Thursday, October 24, 2013
Law & Order SVU “October Surprise” Recap & Review
Barba’s back story showed 3 childhood friends who have grown up and found themselves in 3 different careers – one in the DA’s office, another in politics, and the third as a corrections officer/bag man. Barba, however, seemed to be the only one to stand up for his principles. He also realized that while the three of them were friends when they were younger, they have all changed and past loyalties don’t give friends a lifetime free pass. Raúl Esparza, as always, brought the spark, giving Barba real feeling and making Barba the only character in this episode that I cared anything about.
Tensions between Amaro and Barba were at an all time high working this case, but it’s not really clear to me why Amaro appears to distrust Barba to such a degree. Amaro is consistently the most distrusting of all the detectives, sometimes coming off with an annoying holier-than-thou attitude. Of course, Barba’s frequent overconfidence may make him the perfect target to be challenged; with Amaro, that behavior could be like waving a red flag in front of a bull.
Guest star Kirk Acevedo is a Law & Order “repeat offender,” appearing as a regular on Law & Order “Trial by Jury” (D.A. Investigator Hector Salazar) and on both Law & Order and on SVU (the latter as his TBJ character). This time, he was Barba’s childhood friend who finds himself falsely accused of rape and later gets in deeper trouble as he tries to cover for Muñoz A minor annoyance: I had to keep turning up the volume during a lot of Barba’s and Eddie’s dialog. I know that one can’t be shouting out all their lines, but there were times that I thought they were speaking a little too quiet.
Here is the recap:
Mariska Hargitay – Detective Olivia Benson
Ice-T – Detective Odafin “Fin” Tutuola
Dann Florek – Captain Don Cragen
Kelli Giddish - Detective Amanda Rollins
Danny Pino - Detective Nick Amaro
Raúl Esparza - ADA Rafael Barba
Kirk Acevedo - Eddie Garcia
Vincent Laresca - Alex Muñoz
Annaleigh Ashford - Lindsay Anderson
Karen Olivo - Yelina Muñoz
Josh Pais - Hank Abraham
Leslie Odom Jr. - Reverend Curtis Scott
Jason Cerbone – Terrence Quinn
Kecia Lewis - Judge
Lester Holt - Himself
Liz Fye – Anna Pretard
James Riordan - Brett Landau
Joel Brady – Officer Nolan
Erica Camarano – Female Uni
Edward Furs – Vlad
Grace Van Patten – Jodie Lanier
Ron Kuby – Himself
Errol Louis – Reporter 1
Therea Woods – Reporter 2
Julio C. Pena – Aide 1
A news story covers the campaign for mayor for state senator Alex Muñoz. Later, Muñoz is at a community event being introduced by Reverend Curtis Scott, saying Muñoz could be the first Hispanic mayor of NYC. His wife Yelina later campaigns outside the event and Muñoz ’s aide Eddie Garcia, looking at his phone, tells Muñoz that he has to leave, and Muñoz tells him to do what he needs to. His campaign manager Hank Abraham asks where Eddie is going and Muñoz says it is personal business. Yelina introduces her husband to the crowd and he proceeds with a ribbon cutting,
Meanwhile, Eddie is in Lindsay Anderson’s apartment and she is coming at him with a pair of scissors. As he struggles with her to get the scissors, the police break down the door. Eddie says he is DOC and is on the job. The officers tells him to step back and he does and the officer orders Lindsay to drop the scissors and she does, claiming Eddie tried to rape her. Eddie denies this as the officer calls for two ambulances.
Later, Benson and Amaro are at Lindsay’s hospital bed questioning her about the incident. She explains that she let Eddie in and she was trying to break off their relationship but he wouldn’t accept it and said he had guys from prison that would hurt her.
Meanwhile, Muñoz arrives at Barba’s office and they happily greet each other as they are childhood friends. Muñoz explains to Barba that Eddie got into a fight with a girl who said Eddie tried to rape him and he got picked up by SVU. He tells Barba they have to take care of him.
At SVU with Fin and Rollins, Eddie explains that Lindsay was going to cut his balls off and asks if they can just knock this down to a discon? She said she was pregnant and that he had to pay up and denies it could be his. He was arguing with her because she wanted to have an abortion and he does not believe in that as he is Catholic. Fin asks if Eddie was not going to pay, why did they find 2 grand in his pocket. He says he does not think he should say anything. Meanwhile. Barba is observing and Benson approaches him and she comments that the case seems below his radar. He explains he has an interest, and asks for a sidebar.
