Thursday, February 28, 2013

Law & Order SVU “Funny Valentine” Recap & Review

Did you ever watch an episode of Law & Order SVU and think it was so awful that you can’t quite put into words what was wrong with it? This was one of those episodes. I am literally at a loss for words.  I simply did not enjoy  it.

Law & Order SVU “Funny Valentine” was heavily promoted by entertainment media as being “ripped from the headlines” and inspired by  the Chris Brown assault on Rihanna in 2009. (While NBC never officially billed it as such, NBC's advance press release on the episode contained strong hints.)   Maybe because I was already bored long ago by the real story, the SVU version held no interest for me. The episode was predictable, the dialog was dull the acting was flat for the most part. There was no suspense or drama for me. The only plus side was the presence of Raúl Esparza as ADA Rafael Barba. His expressions and emotions always seem genuine; I was expecting his head to really explode during the grand jury scene. Despite the other enjoyable scene with Barba and Benson as he recounts a love of his from the 11th grade, even he couldn’t save this episode for me.

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
Tiffany Robinson - Micha Green
Roca - Caleb Bryant
Charles Malik Whitfield - Brass
Dave Navarro - Ferarri
Socorro Santiago – Judge Ortiz
Saul Rubinek – Mr. Price
Jeffrey Tambor - Counselor Ben Cohn
LaNeah “Starshell” Menzies – Joi
Lisa Tharps - Clara
Karen Tsen Lee – DNA Tech Susan Chung
Gamzee Ceylan – Jen Blanken
Wendy Williams – as herself
Perez Hilton – as himself
Sue Simmons - herself
Madison Elizabeth Zamor – Micha Green (age 9)
Joseph Halsey – Uni #1
Tara Moncure – Young Woman

A video of Micha Green singing, as a child, cuts to a present day recording session with Micha as an adult, signing with Caleb Bryant. They kiss as they finish the recording, with their manager Mr. Price complementing the take. Afterwards, over drinks, Price yells to stop Micha and Caleb from kissing, telling them to save a little of that for the video. He also tells Micha she has a great body and to see more of it. Caleb pulls down the shoulder of her shirt. She says that whatever sell, but they would not be here without Brass, and she thanks him. He hugs her and thanks her, and then reminds the others he told them to put their money on this girl.

Later, Caleb flirts with Joi and Micha walks in on them, complaining that she can’t leave Caleb alone for 5 minutes without him getting trashy. She refers to Joi as a beef cookie. The others laugh and as Joi walks off, Caleb testily asks what Micha just said. Micha says she was just joking, but Caleb pushes her forehead and then pushes her to the floor, asking how funny is this? He then picks her up by the hair and as the others watch and do nothing, he pulls her head into his crotch. She picks up her head and hits him with it. He calls her a skinny ass whore, and then lifts his fist to her.

Later, in a private hospital room as DNA Tech Susan Chung snaps pictures of a battered Micha, Benson and Amaro stand by. The CSU tech tells them she swabbed Micha’s cuts for DNA. Benson asks Micha who did this to her, and Micha said he did not mean to do it. Benson asks if she means her boyfriend, and Micha does not answer. Benson says Micha will need to tell them his name, and she names Caleb Bryant.

Elsewhere, Caleb Bryant and Joi get out of a limo to fans and photographers waiting at the entrance to a nightclub.

Back at the hospital, Amaro speaks with Brass who said he did not see what happened but guesses it was Caleb. Brass is not Caleb’s producer anymore, he works with Micha. He discovered her when she was 9 and is like a daughter to him. He states that Micha and Caleb’s relationship is complicated, but Amaro counters that it isn’t.

Meanwhile, Micha tells Benson that Caleb threw her down and pushed his face into his crotch. She tried to get away and her head hit his lip and that is when off. Benson said he beat her and choked her and asks who else was in the room. Micha tells her the engineer and backup girls. Benson comments that this went on for a while, and Micha says when Caleb goes off…and Benson replies she can see that.

Back at the nightclub, Amaro and Fin catch up with Caleb. When Caleb moves to take a photo of them to tweet it to his fans, Fin slaps the phone down and asks to see Caleb's hands. They see marks and Amaro asks if Caleb has been into something. Caleb says he was holding back an overenthusiastic fan. As Amaro cuffs him, Fin says they are going to take him somewhere where he won’t have to worry about the fans. When Amaro says he is under arrest Caleb says they are making a big mistake. He tells someone to “call his Jew.”

Later. At SVU, Counselor Ben Cohn complains to Rollins that they took Caleb’s clothes and that is harassment. Fin says they are evidence. Cohn says the jacket alone is $5K and he hopes everything has been properly vouchered. Rollins replies down to the last bloodstain. Cohn comments that he trusts they haven’t questioned Caleb in his absence, and Fin replies that Caleb knows better than that. When Cohn asks to see their captain, Rollins explains that he is out and that Sgt. Munch is covering.

In the holding area, DNA Tech Susan Chung photographs Caleb’s injuries and he asks the CSU photographer if she wants to see his other kind of pictures. Amaro calls him Romeo and then says nobody is interested.

