Thursday, March 21, 2013

Law & Order SVU “Undercover Blue” Recap & Review

Law & Order SVU “Undercover Blue” was overflowing with deliciousness. Finally, Olivia’s boy toy has been revealed, and it’s none other than Detective – now Officer – Brian Cassidy. It’s a nice pairing which pleases on many levels. Cassidy and Benson both have a good understanding of working in Special Victim and working in law enforcement, and they both seem to be in similar places in their lives where they want to find happiness. Mariska and Dean Winters also have great chemistry on screen which goes back to season 1 of the series. Now that the rape accusation against Cassidy has proven to be false, it could only help Benson and Cassidy to continue build trust. It is satisfying to see Benson in a relationship that seems very warm and comfortable, unlike the somewhat stiff relationship she had with ADA David Haden. I guess we are to assume that “THE HAND” that we first saw holding Olivia’s in “Presumed Guilty” was Cassidy’s but we all know that hand in that episode looks nothing like Dean Winters’.  Next time, they should consider “casting” their body parts a little better.  (I kid!)

It was also strangely satisfying to have the smug and always sanctimonious Nick Amaro get taken down a notch when he is hung out to dry in open court for being less than perfect in his own undercover work. Amaro has always been too quick to judge, acting as if his own behavior is beyond reproach.  Being exposed in such a public way may have been a necessary humiliation for Amaro, but hopefully it won't make him swing the other way and become too cautious in his work.  Now that Amaro and Maria’s marriage has hit the skids, he has a new instant family, this time with a son.   Danny Pino skillfully took Amaro on the emotional roller coaster where his undercover indiscretion was revealed and he found out he had a son out there with a woman who he had loved deeply – and maybe never stopped loving.

Dean Winters was always a favorite of mine during the first season of SVU and I am thrilled that these recent appearances have given him solid story lines which have the potential of growing and developing further over time. I was a nice bonus to have Dean’s brother (Scott William Winters) make a return appearance on SVU as well.

The episode also featured a nice dose of legal maneuvering, something which always makes an SVU episode seem far more interesting to me.  The writing was exemplary and the episode moved at a rapid pace;  there were no periods where the story dragged.


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
Dean Winters – Officer Brian Cassidy
Greg Germann – Derek Strauss
Reg E. Cathey - Barry Querns
Andrea Navedo – Cynthia
John Ventimiglia – Bobby Navarro
Scott William Winters – Detective Joe Dumas
Robyn Rikoon - Heather
Amy Brabson – Judge Karyn Blake
Roy Jackson - Roberto Chavez
Natalie Thomas - Angela
Sonia Manzano – Judge Gloria Pepitone
Ken Schwarz – Counselor Lucas
Jaden Matthew Rodriguez – Gil Mancheno
Tata Martell - Brianna

In the courtroom, ADA Rafael Barba is questioning Detective Brian Cassidy who is on the stand, but it is just a practice session and Cassidy is not quite in the spirit of things. Meanwhile, back at SVU, Amaro is on the phone discussing Zara with Maria. As Benson, Fin, and Rollins move to leave for the day,  Benson tells Munch to go home, there will be bad guys to catch tomorrow. Munch asks “who are you and what have you done with Detective Benson?” She says she is taking the night off, and Munch tells her with the Captain on vacation not to worry about them, they are fine and will carry on. Amaro and Maria are disagreeing but when Amaro sees a woman walk into the squad room who is escorted by an officer, he cuts the phone call short. The woman tells Amaro she was raped by a cop.

Later, a shocked Munch questions what Amaro told him about the woman claimed Cassidy raped her. Amaro explains that she said it was four years ago when Cassidy was undercover with some pimp and she never saw him again until she recognized his picture in the paper about the Ganzel trial. Munch thinks this is one hell of a coincidence. Munch reminds Amaro about Ganzel drugging Cragen and putting a dead hooker in his bed, and Amaro reminds him it was Carissa, the hooker that Cassidy had an affair with. Munch says that is why Cassidy has been busted down to uni and he works nights at a Bronx courthouse, adding he has paid the price. Munch emphasizes they have protocol to follow and suggests they try Cragen first. When Amaro comments that Cragen is on a fishing boat off Bimini, Munch states dryly that rules are rules.

Soon afterwards, Amaro and Munch are at Cassidy’s apartment and Munch knocks on the door, cautioning Amaro not to enjoy this too much. Cassidy opens the door and is surprised to see Munch and Amaro standing there. Munch calls Cassidy “numb nuts” and chides Cassidy for not asking who it is before he opened the door. Cassidy replies he thought it was his Thai food. Munch tells Cassidy they need to talk and Amaro stresses now, asking if they can come in. Cassidy replies that this is not really a good time, and a woman’s voice calls out but Cassidy calls back that he has this. Amaro asks if he has company, and Cassidy sarcastically replies that it is Amaro’s sister and he should have told him she snores and he will call them tomorrow. But as he moves to close the door, Benson walks in wearing just a shirt and asks if he needs change. Amaro pushes back on the door to prevent Cassidy from closing it and sees Benson, and Amaro and Munch look stunned.. Benson looks surprised to see them but just says “hey guys” and takes a breath.

