Thursday, February 14, 2013

Law & Order SVU “Secrets Exhumed” Recap & Review

Law & Order SVU “Secrets Exhumed” brought out a deep dark secret in FBI Agent Dana Lewis’ past – she’s a murderer. She has quite a history with SVU and an appearance by Dana Lewis usually means trouble. For example, in the episode “Raw,” both Stabler and Munch get shot in a courtroom (Munch being shot in his behind, of all places) as Dana was working undercover. But in this episode, she finds even her best profiling and interrogation skills can’t hide her past crime from the SVU team. It’s Amaro, who has no past with Dana, who first raises suspicions about her involvement in the old murder case. Benson may have been defensive of Dana at the beginning, but when it became obvious that Dana was hiding a horrible secret, Benson was not afraid to apply the right amount of pressure to help get the confession.

It was fairly obvious where this story was headed right from the start; the previews and the episode trailer may have tipped off a bit too much. Still, it was entertaining to see the story unfold and the usual self assured Dana become emotional and crack under the pressure. In fact, had Dana kept her nose out of the serial rape/murder case to begin with, her secret could have remained secret. Dana’s need to control every situation ended in her downfall by unwittingly giving the detectives more reason to connect her to the 5th murder. The only thing that was not quite clear to me – maybe I missed something – was if all 5 victims were all raped and murdered, how exactly did Dana convincingly stage the rape part of this crime? (Maybe I don’t want to know). Marcia Gay Harden brings so much personality to Dana Lewis, and her character has such an interesting history with the series, that it is somewhat sad to see an SVU fan favorite be exposed as a criminal.

The whole cast of regulars was back for this episode, and this adds such depth to the story when everyone can participate. It was wonderful to see Munch return and viewers finally get an explanation for his absence. Hopefully, he won’t get lost in the cold case storage area and we will get to see him in more episodes this season.

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:
Marcia Gay Harden – FBI Agent Dana Lewis
Roscoe Orman – Jerome Howard
John Ottavino – Mr. Stanger
Opal Alladin – Gina’s Friend
Jay Karnes – Noah Bunning
Harold Perrineau – Brian Traymor
Kathleen O’Neill – Mary Stanger
Sue Kim - Detective Emily Ling
Danny Bolero – Ramon Velez

The SVU detectives are in the squad room and working on switching desks, and Fin gripes that he does not want to move. Benson cracks back to Fin that it is 6 feet. Cragen adds they are all too complacent, he’s said it before and he will say it again – it’s a new year and he wants to shake things up. Fin says he liked his old desk, and Amaro suggests they get him a grief counselor. Fin replies “says the guy who doesn’t have to move.” Munch walks in and comments that he is gone away for a few months and they are rearranging the furniture. He asks what’s next, carpeting and paper towels in the men’s room? Cragen says, “Well, if it isn’t the man who came in from cold case.” Benson welcomes him back. Munch states that everyone says that the DNA bank at the state is a good thing, but the downside is somebody has to go through the cases. The upside: he got a hit on an unsolved rape/murder from 1987. Rollins comments that is not cold, it’s frigid, asking what they have on the suspect so far. Amaro reads from the file, stating it is Brian Traymor, 52, picked up in Miami on cocaine possession. Munch informs them by the time Traymor’s DNA had been processed, he had served his 3 months and is being released tomorrow. Cragen says he will have the DA start the extradition papers, ands instructs Benson and Amaro to book the next flight to Miami. Fin whines that he has a feel for Miami as he worked there undercover. Cragen tells Fin and Rollins to work the case from here – re-interview witnesses, track down evidence – he doesn’t want to rely on 25 year old DNA.

Benson and Amaro walk in to the Dade County Correctional Facility, and Benson comments that she thinks South Florida is overrated. Amaro asks if it is the sun, coffee, or the people, and Benson says it is the heat and the bugs. They check their weapons at the front desk. Amaro says he didn’t hear her complaining about the Bahamas. An corrections officer greets them by telling them they have a problem. Benson questions if Brian Traymor IS being released today, and when the officer says yeah, Amaro asks what is the problem. The officer explains that the FBI beat them to the punch. They walk over to see that the FBI agent in question is none other than Dana Lewis. Dana and Benson greet each other and Benson introduces Dana to Amaro. She says it is nice to meet him, calling him sunshine. He asks what the FBI’s interest is in a New York cold case, and Dana explains they think he is a serial, he is their prime suspect in three other rape/murders in Sacramento, Philadelphia, Washington, besides the two in New York. Amaro says the DNA match to the Manhattan case makes it theirs, adding that these are not Federal crimes. Dana asks if they can work together on this, and Benson comments to Amaro that when Dana asks, it is not really a question. Amaro says he is getting that. They look over and see Brian Traymor entering and he is in a wheelchair. Amaro ask Dana if she knew Traymor was in a wheelchair, and Dana replies she is as surprised as they are. Benson walks up to Traymor and announces she is NYPD, and that they have a warrant for his arrest. Amaro hold out the warrant but Traymor doesn’t take it, saying he did his time on the coke bust and they said he could go home. Dana says he was misinformed, and Benson explains they will be taking him back to his old stomping grounds in New York City. He asks for what, and Dana informs him it is for rape and murder; it has taken 25 years but his past has finally caught up with him. Amaro hands him the warrant and then begins to push the wheelchair.

