Thursday, October 15, 2015

Law & Order SVU “Community Policing” Recap & Review

Law & Order SVU takes many of its story lines from real life headlines, so it was only a matter of time before it used the (too) many incidents of black people being killed in police encounters as a foundation for an episode. The episode has only 42 minutes of storytelling time to try to make its statement on this issue, so it painted its picture with a very broad brush.

Benson and her team are involved in apprehending what may be a serial rapist. Some detectives from the 27th precinct get the initial call on a home invasion/rape and then bring in the SVU. The 2-7 continues to assist in the case with the SVU in apprehending the rapist. Thinking they have their man, the detectives from the 2-7 chase down and shoot a suspect multiple times, thinking he has a gun. The episode takes a predictable course of the detectives having to explain their actions to IAB and the grand jury, and with the typical arguments from the rest of law enforcement defending their actions. Benson, because she is running point on the serial rapist case, finds herself drawn into legal end of the case against the officers and defends their actions. It’s Captain Reece, however, who may have fueled the fire by telling his people -  before the chase - that time, distance, and cover is their friend, adding he doesn’t care if this scumbag makes it through the night but cares if his people do. Clearly the detectives ignored the part of the message about time, distance and cover.  Despite what appears to be damning video evidence of police wrongdoing,  Benson, Reece, and the detectives continue to support their own.

Oddly, the legal case against the officers is given to Barba, with the explanation that it’s his last chance to get back in the good graces of City Hall. While I enjoyed Raúl Esparza’s performance immensely, I find it hard to believe that, in the real world, Barba would be given such a high profile case that had nothing to do with a special victim. If anything, had the original Law & Order series still existed, this would be a case that likely would have elevated to the level of the Executive Assistant District Attorney. I also find it unbelievable that a grand jury would be convened so quickly. Again, there are only so many minutes in the hour for them to tell the story, so events are greatly accelerated. But in this case it's almost to the point of being laughable.  It’s times like these that I don’t like when they put dates on the scene cards. I simply cannot believe this case would have gotten to a grand jury and be resolved within only a few days from when the shooting occurred, high profile or not.

With the glares that Benson and Barba were giving each other at the Grand Jury, and Benson's door slamming incident afterward,  things could be a little tense between them going forward.  Clearly Barba was caught between a rock and a hard place and maybe Benson will eventually come to understand this.

As there have been so many tragic shootings like this over the last few years, this topic has been discussed ad nauseam.  This episode added nothing new to the discussion and only continued the misconception that these cases can be solved easily and quickly.

The serial rapist case is still unsolved.  I assume this is not the last we've seen of the "push-in" rapist.  I would think it would be a high priority - especially after killing an innocent man in the process of working the case - that they find the real perp.

Awkwardly shoehorned into this episode – and taking time from telling the more important story of an innocent man being shot – is the big reveal of who is the father of Rollins’ baby: Declan Murphy. We last saw him working undercover in the episode “Undercover Mother” and those events took place in February, apparently around the time when Rollins and Murphy had their hookup. I admit that I have no feelings either way about this, but I still was happy to see Donal Logue in the episode, and that the speculation was finally over.

Here is the recap:

Mariska Hargitay – Lieutenant Olivia Benson
Ice-T – Detective Odafin “Fin” Tutuola
Kelli Giddish - Detective Amanda Rollins
Raúl Esparza - ADA Rafael Barba
Peter Scanavino - Detective Dominick “Sonny” Carisi, Jr.

Guest stars:
Donal Logue – Declan Murphy
Scott William Winters – Detective Joe "Doom" Dumas
Isiah Whitlock Jr. - Capt. Reece
Dashiell Eaves - Sgt. Kevin Donlan
Mary McCann – Delegate Didi Denzler
Jason Cerbone – Attorney Desappio
Jolly Abraham – Doctor
Krista Braun – Mrs. Harris
Christopher Domig – Mr. Harris
Daveed Diggs - Louis Henderson
Josh Pais - Hank Abraham
Robert John Burke - Ed Tucker
Caris Vujcec - Det. Louise Campesi
Leslie Odom Jr. - Reverend Curtis Scott
Michael Potts - Sgt. Draper
Chandra Thomas - Patricia Reynolds
Neal Lerner – Richard Wallace
Jared Kemp - Jeff
Edwin Lugo – Juan
Latifah Johnson - Leslie
Raekwon Haynes – Damian
Cristina Pitter – Alma Hernandez
Lauren Noble – Carmen
Kylie McVey – Sophie Harris
Therell Spires – Latrell
J.J. Wynder - Jahill
Maria Desimone - Weeping Widow
Storm Chambers – Old Man

