Thursday, May 16, 2013

Law & Order SVU “Brief Interlude” Recap & Review

This episode was clearly mis-titled. It should have been called "Law & Order SVU: Struck Comatose."  It wasn’t only Ariel Randolph who was rendered comatose in “Brief Interlude.” I suspect most viewers dropped into a coma-like stupor after watching the banal plot and tepid acting. If I didn’t know better, I’d say this episode was written by a computer script generator. There were too many times that the characters stated the obvious, the writing seemingly dumbed down to the lowest common denominator. One case in point was the scene where the CSU guy goes though an explanation of the tides and the route the boat took, and then Benson asks him, “Who dumped her in the rowboat?” I can’t imaging Benson really asking such a dumb question (which did not seem rhetorical). Most of Cragen's dialog has been reduced to stating the obvious and talking to the detectives as if they don't know how to do the basics in an investigation. And, when Benson found she was connecting to Ariel’s kids via the web chat, why did she introduce herself to the kids as a detective? It seemed odd – especially for someone who deals with special victims - that she would do so and risk alarming the children. I would have said I was a friend of their mother’s and that I needed to speak with their dad.

In real life, crimes can happen to people by people that are total strangers. The problem with this episode is that viewers had to traipse through a whole host of people who interacted with Ariel in some way before her death but who ultimately had nothing to do with it. It was a tedious process and a chore to watch. I had a bad feeling during the intro where a few minutes were spent in the club and some of the suspects were introduced to viewers. It’s a style of open that I have never liked for SVU; I prefer a mystery and felt the episode would have been far more interesting and suspenseful if it opened with the detectives in the park and allow viewers to learn along with detectives how this woman interacted with others before her death.

For Ariel, it wasn’t simply her giving the wrong man a half of a sandwich. She made several wrong decisions and as a result, she ended up dead, but not at the hands of acquaintances. She met up with the wrong people, took drugs, left the club alone, got into a car with a man that she didn’t know as well as she thought, and then decided to go off by herself. Were viewers supposed to come away with a message like “don’t go to New York alone” or “Don’t interact with strangers?” Usually I come away with something after watching SVU but in this case, I came up with nothing – except a lost hour.

Here is the recap:

Mariska Hargitay – Detective Olivia Benson
Ice-T – Detective Odafin “Fin” Tutuola
Richard Belzer – Sergeant John Munch
Dann Florek – Captain Don Cragen
Kelli Giddish - Detective Amanda Rollins
Danny Pino - Detective Nick Amaro

Guest stars:
Tamara Tunie - Dr. Melinda Warner
Richard Thomas – Nat Randolph
Kerry Butler – Ariel Randolph
Russell Saylor – Charley Landry
Nick Mills – Phil Desapio
Max Baker – Colin Bennett
Bridget Barkan – Hooker
Seamus Davey-Fitzpatrick – Wayne Randolph
Rhys Coiro – Santiago
Danielle Lieberman - Maureen Walsh
Christopher Sears – Todd Harper
Waymon Arnette – Jasper Barron
Ranjit Chowdhry – Hotel Manager
Julian Rozzell – Jerry
Tracy Westmoreland - Slick
Jesse Coleman – Grant Randolph

Ariel Randolph parties at a music club, and, in the ladies room, accepts a drug from another woman who kisses her on the cheek. Back on the floor, she kisses one of the band members and dances with him and another woman who kisses her on the neck. She gets uncomfortable and walks out of the club, alone.

The next day, a woman with a stroller out on a jog sees two men standing over an unconscious woman laying in a rowboat on the stream. One of them tells her it is not a good day as the other goes through the unconscious woman’s things. They run off and the jogger calls the police.

Later, as the unconscious woman is being loaded into an ambulance, Benson arrives on the scene who tells her it is a female Jane Doe who is non-responsive but alive. There was blunt force trauma, bite marks, and bruises on her thighs and scrapes on her knees. There is no phone or wallet or jewelry and a jogger found her in a rowboat. Benson asks if people row on Gracie Mansion. There are no boat rentals. Benson says they have no way of knowing who she was or where she floated in from.

Later, Cragen, also on the scene, speaks with Benson and Amaro who recaps what they know. Amaro explains there were two male teens, one black and one white, hovering over her body and they ran as she approached. Meanwhile, Rollins and Fin speak with the jogger. Benson, Amaro, and Cragen continue to assess the scene. Fin and Rollins press the jogger for details and find out that she was there to buy Adderall from one of the boys, Jasper, who has a scrip for the drug. She says she has to go as she has a baby yoga class, but Fin tells her not today.