At SVU, Munch and Amaro speak with Cassidy who gripes that IAB called him at 6 AM and Munch says they were trying to give him a heads up but he was “busy.” Cassidy says they are talking rape and he wants to know where this is coming from. Munch explains the accuser is Heather Riggs, and when Cassidy asks Heather who, Amaro tosses the file on the table, asking Cassidy if she looks familiar. Cassidy looks at the photo and put his head down, saying yeah, he thought her name was Brooklynn. He adds she is a working girl. He ask if she got arrested and is trying to make a deal. When Amaro explains she came in on her own account, Cassidy notes it is right before he is set to testify against Ganzel. He explains she did not work for Ganzel, it was before that, a small time pimp, Andre Larouche, a total sleazebag who got put away. Amaro says that Riggs claims she was forced into hooking and Cassidy broke her in. Cassidy emphasizes she is lying, then asks if Amaro passed on the report to IAB. Munch reminds Cassidy he knows they had no choice. Cassidy replies “Yeah, right” and grabs his coat and storms out of the room.

As Cassidy walks through the squad room, Fin asks him what is up and Cassidy says he came in for breakfast. Benson is walking in and she and Cassidy pass each other and say their hellos but Cassidy comments “Long time no see” to which Benson plays along and says “Oh, good to see you." Rollins sees the looks that are exchanged between Benson and Munch and Amaro and asks if they are missing something. Munch tells Rollins and Fin that they do not need to know.

Benson walks over to Amaro and asks what is going on, and Amaro suggests she ask Cassidy. She says OK and as she begins to walk off, Amaro asks “Really? You and Cassidy.” She explains she did not tell him because it is none of his business, it’s not that big of a deal, and she didn’t tell him because she didn’t want this.

At the Two Bridges Coffee Shop, Cassidy tells Benson this is a lynch mob organized by Ganzel who gave Amaro the rope. Benson asks him to be more specific, and Cassidy explains he is being framed for rape. Benson is stunned, asking when, who. Cassidy is annoyed, saying she i asking the wrong questions. She asks him what she should ask.

Back at SVU, Benson walks up to the rest of the team and Munch is telling them that if Cassidy was framed, IAB will figure it out. Fin thinks IAB makes frames, they don’t break them. Rollins asks Benson and Munch if there is any way Cassidy is good for this and Benson insists no, but he is not good at defending himself. She thinks they have to look into this. Munch urges discretion and reminds them they can’t talk to the vic. Rollins suggests they talk to the people that know her, and Amaro says Heather mentioned a job teaching at a pole dancing studio in the East Village. Rollins makes a move to go, suggesting to Fin they work on their technique.

At Polercise Studio, Fin and Rollins speak with Bobby Navarro, the manager. He explains that Heather has worked there about a year and is very popular. As they continue to question him, he says he trusts Heather but since they won’t tell him what is going on, he does not trust them. He walks off. Fin asks Rollins if Navarro is defensive, and Rollins thinks it is offensive. She wonders that if Heather is so popular, why does she only teach there twice a week when the others teach 4 classes a day.

Back at SVU, Rollins tells the others that it appears Heather does private pole dancing for Navarro. Fin says Navarro has convictions for shoplifting, possession, and check fraud. Rollins adds he was picked up on a wiretap with a Chinatown bookie and is a chronic gambler who loses and is down about 20 large. Fin adds that back in Navarro’s check fraud days, he made fake IDs, one was Terry Matthews and Leonard Horowitz and that the name Terry Matthews shows up on a list of visitors to Ganzel at Rikers. When Benson gets interested in this, Rollins adds he was there two days before Heather came to SVU. Benson believes that Ganzel paid him to get Heather to get Cassidy. Munch says he will tell Barba about the connection, but Benson says she has to talk to Barba anyway and Munch agrees. As Benson moves to leave, Amaro asks if she wants backup.

In Barba’s office, he tells Benson and Amaro that for the record, this is off the record and this is not her case. But as Benson begins to explain about Bobby Navarro, Barba already knows about it and it does not mean that Heather’s story is not true. Amaro thinks it casts reasonable doubt and Barba replies that the money is off the books and they can’t find the exchange and Heather’s former pimp Andre confirms he sent her to Cassidy. He adds that one of his former prostitutes swears that he saw Heather go into the bedroom with Cassidy for two hours plus Heather described a scar on Cassidy’s inner thigh. Barba states he is getting a warrant for a physical examination, and Benson decides to come clean and confirm the scar on his left inner thigh, from a knife wound he got from a drunk when he was a rookie. She admits this was the other thing she wanted to talk to Barba about. He questions if it is a current relationship or past, and Benson replies both, with a 13 year gap. When Barba comments that she is not entirely objective, Benson insists that is not true. Barba asks if Heather was reliable, and he admits she was. Benson is emphatic that Cassidy would never rape anyone. Barba suggests it is possible he knew she was being forcibly compelled and they know he has slept with prostitutes on the job before. Benson says she remembers. Barba informs them that a DA from Westchester is coming in to run the trial. Benson is shocked it is already going to trial, and Barba explains they are on the fast track and they can’t appear to be protecting one of their own and that IAB detectives are arresting Cassidy right now – for rape. Benson, stunned, looks over to Amaro.