In the interview room, Cohn tells Munch that if they are smart they would save themselves a lot of embarrassment. Munch asks what Cohn suggests they do, and he replies that the cops see a big fish of African-American persuasion and they salivate to bring him down. He asks how many rush investigations has he seen – corners cut, conclusions jumped to – and everything gets in a big pile of ashes and then apologies, lawsuits. Munch calmly says it has happened. Cohn says they don’t want it to happen to them as Caleb is a big superstar and he has substantial resources, a stellar reputation, and he is loved in the city. He asks if the NYPD can say the same? Munch glares at him and says nothing.

Afterward, Cohn storms out of the room, slams the door, and announces that he wants to see his client. Amaro asks if that was the one that kept asking for his Jew – and then points in the direction where Caleb is being held. Munch walks out of the room and Fin notices Munch is smiling, asking if Munch and Cohn bonded in there. Munch sarcastically says that Cohn is a concerned citizen who wants to make sure the department doesn’t embarrass itself. Rollins says he is hoping his client doesn’t embarrass himself, then shows the others a video of Perez Hilton talking about how Caleb boosts his gansta cred by getting arrested. Munch cracks that they should go on a double date with Chris Brown and Rihanna. Fin says it is too bad there were no paparazzi in the recording studio, and Munch asks if there were any witnesses to the attack. Amaro informs him there were at least 3, according to Micha. Rollins thinks they need to get to them before Caleb’s people do, and Munch advises while they are at it to make sure that Caleb’s people don’t get to Micha either.

At Rise Up Health Food, Fin speaks to a witness who is reluctant to say anything but does say Micha should not have dissed Caleb as guys like Caleb need to get their own way. She walks off.

Elsewhere, Joi, getting her nails done, tells Amaro that she did not see anything, saying she must have been in the ladies room when it happened. She says if you roll with Caleb your look as to be tight. Amaro asks if she wants to be Caleb’s next, and she says she knows when to keep her mouth open and when to keep it shut.

Rollins speaks with the sound mixing engineer - Mr. Ferarri - who says the punch was more like a slap. When Rollins explains the differing with an open or closed hand, he says Caleb punched her. When he says he saw Caleb choker her for a hot second, Rollins asks if there is some sort of three second rule, but he explains he meant it was real quick. Rollins asks if it was too quick for him to help out and watch her get beat, showing him the photo of the battered Micha. He sighs and says nothing.

At the Hudson Square Hotel, Benson and ADA Barba arrive to question Mr. Price, who says Micha is resting. When Price says Micha will issue a statement through her publicist, Barba replies that it can’t wait and they need to speak to her. Price agrees to do it and as he walks in the direction of Micha’s room, Benson stops right in front of him and tells him to wait there and then she thanks him.

In her room, Micha is watching a video of the arrest as Benson and Barba walk in. Micha asks if they had to do this to Caleb and Benson says he did this to himself and to her. Micha counters not according to her Twitter feed, adding they are either calling her a whore or begging her to forgive him. Benson suggests whoever did that she should block them immediately, what Caleb did is despicable. Benson introduces Barba, who says that he will be handling the prosecution. She asks if this is necessary, and he says unless he pleads guilty, this is going to trial. When she asks if she has to testify in public, Barba haltingly says that may happen, and he glances to Benson. Benson adds that they will be with her every step of the way, saying it would be good if she had other support, like family, that she can call. Micha says her sister, her mother and her boyfriend, but if they come up there she will have to take care of all of them. Benson suggests Brass, saying that he is Micha’s mentor. Micha says if she needs someone to say he told her so. Micha says she has been on her own a long time, but Benson says looking like this, and then points to the video on the screen adding for Micha to look at Caleb, acting like nothing ever happened. Micha’s face gets angry and she tells Benson that Caleb thinks he can do this to her and get away with it, it is not happening.

At arraignment court, Judge Ortiz asks for quiet or she will clear the courtroom. Benson and Amaro watch from the back of the room. As the courtroom quiets, the judge says Caleb is being charged with attempted sexual abuse in the first degree, assault in the second degree, and strangulation in the first degree, calling it a nice trifecta. Caleb’s attorney Ben Cohn enters the plea of not guilty, saying these were two passionate people whose private moment was wildly mischaracterized. The judge tells him to save it for trial and asks ADA Barba for his comments on bail. Barba says the defendant has massive resources and a propensity for violence, he is requesting remand. Cohn argues that Caleb has a sold out concert next week at Barclay Center and he is not going to disappoint his fans. The judge says she hopes not, and sets bail at $500K. Barba also requests a temporary order of protection as Caleb represents an ongoing threat to the victim, particularly as he has shown no remorse. Cohn says they are talking about two people who are very much in love, and as Amaro and Benson smirk cynically from the gallery, the judge replies that love hurts and then adds that Caleb is ordered to stay 1,000 yards away from Micha Green. The judge bangs her gavel to end the proceeding.

Outside the courtroom, Cohn speaks to the press and says if Caleb was signing opera at the Met they would not be here today. He believes that the DA’s office and NYPD are perpetuating the stereotype that hip-hop artists are gangster thugs.

