Thursday, May 1, 2014

Law & Order SVU “Post-Mortem Blues” Recap & Review

Law & Order SVU “Post-Mortem Blues” was a great close to the Olivia Benson/William Lewis story line. Benson stuck to her guns about the truth, but in actuality, it was a lie that got her off the hook. It wasn’t HER lie however;  it was Lt. Murphy’s lies, which he refers to as “the bigger truth.”  Brooklyn ADA Derek Strauss, who is painted as the bad guy in this episode for his relentless pursuit of Benson and the NYPD, is actually in the right, and he's getting very close to the truth. It’s Murphy’s testimony, and his outburst in the grand jury where he told his own version of events, that saves Benson’s skin. Mind you, William Lewis was a psycho who knew how to work the system and to manipulate others, but the moral of “Post-Mortem Blues” should not be that those in positions of power can use that power to manipulate the system to their own benefit.  Maybe Derek Strauss is right to be suspicious of the NYPD.

Only Benson – and the viewers – have all the facts. We all know Benson beat Lewis while he was handcuffed. We also know that Lewis shot himself in a manner to frame Benson for his murder. We believe Benson not only because we saw what happened but we know how she thinks. Her peers trust her because they know her. But Murphy twists the truth and lies for her yet he hardly knows her. In reality, we would normally be alarmed that someone in a position such as his would alter the truth in order to get one of his own off the hook.  Still,  I think most viewers are happy to see Benson cleared, regardless of how it happened.   Even the always prickly Lt. ("Mother") Tucker (cue the Darth Vader theme song) seems to be offering Benson a way out on this one. It was good to see Benson continue to take the high road with IAB and stick to her story, after all, she doesn’t know whom she can trust.

Benson seems to be suffering from a bout of naiveté lately. She was clueless as to the ramifications to her career, her pension, and her life had she told the truth about beating Lewis. Rita Calhoun had to be the one to snap Benson back to reality.  I would think with Benson's tenure in law enforcement that she would already know the effects of telling the truth.  It could be that same naiveté that made her think she could go rogue and deal with Lewis all on her own.

I always enjoy the SVU episodes that have a strong legal slant so this episode hit all the right notes with me. It’s such a shame that there wasn’t any reason to bring in Rafael Barba.

Donal Logue is an absolute delight on SVU and he nails this role. Lt. Murphy came in and immediately took charge with much confidence, something that the SVU has needed for quite some time.  But his leadership style makes Benson look like a weak and ineffective commander;  at minimum, an inexperienced one.  While Benson took and passed the Sergeant’s exam, she did not seem fully ready to lead her former peers.  Hopefully Murphy taking over for a while will help Benson decide how far up in the chain of command she really wants to go. And,  perhaps Murphy can get control over the SVU team (good luck with that), as they all appear poised to go off the reservation whenever it suits them. Now that Murphy has the situation with Benson straightened out, he may need to do some work with Amaro, who has some major trust issues, has a chip on his shoulder,  and seems to think he has all the right answers. Amaro’s lie about Benson making a spontaneous admission was a dangerous thing to do and could have caused Benson great harm and/or ruin her credibility.  (We assume that he lied about it - we weren’t in the car the whole time with them – but based on Murphy’s warning to Benson to not say anything to Amaro we are led to think there was no such spontaneous admission.)

The bottom line: regardless that it took a lie – or as Murphy calls it, “the larger truth” – to get Benson cleared, we can all be happy that she can get on with her life, and with her recovery. That’s a happy ending I can live with.

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:
Tamara Tunie – Dr. Melinda Warner
Donal Logue - Lieutenant Declan Murphy
Elizabeth Marvel - Rita Calhoun
Greg Germann - ADA Derek Strauss
Robert John Burke - Lt. Ed Tucker
Michael Potts - Sergeant Cole Draper
Karen Tsen Lee – DNA Tech Susan Chung
Lily Pilblad - Amelia Cole
Bill Irwin - Dr. Peter Lindstrom
Curt Bouril - Detective Carlson
Nikki Estridge - Detective Delano
Sarah Bisman – Bronwyn Freed
Allyson Morgan – Nurse Shelby Roberts
Edelen McWilliams – CSU Tech
Brian McCarthy – Grand Juror
Pablo Schreiber – William Lewis

The detectives race into the abandoned granary. Meanwhile, William Lewis is an upper room with Benson. They hear a helicopter fly overhead and sirens, and Lewis comments that her friends are here. He says let’s make it interesting, and he gets on her radio and says it is William Lewis and – as Benson looks down at the gun – says he is here with Sgt. Benson and they are playing a little game of Russian Roulette and they are halfway through. He states he is sliding the gun across the table to Benson and there are 3 chambers left and one bullet. The detectives hear this on the radio. Lewis tells Benson to pick up the gun and she does so. Amelia starts to cry; he shushes her. Benson holds the gun to her head as Lewis tells her to pull the trigger or he will. He goads her to do it now. She pulls the trigger and still no bullet. Lewis grabs the gun as the detectives continue to search the building and they can hear Lewis on the radio say that there are two chambers left and one bullet. Murphy asks where the hell are they, and Fin says the ground floor is clear and Amaro states they are not outside. Lewis then says to Benson she knows how lucky he is. Benson tells Amelia to look away, and Lewis pulls the trigger but still no bullet. He says game over, and point the gun at Benson’s head. She shakes as he says to say goodbye. He shuts down the radio and then tells Benson this is the last thing she is going to think about before she dies. He moves the gun to her other hand and holds her neck, saying this is the last thing is she gonna see. The detectives hear a gunshot and Amelia screaming. They race upstairs to the direction of the shot as Lt. Murphy radios in a 10-13 that the officer is down. The call out that they are the NYPD as Amelia screams and Benson, her face covered with blood, looks at a dead William Lewis in shock.