Meanwhile, Cragen comments there is no way to ID the woman and Amaro thinks with the way she was dressed she could be a working girl. Benson tells him he needs to get out more, everyone dresses like that now. Cragen tells Benson to go to the hospital in case the woman regains consciousness and Amaro says he will check the databases and missing persons. Cragen says he will tell One PP that the investigation I proceeding but they have to answer just a few questions: who, what, when, where, and why.

At Bellevue Hospital, while the woman lay in intensive care, Amaro tells Benson that the Jane Doe is not in the system and no one is reported missing. Benson says ME Warner thinks the woman was likely sexually assaulted and is collecting samples now; when a half naked woman washes up in the Mayor’s back yard, everybody jumps. Warner explains the woman’s injuries and that she had Ecstasy in her system. Warner says the woman had stainless steel stitching from a hernia, uncommon in this country. Amaro wonders if her prints are in ICE. Warner says the woman had at least two children and urges she find them fast, this could turn into a homicide.

Back at SVU, Amaro explains to Cragen ICE has no info on prints yet. Benson says there is no info on the boat. Cragen asks what harbor and aviation know and Rollins says if SVU can tell them when,  they can tell them where, and if they know where they can tell them when. When Cragen quips that is not as helpful as he would like, Warner says it would be more helpful if she were dead, and she explains that with rigor they could backtrack the time of death, Benson says she is glad they don’t have that. Cragen reminds them it has been 8 hours and they have nothing, and Rollins says it is almost three and schools are about to let out. When she makes a move to leave, Cragen stops her and asks about her “wing” but she insists she is good to go.

Back in the park, Fin and Rollins conduct a “sting” with Rollins dressing as a mom with a baby carriage who got a referral from a woman at a baby yoga class. She approaches Jasper and his friend and when she gets Jasper to agree to sell her drugs, she shows she is a cop. While Rollins arrests Jasper, the other kid runs off but Fin catches up with him and arrests him.

Back at SVU, Rollins and Fin question Todd who puts it all on Jasper. Meanwhile, Benson and Amaro question Jasper who puts it all on Todd. They detectives go back and forth with the suspects who deny raping the woman. Jasper says she had a hotel card.

Later, at the Times Square Motor Lodge, Benson and Amaro get the manger to open the door and also to give them the pass key for the  room safe. Benson also instructs him to give them the security footage and the record of all calls made to and from that room and her Wi-Fi use. They enter the room at it looks to be ransacked. Benson sees all kinds of new clothing and assumes the woman went on a shopping spree, and Amaro sees no money has been stolen. Amaro finds the woman’s Canadian passport in the safe – her name is Ariel Randolph who entered the country 4 days ago. Benson sees a power cord for a tablet and cell phone charger but no phone. Amaro thinks there is something that someone didn’t want others to see.

In another room in the hotel, Benson looks over the hotel Internet records and sees mp3 files which look like live music. Amaro, looking at surveillance videos, sees someone enter the room who is clearly dressed to mask his identity from the cameras. Benson clicks on a call going to the same video chat number twice a day and it connects to a young boy who wonders who is Benson and asks where is his mom. Another boy enters the picture and Benson asks to speak with their dad.

At SVU, Amaro recaps that Ariel Randolph, 32, from Edmonton, is a music blogger and podcast host. Her husband, Nat Randolph, is 55 and a local celebrity in western Canada and hosts a show called “Canadian Days and Nights.” Benson adds that they have two sons; Wayne, 12, and Grant, 10. The family barely caught their flight and are en route now. Cragen wonders what a married mother of two was doing on her own in New York City. Fin replies that she told her husband she was here to do podcasts on something, and asks Rollins what she called it. Rollins explains it was the Caravanserai World Music Festival. Rollins states she was not lying about that, she had dozens of mp3s of different bands, most of which played during the festival last week. Cragen wonders when the last time the family heard from her, and Benson advises that it was the morning before they found her; they kept in touch and video chatted twice a day. Amaro says she told others that night she was going to pack and edit her podcast and her husband seems to have no idea about her night life. At home, she teaches piano and runs a PTA craft fair. Cragen comments she would not be the first spouse to keep a part of her life secret. Benson wryly comments it doesn’t mean she was asking for it. Fin wonders if she was into something other than fiddles and accordions. Cragen instructs them to find out what or who, and start with whoever ransacked her room. Amaro says the hotel manager says Ariel took out two keys when she checked in and maybe she has a friend. Rollins says she has several calls to several different phone numbers on her cell phone. Cragen tells her to track them down; the family gets there in 6 hours and he would like to give them some answers.