Later, in a restaurant, Barba explains to Benson that Muñoz called him about Eddie – the three of them grew up together , they were the Three Musketeers of Jerome Avenue. Muñoz had the heart, Barba had the mouth and Eddie had the muscle. They were in touch less and less. Eddie has been driving Muñoz around for his campaign. Benson wonders if Muñoz is watching out for Eddie or for himself. Barba thinks both. He also wonders if this was not a rape and would like to have Eddie get the benefit of the doubt.
As Benson and Amaro approach Lindsay’s apartment, Amaro complains about Barba’s request. Benson explains that Barba wants them to take a close look before they go full on. Amaro is displeased she said OK. When Lindsay opens the door she asks if something is going on and Benson explains it is just standard procedure. They enter the apartment and when Amaro sees the apartment is a mess, he asks if the officers told her she did not need to preserve the crime scene. She explains it always looks like this. When Amaro says he did not mean anything by it, she tells him no worries, he is sweet. Benson says he is until you get to know him. Amaro shoots her a look. Lindsay is smoking and blows the smoke Benson’s way. When Benson asks Lindsay if she minds putting our her cigarette, Lindsay says it is an electronic cigarette and it is just water vapor. They question her about Eddie and she explains he came in to her store about 6 weeks ago, explaining she is a foot model and shoe designer and does retail between gigs. Eddie came in the store with his wife and came back the next day on his own. Benson questions that Eddie has a wife and Lindsay comments what did they think the fight was about? Lindsay did not want to be the girl on the side anymore. Amaro explains that Eddie said the fight was about her being pregnant and Lindsay replies that is crazy, she is not pregnant. She blows another puff of vapor in Benson’s direction. Benson asks why Eddie would think that, and Lindsay says if her cigarette bothers her, maybe she can just talk to Amaro. Benson agrees and leave the room. Lindsay then tells Amaro that she thought it over and is not sure she wants to press charges, and when Amaro says it is a little late for that, she adds that Eddie is a god guy and she just got hot under the collar. Amaro asks if someone asked her not to talk, and Lindsay wonders why he would say that?
Later, Benson and Barba are in the elevator and Barba wonders about Lindsay saying Eddie came into the store with his wife, as Eddie has not seen her in three years. Benson comments he is still wearing his ring and Barba explains Eddie is just loyal. They also discuss that Lindsay wanted to talk to Amaro as she would have a better chance with a male partner and that Lindsay and Eddie have both lied to try to manipulate them. Barba says he knows Eddie’s story – what’s hers?
At the Lennox-Landau School Foundation, Fin and Rollins speak with Spencer Landau about his relationship with Lindsay and said he was naïve and thought she was the perfect intersection of hot and crazy and he understated the crazy. She asked for money and they threatened to “boil his bunny” and stalked his kids, wife, and his board. He lost his marriage and his grant, and he realized it was always about the money with Lindsay.
Back at SVU, Benson asks if they have something on Lindsay. Fin advises that so far, 4 men have orders of protection against her for extortion and harassment. Rollins adds there are 2 more OOP’s, one from an ex- mother-in-law and the other is from an ex-shrink who kept getting texts from her to come back and “murder her vagina”, asking whatever that means. Fin replies “Means she’s a freak!” Benson recaps that Lindsay lied to them and changed her story and has gone back and forth about pressing charges and maybe Barba is right about giving Eddie the benefit of the doubt. Amaro pipes in and wonders if they are asking the wrong questions. He says her other marks were worth the risk – a head of a foundation, a wealthy shoe designer, a sports TV exec – but Eddie works at Rikers. Rollins wonders if Lindsay is hitting bottom, but Amaro, grabbing the front pager of the New York Ledger, thinks maybe Eddie is not the one Lindsay is shaking down. He pins the front page of the paper on the bulletin board, the headline reads “Muñoz Surges.”
Later, Benson and Amaro explain the theory about Lindsay being in a relationship with Muñoz that he was trying to cover up. Barba asks if this is just a theory and Benson informs him about Lindsay’s MO of getting her hooks into powerful married men, Amaro adding she is a heat seeking missile and Eddie has no heat and Muñoz does. Barba replies that if Amaro knew Yelina he would know Muñoz would never step out on her. Amaro thinks Barba is not being objective, and Benson is surprised at his comment. Amaro continue to argue the point and Barba replies Amaro is wrong but take the steps they would in any other investigation, no one is interfering. Barba walks off.
Later, Benson and Rollins are at Lindsay’s apartment and find she moved out the night before. She left boxes of shoes behind.