At arraignment, with his attorney Barry Querns, Cassidy pleads not guilty. Westchester County DA Derek Strauss asks for remand and he and Querns argue the issue. The judge releases Cassidy on his own recognizance and tells him he must surrender his passport and report in daily. Cassidy gets upset with Strauss but Querns cautions Cassidy to take it easy, they won a the small battle and there is more to come. Querns sees Benson and tells her she is a vision today. Cassidy looks at her and says, “Liv.”

Outside the courthouse in her car, Benson tells Cassidy that Heather is sticking to her story; two witnesses put him in that bedroom with her and she described the scar on his leg. Cassidy says nothing happened, and when Benson asks if the means he was not in the bedroom with her for 2 hours, Cassidy says that part is true but nothing happened. He thinks she could find out about the scar in a million ways; it is not a state secret. He testily emphasizes he did not do this. Benson asks what happened in that bedroom. Cassidy explains that the pimp was a real piece of crap and he knew she did not want to be there but he could not blow his cover. He just made up and excuse and they just talked. When Benson simply replies OK, Cassidy asks OK what, does he believe him She replies of course she does.

At Supreme Court, Heather is on the stand explaining her situation and that she met Andre who locked her in an apartment with other girls. He took her clothes and made her have sex with strangers, and points out Cassidy as one of them. She said Cassidy said his name was Rick and she thought he was a friend of Andre and Andre told Cassidy she was knew and he should help “break her in.” She says she did not know Cassidy was a detective. She insists they had sex, and as she cries, she says he knew she did not want to. She confirms it was Cassidy, she saw the scar next to his “business.”

Querns questions her about what Andre would have done if he found out she did not have sex with Cassidy. She said he would have beaten her; he used a sack of oranges so the bruises would not show. Querns comments that if Cassidy wanted to protect her, he would have kept her in that room for a while. She questions the word protection, saying no one protected her. Querns asks about her boyfriend, Bobby Navarro, and asks if she is aware he visited Ganzel in prison to get money in exchange for her testimony. She testifies that she did not know that until after, and he didn’t get money. Querns asks if Heather is planning on cashing in on this by hiring an attorney and suing the city for damages. She shouts that she was raped and somebody out to be responsible.

Later, an outreach counselor with an organization that helps former sex workers and trafficked woman, explains she was also a trafficked sex worker for Andre Larouche. She states that Heather was new and terrified, and Andre ordered her into a bedroom with Cassidy and they were in there for two hours. Under cross by Querns, she must admit she did not see them have sex or hear anything, and that the comment Heather heard about Andre wanting Cassidy to break her in was heard by no one but Heather so Cassidy would not have known Heather was unwilling. She also says they were locked in a room and had dog collars around their necks and it was pretty damn obvious she wasn’t willing.

Afterwards, in the courthouse main hall, Cassidy tells Munch that she is telling the truth, she just doesn’t know what happened in that room. Munch comments that is the problem with sex crimes, no one knows what happened except the people that were there and they always disagree. Munch can’t take the stand as they were former work partners the jury may perceive he would be biased which of course he would be. Cassidy asks what about Amaro, who the DA is calling as a witness. Munch advises Cassidy that Amaro is not in his fan club but he caught Heather’s statement so that is all they can ask him about. Cassidy says Munch knows Amaro will try to throw him under the bus, and Munch informs Cassidy that Amaro was undercover for years and knows what Cassidy has been going through.

Back in court, Amaro is on the stand testifying about his involvement. Strauss asks about Amaro’s undercover work and if he even went into a room alone with a sex slave. Amaro says no, and Strauss adds that Amaro was trained to avoid compromising situations. Amaro replies as often as possible but every situation…Strauss cuts him off and says going into a room alone with a prostitute would be an invitation to commit a crime. Amaro squirms and asks isn’t that a hypothetical? Strauss asks if that is an unlawful situation – yes or no – and Amaro replies he can’t put himself in another UC’s position. Strauss continues to press if Amaro would accept the services from a sex trafficker he was investigating from semi naked woman wearing a dog collar. Amaro says he would decline under all circumstances.

When the judge asks for Querns to cross examine, Querns asks for a lunch break, and she agrees. Benson and Barba look perplexed.

Outside the courtroom, Barba stops Querns who asks Barba how is the view from the cheap seats. Barba states it is fascinating, especially when a defense attorney allows a prosecutor to turn a simple fact witness into a character assassin. Querns replies that attorney sounds like a complete incompetent. Barba counters yes but Querns isn’t and he wonders why. Querns says he would love to chat but they only have an hour for lunch, and he quickly walks off.

