Thursday, January 10, 2013

Law & Order SVU “Beautiful Frame” Recap & Review

Law & Order SVU “Beautiful Frame” was an intriguing episode that felt more like a Law & Order episode than an SVU episode. Mind you, I am not complaining; I liked this episode. As Law & Order is always first and foremost in my heart, any SVU episode that offers a good legal story line is always enjoyable. Raúl Esparza adds a much needed spark, and I find myself waiting with bated breath to find out what color or patterned suspenders he will be wearing next.

I won’t complain that the primary case wasn’t really an SVU case. The connection between a past rape case and a current murder case was made by the use of flashbacks, well suited for this episode. I have never been a big fan of shows that use flashbacks, and while it isn’t a normal part of the SVU formula, in this instance it enhanced the story and provided a believable explanation for SVU’s involvement. But, had Cragen been there, the SVU team may not have spent as much time on this case. (Where are Cragen and Munch?)

The outcome of the cases left me unsatisfied. As DA James was so protective of Provo, I assumed that somewhere she would be implicated either in Tommy’s death, or in the cover up, or in some other dirty dealings with Provo which got her elected. The fact that Barba made a deal to drop charges against Provo  - allowing James to prosecute him and permit Jesse to get released -  was a huge let down. The promo tease for the episode said the SVU team would “uncover one of the biggest conspiracies they’ve ever seen” and I don’t think the episode delivered a conspiracy of that magnitude. If they went after DA James head-on for her involvement in any cover up or framing of a suspect, then I would agree that would be big. But clearly Barba folded before they even got started on any direct investigation of James. Jane Kaczmarek was perfect as the prickly DA; it was reminiscent of her role on the short-lived TNT legal series “Raising The Bar” where she played a prickly judge.

This episode – along with Raúl Esparza as ADA – makes me miss Law & Order only that much more.

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:
Raúl Esparza - ADA Rafael Barba
Jane Kaczmarek – DA Pam James
Enver Gjokaj - Michael Provo
Yvonne Zima - Jesse Sturgis
Renee Goldsberry – Defense Attorney
Shamika Cotton – Carol McEwan
Todd Gearhart – David Elias
Craig “mums” Grant - Eddie Baker
Robert Lupone - Gabriel Gorromini
Aida Turtutto – Judge Catano
Dan Debenport – Suffolk County Judge
Tony Campisi - Lawyer
Jonathan C. Kaplan – Sgt. Richie Russo
Joseph Masi – Tommy Bandolce
Matthew Foster – Counselor Gunther
Aymee Garcia – Operator #1
Antonia de Marco – Shep Morrisey
Bridget Megan Clark – Ally
Carson Grant – Larry Banks
Nicholas Damiano – Matthew Sturgis

Jesse is getting her son Matthew ready for bed as the babysitter Ally arrives. She tells Tommy she is leaving now to the address he gave her, 52 Cormack Court. Ally comments that she thought Jesse and Tommy broke up, but Jesse says Tommy wants to talk. While Jesse drives to the location she calls Tommy, frustrated she got his voice mail. She says she is 5 minutes away.

Elsewhere, a 911 operator  has a male caller who says he is hearing a couple fighting and she is screaming at 52 Cormack Court, Babylon. The 911 operator radios a Suffolk Police patrol car and the office says he is on his way. The 911 operator gets another call from a woman who says she was driving down Cormack court and she heard gunshots. The officer gets the report of gunshots and arrives on the scene, along with other patrol cars. They approach the address with guns drawn, and find Jesse standing over Tommy, who is bleeding and dead. She explains she was the one who called them, and said just Tommy was in the house. She explains she just got there and he was shot when she pulled up. The officer asks if she heard arguing or screaming and she says no. She screamed when she saw him. She give him her name, and the officer arrests her despite her protests that she didn’t do it.

At SVU, Fin gets off the phone and asks Benson when was the last time she heard from Jesse Sturgis. Benson recalls her as the single mom who was raped in the Meatpacking District. Rollins recalls it was over the Labor Day weekend and has still not gone to trial yet. Amaro says the DA’s office hated that case, Jesse was drunk and her story was a mess. Benson says she was raped, and when Amaro says he wasn’t arguing that, Benson goes on to say that she knew her assailant and was afraid her boyfriend Tommy would find out. Fin explains that last night, Jesse was arrested for killing him, and as the detectives show collective shock, Fin says ADA Barba wants to see them now.

