Thursday, January 23, 2014

Law & Order SVU “Jersey Breakdown” Recap & Review

Law & Order SVU has clearly moved into soap opera territory with “Jersey Breakdown,” peppered with personal drama focusing on Benson, Amaro, and Rollins. It looks like there is real trouble brewing between Benson and Cassidy,  some of it coming from the demands of his new job with IAB and some coming from her new role as acting squad commander for the Special Victims Unit. Benson is also learning a lot about how to be the boss. Speaking from experience, it is not an easy transition being promoted to management and having to supervise the people you worked with side-by-side. Benson is trying to be a leader and not being “bossy” but the downside is her frustration is showing.   She is struggling with the multitude of decisions at work. It’s carrying over to frustration with Cassidy, who asks her to make the most minor decisions about dinner. Benson has made enough comments in previous episodes that there are been some bumps in the relationship that it’s likely the pressures of her work may be the thing that pushes the relationship over the cliff. We’ve probably also seen Benson with a wine glass in her hand more often in this season then in all of the last 14. At the end of the episode when Benson decides to open the second bottle of wine, are we to conclude that she is developing a drinking problem? I am also unable to explain the ring that Benson is wearing on her left hand ring finger in the squad room; I believe this was the only scene where she wore it so I assume it was an error.  Another issue for Benson is that, as acting squad commander, she needs to get Amaro out of staying her house ASAP, for obvious reasons.

Rollins is gambling again – quelle surprise! – and later, she encounters a New Jersey detective who appears to have seen her in a New Jersey casino. Early on in the episode, Rollins also blames her dog Frannie for her lateness, an excuse that should never be used more than once. (It’s like the old “The dog ate (or peed on) my homework” excuse, an excuse that can only be used once for it to be credible.) If she blames the dog one more time, I think we should make Frannie a special victims case. When Amaro later questions the validity of the excuse, Fin seems to think that it can be explained away because we all know how some are about their dogs. I think Barba is on to Rollins and hopefully somebody will give Benson a heads up to look at Rollins' behavior more closely.

Amaro thinks he is going to patch his marriage back together, but as we can tell by the phone call that Benson gets at the end, that isn’t going to happen any time soon. He’s getting a little annoying with the childish whining about being on desk duty.

I can only wonder if we have any drama in store for Fin and Barba in coming weeks.  Fin seems to have a very private life so that means there has to be some dirt somewhere. Who knows, maybe Barba will have a wardrobe crisis, like being caught wearing a tie and suspenders that don’t match? I don’t mind the personal stories every now and then but I don’t want the show to turn into “Days of Our SVU Lives.”

There WAS a special victims case between all this personal drama, and it was a case which brought in Connie Rubirosa, who is now working for the Feds.   The downside is the “corrupt judge funneling kids through a juvie facility and getting kickbacks” has been done before on Law & Order SVU “Crush” from season 10. Of course, it was a New York judge that time; this time it was  in New Jersey. ( I feel sorry for people in New Jersey who must feel like they live in a political cesspool after this episode...okay, considering recent news stories maybe they do.) The story  was predictable;  seriously now, who didn’t know it was the New Jersey prosecutor who raped the girl? The episode felt looooonnnng, maybe it was because there was so much stuff crammed into it. It seemed like there was an ending (Rollins and Clare) …after an ending (Benson and Amaro)…after an ending (Benson drinking wine in her apartment). I’m on the fence whether I liked this episode or not, but I am glad that it did end.

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:
Alana De La Garza – Connie Rubirosa
Chaz Palminteri – Perry Cannavaro
Stefanie Scott – Clare Wilson
Dayton Callie – Judge Dolan
Bill Sage – Bobby Masconi
McKean Rand -
Geoff Wigdor -
Andrea Bianchi - ADA Gina Masconi
Scott Decker – Detective Moore
Monica Wyche - Gert Marmer
Shwayze – Shelton Teague
Alli Caudle – Erin Fogarty
Adam Heller – Arnie
Sheila Tapa – Officer Merlo
Lorrie Odom – Female Corrections Officer
Matt Wood – Officer Kenneth Parker
Allyson Morgan - Nurse Shelby Roberts
Johnny Wu – Officer Mills
Jane Fergus – Reporter
Eric Morace – Sheriff’s Officer
Beau Berglund – CO Alan Newman
Chris Mazza – Counselot Mitch Moynihan

Two guys walking down the street see a young girl sitting on the ground in an alley and one guy asks if she needs help, adding that she looks really out of it. She asks for help and when the guy moves in to help her stand up, he comments that she has a nice body and the other guy laughs. Guy #1 slips off her top from her shoulder, saying it’s OK she likes that. He moves her back to the ground and then says she is a pretty girl and should not be out there alone. A guy walking on the street doing cleanup sees them and asks what they are doing and tries to stop them, with a police car coming up behind them, turning on the siren. The cops tell them to all get their hands in the air and the guy who came upon them tells the cops the 2 guys were trying to mess with the girl. One officer calls for a bus.

Meanwhile, Benson, at home in bed, awakens to a strange noise. She sees a note by the bed which says “Morning Sunshine. See you for dinner tonight! Brian.” She tosses the note back on the bed side table and opens the bedroom door to see Amaro finishing getting dressed. He apologizes for possibly waking her. She asks what time is it and then looks to see it is 5AM. She apologizes for the couch and he says it is not the couch, he’s not sleeping and it doesn’t matter because he is on desk duty which he is getting tired of. Benson replies she knows and encourages to talk to someone, mentioning her shrink. Amaro says he sees his priest. Benson was thinking of him doing something different, but Amaro says no, he is glad that works for her but that is not him. She tell him he can stay there for as long as he needs. He mentions he has the trial and she could use the quiet and the last thing she needs is to worry about him. She tells him to stop, he is her partner. He scoffs and says yeah, but with Cragen gone she is his boss too? Showing frustration, he explains he has had time to figure this out, and he holds up his left hand to show his wedding ring and says he and Maria are getting back together. Benson asks if they have been talking, and Amaro admits not yet, he is going down to D.C. this weekend and he is going to get his old life back and that’s what he needs to do now. Benson phones chimes for a message and tells Amaro there is a vic at the ER who was assaulted under the High Line. Amaro says he can go, but Benson says he can’t, that’s why it’s called desk duty. She says she is sorry and then quickly turns to go back to her bedroom to get dressed.