Back at SVU, Benson explains to the group that Brian Traymor was paralyzed from the waist down in a bus accident April 1988, 3 months after his last suspected attack. Cragen thinks this explains his absence from the system in over 2 decades. Fin questions if they are sure he is good for all 5. Dana says it is the same pattern; all of the women were raped then tied up and strangled with athletic tape and he wore latex gloves and stuffed them in the women’s’ mouths. Benson adds that from 1986 to 1988, Traymor was the assistant equipment manager to the Atlanta Barons basketball team. Their away game schedule puts Traymor in every city or on a day off at the times of the murders. Rollins comments that the DNA was not usually run in 1987, asking how did they get lucky? Munch explains that cold case in Sacramento and New York ran DNA from rape kits 10 years ago and there were no hits until Traymor was arrested. Swabs matched Traymor’s DNA on the Sacramento victim Theresa Grey and on the first New York victim, Gina Mantos. Dana adds that the Philadelphia and Washington never ran DNA so they put in a request to expedite. Cragen asks how about a confession, did Traymor give anything up on the plane ride. Amaro replies he just looked out t he window but he did waive his right to counsel. Benson suggests that before Traymor changes his mind that she and Amaro take a run at him. Dana says she was part of the initial profiling and she would appreciate sitting in. Cragen explains he appreciated her being there but states this is NYPD’s case and they will take the lead. Dana gets a message on her phone and as Benson walks off, Dana tells Cragen “fine” but she will be observing, her bosses are understandably anxious. Rollins announces they just got a break, they found Gina’s roommate.

At Williamsburg Hospital, Fin and Rollins speak with Gina’s roommate and they find Gina was a basketball fan. When Fin asks her roommate to look at a photo of a possible suspect, she is reluctant as it was so long ago. But Rollins advises her of the new DNA evidence and she agrees. She picks out Traymor, saying he looked right past her and made a fool out of himself trying to get a Minnesota girl’s attention at a sports bar near The Garden a few months before Gina was killed. She thinks he told Gina that he worked for the team and she was so jealous as guys were always hitting on Gina. Her folks paid her rent. She walked in and found Gina and it was horrible and she tried to forget all that.

Back at SVU, Benson has Traymor in interrogation and she asks him about Gina. He says she is cute but denies knowing her. They continue to question him about Gina’s roommate seeing them together months before when the Barons were in town. Cragen and Dana watch from the observation area. He says he never lied about his job with the basketball team, but Amaro says the girls didn’t want to meet an assistant equipment manager, they wanted to meet the players. Traymor said he did all right, and Benson asks if he did alright with Gina. He thinks he may have, when he wasn’t in his wheelchair. Amaro says that was when Traymor could walk and have sex, and if it were him, he would remember that. He says maybe he remembered meeting her, and Amaro says Traymor’s DNA was found on Gina’s body. Benson says they know he was with her. He admits going home with her but says that does not mean he killed her. Benson asks about the bus that hit him and broke his spinal cord didn’t just cripple him, it made him impotent and he’s had 25 years to think about that accident and asks if he even thought it was karma?

Meanwhile, Mr. & Mrs. Stanger, parents of another victim, Kira Stanger, arrives at SVU and Rollins and Fin approach. They ask Rollins if she called them about the person who killed Kira. They walk the over to the interview room and show them photos of black suspects but they don’t pick out anyone. Mrs. Stanger says Kira would never go with anyone “like that.” Mr. Stanger said Kira was a music student and hated sports. Kira moved to New York and they are still living in the same house in Vermont. Rollins asks if it is possible they didn’t know everything Kira did for fun, and Mr. Stanger snaps that they knew, they met Noah, her fiancé, two weeks after she met him. Mrs. Stanger confirms they were in love, and Mr. Stanger adds that is how they knew what the police told them about Kira being killed by a man in the bar was crap and she never would open the door for a stranger. Mrs. Stanger said Kira was a kindergarten teacher and Noah was travelling on business and Kira said how much she missed him. She thinks the man they say have didn’t kill their daughter.

Back in interrogation, Benson and Amaro go over all the victims with Traymor, and he is admitting to raping and killing the first victim in Sacramento, the second in Philadelphia, the third in Washington, and the fourth, Gina, in New York. He says he did them all, adding what can he say, he and the ladies never work out. Benson asks him about #5, Kira Stanger from new York, and that he raped and murdered her just like the other girls. Traymor says no, he never met her.

Afterwards, Cragen tells Benson and Amaro that it has been over 15 hours and Traymor hasn’t confessed to the fifth. Benson asks the others what they have on Kira. Dana says it is the same MO as the others. Rollins explains that they talked to Kira’s folks who said she would never pick up a stranger. Dana asks if they got another look at the rape kit, and Rollins said it was negative on prints, blood and fluids. Dana asks if they ran touch DNA in the gloves. Benson said they can make another call to cold case. Cragen says they get lonely so to pay them a visit and tell them the FBI is breathing down their necks. Dana smiles. He suggests they take Munch, adding they love him down there.

