Thursday, January 30, 2014

Law & Order SVU “Betrayal’s Climax” Recap & Review

Detective Olivia Benson officially became Sergeant Olivia Benson in “Betrayal’s Climax”.  She gets into “take charge” mode quickly when the SVU gets a case of a missing teenager, coupled with a possible robbery. The case leads them to a rape victim whose boyfriend is getting in deep with the BX9 gang. As a result of the investigation, they uncover a old gang murder and cause a new gang murder. This was a very well written story with excellent acting by Fiona Robert, probably one of the most convincing victims on the show in a long time.

Before SVU even starts working the case, there’s a subtle signal that something is up with Rollins. At Benson’s swearing in, Fin notices she’s jumpy and asks how much caffeine she has in her. I thought back to the late SVU ADA Sonya Paxton and her beverage of choice that we later found wasn’t always coffee. Maybe Rollins is developing a similar problem?  Will Rollins suffer from any after effects from not being able to talk Avery down from the ledge? Lucky for Rollins, she stalled for enough time for police to prepare for Avery’s fall. Will Benson have as much confidence in Rollins the next time someone needs to be talked down from suicide? In the future, maybe Benson will use the experts if the experts are available. Upon reflection, Benson may have asked herself “WWCD” (What Would Cragen Do)?

Amaro’s reputation of killing a 14 your old in the police involved shooting is following him, but he doesn’t seem to let it affect his work. But is he covering something regarding his status with Maria? We never do find out what the phone call between Benson and Maria was about (from the previous week’s episode). One of the title cards in this episode was marked as February 4th, and I believe the last title card noted in the previous episode was January 24. Does the length of time between these stories/cases mean that the phone call between Benson and Maria was nothing of significance as nothing obvious resulted from it? I find it annoying when something (such as the one sided phone call we heard with Benson) is thrown out there in one episode to stir interest and then dropped in the next. This is a pitfall with personal story lines.

Fin just works the case and does his job, seemingly having no issues to distract him from the task at hand. The SVU needs someone who has no obvious baggage to keep everyone else in line, and Fin serves that purpose well.

Barba must be slipping. When Manny is murdered in protective custody, Barba's first reaction is that Manny’s taped confession is inadmissible. Benson had to be the one to suggest a way to get the tape admitted. This seems very unlike Barba, who should be the first one to look for a legal angle to use the tape, not the other way around.   As far as protective custody, it goes without saying that NO ONE should even goes into protective custody on Law & Order SVU. They should just stamp the person’s head “Marked for Death” and immediately put the person six feet under. (Protective custody in crime shows is the equivalent of a person wearing a red shirt in the original Star Trek series.)

Benson should be cautious that her new found power as Sergeant doesn’t translate to overconfidence. A gang member makes a direct threat against her and  she taunts him right back.  When Barba seems concerned for her safety, she refuses a suggestion of protection, not wanting to live like that. Benson should have learned a lesson from her own past with another ADA, Alex Cabot – who was nearly killed by a gang in the episode “Loss” and was forced into protective custody. I suspect Benson wouldn’t like to live like that, either.

Here is the recap:

Mariska Hargitay – Sergeant Olivia Benson
Ice-T – Detective Odafin “Fin” Tutuola
Kelli Giddish - Detective Amanda Rollins
Danny Pino - Detective Nick Amaro
Raúl Esparza - ADA Rafael Barba

Guest stars:
Fiona Robert - Avery Capshaw
Juan Castano - as Manny Montero
Armand Schultz - John Capshaw
Cadden Jones – Lydia Capshaw
Alex Hernandez - Carlos "O.G." Hernandez
Justin McCarthy –
Dashiell Eaves - Officer
Teresa Yenque - Rosa Montero
Olivia Ford - Marisol Pavel
Teresa Yenque - Rosa Montero
Joshua Rivera – Wilfredo Diaz
Olivia Ford - Marisol Pavel
Johnny Rivera – Rigo Heredio
Fernando Mateo, Jr. – Miguel “Sandman” Castillo
Edwin Lee Gibson – Counselor Orton Freeman
Lisa Zhang – Katelynn
Lucas Sainter – Leo
Brett Smith - ESU Officer Dooley
Tim Hardiman - Inspector Hardiman

At an official ceremony, Benson is sworn in as Sergeant. Amaro, Fin, and Rollins are in the audience and Rollins sips a drink, and Fin asks, as she’s jumping around so much, how much caffeine she has in her. Rollins smiles then asks Amaro how was D.C. with Maria and he replies one day at a time, and then comments Cassidy is a no show. Fin comments Cassidy is undercover, adding that’s his story. Amaro gets a message that they have a call, the parents of a teenage girl came home and their house was ransacked. Rollins decides she and Fin will take it and tells Amaro to stay for Benson. Benson’s name is called and she goes to the stage and salutes, and then is handed her certificate and is photographed.

Soon afterwards, Fin and Rollins arrive at the home of Avery Capshaw and hear from an officer that the parents went to a wedding and left Avery home alone and came home to find the place trashed and robbed. Avery is missing and is not at school or answering her cell; the parents are convinced she has been kidnapped. Fin asks that the officer is not, and the officer motions skepticism, and comments there is no sign of forced entry and the place smells like weed and the neighbors heard loud music until midnight.