At ADA Barba’s office while Benson, Amaro and Rollins wait, Suffolk County DA Pam James storms out of Barba’s office, tersely telling him that she is arraigning Sturgis today, and to get back to her. He calmly says he just needs to go over the case files with the SVU detectives, and tells her to have a good day.

As the detectives enter Barba’s office, Rollins expresses her surprise that the Suffolk County DA drove in to see him about Jesse Sturgis. He explains to pay no attention to James’ icy demeanor, underneath she is all steel. Benson questions why she is rushing to charge Jesse, if Jesse did shoot Tommy, it had to be self defense. Barba says that Tommy was unarmed and Jesse brought a gun, an odd scenario for self defense. Fin asks what this had to do with their rape case, and Barba replies he was just going to ask them the same thing, and to walk him through it. Benson recaps that 4 months ago, Jesse was raped by Michael Provo, Amaro saying Provo said it was consensual sex and she lied because she was afraid of her boyfriend. To that, Barba says Tommy Bandolce, the guy she was accused of murdering last night. He says that is why James wants to see her case, she wants background on Jesse, and is also worried Provo was falsely accused. Benson asks if James told him that Provo is a CI for her office and helped make her the DA, adding James is looking to protect her own. Barba notes that it didn’t come up, and either way she wants them to “open our kimono” and when Fin doesn’t seem to understand what that means, Rollins says James wants to see all of their case work and all the DA’s files. Benson finishes the statement saying James wants to build a case against Jesse, and assumes Barba told her no. Barba informs her there is a protocol among DAs and he can’t just say no. He told James he was new to the office when the case broke and he has to get up to speed, and tells them to get him up to speed. Rollins brings out the file and he notes it was over Labor Day weekend and asks if the local precinct got the first call. Benson said it was EMS, Jesse had been out partying with her girlfriend and she collapsed on the street and was taken to Mercy hospital.

Benson is at the hospital and she explains to Amaro that the victim is Jesse Sturgis, EMS picked her up semi-conscious and she was out of it, drunk. She told them she had been raped. Benson found a receipt in her bag to Babar’s Den, time stamped two hours ago, and Fin and Rollins are on their way.

At Babar’s Den, Fin and Rollins arrive and Rollins notes this is the third time this month one of their patrons got raped. Fin shows the bartender a photo of Jesse who says she was one of those “woo-hoo” girls, one who comes in and thinks she can drink like a man and winds up screaming “woo-hoo!” Her friends started to hook up and she left. Fin says she was assaulted after she paid her tab and asks why he didn’t cut her off. The bartender says the place is strictly bottle service, at the table and is completely out of his hands. He didn’t see her leave with anyone but she was on her cell phone. He says he is sorry she was assaulted, adding that is not on the club. Rollins mutters that it never is, is it?

Back at the hospital with Benson and Amaro, Jesse, whose injuries are being treated, asks why, she didn’t call them. Benson explains that before she passed out. She told EMS that she had been assaulted and the rape kit confirms trauma. Jesse says she does not remember, and then tells them never mind, she has to go home, Matthew is waiting for her. Amaro comments that Matthew is her little boy, adding that his picture is on her cell phone. She questions why they were looking through her phone, and Amaro explains they are cops and she was unconscious, and they needed to find an emergency contact number. She asks that they didn’t call Tommy. Benson mentions Tommy Bandolce, and that was the number she had listed, asking if that was a problem? Jesse asks Benson what they told him, then says she has to go, and if he sees her like this….Benson stops her, reminding her she has a face full of bruises and internal injuries, and that they need to find who did this to her. Jesse says she does not know, it was all a blur. Amaro notes this can happen, and asks if she remembers anything – who she was with? Jesse says she and Tommy had a fight today and she wanted a girl’s night out with her friends. She left by herself, but she remembers a town car pulled up and the driver had a gun and he made her get in. Amaro looks at Benson, who asks what the driver looked like. Jesse replies he was black, he attacked her. Amaro asks if that was right in front of the club, as she was found around the corner. All Jesse remembers is the gun, and when Amaro asks what type of gun, she says it was like a machine gun. Benson asks if she can tell them who she called tonight from the club. Jesse stares and Benson and says , “excuse me?” Benson explains to her that she called another number 3 times, once right before she left. Jesse glares and Benson and does not answer, and then a man’s voice is heard calling out her name, asking where the hell is she? The curtain pulls back and Tommy sees her, and as he moves in closer, Amaro shows him his badge and tells Tommy to take it easy. Tommy asks Jesse what happened, and she tells him to take her home. As she tries to pull the IV out of her arm, Amaro tries to move Tommy outside the area. Tommy tells Amaro they can’t keep her if she wants to go. He tells Jesse that the babysitter is on the clock and they should go. Benson shouts to Tommy to step back, Jesse needs to see a doctor. Tommy says no, but Benson tells Jesse if she needs more time, there is no need to rush out and she needs to see a doctor now. She tells Benson she just wants to go home, and Tommy takes her away. Benson and Amaro look at each other in disbelief.