Benson and Fin are called to the scene of a “push-in” rape where the wife was raped and the husband pistol-whipped. Sgt. Donlon explains there was a similar rape before but in this case the attacker stayed longer. The suspect left them tied up. The wife is still conscious.

Benson enters the apartments and sees Detectives “Doom” Dumas and Campesi on the scene. When Benson speaks with Benson, she finds out the attacker was black, tall, and that her 12 year old daughter Sophie is missing. Benson orders the detectives to lock the building down. The detectives and officers search the area and Carisi finds her in the laundry room stuffed into a washing machine. He pulls her out and takes her outside for medical attention. Benson tries to console her and decides to ride in the ambulance with her, telling the others to find this guy.

In the hospital, Benson explains the situation to Dr. Patel who is also attending to Sophie’s parents. Captain Reece arrives and Benson updates him. It is the same MO as last week. She explains she is still short staffed and he tells her whatever she needs, just ask. She asks if she can address his next roll call and she will need to borrow a couple detectives to interview the vics when they are ready to talk. He tells her she has it.

Fin and Dumas speak with Mr. Harris who recalls what he can from the attack. The attacker was big and black, late 20s, with an afro and wearing a team jersey. Dumas shows him a sketch and he say maybe, asking if that is the push-in rapist and that his brother warned him about him. His brother is on the job at the 1-2.

Benson and Carisi speak with Mrs. Harris who describes her attack. She gave him her purse and pin number and feels she should have screamed. Benson reminds her everyone survived. The doctor enters and tells them she has to do the rape kit now.

At the 27th precinct at 204 West 119th Street on Tuesday, August 18, Fin speaks with Campesi and Donlon who says some of their guys know the husband’s brother. Carisi and Dumas confer and Dumas comments god help this guy when they catch him. Rollins is leaning on the ME for DNA info and Dumas says he worked with Rollins on a case in Brooklyn a few years back and they kind of hit it off. He walks over to her to say hello and when she turns around, he sees she is pregnant. He tells her congratulations and asks who is the lucky dad, asking if it is someone he knows. She doesn’t think so. Captain Reece explains to the group about the pattern rapist and that SVU will walk through the details. Benson explains what happened to the Harrises and Reece says the victims are related to a brother officer and this is family. Rollins explains the first vic worked up a sketch and they are still waiting for last night’s DNA but one of those vics gave them details that matched the sketch. He took the wife’s credit cards so they have flagged them. Reece tells them to canvass the neighborhood and lean on their CIs and there is no problem for stop and frisk tonight. He hit the precinct twice this week so he has roots here and someone knows him. Benson reminds them he is armed and extremely dangerous and is looking at serious time. Reece adds that he knows it is hot but to wear their vests tonight. Time, distance, and cover is their friend. He doesn’t care if this scumbag makes it through the night but he cares if they do.

Later, Fin and Dumas stop two men to frisk them and asks if they’ve seen the guy. Campesi and Donlon speak with a store clerk while Benson and Carisi speak with a woman who doesn’t want to help until they explain the situation. Much later, Dumas and Fin get a lead from a guy who says the man may have been there a half hour ago wearing a pro jersey, number 23. Benson and Carisi come up with nothing but Benson finds Rollins just got a hit on the bank card.

At a store, Campesi, shows a store worker the sketch of the suspect. He has the man on video and shows it to Benson, Fin, Dumas and Campesi and says this was about 15 minutes ago. The man is wearing a number 23 jersey and a cap. He says the man took out $200; he wanted more but he told him that was the max. He thought he was going to shoot him. Donlon asks if he had a gun, and he says he saw something on his right side. Benson tells them to lock the neighborhood down. Donlon radios the instructions and Dumas says they are on it. Benson tells Carisi and Fin to have the unis lock down any ATM in their sector; he maxed out here but he could be trying others. Fin says got it and he and Carisi race off.