After lunch, Amaro is back on the stand and Querns questions him about undercover officers sharing unique pressures and experiences. When Strauss objects, asking what is the relevance, Querns states that Strauss opened the door by questioning Amaro at length about undercover operations. The judge agrees. Querns asks if officers sometimes have to break the law to bring down criminals, and Amaro says they are not supposed to but admits it has happened. He admits he had to partake in illegal drugs and he was being tested and if he refused he may have been shot. He admits that an agent tries to find ways to avoid breaking the law. Querns asks if Amaro was infiltrating a new organization he would find a way to avoid inappropriate sexual relationships, and Amaro replies yes. Querns asks if only if his life depended on it would he cross that line, and Amaro says yes, but he can’t speak to the specifics of another…and Querns cuts him off and says “then don’t. “ Querns asks if Amaro ever had inappropriate sexual relationships in his undercover role. Amaro pauses and says he never slept with a coerced prostitute, and Querns clarifies and asks if he slept with ANYONE under false pretenses. Strauss objects, saying this is way off base. The judge asks where Querns is going and he says he is almost done. He motions to someone standing by the courtroom door, which opens and a woman walks in. Querns asks if Amaro recognizes the woman that just entered the courtroom, and as Amaro looks stunned, Strauss again objects that they have no idea who this woman is. Querns thinks Amaro can help out on that, asking Amaro if the woman is the sister of a drug kingpin of an organization he infiltrated and barks the question “How well did you know her, detective?” Amaro has a deer caught in the headlights look and haltingly says he knew her very well. The judge tells both counselor to approach the bench and the woman and Amaro lock sad eyes.

Afterwards, the woman races out of the courtroom and Amaro quickly follows, calling out her name – Cynthia. He says they should talk, but she is angry, asking if after 10 years they should talk – along with Carlos from Cartagena? He explains he could not tell her who he was then. She said no, he was a cop bringing down her brother who gets arrested and Amaro disappears. She thought he ran back to Columbia but this morning some lawyer shows up and tells her who he really is and drags her down here and there he is in that suit. Amaro says he is sorry, but as she steps into the elevator, she turns around and glares at him and says he is scum.

As Amaro turns to walk away, Benson approaches and asks if he is OK, but he replies that her boyfriend sandbagged him.

Amaro walks into the men’s room and walks up to Cassidy who is washing his hands. Amaro pushes him and calls him a son of a bitch. Cassidy asks if he really wants to do this in here. Amaro grabs Cassidy and says Cassidy is accused of raping a sex slave so he drags HIM through the mud? Cassidy says it was his lawyer’s call and he didn’t rape anybody, did Amaro? He pushes Amaro’s hand away, and Amaro said not even close,  he and Cynthia was a relationship. Cassidy counters it was “like me and Carissa, Mr. Holier Than Thou.” Amaro asked if Carissa knew he was undercover, and Cassidy counters asking “did Cynthia?” Amaro asks how he even found her, and Cassidy says he and Amaro are both in the same small world only Cassidy made more friends than Amaro did. Amaro says Cassidy means he looks the other way when cops bend the rules. Cassidy shouts, “Oh please! Says the man who slept with the sister of his target to make his case!” Amaro shouts back that it wasn’t like that, she doesn’t need to be dragged into this. Cassidy shouts that he is looking at 10 years in jail – 10 – rationalizing desperate measures. Cassidy storms out and slams the door, and Amaro kicks it after it shuts.

Back in Supreme Court, Cassidy is on the stand and Querns asks if he ever had sexual relations with Heather Riggs. He says no, he was working as a UC and his next target was a trafficker named Andre Larouche and he offered him her services at a party and he thought it was a test. If he said no it would have set up a red flag so he took her into a bedroom and nothing happened. He told her he was finishing a course of antibiotics and he did not want her to catch what he had. He kept her there as he was afraid she would get beaten and she looked tired and thought she needed a break so he gave her one. Strauss cross examines, calling him detective but then correcting himself, saying Cassidy is not a detective anymore. He asks “Officer” Cassidy if he expects the jury to believe he was offered an attractive woman for no strings sex and he declined. Cassidy said he was not there to have sex, he was working. Strauss reminds Cassidy of his next undercover assignment with Ganzel where he did have sex with a prostitute, Carissa Gibson. Cassidy says they were involved and what she did she did of her own free will. Benson, watching from the gallery, looks down. He tries to continue to explain but Strauss keeps cutting him off, saying Cassidy knew that she was being forcibly compelled to have sex against her will and he knew if he had sex with her he would be guilty of rape. Querns objects, saying it would call for a legal opinion, but the judge overrules. Cassidy answers yes, but adds that he did not have sex with her. Strauss continues to badger and Querns objects, saying it is argumentative. Benson whispers to Munch “not good.” Strauss says he is done, and Cassidy shakes his head.

Afterwards, in another room, Querns tells Cassidy that went badly. Cassidy asks if that is a matter of opinion, and Querns asks if Cassidy watched the jury. He states there were two elements of the crime: the sex, and the knowledge that Heather was coerced, and Cassidy just confessed to the latter. Querns says no one believes him and they have to switch to a justification defense. He suggests conceding the act but saying it was necessary for the performance of his law enforcement duties. Cassidy asks concede what, that he had sex with her? Querns says he does not have to say those words, he will walk him through that on redirect. Cassidy says no way, forget it, he is not going to admit to something he didn’t do. Querns explains he has been doing this a long time and the truth is a horrible defense, he could end up in prison. Cassidy says he will take his chances.