Inside the home, Fin and Rollins speak to Avery’s parents John and Lydia Capshaw, the inside of the home has been trashed. John says Avery would have never thrown a party without asking their permission, and Lydia says something happened to their daughter, they have to find her. Rollins asks is anyone contacted them about a ransom, and Lydia says no, but their cash and jewelry are gone. Fin comments that sometimes teenagers are unpredictable. But John counters not Avery, she has never been in trouble. Lydia says there is blood in their bedroom. The parents take Fin and Rollins into the bedroom, which is also trashed, and Lydia believes Avery has been assaulted. Fin asks if Avery has a boyfriend, and John says not any more, she was seeing Manny Montero, and they are both in the 10th grade at Hamilton Gifted and Talented. They broke up two months ago , her grades were slipping and they asked her to end it. Fin asks if there was a chance he was there last night, and Lydia says absolutely not, he’s a nice boy. John says he does not want this to sound wrong, but he lives in those Amsterdam Avenue projects and when the called the school, they said he did not come in either. Fin asks if they have contact info on Manny, and Lydia explains it is on Avery’s computer. When she goes off to get it, John states his wife is more trusting, but he always had a bad feeling about that boy. He walks off. Rollins comments to Fin they have a rebellious teenager in love, and Fin adds it’s a west side Romeo and Juliet. Rollins says they know how well that turned out.

Back at SVU, Benson, still dressed in her Sergeant’s uniform, questions Fin and Rollins that they have two missing teenagers and the parents pull strings and call SVU. Rollins replies there were possible signs of foul play: the stolen jewelry, Fin adds no hits on the family credit cards and no GPS on either of the kids’ phones. Benson says they power them down when they don’t want to be found and to check the pawn shops for the jewelry. Amaro asks what they know about the relationship, and Rollins explains that Avery’s parents don’t approve; Avery is an upper west side only child and Manny is form the projects and is Latino. Amaro questions that they both go to Hamilton, and that is the top public high school in the city. Fin adds that is a hard school to get into, even for her family and if he is from the projects he’s got to be bright. Rollins states Manny does not have a record but did have an older brother that got shot and killed two years ago, the BX9 gang drive by, no one was charged. Amaro wonders that Manny’s parents didn’t call him in as missing, and Fin says he lives with his grandmother and she is not picking up the phone. Benson tells Amaro is still good with the abuelitas, and instructs him to pay her a visit . She tells Fin and Rollins to check Avery’s social media and friends at school, they most likely will know the real story. Amaro smiles and says “We’re on it…boss” and Fin gives her a salute. Benson gives Rollins a funny look and Rollins chuckles.

At Hamilton High School, Fin and Rollins speak to two students separately about Avery and Manny and find her father did not like Manny and Avery was found sneaking off with him, and that Avery is a talented artist who would not miss a competition. Cutting class is more of Manny’s thing and he has missed a lot of school to take care of his grandmother.

Amaro is at the home of Rosa Montero who says Manny is a good boy, She does not know when he got home and thinks Avery broke his heart. Amaro looks in his room and his grandmother says he left early in the morning, he has a job before school and Manny said soon he will have enough money to buy a gravestone for his brother. His backpack is there and Amaro looks in it to find an BX9 cap, much to his grandmother’s dismay. She says after what happened to Jesus, Manny stays away from guns and police.

Later, Amaro drives with Fin and comments that Manny is in a gifted school with a rich girlfriend and is running with BX9, commenting it is a tough double life. Fin sees someone in a BX9 and says those guys make it easy and as Amaro pulls over, he says he knows that kid. Fin and Amaro jump out of the car, and Amaro calls out to Wilfredo. Wilfredo puts up his hand and tells Amaro not to shoot, he’s not 14. Amaro grabs him and slams him up against a fence and frisks him. He insists he is clean and Fin says they will stay on him all day and he won’t make a dine, and asks about Manny. When Manny says he is not a rat, Amaro asks Fin if he has his cell and then Fin takes a photo of Amaro looking chummy with Wilfredo. Fin asks what O.G. is going to find out when he finds Wilfredo is BFFs with Amaro. Amaro asks him where is Manny.

Later, Amaro and Fin have Manny in SVU interrogation who says he does not know where Avery is and has not seen her. He says they broke up, but Fin and Amaro continue to press and says they were studying. When Fin asks if it was in her parents’ bed, he says he didn’t do anything, he couldn’t. Fin threatens him with keeping him in jail for all the weed they found on him and Amaro threatens with calling his grandmother. Manny still won’t give them any information. Benson is watching and Rollins approaches and Benson explains Manny puts himself at the house but swears he doesn’t know where Avery is. Rollins says he may be telling the truth, ESU found Avery.

Elsewhere, Avery is standing on a building rooftop ledge and is sobbing while police stand below. Rollins tries to talk her down but Avery is refusing to get down. On the ground, Amaro and Fin are with her shocked parents and explain Avery was not with Manny, she was wandering the city all day and her parents thinks something terrible happened to her. Meanwhile, Benson stands with another officer who says he thought she said her detective was good, and Benson asks to give Rollins some time, He says just five minutes, then he is going back for the guys who are trained for this. Rollins continues try to talk Avery down but Avery thinks Manny is dead and that they killed him. Rollins tries to explain that Manny is alive and he is at SVU, but Avery doesn’t buy it and jumps. She falls into the large inflated rig which protects her fall. Rollins looks shaken.