Captain Reece drives up to Benson and Carisi and she explains the suspect was spotted in a bodega about 15 minutes ago.  Reece hears on the radio that the suspect was spotted near the Clayton Powell houses and he radios to central to get aviation up, and Benson, Fin, and Carisi race off.

Meanwhile, Dumas, Campesi, and Donlon chase the suspect, and Capt. Reece, in the car, spots the suspect and points him out to the driver and orders him to cut him off. While the others chase on foot, Benson arrives in the car that Fin is driving, as Carisi also reaches the area. They hear multiple gun shots and Benson tells Carisi to call it in. Carisi does so, saying there are shots fired at Clayton Powell houses.

At the scene of the shooting, Dumas attends to the victim who is laying on the ground, bleeding. He cuffs him. As Benson, her detectives, and Reece arrive, Campesi says he was going for his gun. Benson orders them to secure the scene and tells Carisi to get his weapon and check for vitals. A crowd forms. Carisi finds no gun, only keys. Benson says a bus is on the way. The crowd watches and Fin thinks the man tossed the gun. Dumas says he was shooting at them, he heard it. Reece warns them not to say a word. While they look around for the gun, Carisi finds the man has cash on him, no credit or ATM cards. His driver’s license says his name is Terrence Reynolds, 22, and lives there on the fifth floor. The crowd continues to gather and take video. A woman yells out a window above that they just shot an unarmed black man and they are going to leave him to die, and Campesi yells back, asking why she is worried about a man who raped a child? They others try to quiet Campesi and Fin states an ambulance is on the way. Benson tells Reece his detectives need to turn over their guns and get to the hospital. He knows the drill, they need a blood alcohol and tox screen. He asks for their guns and when Campesi says it was a good shoot, he tells her to stop talking and say nothing to anyone and wait for their delegate. Benson tells Fin to get Reynolds’ name to Real Time and see what they have, and to confiscate phones. When Fin states the crowd will not help them, she tells him to convince them otherwise. Carisi says Reynolds is slipping away, and she says the bus is coming and she will stay with him and asks him to search the building. She will call in a warrant and to just get creative; they need to tie him to those rapes ASAP.

Carisi searches Terrence’s room, with his roommate present. He says a warrant will be there any second. When the roommate asks why Terrence was shot, Carisi says it was because he ran. Carisi gets pushy about searching a dresser and the roommate says it is not his and tells him to go ahead and search it.  Carisi finds pills and a few joints and says this gives him probable cause to search the whole place and ask if he gets that. When the roommate  says no, Carisi yells if he is covering for him, mentioning the rape of the 12 year old. The guy tells him to look wherever he wants. He doesn’t know where Terrence was last night; he was working last night and to ask his boss. Carisi continues to look around. He asks if Terrence cut his hair recently, and the roommate says no, he always had a fade.

At the hospital while the detectives are being checked out, Benson is on the phone and finds Carisi has nothing to connect Terrence. She says the warrant is on the way and get CSU up there and look for blood, DNA and everything. She gets off the call and Tucker has arrived and she asks if he sleeps with a radio under his pillow. He says he doesn’t need one – a police shooting with a black man, word travels. Reece approaches and Tucker says he understands they have 48 hours to give their statements to IAB but if they take all 48, Reece’s precinct will be on fire. Reece says he will talk to them, but Miss Denzler arrives and says not with her they won’t. Tucker cracks that Detectives Endowments are moving quickly, and she cracks right back that if he is there, she is there. Benson tells them easy…they are all on the same team. Terrence’s parents arrive and Benson explains he is in surgery and Reece said their son led police on a foot chase. While the parents protest, Benson gets words about Terrence and must tell the parents she is so sorry. Mrs. Reynolds sobs.