The detectives enter the room to see Benson tied to the table and William Lewis bent down with his head on the table, dead. Amaro asks Benson if she is okay and Benson replies that Lewis is gone and that he was about to shoot her. Murphy yells out to her not to say another word, and then tells the others to get Benson and Amelia out of there now. As Rollins helps down Amelia. Murphy cautions them all not to touch anything. He also says they go now, this is a crime scene. Amaro helps Benson to get untied from the table and Rollins continues to help Amelia. Benson looks down at Lewis as Amaro leads her off. Fin, Rollins, and Amaro look back at the scene as they exit.

Outside, Murphy helps Benson into a car. He tells her he will meet her at the hospital and cautions her not to talk to anybody, including Amaro, until the rep shows up. Benson looks dazed and Murphy tells her she did good. He shuts the car door and pounds on it twice to alert the driver to get going.

Amaro drives the car, saying nothing. Benson sits silently in the back seat, frozen in shock.

In the hospital, photos of Benson are taken. The nurse tells Benson she is done with the blood work. Amaro complains if they are done with the body probing, can they get somebody in there to take care of her. The nurse replies that the doctor is on the way. She tells Benson they will give her something for her heart rate and blood pressure and asks Benson if she can call anybody for her such as family. Benson says no, it’s a…and then just says no. When the nurse leaves, Amaro asks Benson how she is holding up. Another nurse approaches and explains to Benson she is testing for GSR, and then tells Benson “Hang in there, Sergeant.” Benson asks how is the girl, Amaro explains her father and sister are with her, and physically she is unharmed. Benson asks, “he didn’t…” and Amaro replies, “No, he didn’t. She was…bait.” Benson adds, “For me. He got what he wanted.” She looks back at Amaro with vacant eyes.

Meanwhile, the lobby of the hospital is full of police and Lt. Tucker from IAB is also there. Fin complains when he sees Tucker but Murphy tells him easy, given their profile, One PP will want this whitewashed, dissecting every second of the last 24 hours. Rollins complains that still Tucker can’t wait for the blood to be off her face, and Murphy tells them both to stand down, he has this. As Tucker approaches, Murphy stops him and says Benson is not receiving visitors. Tucker introduces himself and asks who is he, and Murphy introduces himself as acting commander of SVU. When Tucker questions since when, Murphy explains it was since Lewis escaped. Tucker criticizes Murphy that he’s been on the job two days and his Sergeant slips her detail and possibly executes a man she’s been accused of beating, and Murphy shoots back that Benson did what she had to do to save a 12 year old girl. Tucker coldly stares at Murphy and asks if he witnessed that. Murphy explains he heard some of it on the radio and they were on the scene at the immediate aftermath. Tucker states he needs to hear Benson say that, and as Tucker makes a move, Murphy stops him and says once Benson is out of shock and her doctor clears her for visitors. Tucker pauses and then says fine, adding he will be seeing Murphy and the rest of his squad at IAB. Tucker walks off.

Fin asks how is Benson, and Amaro says they are giving her an exam now and something to calm her down, He comments that the vultures are already circling, and Rollins explains that Murphy backed them off. Murphy states not for long; IAB is going to be calling them all into their inquisition. Amaro feels it is open and shut, and Fin adds it will be as long as they all agree now that they made it there in time to see Lewis shoot himself. Amaro and Rollins say nothing, but Murphy is against lying under oath, saying it must be the absolute truth. He adds that the girl was turned away but she heard them enter and that any detail they shade or omit will boomeranged back so if their impulse is to help Benson on the margins to restrain themselves, less is more. Amaro comments that Murphy does not know Benson, they do, and she is telling the truth. Murphy counters that he is not arguing, all he is saying is Amaro sounds defensive and IAB will smell that. He tells them to keep it simple; Benson will tell her story and don’t tell it for her.

Later, Benson is back in her apartment as Amaro and Fin try to tend to her. Amaro asks if they want her to call Cassidy and she says no, she spoke with him already. Fin asks if he is coming over, and Benson replies she is fine. Amaro offers that one of them should stay as she should not be alone. She explains that she just needs some quiet, and as she stretches out on the couch, she says she just needs to sleep, she’s due at IAB first thing in the morning. Amaro asks if she has a lawyer, and Benson asks for what? Amaro and Fin say nothing, but Benson states Lewis shot himself, She says he told her that he wanted this to be the last thing she sees before she dies. Fin says “Screw him.” Amaro tells her to get some rest, and he and Fin leave. As Benson closes her eyes, she relives the events.

The next day, in an IAB interview room with Tucker and Sgt. Draper, Benson stares off and Tucker asks her if she needs a moment.  She says no, asking what was the question? He asks if she, at any time, notified her commanding officer of her location or intent. She states she did not; from the texts that Lewis sent her, she knew if he saw backup that Amelia’s life would be in danger. Tucker asks about when she arrived at his location, Benson explains Lewis met her, glock in hand pointing at her head. He then took her weapon and he threw it, along with her vest and cell phone. Then he forced her into his car and handcuffed her to the door and eventually drove her to the granary where he led her at gunpoint to where Amelia was tied up. He then gave her a choice: he could rape her first and then Amelia, or Amelia first. She told him to rape herself. Tucker asks if Lewis raped her, and Benson states he did not. Draper asks why not, and Benson explains because she decided not to offer any resistance; Lewis gets off on the struggle. As soon as she gave up, he got bored. The door to the interview room opens and Counselor Rita Calhoun enters. Tucker stands up and says they are in the middle of an interview. Calhoun comments it is nice to see him too but she has been retained to represent Benson and this interview is over. Draper explains Benson has already consented, and Calhoun counters that they need time to consult and Benson has 48 hours to make her statement to IAB. She adds that assuming she gets the transcript of what was said there today, they will see them in 24 hours. She and Benson leave.