Back at SVU, Munch tells Amaro to walk with him, Amaro asks if IAB has called already. Munch says no, Cynthia just filed a lawsuit against Amaro and the city, and the claim is for child support; she says they have a son. Amaro is flabbergasted. Munch goes on to explain that the city will ask for a paternity test. Amaro asks how old is he, and Munch replies he is 9. Munch advises Amaro to get a lawyer, and as Amaro makes a move to leave, Munch tells him not to do anything stupid.

Later, Amaro is beating on Cynthia’s door and a very tall, muscled man answers. Amaro asks where is she, and the man asks if he is the famous detective Amaro, also known as Carlos. He says Cynthia does not want to talk to him and when Amaro says he wants to hear it from her, the man says Amaro is hearing it from him, and this is his home and Amaro is trespassing. When Amaro asks if he is Cynthia’s husband, the man steps closer and asks Amaro if he is going to leave or will he have to call a real cop? Amaro says to tell her he will keep coming back, and then shouts loudly again that he will keep coming back until she talks to him. He leaves.

Afterwards, Amaro sits in his car and watches this same man wait for a young boy at a school bus stop. He sees the man put something in the kid’s backpack and sends him off. Amaro follows in his car and sees the boy place the backpack on the ground next to a building, and two others come by and pick it up and hand the boy something.

Back at SVU in the break room, Rollins tells Amaro that the man is Roberto Chavez, they are not married, and he is a mid-level dealer in the GCP gang and deals in mostly stolen meds. Amaro says Chavez is using his girlfriend’s son for his drops. Fin states that the state does not put 9 year olds in prison. Munch adds that Cynthia appears to be a bystander but Chavez pays all the bills. Rollins informs Amaro that she has a call into Queens narcotics to see if they have enough to nail the guy. As she leaves, Amaro thanks Rollins. Munch asks if after seeing the kid that Amaro is OK. Amaro says yeah. Fin asks if he talked to him. And Amaro asks what could he say – hi, I’m your dad, want to play catch? Amaro moans he has been out there 9 years and he never even knew. He asks where do you begin? Munch advises he begin by making sure the boy is his, asking of he took the DNA test. Amaro says he did. Fin says that’s the thing about being a guy, you are never sure about what you left behind. Amaro said if he had known, he would have never married Maria – or had Zara – it was a whole different life. Munch brings up Maria, saying that Amaro has to get in front of this. Amaro says he will, and Munch says they will give Amaro the room. Munch and Fin leave the break room. Amaro takes a break and phones Maria.

Meanwhile, Benson knocks on Cassidy’s door and when he opens it, she comments that he is not answering his phone and asks if everything is OK. He says yes, and that Querns is a good lawyer – if you’re a criminal and the problem is, he is innocent. Benson says there is another problem. Nobody is happy with how he ambushed Amaro. Cassidy said it wasn’t him, it was Querns, and so what, he had a relationship with a woman 10 years ago and who cares? Benson asks if Cassidy knew about the boy..and Cassidy gets a look of puzzlement.

At the office of Richard Lucas, Amaro walks in to a meeting with Cynthia and her lawyer, saying they need to talk. Lucas says they were not scheduled to meet until next week, and Amaro says that was before he found out what Cynthia’s boyfriend does. Cynthia tells her son Gilberto to wait outside, and he leaves. Cynthia introduces him to Amaro and Gilberto says it is nice to meet him, and Amaro replies with the same. When Lucas says Amaro should only be there with his attorney, Amaro barks back that he will be there with the district attorney and tells Cynthia that Roberto is making her son peddle drugs on the way home from school. Cynthia as Lucas to give them a minute, and he leaves. Cynthia comments that Amaro is telling her how to be a parent, he disappeared 10 years ago. He says he didn’t know he was a parent, she never told him. She couldn’t find him, and now she knows why, she was just part of the assignment. But Amaro says she wasn’t he did not want to let things drop. Right after the bust he had no choice. But she questions this, asking what about her, her brother is in jail and she has no money and a baby with no father He said he looked for her as soon as he could but she wasn’t around. She explains she went to San Juan to have her baby. Amaro says she can hate him all she wants but she can’t let her son – OUR son – grow up dealing drugs. He says he is begging her.

Back at the precinct, Amaro gets out of his car and Cassidy is waiting there and Cassidy calls out to him. He tells Amaro he guesses he opened a real can of worms here. Amaro asks if Cassidy thinks this is funny and Cassidy does not. Cassidy had no idea he had a kid. Cassidy says they are both screwed here and he tells Amaro to drop the rock and help each other out here.

Later, and elsewhere, Cassidy appears to be in disguise meeting with Roberto. He is also there with Rollins who appear to be working a sting. Cassidy says they need Oxy, all he can get, and Adderall for the kids and while he is at it, throw a few rippers in the bag for him and his lady.

Meanwhile, back at the pole dancing place Munch and Amaro are also undercover, with Munch telling Navarro that Mr. Ye has transferred his debt to them, Navarro says he will be coming into serious money real soon but Munch says they want the 20 now. Amaro continues to literally twist his arm and tells Navarro that he will have to work it off. He agrees.