At Barba’s office, Benson, Amaro, and Barba watch the press video of Caleb professing his love of Micha and that Micha will not let the NYPD send another innocent man to jail. Barba sarcastically says that’s good to know and they can all go home. Amaro tells him not to underestimate his charm. Barba replies that he doesn’t, Caleb is working hard to work the jury. Benson argues that Micha and Ferarri knows what Caleb did and forensic back it up. Barba says it is tough enough for a grown woman but a teenager in the spotlight…and Price storms into the office with Brass and Micha and asks Barba if he has seen this, showing him a video with Perez Hilton talking about Micha’s battered face, showing a photo. Price asks how the photo got out, and Barba says it was not from his office. Price says the video has been viewed 200,000 times in an hour and that is unacceptable. Benson comments that Price sounds more upset about that than the beating. Brass says they are all concerned about Micha, and Price says also about all aspects of her life, including her brand. Barba sarcastically says corporations are people and people are brands…and Price interrupts, saying Micha has an album that is about to drop and 4 major endorsements pending including one from a cosmetics company and this – her beaten face – is not the one they want selling makeup. Benson replies that will all due respect to her brand, Micha is also a role model, women and girls look up to her. If she stands up and says no more..but Micha says she just doesn’t know about a trial. She says like Mr. Price says, things are starting to happen for her – the single with Caleb. Benson question this, taking off Micha’s sunglasses to show her bruised eyes, asking if she means Caleb who did this to her. Brass replies that what Caleb did was indefensible and he breaks the law but Micha gets punished? Benson tells Micha that they know when men do this once, they will do it again and the bottom line is that Micha is not safe.
Micha says she wants it to be over and she does not want the world to see her like that, like a victim. She emphasizes that this is her call and she is not going to court. Micha, Brass, and Price leave. Amaro and Benson say nothing, and Benson turns to Barba who also has nothing to say.

Outside the courthouse, a TV news reporter says that sources say Micha has withdrawn her complaint against Caleb in the hope the couple can repair their relationship in private.

Benson, Amaro, and Barba are at a restaurant and Benson says they can take this to trial without Micha, they don’t need her testimony. Barba says that has changed; the Crawford Decision makes that a heavier lift. Amaro says that Rollins found that the sound engineer, Ferarri, just booked a gig in Buenos Aires, adding that is the game. Benson says they can’t just let him walk away because they know how that goes. Benson asks Barba if he can push for a deal before they know that Micha is backing out. Barba thinks it is too late, they are all part of the same music and industrial complex. Benson tells Barba he can be very persuasive when he wants to be.

In Barba’s office, Cohn is surprised Barba wants to make a deal, asking if it is be kind to prosecutor’s month. Barba holds out the front page of the Ledger, saying he found the cover photo – the headline “Beauty and the Beating” with Micha's battered face - disturbing but perversely inspiring. Caleb comments that this picture isn’t going to take the stand, and Cohn cautions him. Barba replies no, but the doctor who examined her will, and a neurologist who will talk about the effects of strangulation, and Caleb playing Russian roulette with Micha’s life. Cohn says their witnesses will describe her irrational fury at Caleb simply talking to another woman and how he had to defend himself against her rage, which of course she will rebut. Cohn then says with sarcasm – oh no, she’s not testifying. Caleb says Micha knows he wants to hurt her. Barba replies that the photo still puts a chip in the fairy tale romance, the all American smile. Barba adds if Caleb was going to turn against her, don’t just tell him, tell the world and accept responsibility and apologize. Cohn asks if Barba if he is a public relations expert now? Barba tells Caleb that people respect a man who mans up. Barba adds that Caleb said he was defending himself against her, and then asks what does Micha weigh – 95 pounds? Cohn picks up his coat and tells Caleb they should get the hell out of there. Caleb stays seated and, looking at Barba, tells Cohn to let the suit speak. Barba suggests Caleb admit the sin and repent - publicly. Caleb picks up the Ledger and looks at the cover photo Barba s its down next to Caleb and says everybody loves a good redemption story. Cohn asks what he is proposing, and Barba explains that it is something they can all live with, Caleb looks at Cohn.

Barba is back at SVU and when Fin asks if they are thinking about it, Barba says he made the offer, there is a clock on it and they have 12 hours. He explains that Caleb must plead to assault, 5 years suspended sentence and community service. Benson asks no jail time? Barba says they get a felony conviction and if he does this again, he’s a two time loser. Benson argues if he does this again, Micha might not be alive, adding that when an offender strangles his victim he is 10 times more likely to…and Barba finishes – to kill the victim, adding he went to a seminar and blandly states it was terrific. Amaro says then Barba knows this deal sucks. Barba says no witness no deal, and he had to play the hand he had. Rollins gets a message and says it looks like Caleb is playing his, saying there was a message for the Bryant team asking if they saw him on Wendy, which is airing today.

Later, they watch a video of Caleb on Wendy Williams and he gives a message to Micha. He speaks to the camera as if he were speaking to Micha, saying that he loves her and that he hurt her tears him up but that guy was not him. He adds that this guy – "the real me" – is so sorry and he is going to do everything to prove that to her. He canceled his tour and concert dates because right now, making things right with her is all that matters. He holds up a friendship ring in a box, saying it is for her and him and one day he hopes she will wear it. Amaro turns off the television and says Caleb is working it, telling Barba it looks like he took his advice. Benson says instead of the court of law, he’s pleading out on cable in people’s court. Barba says it is redemption without the felony, and Fin says Caleb is smart, that ring is right out of Kobe’s handbook. Rollins says Caleb is tweeting again – “bbc update, my girl is shaftmatized,” and he attached a photo. Benson looks at the picture and sees a bedspread that she recognizes from Micha’s hotel room. Amaro asks if the stay away order is still in effect, and Barba confirms it is. Benson and Amaro race out of the SVU squad.