At the residence of Phil Desapio, Benson and Amaro speak with Phil about the phone calls who says he was editing her podcast and he just met her a week ago at a gig. He says she spoke to her recently about the Tomorrowland Festival and Ariel said she would join them. He did not know where she was, and has an alibi for last night. He said Ariel seemed like a groupie in search of a group.

At P.S. 27, Rollins and Fin speak with the man who handles admissions = Charley Landry - who says Ariel asked him questions about the school being a good fit for her two boys. They explain what happened to Ariel. He claims to know nothing.

At the morgue, Amaro tells Benson that he heard from Rollins and they are now 0 for 5; no one Ariel called in the city knows anything. Warner says the DNA info shows no cold hits or matches and nothing matches the teens from the park. There is no semen but saliva and bite marks from one male, DNA from saliva on her neck from a second male, and DNA under her fingernails from a third male. Benson thanks Warner and then tells Amaro they are now looking for 3 assailants, and Amaro thinks Ariel came to New York to party and fell in with a bad crowd. Benson gets a message which says the family is on the way to the hospital. Benson comments that will be a tough conversation with the husband, and Amaro tells her he has it and he will be fine.

Nat Randolph and his two kids arrive at the hospital. Benson tells Nat he should be prepared, his wife was hurt badly. He says they know, they talked about it on the plane. The kids just want to see their mom,. They enter the room and see her in a coma, and Benson promises to do everything they can. Nat encourages the kids to talk to her, and Grant asks his mother if she can hear them.

Later, in the hospital cafeteria, Nat says he was told his wife has an intra- cerebral hematoma and it is putting pressure on her brain stem. He tells Amaro they’ve asked him to sign a DNR and he’s done broadcasts from stroke wards and he knows what that means. Amaro explains she is getting the best care possible. Nat mentions the other injuries the doctor referred to, asking if his wife was raped. Amaro replies they think so, yes, and asks if Nat has thought of anybody she might have been in contact with. Nat notes that Amaro does not think this was a stranger, and Amaro slightly shakes his head. Nat thinks it was someone she met here. Amaro questions if she talked to Nat in any detail about what she was doing here, and Nat says no; he knows she was going out to concerts but when they talked it was mostly about their boys. Amaro asked if, when she left for the trip, that the two of them were on good terms, Nat pauses and then says yes. Amaro asks if she had taken other trips by herself, and Nat replies not really, just to visit family. This was her first “adventure” as she called it. Amaro asks Nat if he was okay with that, and Nat explains that to be honest, he wasn’t thrilled, but the boys are older now and Ariel had to give up a lot of her dreams when they started a family so this was important to her – for her career.

In the hospital gift shop, Benson and Rollins try to occupy the 2 kids and they manage to get them separated so they could talk to the individually. Wayne tells Benson his mother wanted them to see the world more than she did when she was young and meet other kinds of people. She did not mention meeting anyone there. Wayne picks up a tabloid newspaper and asks if anything they are saying about his mother is true. Benson says they are just trying to sell newspapers, and that Wayne knows who his mom is. As Benson turns, she walks into Phil Desapio who is holing a flower bouquet. He says he came to see Ariel who tells the boys he is sorry about her mom. When he asks what room she is in, Rollins explains only family is allowed. He asks Benson to give Ariel the flowers for him, and she agrees.

Meanwhile, Amaro continues to speak with Nat, who says Ariel bought the clothes here, and never saw the photos on her Facebook page. He says he has to trust his wife. Amaro mentions a few exchanges Nat had with Ariel where he seemed upset and was questioning what she was doing, and Nat said he must have sounded like a jealous old man. Amaro says he gets it. Nat says he is an older man and knew Ariel wanted friend her own age and he was afraid that if he held too tightly he might lose her. Amaro asks if there is anyone he can think of that his wife mentioned meeting, they need to know. Nat says OK and continues to look at the photos. He says there was one musician that she really liked who played guitar, and he picks out his photo. He does not know his name but this guy came to Edmonton last year and Ariel went to his concert. Amaro asks Nat if he went, and Nat said no, it is not for him.

At the loft of Santiago Morales, Fin knocks on his door and Rollins reminds him it is late. He finally opens the door and he is reluctant to let them in. They show him Ariel’s photo and Fin tells him if he is worried about the smell of weed, they are past that. Santiago lets them in. Santiago says Ariel interviewed him for NPR and is not sure when he last saw her, she came to one of his shows. There is a knock on the door and when Fin opens it, a woman walks in and asks Santiago if he is ready, not realizing at first there are others in the room. Rollins asks Fin if he remembers Mr. Landry from P.S.27, and Rollins takes off the woman’s wig and it IS Mr. Landry. Fin comments it is a small world, and Landry says it is not what they think. Fin dry states that he got that.