Benson continues to explain to Barba they knew it was a crap story but also that Jesse was afraid of her boyfriend. Barba asks what is Bandolce's deal. Fin explains he is a two bit contractor full of assault convictions, bar fights. Rollins notes that Suffolk County police responded to three prior domestics at Jesse’s house; Jesse never pressed charges. Barba asked who she called that night at the bar; Benson says they traced the call to Michael Provo, James confidential Informant. Rollins explains the next day, she and Fin drove out to his PI’s office in Islip.

Fin and Rollins speaking with Provo, who says he was former AFT and has been a PI for sex years. He is a security consultant, he does background checks, Rollins asks if he knows Jesse, and Provo says he does. When Fin asks if he saw her last night, Provo asks what this is about, and Rollins replies they are all in law enforcement and they know that is a yes. Provo admits she called him, she had too many drinks and she asked him to pick her up. He says they are all adults here, he is married and is also seeing Jesse. He says she was drunk and mad at Tommy and when she is mad at Tommy she does him (Provo). Fin questions if this was before or after Provo smacked her around. He is surprised, saying that is Tommy’s MO. Provo said they were in the car and she got a text from Tommy and freaked out and asked him to take her back to the club. He said when he left her she was a little drunk but scared, and says he will give them DNA, prints, emails, voice mails, whatever they need – he has nothing to hide.

At Jesse’s,  Amaro and Benson play one of her voice mails to Tommy and she sounds drunk. She admits Provo is there when Tommy isn’t, and admits that black gunman in the town car wasn’t real. She did not want Tommy to know. Amaro asks “You weren’t raped, were you?” Jesse said she did not make that part up, she was raped by Provo. She begged him to stop.

Benson tells Barba that Provo kept smacking Jesse until she shut up. Barba recaps that Jesse drunk dialed Provo, the situation went south and he rapes her. Benson adds that Jesse said that if Tommy found out, he’d kill her. Barba adds Jesse wound up shooting him.

Later, as he hands out some snacks to the detectives, Barba asks them to go over Labor Day weekend, the night of the rape, wondering if Tommy found out about Provo and he was the one who assaulted Jesse. Amaro says Tommy had an alibi, Rollins adds was in Bellport, attending to the needs of a client’s wife which was confirmed. Fin comments that along with Tommy’s EZ Pass and GPS records. Barba says Bandolce didn’t rape her – for now – but Jesse still could have cried rape to cover up the relationship with Provo. Benson asks if she beat herself up to look good? She says Jesse may have lied from the start, but once she accused Provo, she was consistent in all her details.

In Jesse’s apartment, she tells Benson she was the one who told her to press charges and asks why they haven’t arrested him yet. Benson replies they want to make sure there aren’t any surprises. She asks is she on trial or Provo? Jesse said she had been sober for 7 months but she and Tommy had a fight that night and she had a little slip. She can never just have one drink and she had momentum. She said Provo has been in the picture since spring, since she last broke up with Tommy, who was his friend and kept coming by to check up on her. He never got rough with her before but if was her fault he did, she should not have told him to stop. Benson says she can say no any time. Amaro asks did she? Jesse said when they were going at it in his car, he gets a call, form his wife. She did not know he was married, and she heard kids crying in the background. She asked him to take her home and he got made. He said “bitch, you can’t tell me what to do." When he was done, he dropped her off at the street and reminded her he is a cop and if she tells anyone she will regret it.