Benson and Amaro arrive at Micha’s room and when Caleb opens the door, Amaro asks where is she and Amaro and Benson race into the bedroom to find Micha there, who says she is fine. Benson asks if this looks like 1,000 yards to him, and Amaro tells him to put his clothes on, he is under arrest. Caleb asks for what? Caleb tells Micha to tell them, and she explains she told him he could be there. Benson shouts to Micha that it is not up to her. Micha calls out to Caleb saying she is sorry and she loves him.

Outside the courthouse, a reporter explains that Caleb is back in court, accused of violating a restraining order that kept him away from Micha. Demonstrators are outside, protesting domestic violence.

At arraignment court, Cohn says it is an honest misunderstanding and that Caleb assumed that Micha could rescind the order. Barba cracks that Caleb thinks he is a judge now, but Cohn says it is all his fault, he should have explained things more clearly. Benson and Amaro watch from the back of the courtroom. Barba wisecracks that if Cohn wants to join his client in jail, he has no objection. Judge Ortiz tells Barba thank you, she has this. The judge ask Caleb if he failed to understand what she told him the other day, and he replies that he understood she was protecting Micha and he thought if she was okay with seeing him. He says he meant no disrespect to the judge. The judge says since Micha is not making a complaint, she is giving Caleb 30 days, suspended. The judge adds this is his last chance and if there is another misunderstanding, he is off to Rikers. Caleb looks happy but Barba does not.

Outside the courthouse, Amaro whines to Barba about the suspended sentence, asking why the judge didn’t ask for a photo with Caleb. Benson asks what did they do to pull Ortiz, she talks tough but sentences light. Barba says it is an endless disappointment to the NYPD that we don’t summarily execute people they arrest. Barba does not think this is a conspiracy, she saw a first offense, contrition, and no violence in the encounter. Benson believes she saw a woman who is traumatized and does not realize the danger that she is in. Barba says with domestic violence there is only so much the courts can do until the victim is ready. He suggests they keep talking to her.

As Barba walks off, Caleb calls to Benson and Amaro, calling them “team umizoomi” and asks if they had fun today. He asks if they’ve seen his new tattoo, and, pulling up his shirt and his waistband on his pants, shows them a tattoo of a beaten Micha. As Caleb twists around and laughs about it, Amaro asks if that was a gun he saw on him. He pulls Caleb aside and makes him assume the position as Benson tells Caleb’s entourage to back up. Amaro pulls out what looks like a flask, and then a small bag of weed. The smile comes off Caleb’s face and Amaro tells Caleb they are going to “take a walk,” and Benson follows.

At SVU in the holding cell, Amaro un-cuffs Caleb and tells him to take off his belt. Caleb asks Amaro what is his problem, he is a good looking guy with a nice smile, he would think Amaro would get him. Amaro tells Caleb to take off his laces. Caleb laughs and complies, telling Amaro they are both players, Amaro plays the good guy and he will protect routine and Amaro says Caleb plays I love you, I beat you, I’m sorry. Caleb says whatever they want, asking if Amaro has ever used what he has to get over on a woman. Amaro pulls off Caleb’s tie and steps out of the cell and closes it. Amaro tells Caleb he’s taken out all the lethal items but feel free to bang his head on the cell.

Later, Munch walks in and congratulates them, saying that Caleb was out and back in a club by midnight. Amaro says it was a good bust, he was carrying. Munch says ½ gram of pot is not enough to get a mosquito high. Munch informs Amaro and Benson Caleb has files a CCRB complaint which means they have to forward to 50 hours of delightful conversation on why they frisked him in the first place. Amaro explains he saw what he thought was a gun. Munch asks Benson if she happened to see that “menacing cognac flask” and Benson replies that she was standing right there, the stop and frisk was by the book. Amaro says his dad used to talk with his fists and he knows Caleb, he is a real threat to that girl. Munch counters that the more they harass him, the more they drive Micha towards him – Romeo and Juliet 101. Amaro says a curt thanks to Munch and walks away from him. Fin asks Amaro if this makes him miss Cragen, and Amaro says Munch is right, he does not like the guy. Rollins agrees, and adds Caleb’s latest tweet said he told the judge how much he misses his bitch, and loving her should not be a crime, and Rollins hopes she is not falling for this. Benson informs them she tried reaching out to her and Micha won’t call her back. Fin wonders if there is someone she listens to.

At Rhythm & Brass Studios, Fin speaks with Brass, who explains that Caleb’s dad was a pimp and so to him, that’s what it means to be a man. Fin thought Micha was like a daughter to Brass and Brass wouldn’t want her to be with that. Brass says no but he tried to be there for her and try to show her tough love but she is headstrong. Her family only calls when they need something and pays their bills, and her mother’s boyfriend runs the family. He is also not afraid to use his fist. Brass says he can’t fight Caleb and Fin says they can’t do anything until he does something again. Fin tells him to keep an eye on her, and Brass says Micha is having a big release party for her single tonight with Caleb and if Brass can get her past that, maybe the fever will break. Fin gives Brass a fist bump.