Back at SVU, Rollins shows the others a photo from the FOD lounge 2 nights before the attack. Fin explains it was taken on Ariel’s iPad that they found in Santiago’s loft, who claims that she loaned it to him. Amaro adds that Nat confirmed the iPad is Ariel’s. Amaro insists that Nat is not good for this, Nat was in Canada the whole time and is barely hanging on. Rollins explains that Landry works at P.S. 27 and is married but apparently straight but likes to party in women’s clothes. Benson adds they are not sure that Ariel knew he was a she but Charley’s DNA is a match for the saliva they found on the back of Ariel’s neck. Cragen concludes he was with her at the night of the attack and find out who else was.

In the interrogation room, Amaro and Fin question Santiago who admits he took the iPad so the photos would not get out, for Charley’s sake. He is his cousin, who has a wife and daughter. He claims Charley is straight – he just likes fabric –and they have been doing this since they were kids, Ariel did not know about Charley; she just wanted to have a good time and that her old man was an old man. He last saw her Tuesday when he was playing the Club Kismet in Astoria. He denies having anything to do with what happened to Ariel. She left before they did, she panicked when she found out, adding that Ariel is Canadian and they have their limits. He said when Ariel left, Gabriella subbed for her and they went back to her place, Amaro asks if all three of them will vouch for each other, and Santiago says he can call it that.

Meanwhile, Benson and Rollins speak to a worried Charley. He admits they met at the FOD lounge and Ariel though they were kindred spirits and they did talk about moving her boys here. Benson asks about how his DNA got on her body, and Charley says they hit it off, had a few drinks, and then went dancing. He says nobody broke into her hotel room, she gave him her extra key and after Santiago saw the news he took the iPad. He was trying to protect him. Rollins asks if it was him or Santiago that bashed her head in and raped her. Charley is shocked at the accusation but says maybe they pushed her too far outside of her comfort zone without preparing her and he apologized to her when she realized he was not who he said he was. He thinks she felt betrayed and just ran out. Benson asks why he didn’t allow her and just let her go, and Charley says he can’t run in heels. Rollins asks what time was that,

Back in the squad room, Rollins shows Cragen that Santiago and Charley are telling the truth so far, and shows him the video footage of Ariel leaving Club Kismet on her own. Benson says she was easy prey and she did not know where she was, but Cragen says they do – she was in Astoria at midnight. He tells them to call harbor and aviation back and see if they can figure out how she washes ashore at Gracie Mansion. Fin says they won’t need to use them, and says this is why he brought his rope guy, Collin Bennett. Bennett explains how the tides worked and shows how the tides from an area called Hell Gate, where the tides from the Harlem River, the Long Island Sound, and the Upper Bay all converge and how the tides moved the body from the Hell Gate area to the area where Ariel was found. Benson asks if that was the route, who dumped her in the rowboat? Colin says he is afraid that is a mystery beyond the pull of the tides, but Amaro says it is not beyond the pull of the street cams. Rollins brings up the footage from near the club and Ariel can be seen getting into a white van. Benson says they’ve seen that truck before. Cragen tells them to go.

Later, with Phil in interrogation, Rollins shows him screen grab form the video and asks if he forgot to tell them something. Fin reminds him that he lied, but Phil says he thought it would look bad, he was just giving Ariel a ride. His girlfriend gets jealous. He went to the hospital because he was worried, and insists he did not hurt her. Rollins asks if they will find his DNA under her fingernails, and when Phil moves to cover his arm, Rollins grabs it and exposes some scratches. Phil says it was a misunderstanding, he was just trying to help her, She looked upset and he offered her a ride and she got in. He took her out to eat, she said she was confused and hungry, it was a diner on Ditmars. Fin notes that is right by Hell Gate, where the rowboats are. Phil continues to deny it, saying they just had a sandwich. All he did was try to kiss her and she wanted to go to the river at 2 AM and he tried to get her back. She pushed him away and scratched him and headed into the park. Rollins asks if they will find the bite marks are his, and he says no, he just tried to stop her from going into the park. He adds no matter what he says he is screwed and then invokes his rights. Rollins says if he does that they can’t help him anymore, and he says they can’t help him either way, and he wants a lawyer.