Later, Avery is in the hospital and Benson and Rollins question her about thinking Manny was dead. She said they told her she would never see him again, and she adds it was not Manny’s fault. She asked him to come over and she ordered a pizza and were studying. Benson says the apartment looks like there was a party there and maybe sex. Avery explains she and Manny have done that before and asks they not tell her parents, adding not last night. He did not invite people over, the doorbell rang, she went to answer it and 3 guys pushed in and yelled at Manny in Spanish. She doesn’t think they knew him. Manny told her there was trouble with gangs in her neighborhood and thinks they wanted money. They raided her parent’s liquor cabinet and tor the house apart. She screamed and tried to get away but they grabbed her. She can’t tell them anymore, they said they would kill Manny if she did. Benson says Manny is the only one they have in the apartment so this is all on him. She swears it wasn’t him and Benson presses her for the truth and Manny will stay in jail until she tells them what happened. Avery sobs that they had a gun and they dragged her into her parent’s bedroom and raped her, all three of them. They were laughing and shouting “rocamos”, which Benson tells Rollins means “we rock.” They held a gun on Manny and made him watch. They told him he had to go next and he couldn’t. It was starting to get light out and she told them her parents would be coming back soon and they took Manny with them and when she found out he was dead, she walked out of the house and wandered around the city. She got to his neighborhood. Benson explains to Avery they will do a rape kit and ask her to look at some photos to see if she can make and ID. Avery says Manny had nothing to do with it, he loves her. The whole time she was falling, all she could think about was him.

Meanwhile, back at SVU in interrogation, Fin and Amaro continue to press Manny who insists he does not know who the other men were. Amaro says BX9 won’t know the names came from him, and Manny asks now who is lying? As they put the squeeze on him, Benson walks in and says she was just with Avery and she is looking at mug shots of his friends, and Manny counters they are not his friends.

Later, in the squad room, Fin states that the prints at the scene were a match to Carlos “O.G.” Hernandez who is the head of BX9 and Avery picked him out of a photo array. Amaro adds that Miguel “Sandman” Castillo was caught on a surveillance camera pawning Lydia Capshaw’s diamond earrings and Avery also ID’d him. Benson asks about the third rapist, and Rollins mentions Rigo Heredio who is bragging on his home page about having sex with a rich upper west side white girl. Rollins plays back a video on his site so they can hear it, and Fin cracks that those fools don’t think the cops don’t know how to use the internet? Rollins quips that it did take her a year to teach Fin how to. Benson tries to get them back on track and tells them to go back to the gang unit and track their routines; if these thugs are brazen enough to boast on social media, they are not laying low.

Rollins and Fin track down Miguel and arrest him. Amaro finds Rigo doing community service and arrests him. Later, Fin and Rollins, along with more armed officers, break down a door and serve a warrant to Carlos O.G. Fin recognizes Carlos’ girlfriend Marisol, who gives both Rollins and Fin some lip and defends BX9.

At SVU, Amaro, Fin and Rollins separately question the three guys who insist Manny called them and Avery was into it and says she is crying rape now, what else would she tell her parents?

Back at St. Michael’s Hospital, Avery denies to Benson and Rollins that she wanted it. Benson replies they believe her but they are trying to figure out how they knew her parents were away or how they knew she and Manny were home alone. Avery does not know, wondering if they followed Manny. She asked what he told them, and Rollins explains Manny is not cooperating. Avery thinks Manny is mad at her, because they made him watch all night and he saw….she gets upset. She says they were hurting her so bad and sobs that she could not make her body stop. Each time it happened they high-fivcd each other like it was a game. She didn’t want to but she was scared to death, but her body started to shake, she had an orgasm more than once and hates herself, saying she is disgusting. Benson explains it is a normal physiological response and it is a reflex. Rollins adds this does not mean she wanted it or enjoyed it. Avery thinks there is something wrong with her, asking why this has never happened with Manny, and she loves him.

At SVU, Benson confers with ADA Barba who recaps what they have so far and asks what is the problem. Fin explains that the perps say she wanted it. Barba asks what else is new, and is he missing something? Rollins explains the victim may be unwilling to testify. Benson adds Avery is traumatized and experienced an involuntary orgasm during the rape. Barba replies he can get a half dozen experts to testify that doesn’t mean consent. Benson notes that Avery is afraid the defense will ask her about it and she does not want to take the stand. Barba tells them to change her mind and get the boyfriend to back up her story. Amaro replies Manny has a lot on his plate and is worried about is safety and reprisals on his grandmother, who has been mugged by BX9 three times last year. Fin shows a video from a security camera of one of the muggings. Amaro thinks Manny joined the gang to protect her and BX9 may want a smart kid around as a front, Fin adding – or a cream puff to take the fall. Benson wonders if the rape a test of loyalty, and Amaro thinks it is late for that, Manny has been missing classes since the fall and that’s probably when he joined the gang. Fin also thinks it is payback. Rollins wonders that Manny double crossed BX9, and Barba does not see that. Fin thinks it may not be a double cross, he may have screwed up a big score. Amaro recalls Manny told his grandmother he was close to having enough money to buy a gravestone for his brother, and Benson wonders how long ago?

Later, Amaro and Fin speak with Manny’s grandmother and Amaro tells her Manny joined the group for her sake, commenting that she does not get mugged anymore. He brings up the money for the gravestone and she said it was $2,000, and he delivers for a pharmacy.

As they leave the building, Amaro asks Fin how do you save $2,000 delivering for a drug store, and Fin comments it depends on what you’re delivering. Amaro says they will start canvassing local pharmacies for any that got held up in the last few weeks.

Later, in SVU interrogation, Fin and Rollins question a guy who drives a truck for a pharmacy. He admits he called it in to BX9 when there was a shipment of Oxy but the wires got crossed. They sent some skinny kid who pointed a gun but who didn’t say anything. Rollins shows him a photo of Manny and the guy identifies him. He explains the kid froze and he had to make it look real so he told him to shoot into the wall and the owner of the pharm hears the shot and he comes running and he said the kid wanted Oxy. Rollins asks what did the pharmacist do?