Back at SVU, Fin and Rollins watch a video of Micha at the live red carpet footage of the release of her single – the duet with Caleb. Munch comments that her people aren’t worried about the damage to her brand, and Rollins adds that if she didn’t know better she’d say this was all for publicity. Amaro says her team and maybe his are using her, but those bruises are real. In the interview with Wendy Williams, Wendy notices Micha is wearing the ring from Caleb and asks if this means she and Caleb are good again. Micha says she forgave Caleb and they moved past what happened, but the police keep targeting Caleb and they wouldn’t let Caleb come there with her tonight. Wendy replies that the police say that is for her own protection, and Micha says she loves Caleb and he loves her, and the NYPD can’t tell her who she can and cannot love. Benson comments that Micha basically just invited him, and Amaro thinks they should be on him. Munch reminds him of the Bill of Rights, and Amaro asks what about her rights? Fin says Brass told him he would keep an eye out.

At Micha’s party at the Blackout Club, Caleb arrives and meets up with Micha, and Brass make a phone call to Fin. AT SVU, Fin takes the call and Brass tells him that Caleb snuck in through the back door and he told him to go home. Caleb asks Brass who he is talking to, calling him and old man. Brass finishing the call, saying he thought Fin should know. Caleb asks Brass if he is snitching on him. Fin asks if that is Caleb, but Brass has hung up. Fin says they need to go now, and Munch tells Benson and Amaro also to go.

The get to the club and police are already there responding to a shots fired call. They enter the club and Benson radios that there are multiple wounded and they need busses now. Micha is down on the floor unconscious but breathing, but Brass is dead.

Later, as the EMTs take Micha away, Benson tells the officer to call them when Micha is conscious. Munch arrives, saying it looks like a war zone and asks if there was any collateral damage. Benson says the only DOA is Brass and there were a half dozen injured. Munch asks if they know how this got started, and Benson explains that anybody who could walk took off and those that were left behind say they know nothing or saw nothing. Fin pointed out on injured man who said according to him, he’s not here. Amaro says there are a half dozen handguns on the floor and anybody who was carrying dumped and ran. Amaro says if Caleb was there, he did not come in the front. Fin says Caleb was there, he heard him threatening Brass. Munch thinks whatever happened there, Micha was in the center of it.

At the hospital, Micha is conscious and tells Benson it is their fault, Brass is dead because of them.  Benson tells Micha she knows that is not true, and Micha says they wanted to turn her against Caleb and got him all fired up. Amaro asks if she saw what happened and who shot Brass and Micha says no. Benson explains they found Micha laying unconscious on the floor right near him and asks if she is telling them that she didn’t see anything? Micha says NO. When Benson asks if Caleb was at the club last night, Micha shrugs. Amaro explains that Brass told them Caleb was there, and Benson adds that she understand she is in shock and how difficult this is but if Caleb killed Brass he needs to answer for that. He had a wife and little boy. Micha insists she saw nothing. Amaro reads a note off a card that came with flowers which said that she can count on him, he can count on her, asking if that is from Caleb. She asks so what if they are? Amaro says Caleb is asking her to cover for him. Micha says it is just a lyric and then asks if they can let her get some rest, so they leave.

At SVU in the interview room with Fin and Rollins, Cohn is there with Caleb and he says he will take their questions but there is nothing Caleb can contribute about this tragic event. Rollins tells him not to be so modest, asking Caleb what time he got to the club. But Caleb says he was not there, he wanted to go but can’t get within 1000 yards. He says he was at home watching TV, and he was alone. He watched basketball and a cooking show, he channel surfed. Cohn asks if they got it, and Fin says they don’t got it, explaining that Brass called and told him Caleb was there. Caleb replies that he feels bad about what happened to him, but it wasn’t him. Fin says he heard his voice, and it is like a fingerprint. Cohn asks really, on a cell phone, in a crowded club? Cohn calls it a nice try.

As Caleb and Cohn exit, Benson, Amaro, Munch, and Barba watch. Rollins tells them that Caleb is a hip-hop, hard partying ladies man, and last night was the one night he was home alone watching the Knicks. Barba asks if they have any witnesses who can put him at the scene, and Munch replies they haven’t found any witnesses that put themselves at the scene. Fin says nobody saw who killed Tupac or Biggie either. Munch says surveillance footage looks like it was shot by Godard. Barba asks about forensics, and Benson says the gun that fired the fatal shot was wiped clean of prints, unregistered, and stolen from a gun show 6 years ago. Amaro thinks Micha knows what happened, but she is not talking. Benson thinks Caleb has a hold on her, and going against him feels impossible, but she did love Brass and that was real. Barba hopes she is right.

Later, as Brass’ wife Jen and son Curtis exit Barba’s office, she runs into Micha coming down the hallway. They embrace and Micha tells Jen and Curtis she is so sorry. Micha says if there is anything she can do, and Jen says she does not know how this happened and asks as Micha was there, did she see? Micha shakes her head no, and hugs Jen. As they walk off, Barba asks Micha is she is ready, and she nods yes.