At Mercy Hospital, Benson is already there when Rollins stops off the elevator and removes her sunglasses, Benson commenting that Rollins is late. Rollins explains she had to take Frannie to the vet, she ate chocolate again. Benson, sounding annoyed, tells her the next time, let her know, she could have called Fin, and reminds Rollins that Amaro is on desk duty and they are short handed. Benson leans over and gives Rollins a look, saying she’s gotta show up. Rollins replies “Copy that, Sergeant” and asks what are they looking at. Benson explains that a young woman, Erin Fogarty, found passed out under the High Line, her clothes were torn and there were signs of assault. There were 3 guys at the scene all pointing fingers at each other. Rollins cracks that another great week at SVU begins.

In the room, Erin claims that she told the nurse she is fine and does not want the police. Benson says there are here and something happened, they just want to know what. Erin comments that she does not have to talk to them if she is the victim? Rollins notes that Erin said she is the victim, and Benson tells her they are holding three guys, who did what? Erin says the nurse told her if she does not want to pursue this, they can’t make her, and Rollins explains she already did the rape kit and that is the hard part, and Erin counters that she is crashing now and just wants to get out of there. Benson explains that is not happening and to sit back down, she needs to talk to them, now.

Later, in the squad room, Fin speaks to Elton who says he was there in the street doing community service, In the interrogation room, Amaro speaks with Tommy who says he and his buddy Jeff were walking toward the train and saw the other guy in top of her and then the cops show up. Fin also talks to Jeff who says they were glad they got there before it went any further. Afterwards, Amaro says here we go again, the girl doesn’t want to press charges – Benson pipes in and says “as of now” – and Rollins says the girl didn’t even want to tell them what happened. Benson asks what they got from the suspects, and Fin explains the conflicting stories. Rollins says the rape kit may help, pre-ejaculate was found on her breast and semen in her vaginal canal. Benson tells them to swab all three suspects and hold them on dis-con for the altercation and she will rush the DNA.

Later, Fin brings Jeff into the interrogation room and Amaro tells Jeff he has good news/bad news – they found Tommy’s DNA on the girl’s breast, but not Elton’s, telling Jeff that he lied. Fin accuses Jeff of wanting to go next, which would make it gang rape and that is 15 years. Jeff insists he did not touch her and Tommy was just playing with her boobs. Amaro shouts that it is still lying. Amaro asks about the semen inside of her, asking who else was with them. Jeff insists no one. He explains she was sitting there crying, her top open and her skirt up and he told Tommy not to but Tommy wanted to “seagull” her and if she was raped, it happened before they got there.

Meanwhile, Benson and Rollins have been watching the questioning and Benson says “Seagulling, the girl had a rough night.” Rollins counters that Benson was kind of rough with her. Benson retorts that if she doesn’t talk, they don’t have a case, and she seems credible. As Benson walks off, Rollins says “So we get her to talk.” Amaro steps out of the interrogation room and asks Benson, who has his back to him, if she has a minute. She tells Rollins to tell the hospital to hold Erin… and Amaro interrupts again, saying “Liv.” She stops talking to Rollins and looks at Amaro, appearing annoyed, and tersely asks “What?” Amaro, appearing frustrated, asks if they can talk in private. He walks away from her leaving Benson and Rollins to give each other a look. Rollins walks away and Benson follows Amaro.

In the holding cell, Amaro tells Benson they are short staffed and he is not good with the desk duty, he wants his gun back. Benson tells Amaro that it is just a few weeks since the shooting and he doesn’t know what could startle him. Amaro asks if she thinks he will shoot somebody else, and Benson replies that he could hesitate. She adds that PTSD is real and it is a process, and not to rush it. He begs her to let him try one tour, he’ll know. Benson shouts that it’s not just him she has to think about; the entire squad is her responsibility now. Rollins pokes her head in the cell doorway and apologizes for interrupting but they have a problem: the hospital lost Erin. Benson looks exasperated and leaves the room with Rollins, leaving Amaro in the cell.

At the hospital, Benson and Rollins hear from the nurse that Erin was not discharged and she must have left on her own. Benson asks for Erin’s address and not to give her any of that privacy stuff. The nurse tells her it is 890 West 23rd. Rollins says that is halfway into the Hudson River. The nurse says that is the address she gave her. Benson addresses the nurse as “Nurse Jackie”, saying she was the one who told Erin not to talk the them, and Benson stresses Erin has been victimized and needs help. The nurse says she gave her help. She does her job, telling Benson to do hers, and she walks off. Benson comments to Rollins they have Erin’s cash and her cell, and her ID, what is she afraid of? Rollins says she did reach her mom in Pittsfield and she gave them the cell number – but it is not the one in her purse,

At the Manhattan Ice Rink, Rollins and Fin catch up with Erin Fogarty, who is on ice skates. It is not the Erin that we saw at the ER, and Rollins asks if she lost a driver’s license recently. She does not think so, and Fin shows her a photo of the girl and she says it is Clare Wilson, she was friend of her sister’s back in Maine and when Clare came to New York she felt bad for her so she gave her her license so she could buy a drink and she got a new one. For a while Clare lived at Covenant House but she thinks she moved out, she thinks she works at a steak house.

Later, Rollins and Fin are at a strip club and speak with Perry Cannavaro, the club owner, who claims he does not know Clare, but he does know Erin Fogarty who is a waitress and worked the lunch shift today, asking when she got picked up. Rollins explains she was assaulted 2 nights ago and doesn’t believe the story until Fin shows her a photo. Fin asks how they can find her and Perry replies he has her cell. He says he tells all his girls if they get in trouble they can always count on Perry. Fin explains they have her cell and asks if Perry has an address, and he says the bouncers might know, they offer the girls a ride home if they work until closing.

Afterwards, Rollins and Fin are at Erin’s and Fin knocks on the door and calls out Clare’s name and announces they are NYPD. Clare opens the door, looks wobbly, and begins to collapse and Fin and Rollins catch her fall.