Elsewhere, Amaro and Fin visit Muñoz at a campaign stop and ask Muñoz to speak with them about Eddie. Yelina asks if everything is OK and Muñoz says he was going to talk to the detectives about the police foundation. When she leaves, Muñoz moves Amaro and Fin into a nearby room. They ask about Lindsay and Eddie and thinks Lindsay saw and easy mark. Fin flat out asks if Eddie is covering for Muñoz , and he says he never saw or met Lindsay. Amaro explains Lindsay left her apartment last night and they are trying to track her down. Muñoz says that is the kind of person they are dealing with – one who makes accusations and then disappears. He thinks this is good news for Eddie, and then he walks off.
Afterwards, Amaro and Fin discuss that Muñoz seems sure they won’t find her and that Amaro friended her on Facebook and she posted a photo of herself on a plane. She posted she was on her way to Israel to start her new job as a political consultant to the labor party in Tel Aviv.
At the office of Hank Abraham, Amaro and Fin speak with Hank about Lindsay’s new position and they put some pressure on him and he asks if they can handle this quietly, it is a personal mannre. Lindsay was seeing his right hand man and when Fin asks to talk to him, Hank explains he just assigned him to an overseas campaign. Fin guesses Tel Aviv. Amaro adds that he was having the affair with Lindsay so he sent them both off, and Hank calls it a win-win.
Later, Barba tells Benson and Amaro that the DA heard about them talking with Hank, and Amaro explains what they heard. Barba is shocked the guy left the country right before the election, and Benson says Hank is helping Muñoz out by making sure they can’t talk to Lindsay. Barba asks if they asked Muñoz if he was involved with Lindsay and Amaro confirms they did, and Muñoz denied it. Benson says Eddie has been ducking them since his release. When Barba says he can make a call, Amaro testily asks Barba if he thought about recusing himself. Barba explains he would like nothing more but the DA asked him to stay on. Benson thinks Barba is being hung out to dry but Barba says the DA just wants to be kept in the loop. Amaro says it’s so he can keep Muñoz in the loop, and Barba retorts that Amaro is out of line. Benson tries to halt their bickering and then tells Barba they would like to keep digging. He tells them to go ahead but they are 10 days away from the election and if they are going to take aim they’d better not miss.
At Eddie’s apartment, Fin and Rollins confirm the assault charges are dropped but now there is witness tampering and they mention the 2 grand. Rollins thinks that was hush money for Lindsay. Eddie says his lawyer says he does not have to talk to them and Rollins asks if she means Muñoz . Eddie replies he will make dinner for his family and shuts the door.
Later. Yelina visits Barba in his office and she tries to get information on why the detectives are speaking with Muñoz but Barba offers no information and says he can’t talk to her about this. She tells him not to ruin Muñoz ’s chances and Barba explains if he has nothing to hide, he has nothing to worry about. She asks if this is any way about “us” and he does not answer.
Back at SVU, all the detectives are in the meeting room and Rollins explains she set up a web page called “I heart Muñoz for Mayor” and he texted her and then asked her to switch to a less public site “pleasurewithoutconscience .com . He doesn’t have an account by name but it is under the name of his alter ego, “Enrique Trouble.” They laugh over the name. Barba does not think this is real. Enrique asked for a selfie and Rollins posted one of her cleavage. Rollins asks to see one of him, but Rollins says not to hold their breath, Muñoz is at a fundraiser with his family. But quickly a photo comes back of a man – no face shown – and his open tuxedo shirt. Rollins asks for another and another photo comes back – again no face – of the man with his pants dropped, showing his boxer shorts. Another picture comes in and Fin shouts out no – that’s the full Muñoz right there. Amaro asks that this guy wants to be the next mayor of New York, and Barba is shocked at what he is seeing.
Later, at a diner, Barba breaks the bad news to Muñoz who thinks he is being set up. He asks if anyone else has seen pictures of his penis and Muñoz says he won’t dignify that with an answer. Muñoz says he has been hacked and when Barba says they can get their technical people to look into it, Muñoz says he will put his team on it. Muñoz thinks it is Wall Street trying to keep him out. Barba says he needs to be honest with him and himself – Muñoz came to him for help on Eddie’s behalf. Muñoz says Eddie is his friend and Barba’s. Barba asks him if he didn’t ask Eddie to go to Lindsay and Muñoz cuts him off and says he does not have time for this. Barba says it looks bad, and Muñoz asks to whom – to Barba? Muñoz b says Barba can’t judge and Barba explains how he went out on a limb for him and he could lose his job for simply speaking to him. He asks Muñoz to please tell him there are no other women out there. Muñoz say Yelina is the only one, and he is sorry if that still hurts. Muñoz leaves.