At the cold case evidence storage room, the officer tells Rollins and Munch she already sent the Stanger kit to the lab. Rollins informs her it was negative but they are looking for touch DNA on other evidence, asking if other evidence was collected on the scene. Rollins looks at the evidence logs and notes to Munch that there were fingernail clippings from the victim and she thinks they could get lucky. The officer opens the evidence box to find it empty. Rollins sees that 10 years ago, the tape and gloves were checked out by a Detective O’Reilly. They don’t think he is part of the original case or cold case, but the file officer tells them there were a bunch of 1980s cases opened years back Rollins sees that the empty box is listed as one of two boxes, and asks where is the other one. Munch looks around and says “Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in.”

Back at SVU, Benson continues to question Traymor on #5 victim, Kira. But he insists no, he never saw her before. Amaro says that is what he said at first about the other 4 girls. Traymor says this one he didn’t even do, she wasn’t even his type, she had red hair. Benson says they can prove it, they have semen from the first four bodies - his DNA – and with Kira, they will find his DNA inside the latex glove. He says whatever they say. But Amaro says they need to hear him say it, and Traymor states he just wants to get out of the room. Benson explains that is not happening until he tells them the truth. Meanwhile, Cragen and Dana are observing and see Traymor get more insistent that he did not touch the bitch and he hates redheads and if he keeps this up he will ask for that lawyer. Cragen wonders out loud to Dana as to why Traymor is stalling on this last victim. Dana thinks Traymor knew she was pregnant, she was two months along when she died and police kept the autopsy reports to save the family. Cragen says then they FBI knew that, how did Traymor know? Dana thinks Kira probably told him when she was begging for her life. Dana tells Cragen that she realizes this in New York but she knows him. He nods to let her go in and she thanks him.

Dana walks into the interrogation and introduces herself. She tells Benson and Amaro that Cragen said they could take a break and she and Traymor will keep on talking. Amaro sarcastically tells Dana that Traymor is all hers. Dana tells Traymor she is there as his friend, he knows he is going back to prison in a wheelchair and that is not the easiest thing in the world. She explains that there are places where he will be lucky to get out of that chair or lucky to get a bucket, but there are places that are more enlightened. He asks her what she wants and she says she knows he killed her. When he tries to talk, she says don’t talk, just listen. If he was worried about Kira being pregnant that no one has to know about that, just tell her the truth right now and it will all be okay. When Traymor asks if she was pregnant, Dana cuts him off again and says she knows he knew but it doesn’t matter everything will be all right because she knows it has been a tough road all these years, stuck in the chair. She knows people look right through him with nobody knowing what he was capable of. But she sees him and she saw him back then.

Meanwhile, Benson gripes to Cragen that they were right there, but he felt Traymor was going to lawyer up. Benson argues that was until they talked him back down, but Cragen feels it doesn’t hurt to switch it up. Amaro asks Benson if she has a second and she walks off while Cragen continues to observe the interrogation. Dana tells Traymor she bets it did feel good to tell the truth about those girls, like a weight just lifted off his shoulders. When he says yeah, she goes on to say it was like a pressure pushing down on his head, like a brick. She tells him to let it go, the man that did all that is not the man he is today. Unless he owns up to is, he can never move on. She wants him to have peace, and asks doesn’t he want that too? He nods and replies yes. She asks him to take another look at Kira/s photo and she says he remember her, so pretty, and those eyes. She asks if he remembers, and he says he remembers,

In the squad room, Amaro tells Benson that Rollins checked in and the samples from Kira’s evidence box were checked out 10 years ago by a detective unrelated to the case and they can’t or won’t remember why. Benson says cold case is like lost case. Amaro said the detective did mention the FBI being involved. A man enters who says he is looking for Detective Rollins and Benson asks if she can help him. He said Rollins said there was s suspect in custody in Kira Stanger’s murder. He is Noah Bunning, Kira’s fiancé. Her parents called and he just flew in from Seattle. Cragen and Dana walk out into the squad room and Cragen tells Dana nice work. Dana is celebratory, saying that Traymor says he is done, he said he will sleep on it but he is there and they have him. Noah recognizes Dana and calls out her name. She says “excuse me?” He tells her he is Noah and she recognizes him and apologizes, saying it has been a crazy day. Amaro asks if they know each other, and as Dana hugs Noah, she says it has been a long time. She tells Noah she thinks they finally got him. Benson and Amaro give each other a look.

Benson asks Dana if Traymor confessed to Kira too? Dana says Benson and Amaro took him to the edge, she just flipped him over. Noah can’t believe this, and Dana admits it is a shock, adding she has to call her team and then she will fill him in. Cragen suggests that Amaro do that, and Dana tells Noah they will catch up later. Amaro tells Noah to grab his luggage and directs him to follow him. After they walk off Benson comments to Dana that they got him on all five. Dana breathes a sigh. Cragen informs them that he will call the DA and see where they are on charging him. After showing Noah into the interview room, Amaro walks back to Dana and comments that he did not realize those two had met, that Dana said she did not talk to the family. Dana says not the parents but she has known Noah since college. Amaro suspiciously comments that she never mentioned that, but Benson tells Amaro it was 25 years ago. Dana explains she was a senior and he was a freshman at Tulane and she thinks he had a little crush on her. She says that boy has had his life pulled out from under him.

