly. He explains that the harder they push, the quicker the men will lawyer up.
Amaro arrives home and his wife says she did not expect him. He says he spent the night talking to rich drunks. . He needed an hour break and figured he’d sleep. She looks at him silently and she asks what? She says it is nothing, it’s just he has been napping at the precinct lately. He says the break room stinks of dirty laundry and he wanted to see Zara. She says he knows they are going to have to talk about this at some point, and after a long pause, he says he knows. He nods off.

At the ME’s office, Warner says the girl did not drown, there is no water in her lungs. She died from a lethal dose of scopolamine. Rollins comments that is for seasickness, and Warner says it if for a few other medical conditions, none of which showed up on autopsy. Fin thinks it was a “mickey fin” that some girls slip to their johns. Rollins says someone turned the tables on the girl and this looks like a homicide. Warner says there is o sign of trauma except for abrasions on the knees. There is semen in her mouth and throat and two and half ounces in her stomach contents. Fin thinks there was more than one guy, and adds this girl was working hard. Warner says it was nothing inconsistent with consensual encounters. She says she is kicking the case back to them. Rollins feels it should be pending police investigation, that Warner told them she was dead when she went into that pool. Warner says someone moving the body does not prove homicide, that’s Rollin’s job. Rollin sarcastically says thanks a lot. Fin asks if there is anything she can do to help ID the girl. Warner informs them she had silicone breast implants and they are tracking the serial number.

At SVU in the bullpen, one of the officers tells Fin that they responded to a noise complaint at 2:20 AM and issued a stern warning. The second call came it at 3:50 from a female who gave no name and had a Spanish accent who said there was a girl needing medical attention. En route, they got a call from Clayton about the body in his pool. His partner attended to the deceased girl while he secured the premises. Amaro speaks with the other officer who says the first he heard the man was the Commissioner's son is when the white shirts showed up, and his captain says all men are equal under the law. Cragen calls Fin and Amaro over and asks if those two guys gave them anything. Amaro says they are well rehearsed. Rollins tells them they got a hit on the victim’s breast implants, the plastic surgeon identified her as Maggie Murphy from Winnipeg, and she is 16. Benson comments on her age and that the doctor gave her implants. Cragen tells her they can’t prosecute a Winnipeg surgeon, and asks how she got here. Benson says she ran away from her foster home six months ago, she had her SSI checks forwarded to an address in Astoria. Rollins explains that CSU is at Maggie’s sublet and there are no roommates and neighbors don’t seem to know her. Fin adds she had one friend at the party, an unidentified female with a Spanish accent who called 911 about a sick girl. Cragen asks where are they an IDing the strippers, and Rollins shows a video of the girls running out of the building. Benson comments these girls know how to dodge a security camera. When Cragen asks about the invite list, Benson said the secret service agents are being debriefed by Homeland Security and they said if they had anything pertinent to the investigation, they will let them know. Amaro says the goalie is back in Canada, the ballplayers are at the stadium, hung over in front of 50,000 fans, Rollins says the rich and powerful know how to duck and cover. Cragen reminds them the girl’s body was moved which makes Clayton’s penthouse a crime scene, and tells them to go back with CSU, it is Sunday and the garbage hasn’t gone out. As Cragen walks off, Benson follows and says they are also looking at multiple counts of statutory rape . Cragen says that is the DA’s call, now they just focus on how she died. Cragen walks into his office and Benson closes the door, and feels they need to go after these guys as Maggie was 16> she goes on to say she spent her whole night on her knees.

There is a knock on the door and Fin and Rollins open Cragen’s office door and bring in Will Brady and his lawyer. Will says he wanted to help. The lawyer gives Cragen a USB drive which contains footage of Will’s activity for the entire party, proving he was never with the victim. Later, they all watch the footage and the lawyer says his client was never alone, Benson dryly responds that they get the idea. Benson asks Will if he saw Maggie with any other guest. When she says there is no one specific that he recalls, she testily asks him is there is anything he does recall. Cragen reacts to her tone but Will says he knows she is doing her job. He adds that the girl seemed out of it, she was sloppy and he saw her making out with another woman, a tall, tan brunette. Cragen explains they will have to go over all of the footage; Will says it is about 8 hours, and that you only get married for the first time one. Benson gives him the “what a jerk” look.

Meanwhile, Fin, Rollins, and Amaro sit in an interrogation room taking a break. Amaro says guys like this don’t think the girls see them as johns. Rollins tells him to never underestimate a man’s capacity for self delusion. Fin tells Amaro not to tell him he’s never been in a strip club, but Amaro says on the job, a lot and at a cousin’s bachelor party. He says that it makes him feel uncomfortable. Fin says Amaro is one of those guys who turns down the lap dance and tells the stripper she has better choices she can make with her life. Amaro says he respects women; he grew up with sisters and has a daughter. Rollins says he has something.