Back in the hospital, Clare asks Benson and Rollins what happened to her. Rollins explains they had to pump her stomach. Erin says she took sleeping pill but not to kill herself, she just wanted to sleep. Her mom kicked her out two years ago and one of her boyfriends liked Clare more than her so he got her the job at Perry’s club. Benson asks if Perry knows she is 16, and Clare replies he did not ask. She asks if she is in trouble and Rollins says no but they need to know what happened the other night. Clare explains it was the Jersey guys and they were jerks. Rollins counters that is not what the rape kit showed, and Clare admits she had sex with a guy at the club. Benson finishes that he left her clothes ripped, freezing, on a sidewalks. Clare says she is not talking to them anymore, she needs the job. Rollins says she is not going back to the strip club. Clare asks where is she going to go and where will she live, she won’t go back to Pittsfield. Benson explains they can find a good group home Clare is skeptical, commenting should she trust them? Benson nods yes, and Rollins adds Clare doesn’t have a lot of choices, they can take care of her but she has to be straight with them – who raped her? Clare admits it was some drunk VIP, she doesn’t know his name. She thought Perry wanted her to pad his tab but Perry said he was comped – G.F.B. (“Girls, Food. Beverage.” - except he didn’t like any of the strippers and he said they were all whorish and that she was sweet. She brought him a drink in a private room and she started groping her. Usually the bouncers are all over guys like that but nobody came in. She told him he could put it in her mouth but he got mad and wanted more, and at least it did not last long.

Back at Perry’s, he insists to Fin this is a complete misunderstanding, no way the girl is 16 and she had and ID and she was a waitress. Fin reminds him what Clare said happened and Perry asks if he wants him to rat out a patron. Fin threatens him with a court order for surveillance tapes, and Perry says that is a great idea, and maybe he can fix it too because it crashed about a week ago. Fin reminds him the guy is a rapist and if he helps get him busted they can get it plead down. Perry replies “Yeah, screw you.” He walks off.

At the Williams House Group Home, Clare says the guy definitely knew Perry and seems surprised Perry did not tell him who he was. Benson says he thinks this will all go away. Clare thinks he knows, and Rollins explains they are not dropping this and will keep putting pressure on him, She says whatever, she’s out of there and this place seems okay. Benson tells her is she wants to turn her life around they will support her here, and Rollins encourages her to stay clean, stay sober, and make curfew. Clare says it’s time, and says she has a nice tree outside. As Rollins and Benson move to leave, police officers come in from the Hudson Country Sheriff’s department and Benson introduces herself. The officers have an arrest warrant for Clare for credit card fraud and grand larceny. Rollins counters they are from New Jersey and Clare worked in New York. The officer states it was a Jersey City strip club. Benson claims they have the wrong girl, but Clare explains she worked in Perry’s other club too, he made her charge customers there. Benson tells her to stop talking and ask for a lawyer, to say not one word, and they will get this whole thing cleared up.

Later, at the court house, Rollins tells ADA Barba that Perry won’t give up the rapist’s name and Barba replies it is bad for business if he does; what happens in his club stays in his club. Rollins corrects him to say “clubs” ; in addition to Manhattan, he owns 2 clubs in Florida, 3 in Jersey. Benson adds that they day they picked Perry up. Clare just happens to get arrested by the Hudson County Sheriff? Barba says they make the rest of Jersey look like Switzerland, he got his cronies to up the pressure on Clare so she would drop the charges, adding it is not a bad plan. Benson questions how hard is it going to be to get her out of there, and Barba thinks they will says their case takes precedence over theirs but if it were a Federal case, they might back off.

Later, at the Federal Task Force, Barba introduces Connie Rubirosa to Benson and Rollins. Benson comments she thought Rubirosa took a job in LA, but she explains that New York Cops and DAs go out there but it doesn’t quite right. Rollins asks that the Feds ordered her back for a Federal Task Force, and Rubirosa explains it was for underage sex trafficking, they were looking at Perry Cannavaro. As she hands them all copies of the files, she explains he is part of a ring that targets runaways. He puts them to work in his clubs, gets them hooked on drugs, and then they owe him. Rollins questions that the Feds can’t shut him down, and Rubirosa explains they are trying to, the problem is a lot of the vics go back to the life, disappear, or decide not to testify. Rubirosa asks what they can tell her about Clare Wilson, and Benson explains she’s had it hard but has hit rock bottom and knows these clubs are a dead end. When Rubirosa asks if she will make a good witness, Rollins replies that Clare wants to turn things around, and she’s credible. Rubirosa wonders if that is why Perry pulled some strings and had her arrested. Barba comments that she is being arraigned today in Hudson county and asks what Rubirosa knows about Prosecutor Masconi. Rubirosa explains he has a big ego and bills himself as a reformer but he is not going to want it to look like he is protecting a sex trafficker. She tells Barba to tell him that Clare is testifying in their grand jury case against Perry and see if that will hold him off until she does. Barba asks Benson if she is up for a drive to Jersey, and Benson counters that she’s “acting squad commander” and Barba cracks “heavy lies the crown”. He calls on Rollins who says “of course.” Rollins then turns to Benson and as they walk off, she tells Benson, “Don’t worry, boss. I’ll stay away from Atlantic City.”

Clare is in the jail cell and explains to Rollins that is was Perry’s idea, he tells the waitresses if the customer is six drinks in and is wearing a wedding ring to add a zero to the check. Rollins explains that it was illegal for Perry to have him serving drinks and their DA is talking to the local prosecutor right now. But Clare says they can stop trying, this is how things go in her life, always has and always will.

At the office of Hudson County Prosecutor Bobby Masconi in Jersey City, he explains to Barba it is not every day he gets a call from a New York DA about a juvie case. Barba thanks him for taking the time. Masconi outlines the charges and ask what is Barba’s interest. Barba explains she is a victim in an on-going rape investigation and is also a witness for a Federal grand jury targeted underage sex trafficking. Masconi informs him he is scheduled to be arraigned in a hour and Barba explains she is a minor, a runaway and victim of sexual assault and he would like them to give his office and the Federal Task Force precedence on the more serious charges, as a professional courtesy. Masconi comments it is a horrible story but counters they are already moving forward, Barba tells him he may be looking at this the wrong way; they see Clare as more a victim than a criminal and if he would slow the process down it would give Masconi time to see these charges in greater context. Masconi says that is a call he would rather have the judge weigh in on and picks up the phone to call his wife Gina, the ADA on this case, and he will have her ask him.