In the interview room with Amaro, Noah is looking over the photos of suspects and he passes over Traymor’s, adding that none of these guys mean anything. He says Kira was Vermont and other than cross country skiing, she thought sports were ridiculous. He says that night he was at Duke, he was a textbook salesman. He says it is so surreal, it is not like he thinks about it every day, he got married, had kids and got divorced, but not a month goes by that something doesn’t remind him of Kira. He says Kira’s parents never bought what the cops told them about her bringing a guy home. She was shy so he thinks someone drugged her or broke in, adding Dana said that could be a possibility. He had called her when it happened and NYPD had already brought her in. He stayed in touch with Dana after college, they dated on and off. Amaro says he did not realize that, and asks if she talked to him about her cases. Noah says they did not talk a lot – if he knows what he means. Amaro asks him about Kira being pregnant if that was planned, and Noah said he freaked out at first then he realized it was meant to be. He stopped seeing Dana, he always knew she wasn’t the one.

Afterwards, Amaro walks in to Cragen’s office and asks if he heard Traymor confess to Kira’s murder. Cragen said he missed the ending but Traymor admitted knowing her and put himself in the room. When Amaro asks if he said where he met her, Cragen countered that the pattern is pretty clear. Amaro says this one is different – and as Benson walks in, he goes on that Kira was not a sports fan and there is no DNA. But Benson tells Amaro they are good, Dana just gave her the blow by blow. Amaro asks if she told her that she and Noah dated off and on, even after Kira. Benson replies that Dana is a private person. Amaro says Dana and Noah were old friends and she is FBI and knew the killer’s profile and she might have talked about it with Noah. Benson counters that Noah had an alibi and was ruled out. Amaro thinks it can’t hurt to double check. Cragen says he will have Fin and Rollins track down the original detective. Amaro asks if when Dana broke in to the interrogation was that Cragen’s idea? He explains that Dana asked, she said she knew the guy. Benson said she did, she knew his patterns. Amaro thinks she was obsessed with Traymor and if no one knew that…Benson says Amaro thinks Traymor played Dana and she didn’t know about it, adding “not a chance.”

At the residence of Jerome Howard, he tells Fin and Rollins that for most murders, bad kills bad. Kira was a genuine victim, not a drop of liquor in the house and she was a teacher. The fiancé had an airtight alibi. Rollins asks how airtight, and Howard said there were receipts and phone records and plane tickets. He adds after interviewing him, there was no way, his heart was broken. The FBI had a girl profiling him and she acted like they were just the hired help. She never mentioned she knew Noah and said with her, it was all business.

Back at the SVU in the “crash” room, Amaro helps Traymor out of his wheelchair and into one of the cots and tells him he can take a rest. Traymor says he is not tired, and Amaro asks if there is something on his mind. When Traymor says it doesn’t matter, Amaro closes the door to the room. He tells Traymor he has been doing this for a while and usually when they finally confess it is easy to fall asleep. Traymor asks Amaro that the last girl – the one the FBI lady talked about - was she really pregnant? Amaro says yes, and Traymor says that was tough. He asks why was she drinking in a bar? Amaro asks if that is where he met her, and Traymor says he guesses, they were the ones who told him that. Traymor says he has to tell him the truth, the only sex life he’d had in the last 25 years has been in his head and he remembers the other 4 girls. Every detail he can replay it. like a tape. This last girl, it is like the tape got erased.

At a bar and over drinks, Benson asks Dana if she stayed on this case because of Noah. She says yes, partly. She admits that after Noah called her, she had to recuse herself, the bureau are sticklers. When Benson asks when the last time she talked to him, Dana starts to answer but is interrupted as Benson’s phone rings. She looks over to Dana and then asks the caller - what is he saying? She says she is on her way, and then tells Dana bad news – Traymor is recanting, just on the last one, claiming coercion.

Back at SVU, Amaro tells Benson that Traymor is not good for this and Noah has an alibi but he may have had help. Benson insists Dana is not involved and is as dedicated a law enforcement officer as she is. Dana walks in and asks what is taking Traymor so long, and Amaro says he was in the bathroom, he will go check. Dana tells Benson they should close this out.

As Benson and Dana wait in interrogation, Cragen walks in and says Traymor had an accident and they are changing his clothes. Dana says he is just trying to draw this out and if they had been videotaping the interview Traymor would be in arraignment right now. Cragen says they will get her a camera, and he leaves the room. Amaro tells Cragen that Traymor is in the crash room and the uni knows not to let anyone in. Cragen tells Amaro that Dana asked for video.

Later, Amaro sets up the video recorder in the interrogation room and tells Dana that Traymor has digestive distress and a uni is cleaning him up. He adds Traymor is out of denial and starting to show remorse, except for Kira. Dana said there was no semen at the scene so he failed to perform and he doesn’t want to admit it. Amaro adds Traymor was upset about Kira’s pregnancy and about her being at a bar. He tells her the video is up and leaves to check on Traymor. Benson tells Dana that Kira’s parents said the same thing, Kira would not have taken a stranger home. Dana shrugs, and Benson asks if Kira went to school with her and Noah. Dana says he was younger that her and she was younger than him. She feigns bad memory if Benson asks if she was still in contact with Noah when he met Kira. She says she might have met her at a party.