At SVU, the Harrises look at photos of potential suspects and pick out Terrence but there are inconsistencies in his hair and age. After the Harrises leave, they all talk about 3 cops who thought Terrence was pulling a gun which they can’t find, and Rollins adds they are cops they’ve all worked with. Benson tells Carisi to bring in last week’s vic and show her a photo array and go over every video from the shooting to see if he tosses the gun. She asks Rollins where is the DNA, and when Rollins says it just went down to the lab, Benson orders her to follow it and to test it herself if she has to.

At the internal Affairs Bureau at 317 Hudson Street on Wednesday, August 19, Donlon, Dumas, and Campesi all give too similar statements to Tucker and Draper, each saying that at the moment, they felt that their life, and the lives of their fellow officers, were in danger. Dumas was the only one that fired only three times while the others emptied their clips. During Dumas’s questioning,. Tucker has the video turned off and says Dumas' story is remarkably consistent with his fellow officers, and Denzler says the truth is consistent. Tucker replies maybe, but usually it is not verbatim. Draper says the next time they should tell their people to use their own words. Tucker leaves the room and sees Benson waiting there who tells him that the DNA came back; the two push-ins are a match but the perp isn’t Terrence Reynolds. The rapist is still out there, and Tucker states these three officers killed an innocent man.

In Barba’s office, he, along with Benson, watch TV coverage of a protest led by Reverend Scott. Benson comments the whole city is on boil, and Barba says the DA says he has to convene a grand jury. He adds he was told it is his last chance to work his way back into the good graces of City Hall. If he fails to get an indictment it is on him. Benson asks if he will push for one, even though those officers were just doing their job? Barba questions that, stating their fired on an unarmed college student 35 times. Benson raises her voice, saying they were in pursuit of a rapist and he matched the BOLO, down to his jersey,  and he ran. Barba fires back that a black man in a basketball jersey runs when he gets stopped by the police, saying, ” You’re right, he deserves the death penalty.” When Benson states that is not what she is saying, he questions that it’s not? There is a knock on the door and Hank Abraham walks in and comments she trusts Benson is there to convince Barba this was a good shooting,  or does this relate to the serial rapist she hasn’t caught yet? Benson sounds like she is going to reply but then wisely says she was just leaving, and she does so. Abraham says what they want and what the city needs is clarity. He tells Barba to get ahead of it, and explain why new York is not Ferguson or Baltimore, and Barba adds or Cleveland or Los Angeles or Staten Island. Barba asks if he sees the problem, this pattern. Abraham says this wasn’t part of it, and the sooner the grand jury clears these three, the sooner the city can begin to heal. Barba scoffs, saying it used to be a rush to judgment, now it is a rush to heal. There is another knock on the door – Reverend Curtis wants to speak with Barba and Scott barges in, along with Mr. and Mrs. Reynolds and Counselor Henderson. Abraham makes the standard condolences to the Reynolds’s and that the commission wants a full investigation to be sure justice is served. He adds the NYPD is suspending the officers involved, and when Scott asks if it is without pay, Abraham says it is a union issue. He says he will leave them in the very capable hands of the ADA, and he exits.

Henderson tells Barba they put Barba in the hot seat, and Barba replies he just wants to get to the truth. Rev. Scott says they all do, but adds that recent grand juries have been rigged so their community has lost faith in the process. Barba counters that this process is going to be different. Henderson states they are here to insure that; they are going to be proactive. Barba says that inciting the public will not help. Mr. Reynolds states that is not their intention, and Mrs. Reynolds adds the last thing they want is more violence. Henderson informs Barba they are going to conduct a parallel investigation, and independent autopsy. They want to offer another avenue for people who might not feel comfortable talking with law enforcement. Barba appreciates that but would also appreciate any evidence they find coming directly to him. He asks they not play this out in the press. Henderson says his job is to advocate for the family and he will do whatever is in their best interests. Scott adds that that interest – for all of them – is justice. Barba adds it is for all of them too and thanks them for coming in. He tells Mr. and Mrs. Reynolds they are all very sorry for their loss, and Mr. Reynolds thanks him as they both move to leave. Scott says he knows Barba is tired of this Kabuki and so is he; this year alone, almost 700 people have been shot and killed by the police and that won’t stop until cities start to send a message. Barba stares and says nothing, and Scott adds that he can’t imagine the pressure that he is under, and holding out his hand to shake Barba’s, he asks him to do the right thing here. They shake hands and Barba says nothing as Scott leaves.