Meanwhile, Benson, Amaro, and Cragen are observing and when Fin and Rollins leave the room, Cragen asks if Phil is good for it. Benson states that Phil lied to them and followed Ariel out of the club and picked her up in his truck and she scratched him and it does not look good. Fin adds Phil asked for a lawyer, and Cragen says the timeline checks but they have nothing to tie Phil to the assault. Rollins suggest to get dental molds to see if it matches the bite marks. Rollins says it may not, he knows Phil had Ariel in his truck but questions that he would carry her through the park and dump her in a rowboat and that someone should have seen them. Cragen instructs them to see if any witnesses can put them in the diner or that park and to go back to the husband and see if Ariel said anything to him about Phil.

Back at the hospital, Benson speaks with Nat about Phil and Nat says Ariel mentioned Phil was a good engineer. Benson is sympathetic to what Nat and the boys are going through, but Nat is just worried about what the tabloids will say about their mother. He did not know that Ariel wanted to put the boys in a school there, He adds he should not be surprised, in his heart he knew Ariel may not be in it for the long run. When Amaro says he can’t be sure about that, Nat replies that he knows who he is, and he knows who she is. This children need their mother and he made a deal last night – he told God if he lets her wake up, then he will let he go without a fight. Nat says he would just like to be with his wife and boys now. He goes back into the room as Benson and Amaro step away.

Back at SVU, Rollins asks Amaro for an update, and Amaro mentions the tabloid stories. Rollins is thankful the boys have a good dad. Fin asks if they have the security footage and that Cragen in waiting.

The detectives watch the footage of Ariel at the diner with Phil. They also see surveillance of them leaving together from across the street and see the back of Phil’s truck. Rollins adds this is where Phil claims they parted ways when he tried to kiss her and she went into the park. Amaro wonders if she misread the neighborhood. Benson says they need an eyewitness putting Ariel in Phil’s truck after they left the diner. Rollins explains that they started up a grid search in the park. Cragen tells everybody to go up there and see if anybody saw Ariel, the truck, Phil, anything to tie them to the water’s edge and the rowboat. Cragen notice a man standing bear the diner and suggests they try to find this guy as he must know something.

With many police on the scene doing the search, Benson and Amaro speak with a woman to get information who wants to be paid first.  Fin and Rollins speak with a homeless guy who has a makeshift tent on the shoreline, calling it his “a-park-a-ment.” Rollins and Fin show him photos and Rollins sees a long red scarf in his belongings. The man calls out to “Slick” in a neighboring “tent” and says they want to know where he got that gypsy rag. It is the man in the video footage outside the diner, and he throws a bag at them and runs. Fin and Rollins call out to Amaro to stop him and he and Benson both arrive to block his exit. He says he didn’t do nothing, and when Rollins asks where he got the scarf, he says again that he didn’t do nothing. Benson cuffs him.

Back at SVU, Rollins leaves the interrogation room and tells Benson the guy says he lives in the park as he has nowhere else to go. Benson says he is right, he is a level 3 sex offender. Cragen adds that Phil’s story checks out and they have their man. Amaro says the blood on his clothes match Ariel’s and his dentals and DNA match the bite marks on her breasts. Benson says they found her phone, purse, and an oar with Ariel’s blood on it in his tent. Cragen thinks he put her in the rowboat so she would not be found anywhere near where he lived. Rollins adds they found glue and bath salts in his tent but if they are looking for the why, it’s not going to be there. Cragen tells them to let the family know.

Benson and Amaro are back at the hospital with Nat, who is shocked it was a homeless man who did this. Amaro explains his wife gave him half a sandwich outside the diner and he followed her into the park maybe thinking he could get more from her. Nat says this had nothing to do with these news stories, and Benson confirms that, saying his wife was kind to the wrong stranger. Nat explains that Ariel always told the boys they were blessed and they should look after those who don’t have as much as they do. Wayne calls his father into the room and Nat rushes in to find Ariel dead. He consoles his sons while Benson and Amaro watch sadly.

Back at SVU, Cragen tells Nat they are sorry for his loss, and Nat thinks Ariel hung on until they caught the right man. He adds that the boys are taking it hard. Amaro says they found her phone in the park and Ariel left them a message, and Benson says it is something he and the boys should see.

They play the recordings back of Ariel who has left a very long message for Nat and their sons, and thanking Nat for letting her making the trip on her own. She tells the boys being their mom is the greatest adventure she wants to have. She tells them she loves them and to listen to their dad. She says she will see them in her dreams. As the boys and Nat look on sadly, we fade to black.