Later, Roberto arrives for the drop and flashes his car lights and Navarro steps out of the other car. Roberto asks who is he, and Navarro says that Roberto is supposed to give him the package. Roberto says he was supposed to meet with the guy with the bullet holes and the blonde. Navarro asks if they can just do this, and flashes an envelope. But Roberto isn’t buying it and he steps away. Nearby cars flash the red and blue police lights and the car sirens sound. The cars move in to block their exit. Roberto and Navarro are cuffed and Detective Dumas pops Roberto’s trunk and finds the drugs. Fin and Rollins arrive and thank him, and he asks if he wants to know how they knew this deal was going down. Rollins says nope. He comments that is what he figured, adding that Roberto is done and so is his customer. Rollins says they would like to “borrow” his customer and Dumas says “be my guest.”

Back at SVU, Fin and Rollins question Navarro. He guesses it is deal time, and then says it didn’t happen, Cassidy didn’t rape her, he made it up to cash in. Ganzel didn’t give him the money but told him about the scar and it would help the case and they would sue the city and make a million dollars. Meanwhile, Benson is observing the question with Heather and Benson asks her if this is what happened. Heather asks how much trouble is she in? Benson replies it is not up to her but she needs Heather to tell her is that what happened? Heather asks if Benson knows Cassidy and she says she does. Heather admits Cassidy did not touch her. Benson looks relieved. Heather says they just talked. Benson says she needs to know if anybody else can verify this version of the story, and Heather admits later that night she told another one of the girls how he didn’t make her and how nice he was to her.

Later, Benson is waiting outside as Cassidy walks out of the courthouse. Cassidy says that little prick DA interviewed Heather and Navarro and then dropped the charge. Benson comments that Cassidy is free, and he says he is free to work the night shift at Bronx courthouse. He says he will just stick it out and get his 20 and he is damaged goods. Benson touches his arm and reminds him he didn’t do anything. Cassidy replies that once accused, always under suspicion – even from her. She looks taken aback by that comment, and then asks what he is talking about, she believed him. Cassidy says he wishes he could believe that. He turns and walks away and she follows, asking what is he saying? She asks if they are over now? Cassidy replies says he doesn’t know, and then asks if she wants to go get a drink somewhere and not talk about it? He smiles, and she smiles back, and they walk off together, Cassidy reaching for, and then holing, her hand.

Meanwhile, Amaro walks up to the door of Cynthia’s home, and knocks. Cynthia opens the door and Gilberto also enters the doorway. Amaro steps in and closes the door behind him as we fade to black.

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lois said...

I thought for sure that you would hate this episode because I LOVED it! We usually have different tastes. I am a big pino fangirl and this episode made me love amaro. Before this he was just kind of meh to me. I thought his acting was excellent. Loved that the episode did not revolve around Olivia like most do. And she wasn't her usual miserable self. After a few episodes of svu that seemed pretty blah this one made me love the show again.

henren8341 said...

Wow, that was a great episode. This crew seems to be gelling nicely. I hope that they make Raul Esparza (Barba) a series regular next year. Enough musical chairs with the ADA's. I thought that they whole Amaro thing was handled really well. Danny Pino brings such richness to the character. I am also happy to see Olivia in a relationship that seems genuine. Yay SVU. I miss Cragen...I hope he comes back soon from his sabbatical.

BensonFan said...

I agree that it was nice to see Amaro taken down a peg or two.

I didn't like this episode as much as I thought I would. There was zero suspense. I never doubted that Cassidy would be proved innocent. It seemed too easy, like the detectives just did their regular thing to prove he didn't do it.

Did anyone else find it odd that Olivia never made a move on married Elliot (in my opinion because she respected him too much and herself too much to break up a marriage) yet she's willing to be in a relationship with a guy who slept with a prostitute??

Kittukat1978 said...

I am a tad disappointed with this episode. I mean the writers gave up the mystery man before the opening credits? And the ending was completely predictable, except for the whole Amaro thing, that was a shock, but nice to see he's not Mr. Perfect.

I'm still weirded out that they put Olivia with a man who sleeps with prostitutes, that's unsetteling. She can do better.

I am looking forward to next week, based on the previews it looks like a good one. I'm excited that Barba is back, I am really starting to like him as the ADA. Mainly because his facial expressions are priceless.

Shinnoky said...

I guess I'm the only one that hated this episode. I never liked either Amaro or Cassidy. This episode just validated my original feelings torwards them.

Mr. Tanokki said...

Well, their relationship was more than just sex, and he never paid for it

ladybug81 said...

I really liked this episode. I never had any doubt that it was Brian. I thought he was great in the first season and hated that he left. I keep reading people saying that Brian & Olivia (as well as Dean & Mariska) have no chemistry. I don't agree i think they do, both on the show & in real life. I like seeing Olivia happy, and it's about time she can be in a comfortable relationship. I hope they allow it to last. Dean said in an interview that they left the door open for him to return.
I like Danny Pino and thought he had a good story line. I was glad to se him get taken down a notch. He reminds me of Elliott in that way, always with a holier than thou attitude.
Let's hope the writing continues like last night's episode, and not the few before it.