Later, Rollins shows Benson and Cragen that the video shows at 3:25 AM, Maggie exits the living room heading to Clayton’s bedroom. Benson notes the way she is staggering she is already on her way to die and is already doped with scopolamine. Cragen asks if she is anywhere else in the footage. Rollins says no, but she shows Clayton with a friend a little after Maggie left and show they are heading in the same direction toward the bedroom. Cragen thinks this is a little thin and not enough to convince him to come in. Amaro and Fin enter and Amaro says they got a call from the lab, the found vomit on the sheet of the trash recovered from Clayton’s building that tested for scopolamine. Fin says he spoke to Clayton’s news director and Clayton is leaving today to cover the crisis in North Korea, Cragen replies that is too bad because he has a crisis breaking right here; he will have Port Authority hold the plane and tells them to go pick him up. As the rest of them leave, Benson holds back and tells Cragen the footage lets Will off the hook and they can keep the case. Cragen says he is trying, but 1PP wants the DAs office to lead the investigation. Benson adds – “or bury it.” She adds she will call David Haden and he will back them. But Cragen tells her don’t, she knows where this goes. The guest list. The commissioner’s son is the tip of the iceberg. Those girls have other clients – politicians, DAs, brass. Benson asks so they let someone get away with murder? Cragen advises her they play their cards close to the vest. She silently steps back and walks out of Cragen’s office. Cragen stands there alone, thinking.

Later, with Clayton in interrogation with his lawyer who says he will tell them everything he knows. Benson asks who helped him put Maggie’s body into the pool? He says there were some Middle Eastern diplomats there and their security guys helped. Amaro says these are more witnesses they can’t talk to, and Clayton insists he is telling them the truth. Amaro reminds him of the story he told at the party about diving in to save her, saying that was a nice touch. Clayton says that was the wrong move but she was dead when he found her. He said that he took a break from the party and went to his room and the girl was in his bed, dead. He didn’t call 911 right away as the secret service gad to escort some of the guests through the service elevator. Amaro says that way there are no cameras. He asks if he knew she was 16, and Clayton says he didn’t ID people at the door. Benson says maybe he should have; from the ME’s report at least 5 of his friends had sex with an underage girl and maybe he did too. Clayton insists he did not touch her and didn’t even know she was at his party until she was dead in his bed. Amaro asks if anyone can confirm his story or did he go into his bedroom alone. Benson asks him if he is worried about his image and being with an escort, and they are way past that. Amaro adds it is falsifying a crime scene, an accomplice to underage sex trafficking. His lawyer says the threats aren’t necessary and prompts Clayton to answer. He explains she is not an escort, she is a friend. Benson explains they will need her name and number. He says it is Carissa and he doesn’t know her last name. Benson says with sarcasm, “Oh. A close friend.”

Later, Benson brings Carissa into the interview room and says she may want to wait for her lawyer, but once he shows, they can’t help her. She asks if she is being charged.  Benson says not yet and Amaro adds they just have a few questions. When she says she would feel better if her attorney was here. Benson throws up her hands and says OK and walks off. Carissa asks Amaro if she can get something to drink, clearly trying to come on to him. Benson hears this and stops, and Amaro asks Carissa what she would like.  She says water would be great, then as Benson walks off, Carissa tells Amaro she hasn’t seen him around. He says “excuse me?” and she explains they get a lot of guys on the job and asks if he is Mr. Clean. He closes the door and says he is married. She says that is nice, and asks if he has even been tempted. He replies no. She says, “ah. It’s your wife.” Amaro says he doesn’t know what she is talking about, She says he does, and she stands up and moves in close, saying his wife hurt him and asks if he has told anyone. She thinks it is bottling up inside him and he needs to find a way to let go of that, and sometimes evening the score is all it takes. He says nothing, and there is a knock at the door. He walks in to Cragen’s office, who has been observing. When Cragen asks what is going on in there, Amaro says when a witness starts talking, he listens. Cragen says about the case OK, but that was something else. Amaro says sometimes that’s how it starts. Cragen says they will wait for her lawyer, the last thing they need is the hint of impropriety.

Carissa’s lawyer says she didn’t know the victim and barely saw her that night, and then adds, “tell them,  sweetheart.” Carissa explains she assumed she was somebody’s date. Benson comments that Carissa was with Clayton when they found the body. Her lawyer says Clayton called all the shots from that point forward. Benson asks about before that, saying a woman called 911 about a sick girl. Carissa says that was not her. Amaro asks if she knows any of the other women there, and her lawyer tells her to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but. She knew all of them but for the girl. Benson asks what she was doing there, and Carissa says she is an escort and gets paid to go to dinners and parties, her lawyer adding there is nothing illegal about her business. Amaro says in that case, they will need the name of her booker. Her lawyer says that is not a problem, he represents him as well.