Inside his office, Micha says she didn’t need to see them and asks if they brought her there on purpose. Benson, who is also there, said Jen wanted to know if they found her husband’s killer and they had to tell her that nobody was talking. Micha insists she did not see anything and then asks where are those papers she is supposed to sign. Barba says the papers dropping the charges against Caleb are printing up right now, it’s a busy day. Benson says they wanted to talk to her about last night, they think Brass was trying to protect her and was looking out for her like he always has. Benson shows Micha the video of Micha signing as a child when she was 9 and that her grandmother sent it to Brass and made it past all his people and he watched it himself, and Micha's life changed. Barba asked if that really happened like that, he thought it was just PR. Micha said it was true, that night he called his grandmother and she was so excited she kept dropping her phone. Benson reminds Micha that Brass paid for all her voice lessons and made sure she stayed in school and was a good girl. Benson says now his own son won’t have him around to do that. Micha asks what they want her to say, they are wrong about Caleb. Benson asks are they? They know that he was at the club last night. Micha says he just wanted to see her and they don’t understand, when they met it was so intense, flowers, gilts, trips, and Caleb always said he loved her. She felt like she found her prince. Benson said he was looking out for her, just like Brass did., until it changed, asking Micha that it did change. Micha replies that one night, they were at a club and he got a text. She asked who it was, she didn’t know it was from another girl, she was just trying to make conversation. He dragged her down the stairs and kept kicking her and he broke two ribs. The next day, he was crying like a baby. When Benson asks if he swore it would never happen again, Micha says he meant it. Barba asks her what happened last night. Micha explains that she told Caleb he could not be there as she did not want him to get in trouble again, but that just made him angry, He said he wanted to see his woman when he wanted to. Then he saw Brass on the phone and he went off. Brass told him to take it easy but that just got him all wound up. Caleb told Brass to stay away from her, but Brass stayed in his face. Caleb pulled a gun and shot Brass in the chest. Barba says they will need Micha to tell this to the grand jury first thing in the morning. Benson tells Micha she can do this, she need to do this. Micha says yes, she will.

The next day, was Benson walks near the courthouse with Barba, she said she told Micha good night at 10 and posted a uni outside her door. Barba asks if she seemed solid, and Benson replies so far so good. Barba asks if she has ever been in love like that – and Benson asks like the guy who would kill somebody in front of her but sends her flowers so she would let it slide? Benson says that is not love, that’s brainwashing. Barba says he knows but Micha thinks she is in love. Barba mentions the 11th grade, Lauren Sullivan, saying she could have massacred his entire family and he would have looked the other way. Benson says in the 11th grade he was 17, and Barba counters that Micha is 19.

At the Grand Jury, Micha testifies about the party and when Barba asked if she witnessed the encounter with Caleb, she is silent. Barba prompts her to answer and then she says Caleb wasn’t there. Barba is stunned and then asks her to go back, asking that Caleb was at the party, right? Micha says with a straight face that he wasn’t. Barba reminds her about being in his office yesterday and she told him and a detective about an altercation that she witnessed at the Brass and Caleb. Micha says Barba was pressuring her, and that he and that detective have a vendetta against Caleb. Barba testily asks did she or did she not tell them that she saw Caleb shoot Brass. Micha shakes her head and said she just repeated what he told her, she has been confused since that night and got a bad concussion, Barba counters that she seemed clear about it yesterday. Micha says he put words in her mouth. Barba angrily tells her to explain what she saw in her own words what she saw when Brass was murdered. Micha insists she did not see anything, she heard a commotion and people were running and she got knocked down. Barba, talking through his teeth and looking like he is ready to explode, reminds her she is under oath, and that lying to a grand jury is a felony and punishable by a term in state prison. She learns forward in her seat and says she is not lying and that is all she knows.

Barba storms back into SVU and asks Benson to swear that Micha had no contact with Caleb, and Benson said he did not go up to that hotel room and she did not leave. Rollins said there were no emails or tweets, and Fin explains they went old school on a burner cell. Amaro explains Caleb made a one hour call to Micha last night, and Benson thinks that is when she told him she was going to the grand jury. Barba says Caleb probably swore he loved her and that he was sorry. Rollins adds that he could not live without her, then adds that Micha’s latest tweet says she went straight from the grand jury to Teterboro for a private jet to Bermuda. Benson looks at a photo with the tweet of Micha and Caleb on the beach which says “counting on each other,  love rules overall.” Fin asks what do they do now, and Munch says they wait. Barba asks for what – and Benson replies “The inevitable.”

Micha and Caleb are on a yacht and Micha says it is so beautiful. He says she is the one that is beautiful. He kisses her and they continue kissing as they fall on to the bed. Micha tells him that she wishes they could stay there forever. He adds, just the two of us. His phone alerts him to a message, and he reaches over for the phone. She asks him who is that, and he asks her hasn’t she learned to mind her own business? He gets up, angry, and she tells him she wasn’t…He tells her not to act scared, as if she is thinking he is going to hit her. But she gets off the bed and begins to step away, saying “Caleb, don’t” as he follows her.

Later. as a TV news banner says “Fans Mourn Micha Green – Star Micha Green Found Dead In Bermuda – Boyfriend Caleb Bryant Taken Into Questioning” a report explains that shocked fans are gathering in Manhattan to mourn her death in Bermuda. As the SVU team watch the report, the reporter goes on to say that Micha’s body was found floating next to Caleb’s and Micha’s chartered yacht, and that authorities say it is too soon to determine cause of death but there were reports they were heard arguing earlier today. The reporter talks about Micha’s ascent to fame, and shows the video of her singing as a child. As the video continues to play, 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.


Yasmin Mitchell said...