Back at SVU, Barba tells the detectives that Muñoz claims Wall Street is setting him up. Amaro is surprised that Barba told him, and then said not only is Muñoz tampering with witnesses, he has Barba covering it up for him. Barba asks if they found any evidence that Lindsay is shaking him down and he is paying to hush her up, and Rollins says there is nothing so far on the public sites but they will keep checking. He tells them to do that and then walks off in a huff. But Amaro tells him to hold up and says Muñoz ’s Facebook page is scrubbed clean and they can get a warrant and have TARU go through all his accounts. Barba continues to quickly walk out of SVU and comments about a warrant for suspicious sexting, saying that is not going to happen. He gets a text from the DA who wants to be briefed, saying this will be short but not sweet. Amaro is still walking behind Barba. Amaro says Barba could be charged for obstruction for tipping off Muñoz and Barba says to report him, see how far that gets him. Amaro gets in his face and says it is not just about the sexting, if they sit on this until after the election it will look like they were carrying the water for Muñoz too. Barba counters if they take him out now based on political innuendo it will look like a political hit. AS the elevator doors open, Barba asks if they are done. He steps into the elevator, and after a pause, Amaro steps in with him as the doors close. Barba asks if Amaro will be driving him to the DA’s office, and then says he is not cutting Muñoz a break because he is his friend. Amaro thinks it is about Barba as he is afraid to go after Muñoz . While Muñoz stayed in the hood and played man of the people, Barba went to Harvard. Barba comments he knows where he comes from, and Amaro replies so does Muñoz who is playing him and making him feel like a sellout. Barba thanks Amaro for the “bodega psychoanalysis” adding “No te equivoques conmig” and he exits the elevator.
Amaro walks back into the squad room and Benson asks if all is OK. Amaro says guys like Barba are too smart for their own good. Rollins retorts that she is sure Barba said the same about him, Amaro asks if they all think they should let this go, and Fin replies that Muñoz sending out selfies is not a sex crime and he does not want to see any more of them. Amaro says Muñoz opened himself up to blackmail, reminding them that Eddie had cash and wonders where he got it from. He thinks this could be the tip of the iceberg, and Rollins quips she thinks they saw more than the tip. Benson adds that even if Amaro is right, this would be a political corruption case that they would have to hand over to the Feds. Rollins informs them Enrique Trouble is popping up on other sites going back a year and she has found 10 so far. Fin says that makes him a dog, not a criminal. She goes on to says that one of the women he was sexting with – Anna Pretard - just got a position at the NY Gaming Commission. Amaro wonders who pulled those strings? Fin looks at her picture and says he’s seen this girl on a screen before and it wasn’t on C-Span.
At the NY Gaming Commission, Fin and Rollins speak with Anna and they question her about her credentials. Rollins and Fin bring out her an adult video that she appeared in and she said that was a long time ago and did no other adult films after that, asking if they are from vice. Rollins wants to know how she got her job there, asking if Enrique Trouble put in a call for her? Anna asks so what if he did, saying it’s Albany and there are people a lot less qualified that she is working here.
Later. Fin and Rollins meet up with Barba in a parking garage and explain what they know about Anna. Fin says it started with junk shots and then she texted him about having problems with her kid and making ends meet. He helped her out after she got a call from a reporter about collaborating on a book. Muñoz started paying her off $500 a month until he got to the mayor’s race and come up with the state job. Muñoz had a bagman deliver the money – and Barba realizes he knows the bagman.
Later, Barba meets up with Eddie near a playground. Barba reminisces about being there as a kid and how Eddie protected him. Barba says Eddie is loyal – to a fault. Eddie asks how much trouble is he in, and Barba says witness tampering, bribery, and those are felonies. He tells Eddie he has to think about himself now and jail will go hard for an ex CO. Eddie says Muñoz told him when he becomes mayor he will get him a job at One PP, but Barba counters that Muñoz is looking out for himself. Eddie has his son and mother to think about and Eddie won’t be any good to them upstate. Eddie says he can’t hurt Muñoz but then asks Barba to tell him what he should do – he was always the smart one.
Later, Eddie is in SVU interrogation with his lawyer. explaining the payoffs. Lindsay’s was a onetime payment. Anna and Jenny ended up on the state payroll. Benson tells him if he has anything else to say, now is the time, and Amaro pressed him for more. Eddie explains there is another lady but he did not handle her, maybe because she was from Yonkers. He overheard Muñoz talking to his brother in law Bobby about making a run. Her name was Jodie with a French last name, he thinks she was a school teacher.