Outside, Benson tells Calhoun this isn’t an issue, Lewis shot himself and the ME will confirm it. Calhoun counters that it IS an issue; 10 hours before she went rogue she confessed to assaulting Lewis and lying about it at his trial. Calhoun explains they can argue that her televised statement was for his benefit – Benson interrupts and says there is something she should tell her – and Calhoun keeps talking, adding that it was coerced, that given the nature…Benson interrupts again and says she DID make that statement under duress but…Calhoun sternly tells her to stop talking please, if any of this goes to trial… Benson seems shocked this could go to trial, and Calhoun explains Benson may have to testify about that confession. Calhoun suggests that hypothetically if Benson told her now that she had beaten Lewis while he was handcuffed to that bed frame, then ethically she could not let her deny that on the stand. Benson wonders, hypothetically, if she did admit that on the stand, Calhoun explains Benson would leave herself open to charges of assault, excessive force, and perjury; the account of what happened at the granary would be questioned; she’d lose her job, her pension, risk jail time. Calhoun pats her on the arm and said let’s agree not to talk about that. Calhoun walks off and Benson stands there for a moment, stunned.

At the office of Dr. Peter Lindstrom on Thursday, April 3, Lindstrom explains it was Calhoun’s job to tell Benson that but his job to remind her she’s been through a traumatic experience. Benson explains she knows he thinks this is PTSD but the truth of the matter is she knew the risk involved and knew she could die – it is what it is. Lindstrom counters it was what it was, it’s over. She shouts back it’s not over, Lewis wants her to remember him forever and be inside her head. Lindstrom comments Benson said “wants” and reminds her Lewis is not here anymore. He will deny ever saying this, but sometimes shooting someone can and should bring closure. She raises her voice and shouts that Lewis shot himself, so she would have to live with this image and this aftermath. Lindstrom calmly says she does not have to do what Lewis wanted her to do; she is alive, she’s here and he is gone. She asks, “Is he?”

Fin and Murphy arrive at the morgue and when Murphy thanks ME Warner  for meeting them, she states officially, they are not here but she wanted to give them a heads up. She says she can’t confirm that Lewis shot himself. Fin argues that they were there a few seconds after and they know what happened. Warner says she wasn’t there and all she can confirm is that he was shot at a forward angle, inches from his left temple. Most suicide victims use their dominant hand and hold the gun right up to the skin. Murphy tells her not to fall for that, Lewis did that on purpose to muddy the post-mortem. Warner replies if he did, it worked. She has to rule it as a “cuppi” - circumstances undetermined. Murphy raises his voice and says Lewis shot himself, Fin adds that Lewis forced her to play Russian Roulette and they heard it over the radio. Warner states THEY did, SHE didn’t. She adds there was GSR on both of them and both their fingerprints are on the gun. She is turning the report over to IAB tonight Murphy and Fin look displeased.

Back in the IAB interview room, Benson is there with Calhoun. Draper asks which hand was Lewis holding the gun in. Benson explains that Lewis had two guns; a glock he kept pointed at either Amelia or herself, and he has his revolver. Tucker asks when Lewis shot himself with the revolver, which hand was that gun in? Benson answers it was his left hand. Tucker asks that she knows Lewis was right handed, and Benson explains he deliberately switched hands. He forced her to play Russian roulette. She adds that in the first round, he held a gun in his right hand. And on the final round, with one bullet left in the chamber, he switched it to his left hand. He pointed the gun at her and then he turned it on himself. Tucker mumbles for Benson to hold on a minutes and then he turns off the video camera. He asks to get something straight: with seconds to live, one bullet in the revolver and the rest of her squad rushing to her aid, she was unarmed and tied to the table, he points the gun at her put instead of firing, he turns the gun to his head and ends his own life? Benson calmly states that is exactly what happened. Calhoun asks what is going on, and Tucker only says to Calhoun “Rita please.” He turns back to Benson and says they have no problem with Lewis being dead, but Benson’s insistence on telling them this was a suicide makes it sound like a bad cover story. Benson insists she is telling him the truth. Draper brings up the GSR, the prints, the fact that Lewis was shot in the left temple, is all consistent with her having shot him with her right hand. Benson cuts him off and emphatically states she did not shoot Lewis. Tucker asks if it is possible there was a struggle for the gun and she was trying to save the little girl? Benson confidently says that is not what happened. Tucker says if there was a struggle for the gun, and she pulled the trigger to save her life or the life of the little girl, that is a case that IAB can close. She looks at him and nods in understanding. Calhoun sits there quietly and then Benson leans forward and states confidently, “That’s not what happened.”