Elsewhere, Dumas, Campesi, and Donlon are commiserating at a bar. They heard about the suspension on the news. Rollins arrives and they find Rollins came to meet Dumas so the others leave. Dumas is worried where Barba is going on this and asks if SVU has their backs. She says they know they are good cops. Dumas explained he was cornered and his hand went to his waist, that is when you use deadly force. He was guilty of something, why else would he run? Rollins suggests maybe it is best not to talk about this in a public place. She suggests she give him a lift home, and when he asks if she thinks he is drunk, she motions she might be and he agrees to go. He says what difference does it make, they are going to hang them anyway.

At IAB, Barba is there to see Tucker and Draper. Barba read their report and Tucker comments he knows this is a tragic situation but the cops are not bad apples and there is no charges of excessive force and no accusations of racism. Draper mentions commendations for integrity, and Barba dryly states so even their best and brightest are gunning down innocents. Draper counters they believed the suspect had a weapon and was a threat to themselves and civilians. Barba said he watched the deposition and questions the gap in the recording. Tucker admits they thought they sounded over coached. Barba wonders if they were coached to lie, but Tucker says no, they quoted verbatim the legal definition of the use of force. Draper quips they hear this a lot – lawyers. Draper states in their shoes he would have fired too, and Barba asks 35 times? Tucker and Draper are silent.

Outside the precinct, a surprised Rollins runs into Declan Murphy who asks how far along is she? He says he is 4,000 miles away in Serbia trying to take down a sex trafficking ring and he still heard about it. She says 7 months, and he says so that weekend back in February in the blizzard, and she says yeah. He asks if it is his, and she nods yes. He asks when was she going to tell him, and she said he was 4,000 miles away and didn’t know how to get a hold of him. He replies fair enough, but he is here now. She asks for how long, and he can’t say. She says he does not have time to worry about it, and he says he is not worried. She adds it is going to be okay; her mom is coming up and it is her decision and not his responsibility. He says it is, and they have to talk, he is not just going to walk away. She agrees they will talk but now she has to get upstairs. She is fine but there is a lot going on that she has to deal with. Her phone buzzes and he says that is his phone, if she calls, he in on a plane in an hour. She smiles and walks into the building.

Later, in Barba’s office, he explains to Benson and Reece about the grand jury starting tomorrow and to make sure their guys tell the truth in their own words. Reece says they will do fine, it is a tragedy, and Benson reinforces it was a good shoot. Barba wisecracks that Tom Wolfe is right, sooner or later, all cops become Irish. He reminds them he doesn’t get to voire dire a jury so the first 23 through the door and everyone on the jury would have heard about this case. Barba worries about biased opinions and when Reece thinks this is difference, Barba says they just need 12 votes to indict. His assistant enters and he reminds her he said no interruptions, but she says she knows, turning on the TV. Henderson is on screen saying they have a cell phone video of the shooting and it is played, showing the shooting. Terrence tries to open a locked door and reaches for his keys, and appears to be trying to comply to put his hands up. The police fire on him repeatedly even after he hit the ground. Barba says this changes things, but Reece says it does not. Barba says it does because it is out there. Benson says she knows this looks bad but this is not the angle that they had. If they had, they would not have shot. She mentions the heat of the chase, it was dark and they were in the projects. Reece adds they were following procedure. Benson goes on to say they did what any cop would do in that situation. But Barba asks and cop – even Benson? She gives him a strange look and does not reply.

At a later date, Henderson and Reverend Scott give a press conference on the courthouse steps as does Denzler .