At the residence of Bart Ganzel, there seems to be a big party with lots of girls, and we hear a phone ring and Brian Cassidy answers. He tells the caller thanks and then tells Daniela to see him later, and he kisses her. He approaches Ganzel who is with an Asian girl, and tells him they have to get out of there, but Ganzel says he is in the middle of something. Cassidy says they have to go, now, adding “chop chop, c’mon.” As they go to the door, they can hear Rollins asking to speak with Ganzel. Ganzel sees Amaro and says it is not a good time. Amaro identifies himself as NYPD and Cassidy asks if he has a warrant. Amaro asks if he is kidding him. Cassidy shouts for Amaro to get the hell back, and Rollins tells Cassidy to take it easy. Amaro asks Cassidy for identification, but Cassidy says he needs to see a warrant. Amaro demands his ID now, and Cassidy swing at Amaro and lands a punch. They continue to fight and Amaro restrains Cassidy. Rollins tells Ganzel to put his hands on his head and as both men are being cuffed, Amaro tells Cassidy he just got himself arrested.

In the interrogation room, Cassidy, holding a cold pack to his head, tells Amaro that Ganzel thinks he has NYPD on the payroll. He had to make it look real. Amaro, also holding a cold pack to his head, tells Cassidy not to give him that, he was UC for years and there are other ways. Cassidy apologizes for hurting him but Amaro quickly counters he didn’t hurt him. He asks Cassidy who he is undercover for, Internal Affairs? Cassidy says it’s need to know. Benson walks into the room and says “Cassidy, you ass. You punched my partner?” She extends her hand and Cassidy takes it, holding it with both hands, saying it is nice to see her too, adding it’s been a long time and – as he looks her over with Amaro looking on – says she looks good. Amaro is surprised that Benson knows Cassidy, and she explains he used to work SVU – last century. She grabs a chair and drops it loudly before she sits down, and comments that now Cassidy is moonlighting for Bart Ganzel. She wonders if he mentioned the dead girl at his party. He said he it might have come up. Amaro asked why he couldn’t give them a call Cassidy explains he has been under for 3 years and he is not going to jeopardize that. Amaro is shocked he wouldn’t even for a murder charge and sex trafficking? Cassidy says they all have their marching orders. Benson counters so do they, and asks what he knows about Maggie Murphy, wondering if she is one of his regulars. Cassidy doesn’t know the name and he knows all the regulars. When Amaro asks how she got in to Clayton’s party, Cassidy thinks maybe a friend brought her. Amaro asks who – Carissa? Cassidy thinks that is doubtful, she’s the queen bee. Cassidy leans in towards Amaro and comments that he heard she and Amaro hit it off. Benson tries to get the testosterone in check by saying, “Hey, boys, all on the same site her. Amaro asks, “Are we?” Benson tells Cassidy that they need the names of every escort who worked that party. Cassidy feels his boss has every reason to cooperate, and tells them to get that from him. Cassidy asks to be put in Rikers for the night, otherwise Ganzel will get suspicious. Amaro gets up and tells Benson it is on her, but he asks one last thing. He comments that Cassidy and Ganzel were cutting out just as they got there,, wondering if someone tipped them off. Cassidy asks who would do that?

Afterwards, Benson takes Cassidy out of the room and roughly cuffs him for show. He says she likes it rough, and she tells him to shut up. Ganzel sees this as Fin takes him in for questioning. With his lawyer, they show Ganzel the photo of Maggie, and he says it is awful and he never saw her before and she is not one of his girls. His lawyer says Ganzel supplied female entertainers for the bacchanal to dance and talk to the guests. He shows them a contract where this is all documented and that they were all over 18. Rollins asks how Maggie got in, and Ganzel wished he knew. He called every escort he sent, they all swore they didn’t know the girl and that she came in with Anya Solar and Anya has not called him back. He describes Anya as brunette, tall, tan, and hot. Fin says they need to talk to her, and Ganzel is surprised they don’t have her. He sarcastically say “oh man, that just sucks.”

Later, Cragen looks at the video footage with Anya, and Rollins says her real name is Anya Soldaz and also has four other AKAs. She is a Columbia native here on a student visa. She is 23 years old, and she flew back to Cartagena on Sunday morning. Benson asks if Ganzel paid for her ticket, and Rollins thinks maybe through an offshore shell account. Amaro says they searched her apartment and she left in a hurry, the doorman saying she raced in an out at 7AM Sunday. Fin says they found her purse, and Rollins notes it is just like the one in the video. They found a prescription for scopolamine, made out to Anya Brown. Cragen thinks it wasn’t an overdose, the thinks Anya brought Maggie to the party and then drugged her. Amaro asks why, if she just wanted Maggie dead, there are a hundred easier ways. Benson thinks someone wanted a scandal to hurt Clayton Hannigan or the Commissioner, and thinks Anya made the second 911 call. Cragen reminds them Cassidy says he knows all of Ganzel’s girls, and that would include Anya. Rollins suggests they pick him back up, but Benson says they can’t. it will blow his cover, they have to treat him like a hostile witness. Amaro thinks that won’t be hard.