In Cragen’s office, he and Amaro are watching the video feed and Amaro thinks Dana is trying to assess where they are. Rollins and Fin walk into Cragen’s office and he tells them they are streaming Dana live and asks how was Staten Island. Fin says the original detective is sure Noah is not good for this, and Rollins adds that the detective said  Dana was all over that crime scene. Amaro recalls she told Benson she was down in Georgia at the time. Fin asks if Munch is still at cold case, and Cragen tells him not to hold his breath on Munch finding that second box. Rollins wonders if they should give the FBI and update, and Cragen suggests they give Benson one first.

Cragen walks into the interview room and says Fin and Rollins are back from talking to the original detective and he sends his best to Agent Dana. Benson acts surprised, saying that she though Dana said she had recused herself. Dana stammers and said she kept her eye on it, then asks why are they talking to this detective, he’s probably senile by now. She adds if they have any loose threads to ask her. Cragen blankly states they had to check Noah’s alibi. Dana insists he is good for it, and she asks where is Traymor? Cragen replies he is as frustrated as she is about it and he will bring him down there himself if he has to. Benson gets a very suspicious look on her face. Dana asks Benson if they were all looking into Noah and didn’t fill her in? Benson thought Dana had a blind spot, and Dana asks if it is because she dated him. Benson said it was much more than that, but Dana said it wasn’t to her, she didn’t take it all that seriously. Benson asks even if it ended right after he me Kira, and Dana replies she was at Quantico and consumed with her career and not obsessed with an old boyfriend. Benson questions her use of the word boyfriend, and says so Dana did call him a boyfriend. Dana asks what is going on here, saying if she didn’t know better, she’d says she was being interrogated. Benson coldly asks her if she should Mirandize her. Dana shoots an equally cold glare at Benson and sits down and leans back, asking if Benson has something to ask to ask her. Benson asks Dana to talk to her, asking how did they end up here?

Dana parrots back the question of how did they end up here, adding “Really, Olivia?” She asks where is it they think they are, and Benson explains that Traymor is not good for this but she knows that as her buddy Noah has an airtight alibi. Benson adds if Dana were her, talking to somebody who profiled the killer, who hid her personal ties to the deceased…and Dana finished by saying she would ask where she was that night, which was Snellville, GA. and  can’t prove it, she was undercover. She calls Benson honey, and states she is not good for this; they run touch DNA on those gloves, they will see.

Back at the cold case file room, Munch is on the phone with Cragen and he says he is trying, it’s not like a needle in a haystack, it is more like a piece of hay in a haystack. He looks around to a huge solid walls of file boxes.

Back at SVU, Cragen gets off the phone with Munch and tells Fin to go to cold case and help Munch and to take his reading glasses. Rollins suggests while they are waiting, Dana just brought up the latex gloves, maybe they should follow through. He gives her the go ahead.

Rollins walks in to interrogation and calls Benson over. Benson and Rollins whisper in the doorway and Dana laughs, asking what is this, a whisper about a break in the case, sarcastically saying they are on fire now. Rollins walks in and says OK, she wants to play it straight, Dana has a problem. Rollins explains the forensic evidence Dana is talking about is gone but Dana knew that, didn’t she? Dana scoffs and asks if everybody there is paranoid. Rollins informs Dana they caught a break, the detective that checked out the evidence didn’t realize he was checking out box 1 of 2. Dana happily said they found it – good – and did they check the gloves he stuffed in her mouth. Rollins says those were not in the box but they recovered Kira's fingernail clippings and there was blood on them. Benson says they are going to run the DNA, and Dana says her DNA might be there because she was at the crime scene and at the morgue, suggesting cross contamination is the bane of forensics across the country. Dana says she wrote the book on all these bluffs and the problem is they don’t work on someone who isn’t guilty.

Amaro brings Noah into the interview room and he wonders why he is there again, they have Traymor’s confession. Amaro says there are some inconsistencies and things that Dana told them and him. Amaro said Noah told them that Dana wasn’t the one, and asked if Dana knew that. He thinks she must have. Amaro asks if Noah broke up with her, but Noah says it wasn’t really a break up, he was traveling a lot. Amaro says Noah did the fade away, and Noah says “I guess.” Amaro asks if Dana ever talked about wanting more, getting married and starting a family, and Noah explained to her that he wasn’t ready. Amaro asks how long after that did he tell her he was going to marry Kira? Noah replies a few months, and when he told her, Dana lost it. She wouldn’t stop shaking. Noah asks if Amaro is saying this wasn’t a stranger, that Kira… and he does not finish and Amaro points him to sit down. Amaro asks Noah if it was more than just a break up with Dana.