Back at SVU, Fin says Provo is not a cop, he was an analyst for Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms 6 years ago. Amaro says either he is lying to Jesse or she is lying to SVU. Rollins says he has no NYPD record but finds that 4 years ago he was questioned for sexual assault in Islip by a Consuelo Diaz, charges were never filed but the victim was deported after a tip from a “former Federal agent.” Amaro noted Provo dropped a dime on her and he plays rough.

Later, Fin and Rollins bring in Provo and tell him there is a problem, Jesse will not move off her accusation. Provo says she has Stockholm Syndrome, she has been abused for so long she is afraid to tell the truth. Rollins explains that Tommy has an alibi and Provo doesn’t. Provo says Jesse was bombed and was all over him and his wife calls, which freaked her out. Fin shows him a photo of Jesse after the beating and says somebody did a number on her. Provo says Jesse was so mad at him she jumped out of the car, it could have been anybody after that. He tells Rollins he knows she has a job to do but they are hanging their hat on the wrong rack. Fin brings up Consuelo Diaz, and Provo says those charges were never filed, she thought she would get sympathy for fighting deportation if she cried rape. He knows nothing about her getting sent back to Belize. Amaro brings over David Elias for Provo, and when Fin says Provo did not ask for a lawyer, Elias says he was sent by the Suffolk County DA’s office. He says they need Provo’s help with a case. Provo apologizes and leaves, and Rollins comments that she did not see that coming.

Amaro tells Barba that’s when they knew that Provo had juice. Fin adds first they thought he was a source for the DA, working off a charge. Rollins continues, saying they started looking at the trials where Provo testified, backtracked to the case files and they found his anonymous CI number. Fin says Provo has been a rat since 2008. Barba notes that was a year before the Consuelo Diaz rape. Benson thinks maybe that is why Pam James never pressed charges in that case, Amaro adding it is not unusual for a DA to protect their asset. Barba says she is still protecting him; James is arraigning Jesse in two hours, and asks what are they waiting for?

Later, Benson and Amaro and Barba meet James as she is walking to court. She tells Barba she is due in court in 3 minutes and asks where is the case file. Barba said there were a couple reds flags; it turns out Provo was accused of rape 3 years ago. James claims it was not an issue, those charges were never filed. Barba said she never filed them, she was not the prosecuting attorney on that case. James retorts that this is not the city, they don’t drag the wrongfully accused through the mud. Barba counters that not when he is their CI. She tells Barba to save himself some grief, drop the charges against Provo; Jesse is an unstable witness and a murderer and he does not want to put her on the stand.

At arraignment Court at the Suffolk County Courthouse, Jesse pleads not guilty. James asks for bail to be denied, saying Jesse is a flight risk. Despite the defense protest, the judge agrees with James but sets bail at $200,000. Jesse shouts that she can’t afford that, saying none of this is true. She worries about who will care for her son and the judge says they will contact social services. Jesse pleads to Benson for help but the judge tells her that is enough as they take her away. Amaro comments to Benson and Barba about how fast this is moving, and Barba says this is not their courthouse or their case, she is Suffolk County's defendant. Benson says she knows , but Jesse is also SVU's victim. Barba nods.

In a cell, Jesse states this is a nightmare, she denies killing Tommy, saying he was dead when she got there. Amaro tells her that the murder charge is in the hands of the Suffolk County DA and they cannot talk to her about it, but Benson adds unless she thinks it has a bearing on her rape case. She said Tommy just called her twice, upset. And said he had to see her. He had her meet him at the house at 8. She rang the bell and there was no answer, the door was not locked so she walked in. She say him lying there, shot in the chest and she tried to stop the bleeding. While she is on the phone with 911, the police come, and she hadn’t even given them the address and a cop car showed up, sirens going. Right at 8, they walked in and saw Tommy dead, the gun on the floor, it wasn’t her gun, and she never touched a gun, and they arrested her. Amaro asks if she had been drinking, and she swears she has not had a drink since the night she was raped. She begs Benson to help her, saying she did not do this.