Later, in a bar, Cassidy sees Amaro and Benson walk in. Amaro asks if this is what Ganzel pays him for, saying it is a nice life. Cassidy says he does scouting from time to time. Benson comments she thought they were a classier act, He says sometimes you find a diamond in the rough, and then asks what he can do for them, Benson shows him the photo of Anya who he describes as gorgeous. When Benson asks how well did he knows her, Cassidy says she doesn’t really open up to people. Amaro asks if Ganzel knew she left the country six hours after Maggie drowned, Cassidy replies “Hookers. Never trust them, ever.” Carissa comes up and kisses Cassidy and he asks her what he is doing there. She says the boss misses him. He asks her to give them a minute. He adds, pointing between Amaro and Carissa, that they know each other and why don’t they go catch up? Carissa walks off and Amaro follows. When they walk off, Benson asks if Carissa is checking up on her. Cassidy says he does not blame Ganzel, someone set him up good. Benson wonders if it was Anya’s idea and also who she was working for. Cassidy explains she was one of Delia Wilson’s top girls until Ganzel took her away. Cassidy explains Delia runs a very high profile escort service, very discreet, upper echelon matchmaking with Cabinet members, CEOs, BFDs, and two ex governors have them on her speed dial. She had the biggest service on the east coast until Ganzel moved in. He has the hottest girls and she’s got the most high powered client list.

Meanwhile, Carissa tells Amaro she does not know Anya well and does not know who paid for the plane ticket. She says she would tell him if she did, she feels like she could tell him anything, like she wants to. Amaro tells her not to work him, but she says she is not. She meant what she said before, if he ever wants to talk about anything…or maybe not talks at all... Amaro asks if she is trying to bribe a police officer, and says she thinks he needs a friend. She adds there are things he doesn’t even tell his partner. His smile comes off his face. He asks when she was a girl, is this the life she envisioned for herself? She says Bart and she are engaged, they have not gone public yet but she will be fine. Amaro says it will catch up with him eventually, and she will go down too. She asks Amaro if he likes saving women? She gets that, adding they can talk about that too if he wants.

Benson asks Cassidy why Delia is going after Ganzel, and he says Ganzel is the new world and Delia is the old. Two months ago she sent some goons to the loft, they made threats and told Ganzel to stop taking her girls and her clients. She wonders why he didn’t tell them about this now that he is fielding questions about a dead girl, and when Cassidy does not answer, Benson thinks it is because Ganzel wants to go after her himself. Cassidy suggest if they are going to go after Delia Wilson, they need to be careful. He stresses nobody knows how deep her hooks go.

At Wilson Farm in Cambridge, NY, Iris tells them Delia is out back, and adds they should have worn boots. Benson says they are fine, a little mud won’t kill them. Amaro explains it is more than mud. Delia is feeding a goat, saying it is on a strict feeding schedule, he is three days old and they had to put his mother down Benson asks if she know Anya, and Delia says she does not think so. She also does not know Maggie Murphy. Benson asks her to tell them about her relationship with Bart Ganzel, and says there is no relationship. She has heard of him and he doesn’t keep his personal ambitions secret. When Benson states Delia is in the same line of work she is, Delia says she is the mother of three plus takes care of her husband and runs the farm and barely has time for herself. She adds it is not easy being a working woman and juggling a life, telling Benson she is sure she can relate. Benson says she has the time to run an escort agency. Delia calls it a matchmaking service and it is a hobby. Amaro says Ganzel told them she threatened him and tried to shut him down. She wonders why he would tell them that, and Amaro says Ganzel is under the impression a few of the women from her matchmaking have crossed over. She doesn’t know anything about that and she never met Ganzel and assumes they are investigating him. Benson asks if there is anything she wants to tell them, and Delia wishes she could, he seems like a criminal to her. She is sorry they came all that way for nothing.