In Hudson County Family Court in Jersey City, Clare is being arraigned and Gina Masconi mentions to the judge that Barba is there and he has an interest in the defendant. Barba and Masconi approach the judge and Barba explains the situation. The judge says the governor has taken a zero tolerance approach to fraud. Barba explains this is an extraordinary situation; Clare is a minor who was employed illegally and is a victim of sexual assault. The judge says he is sorry, there is a right way and a wrong way to do this, and after she is arraigned they can file any motion they want. He goes on to say let’s get this done and dusted and asks Clare how she pleads. Her lawyer says she pleads not guilty. Masconi, when asked about bail, says Clare has no legal guardians and she is living in a group home for at risk girls in New York and there is no one to release her to their custody. The judge says she is a teenage runaway with a record and under the circumstances she is a flight risk and he remands her to a secure juvenile facility pending trial. Clare is taken into custody and gives a stare to Barba and Rollins.

Back at SVU and in her office, Benson questions Barba and Rubirosa that Clare was arrested with no bail, asking how long the New Jersey trial is backlogged. Rubirosa explains Clare could be in for a year and a half. Barba adds that the county prosecutor and his wife the ADA went through the motions but Judge Dolan shut Rubirosa and him down, hiding behind the fig leaf of Jersey’s stringent anti-fraud statutes. Rubirosa comments that these guys have some stones, then says if they want to claim protocol, she can too. Rubirosa explains there is a judge she works with on the task force and she can get him to write up a court order stipulating that they need Clare in New York to testify at a pre-trial hearing. Barba asks Benson where are they with Perry? Benson replies to let he make some calls, and, as she walks out of her office into the squad room, she says they’ll hit them with an alphabet soup.

Later, Fin is talking to agents from various agencies explaining it’s a strip club, big sports night, and the operation is set to go at 10PM prime time. Rollins says she has the multi-agency response warrants lined up and Perry is not going to know what hit him. Benson says good, because she wants shock and awe. Amaro approaches Benson and says no offense to Fin and Rollins, but if she wants a show of power she needs the WHOLE team. Benson, looks slightly exasperated with him, says “Oh not now Nick” and she begins to walk away from him. He follows her and says it is killing him sitting there , but Benson says she knows that, she told him that it is too soon. He snaps back, “Too soon? For me or for you?” Benson is getting ready to pour a cup of coffee and she stops to give him an icy look. After a pause, she questions if he thinks she is not ready to be commanding officer, and Amaro backpedals and stammers that is not what…it came out… and Benson, pouring her coffee, finishes his sentence with “wrong?” The says, “Yeah, it did.” Amaro pleads that he is the one who had her back with Cragen – Benson tells him she knows that – and Amaro goes on to asks what was it she said to Cragen: “If you can’t trust me, I’m DONE. “ They glare at each other, Benson not replying.

Later,  Benson, Amaro, and Fin arrive at Perry’s club with the many officers from the other agencies and Perry, angry, asks what is going on. Benson explains that so far, they have CSU in his VIP lounge and the health department and immigration going through his kitchen. Fin mentions that he hopes at his sushi bar that they don’t find any contamination on that raw fish. Amaro mentions OSHA and the department of taxation and finance, ATF.  Fin tells him he should shut the place down and give the girls a weekend off. Rollins is in the back room with CSU and says they will be doing a luminal check for fluids on all the couches, asking of any of them have been there before. A few guys raise their hands and Rollins tells the CSU to swab them. She gets a message.

Meanwhile, Perry says this is harassment, and Amaro gets in his face, saying that Perry thinks he is a big guys because his buddies in Jersey locked up a 16 year old rape victim. Perry grins and says he doesn’t know what he is talking about. Fin asks who is he paying off, and Benson pipes in and asks “Masconi? Judge Dolan?” Perry asks if this is all because he didn’t give up the name of a patron, and asks if he gives them up if the circus will go away? Benson says that is not her call, holding up a document and adds that once these agencies get involved, it really takes on a life of its own She tells Amaro and Fin to take Perry in, and Perry calls out to call Arnie. Rollins approaches Benson and says Rubirosa got the writ expedited for Clare’s release but Barba wants to serve the papers to Dolan first thing tomorrow morning in Jersey City 8AM. Benson tells Rollins to go with him to make sure that Clare sees a friendly face when she gets out.

But Rollins ends up in a casino, gambling at blackjack and losing.

Back at SVU, Amaro tells Fin that Barba just called and that Rollins was supposed to be in Jersey City 25 minutes ago and asks Fin if he has any idea where she is. Fin says it is New Jersey, she is probably stuck on t he bridge like everybody else. Amaro says Barba wasn’t, and Fin asks what is he getting at? Amaro says he’s just saying that Rollins was late the other morning too, and Fin says her dog was sick, adding you know how people get about their dogs? Amaro skeptically says he’s right,  that must be it. Fin asks whatever is going on between him and Rollins to let it go, Amaro is like his niece and nephew right now, going at it. Amaro says he has no problem with her, but is worried she has a problem. Fin comments that Amaro can’t help himself, can he, adding he is still coming off that shooting and to focus on himself right now.

At the chambers of Judge Daniel Dolan in Jersey City, he tells Barba he will need to take this under advisement and to talk to the prosecutor. Barba reminds him it is a court order and he is the judge on the case, and Rollins enters and apologizes for being late. Barba gives her a look. Barba goes on to tell the judge that the judge does not need the prosecutor’s permission. Dolan explains they work closely on a lot of cases and he would like to give them a heads up. Rollins pipes in and says he might want to go ahead and sign off on that right now, asking that Perry is the one who turned Clare in. The judge tells her to watch herself, Perry is just a constituent. Barba goes on to say Perry is in NYPD custody and is debating whether or not to save his ass by cooperating with the Feds. The judge says it appears everything squares away, and he authorizes the release. Barba smiles, takes the paperwork, and thanks him.

At the Hudson County Jail, Rollins is asking for Clare and the Officer Ryer says Clare is “one of those.” When Rollins asks her to explain, the officer says Rollins is a little late; Clare started acting up so they gave her diesel therapy – they put her on a bus to Knollwood Juvenile on the Delaware border.

Later, Benson and Amaro are at Knollwood to get Clare and the warden says she is not available. Benson explains that she has an order from New York and a writ to cross state lines and a signed release from New Jersey. A corrections officer, Newman, comes up behind the screening with a girl in tow, saying they had a problem with that “slunt” Ingrid again, saying she is off her brake fluid and is banging her head against the wall. The warden announces that Benson and Amaro are SVU detectives from new York, and tells Ingrid if she can’t stay calm they will put her back in the time out room. Newman takes her off and tells her she’d better behave. The warden tells Benson and Amaro there is a reason these kids are in juvie, but Amaro brings up Clare. The warden says Clare has been put into solitary and Benson asks how did that happen since she got there yesterday. The warden explains there is an adjustment period when they get here and she got into it with another inmate and needs to know she can’t pull that at Knollwood. Amaro explains they are in charge of taking her back, and the warden says they have other juvies to worry about and won’t break precedent – they get isolation and they finish their time. Benson brings up that they have all the paperwork signed, but the warden counters they will get her back, just not tonight. Benson and Amaro walk off.