As they leave, Benson tells Amaro they have to check the timeline on the 911 call, but Amaro reminds her if she was a cop, she would have arrested Jesse too. Benson agrees if looks bad but thinks Jesse is telling the truth, She wants to see the case file. Amaro says he has a cousin on the job out there and will see if he can call in a favor. They are approached by Elias who serves Benson with a subpoena to appear in from of a grand jury for Jesse’s murder case tomorrow.

At the Grand Jury at the Suffolk County Courthouse, Elias questions Benson about Jesse’s previous false claims. She admits Jesse lied because she was hiding her affair from Tommy. She says Jesse was afraid of him but says even after the affair he did not harm her in any way. Elias asks if Bandolce picked up Jesse at the hospital the night of the rape and take her home, and when Benson says yes and attempts to explain, Elias cuts her off and ends the questioning.

Back at SVU, Benson tells the others she was out of the grand jury by lunch. She asks on what are they working, and Amaro explains they got the Bandolce murder case file form his cousin. Rollins explains the night of the murder, Tommy called Jesse at 7:06 and 7:40 and he begged her to meet him at 8 at a house 25 minutes away. Amaro adds when she called back at 7:50 saying she was 5 minutes away, he did not pick up. Rollins says at 7:55 a neighbor, Larry Banks, called about a domestic disturbance at that house. Amaro plays back the 911 recording. Rollins says even if Jesse was there, they got into an argument awfully fast. Amaro adds that 3 minutes later, a woman driving by called, and he plays back the recording. Fin says it came from a no name phone and Suffolk County police are trying to track it down now. Amaro says at 8:02, Jesse calls to says she found Tommy, and by then police have arrived and see her next to the body and the gun; he thinks it is a little tight but sees why they charged her. Rollins says no prints were on the gun and no residue on Jesse’s hands. Amaro says the gun is registered to Gorromini & Sons on 5th Avenue, sellers of fine clothes and firearms, and the owner claims Jesse stole the gun. Fin questions that he did not report the gun stolen until the cops talked to him, saying they should follow up on that.

At Gorromini & Sons, Mr. Gorromini tells Rollins and Fin that last June, Jesse came into the store and he noticed her immediately, she had a certain something. She said her pharmacy had been robbed and she needed protection. He never sells handguns and never without a license. He said she took the gun from his bedroom closet, he made the mistake of sleeping with her. He did not notice it had been stolen. He said the Suffolk County police assured this him would not be a problem as he was cooperating with the case, and Fin says he’s dealing with Manhattan now, so he is coming with them.

Later, at the Suffolk County DA’s office interview room, Barba, along with Fin and Rollins, speak with Gorromini’s lawyer with Gorromini present. Barba says if Gorromini does not hold back, they will not hold anything against him. He admits that he is not sure how Jesse got the gun, he never even met her. Michael Provo asked to borrow the gun on her behalf about a week ago. He said it was a personal favor. He admits that Provo saved his license 10 years ago when he tipped him off about an AFT sting. He called the other night and said the gun was used in a crime and said he would smooth it over with the DA. The story about Jesse stealing the gun came from Provo.

Afterwards, Barba tells Benson that Provo got Gorromini to lie and tells her to find out if he coerced any other witnesses. Benson says she is way ahead of him, giving him a file on Larry Banks, who made the first 911 call. He had two DUIs which were dropped. Barba asked about the woman who called in the gunshots, and Benson replies that the Suffolk County Police claim they are still trying to trace the cell phone, but their working theory is that Provo held a gun to Tommy’s head and forced him to call Jesse. Barba thinks once she is on her way, Provo triggers the 911 calls and the police arrive just after Jesse does. Rollins thinks it is time to have a sit down with the Suffolk County DA. Barba pulls open his jacket, showing his suspenders, and says, smiling, “Open our kimono? I don’t think so. The gun came from Manhattan, we’re closing in on a conspiracy. This is our case now.”

Later, at Provo’s home where he is loading up his car for a trip, Rollins and Fin arrest Provo for the County of New York for rape, conspiracy and murder. Provo yells at his to family get inside and to call Pam James now. As Fin gets him into the back seat of the car, Provo asks if they really have to do that, and Fin says Provo still thinks he is special.