Back at SVU, Benson tells Cragen she is not buying Delia’s “Sunnybrook Farm” act, she thinks Delia put a dead underage hooker in Clayton’s bed as an opening salvo in her war against Ganzel. Cragen reminds her on paper, Delia teaches at her children’s Sunday school, she drives them to soccer games, and if she is New York City’s most notorious madam, she is putting up quite a front. After they walk into Cragen’s office, he closes the door and the blinds. Benson informs him that vice investigated her for 5 years and she is trying to get her files. Cragen tells her not to waste her time, if they had something, they would have moved on it. She asks him if he is telling her to drop a perfectly good lead, and he hands her a large envelope, saying it was slid under his apartment door. It is a photo of Cragen and Lena, from when he worked undercover. Benson says this was completely legit. Cragen explains they both know that, but out of context, it looks bad. He says he will have to recuse himself and SVU from the case. Benson asks if he is going to kick this upstairs to 1PP, saying they could have been the ones who leaked the photos. Cragen says, “For all we know” is right. There is a knock on the door and Fin enters and says they have a call.

At the office of former Governor Harrison Fletcher, Fin and Rollins arrive, and Rollins comments that the assistant was there working with the former governor on his memoirs, and he just has a heart attack. The detective on the scene says that is what he was told. When Fin asks why he called SVU, the detective responds he is not a skilled sex crimes detective, but his suspicions were aroused when the former governor’s pants we unzipped and on backwards.

Later, the assistant tells Fin and Rollins they were editing chapter 7 and he just keeled over. She does not recall if he grabbed his chest or arms. When they press her on his pants being on backwards, and when the woman seems shocked at the allegation, Rollins says her picture is about to be on the front page of every New York paper. She says the governor was getting a massage when he died. It was not her, the governor’s aide called her and they met at the governor’s and they dressed him. He was naked and on the couch. When Rollins asks if the aide asked her to provide a cover story, she says the governor has a wife and children and there is no reason for them to know – and Fin finishes the sentence, saying "he died getting a happy ending.” He says they will need the name of that masseuse. She explains she was Japanese and his rolodex is on the desk. As the woman is moved away , Fin tells Rollins that makes him feel better, he’d hate to think hers was the last face the governor saw before he checked out.

At the morgue, Warner comments that Fletcher was with his young Asian masseuse and they are supposed to assume he died of low blood pressure, which she said was 70 over 25. She explains that adding to heart meds and alcohol, he had 200 milligrams of an erectile dysfunction drug in his system, which was 4 times the dosage PLUS 8 milligrams of scopolamine. Benson concludes he was murdered, and Warner nods her head. Benson adds that nothing of value was missing from his office, thinking this was a hit. Amaro says Cassidy all but outed Fletcher as one of Delia’s regulars. Benson doesn’t think Delia would kill her own client, and Amaro thinks Ganzel must have gotten to the masseuse, and that Delia started a war and he is striking back.

In SVU interrogation with Fin and Rollins, Yuko insists she did not kill  Fletcher. Fin says they know she was there in the townhouse; they found her fingerprints on the doorknob, the phone. She admits she sees him every Tuesday and Thursday at 8PM. He had a bad back. Rollins tells her to stop lying, or they will revoke her work visa and she have go back to Japan and tell her family why. She insists she is telling them the truth. Fin asks if she gave him drugs to keep him going, and Yuko is shocked at that question, saying he had a heart condition and it is very bad to take those. Rollins counters that someone slipped him those pills, but Yuko continues to insist it was not her. When she got there, he was laying on the couch not moving, not breathing, and he was naked. She was afraid to call 911, so she called Iris, who is her booker at the agency. Iris said to just go, so she did. She says Fletcher was a very nice man, very generous, and very quick.

With Iris in interrogation, confirming that Yuko called, panicked, and she told her to leave,  and Iris called the governor’s aide. Benson said the governor’s aide denies any knowledge of this. Iris tells them to check her cell phone asking why she would like about that. Benson says she is lying about everything else. Iris doesn’t understand, and Amaro explains the governor was given drugs that caused a heart attack. Iris seems shocked and says she doesn’t know anything about that. They just wanted to protect his wife and reputation. She did not know this was a murder. Benson reminds Iris she has two daughters and says if Iris is convicted for falsifying a crime scene and obstruction, they will be teenagers before she gets out. There is a knock on the door and Cragen enters with Marvin Exley as Iris’s lawyer. Exley tells Iris he needs her  to stop talking, but Benson presses Iris, asking if that is what she wants because if she does that, she will lose her last chance to help herself. Exley tells Iris they are lying to her and wants a moment alone with his client. Amaro asks who hired him, Delia Wilson? Exley says that is none of his concern, he is here to help Iris, asking Iris isn’t that right? He has his arm around her shoulder and tells Iris she is done here, but Iris looks conflicted. She tells Exley that he is, she is not. He pulls back and says, “Excuse me?” Iris tells him she is not taking the fall for this and she will talk to the detectives, alone. Exley, surprised, walks out and Benson and Amaro sit back down. Benson asks Iris to tell them about Delia.