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Camila said...

I also did not like this episode. But the thing that most got me was Benson role.

She looked tired in the role episode. It's like she wasn't the engaged det. Benson that we know.

I don't know if it was suppose to be like that, in like Benson acting like she is tired of the work (but if it was this they should have stated so) or if it was Mariska lazing acting.

I love Mariska as an actress because she gives so much to her character even after 14 years. But this episode she made THE worst acting ever. She acted like she didn't want to be there. And the fact that we (well, at least I) feel like she didn't wanted to be there is a huge problem.

I rope that if Mariska does come back for season 15, this doesn't happen again.

Jess Watches TV said...

I never comment on your blogs, but to day it's needed. I have to say I completely agree with your review and found your recap a bit more riveting. The writing and acting seemed all a bit rushed. No real plot, no real cohesive thought - boring. I kept trying to figure out "who did it," but not from mystery and intrigue - but confusion. Usually when a script is written well, you're able to follow the detectives along and investigate with them. Last night they were lucky the script was already "written."

Nick seemed to be flailing, Olivia was PMSing and doing a terrible job at playing 'bad cop', Amanda... she was just over it and so was Fin. Cragen...move on. Good thing Munch took a week off. This wasn't a great group last night.

I just didn't quite get it, and I feel I'm a pretty clever individual.

Good review. Can't wait for next week.


Cast credits errata

Bridget Barkan as Lisa [the Hooker with one leg] [Many V]

Danielle Lieberman Maureen Walsh [Jogger in park with baby]

Hogan Campbell said...

Does anyone know the name of the band at the begining of the show?...or the music played by the DJ?

Moira said...

This seems like a classic "ripped from he headlines" story line, but without anything in the way of a twist on the actual story, The plot of this episode closely parallels a case from January which occurred in Istanbul (where I live) last January. I 30ish mother of two from Staten Island spent two weeks in Istanbul on a solo adventure doing photography, she never made it home and a week or so later her body showed up in a sketchy area. she made some strange choices that many thought led to her death. A homeless man was arrested. If he actually did it, her murder seems to be largely as result of being in the wrong place at the wrong time

Lisa said...

I didnt like it either, other then the scene were the one we cant mention and the cross dresser..
It was boring and other then the one liners sprinkled thru the episode it was rather bland.
I found myself distracted fairly easly.
I do agree Mariska did look tired and wore out in the acting but she does have two little toddlers at home, and yea i agree she did look like she didnt want to be there.

ladybug81 said...

I also checked out pretty early in the episode. Olivia did seem extra tired and moody. I couldn't figure out if she was playing it that way or if that was Mariska coming through. I mean she has three kids age 6 and under she is going to be tired. I also thought they were maybe trying to get us to think Olivia was pregnant; tired, moody & little more emotional toward the children. The thought did cross my mind. Overall this episode reminds me of the last week if school; something we have to get out of the way to get to the finale. In all honesty the only reason I continued to watch last night was so I could catch the promo for next week. It looks intense and I have a feeling I'm going to be very depressed by the end. I just hope they don't have Olivia getting raped or killed. If this is the end for her she at least deserves something better than that. I really hope Mariska does come back next year she has always been my favorite; Kelli has quickly become my second favorite. However if she doesn't come back I'm at least willing to watch and see how it goes. I want to at least give the other actors a chance. Part of ne thinks they are holding off announcing she's coming back just to up the interest in the finale and the other part thinks she's holding off announcing she's not coming back until after the finale airs. Again I really hope Mariska comes back, but if not she has given us 14 wonderful years. And for that I will always be thankful.

CLA said...

I read many comments about the episode. And, in general, it is not excited anyone.
About Mariska Hargitay: I have the impression that Mariska would leave the series. I do not think she's tired. I just think it would prioritize his family. And it is not easy to do when you have a steady job everyday that you take great time. And a foundation that is more than a hobby. It is a noble and heroic task, which requires a lot of effort and dedication. I'm sure Mariska, she said it is a perfectionist. Everything she does is well done. If she keeps on SVU, will also be in keeping with their huge fan base. She is always so kind, so helpful to everyone. And we can not forget that SVU is like a showcase, a decoy, to carry out its humanitarian work. Mainly so I think it will continue. At least for one more season. I Love Olivia Benson deeply, but if she leaves I'll continue watching. I like the new additions. But. undoubtedly will be a great loss, and I doubt if the series survives.

Sorry my english.

chillicothe20 said...