In a Rikers Island meeting room, Amaro and Fin speak with Manny. Amaro explains that the pharmacist sent Manny back with a load of aspirin. Fin adds that the last time he checked, the street value of aspirin is not so good. Amaro says the gang raped Avery in retaliation for Manny blowing the deal. Fin and Amaro continue to press, bring up his brother, and Manny questions that they can get him to talk by bringing up his brother. Fin states Manny has to care about something, asking that he doesn’t care about helping Avery? Manny says she can take care of herself, he saw that. Amaro asks if that is what this is about, what Manny saw, and does Manny think she wanted that. Manny says they joked that they could turn her and he couldn’t. Fin asked if he believed them, and Manny said they made him watch and he saw what he saw.

Back at SVU, Avery asks why Manny won’t testify and Benson explains he is too afraid of the gang. Avery says this is not what it is, it’s her. She saw him looking at her when he left and she broke his heart. Benson explains what happened in her body has nothing to do with what is in her heart, it’s a physical response. Rollins adds that when you are tickled, even if you don’t want to you laugh, and when you cut an onion, you cry and it doesn’t mean you are sad. Avery replies Manny did not see her crying, and she wants to talk to him and explains.

Later, at the jail with Rollins and Amaro, Avery visits Manny and says she is sorry. She explains that what he saw with her body – she didn’t want it and couldn’t stop it.  She was not in her body and couldn’t feel anything. All she was worried about was him and she has to believe her. Manny says if she is worried about him, she has to walk away and tell them nothing happened that she didn’t want. Avery replies he knows that is not true and she can’t do this alone and he has to tell the jury how they burst in and held her down and that she didn’t want any of it. She asks please, and he says he is sorry, and then looks away from her.

Outside the Capshaw's home, they are packing up the car to leave with Avery and John says of course Manny won’t testify, he is guilty as the rest of them. Lydia says he should be charged. Benson, there with Rollins, explains they will charge him as an accessory. Avery is upset, saying she told them they had a gun to his head. John counters he wishes they shot him,. Manny set her up and they never should have allowed her to talk to him. Avery storms into the car as Rollins tells him they had to try, Manny’s testimony would have made the case stronger. John wants all of them in prison for life. Rollins says a step at a time, and Benson adds they are moving forward and their DA will need to go over Avery’s statement with them as soon as possible. Lydia informs them they are going to their house upstate for a few days and get away from the city. Rollins states they will be in touch.

As the Capshaws drive off, they are quickly surrounded by a motorcycle gang who attack the car, breaking the windows, standing on the hood, and attacking John.

Back at SVU, Benson watches, along with Barba, the news footage while on the phone with the Inspector. She informs him her detectives are at the hospital getting statements from the family and he will be the first to know. She hangs up and Barba asks how are the Capshaws? Benson explains they have cuts and bruises and Mr. Capshaw has a broken rib and wrist and Avery had to get stitches in her scalp. She gets a call from Rollins and after she hangs up, she tells Barba that the Capshaws say that in no uncertain terms their daughter will not testify against BX9. Barba asks if she can blame them. Benson asks what now, and Barba explains she knows that rape is tough enough to prove without the victim’s testimony. Benson says they have them on stolen jewelry and ransacking the house. Barba counters they’d say they were invited in for a party and Avery gave them the jewelry. Amaro approaches and informs Benson that he has been looking into Jesus Montero’s murder and there may be a way to get to Manny. Witnesses told the squad detectives that Jesus was shot by the Deltoro gang, but the gun was never recovered and the witnesses are all BX9. Six months later, a bullet was pulled out of a bodega wall at a gang suspected shake down and one of the bullets was fired from that same gun. The cops followed up and it went nowhere. Barba asks if the Deltoros were the suspects, and Amaro says no, the robbery was in BX9 territory, it could be a community gun, a gun any BX9 member can use and moves form location to location, taped under a stairwell in an abandoned building. Barba asks if he is saying that Manny’s brother was killed by his own gang? Amaro says it is a theory and Benson tells him to work it, otherwise as of now, no Avery, no Manny, these guys walk.

Later, Amaro is driving his car with Wilfredo in the front seat, hiding. Amaro asks about Jesus being shot and who is Wilfredo afraid of ratting out? Wilfredo is silent and Amaro brings up the gun being used in the robbery six months later. When Wilfredo says he does not know, Amaro questions that he does not know about the community gun? Amaro asks if the gun used in the pharmacy hold up was given to Manny by O.G., and Wilfredo says it wasn’t right. He shouldn’t have done it. Amaro asks shouldn’t have done what?