Back at SVU, Murphy walks into the squad room, sees Benson sitting at her desk, and calls her into his office. Benson closes her laptop and throws down her pen on her desk. walks in to Murphy’s office and asks if there is a problem. He says yeah, asking what is she doing here? She closes the door and says she works here. She explains they took her gun and shields and she is on modified desk duty. Murphy states they agreed she would take leave. He tells her to go home and take care of herself, what she is going through is far more taxing that she realizes. Benson counters that she does better on the job. Murphy, saying with all due respect, he disagrees, then adds he is hearing rumors that IAB wants to call this justifiable homicide. Benson emphatically states that she made it very clear to IAB that she would not perjure herself. Murphy says no one mourns William Lewis and no one wants to see her go down for something that needed to happen. He tells her to play the game here, get her story to line up with their fact patterns. Benson stares back at him and replies calmly that appearances are more important than the truth. Murphy tells her the truth doesn’t always set you free. He explains that IAB wants to do the right thing – let them. Benson replies that, with all due respect, she doesn’t trust IAB, and, shrugging he shoulders, says she is not sure she trusts him, either. She walks out of his office.

In the break room, Fin tells Amaro and Rollins that if IAB wants to call it justifiable homicide, they should back that up. Amaro comments that IAB might be setting a trap for Benson and he doesn’t trust them. Rollins says she doesn’t either, but she does trust Murphy. Amaro asks why, because he saved her ass or because he is charming? He asks what is up with Fin and Rollins, saying Murphy comes waltzing in and now Amaro is the only one not throwing Benson under the bus? Fin denies anyone is throwing her under the bus, and Amaro reminds Fin that he knows about life undercover, it changes you, asking Rollins how long Murphy was UC. Rollins states 9 years. Amaro says you spend that much time you lose any idea of who you are and the only thing he cares about is self preservation. Murphy opens the door to the room and asks if they are all on break/ He adds if they are discussing the case, they might want to know the IAB has a good working theory on the shooting. Amaro wonders if that is what they want them to think. Murphy tells them go easy on the persecution complex; in light of the inconclusive autopsy report it is cleaner for all concerned. Amaro says he is not going to lie, and Murphy states no one is asking him to, none of them saw what happened and that is all IAB needs to know. He turns and walks out. Rollins glares at Amaro and moved to walk out.

At IAB, Murphy states to Tucker and Draper that he heard Lewis say he would kill the girl if Benson did not play Russian Roulette. When Tucker asks if Benson had the gun in her hand, Murphy says he was not there, he heard Lewis say for their benefit he was sliding it over to her. Lewis was taunting Benson – and them.

Later, Fin tells IAB that they heard Lewis tell Benson to pull the trigger and she must have because the chamber was empty. They heard Lewis say over the radio there were two chambers and only one bullet left and it meant the game was over.

Rollins states to IAB that the last thing they heard was Lewis telling Benson to say goodbye. And the radio went dead. They heard a single shot from above and they ran to the stairs. She does not know who fired, they only arrived to see the suspect on the table, the same table Benson’s legs were duct taped to.

Amaro tells IAB that CSU found the glock on Lewis only had his fingerprints on it and he was in complete control. He tells them William Lewis shot himself, and when Draper states there is no evidence to prove it, her fingerprints were on the .38 and GSR was on her hand. Amaro states on the way to the hospital Benson made a spontaneous admission to him about the shooting. Tucker comments maybe he misunderstood her, she was under incredible stress, suffering from PTSD, a gun to her head, the deceased's blood all over her – not exactly a reliable witness. Amaro states firmly that Benson did not shoot him and they are not hanging this on her.

Back at SVU, Murphy is working in his office as Amaro sits back down at his own desk. Murphy sees him and calls him into his office. He asks how his testimony went today, and when Amaro replies that is confidential, Murphy tells Amaro that he undermined his partner, perception has more import than reality. Amaro asks if Murphy is mad he didn’t perjure himself, and Murphy says a simple omission would have sufficed. Amaro, annoyed, comments that Murphy is new to their unit and outranks him but instead of going to the DA with his request, he will pretend they did not have this conversation. As Amaro moves to leave, Murphy firmly states they are not done having it, and he tells Amaro to take a seat. As Amaro sits back down, he states he is not changing his testimony. Murphy says he will change the subject, and says he is right, he is new here. He asks how long Amaro has been there and when he replies coming up on 3 years, Murphy comments that Amaro has been struggling, especially this year. Amaro pauses and then replies they have all had a lot to deal with. They lost a good captain and a sergeant he was close to. Murphy reminds Amaro he shot a kid and is separated from his family. As Amaro glares at Murphy, Murphy says he read his file, his marriage survived 8 years in narcotics and his two years here, adding it is tough taking his crimes home. Amaro asks if he is going somewhere with this, and Murphy senses Amaro is a man who doesn’t give up and it’s what makes him a good detective. Amaro asks which is it, is he a good detective or does he have a persecution complex? Murphy replies all he is saying is that life takes a toll and this j ob takes a toll; sometimes you get in so deep you lose perspective.

At a later time, Benson and Calhoun return to IAB. Calhoun complains that this couldn’t wait until morning, and Draper says One PP wants their report tonight and they are understandably anxious. Benson says she told them everything and Tucker replies so did the rest of their squad – and her partner. Calhoun asks what more is there to say? Tucker says they want to be sure Benson understands the repercussions of her account of this incident. She asks – “my account?” – and then states Lewis shot himself. Draper says they are prepared to confirm that and if they do, it may not go away. The new Brooklyn DA may look on this as an NYPD cover-up. Tucker asks Calhoun if she wants to talk to her client, and Benson says no, she will not admit to justifiable homicide. Tucker nods and blandly says okay. Benson moves to walk out and Tucker says the Brooklyn DA is waiting for them to call him back, and he will tell them they haven’t found sufficient evidence to dispute her version of the events. He wishes her good luck.