I didn't get why the everyone was so harsh toward Canada. "She doesn't dress like that in Edmonton" was a pricelessly corny line. The fact the crossdresser didn't think she would handle that news well, because she was Canadian. And there was something about the victim "misreading" the neighborhood, because she was from Canada. Is Edmonton like the quiet rural American plains or some Amish village? Isn't it a CITY like anywhere else? Obviously not the size/pace of NYC, but still. It was getting comical toward the end, the way they kept bringing it up...

lois said...

I liked the music at the beginning

Leight took another opportunity to shove his liberal BS down our throats. Last week it was the gun nonsense and this week it was "ICE is backed up because they are cracking down on illegals". LOLZ.

I spent half the episode trying to figure out who the husband was. Finally got that it was John Boy from the Waltons. He looks good for his age and I thought he did a good job. I kept expecting it to have been him- even if he just paid someone to do it.

I have never been impressed by Mariskas acting. She has a few trademark expressions. The gaping movement of her mouth like a fish out of water when she is shocked and the I'm a pissed off bitch when things don't go her way. She used that on the poor hotel manager last night.

I thought Rollins did well in her undercover scene. I think she has potential to be a far greater character than Benson. If only the writers would give her something decent like they did in that episode with her crazy sister.

I'm the only one, but my hopes for next week is that Liv is gone and that there is a scene showing Amaro in the shower. And then he could be sad. Because when he is sad it makes me want to hug him. and he is always cute when he plays daddy, so
maybe he could get both his kids together for a trip to the park.I could forgive any bad writing if that happened.

Nancy R said...

I thought the episode was slow and boring. Richard Thomas ("John Boy")
looked old and tired!
At least Barba is in next week's final episode. There is a nice short article about Raul Esparza/his character in next week's TV Guide.

Nik said...

I agree with the lackluster effort in this ep but I've felt that way about the past three episodes and it started with the Military Ptsd episode. It had a great message but executed boringly..

This episode lost my interest 10 minutes in. As for Mariska's acting, her later acting has become questionable. I've always loved her and Benson but the fish mouth expression or whatever, LOL, seems to be a product of season 10 and on episodes.

Watch her season 1-8 acting. No expressions like that and I think it's some of her best acting ever right there. (Don't get me wrong, she's had some great acting eps here and there since). And plus those are some of the best SVU episodes. I miss those days to be honest.

I AM looking forward to the finale. I don't hope deathly harm on Olivia, but I hope it's as dark as they say it is. That sounds like interesting SVU.

cygnet lake said...

@lois it is soo obvious that you hate Olivia/ Mariska from reading your comment. a recent fan?

I think it's really SILLY to say that Mariska as an actress was tired and did not want to be there. It's her JOB. You have to be professional [ btw actors speak well of her] or be fired. You can also tell from "These are there stories" posts that SVU work means a lot to her.
To me this is another character trait that was called for. Like how it was purposeful for Olivia to be cold after Elliot left the team but fans got mad about that. Sometimes it's just called having human emotions... in a reality

OhSusannah said...

Other than the blue Canadian five dollar bills in this episode, I was very bored!lol...The story was a little poignant towards the end when I finally admitted the husband was not in any way involved in her demise. I thought the story was very lackluster. I agree, even the acting seemed dull and uninteresting.Its very late in the season and perhaps Cragen and Co. are simply in need of a summer break.I know they are set to return in September with all new episodes.I will amit I'm getting anxious to see if the season finale ends in Olivia\s death. Ive been reading comments made by Kelli GIddish and Danny Pino, during the NBC upfronts. the very fact that Mariska was not there,and has not renewed her contract makes me wonder if they will indeed kill Benson. After fourteen seasons, I for one will be very disappointed if Liv meets an untimely demise at the hands of a serial rapist called the Beast.I doubt I would continue to watch SVU without her character.It all remains to be seen, however...

Lisa said...

Mariska was a the Robin Hodd fundraiser the night of the Upfronts she cant be in 2 places at once she choose to be at a fundraiser prob because so many go to hers for JHF and she knows how important they are.
People are reading way to much into her absence from the upfronts.

BensonFan said...

The only good thing about this episode was seeing Dr. Warner, although she seemed just as blah as everyone else.
I'm glad I'm not the only one who thinks Olivia is tired and checked out.
The ending was actually interesting but the rest of the episode was a giant snooze-fest.
Grade: D- (Warner's appearance saves me from giving this episode an F.)

CLA said...

@ Lois
" . I think she has potential to be a far greater character than Benson. If only the writers would give her something decent like they did in that episode with her crazy sister."