Meanwhile, Benson continues to question Dana who thinks she knows all of Benson’s moves. She says if she had something to confess she would give it to Benson just to make her feel better about herself. Amaro walks in the door and Dana laughs, referring to him as The Cavalry and asking if he came in to rescue his partner and tell her she’s lost? Amaro tells Benson that Dana is right, they are not there yet. Amaro asks about motive; he knows Dana was upset when he told her he was engaged to Kira, at the motel after Dana let Noah screw her. Dana laughs and calls Amaro “sunshine” again, saying he is playing hardball. She asks if he thinks she was jealous of a kindergarten teacher, a small life in a small world? She asks if they think she would sacrifice her career and her life for that speck? Amaro says how people talk about how beautiful and young Kira was and when she met Noah, she stole Dana’s future. Dana says her future was with The Bureau. Amaro says that is not what she told Noah, when he got Dana pregnant. Dana stops in her tracks, then adds that was private and he had no right to tell them. Amaro says Dana wanted to start a family and Noah said he wasn’t ready so she had an abortion. Dana says oh she did…it was her idea? Benson concludes that Noah asked her to. Dana says she does not remember, it was a long time ago. Benson said that must have gone against everything she believed in. Dana says Benson knows her, she has been raped and shot, she gets over things. Amaro counters that still, Dana had been seeing Noah for 6-7 years and she loved him. Dana replies not after he lied to her. Benson asked if he told her if she got an abortion they could be together? Dana says she is an FBI profiler and she is supposed to be able to look people in the face and tell if they are lying. Benson asks how long after that did he tell her he was marrying Kira, and Dana does not recall, saying it was a long time ago. Amaro answers for her, saying two months, if that. Benson says no wonder Dana blocked it out, he hurt and the betrayal, he asked her to get an abortion and then he left Dana for Kira? Dana thinks she was better off, he falls for those wounded birds who traps men in their cages. He could ask her to get an abortion but Kira would fall apart if he asks her. Amaro asks if she remembers how she sound out Kira was pregnant, and Dana thinks Noah told him. Amaro says he didn’t – he asked. Dana thinks it was one of the detectives, but Benson thinks it was Kira. Benson asks what was that she told Cragen about Traymor and how he found out that Kira was pregnant when she was begging for her life. Amaro asks if that is how Dana found out. Dana shakes her head. Amaro goes on to say a week after Noah left her in that motel, Kira was murdered. Dana tells Benson to tell Amaro that she could never do something like that, she is just like Benson, she has dedicated her entire life to justice and to doing good in t he world and Benson knows her. Benson agrees that she does, and tells Amaro Dana is one of the best. Dana says thank you, but Benson goes on to say that she can’t help wondering if all that sacrifice, everything that she had done was to make amends and make up for that one mistake. Dana says no, don’t say that. Benson goes on to say that no wonder she spent so much time undercover because she was running away from herself, from what she had done. Dana continues to shake her head. Benson comments that it must have been so hard to keep that horrible secret locked up inside of her. Dana shakes her head, but Benson says it is time for her to let it go, she is right, she does know Dana, and she knows she did not go over there planning to do this. Dana slowly explains she went over to tell her that Noah wasn’t any more in love with Kira than he was with her and he was using both of them. Kira said she was sorry for her but they were meant to be and that when she told him that she was pregnant that he got down on his knees and asked her to marry him and that he looked SO HAPPY! She shouts out those words, clenching her fists. Dana said she does not even know what happened next; she came to and there was a body lying right in front of her and she looked so pretty and she remembered thinking that this girl never had anything ever go wrong in her whole life. Amaro says Kira was gone and the only life worth saving was Dana’s own, so she staged the crime scene Dana replies she guesses she did, she does not remember. She was just so familiar with Traymor’s patterns that she was on autopilot. She tells Benson she is sorry and Benson replies that she knows.

 Cragen opens the door and, walking in with cuffs, tells Dana she is under arrest for the murder of Kira Stanger. Dana holds her head, and, crying, looks at Benson. Dana says OK, she understands, it’s time, 25 years. She gets up and Amaro puts on the cuffs. As Amaro leads Dana out of the room, Benson remains seated at the table and stares off sadly as 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.


Mr. Tanokki said...

As much as I loved the return of Munch, I'd have to say this was the weakest episode of the season.

First off, the idea that Lewis was a murderer goes against her characterization since she first popped up in Raw back in season 7. Secondly, the writing was a bit off for the characters - admittedly Cragen and Rollins wouldn't be supporters of Lewis, but it seems odd that Fin and Munch wouldn't even comment on the investigation of the lady that ended the Neo-Nazi shootout before Munch or Stabler could bleed out.

Thirdly, Lewis clearly wasn't mentally stable at the time of her crime. She's (presumably) pro-life, but her boyfriend convinces her to have an abortion. She does, and then he leaves her. Two months later, probably addled after the loss of her baby - again, if she's pro-life she'd consider aborting the fetus as the death of a baby - she goes to warn the victim about the lousy boyfriend, only to find out that he's marrying her because she's pregnant, and was happy about it. Then blackout, and dead girl.

Finally, the same type of coercion Lewis used on Brian is used on her. Probably for irony, but it just leads me to believe that, if ever taken to trial, this is not a win - a defense attorney would drudge up all of Lewis' cases, the clear psych break, the age of the evidence, and claim the cops used coercion. For a New York jury, that could be enough for a Not Guilty, if only by mental disease or defect.

This whole episode just felt... rushed. We go from Munch's return, to Florida, to interrogating Brian, to Lewis coercing Brian, to figuring out it's Lewis, to interrogating her, to arrest. Let's hope next weeks episode works out a little better... but Internal Affairs episodes rarely end well. I think they're bringing back Olivet, though.


ladybug81 said...