Later, Pam James walks into Barba’s office and she is upset about Provo’s arrest. They trade barbs. James thinks this is payback but Barba denies it, adding that it doesn’t stop with Provo framing Jesse for murder. James said Provo did not frame Jesse, and Barba said if she admitted that, she’d have to reopen even case where Provo was involved and her whole office could be involved. He said Provo has her whole office jumping through hoops. She says he attacked the integrity of her office, he is in for the fight of her life. Barba counters that he doesn’t mind a little blood on the canvas, adding she has an event to go to and to enjoy – he has a case to prepare.

At the jail, Benson and Amaro update Jesse but also say that the Suffolk County DA will not drop the charges. Amaro says they believe she was framed, Suffolk County thinks she did it, it is two separate counties and trials. Jesse is upset and Benson says they are building her case and working with her defense team and the DA will not give up. When Benson asks her to hang in there a little longer, Jesse coldly tells them to get out, screaming.

At the preliminary hearing, Barba states his case to consolidate the rape and the murder cases against Provo. Despite Provo’s attorney’s objections,  Judge Catano agrees with Barba. After the judge rules, Pam James asks to address the court. Barba objects, saying James is not a party in this case. But James says this matter has a bearing on a case in Islip and she wants to make her aware of that conflict. The judge allows them to approach. James explains that Jesse is under indictment in Suffolk County for the same murder and they go to trial on Monday and asks the judge to dismiss the charges. Barba says the law allows for different defendants to be charged in different jurisdictions for the same crime. The judge says Barba is right. James asks the judge stay the case until James trial is over. Barba cracks that her jury’s verdict would dictate the course of his trial? The judge says she does not run the Manhattan courtroom on Suffolk time, she can try her case and Barba will try his.

Afterwards, Barba tells Benson they are in business, but she wonders about two trials at the same time and what if Suffolk County goes to jury before Manhattan? He says they can leave that for the appellate court. Benson worries while Jesse rots in her jail cell and Provo is out on bail? Barba asks if she thinks she can do this faster, help herself.

At the Suffolk County Courthouse, James begins her opening statements against Jesse. In Manhattan, Barba tells his jury to forget what they heard about the Suffolk County DA’s case, his case is about injustice compounded. He lists the charges against Provo, including conspiring to frame Jesse for the murder.

In Suffolk County, Provo testifies he did not murder Tommy and that a week before the murder, Jesse asked him for a gun to teach Tommy a lesson.

In Manhattan, Jesse testifies that after Provo raped her, he told her he was a cop and if she told anyone, she would regret it. This worried her, as he bragged about all his connections and he could set up any one at any time.

Afterwards, in the court hallway, Amaro and Rollins speak with Barba who says Provo charmed his jury and, looking at his phone, adds Provo is getting a little help from DA James. She just produced a new witness -  the second 911 caller who heard the shots testifies tomorrow. Amaro complains they were sandbagged. Barba says Provo got the others to lie for him, and to find out what he has on her.

At the residence of Carol McEwan and Eddie Baker, Amaro and Benson asks to speak with Carol but Eddie says no. Carol says they have been married 10 years and she is more comfortable with her husband here. The DA told her not to talk to anyone about the 911 call before she testifies, not even cops. Amaro states that Carol lives ½ hour from the crime scene, and she just happened to be driving by that night? She says she was taking a short cut to meet her husband, it was their anniversary. Eddie tells them goodbye and to go back to the city, they have nothing else to say to them. As he begins to shut the door, Benson asks Carol if she is scared of Michael Provo? Eddie shuts the door.

Back at SVU, Benson tells the others it was a wasted trip. Fin says they haven’t found a connection between Carol and Provo. Rollins says she may not be the connection, it could be Eddie. He was paroled last January after 5 years in Queensborough Correctional for felony cocaine sales – and the informant who set him up testified against Michael Provo. Amaro wonders why Eddie’s wife is testifying FOR Provo?