Back at Benson’s apartment with Rollins, Amaro and Fin, they clink their wine glasses and Fin says they can now put William Lewis behind them. Rollins asks if she is ready to go back to work, and she says she is. Amaro says he is over Murphy, and Benson comments she hates to break it to him but it looks like Murphy will be around for a while. Benson’s buzzer goes off and as she moves to answer it, Fin says One PP should put her in charge. She says that will be Murphy, she invited him. She answers the door and it is Murphy. She welcomes him in and says they were just talking about him. Rollins asks what he is drinking and he says he is fine, but then says he did not bring any good news. He just got off the phone with Barba; he fought it tooth and nail but the Brooklyn DA is troubled by the IAB report. They look stunned. Murphy says the DA and the police commissioner are still going at it but the DA’s office will be sending her a target letter. They are convening a grand jury in the death of William Lewis. Benson takes a breath as Murphy says he is sorry.

At a later date, ME Warner is testifying for the grand jury, questioned by ADA Derek Strauss. She explains that gun suicides are usually committed with the dominant hand but it is possible Lewis shot himself with his left. Strauss states it is possible but unusual. He asks that when a right handed person shoots someone point blank, in the position Benson and Lewis were in, which side of the head would the entry would likely be?  Warner states the left. She admits Benson is right handed and there was blood spatter and GSR on Benson but a suicide at that proximity could have left the same traces on her. Strauss questions this, and Warner says this is why she ruled it a “cuppi” as the evidence is open for interpretation. Strauss states it most certainly is.

Elsewhere, Fin walks into the restaurant where Benson, Amaro and Rollins are dining and he says that he just heard from Warner; and she really couldn’t talk but what he got was Strauss is pushing her to say that it wasn’t a suicide. Benson comments that Lewis knew what he was doing when he switched hands, and Amaro adds she should tell that to the grand jury, they will believe her, that’s what happened with him. Rollins states that the difference is now they are dealing with the Brooklyn grand jury and they are suspicious of NYPD. Benson asks Fin if they asked Warner about Lewis or the injuries when she beat him? He says not as far as he knows. Amaro says they will not bring up her confession, everyone knows that was false and coerced. Calhoun walks in and says she hopes they are not discussing the grand jury, she doesn’t have to tell them how inappropriate that would be to talk to anyone who has testified. Fin says it is just a friendly lunch. Calhoun asks if there are any news and Rollins says they are trying to figure out Strauss’ angle,  saying he casts doubt on it being a suicide, any alternate scenario they have would qualify as justified use of force. Fin states it is politics – the DA, the mayor just wants to show everybody they have NYPD by the short hairs. Amaro adds that he knows Strauss and he is all ambition, he’s not coming in to rubber stamp IAB. Calhoun asks what is his end game, and no one answers.

At the grand jury in Kings County supreme court in Brooklyn on Monday, April 7, Detective Carlson outlines being on Benson’s detail and she was cooperative at first. She disobeyed her commander's orders to interview a witness. She also was determined to get involved in the manhunt for Lewis. He admits she tricked them so she could escape and rendezvous with Lewis. This has not happened to him before in his 18 years and not by a fellow officer they are risking their lives to protect.

Later, Detective Delano explains how Benson got away from the protective detail and that she commandeered a town car, threatened the drive, and went after Lewis. They informed Murphy as soon as she went missing. She assumed Benson wanted to take him down on her own.

Later,  Amaro testifies about searching for Benson and what they heard on the radio and that they arrived on the scene seconds after the shot was fired, He describes seeing Benson handcuffed and Amelia tied up and Lewis was dead and they did not tamper with the scene. Strauss states how convenient is was when the radio went silent and that they had been searching for Benson for 20 minutes, and that they conveniently arrived on the scene seconds after the show, allowing for anyone on the squad not being able to confirm Benson’s story. Amaro states they did not see who fired the shot, and when he tries to explain the crime scene, Strauss cuts him off and asks is he is happy William Lewis is dead. Amaro states firmly – YES, adding any decent human being would be. He says he was an unredeemable psychopath who had gone on several murder and killing sprees. Strauss cuts him off again and states there was only one conviction, and says the backbone of the judicial system allows that every individual, no matter how much they might despise them, they have the right to due process, the right not to be subject to police brutality or vigilante justice. Amaro states that is not what happened. Strauss counters that this is the NYPD’s story.

At a later time, Amelia is on the stand. He asks about Benson telling her to look away and asks what she heard before the gunshot. She does not remember exactly but does recall they said to take turns. They were playing Russian Roulette and it was his idea. She kept waiting for the gun to go off and she heard it click. She heard metal scraping and heard sirens outside and them shouting. The last thing she heard Lewis say was goodbye, and she heard one shot. It was horrible, she thought he had killed Benson as she did not hear her screaming or yelling. Strauss asks if Benson was quiet and did not react, and Amelia said she herself was screaming and then she heard the police call out and run in, and they took her down. She heard Benson say, “He’s gone. He’s gone.” She did not hear her say Lewis shot himself.

Outside the courthouse, Amelia hugs Benson and apologizes, saying it was like Strauss was putting words in her mouth. Benson reassures her. Amelia thanks her for saving her. Benson tells her to take care of herself, and Amelia walks off with her father. Calhoun approaches, and tells Benson for what it’s worth, Kings County Court leaks like a sieve and Benson has a lot of friends there. Benson comments that Strauss has a lot of enemies. Calhoun comments that Strauss has been pushing the theory that her whole squad waited for her to execute Lewis. Benson says this is a relief.