I think Lois, you must also believe in Santa Claus. Kelly Gidish never, ever, will be a Mariska Hargitay. Mariska facial expressions give a special touch to their interpretations. It was with these expressions, she earned 22 nominations for best actress. It is better to have a "fish mouth open" than not having any expression. I suggest you do a site visit SVU and see who is really adored by most fans. Nothing against the actress Kelly Gidish. For me, his performance is tasteless, does not stink or smell. Much like her. Of the new additions, Dani Pino is the best shot. SVU should be his last season. And in these 14 years, Mariska Hargitay showed the world how you make a detective who can be at the same time, highly competent and professional, without losing sensitivity, compassion, tenderness. Nobody is so affectionate with victims, as Olivia Benson. No one is so brave and so bold as Olivia Benson. Nobody is as beloved as Olivia Benson. I forgive enemies. As you Lois. My mother said that only the mediocre do not have enemies. And Olivia Benson can be everything. But never be mediocre.

Sorry my english.

Lisa said...

Olivia facial expressions and her whispering drive me nuts, i have never been a big fan of her Character i find her to be written as a big hypocrite and one who thinks rape victims get a free pass on bad behavior including lying and even murder. just my opinion here.

Paulino22 said...

My experience is a little different because I was for some reason convinced it WAS the season finale.

So I had the 'finale butterflys' the whole way through.

17 minutes: "this has been a pretty average episode of SVU. Nothing finale like... Must pick up soon. I'm nervous!!"

Then: " Six minutes to go where's the big twist. It's going to be crazy. I'm getting really nervous now!"
Then "two minutes to go. I am so nervous!!!"
Then: "20 seconds to go there is going to be a massive twist!!!!! WHAT THE HELL CAN HAPPEN IN TWENTY SECONDS?!? A bomb on the laptop?"

Then - "it's finished!?!?!?"

And I checked the Internet and realised the finale is next week. Oops!

jcgrossman619 said...

Did Amoro pocket the cash he found in the victim's wallet? Sure looked like it!

Kitri said...

It wasn't a great episode, but what I did like was that it just turned out to be some random guy. Many rapes are committed by strangers high on PCP (or glue and bath salts, in this case), and the show often forgets that and comes up with some crazy twist. Yes, this was pretty bleh, but at least it wasn't cliché.

Anonymous said...

In response to the person asking if Amaro pocketed the victims cash when at her hotel room, the answer is no. He had the wallet & cash in his left hand and he reached toward his pocket with his right, while extending his left, cash still in hand with wallet, back toward the closet.

Gregory Buchanan said...

I also disliked this episode because of how Benson was portrayed. Not only did she seem tired, she also seemed rude and aggressive. She yelled at the hotel manager twice--once when she slammed the hotel room door in his face, and again when she barked at him to leave the computer room in the hotel. The guy seemed a little annoying, but he certainly did not deserve verbal abuse. Were Benson a real detective, I think her discourtesy would merit a complaint to the N.Y.P.D. Definitely made me think less of her.

Natika Sigler said...

I normally don't comment on blogs but this episode has me so very disappointed. The acting was just tired and worn out but that's not my only issue. I'm an admitted binge watcher. It irritates me when a TV series uses the same guest stars for different roles. Richard Thomas played a syphilis ridden insane serial killer in season 2 and then this episode he is a older canadian father of 2 who has a wife in a coma. I so wish that casting would cross check stuff like that. Just saying.

jim c. said...

I know the guy who played Slick on s-14 e-23 we lived on Rockaway Beach Queens New York his name is TRACY WESTMORELAND .I love the show .
Jim Cleary

Dvd Avins said...

I agree that the combination of the writing, directing, and acting just didn't work. But I do think there was a good take-away. People's lives are complicated. We all have interactions that might look suspicious at first in the middle of an investigation. Don't jump to conclusions about people.

But yes, the plot outline and that take-away could have been served much better with a different script and better performances.

Mark A said...

Who or what is the band at the start,,please?

Markus Chan said...

I agree with the general consensus of these comments in that this is an example of a notably weak episode. Dialogue, acting, direction, casting... all appear decidedly below par.
As someone born and still living in Edmonton, Alberta, Western Canada, I found it particularly jarring why that geographic location should be repeatedly emphasized. Aside from the fact that the city has no Parent-Teacher Associations in either the Public or Catholic school systems (creating the impression that the script-writer was lazy in terms of fact-checking), there is no thematic or factual content specific to Edmonton that is relevant.
Thank you very much for creating this forum for discussion, as many of my other misgivings about this episode were given greater definition by the synopsis and the accompanying comments.