Oh, how I disliked thee. This episode irritated me to no end. I wish everyone would quit on the whole Rihanna and Chris Brown relationship situation. Let it die. As for the episode itself, the actors were just terrible, atrocious. It was a lifetime movie gone wrong. Whatever the point that they were trying to make, tptb could have gone a different avenue and actually be effective.

OhSusannah said...

Agreed. Not one of the best Ive ever seen. Not sure why after three years , the writers/WL felt compelled to rehash this story.I strenuously feel the very real epidemic of Domestic Violence needed to be addressed.Just not in this manner with such a pop culture angle.The majority of victims are certainly not well represented in this episode.It felt very forced and heavy-handed to me. I hope that March 20 episode, after a few weeks off is a vast improvement. The only part i like was the little coffee exchange between Liv and Barba. Sad when a 45 second long exchange between the two centrals are the most interesting part of the 45 minute drama!IMO

xfool said...

This was a dog. I understand why you had a hard time putting your review into words, it's because there were too many things wrong with it. Except for Esparza - who seems to be the only one who is working hard to make a silk purse from a sow's ear - this episode could have been written and acted by a high school drama team.

If this is supposed to be their sweeps period, they picked a bad episode to showcase.

janethyland said...

Ratings were same as last week; 1.6 key demo.
9pm 1.5 key demo, 5.22 million
9.30pm 1.8 key demo,5.9 million.
SVU always improves in second half hour.

Apart from SVU and Chicago Fire ratings have collapsed on NBC. Average for NBC shows is now 1.2 key demo.

NBC have a huge problem with Smash and Deception and lead in for SVU was Guys with kids on 1.1 key demo.

I liked the episode and the way it was constructed. Good to see Munch back too.

Lisa said...

It was Meh episode I could have waited to see it in repeats
I liked the Mike Tyson episode much better

Anonymous said...

Lord, this was a BAD ep! I lost interest after 15 mins and took a phone call (& this is my fave show). LOL! If the guest stars are bad actors (or perhaps wannabes?), it affects the rest of the cast (in most cases). Nice to see bit of Much and more of Barba- he put in a NICE effort this ep.

Jeannette said...

It reminds me of another Chris Brown-Rihanna SVU episode from season 10 called Crush- except this time the beaten girlfriend took a stand and sent her boyfriend to jail.

BensonFan said...

Does anyone else suspect that Barba is Benson's mystery man? There were a few moments in this episode that hinted at it. I really hope he isn't. It'd ruin everything.

This episode wasn't terrible, but it wasn't suspenseful. There weren't even any interesting legal maneuvers made by Barba or the defense. They could have done a lot more with Tambor's character.

Chris Zimmer said...

BensonFan, I agree, Barba and Benson would not work for me, either.

Anonymous said...

Can Barba please just become the regular ADA? Raul Esparza has become such an asset to the show. While I also enjoyed Jeffrey Tambor's presence, I agree that Esparza was really what carried the episode.

I hope the return of Munch to regularity is a sign of greater things to come.

Kate said...

Not a fan if the story of this episode. I actually found it too nice too clean, it needed to be grittier of that makes sense. I loved the interaction between the detectives and Barba more than anything else. The story was just poo.

lois said...

I'm beginning to wonder why I watch this show after episodes like this. The end of s13 beg of s14 were so good but last night was just boring.
Of course we had the trademark Liv comment "with all due respect" when she actually doesn't have any respect for an opinion that isn't hers. Sorry I just rewatched beautiful frame and she was such a know it all bitch that I wanted to smack her.
I wasn't really up on the whole Chris Brown story but I thought it was lame that they changed it to have him beat her in front of a bunch of people and that she ended up dead.
Why was this SVU anyhow? She was not sexually asaulted.

mrmeadowlark said...

The ending of this reminded me of Natalie Wood's death.

qrratugai said...

I hated this episode. It was too predictable, no suspense; bad acting (oh how I love Barba!), no story at all. Rihann and Chris? Seriously?! Also, a lot of judgment was passed, and I found it amusing that Liv mentions that the couple should go on a double date with Chris and Rihanna. Funny.

I'm with whoever thinks Barba is probably Liv's mystery man. I'm not happy about this.... When Barba is talking about his 11th grade love, the way they're walking so close to each other and where their arms seem to be was, I thought, a hint of sorts.

Horrible episode overall. This season has been very disappointing.

janethyland said...

It is predictable that so many women go back again and again to the men who abuse them.Its disheartening for those who work in this field,and,as Olivia says,so often "inevitable".

There is more Law in it this season so that makes a difference.Good to see so muchempassioned response around the sites,whatever the opinion.Sites keep buzzing and ratings hold up.

OhSusannah said...

I agree that Barba and Benson wouldn't make a great couple.Their personalities are very much alike for one thing.I think Mariska has chemistry with virtually everyone- lol,to her credit. The way she and Barba exchange glances and smiles makes me wonder if he isn't her secret lover. But just from the pics Ive seen from March episode Undercover Blue,I am certain its Brian Cassidy.Their postures and heated argument on the courthouse steps, plus the way he's touching her makes it entirely plausible that its Brian.Not crazy about him, in truth but whatever.If he makes her happy,that's a good thing.

BensonFan said...

OhSusannah, I'd prefer Cassidy to Barba for Olivia's love interest. But I interpreted their kiss as a kind of "I'm sorry" on Olivia's part for blowing him off all those years ago.