Later, Benson and Amaro catch up with Eddie at his parole officer’s and he says they have no reason to be busting his balls, he’s broken no laws since he’s been out. Amaro says Eddie and Provo used to be friends and Provo set him up. Eddie calls him a so-called friend, saying Provo stabbed him in the back and everything he says is a lie. Benson asks why is his wife helping Provo, and Eddie replies if he had any say she would not be. He walks off. Benson thinks Provo has Carol cowed – Amaro thinking it is the same way Tommy pushed Jesse around. They suddenly both get a look of realization on their faces.

Benson and Amaro approach Carol, who is opening the trunk of her car and loading groceries. Benson asks if it is Provo who says they can’t talk to them. Carol says nothing. Amaro reminds her she said she heard shots on her way to their anniversary dinner but that her and Eddie are common-law. Carol replies did not say it was a wedding anniversary. Benson says it was another kind, it has been a year since Eddie was paroled, Amaro adding that Provo helped send Eddie to prison. Carol says they don’t owe Provo anything. Amaro says Eddie was supposed to do 15 years upstate, instead he did 5 in Queensborough Correctional, a lot closer to her house. When she says Eddie got time off for good behavior, Amaro adds that it was because Provo called the DA to intercede on Eddie’s behalf. Amaro says they know Provo’s MO, he was having a relationship with her while her husband was away. She says they can’t prove it, but Benson says that is what he does, takes advantage of women in trouble.. Amaro says Provo threatened to tell Eddie about the affair, and Carol says if Eddie finds out he will kill her and then kill himself. Benson says they do not want to have to tell him but there is an innocent woman looking at 25 years to life. Carol asks if they are blackmailing her into doing what is right, asking who is taking advantage of who now?

Back at SVU, DA James storms in, asking the detectives and Barba -  there with Provo -  what is going on. Barba says it is a professional courtesy, he did not want to blindside her. He was just informed that Jesse’s defense attorney will be recalling Provo. Provo says he is not worried, but Barba says he should be. Rollins tells Provo that his friend, Gabriel Gorromini, misinformed the Suffolk County Police and Jesse did not steal that gun from him, Gorromini gave it to Provo. Provo says he is lying, asking if they jammed up Gorromini on his license. Barba says no, that is what Provo did. James says their office is already looking into this. Benson comments there is lots to look into, and suggests to James they all take a walk. They head over to the interrogation room, where they see Larry Banks talking with Fin, and Rollins says Banks now admits the call was a fake, it was payback for Provo for getting him out of 2 DUIs. Provo denies it. Benson brings up the second 911 call made by Carol, and they walk to the other interrogation room and see Carol talking with Amato. James says Carol is a witness on her list, and Barba says she is on his now. Rollins says Carol is going to testify she was blackmailed by Provo into making false report. Provo refers to as a lying bitch, and Benson tells Provo his frame is collapsing, saying the Carol even saved the texts he sent her. James looks beside herself and Barba says he can only imagine how angry James must feel right now and he can see why he wanted to give her a heads up. Provo tells her not to believe this, they are framing him. She tells Barba these allegations come a shock to her and he can be assured her office will conduct a thorough investigation. He says no doubt she will. Rollins suggests in the meantime, all her charges against Jesse should be dropped. James says, “due diligence first, detective” but Benson says she calls it saving face. Benson adds that Jesse is innocent and she has a child in foster care. Barba says once he get Provo convicted of conspiracy, every one of her cases he was involved with will be under a microscope, and so will her office. Provo asks her to think about what that means, and she tells him not to threaten her – either of them. Barba says no threat was intended; he and James both want the same thing, they are on the same side. Mistakes were made, but at the end of the day, they both want justice. She pauses and then says yes, of course. She suggests they keep it simple; Tommy was killed in Babylon, if Barba withdraws all charges against Provo she will withdraw all charges against Jesse. Benson rolls her eyes, and Provo says to hell she will. Barba says James will file murder charges against Provo in Suffolk County – Provo is incensed – and James says she will conduct an internal investigation into all cases he was involved in. Provo says James really set him up – after everything he had done for her. He says she would still be putting her tits on a table for traffic court judges if it wasn’t for him. James tells them to get Provo out of her sight. Fin and Amaro take him away, while he tells her if he goes down, she is going down with him, screaming he will bury her.