Bull705 said...

Didn't see all of it but what I saw I really liked.Benson & Cassidy together is really cool.Loved Amaro's downfall and was necessary for the character arc.Wish the writers had done something similar with ADA Abbie Carmicheal during L&O seasons 9-11.

Nancy R said...

I didn't like the episode. Liv can do better than Cassidy. I read (IMDB?) that Dean Winters is missing a finger. Maybe that is why they used a substitute hand in the holiday episode.
I hope Barba has more scenes next week. Is he in the April
"Psychopath" episode?

Lisa said...

Please the Woman Cassidy has sex with was
A. before he and Liv hooked up
b. He didnt pay for sex it sounded as if they had a thing going.

Liv is not Perfect she has flaws like the rest of us. People put her way to high on a pedestal. She likes Cassidy she can forgive him for something he did BEFORE they started their relationship.

xfool said...

I thought this was one of the better episodes this season. No, it wasn't an SVU case and it focused on personal stories. At least the SVU case related well to what the SVU team usually works on so it fit well.

Benson and Cassidy are a good fit. IMO Benson wants someone that she can just be herself with. Cassidy has grown up a lot since they had their first fling and I think he is capable of handling the relationship much better than the first time. David Haden was HORRIBLE for Benson. I should say that Harry Connick Jr. fell flat as a pancake in that role. If they had case someone else in that role it may have worked. Cassidy and Benson are kindred souls in a way, where Haden always seemed like he was a career climber and would easily put Benson aside for his career.

I still don't care for Amaro so I enjoyed him getting a smackdown. I cheered. It was long overdue.

Funny comment about casting for body parts, ATLAO! Yep, it's obvious that was not Dean's hand in the episode where it first was shown. "They" may think fans don;t care, but it is a big issue to me, it shows the writers/producers had no idea where the story was going to lead them, sounds like poor planning and character development to me.

Ratings sucked.

Linda F. said...

Like lois, I'm a Danny Pino fangirl, so of course I loved that he was front and center this episode--and he did an amazing job, I thought. But I admit that I was a little happy to see Nick taken down a peg. I think his character needed it. But at the same time, I'm happy that he didn't cheat on his wife (who I don't like, and I hope she's gone) and that this all happened before Maria. Oh, and on my usual shallow fangirly note, Danny Pino looked HOT in this episode. That scruff on him in the latter part of the episode? Rrawr.

Okay, back to adulthood. I personally like Cassidy (probably because I like Dean Winters), and I think that he and Mariska have chemistry, so I'm glad the door's open for them to bring him back. I think the two of them have a believable weary, adult, "happily for now" sort of air to their pairing.

Loved, loved, LOVED the sting part of the episode. Rollins in her undercover disguise, Nick in that do-rag or whatever he was wearing, and most especially, Munch in that pimp outfit was a riot.

Why no Cragen recently, though, I wonder? We've had more Munch, less Cragen. Do they both make so much money that they can only pay one per episode, LOL?

One last thing: I was confused. Did Amaro's baby mama realize her boyfriend was dealing drugs? Did she realize her son was being used? She didn't seem too upset about discovering little Gilberto was involved.

All in all, best episode of this season for me.

BensonFan said...

I don't mean to say that Benson is a saint. I just think it's interesting that now she's willing to let that lax side of herself show. She used to be so passionate (something I miss!) yet righteous (something I don't miss much). Now she's- in a way- more complex, capable of changing to fit new situations.

I read an interview with Warren Leight in which he said originally they were thinking of having the mystery man be Haden. Leight also said they were going to have Cassidy and Benson break up on the steps, but Mariska saved the day!

Jules said...

I still don't like Amaro. I think he's a whiny wimp. Sorry, Amaro fans. I hope he gets a paternity test. These men who just believe a kid pops up after many years and is his because someone says so have incredible egos, in my opinion. And yes, the kid looks like him, but that isn't proof.

I like Brian Cassidy. He was always sweet on Liv, but she was not in the right place to respond. Perhaps now she is. They do seem natural together. I hope it works out.

Overall, I didn't like that the episode focused too much on the main characters and WAY too much on Amaro. I didn't care about his story at all. Would have liked to have seen more of Olivia and Brian.

Camila said...

You wanna know what I think honestly, not about this episolde but this and last season. I love that Liv is on a stable relationship. But for 12 seasons L&O SVU, or even L&O, hasn't been a show about relationships and personal histories but a show about cops (Law) and a prosecutors (Order). Of course that there was a personal histories about the caracters but they were not as focused as they are being now, and I really miss that.
It's like someone said a while ago that almost all episodes now there is a twist plot or something like that.

I think what I'm trying to say is that the essence that made L&O stand from other procedural shows is not there anymore. And I really miss that.

Anyway that's what I'm feeling right now.

Leigh said...

I really enjoyed the episode, and wasn't surprised at all about Olivia and Brian. I was happy to see them together, and really enjoyed the scene where Munch and Nick caught them together at Brian's house. Great to see Nick come down a peg, from being so sanctimonious all the time. Love the undercover scenes, especially Munch. Overall, definitely worth the wait.