In the Grand Jury on Friday, August 21, Fin and Carisi give their testimony defending the officers’ actions. Mr. Reynolds also gives testimony about Terrence. He had no violent record. He thinks Terrence ran because relations with police are not good and his son didn’t do anything wrong but he knew it would not make a difference. He was just trying to go home. Reece also testifies and does not think this is reckless endangerment or criminally negligent homicide. He thinks lives were in danger. They are trained to asses a situation by experience and they were told the suspect had a weapon. Benson is testifying and Barba asks what if the suspect were white, and Benson says this is not a fair comparison. The officers were in pursuit of Mr. Reynolds because he matched the description of a dangerous rapist. Barba asks about the rape suspects she has chased in her career and how many time she felt her life was in danger, stating she only shot two such suspects. He mentions time and again she chose not to shoot yet the others did, asking why? She tersely replies that in her opinion, all police procedures were followed. Barba raises alternative scenarios and when Barba asks if they could have waited, she asks waited for what, for their partner to get shot or for their own head to get blown off? She firmly states that they followed procedure and she couldn’t say what she would have done in that situation because she was not in the line of fire. Barba counters not were any of the other officers and then says he will asks again, can she think of any option these officers had besides shooting Terrence? She glares back at him and testifies in her opinion, all police procedures were followed. They glare at each other until Benson looks away, with a stone face.

Barba has Campesi on the stand who explains her actions, as does Donlon. When Dumas is on the stand, Barba brings up that he only shot 3 times, unlike the others. Dumas explains that the situation was chaotic but they followed procedure. Barba shows the bystander video and the jury looks appalled. Dumas explains they still could not see the suspect’s hands and had reason to believe he had a gun. Barba presses on why he stopped firing, and Barba pounces, saying maybe he had second thoughts and that Dumas stopped firing because he saw no gun. Dumas says he does not know. Barba thinks if the others waited a half second longer, Terrence would be alive today. Dumas pauses, then agrees.

Back at SVU, Carisi asks a returning Benson how did it go, but she can’t talk about it and says neither can he. Carisi asks if Barba knows what he is doing, and Benson walking quickly away from him, tersely states that yeah, he does. She rushes into her office and slams the door. Carisi comments to Rollins that Benson is in a mood, and Rollins replies that they all are.

In the Grand Jury part 24 on Friday, August 21, when Barba mentions they have the charges of reckless endangerment in the first degree or criminally negligent homicide, a juror asks if they can indict on more serious charges, they think it is murder. Barba explains it is within their purview but that to prove manslaughter one and above, they must prove intent, a much higher legal standard with an increased level of mens rea – intent vs. negligence. The juror asks if Barba can explain the standards and walk them through everything. Before he does, he asks for a show of hands on how many of them would like to hear the definition of those charges. It looks like very many jurors put up their hands.

Later, Henderson is giving another press conference with Rev. Scott, saying he is gratified the grand jury decided to indict Donlon and Campesi on manslaughter one and Dumas on reckless endangerment. Barba watches on TV in his office, sipping a drink. Scott says they will continue to do everything they can to make sure these officers are held accountable. Mr. Reynolds is pleased with the indictment. Meanwhile. Reece is an a bar with Denzler, saying the city got what they wanted: blame the cops and keep the peace. Denzler says it is just an indictment, it is not going anywhere. Campesi comments to Carisi that Barba is a son of a bitch, adding good luck the next time he needs a cop. They approach a table where Rollins is already sitting with Dumas and Donlon. Carisi says it may not all be on Barba and it sounds like he had a runaway grand jury. Campesi says runaway her ass; Barba led and they followed. Rollins comments that the good thing is if it goes to trial, there is no way they can prove intent. Dumas asks with what happened today, will they trust a New York jury? Donlon asks what is Dumas worried about, asking what he set up that he only got reckless endangerment.  Carisi gets a message as Donlon also yells at Rollins, asking what her Lieutenant set up too. Reece hears this and says that is enough, but Carisi gets their attention by saying this is not the time and shows them a message. All their other phones begin to buzz and ring and Rollins looks stunned.

At Mercy Hospital on 365 West 32nd Street on Friday August 21, Benson arrives to waiting area full of police and asks a waiting Rollins, Fin, and Carisi what is the status? Rollins states he was shot in the face and they couldn’t do anything for him. Fin says it was a traffic stop gone bad and they got the shooter. Benson sees a woman waiting and asks if that is the wife, and Carisi says yeah, they had two kids, he was 24,  and was a rookie. Benson asks if it gets any worse, and Rollins replies it might – the mayor is on his way up. Benson moves into the hall and waits for the mayor to show, a pained look on her face as we fade to black.