I really enjoyed this episode. I have always loved when Marcia Gay Harden was on, she has been one of my favorite guest stars throughout the years. I don't like what they did to her character though. I have a hard time believing her as a murderer. I found it hard to believe people saying they didn't see the ending coming. As soon as Dana & Noah see each other I thought their gonna make Dana the killer, it was so obvious. I felt so bad for Olivia she looked so sad at the end. Almost like she was thinking 'was it worth it anymore? '. Next week looks very interesting too I love Kelli Giddish (Rollins too) so I hope nothing bad happens to her. I don't think it will though because of pics the cast tweeted showing all of them at a firing range.

janethyland said...

Wow! true to life! Clearly, as this episode suggests, anyone is capable of murder,whatever your character. Oscar Pistorious, the disabled South African Olympic athlete, just got charged with the murder of his girlfriend.I am reeling!

Is that "out of character" or just a character with passions out of control!

janethyland said...

SVU preliminary ratings were 1.6 key demo and 6.65 million.

Big increase from first half hour to second half,even more than usual.SVU should go back to 10pm slot. this half hourly increase has happened every epsiode since they put it at 9pm.

9pm : 1.4 key demo and 5.7 million
9.30pm : 1.7 key demo and 6.8 million.

Chicago Fire ratings were 1.8/ 1.9 key demos and 6.52/6.78 million.

Interesting that the total numbers for bums on seats was more or less the same for SVU at 9.30pm and CF at 10.30pm.

SVU loses out in that 9pm slot.Content is more suitable for late night viewing.They should swop them round.

Another good episode. I too loved seeing all the gang together again as a Unit.Some great ensemble scenes.

Fast moving because it was all about change and how we accept that. Biggest change was for the SVU fans who remember this character.
Great writing from two crime procedural old timers!
And was that the first woman director they have had or not;Laura Belsey?

ConnorBehan said...

^No there have been a bunch.

It didn't suck! It's not my favourite episode of all time but it's the first episode since Rhodium Nights that hasn't had anything overtly WRONG with it. (And I say that as a self-righteous, entitled fan who needs to get a life).

janethyland said...

If there has been a bunch of women directors where are they? I dont have any recorded for LOCI or LOLA or SVU in last two years. Were they all on Mothership,and if so which episodes?They seem quite scarce to me.

Forgot to mention, for those watching in UK, Universal is now rushing through season 13/first part of season 14 on Saturday/Sunday nights from 9pm to 4am both nights.
This means they should catch up with new episodes soon.

Kate said...

I loved the episode, and I'm really bummed that this will be the last episode with the character Dana Lewis. Hope this isnt signally the end. Like they are finalizing all the characters etc.

ConnorBehan said...

It's entirely possible that the jury finds Lewis not guilty.. but she probably wouldn't set foot in SVU again.

If Wikipedia is accurate, female directors include Laura Belsey and Courtney Hunt in season 14, Holly Dale, Courtney Hunt and Rosemary Rodriguez in season 13 and Holly Dale, Donna Deltch and Helen Shaver in season 12.

janethyland said...

Great. What about LOLA and LOCI?
And Mothership?
Its tough directing on TV as a woman...lets shout out for them.

OhSusannah said...

I actually liked that they made Dana Lewis out to be a murderer.Until she was raped in Penetration there was something very abrasive about her character. I wonder if they deliberately wrote Penetration to make her a more sympathetic character.Is it plausible?Anything is plausible in the L&O universe. I do wonder why all these traitors seem to be setting up Olivia for more disillusionment.Elliot shoots a teenager, disappears, Cragen visits escorts for,Haden bailed on her and now this with close colleague Dana Lewis.I wonder if the writers are trying to tell Liv to stop going with her gut instincts .She seems to have blind trust in virtually everyone she meets.Is she the author of her own destruction?It appears by stills that she may be involved romantically with Cassidy again,and he's her secret lover, when he's accused of rape by nemesis Bart Ganzel.She slept with Cassidy once in the first season, dumped him, rekindled that romance but must have deliberately been close-mouthed while he was still undercover then recuperating from being shot.Interesting developments but I doubt it will end well for Liv. Nothing ever does.

JS Mc said...

You know guys, I remember reading a story about a man who committed a murder when he was about 18 or 19 and had never done a bad thing since then. I think it was 30 years later when they finally found him. He was a model citizen, Sunday School teacher, Boy Scout leader, etc... If I remember correctly, they gave him like 12 years of being on the monitor (Ankle bracelet)...I wonder if this might work for Dana since she has been on the good side of the law since then?
I also was thinking that since her ex BF forced her into having an abortion, then callously asked the new GF to marry him when she announced she was PG 2 months later, that he kinda made her go into some sort of temporary insanity or post abortion psychosis...He kinda used Dana and his cruelty kinda threw her into a tizzy, so maybe temporary insanity could be her defense and she might get off with probation of some sort. He also needs to be charged with something, in my estimation...JMO

ConnorBehan said...

Charging Noah for this would go against the first amendment.

And these people are not "traitors". Cragen has a perfect right to pay for companionship and all Haden did was accept a promotion. He even wanted to continue the relationship until Liv said that the conflict of interest was too great. If she feels disillusionment that's her problem.

janethyland said...

In LOLA there were 2 women directors out of 24episodes (Helen Shaver and Christine Moore)

In LOCI there were 4 women directors out of 195 episodes ( Joyce Chopra/ Christine Moore/Betty Kaplan/Darnell Martin). Darnell Martin is the most used,5 episodes)

I cant be bothered to scroll through Mothership but Im sure the statistics are similar.