Later, Amaro and Fin walk the cemetery with Manny who says he is not talking. They explain the attack on the Capshaws and that they still got to them like they got to Jesus. They bring up the circumstances of Jesus being shot and Manny says Jesus and O.G. were doing a drop in Marcus Garvey Park, it ain't their turf and the Deltoros started shooting and Jesus jumped on O.G. and saved his life. Fin questions that O.G. didn’t get hit at all, and Manny reiterates that Jesus had him covered. Amaro questions that the Deltoros never checked to see if they finished what they started, and Manny thinks he guesses. Fin says that is not their style, then asks what did the BX9s do about retaliation regarding Jesus’ death? Manny tells them to stop, enough, it is not going to work, he is loyal. Amaro steps to Jesus’ unmarked grave and says there is a difference between loyalty and blind loyalty. Amaro shows him the bagged evidence with the bullet that killed Jesus and another bullet from the same gun, the BX9 community gun. He also shows him a third bullet, the one Manny fired into the wall at the pharmacy, they ran the ballistics. Fin explains Manny was doing a robbery with the same gun that killed his brother. Manny thinks O.G. wouldn’t do that; Jesus told him O.G. was going to move him up. Fin explains that is what they told Jesus so he would let his guard down, maybe O.G. saw him as a threat and wanted to set an example. Amaro asks that they didn’t have a good reason for raping Avery and they don’t deserve his loyalty. Manny says he can’t. Fin reminds him Avery was willing to testify and she is more of a man than Manny. Manny explains he can’t testify because then she will know that he is guilty, he knew. O.G. called him that night and said they were coming over to party and he knew what that meant but he didn’t want to know. He could have called the cops and got Avery out of there but he just froze. Amaro comments that is why he doesn’t want to testify – he is worried about what will happen once Avery finds out. Manny says she will hate him for the rest of his life. Amaro says he did not protect her then but he has to now.

Later, in another location with Amaro and Barba, Manny is in a room with a camera pointed at him, and Barba explains they are doing everything to keep his cooperation confidential. Manny states BX9 will know it came from him, and Amaro explains that is why Manny is staying in around the clock protective custody. They turn on the camera and Manny says there is something he wants to say first: He says to Avery that the worst thing she can do for these guys is show weakness, they knew how much he loved her and that is why this happened.

At SVU, Avery watches this recording as Manny goes on to say he should have shot up every pharmacy in the neighborhood to spare her from this pain. He says he is sorry. Avery then asks Rollins if Manny did the right thing, and asks Rollins if she can talk to him. Rollins explains that his testimony will include his own role in all this and in the statement he admitted he knew the gang was coming over and that they wanted to party. Rollins says he may or may not be fully aware of what that meant. Avery is surprised that he knew and didn’t tell her, and she thought he loved her. She comments that while they were on top of her, all she could think about was him, and Rollins thinks he did not want her to get hurt. Avery tells Rollins she does not get to defend him. Fin enters the room and calls over Rollins. Outside the room, Benson says they just got a call from Rikers; Amaro adds that Manny was found dead in his cell an hour ago. Fin adds he was murdered with his tongue cut out.

In Barba’s office, he is angry about this turn of events but Fin explains the guards say things happen, there was only so much they can do. Benson says they don’t even do that. Amaro tried to talk to Manny's grandmother but she is inconsolable. Rollins says homicide and the gang unit is going hard at BX9 but nobody’s talking. Fin says Manny got his tongue cut out in PC, nobody’s ever talking. Benson asks if there is any way to use Manny’s taped confession, and Barba explains she knows the rules, the defense has a right to cross examine a witness, Manny is dead and the tape is inadmissible. Benson asks what about forfeiture for wrongdoing, and Barba says maybe, the only way that tape gets admitted is if he can prove that Manny was killed to prevent him from testifying. Amaro thinks O.G. had to sign off on the hit, but Barba says the problem is no one is going to turn on him now. Fin wonders if they can get him to turn on himself.

Later, Fin and Rollins speaks with Carlos’ girlfriend Marisol and tell her he is going down for rape. She says it was no rape, that bitch wanted it, and that Carlos said they had to turn her out to teach her what being in BX9 means. Rollins says Manny testified in the video statement to the DA. Fin says they thought they should let her know as her life is about to change and if she helps them, maybe they can help her. She states she is BX9 all the way and Carlos is hers, all the way. Fin says he gets it, she’s loyal. Rollins tells her that Carlos couldn’t stop talking about how hot Avery’s ass was. Marisol slams the door and quickly makes a phone call.

In a jail call, Benson and Barba are there with Carlos and his lawyer, who says one of the witnesses is not talking and one is no longer able to, it is time to discuss terms of surrender. Benson explains his client isn’t going anywhere, he is guilty of a brutal gang rape, Carlos said he ain’t raped no one and it is horrible what happened to Manny.  His lawyer tells him to save those tears, they both know they have no case and Manny's statement is inadmissible. Barba counters that usually yes, but in the case of forfeiture for wrongdoing…and Carlos asks what is he talking about? His lawyer says Barba is claiming that Carlos had Manny killed to prevent him from testifying and if he could prove that – which he can’t – then Manny’s taped slander would be allowed. Benson comments except they CAN prove that, commenting he made a call to his girlfriend Marisol this morning - and Carlos said to calm her down. His lawyer tells him to stop talking. Barba adds there is more than that, he should have told his client that prison calls are not confidential. Barba plays back a recording of Carlos talking to Marisol where he says he is not doing any time, and that his people took care of Manny and he is not talking to nobody, not without a tongue. Carlos’ lawyer explains he will need some time to confer with his client and they may consider a plea. Barba coldly says they will take their chances in court, unless Carlos would be willing to testify against his fellow gang members, then they can talk deal. Benson tells Carlos it might be a smart move. Carlos asks if they think they won this, that’s cool, he’ll do his bit, prison is ripe for new recruits anyway but his boys are loyal to the core, they have his back on the inside and on the outside. Benson replies “Yeah, just like Manny?” He thinks he is safer in here than she is out there, addressing her as “Sergeant Benson, is it?” Barba tells the lawyer to tell his client to keep his mouth shut, but Benson says no, that’s okay, asking Carlos is he is threatening her. She says she has the biggest gang in the city and he thinks his guys are loyal, go ahead and test the NYPD, “I dare ya.”