Murphy catches up with them and says this isn’t [a relief]: Strauss issued new subpoenas including one for the doctor who testified at Lewis’ trial. Calhoun mutters “son of a bitch” adding that Strauss can’t get them where he wants them to go on manslaughter, so he is pivoting. Benson asks to what, and Calhoun replies it is to her televised confession, he will use it to widen the investigation. Calhoun reminds Benson she admitted to assault and excessive force and perjury. Benson states that Lewis’ jury rejected that. Calhoun counters that Lewis was on trial, she wasn’t. Murphy claims that the only way that muppet can make his case is by dirtying her up as a brutal cop. Calhoun warns him not to get too far ahead of themselves, she’ll have to take the stand.  Benson looks away and starts to walk off from them as she flashes back to that day she beat Lewis and her statement on television. She is so deep in through she walks right into the path of an oncoming taxi.  Calhoun calls out to her and she and Murphy pull Benson back. Benson is shocked, then says she was sorry, she just didn’t see it.

Back in the grand jury room, Strauss questions Fin, who testifies he did not see who fired the shot. Strauss goes back to May, the last time Benson was with Lewis alone, and he states this time in an empty beach house. Fin says Lewis kidnapped her and took her there. Strauss asks about the condition Lewis was in the last time, and Fin states he was non-responsive. Strauss says it was because Lewis was beaten severely, Fin simply repeats that Lewis was non-responsive. Strauss asks if Lewis was handcuffed, and Fin says he was because Benson re-cuffed him after she subdued him. He admits he did not see this, and Strauss states in both situations, they somehow arrived moments after the incident, being a beating or a shooting occurred, therefore he is unable to corroborate or deny Benson’s version of events. Fin asks if Strauss is saying this is a cover-up, and Strauss asks what Fin thought of Lewis. Fin replies he was a sick “MF” and psychotic and violent. Strauss asks if Fin had seen Benson beating Lewis when he arrived, even if he were offering no resistance or handcuffed, would that be a detail Fin might overlook? Fin glares at him and says nothing.

Later, Strauss questions Ms. Freed, the jury forewoman from Lewis’ trial. She explained she watched the trial in horror as Lewis questioned Benson about his injuries and the beating. She remembers him saying he died several times in the ambulance on the way to the hospital. She adds that when he questioned Benson about each of the blows, she kept insisting that he had somehow broken free of his handcuffs and lunged at her, that she had to crack his skull, shatter his knee, collapse his lung and fracture his orbital socket in order to subdue him. He asks if she believes, as Benson had recently stated, that she used excessive force, and she replies yes. She adds that other members of the jury felt so strongly that they asked it be entered into the record before they gave their verdict. Their sense was she had a vendetta against Lewis, stating that even Benson’s own testimony indicated that once he was subdued, she ordered witnesses to leave the house. She thinks Benson needed time to do what she wanted, she wasn’t just trying to subdue him, she was trying to cripple him for life.

Later, Benson meets with Dr Lindstrom and she coplains that the juror who helped Lewis escape testified and her own lawyer says she can’t. Lindstrom comments that Benson wants to be heard. She explains that if she tells the grand jury that her public confession was true, they indict her for the assault. If she tells them that she lied, she perjures herself again. Either way, Lewis wins. Lindstrom reminds her that Lewis is dead and she is alive and so is Amelia. He says Lewis did not trick her into the trap, she chose to walk into it, asking why. Benson states she knew what he would do to Amelia, and Lindstrom reminds her last May she broke free from her restraints as she was afraid Lewis would be alone with another little girl, Louisa. He asks her where she thinks this strength comes from, and Benson comments that Lindstrom thinks it’s because she can’t fight for herself, that she can only fight for other people. Lindstrom states she has been fighting for herself for a very long time. He says when she was a little girl she saw her mother drinking and falling apart and realized her father hurt her mother, she was damaged. Benson gets uncomfortable and Lindstrom explains that Benson was defenseless then but she is not now. Now, all these years later, she is in a situation where another horrible man is about to hurt a little girl. As Benson flashes back, Lindstrom explains she risked her life and it is time to let Lewis go. She recalls him shooting himself and her silent scream.

Murphy is in his office and Benson places something on his desk and he says if it is another subpoena, no thank you, he is going in front of her tribunal today. Benson, smiling, says it is actually a heads up, she is starting her retirement paperwork. If she waits, and if the grand jury indicts, she could lose her pension and she is not going to let Lewis or them have that power. Murphy asks if everyone in the squad always thinks the sky is falling? She smiles and says they’ve had a pretty rough year and sometimes one door has to close before another one opens. As she moves to walk out, Murphy says he appreciates the stress she is under but he hates to lose her. He tells her to go talk to the grand jury and let them see her. She shakes her head and say no, she would have to lie under oath about the beating and she won’t do that again. Murphy comments that no one should even have to do that. She walks out of his office.