At Grant High School in Yonkers, Amaro and Fin stop Jodie Lanier at her locker and then speak with her separately in another room about Muñoz and why he is giving her money. She says she knows who he is but never met him. They asks for her cell phone and when they threaten her with a warrant and then having to call her mom, she asks them not to call her mom and hands over the phone.
At the Five Boroughs Police Association Ball, Muñoz is shaking hands with attendees and sees Barba there, who says they need to talk privately. Hank is resistant to let Muñoz go, but Barba tells him it could not be more serious and does not want Hank there. Yelina walks up to them and Barba tells her he and Muñoz need to talk. Muñoz wears a fake smile as Hank has a photographer take a photo of Muñoz and Yelina with another partygoer. Muñoz kisses Yelina and says he will not be long.
Outside, Barba confronts Muñoz with photos of the women and about helping to get them on the payroll, but then brings up Jodie, saying she is a high school sophomore. Muñoz says she friended the campaign on Facebook and she wanted to volunteer and they have never been in the same room. Muñoz says they exchanged messages which he does with his constituents, and Barba shouts that she is not a constituent and she is 15. He confronts him about the pictures of her that Muñoz asked for, and says Muñoz solicited and exchanged naked photos with a 15 year old girl which put Muñoz in possession of child pornography. Muñoz gets indignant and asks if he got the photos from Eddie, and Barba says Muñoz knew the 15 year old would upset him. Muñoz says they are swift boating him and taking advantage of Eddie, and Barba is incredulous, questioning that Muñoz is. Muñoz claims he had no idea what Eddie was up to. Barba explains he has to turn the photos over to a special prosecutor and if he suspends the campaign it might go easier for him. Muñoz comments they got his oldest friend to be the hatchet man and asks how much they are paying to take him down 6 days before the election. Barba reminds him he risked everything to tell him and Muñoz believes Barba has sold out. He adds Yelina thinks Barba has always be jealous of him and that Barba thinks there is only room for one of them at the top and if he goes down, that leaves Barba. He tells Barba if he takes him down, he won’t be able to show his face and his own political future will be over. Barba asks if he is threatening him, and Muñoz puts his arm on his shoulder and says he is looking out for him, just like the old days. Barba jerks his shoulder to remover Muñoz ’s hand.
At a later time at an outdoor press conference, Muñoz is speaking with reporters who bring up the accusation he was sexting with a 15 year old. Hank says they are not taking any questions. Muñoz continues to make his speech about fighting for the people and that he has been set up. He mentions that they used a corrupt NYPD detective who was the subject of two IAB investigations including prostitution and used his old friend ADA Barba. Meanwhile, Benson, Amaro, and Barba are in a bar watching the TV coverage, Barba listens with his eyes closed. Benson asks the bartender to mute the TV. Amaro tells Barba he is not going to apologize but he'll give it to Barba. Benson is amazed that Muñoz still thinks he has a shot. Barba says Muñoz is a brawler, and he gave him a chance to go quietly. Benson says he would not take it, but Amaro says he will, and gets up and leaves. Barba tells Benson not to count him out, he is a winner. He adds that when he was 7, his mom said to stick with Muñoz , he will be mayor of New York some day – and she never said that about him. Benson asks if he is OK, and Barba says it is politics, there is no danger of a traffic jam on the high road. Benson replies that Muñoz was his friend, and Barba explains so was Yelina, and she thinks this was personal, not professional. Benson reminds him he had a job to do and he did it and that is all this was. Barba asks, “Was it?” He looks back up at the TV and takes a drink.
Back at the court house in the hallway, Reverend Scott stops Barba and tells him his office is destroying the reputation of a man who turned the city around. Barba says he is no longer directly involved in the case but tells him that this was not an easy decision as Muñoz is his oldest friend. Scott tells him to never mind all that, this city’s poor have been ignored for the last 20 years and this is a candidate who can save the schools and rebuild the neighborhood but Barba chose to sacrifice all that because of a zipper problem. Barba apologizes, saying it is out of his hands now.
In arraignment court, the courtroom packed, Muñoz ’s lawyer asks he be released on his own recognizance and questions the timing of the prosecution. The judge tells him to save the speeches and sets bail at $10,000. Barba, sitting in the gallery with Benson and Amaro, stares ahead as we fade to black.
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