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Mandy said...

I appreciated that the episode did not star Benson as the mouthpiece for All Things and Causes Progressive. I feel like the character's been turning into a little bit too much of a platitude-spouter lately, and it was good to see Mariska get to play with some of Benson's actual character traits, like the fact that she's loyal to a fault.

Beyond that, I agree: the episode was little more than a rehash of a discussion that's been had, and Fin and Carisi were little more than window dressing. My jaw dropped when they did the reveal. That was not how I saw Murphy and Rollins's relationship at all, and I'm not sure I like the direction this is going.

Unknown said...

Pretty good episode overall. It was funny watching with my wife when I screamed at the TV "that's not the 2-7" and "where is Anita Van Buren?" LOL! She has no idea of the greatness of the mothership. But it really did signal the fact that the mothership as we know it is no more. #ASadDay

kat said...

Oh god, I felt so bad for Barba! I really hope that things turn out okay with him and Benson (Is it obvious that I ship them?)

empxth tbh said...

i didn't think the episode was too bad, but a few scenes felt too "short" and a bit like scenes that would normally be cut. like the scene where benson slams the door for example, but idk.
also, i don't really like that murphy is the father of amanda's baby, since he's much older and idk i just never thought their relationship was romantic at all.

Ana Andrade said...

I felt that this episode would have been a lot better if they hadn't promoted that it was going to be about the Black Lives Matter movement. I felt that it hardly focused on that and instead was about the problems with police procedure. Race was hardly a factor. It only came into play because the suspect the were looking for was black. I wished they used Fin to provide a completely different perspective.

On Twitter a lot of fans were upset because apparently Olivia saying that the officers did nothing wrong and only followed procedure was out of character. According to them, she always sides with the victim (in this case the innocent man they killed). I believe this is wrong because she never had a problem defending what other officers had done because they are doing what they are trained to do(see Amaro's One-Eighty). I believe she was really conflicted on how to feel about the whole situation.

As for Murphy being the father of Amanda's baby, all I have to say is eww. They never had any romantic chemistry and it seems to weird. I always viewed their relationship with him as a mentor. And don't forget about the age difference.

Juda packer Martinez said...

hi chris thanks for your recap again, i'll use my birthday today as an excuse to tell you how much i appreciate all your hard work posting every week all year around for us thank you again. now to the episode i did like it but i thaught they went away from who was the real rapist still out there, the episode focused on the cops killing the young kid, is scott winters gonna be a regular from here on this is his 2nd week in a row on svu. i was totally shocked that murphy was the dad cause how is donal logue who is the 2nd main charather on gotham gonna be on 2 shows, i guess it could be done chris meloni was on oz and svu at the same time i just don't remember seen donal logue name on credits i am huge fan of his. now the episode started with trying to catch a rapist but they killed the wrong person while there was still a rapist on the lose who knows if they come back to that story, i wish you did recap on cpd cause i have liked every episode this season a lot i love all season 1 and 2 i just love how there out to great start this year and no 1 is hogging the spot light, thanks again chris take care and i really mean everything i said about your recaps, i don't go on anyones recaps but yours and like i told you when i first introduce myself i don't always agree with you but that's the fun of this not everyone has to agree everyone is entitled to there opinion and it should be respected.

Mickie said...

After last night I've lost all respect for Olivia Benson and I'm done with SVU. ​This whole episode was a joke, a complete mockery of the lives that have been lost. They claimed it was a Black Lives Matter episode, but that had nothing to do with the movement. They didn't even care about that boy's life, they were too worried about trying to make it disappear. The whole episode they were trying to justify the murder of unarmed Black males, did you hear Benson? Rollins? Carisi? Telling those cops how they were going to get off, how they were just doing their jobs? How there was no way they could possibly prove intent? They only people who seemed to care about that boy's life were the protesters who were pushed into the background.

Erica said...