Back at the Federal Task Force, Benson and Amaro explain to Barba and Rubirosa what happened, Fin adds he spoke with a contact at the Jersey DOC and that Knollwood sets its own, Rollins adding it is privately owned and operated and the state pays per prisoner each day they are there. Barba looks at a file and says it is very lucrative, they hit record profits last quarter, Rubirosa concluding the more prisoners they get, the more money they make. Rollins states they are not putting those profits back into the facility or rehab. Barba says we get that, and Rollins snaps that no he doesn’t, there have been dozens of teenage attempted suicides and allegations of drug abuse, violence, sexual abuse. Barba glares back at her and asks if they can just put the reforming the "for profit" system on hold and focus on Clare? Rollins smiles and says she was getting to that. She goes on to say every judge in Jersey send a few kids there a year but Judge Dolan – 90% of his juveniles end up there. Rubirosa asks that the judge is funneling them business. Benson nods. Rubirosa asks what is Knollwood funneling back to him, and Rollins explains they are not sure yet. Rubirosa asks about the Perry money trail, and Fin explains that the forensic accountants are tearing his books apart but Perry will still not give the name of Clare’s rapist. Amaro adds that Perry had the Hudson County legal system railroad Clare so whoever the rapist is, he has serious hooks. Benson and tells Fin and Amaro t keep hitting Perry and tells Rollins to keep digging at Knollwood, As they detective walk off, Benson asks Barba and Rubirosa if they have any plan at all on how to get Clare out of there. Barba says they are playing a shell game, moving her around like a hostage. Rubirosa says the game ends now, she is going to get a forthwith order releasing Clare to New York COC. Benson asks how is that different from the last one, and Barba explains that even if she is in solitary, the warden will have to release her immediately.

Later, Clare is being released and she looks disheveled and out of it. The warden tells Benson and Amaro that Clare is their problem now. Amaro asks the warden what the hell happened to her, and the warden says she heard the word no for the first time. As the warden slams the door, Benson covers Clare with her coat. As they leave the facility, Clare said they drugged her and said she was out of control. They dry celled her in solitary with no running water, and said they call it the brown room, she had to sleep on the floor with no blankets. Benson, taking her to a waiting vehicle, tells her she will never go back to Knollwood again, she promises her that. Clare said the other kids had bruises and everyone was doped up, saying it was horrible. Benson explains they will get her to the hospital so she can get some rest. Amaro, who has been on the phone, calls Benson over and says Rollins just called about Knollwood’s finances – they have a Jersey City PR firm on retainer for $25K a month. Benson comments that Knollwood doesn’t want anyone to know they exist, they don’t do PR. Amaro says neither does this firm; Knollwood is their only client with one employee, Beatrice D’Avola, she’s 87, has Alzheimer’s, lives in a condo with around the clock nursing care in Boca, visited often by her daughter, Masconi's wife Gina. Benson comments that Masconi is getting the money, and wonders why Judge Dolan is pimping for them?

Back at the Hudson Country DA’s office, Masconi tells Benson and Amaro he has no say on where a sitting judge remands his prisoners. Amaro asks what about what PR firm Knollwood uses, and Masconi says his dead father in law was counsel to Knollwood executives and looked out for them and now they are paying it forward to his mother in law. Benson asks if he is aware of all the questionable practices at Knollwood, and he says they are getting this from Clare, a second generation low-life who is playing them and the Feds. He says it is true what they say about SVU, and when Amaro gets in his face and asks what’s that, and Benson moves in closer to try to diffuse the situation. Masconi says everyone is a victim to SVU. Benson says it’s true what they say about New Jersey prosecutors: there are no victims or perpetrators, only meal tickets. Benson walks off and Amaro give Masconi a grin and he follows Benson out.

Back at SVU, Rollins explains they are still sorting through Perry’s byzantine financial system and in the meantime she took a look at Dolan’s. Benson guesses that Beatrice’s firm pays Knollwood as a consultant, but Fin says no, the money flows the other way. Rollins explains that 4 years ago, the judge started writing checks to local assemblymen and the governor as well, $40K a year. Barba asks, “The governor?” adding he is the one who appoints county prosecutors. Rubirosa adds – with the advice of local assemblymen. Barba thinks that is a lot of money for a family court judge. Rollins explains he had to take out a second mortgage, he stopped writing checks for campaign contributions two years ago when Knollwood hired the PR firm owned by Masconi mother in law. Benson adds that is when Dolan started dumping every juvie he comes across into Knollwood. Rubirosa says when Masconi says jump, Dolan says how high, wondering what Masconi has on him. Barba says Masconi and Perry are old school thugs and Dolan bullies teenage girls, Fin says they should hit the weak link.

Later, Fin and Rollins are at Dolan’s home, noticing his Samurai sword collection, and ask about his connection to Knollwood and he tries to deflect them but Rollins brings up the second mortgage on his house. He is surprised they looked into his finances and Fin adds they also looked into Masconi’s and they know about the kickbacks from Knollwood. Dolan says he doesn’t know anything about that, but Fin and Rollins continue to press, bringing up Masconi’s lavish lifestyle and Dolan’s lack of it. Dolan says he will have to ask them to leave, but Rollins goes on to press, saying whatever Masconi has on him they will find out. Dolan insists there is nothing to find, and Fin counters that Dolan knows Clare got raped and he sent her to prison, accusing him of knowing who the rapist is. He tells them to get out now, looking very worried.

Benson arrives back home and as she opens her apartment door, she is on the phone with Brian telling him to get whatever he wants, then says “chicken, ginger.” She thinks that is it but then says "white rice or brown rice?"  then tells Brian she doesn’t care, and frustrated, just tells him to just pick a rice and a sauce, she’s made a lot of decisions today and she is not yelling but please don’t make her make another decision. She tells him she has another call and it is Fin. She then says she does not have the TV on and then turns it on to see a news story that Judge Dolan was found dead in his study, the victim of an apparent Japanese ritual suicide known as Hari Kiri. Benson is stunned.