Afterwards, as Benson and Barba get their things back, Barba tells Benson tells her that was a direct threat and they should get her protection. She says no, she doesn’t want to live like that. They buzz her out and quickly walks out the jail door, Barba sighs as he follows her out.

Elsewhere, Avery is painting and Rollins comments what Avery is doing is different from her other paintings. Avery says she doesn’t know the girl who did those. Rollins believes she will come back, and Avery questions that Manny knew that talking to the DA was a death sentence. Rollins explains he knew that if he didn’t talk, the men that hurt her would go free and he couldn’t live with that. Avery thinks Manny really did love her, and thinks she will never have that again. Rollins reminds Avery she is still young and she knows it seems that way. Avery asks if she has even been with someone who has been willing to die to protect her and Rollins replies no. Avery says Manny died thinking she didn’t love him anymore and she should have told him while she still had the chance. She continues to feverishly paint as we fade to black.

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Darkstar said...

Back to old habits,leaving us in the dark!!

fred astire said...

Maybe it was really coffee in Rollins cup because she was probably up all night gambling. Plus alcohol is strong in scent and the guys being so close to where she's sitting, they would have smelled it. This episode was ok.

Chris Zimmer said...

Fred, it is very common for alcoholics to pu vodka in their coffee. It doesn't change the color of what they are drinking and it also doen't have much of a smell. It's probably the same drink of choice for Sonja Paxton, that's why she always had that big cup of coffee with her, it was likely spiked.

fred astire said...

True true. And with knowing that, I'm gonna agree with you all about the "too much" in the drama era. Because if Rollins and Liv are dealing with alcohol issues then its a little much.

CLA said...

Not seen this episode yet. But the pictures of Liv, as uniformed sergeant are beautiful. Mariska is like wine: the more time passes it gets better. What beautiful eyes she has. I have an envy. In a good way.

Alex said...

The way they are writing Barba lately pisses me off to no end. Last season, they did a fantastic job establishing him as a skilled, intelligent attorney. This season, they're making him look like an incompetent hack who must have got his degree from a box of Frosted Flakes. It's much like the way Casey Novak was written, where we were TOLD that she is one of the best ADAs in NYC but were SHOWN an attorney who lost almost every case on a technicality that a first year law student would have been able to avoid.

Right around American Tragedy is when the writing for Barba started to go south. Barba is my favorite character on the entire show but to be honest, if I had just stared watching the new seasons and this one or Psycho/Therapist had been my first episode, I would have despised him and asked what the hell all the hype was about.

I can't believe it took them barely a year to go from "this guy is a selfish arrogant pompous prick but a badass and incredibly smart attorney who will let himself get strangled in open court to win a case" to "this guy regularly cries over cases, lets a rapist defending himself scream at his victim from three feet away while foaming at the mouth without objecting and can't seem to remember what an outcry witness or excited utterance are when another victim's testimony is disregarded as hearsay (even though he mentioned both in the first episode of the arc), and can't remember what forfeiture by wrongdoing is until a cop suggests it to him".

I suspect part of the change may be to show us "Super Benson To The Rescue" but another part of it is just plain lazy writing. Such a disappointment. Barba was an incredible character, perfect for Raul but now I truly feel that the show is wasting his talent. I wish the Mothership would come back with Cutter as the EADA and Barba as the ADA. Now THAT would be a good show. SVU, on the other hand, seems to think a good show is "anything that wouldn't look out of place on CSI".

Offense as a Barba fan aside, this episode was... okay. Incredibly boring, but not as soap opera-ish as last week. I didn't appreciate that the title, Betrayal's CLIMAX, amounted to a rape joke, nor did I appreciate the highly insensitive tweet Julie Martin made in the middle of the episode.

Next week's promo, on the other hand, looks like it might be the moment this series finally crosses the point of no return in terms of quality. Even if the pregnancy test isn't for Benson or it turns up negative, the fact that they felt the need to do a possible pregnancy storyline proves that this show is in its dying breaths. If Benson really is pregnant, I think it'll finally be time for me to hop off the crazy train. I truly think this is the last or penultimate season.

Cardinal said...

Alex, I couldn't agree with you more!

I don't know if it's NBC putting pressure on Warren, or what's going on now, but things are even worse than the worst days of Neal "soap opera showrunner" Baer.

I never thought I'd hear myself say this in a million years, but I'm pretty much done with watching SVU. It veered off the rails after Munch was written out, and now it's even worse with Cragen gone.

I put up with the "Elliot & Olivia Show," back when none of the other characters had their turns to be featured, but even the current ensemble approach has stopped being compelling.

It's jumped the shark.

CLA said...

@ Alex and Cardinal

Despite his comments , SVU is doing very well this season . The premiere episode reached 10 million viewers . Equal numbers only had on old seasons . The episode # 10 , which showed the trial of Lewis also had great ratings . The last episode, achieved a 2.0 in the 18-49 demo , with over 7 million viewers , which for a number of 15 years is great.
I think you are very demanding . Cling to details . The people like to romance, to see something of the personal lives of their favorite detectives . After all, they are human beings , not machines . I do not believe that Olivia is pregnant. This is just a move to attract viewers . What's the problem ? Which channel you do not have an audience ? SVU is in excellent phase and their stories are emotional and deep . Substitutions are normal . Nobody is eternal . Mariska should also leave. The only problem is that , perhaps with his departure , the series did not survive . I'm hoping it all works out . After all , SVU is also one of the few decent shows on television .

fred astire said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Alex said...