Back in the grand jury room in Kings County supreme court on Wednesday, April 9, Murphy testifies that Benson knew Lewis and how his mind worked better than anyone. Strauss brings up the fact that Murphy assigned the security detail to her and ordered her to stay in the squad room or the hotel. Murphy states that obviously there was a safety protocol in place. He trusted her judgment when she went to the hospital to interview the witness. Strauss asked about when he was notified Benson escaped the detail, and Murphy replies that he was notified by her detail about 15 minutes later, and then adds given the circumstances, he believes she made the right call. Strauss challenges Murphy that he did try to track her, and Murphy says yes of course. Strauss states it was because Benson went rogue, and Murphy says no, they were backup. Strauss asks about Benson’s TV confession and if he was present and it was with NYPD approval.  Murphy says yes, and that it was all a show at his behest. Strauss accuses him that it was because of Benson’s ability to lie, and Murphy gets testy and says he is not sure she did lie on the stand. Strauss says Murphy doesn’t know she didn’t, and since, as her absolute right, she is not going to testify before this grand jury and they will never know either. Murphy states that Benson said what she had to do to save a young girl’s life. Strauss thanks him and says there are no more questions, and when Murphy says there is something important - Murphy tries to cut him off – Murphy says there is something the grand jury should hear. Murphy barks that they are done. But a juror raises his hand and says he has a question. Strauss walks over to the juror who asks what was Murphy going to say? Strauss replies that he appreciates the diligence but the question doesn’t superficially go to the scope of this grand jury. The juror raises his voice and asks Strauss if he can get the grand jury warden to get the judge because he remembers him saying…Strauss cuts him off and says he will ask the question for the juror as that is protocol. Strauss asks Murphy what is the important thing he wants the grand jury to hear. Murphy states he knows for a fact that Benson’s televised confession was not true as he ordered her to make the so-called confession. She did not commit police brutality, nor did she perjure herself. It was a gambit, a police tactic to lure the weasel out just enough so they could get him. Strauss thanks him. But Murphy keeps going and says he doesn’t even know why they are here. Benson performed an act of extraordinary bravery and she single-handedly confronted a career sociopath who raped and tortured elderly women. Little girls. He killed cops and innocent civilians. They’ve heard days of testimony regarding Benson’s actions but has the prosecutor discussed Lewis’ conduct at all? Strauss tries to stop him again, and Murphy goes on about Lewis’ history of barbarism and that Lewis spent his entire life sadistically inflicting his power over people and thanks to Benson, he is where he should be. William Lewis will never hurt anyone ever again, unless they allow him to exert his power over them. Strauss is silently pissed.

Back at SVU, Benson knocks on Murphy’s door. She opens it and he says she looks happy, asking if the sky is no longer falling. Benson replies if she knows, that mean he knows a half hour ago. He plays dumb and Benson says Calhoun said the grand jury refused to return and indictment and also said that Murphy saved her shield. Murphy says it wasn’t him – it was the truth that set her free. She smiles and says that is not what she heard. He says there are little truths and the larger truth, and he told the larger one. She thanks him. He comments that while she is in a good mood, the boys at One PP want him to hang around there for a while and he was hoping she would stay on as his number 2. She replies with a smile that she can do that. He tells her to take the rest of the night off and he will see her bright and early. They smile at each other and she walks out of his office.

Later, Benson is at the Kings County morgue looking at Lewis’ body. One of the MEs asks if Benson is okay. Benson thanks her, and the ME places the sheet back over the body's face. She rolls the body back into the cooler and closes the door. Benson walks off and, as we see the ID tag on the cooler door with Lewis’ name on it, we fade to black.

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Icy said...

Powerful episode, I'm glad now we all can put this whole Lewis storyline behind.

Glad Olivia can now move on and continue to be the great detective she always is.

Murphy at first I didn't trust him but now I can see that he is to be trusted. He stood up for Olivia and he's a good person to have as acting Captain for the squad

Nancy R said...

I also missed Barba- glad to see he's in the next episodes.
I don't know much about guns, but several people on Tumblr asked would there be gun shot residue on Olivia if every time she pulled the trigger there was no bullet in the chamber?
Also Chris you may want to correct "rogue" not "rouge" in your commentary. I always wait with anticipation on Thursdays for your latest blog.

Chris Zimmer said...

Thanks Nancy I think I fixed it!

Petra S said...

Great review Chris! Especially love "Even the always prickly Lt. ("Mother") Tucker (cue the Darth Vader theme song)" *lol* Great if I can go here for me TwOP fix when they close ;)

@Nancy - Warren & Co had a discussion on Twitter earlier this week (or perhaps last week) about GSR/residue and such & how that worked for this particular episode. Maybe you can look it up for some answers, I didn't pay that much attention to it I have to admit, I just buy whatever they're trying to sell me. I'm gullible that way.

As for the episode it was good yes but I think I would be able to enjoy it more if I knew there was a S16 cause I get stressed - I want more Barba, more Rollins, more Amaro, not just Liv. But that's my problem, it WAS a good closing ep for the Lewis saga & yes hopefully Liv can move on now and I hope we get to see some of 'old' Liv back, I miss her.

I'm in awe of Lt Murphy. Pls stay Donal! They can shot Gotham over summer right? C'mon networks, make it happen. Loving the tension between him and Amaro. And I hope we'll get to see some of that Benson/Murphy/Rollins tension Warren hinted to on Twitter.

Lisa said...

Im not happy with all the Lying going on lately Its almost like Warren wants the unit to be corrupt. I hope this is the end of it and we can return to a honest bunch of cops.

The episode its self was good i enjoyed it mostly because I like Murphy.

christina killatila vl said...