Later, Rollins walks out of Dolan’s home to a waiting Detective Moore who thinks Rollins was from Jersey, Atlantic City. Fin is there and explain there were just there in the afternoon to talk to the judge about a sex trafficking case. Moore, acting like this is funny, thinks they went at him pretty hard; Dolan had a self inflicted jagged wound and it took him hours to bleed out. Rollins asks if Dolan left a note, and Moore say no but he found a photo texted to his cell before he offed himself and figures his wife doesn’t need to see it. He shows the photo to Rollins and it is a photo of Dolan with a young girl on his lap. Rollins asks if he can send her the photo before he gives it to IT, and he says yeah, just give him her number, calling her sweetheart. She smiles back at him.

Afterwards, Rollins shows the photo to Rubirosa, who says she knows this girl and she saw her file, her name is Miyako Nara, born into a massage parlor and passed around early. Benson asks where is the girl now, and Rubirosa explains she disappeared 4 years ago and there is no trace of her since. Barba notes 4 years ago is about the time Dolan started paying off Masconi ‘s political crony. Rubirosa says now they know what Masconi has on Dolan and it is safe to say that Dolan didn’t use his own phone to send the picture. Rollins explains it is a burner cell but it looks like a surveillance still from a private room at the strip club. Rubirosa says Miyako used to work at Perry’s Jersey City strip club. Benson comments that all roads lead to Perry and Barba adds that Dolan fell on his sword, and maybe Perry walks.

At Rikers, Barba, along with Amaro, shows the photo to Perry who claims he does not know Miyako. When Amaro explains their theory, Perry’s lawyer says Amaro lives in a dark world. Perry says she was a dancer’s niece who hung out and has no idea what happened to her. Perry says he is looking at RICO sex trafficking charges and does he need his lawyer to explain what that means. His lawyer counters that they haven’t even charged him yet and takes that it means Barba is ready to offer Perry a deal. Barba explains that is up to the Federal prosecutor, pending Perry’s cooperation. Perry claims he doesn’t know anything about underage girls and laughs, saying he promises he will screen better. Amaro scoffs and says wow, old school, protecting some mook who raped one of his girls. Amaro says times have changed and is he going to be the last schmuck in Jersey to honor the code? Amaro raises his voice and gets in his face and asks who raped Clare. Perry stares back, silent, and Barba reminds Perry that Judge Dolan is gone and he doesn’t have to protect him anymore. Perry says it is not the judge he was protecting.

Back at SVU, Benson has Clare there, along with Rollins and Rubirosa, for Clare to view a line up. She picks out Masconi as the one who raped him in the VIP room, adding it was like he thought it was part of the deal. Rubirosa gets a message while Benson knocks 3 times on the window. Masconi’s wife is also there and asks if they are done here, she would like a word with her client. Benson asks if she means her husband, and if she is still standing by her man. Masconi storms off. Rollins asks Clare if she wants her to take her back to the group home, and Clare nods yes. She smiles and thanks all of them. Benson tells her she will be OK. Rubirosa explains the message was from Barba and that Perry had a lot to say. He and Masconi were silent partners for 20 years and Dolan wasn’t the only judge Masconi owned, he is still naming names. Benson asked if he cut a deal, and Rubirosa explains he will be keeping his clubs for now but will be working for the Feds for a while.

At the Williams House Group Home, Rollins explains to Clare what has transpired, saying they will never clean up New Jersey. Clare asks if she is safe now and they can’t charge her and asks that they can’t send her back to Knollwood. Rollins says no, adding that the Feds assured them that they will investigate Knollwood. Clare asks if she trusts they guys and Rollins says she hopes so. Clare asks what happens now, and Rollins says she starts her new life, gets her GED and goes to college. She sees her tree,

Back at SVU, Benson hangs up her phone at her regular desk and Amaro kids her about banker’s hours. She tells Amaro she’d get out of there if she was him. Amaro apologizes for going after her the other day, and Benson says she knows. He comments about all the changes and asks if they are good. She says they are good. She starts walking out but them comes back and tells Amaro something Cragen said to her: “Nothing changes except what has to.” He ponders that and smiles and she asks if he is okay and still going to D.C., and Amaro says he is driving down tonight, he and Maria are going to sit down and really talk. She says that’s great, and she puts her hand on his shoulder and says goodnight and leaves. Amaro sits at his desk, thinking.

Later, in her  apartment, Benson appears to be doing some paperwork and pours herself a glass of wine, pouring the last out of the bottle into her glass. She takes a big swig as her phone rings. It’s Maria, Amaro’s wife. Benson comments that she is surprised, and then says Nick seems fine, asking why. Benson looks surprised and she says “Oh, of course, I…understand. Of course I will talk to him. It’s absolutely okay that you called. Yeah I understand you’re just worried about him. Yeah, okay. Yes. Thank you.” She hangs up the phone and lifts up another bottle of wine and thinks...and then picks up the bottle and opens it as we fade to black.

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think.exist. said...

I was wondering the same about Benson. Sincerely hoping they don't make her an alcoholic. There is way too much going on as is. Amaro is acting straight up PSYCHO Not just annoying and childish... But like a total whack job. I'm interested in seeing where they go with that. And I wonder what's up with Rollins and this Jersey cop. Hopefully she doesn't start trading sex for him to fund her habit. Seems beneath SVU, but the direction they're going, I would not be surprised.

Carrie Ragsdale said...

... Not as long as your review - - geez, lol. Anyone else notice Fin's comment about Rollins being stuck on the bridge? Love it

OhSusannah said...

I have thought for the last several seasons that Liv developing a drinking problem would be pretty realistic, given her past and the pressures of her work. I think its timely that perhaps she's in the frame of mind of celebrating her new superior position within the 16th, instead of just her suddenly needing alcohol as a coping mechanism.That would feel pretty forced, if you ask me. I agree that the personal demons of each detective seems to be taking front seat to their job pressures. I don't care for Liv with Brian Cassidy and I really hope making him an IAB investigator will undoubtedly bring an end to their personal relationship. Other than the fact that they have 'history', I could never see Liv's interest in him.I'd love to know why Rollins has such dislike for Olivia this season when for the past couple of seasons, she seemed to look on her as simply a mentor. A much-needed one, judging by Amanda's out-of-control personal problems.

fred astire said...