@CLA- you're picking and choosing what ratings and circumstances you want to see. The premiere reached 10 million, yes, but that was only because they hyped it for months. Most of the normal episodes have been in the 5s, and indeed, two episodes this season reached series lows. Last night got decent ratings but only because Criminal Minds and Modern Family were both on reruns. No one in their right mind would call 1.8 to 2.0 18-49 ratings "good". That's terrible. If SVU was on any show but NBC, it would have been cancelled years ago.
Further, they are barely breaking even. Their budget is fucked. Most of each episode's revenue is going to pay Mariska's salary alone. Even if she was the star of the show as her stalkers I mean fans insist, that is absurd. Shows can and do go on without their "stars". SVU already survived losing CM, who many insisted was the star before then, and it has had episodes with Mariska already- the Dani Beck episodes. The show actually might have a better chance at surviving if Mariska didn't renew her contract.

It is not demanding to insist that a TV show be believable and interesting. SVU is neither.

What the fuck does "substitutions are normal" even mean? What substitutions?

There are plenty of decent shows on television. SVU is rapidly working its way off the list with these ridiculous storylines. They're pandering to teenage girls with no concept of realism and desperation for romance and babies and other over-idealized crap rather than writing intelligently.

CLA said...

@ Alex

Excuse me but you say things without sense. How do you know who pays the salary of Mariska? And you think 1.8 or 2.0 for a show of 15 years is bad? People who watched SVU last Tuesday could be another channel tuning. But preferred SVU. When the show is bad, no point advertising. The two most watched episodes this season was exactly those in which Mariska was the center. This is symptomatic. The people love this woman. And she still can, many coalesce around him. You must be a frustrated fan Meloni, who was sure the show would end after his departure. Only not. The show still survives. If you do not like, do not understand why watching.
I particularly twist exit of Mariska. I hope one day it will return doing something as good as it was SVU. And no tips on making movies tacky. Who is pretty and has talent, there will always be opportunities.

CLA said...

@ Alex

Sorry Alex for answering your comment. Now I'm remembering it was you who said Olivia Benson be a boring and depthless character. Boring you can still accept. But no depth is too much. His hatred for Mariska has seriously harmed his comments and his review.

At the most, I mean I love SVU and all the characters. But Olivia Benson is my favorite. Coincidentally, also the favorite of millions. But ninguén in the world is unanimous. There will always be bitter.

Laurie Fanat said...

Last things first: The promo shown for next week's episode may imply that Benson thinks she's pregnant. The NBC promos are famous for taking scenes out of context so who knowa why she's really getting it? Maybe she did skip a period and it is just menopause. Maybe she is getting it for someone else in the episode that can't get to the store for some reason. I doubt she is pregnant. I was going to say the writers wouldn't be that stupid to do that to her, but then again...
All I know is I am not looking forward to a big "personal" storyline.

On this episode, it was a decent story for a change and the personal references were there but they were very subtle. This is much better if they want to generate some buzz and speculation, and this show needs buzz to survive. The ratings were better however SVU was up against reruns so I take their good ratings with a grsin of salt.

Benson's promotion is well deserved. I worry that her character will become like Cragen whose only purpose was to state the obvious, the things the detectives should know how to do without needing a boss to tell them to.

They are RUINING Barba. Raul is a great actor and he can do so much with just his eyes and facial expressions but the writers need to stop turning him into ADA Ron Carver (from L&O CI) who was a kind of guy who looked for excuses not to do his job! The scene where Barba says right away that the tape is inadmissible and Benson has to tell him how he can get it in was cringe-worthy.

Petra S said...

So I liked the case in this episode, good guest stars. The girl playing Avery was good, I mean she played a character I of course felt sorry for but I wanted to smack her too cause she was so dense or naïve or I guess so much in love. Manny got a tragic ending and even though I wanted him to get punished I think hanged and tongue cut out was a little barbarian even for me.
I liked the swearing in ceremony, Liv looked great. And I think Benson handled the case really well. She was fierce with that 'my gang' comment and 'I don't want to live like that' to Barba was spot on.
I like to think she at some point pulled Rollins aside and talked to her about the roof incidence.
The squad seemed rather functional this episode. We did get that little talk in the beginning. Cassidy missing as usual. Nick in denial about his wife, not sure what's going on there, even though he's acted stalkerish towards her in the past I find it so hard he would go there now. That would truly be a 180. I'm hoping its more that he isolates himself from his wife and perhaps even his daughter seeing how she was almost shot in the 180 episode.
And then he used the 'you know how it is, one day at a time' towards Rollins and she definitely through a glance at her 'zippy cup'. I don't know if it was just coffee in there but the writers surely wanted us to wonder. To me she seems to have an addictive personality so I wouldn't put it past her. She can join Nate (and Lena if she wasn't in jail) at GA, NA, AA and/or SAA. I'm really nervous to see how this will play out for Rollins.
Great guest stars in the next ep. Let's hope for menopause though. So weird to write that. Lol.

Alex said...

"Excuse me but you say things without sense. How do you know who pays the salary of Mariska?"

You're right. The network is totally not the one to pay Mariska's salary. It's Bill Gates. Silly me.

"And you think 1.8 or 2.0 for a show of 15 years is bad?"

It doesn't matter how long the show has been on the air. It matters how profitable it is. 1.8-2.0 is not profitable. Further, the original Law and Order got similar ratings in its 20th season on a Friday night to what SVU is getting now, in its 15th on a Wednesday, with Mariska, who her fans insist is some kind of superstar.

"People who watched SVU last Tuesday could be another channel tuning. But preferred SVU."

Except they don't prefer SVU. They prefer Criminal Minds and Modern Family. Hence why SVU only got got ratings this week when CM and MF were on repeats and in weeks before was only getting 5s.