OhSusannah said...

I liked this ep on all levels.I was pleased but not surprised that Brian has been her mystery man all along, since he was shot and in the hospital earlier this season.Its very realistic that in that instant when she promised Brian she had changed, the job was not her entire life, that was a great jumping point for them personally.They know each other-intimately from S1 so they seem a perfect fit.For I love the Amaro character too, but he did need to be taken down a notch.His character is so like Stabler in many ways that its refreshing to see the writers recognize this early on. He's only been on for a season and a half,but his character is so tightly wound, in the same way Elliot seemed to be. His protectiveness and strong moral compass, paired with physical alpha male traits always rise to the foreground.I love to see Cassidy and Amaro snarl at each other- two strong alpha males.It makes me wonder if Nick's interest in Olivia is strictly professional , the way he questions her judgement in her private life. He knew about David, or so he insisted to her after it all came to light. I think the cases are much stronger this season because they tie the detectives personal lives in so neatly. Lots of pots simmering on a the stove.I so hope we get a S15 of SVU.Mariska tweeted that the possibility was very strong but we won't know until April...fingers crossed,for it fans!

Jules said...

What Camila said. I miss the old formula.

Anonymous said...

Did you notice that Reg Cathey changed ties? No one but the people I was watching with seem too.

Unknown said...

I don't think I can describe how much I HATED this episode. Warren has completely changed the L&O formula, and it isn't working. He ruined LOCI with it too. They need to move this show to noon to open for Days of Our Lives. How he thinks 5.5 million viewers is great ratings I'll never know. I hate it, but it's time to put this show to rest.

Leigh said...

I loved what Warren did with CI, and I really like the direction he has taken SVU in as well.

BensonFan said...

Never liked CI, but that was mainly b/c D'Onofrio was obnoxious--that head tilting bit!-- and Erbe was completely flat (kinda like Giddish, but worse). I hate it when SVU episodes are at all like CI. I didn't think that this episode was CI-esque.

Linda F. said...

I'm with you, Leigh. I love this new version of SVU (not that I can compare it to the pre-Amaro/Rollins era, because I never watched it).

I suppose a lot of the long-time L&O viewers feel like I do about How I Met Your Mother. I used to love that show to death, but I detest the direction it's taken over the last season (the Barney-Robin pairing), so I just stopped watching and now haven't seen it at all this year or last. I still watch and enjoy the reruns up to the point I gave it up, but I'll never watch the new stuff because it's not my show anymore.

I'm sure there are a lot of people who watch HIMYM and love it as it is now. I don't agree with them, but I no longer care one way or the other if the show gets renewed or cancelled. Let the fans who like it keep enjoying it if that's what they want.

May those of us who love the "new" SVU get another season, and hopefully those who dislike the new direction this show has taken will find something next season that will replace this show in their affections. Then we can all be happy.

Kate said...

I thought it was a perfect blend of Law, Order and Private Lives.

Renaming it LOPL Special Victims Unit.

Hope we get at least one more season.

Kittukat1978 said...

I have been a loyal L&O fan since the original first aired. And to those loyal fans like me I think we have to face facts that the old formula is dead. I do feel that WL has been trying to resurrect the old formula, by bringing back more courtroom scenes. SVU has been lacking in courtroom drama for a long time. Mainly because every time he tries to bring back Cabot and Novak the actresses sign on to do other projects. Most of the ADA's that we have seen recently are lacking in the passion that Cabot and Novak had. Except for Barba, he is a welcomed addition.

SVU has focused more on private lives since the first season. I think WL is trying to keep the balance as best he can. By switching things up he is trying to stay current with how TV is today. Most of the dramas now are "people" driven not procedural. However, I think getting L&O back to its original greatness by using the ripped from the headlines theme is a smart idea. That has always been what separated L&O from other shows.

The ratings have slipped in recent years, even before WL, but total ratings are a thing of the past to determine a shows staying power. Now all networks care about is the key demographic. If you have that regardless of total viewers a show can stick around.

Anyway, my point being, SVU is changing and if that keeps it around longer than who am I to complain. Well as long as its watchable that is.

And to answer previous poster questions about Cragen and Munch...Belzer was diagnosed with cancer in 2010 so maybe for health reasons he is working less, he is getting skinny even for him. Florek lives in CA and he has said he hates to fly now a days.

xfool said...

Kittukat1978 - Belzer was diagnosed with cancer in the early 80s and Is a survivor - are you saying that his cancer has returned ? I hadn't heard anything about that anywhere.

Paul said...

I didn't like the episode too much. This is now the third SVU detective to be framed for a major crime! Please find a new plot!

Ramana said...

I'm disturbed and shocked that nobody seems to be worried about the fact that a woman went to SVU complaining of having been raped and was immediately doubted and put under investigation herself. For anyone who has been raped, especially by a cop, this episode must be terrifying. Even though the cop is on "our side" and is eventually proved innocent, that's not something you want to be up against when your actual rapist is on law enforcement's side...