I don't know. Referring to it as a soap opera is a little much. I mean, to me and maybe others, a soap opera is categorized with story lines that are simply out of the ordinary. Story lines that are unbelievable and insulting to its viewers because of the unbelievably dumb plots (such as; i have a biological twin sister, same mom but we don't have the same dad/I aborted my baby but some mad genius doctor took my aborted fetus and the kid was born anyway/the SORAS, five years old this week and twenty five years old next week/I'm having an affair with my step son and he's actually brother/I died hundreds of time, they did an autopsy but I keep coming back from the dead/etc). At least this is my take because I've watched soap operas a time or two. Moving on, Liv and Bri having probs/Rollins gambling/Liv drinking to mask her troubles/Amaro going off unhinged>>>these are all BELIEVABLE issues. But I get how some people say it's becoming more of the show's focus (the personal problems) because it is. But at the same time, I find that more interesting. I love how we get to see the characters do more than just talk to the vics and solve cases. Yes the show is a procedural crime drama but its been on for 15 years so everything (awe wise) is almost repetitive. I guess some viewers and the writers are tired of showing/seeing the same or similar crimes so why not (in the now, the later years) explore drama amongst the main characters. This is just my opinion.
Ok. Now on to my thoughts about the episode...
Rollins is gambling because she trust people (but not necessarily perps just reg people) too easily.
Amaro is still on the fence after the shooting so he's possibly stalking Maria?
&Liv is drinking more than normal because she's having a tough time being the boss & the additional PTSD from her kidnapping?
Which all makes me wonder? Well guys.. Let Fin be in charge until everyone else get on antidepressants/whatever else meds you take to function correctly.
Yep. Accurate. Right?

Laurie Fanat said...

Fred, all the scenarios you describe sound like a soap opera to me: drinking problems, gambling problems, relationship problems, and now you suggest Amaro is stalking his ex. That's classic soap stuff. Soaps are not always about absurd storylines. I agree with ATLAO that this episode of SVU was very soapish. The show can't make it any more with story lines on the crimes and now is falling back on personal drama. It's OK in little bits but this episode had too much in it.

I don't like SVU as much as I used to because I don't care about the characters like I used to. I still care a bit about Benson and am glad she is taking on a new role with SVU. It's a shame they are making it seem like she can't cope.

But wow it was great to see Alana and I bet that the ratings were better because of her in it. I know of a few other L&O fans who tuned in just because she was on it.

Back to the soapish storyline. I wouldn't mind them as much if they weren't so trite. Does eveyone have to implode at the same time?

fred astire said...

Laurie, maybe I'm looking at this the wrong way but all those soap scenerios I listed actually happened. OLTL AMC the soras happens or has had on every American soap airing today. The problems are indeed normal. I love the show and that's why I watch. And i understand your reasons for watching it as well. SVU has been here for years and when youre a fan or was a fan, you still care to watch it or know whats Going on.. Me however, (and this is just a tmi kinda thing but sharing it anyway) if i cant really watch a show or if i have some issues with where the show is going or has gone, then i quit watching It. I understand how some fans still have that small attachment but I usually move on. Like Greys. Watched it since the pilot, after Sloan died, I stopped watching. But that's just me.. And my opinion stands, I don't believe WL and co is making SVU soapy. I just don't agree.

Cardinal said...

Not to drag us into a divide here, but "too soapy" was my first thought, and Laurie said it well. I do understand where you're coming from, Fred, but it's as if the show took a sudden turn toward Soapville once Munch and Cragen exited. (There was sooooo much more to all of that than the "mandatory retirement" crap we were fed.)

I used to get extremely aggravated with Neal Baer and his soap opera ways with SVU, to the point where I had almost quit watching. And now, I just come back for CZ's recaps -- which I'm grateful for, to keep track of what is looking increasingly like a train wreck.

Like you, fred, I have issues with all of this, as you had with Greys, and I can tell I won't be interested anymore at all if the show continues to race down this track. I don't know how much of this is WL or NBC/Wolf, but this is doing the show a disservice.

I find soap operas extremely tedious and it seems to me this ep was definitely that and more.

magix74 said...

I actually didn't mind the 'soap opera' element to the show. I wouldn't probably want as much character drama as there was in this episode all the time, and did have a chuckle at the end when Olivia opened the bottle of wine (I was thinking what else could possibly go wrong with the squad members now) but there is a limit to how much rape and assault they can cover.

Some of these things are real issues and it shows another side to the police force which many people probably don't want to talk about. Especially since SVU members only work a couple of years in the job since that's all they can handle. I would imagine doing this job for any longer would cause all sorts of personal issues.

Joaquin Corbalan said...

First of all I want to say that I admire your blog Chris , I really do . Going back to the episode , I agree it seemed a bit long but I think I had 42 minutes long which is common in the show, also could have caused that impression therefore "personal drama" , I think SVU fans , we are not used to see both on the problems of the characters if not focus more on the cases or even in episodic characters, but I do not think is a bad thing to see this "personal drama" on the show , I mean , if you look at Chicago Fire , that if it is a kind of soap opera (no offense to fans of the series) and I think just trying to stay cool SVU after 15 seasons. Something I liked about this episode is that it did allude to the past of Connie Rubirosa from his time in LOLA , when Liv mentioned that he believed was working in LA, while Connie responds strangely saying that things are not made well there , so Connie was not happy in his time at LOLA ? , I say this because when other characters in the franchise have appeared as Mike Cutter and Alexandra Eames , have done with new charges that were never explained. Finally (and thank you if you took the time to read all) I hope the writers do not exploit both the personal drama , really enjoy the story arc of Liv during the 12 season with Calvin and Vivian Arliss , and I think that was not was as exploited as it was this season with "The Beast" and Liv assault . Could be very good if you know how to make !

Petra S said...