"When the show is bad, no point advertising. The two most watched episodes this season was exactly those in which Mariska was the center."

And last season, the most watched episode was one in which no one was the center; the center of it was a case with a hint of conspiracy. (Beautiful Frame) Point being, it isn't about Mariska, it's about how the show is presented. Beautiful Frame got an 8; Her Negotiation got a 6.

"This is symptomatic. The people love this woman. And she still can, many coalesce around him."

That was fucking gibberish.

"You must be a frustrated fan Meloni, who was sure the show would end after his departure."

Actually, I'm no more a Meloni fan than I am a Mariska fan. I pointed out that people insisted Meloni was the start of the show and it couldn't survive without him, but it has. Same with Mariska. Her fangurls insist she literally IS the show, but the show could survive, even THRIVE without her as long as they return to the cases instead of soap opera garbage.

"Only not. The show still survives."

It's alive, but on life support.

"If you do not like, do not understand why watching."

Because I like Raul.

"I particularly twist exit of Mariska."

More gibberish.

"I hope one day it will return doing something as good as it was SVU. And no tips on making movies tacky."

Still incoherent.

"Who is pretty and has talent, there will always be opportunities."

Mariska is pretty, sure. Talented? Meh. She's average. You want a talented actress? Look at Jennifer Lawrence.

"Sorry Alex for answering your comment. Now I'm remembering it was you who said Olivia Benson be a boring and depthless character. Boring you can still accept. But no depth is too much."

What's the problem with me stating the obvious? A character without flaws is a character without depth. Olivia is never shown having human weaknesses. Her "weaknesses" are always sympathetic or serve to make her seem even stronger. She is written not as a human, but as a caricature or a fantasy. There is no part of her I can relate to.

"His hatred for Mariska has seriously harmed his comments and his review."

Who the fuck is the "he" here?

"At the most, I mean I love SVU and all the characters. But Olivia Benson is my favorite."

Good for you.

"Coincidentally, also the favorite of millions."

Munch was also the favorite of millions; is that proof that he was "the star of the show"?

"But ninguén in the world is unanimous. There will always be bitter."

I like how you've divided the world into "people who agree with me" and "people who are bitter". That's some hella fallacious thinking right there.

TrueBeliever said...

Alex, I think Mariska is one of the primary reasons the show is still on the air because of who she is in real life AND on television combined, not just because of Olivia Benson. People like to think that their fictional heroes exist in real life. What Mariska has done with the Joyful Heart Foundation has forever linked her with Olivia Benson and made her a real-life AND on-screen hero to many. I think a lot of her fans look past faulty writing and watch the show anyway simply because of who she is. When they watch Olivia Benson, they also see Mariska Hargitay, champion of survivors/victims. When they see Mariska Hargitay, they see Olivia Benson, tender-hearted, bad-ass cop. I don't think her fans/viewers will ever be able to separate the two and that will work in the show's favor as long as she's on it. Without her, there would have to be some very strong story lines and another character (or two) to step up and take center stage. Even so, no one else in the cast has done with their character what Mariska has done.

Lisa said...

I did not like this episode i found it boring i was longing to switch to my Downton abbey dvds.
I KNOW most people worship Mariska to me she is a medicore actress and just MEH in the talent dept.
if they make her pregant im afraid ill stop watching as i loved it as a crime drama and its in the shallow end of the soap opera pool right now. I tolorated bensidy but im not interested in hearing endless prattle about the woes of a pregnant olivia.

Sara Kürz said...

Guys,you all need to calm down a litte bit and stop the hate! We aren't even done with the half of this season or even current issues and you drop allegations and skeptism like crazy. I personally liked the episode very much but also have to admit that the ending annoyed me a little,with the: we don't finish and fade to black,so you have to switch nbc again to know whats gonna happen. The writers can keep this capitavant but pls not that way!
To the episode,wow i really loved olivias reaction to the threatning with that guy from the gang. I generally enjoy her character even after the kidnapping. Her acting is truly amazing!
To rollins,omg just omg. I am so courious about what really is going on in her life. I believe she is falling deep down or just have a hard time to realise what happened to her. I mean look at her you can seriously see how dameged she is. She is jumpy,tensely and all the gambling started to also affect her job. Even partners started to notice that something's wrong with her,especially amoro,wow i would love to them in a relationship! I know rollins is a grown woman but also only a human beiing with emotions. Besides that she is teribbly denying all that,wich makes it hard that the other detectives connect with her or give ger some help. She is very stubborn so let's see how ist gonna end.

Petra S said...

Well said Sara. I get enough of internal fandom hate on Tmblr, don't want it hear (I refer to this site as a none-tween forum so please keep it that way). Opinions will always differ so let's just agree to disagree shall we?! Geesh you're acting like Amaro and Rollins. Lol.
I think Mariska is just an okay actress and I get she's the star of the show but I'm in it for Rollins and Fin. I'm too very anxious to know what's going on with Rollins and in this episode I think we got to see the frail side quite a bit, she's always acting so tough but she's falling to pieces clearly. I just want her to me happy (but with Fin not Amaro Sara ;) )

CLA said...

@ Alex

For our own good and this last time I drive you an answer. When you say Mariska Hargitay has no talent, I understand that the conversation should stop. I do not know dialogue with unfair and spiteful people. I admire the talent of all the actors of the show and hopefully leave SVU Mariska. She still deserves more success.
Great actor, great human figure, Mariska and an icon of television.

Alex said...

@CLA- I like the part where I never said Mariska had no talent.