Im not passing judgement or advocating positive discrimination, but the ratio is low, given so many women in the industry,given that women are half the population.

It reflects the trend in Films where women directors are scarce too.

Maybe women just dont go for these jobs, maybe crews arent comfortable with women in that role. I have a friend who directs for Casualty and Eastenders and she says it has its problems.

Anyway all we can say is this episode was directed by a woman and maybe it has no relevance anyway.

Brandon Countee said...

I thought it was rushed and highly inconsistent. A 25 year mystery is solved by svu by having the murderer be a character whose history doesn't the episode style. 2/10

Anonymous said...

Hey Chris,

Interesting take on the following:

"had Dana kept her nose out of the serial rape/murder case to begin with, her secret could have remained secret. Dana’s need to control every situation ended in her downfall by unwittingly giving the detectives more reason to connect her to the 5th murder."

Interesting point. I did not notice this at first. But now that you mention it, it demonstrates a high form of classic Greek tragedy. I like how Simon Critchley defines classic tragedy:

"Tragedy in Greek drama requires some degree of complicity. It is not simply a matter of malevolent fate, or a dark prophecy that flows from the inscrutable but often questionable will of the gods. Tragedy requires our collusion with that fate. In other words, it requires a measure of freedom."

In other words, w/o Oedipus' strives to solve the mystery in Oedipus Rex, his crime would have gone unknown, just like Agent Lewis. Their own free will unintentionally colluded with their ensuing guilt. That said, the one glaring difference here is that Oedipus didn't know of his guilt while Agent Lewis did.

You asked: "The only thing that was not quite clear to me – maybe I missed something – was if all 5 victims were all raped and murdered, how exactly did Dana convincingly stage the rape part of this crime?"

The fifth murder was, factually speaking, a divergence form the usual MO established in the first four. Aside form the usual markers, like sticking the gloves down their throat, there was no rape in the fifth vic. Lewis thus rationalized that it was because the perp couldn't "get it up." She effectively acted as a copy-cat in order to stage the scene. But she, obviously, couldn't stage all the details, like rape.

Chris Zimmer said...

museofprocess - in Dana's first scene back at SVU, she said all the victims were raped and murdered - which included the one she staged. When Benson and Amaro questioned Traymor, Benson also states that the #5 victim, Kira, was raped and murdered. So somehow Dana did stage a rape well enough for the original case forensics to consider it rape.

Anonymous said...

Ugh, NO. I don't think I have ever been this angry at the end of the episode. Dana Lewis was my favorite recurring character, I was so excited when I saw they were bringing her back, and then this happened.

I don't think Marcia Gay Harden has ever given a bad performance, but even her acting could not get me to buy for one second that cool, closed-off Dana Lewis who had infiltrated neo-Nazis and terrorists would give up the ghost after five minutes of Benson talking to her like she was a five-year-old with a gun. I also did not buy for a second that she would have latched onto an investigation that could potentially bring up such a dirty secret, after all the criminal behavior she has observed and all the people she's seen walk into traps they set for themselves - she had never displayed that kind of semi-suicidal overconfidence before. Also, we had established in her last episode how much her family means to her, and I don't believe that she wouldn't fight harder to keep her life the way it had become, instead of just walking out with Amaro like a kicked dog.

Changes in characters I can handle, but this was a character assassination.

Anonymous said...

Not ALL ppl are capable of murder- come on now! This is just TOTALLY wrong for Agent Lewis! What were writers thinking!? This season is either hits or (bad) misses IMO.

Eric Kursinski said...

I hate that they did this to Dana Lewis. I feel like it was just for shock value (just like when they randomly decided to kill of Sonya Paxton).

My hope is that either Lewis is found not guilty as a result of severe emotional distress, or that she returns in a later episode and ends up helping SVU from prison.

stella said...

I think "traitors"is very very far fetched.Cragen has every right to be "human",for cryin' out loud.Elliot,poor guy,did what he had to do,and as far as disappearing,he left the only way he could for the character he played.He feels a family connection with S.V.U. (like they all do) but,he's burnt out due to caring so much.Caring about the victims and his coworkers. He had to go quickly w/o any goodbyes, for everyone's benefit. (Imo).Lastly, boyfriends and Olivia...well,it just doesn't seem to work out well. However, he can be considered a "traitor " lol.

stella said...

I totally agree with you. I love Marcia Gay-Hardin and her character, Lewis. I find it very sad that the writers couldn't think of anything else to do for an interesting episode. I'm truly p.o'd,here man! Agent Lewis is a smart,charismatic, "helluva gal" type of detective and her role was always a pleasure to watch.I would've liked to see more episodes where they collaborated with each other (svu, fbi),this is crap!!

stella said...

I'm hoping they find out that she didn't do it . The "momentary blackout "could lead to evidence of her being set-up by the boyfriend (sorry, I've forgotten his name).Please let it be After all, anything is possible in fiction. I want my Agent Lewis back,darn it.

AJ said...

CONTINUITY ERROR: In the 'Penetration' episode, Dana informs Benson and Stabler that she is happily married with two kids. Nowhere in the episode is this addressed. They keep alluding that the her work as an FBI agent became her life. This was an odd way for her character to exit her guest star arc in the series.