I agree with fred. Not a soapish episode for me, I liked the balance between the case and the personal drama, I did not think it overshadow the case (okay Rollins gambling did effect the case in some ways yes, and if Liv continues it will surely effect the squad).
I am not saying it's right of Rollins to jump Liv's throat but I do get if she's a bit pissed at her. From the very get-go Liv showed no interest at all to "mentor" Rollins, and yes Liv was busy processing the Stabler loss but through two seasons I've been waiting for some kind of friendship developing between them but nothing. And no I don't label some chitter chatter about Brian's tees to be a friendship or even 'girltalk' as someone labeled it on some forum. So I do get that Rollins doesn't see a friend or ally or whatever in Liv. However I do think the therapy/shrink stab was too much but again I do think Liv has to really prove to Rollins that she can trust her. Liv was Rollins rolemodel for sure as she stepped into SVU NY but over the course of two seasons/years she got NOTHING. And I'm sure Rollins being the one who put Lewis in Liv's path doesn't help any of it.
Okay Rollins rant over, just my opinion on the matter. Will not stab anyone for different views on the disharmony.
I liked the ep as stated, corruption is always ugly and it was nice to see the bad guys go down in the end. Stefanie Scott was a brilliant guest star. And there was several brights spots during the ep; Liv's "Nurse Jackie" being one and Fin sticking up for Amanda (even though I hope he 'sees the light' soon) is always great to see. I liked that Barba was back in form and I liked that Amanda got to sass him right back with the "I was coming to that..."
All and all a really good ep. I'm not fully commited to Nick being a stalker, it could be he haven't called in with Maria at all for weeks but then the ring seems kinda off. I hope Liv & the bottle won't be a problem mostly cause I think she's already had her share of spotlight this season and being in charge is spotlight enough. Let the rest of the cast shine like we've seen them very capable off (okay Fin/Ice in his own way but I still love him)

Linda F. said...

I love the personal drama aspect of the show, but even I think it was too much in this episode. I like it best parceled out at different times in different eps, not dumped on my head all at once. I think that they were probably trying to make us feel how Liv was drowning in all these issues, but it was too much packed into one hour.

I am very interested to see what Nick's up to. I picture Maria telling him to go away, him refusing, and then him sitting outside her house in his car. I don't want him to implode (too much implosion with Rollins and Liv imploding, too), but I suppose that's where they're taking this. Sigh...

Ms.Pino said...

I have loved this show since the very beginning and I love it just as much now. Great writing and great performances from all the actors on the show. I'm glued to my seat every Wednesday night.

Sara Kürz said...

Wow what a episode. I have to say this was really kinda different from the others. There are a lot difficulties and changes in the squad followed by this build tension,that i mentioned earlier. Everybody had to deal with their own personal problems except fin and barba. I agree with linda and petra this wasn't to much drama. L&O svu are trying to keep this real,so in real life the detectives and police officers of course gave some personal issues,like anybody else. And it will also somehow affect their jobs,so pls don't think that svu is going to turn in a soap opera.
I think that this episode was more avout the detectives lifes than the actuall crime,what i really don't mind. I believe that most of the problems will get solved. The probability that liv becomes an alcoholic is very low,the writes probably just wanted us to watch next weeks episode. I mean come on liv survived a such a cruel kidnapping which could have damaged her extremely. So she most likey won't become an alcoholic only because of some pressue in her job. She can come through that,im sure.
To rollins,omg i can't comprehend why it has to be gambling i know she did in the past but why is she doing it again at a relapse? Thats why we seriously need to know her and her childhood better. Because right now it doesn't make any sense to me. She is still such a wonderful character,i really like her and hope she can handle that. Kelli is indeed a great actor. I don't why she doesn't get so much attention. Maybe cause she is sometimes a sassy cop,or people don't want so andybody else like an "hero" than mariska-liv.
In the end,when maria called olivia,i think she called,cause amoro didn't arrived or didn't go anywhere. I was actually a bit disappointed when i heard he wants to be with maria again,cause im looking forward to an amoro/rollins relationship. The way he worried about her. I think they would be great! So let's wait and see what the future brings!

Carrie Ragsdale said...

I think the soap opera angle, like it or not, is working. Let's face it, last year the show was getting kind of stale, and the ratings reflected that. Have you seen the ratings this year, especially the 'soap opera' eps? Way up. Like it or not, it may keep the show on the air. And personally, I find it totally understand that people would be breaking down into their individual vices, given everything that's happened. Someone who went through what Benson has gone through would probably have a hard time even going back to work, let alone get promoted to captain. And let's remember that Lewis' trial was just one week ago, and that was mega-stressful. Heck I would be hitting the booze hard too. The only part I find unbelievable is Amaro staying with Liv and Brian. Why is he still there? And how would it not be considered a conflict of interest for a cop to stay in the home of an IAB cop who is investigating him. Anyway. I have my own theory why Amaro wasn't with his ex. I think he is so obsessed with Amanda lately that he is spying on her.

LlamaJ said...

fred astire said...
"Which all makes me wonder? Well guys.. Let Fin be in charge until everyone else get on antidepressants/whatever else meds you take to function correctly."

LOL. Love this comment. I have to say I'm drawn in by all the personal drama (but I'm a therapist, so that may explain it) :) On the other hand, it seems like a little too much for everyone to be having some issue at the same time (aside from possibly Fin). I already miss the Captain, since he was good at putting things in order. I'm not sure Liv is up to that, considering she is dealing with so much in her own life right now. They kind of feel like a leader-less squad right now. Hopefully this passes as Liv settles into her new role, but I have my doubts.

On another note, I'm dying to know what Maria exactly said to Liv on the phone.

Ernie's Mother said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Chris Zimmer said...

Ernie's Mother - he was never in the court room prosecuting her. It was his wife that handled the arraignment in court.

EchoInTheSilence said...

I have to agree with the review on this one. Too many of the episodes this season have been about the drama between the characters, instead of about the actual cases (the one with Rollins' friend springs to mind) and even when there's a complicated enough case to merit a full episode, the personal drama becomes as important as the case. Also, good catch on the similarity between this and "Crush", although seeing as the resolution was completely different I would have been willing to look past that if it had been the episode's only flaw.

Honestly, IMO, the only truly exceptional episode this season was "Internal Affairs" (with the two-part season premiere ranking as decent to good). I love SVU and would hate to see it go, but if this is all the writers can come up with, I'd almost rather it just end gracefully now rather than continue on a slow decline.

EchoInTheSilence said...

I have to agree with the review on this one. Too many of the episodes this season have been about the drama between the characters, instead of about the actual cases (the one with Rollins' friend springs to mind) and even when there's a complicated enough case to merit a full episode, the personal drama becomes as important as the case. Also, good catch on the similarity between this and "Crush", although seeing as the resolution was completely different I would have been willing to look past that if it had been the episode's only flaw.

Honestly, IMO, the only truly exceptional episode this season was "Internal Affairs" (with the two-part season premiere ranking as decent to good). I love SVU and would hate to see it go, but if this is all the writers can come up with, I'd almost rather it just end gracefully now rather than continue on a slow decline.