Later, Benson and Amaro arrive at Delia’s with the NYPD and Benson tells her that her run is over. Exley is there and says they should have taken the Parkway, they would have made better time. Amaro tells Delia she is under arrest for promoting prostitution in the third degree. Delia says she makes fresh goat cheese and she helps people find love and there is no crime in either of those things. Exley calls out that one of Ganzel’s whores got to the governor an hour before Yuko showed, and asks Benson why don’t they bully them. Benson replies if either one of them have any evidence, they would be happy to take their statement.

In arraignment court, ADA Caliay tells the judge they have corroborated evidence that Delia has been running a prostitution ring with impunity for 10 years. Exley says this is slander, Delia is a shadchan which means she runs a matchmaking service as a kindness and she has a big heart. Caliay says Delia is also a suspect in the murder of a 16 year old girl. Exley asks why she isn’t being charged with that crime, adding Delia is a mother of three and a farmer, she is not a flight risk and has no assets. Caliay says her assets are hidden overseas and they have traced payments to Anguillan Corporations that Exley himself helped set up for her. As such, they are moving to have Exley disqualified as counsel. Exley claims this is w witch hunt, The judge counters that given the weight of the charges and the flight risk, he sets bail at $2 million. Benson and Amaro, who have been watching from the gallery, look very happy.

Later, Cragen, outside the court room, finishes a phone call. He tells Benson and Amaro that Delia is out on bail, Exley put up his own townhouse. Exley walks up and admits it, saying Delia is a friend. He thinks they don’t get the big picture, Delia has avoided arrest for the last 10 years, and why do they think that is? She has the goods on everyone they work for, everyone they will ever consider working for. He says they just don’t know how deep this goes. Benson says they will do their job and Exley should do his. Exley refers to Benson and her friend DA  Haden – saying she’s in way over her head, calling her “sweetheart.” Exley explains he gets top dollar for his legal advice and she will give it to them for free: “walk away, little people.” Amaro tells Exley to watch himself, and Exley says Amaro thinks his marriage is rocky now “kiddo,” just wait until his wife finds out about him and his star witness. Benson looks shocked. As Exley walks off, Cragen says Exley is playing some pretty serious hardball and asks them if there is anything he should know about. Amaro says nothing, they’re good. As Benson and Amaro walk off, Cragen has a look of concern.

As he leaves work, Carissa stops Amaro and asks if she can talk to him. He asks her to come inside but she won’t. He asks what is going on. She asks if she tells him what she knows about the governor’s death, can Amaro protect her? He asks what exactly is she trying to tell him? He asks if she was there. She says he already knows there is a war going on between Ganzel and Delia, Maggie got caught, and the governor. She trails off and then says she thinks she is next. He says they can protect her but tells her to come inside and he will take her statement. She is reluctant and says she thinks she should go, this was a mistake. As she tries to run off, he gives her his card and call him if she needs him, anytime.

At home, Cragen is waking up in bed, and looks slightly confused, and raises his hand to see it covered with blood. He sees someone under the covers and pulls them back. It is Carissa, her throat slashed. Cragen recoils in horror and breathes heavily. Cragen continues to look stunned as we fade to black.

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Esaul said...

This episode was brilliant in every way.

Jamha said...

Seriously, every aspect was pitch-perfect. It felt like a season 1 - 3 episode (especially when Cassidy popped up again). I had no idea where the mystery was going and I can't wait to see how everything turns out.

Does Detective Amaro remind anyone of Ray Curtis from Law and Order? When he was being hit on by Carissa (Pippa Black), I got flashbacks to all the times when female suspects and witnesses came onto Curtis while an exasperated Briscoe looked on.

janethyland said...

preliminary ratings were 1.9 key demo and 6.9million viewers total.

Good numbers for SVU in the context of demo figures since January.
Thats the highest demo for 10 weeks, tied with Father Dearest.
Theatre Tricks got 2.0 in january.
Highest total numbers since Theatre Tricks in January.

So its good for a night when other finales dropped.You cant compare with last year…different circumstance for SVU and NBC and networks in general.

It was brilliant.

Icy said...

What's odd is the lawyer at the end, mentioning Hayden to Olviia. Little does he know that they aren't even together and haven't been for some time.

It was weird for Olivia to mention his name..

Nick hmm, we all know his wife wants a divorce. Cragen waking up with blood on his hands, reminded me of that scene in the godfather..

janethyland said...

Theres a nice thankyou from Dick Wolf to Warren Leight, cast,crew, writers and fans on his twitter site.

leelee said...

it was a pretty good episode. I still miss Elliot though

sirmikelogan said...

Very good episode but I wouldn't call it perfection. I thought it was kinda slow and anti-climatic until that last scene. I remember it went to commercial break after the farm scene, I figured we were probably at the halfway point, but I looked at the clock and it was 10:44. It never got quite as intense as I wanted it to get.