Leigh said...

Clearly I'm in the majority, but I liked the episode. Is there a break now before SVU comes back on? On a lighter note, I'd like to see Olivia with Brian Cassidy, but I don't think it is likely.

Chris Zimmer said...

Leigh - I haven't seen the official air date of the next new SVU, but I think NBC is showing reruns for the next two weeks.

Leigh said...

Thanks! Not living in the U.S., I have to download the eps, and it's hard to know when there is going to be a break, or for how long.

Cardinal said...

I *think* we get a new SVU ep in late March...the 20th. Which is good, because then I can stop racing home from class and be able to relax as I watch them.

As for this ep, well, I need to 'go for diplomat' as fellow members of my tribe would say. While I greatly admire WL's abilities and love what he's done with and for SVU, this ep was much more simplistic than I anticipated. I didn't recognize the writer's name immediately; not to defend them and their work, but I will say it's a lot more challenging than most people realize to write for the show. (I'm working on two spec scripts for SVU at the moment, and even though I've made my living as a writer over the years, there is a LOT that goes into each script most people aren't aware of -- it's a complicated process.) This certainly isn't as easy for me as writing fanfic novellas or a crime novel.

I think the two main issues that baffled me were why SVU's writers waited so long to go to the Rhianna/CB drama, rather than going with something deeper about domestic violence? (I've was a victim of domestic violence for many years, only walking away after my husband tried to murder me. It takes a LOT of strength to leave, even if you have the deep pockets Rhianna does.)

The other thing was, the acting on the part of the two guest leads was very wooden. I actually tried to find out more info on Roca, to see if maybe this was his first acting gig, but there was *nothing* on the 'net about him. Is he a big underground rapper? What am I missing here?

I was thrilled to pieces to see Munch, especially when he takes over for Cragen. I've always been crazy about Sarge, especially when he's rockin' a three-piece suit. ;)

And Raul Esparza...I would hope he would be made a part of the regular cast. He's terrific! Barba has really grown on me; even when he does have those moments of being a jerk, it's played so perfectly by Esparza that I *love* the character.

Disappointing ep, especially for 'sweeps,' but when you swing you can't always put it over the fence every time. ;)

janethyland said...

Gwendoline Parker is a respected afro american novelist who has a fine grasp of thematic structure in this episode.
Overall the writers work as a team contributing to each other. One takes the lead but, like the SVU ensemble team of detectives, they work closely together in their writers room.
Its an interesting way of working.

Kittukat1978 said...

This episode was a stinker. L&O is ripped from the headlines, not three year old headlines, ugh. The only highlight was Esparza. He is the spark this show needs.

I'm with most people who think Barba is the mystery man.To be fair to those who think it can't work, we've only gotten a glimpse of who Barba really is so far, so there is no telling how he and Olivia will be together.

No matter what people think about Warren Leight he does recognize talent and Esparza is truly a gifted actor who has become an asset to the show. I think Leight and the writers took notice early and will make him "the hand" if nothing else to bring him back for s15 (fingers crossed for s15.)

Watch "presumed guilty" again and pay close attention for Olivia's reaction to when she hears Barba is skiing in Ghasthad, to me that is a dead give away that he is "the hand", that and the obvious looks they are giving each other in the latest episodes. No matter what, the March 20th episode will shed some light on the whole "hand" storyline. Or to just torture fans a bit longer.

Kitri said...

Regarding Olivia's mystery man--

Anyone think it could be Elliot?

BensonFan said...

I don't think it's Elliot. Warren Leight would never bring back Meloni ( even if Meloni wanted to) because of all the grief E&O fans have given Leight.

Kittukat, I too first had the sinking feeling Barba was the mystery man when the skiing comment was made.

It's true that we don't know a lot about Barba, but it'd be a huge conflict of interest if he and Benson dated.

I think it'd be funny if her mystery man were Trevor Langan i.e. Mariska's husband Peter.

Kittukat1978 said...

I have to agree with BensonFan, there is no way Meloni would come back. Too bad it would make things interesting.

When you said it would be a huge conflict of interest for Benson and Barba were dating only makes me think more that he is the mystery man. That conflict would be the reason for the secrecy and why she is not talking.

If it is Barba, was he the guy in the shower in the season premier? If so how did he and Benson meet? Wasn't Barba the ADA for Brooklyn before he came to Manhattan? If he is in fact the mystery man I hope the writers will attempt to bring some background to the whole story. One can hope right?

Cardinal said...

I'm 'old skool,' LOL! I'm still hoping it's Cassidy. (I mean, yeah, when they shot it, it was Danny Pino's hand, but who was he standing in for, right?)

I agree that the fans have given WL waaaaaaay too much grief over Meloni. You can see it in some of WL's tweets to the fans now. And yes, it gets annoying when they're ignoring the current cast just to whine about E/O.

I like the chemistry between Benson and Barba, but it would be too funny to have Liv going off to the Bahamas with Trevor Langan! ROFL! When I read that in the comments, it really made me smile.

Miss Capri said...

Oh, this episode STUNK! A complete disappointment. And on the subject of people working in the same department and dating - I never did go in for that. But that Micah got killed by this Caleb scum just ruined it for me, especially when they had her as a little girl singing at the end for an extra sock to the heart. Sucked is the word.