Finally this arc is over and it ended is such a great way with declan being the great dude and insightful leader that the squad can lean on. Liv is clearly not leader material. She is god at what she does but she doesnt have the ability to be in a position that would require use of diplomacy.
What is rather unrealistic isthat Liv is back at work so soon and as if this whole year hasnt been enough traumatizing for her to be more serious about her mental and psychological healing. Her sessions with the doctor seem so epidermic to me. The doctor is doing all the talking, giving advice and she is still in denial about the extend of her trauma. She needs bigger help. She cant be hiding behind her finger forever.
Declan was right to talk to Amaro cuz he sure needs help too. He has so many issues and result in tension and authority issues.

Laurie Fanat said...

Donal Logue is fantastic. They couldn't have picked a better guy to play Lt. Murphy. The SVU detectives have been ignoring authority for so long and Murphy appears to be the type that won't take any crap from the detectives.

For the life of me I do not understand why they made Raul esparza a regular when we hardly see him. He is mesmerizing on the screen. IMO the problem is the writers who I don't think have a clue as how to capitalize on the character or the legal side of the show. My opinion is the rating slide over the years is not due only to Meloni leaving but their inability ro tell a decent legal story like they used to do.

This episode did have some good legal drama but the grand jury stuff dragged after a while. We all knew Benson would be cleared. It was a decent story though but I am glad that the Lewis saga is over for the most part except for any after effects to Benson's mental state.

What is disappointing is the message that came out of this: it's okay to lie to get what you want. Chris, I agree that Derek Strauss was painted as the bad guy when in reality he knew something was fishy. Strauss may also be a ass but he was doing his job by trying to chase down the truth. Isn't it odd that the guy who is close to exposing the truth is made to be despised and the Lt. who lies is now considered a good guy? What kind of a message is that? How would we feel if it was Barba that was trying a case and a higher up in the police force lied and it screwed up Barba's case and it was a rapist that was cleared instead of Benson? Murphy's rationale about the larger truth is just BS. What he really means is if you can get away with lying and it benefits you, do it.

Amaro is becoming annoying, He acts like a spoiled brat.

IF SVU gets another season, I hope they cut Ice-T loose. His acting skills are non-existent.

Sara Kürz said...

Oh god,yes this whole lewis storyline finally went off. Hated it from the beginnig because it damaged a lot besides the relationships between the detective.
That being said,post-mortem blues was a good episode but very benson-centric-what a surprise! When i knew that this will be mainly about bensons trial and her aftermath,so no actuall case,i hoped that there also gonna be some clearing maybe towards the tension between the detectives like the hints that were telling that amaro has a "thing" for rollins. But instead he made a very immature and mean comment on rollins' trust to murphy. And the reaction of hers made me really gasp cause we know rollins as a badass cop who doesn't fear to tell her opinion in very direct way with fire in her eyes especially with amaro whom she had a lot of "discussions" in the past. But a this point all that came out of her mouth was a desperate and more or less weak "c'mon". I mean honestly rollins is my favourite character and i know what happened in gambler's fallacy wasn't easy but she still should have the ability to be taff according to her character wich have been build up this way.
And amaro should really get his act together he is being very unpolite latey and always seems to be under tension and stress. I just hope that we will get the chance to see good and reassuring changes before this season end.

Doreen Chiapparelli said...

Would love to see Olivia with Murphy

christina killatila vl said...

@ Laurie Fanat
I totally get what you re saying about rollins kinda being shy to admit she trusts murphy. She has always been very strong minded and especially towards amaro. She would never hold back and this time she acted like she was even embarrassed about her opinion of murphy. It wasnt a realistic reaction from her...

christina killatila vl said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
EchoInTheSilence said...

I really think the Benson character is much better suited for field work than command, and the fact that these are people she worked with as equals for a long time (over a decade, in Fin's case) isn't helping. She belongs on the streets, not running things from the background. I like the Murphy character also and I really hope that his presence allows Olivia to get back to doing what she does best.

Cath T said...

1. Would love the character of Lt Murphy to stay on.

2. Glad Lewis saga has come to an end.

3. Want Amaro to get his act together and once again be the sharp, intuitive cop from season 13.

David Steinle said...

The juror who loves Lewis so much is a major C U Next Tuesday. I hate her guts. I want to jump through my TV and kick her hard in her privates.

I hope this is the end of Bensidy. I cannot stand Brian Cassidy. The only place I want to see Dean Winters is in Allstate commercials.

Kelly said...

Why isn't Bronwyn Freed in jail for helping Lewis escape?

Chris Zimmer said...

Kelly - while Bronwyn testified at the grand jury, we are really never told if she faced any charges for lacing the cupcakes with drugs. She could very well have. The police searched her apartment in the episode "Beast's Obsession" and at that time she admitted to Fin that she drugged the cupcakes to calm Lewis. She may have been an unwitting accomplice to his escape...she may have been eventually arrested and then maybe cut a deal for her testimony or was out on bail? Either way, in a grand jury, the prosecutor is not obligated to bring up any point that could weaken his case, So she may have very well been in deep trouble for what she did but the prosecutor didn't necessarily have to broadcast that fact.

Chris Zimmer said...

Kelly - while Bronwyn testified at the grand jury, we are really never told if she faced any charges for lacing the cupcakes with drugs. She could very well have. The police searched her apartment in the episode "Beast's Obsession" and at that time she admitted to Fin that she drugged the cupcakes to calm Lewis. She may have been an unwitting accomplice to his escape...she may have been eventually arrested and then maybe cut a deal for her testimony or was out on bail? Either way, in a grand jury, the prosecutor is not obligated to bring up any point that could weaken his case, So she may have very well been in deep trouble for what she did but the prosecutor didn't necessarily have to broadcast that fact.