I'm really glad that final scene happened though, since I was thinking the episode/season would end with Amaro just standing there outside that building. I was ready to go wtf.

I hate to nitpick though, since it was definitely a great episode.

Kyleigh said...

Last night's episode was amazing, shocking, and surprising. The ending is going to keep me wondering all summer long what is going to happen to Cragen next season.

Walter Mulder said...

I don't know, but the last scene could work very well as a setup to bring in the major case squad to solve this case. Obviously Cragen is pretty much sidelined, and with all the innuendo against most of the SVU detectives, they might be too.

Detectives Goren and Aemes, with the help of the SVU detectives could make for some nice rating for the 14th season opener.

lawfan1989 said...

THat was a good episode. I agree the season for the most part felt like the older early seasons. pre-season 7 good.
And yes yes yes Jamha, Amaro definitely reminds me of Rey Curtis in many ways. Ben Bratt replaced Chris Noth, whose Mike Logan I found reflected on Chris Meloni's Stabler. Both Pino and Bratt played younger Latino Detectives and I was thinking about the time Ray cheated on his wife while watching this episode and the time when Ray was accused with having an affair with a studio exec in LA.

LlamaJ said...

Maybe I'm the only one who thought it wasn't that amazing. (Or maybe I'm just disappointed that this is it for a few months.) I thought there were too many loose ends and hope that they all get tied up next season. I don't mind some "cliffhanger" element, but it seemed like there were too many unsolved details in this episode. I would have liked it to be 2 hours long since there were so many things going on. But it was well-written.

Anonymous said...

Based on SVU's history with Season Finales, I very much expected for Cassidy to die. In season 12 they brought back Sister Peg just to kill her, I figured they ran out of secondary characters to kill off. I too was wondering where all of the action was until the last two minutes, but that totally made up for it. Perhaps Cragen having to step down in advance of the investigation will give us Captain Munch? He's been stuck in the same detective job for 20 years, surely its time for a promotion?

On a side note, this is the first time the SVU Victim of the Week freaked me out a bit. I have a good friend named Maggie Murphy, hearing about the contents of her stomach was odd. Also odd: Taub as a pimp!

Jamha said...

I remember Taub when he was an adorable but smarmy defense gnome from Law and Order.

I'm glad they broke the trend of having the season finales arbitrarily kill off a character. I can't tell you which one I hated the most, the one where they killed O'Halloran or the one where they killed Sister Peg. On one hand, the former episode featured the worst writing I've ever seen on this show, almost as if it was written by someone who had never seen a police procedural before. On the other hand, the latter had a pretty cool character from the earlier seasons wander into the squadroom solely for the purpose of being killed. Sister Peg played no role in the entire rest of the episode and her appearance/death added nothing to the episode. At least O'Halloran was involved in the plot before his death.

No such complaints with this episode though.

janethyland said...

Final ratings for SVU Finale were better than the Smash Finale,despite age difference!

Smash got 1.8 key demo and 5.9 million watching.
SVU got 2.0 key demo and 7.1 million watching.

SVU did well by NBC means SVU had their highest rated drama Finale!

janethyland said...

Does anyone know the release date for season 13 DVD ?

ConnorBehan said...

Very well done! Episodes like this prove that Warren Leight really has potential for this show - it just seems like some of the other episodes were hit and miss.

Like many others I was afraid that the show would go downhill this season. I knew it would be our first time in 12 years not seeing Christopher Meloni and our first time in 9 years not seeing BD Wong. Little did I know, it also turned out to be our first time in 9 years not seeing Judith Light, Joanna Merlin and Joel de la Fuente - whose characters I have always considered essential to the realism of the show. What happened? Did this actors coincidentally become unavailable all in the same year?

Well I know what happened... every writer has a different style and the good stories Warren Leight had in mind didn't involve these characters. I resisted saying this before seeing all the episodes but I think he made a big mistake not bringing back Donnelly. Judith Light is the show's strongest performer!

Changes are also visible in the opening scenes. When the creator of a show envisions a crime drama, he or she has two usual choices. One is to give the viewer a brief picture of the crime and reveal details only as the detectives learn them. This is favoured by Sherlock, CSI and the Mothership. The other choice is to show the viewers a cat and mouse game where the perpetrators are identified early on. This is the approach taken by 24, Criminal Minds and Criminal Intent. I'm not saying that one is better than the other. But it is part of the identity of a show and not something that should suddenly be changed after 12 years!

Even if I sound bitter about those two things I'm very glad that there was so much continuity in this season. Warren Leight was definitely trying to keep the show in touch with its roots. I didn't expect to see Calvin Arliss, Simon Marsden, Ken Randall or Brian Cassidy! (He's come a long way from being afraid of buying condoms at a drug store. Anyone want to tell me what he got himself up to in LOCI?)