Afterwards, Jesse is released to her waiting son. Amaro says Provo is going away for a long time. Amaro takes Matthew aside and Benson explains to Jesse that they had to withdraw the charges as Barba had to make a deal to get her out right away, that was the priority. Jesse says then the rape never happened? Benson replies legally, no. Benson tells her to take Matthew home, she won. Jesse walks over to Matthew t take him home.  As she walks off, Amaro says to Benson, “Raped, put in jail, her kid taken away, I don’t know how she held it together.” Benson thinks she did it for her son…and we fade to black.

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janethyland said...

Another great episode and more great ratings.For second week running SVU has equalled its Season premiere, 2.1key demo and 8.3million.

9pm : 1.9 key demo/ 7.7million
9.30pm:2.2 key demo/ 8.3million

Thats some triumph for a 14year old show that lost a major character and was put in a timeslot not suitable to its content. Stacked against the odds,it is doing really well. All credit to the current team of cast and crew. They obviously enjoy working together, and a lot of people are enjoying watching.

Marc Berman even gave it an "honourable mention"!

CLA said...

"Thats some triumph for a 14year old show that lost a major character and was put in a timeslot not suitable to its content. Stacked against the odds,it is doing really well. All credit to the current team of cast and crew. They obviously enjoy working together, and a lot of people are enjoying watching."

Commentary perfect. I wonder if he had remained the SVU 10.00 hours of Tuesday as were their ratings. Great episode and much hope for a renewal.

. said...

SVU: "Beautiful Frame" makes up for that disastrous episode from last week, "Presumed Guilty".

Like you said ATL&O, it's a reminder of the mothership Law & Order (which I wish was back on TV now), and Raul Esparza has truly proved himself a worthy opponent in the courtroom. I see Cabot and Novak fans flipping out because Warren Leight has said he can't bring them back because of budget issues.

To be honest, I don't really want them to come back, I want more ADA Barba and I hope Leight chooses to keep Esparza in season 15 (hopefully renewed, the future seems a little bit brighter for SVU), and hopefully Leight has more courtroom drama prepared for the remainder of season 14!

Great episode, loved Kaczmarek especially, so ruthless like Lois!

These "spikes" in SVU's ratings are proof SVU needs to get away from Criminal Minds & CSI. I hope Tuesdays at 10 are in SVU's future, or Fridays at 10. I think Grimm & SVU would tear up NBC Fridays (Grimm beats CSI: NY in the demo).


janethyland said...

As episodes go, I preferred last weeks, Presumed Guilty...but I can still appreciate those episodes appealing to other sorts of fans without feeling they have to be attacked.

Fans think differently about episodes because we are all coming in from different angles.I dont like court shows, I prefer character shows which is why i prefer SVU to the original.

And I appreciate the fact these writers are including everyone.They can be congratulated for making that effort.

xfool said...

This episode was far better than last weeks, Presumed Guilty, in my opinion. At least it had some semblance of a story that had some meat to it. I groan at the use of flashbacks - however - the fact that they used it to explain the rape case to Barba, I am OK with it. It beats the possible alternative: the detectives verbally recapping the case in a minute or two and having the rest of the time being wasted on scenes that have no bearing on the story (as a few episodes did this season).

I like Raul Esparza even though he's a bit of a scenery chewer. This show NEEDS a scenery chewer so I hope that Raul continues to come back. I enjoy watching him.

It's good to see the higher viewer numbers but they are against a weak schedule. Now they won't have a new episodes for a few weeks and they could lose momentum. They needed to be on the whole month with new eps but I assume that Hurricane Sandy messed with their shooting schedule?

Did the Suffork DA's conference room look just like Michael Cutter's SVU Bureau Chief office? It looked like the same set. And was Barba using Jack McCoy's leather sofa? I swear that is Jack's sofa. I miss Law & Order too.

Katherine said...

What does 'killed in babylon' mean/refer to?

Chris Zimmer said...

It means just what it says - he was killed in Babylon (the city of Babylon NEW YORK)!

Jamha said...

The episode that this reminds me is the original L & O episode that is based on the Whitey Bulger case -- the one where there are twins and one of them is a hardcore criminal and the other one is a math teacher, and the criminal brother kills a witness to cover up a murder committed by the math teacher brother, and the criminal brother is aided and abetted by FBI agents who cover up his crimes in exchange for him helping them make cases.