Anyway, I'm doing a crazy amount of rambling so I'll end by listing season 13 episodes that I found awesome. I hope I see more episodes like them in season 14: Personal Fouls, True Believers, Russian Brides, Spiraling Down, Father's Shadow, Justice Denied, Valentine's Day and Rhodium Nights.

Aline said...

Amazing epsisode!!I just don't get why they chance ADA'S so much,Stephanie March is out ou Made in Jersei, só it means she's out of a job AGAIN,wtf is the problem with this actress, she's drop dead gorgeous, good actress,and seems can't get a job...she's the best ADA in my opinion,I just don't get it.I don't like amaro, maybe cause I miss Meloni so much,Amaro is boring as hell.Love all the cast members...LOVE the end when they made Cragen end with thar cliffhanger.Warren Leight this was a great season, congratulations, just bring back SMarch, stop changing ADA'S, it gets confusing and we don't relate.I have the SVU complete DVD collection, so let me tell you...Alex is the best!

Arleen said...

Very interesting and entertaining episode. It doesn't belong to the SVU detectives (as usual) but I can understand the writers needed something "dramatic" for the ending.

With all the threats, foreigners, high-profile people, and Secret Service involved, the NYPD should pass this case over to the FBI. Pronto.

gahks said...

Just a question I'd like to throw to everyone: what were your highlights and low points of season 13? What things would you like to see?

Aline said...

@ConnorBehan I don’t agree with you, 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!!!!!

Ms Misanthropist said...

What show can pull out an ep like that in its 13th season. Outstanding acting from everyone involved with particular kudos to Florek. Cassidy was so cool. You know he'll be back. It was nice to see more layers to Amaro, and his interaction with the main hooker. Didn't like Fin's mean little line, but liked Rollins' reaction to it. The main hooker was good in her role too. My only problem: Where the hell was Munch? I appreciated the array of awesome guest actors. The ep was too big to add our favorite ADAs so it's good that part was avoided until next season. I'm actually excited about seeing how this cliffhanger pans out.

Arleen said...

The way the show ended I'm now wondering if Captain Cragen (Dann Florek) will be leaving next season. I would bet that the dead girl in his bed was a prostitute he once "visited", or maybe it was a reminder that he was a "customer" of that crime group back in his younger alcoholic days. If that's the case, he might get forced to "retire" or leave his job.

Of course it's only speculation, but that would leave the Captain's job open for Munch or Benson. Of course Munch outranks Benson, so they would have to come up with a reason to promote her ahead of him. They both have been there long enough that either one deserves it.

In any case, I hope they get back to more realistic stories next year, instead of the Teenage-Girls-Gone-Wild nonsense of this year.

Troy in Los Angeles said...

I thought they needed to end it the way they did. If Amaro had just stood there as Clarissa walked away, then it would have been a typical ending. If Clarissa had been killed some other way (ie gunned down, body found, drove over) it would not have worked either.
This way, we have many unanswered questions why Cragen? what does he kn ow in relation to those pictures that someone would want to frame him for?
I am also thinking we might see that same police guy at 1 police plaza from a couple seasons ago that was going after him via his command. (the short guy with the napolean complex that has been on a couple of dick wolfe shows like Homicide:life on the streets)

doctaswgrnthumbs said...

Does anybody know the name of the song that's playing at the party to start the episode? Please let me know shazam didn't work :(

Chris Zimmer said...

I haven't been able to find the name of that song or the artist - sorry!

janethyland said...

Try Fields of the Nephilim of something similar!

Joanne said...

Only just got around to watching this but it was well worth the wait. I wouldn't call it perfect but it was certainly very good. Great to see Dean Winters and interesting to see how changed he is given when he left SVU, he had this sort of choirboy feel about him. I was also pleasantly surprised to see Pippa Black who was on my favourite trashy Australian soap for a few years. Her American accent sounded pretty good, too!

@ConnorBehan - Not sure if there's a reason the show doesn't want or feel the need to bring Donnelly back, but Judith Light has been doing quite a bit on Broadway the last year or two so perhaps it'd be hard to work the show into her schedule anyway.

TokyoDreamer9 said...

This episode was so brilliant, the only thing I hate about it is that we have to wait for season 14 to find out what happens. Brilliant review :)

SamSam said...

Good ep, Has anyone found out the name to the song thats playing at the start of the ep at the party? or can make out what the lyrics are? i think i can hear "ohh ohhh ohh i love to drink it, i love to drink it, she so sexy, i wanna keep it on my table she turn the music down low??" or something

Stephanie Reid said...

what is the song name at the bachelor party

Asking Carolina said...

What is the intro (club) song of this episode???

Thank you

Chris Zimmer said...

@Asking Carolina - I don't know it, no one has been able to provide the information when I've checked in the past. Sorry!