Forgive me for appearing dense, but I'm not sure what the point of the ending was. It seemed tacked on; what was the message? That cops get shot unfairly too?

Yeah, the Declan's-the-father thing felt like a footnote. Um... what? Wasn't aware anything had happened between them.

Tough episode. A whole lot of action and controversy crammed into 42 minutes. I think if they had made it a two-parter, it might not have felt quite so rushed.

Mickie said...

@Erica People have made the argument that "Black Lives Matter" is a war on cops, encouraging "violence" against them. That's what the ending was, a cop getting shot apparently in retaliation for Terrance being shot.

Chris Zimmer said...

Juda - happy birthday and thank you very much. Donal's name was on the ending credits - I think they didn't want to spoil the surprise too early. Not sure how much time he will give in the future to SVU because of Gotham, though. I wish I had time to do the Chicago PD recaps!

Mickie, I wondered if Benson and her detectives were too defensive of the other detectives' actions because they too were involved in the chase and it could have been them taking those shots. And I agree, the episode was less about the black Lives Matter movement than it was the way the NYPD protects its own interests - plus Barba's "political" problems and how it caused him to handle the case.

Unknown RE: the 2-7 on the mothership - Yes, I guess now they will be known for the precinct with 3 detectives who killed an innocent man. It's almost like they did it on purpose just to sully the mothership (wink)

Ana - You are right. I didn't get the feeling watching this episode that it was supportive of the Black Lives Matter movement, it was more like a footnote in the episode. But the promo did speak to a division, and it was clear that law enforcement and the public had differing opinions, possible causing the grand jury asking for a harsher sentence.

RE: all the other comments about Murphy being the baby daddy, It does make one wonder, since he was her boss for a time, if something was even going on at that time. I would have loved Donal to stay on as the man in charge. The real question in my head was what kind of birth control were either of them using? If they weren't using any I find it odd, and if they were, why is it birth control always seems to fail on television shows (wink)? I guess I would have preferred the father to be an unknown character that they could have brought into the show in some other many possibilities! Of course, Murphy could get killed in action or something, so I guess anything can still happen. I just don't see anything long term here but I've been known to be wrong before!

Phil Smith said...

I think this episode was okay, but not great. Some posting here that Benson standing up for the police involved in the shooting is out of character for her. I think not, there has been other times Benson had towed the "blue Line."

The part I found telling you could tell in Benson's demeanor when talking to others, or on the stand saying the Officers followed procedure, that it seemed more like she was trying to convince herself. I think deep down Benson realized it was a bad shoot.

As for Murphy and Rollins I didn't think that he would be the father, but I can buy it. They we're in deep cover together and that could have caused then to become close.

Phil Smith said...

Chris Zimmer Do you know when Andy Karl is supposed start appearing in episodes?

Chris Zimmer said...

Phil Smith - Andy shows up in the next episode, "Maternal Instincts"

Amber Wimer said...

I Find It Interesting That Declan Murphy Is The Father

Alex said...

Based on the last few eps plus the writer Q&A on Twitter today, I'm suspecting that they might write Barba becoming an alcoholic or having a breakdown of some sort.

Petra S said...

I liked the episode. I thought they used Benson and Barba good, tried to tell both sides of a difficult storyline. I think since I'm abroad though I don't really grasp all the levels of this issue. I live in a country where we have gun control and police not often use extensive force. Racism we aren't spared from though. But I might have an easier time to distance myself from this. I get from Twitter comments and other forums though that this is, an rightfully so, a touchy subject. I saw Benson got a lot of heat, for once. I guess I can only hope it got ppl talking though.

As for the Rollins' baby daddy reveal I'm disappointed. That scene did not play out at all as I had imagined it. Both Amanda and Murphy seemed fine with it, and it wasn't at all as messy as I wanted it to be. Rather pointless really to bring in Donal for such a lame scene. It wasn't that Murphy seemed so much more levelheaded than in UndercoverMother, I'm happy he wasn't a douche but he was at one point her boss, & he was the one who pointed out she might have a blindspot for men in power so he should've never have gone there with her. And with her past (Patton, Sam) I didn't expect her to be so fine with it either. It was like it was no big deal. It just bugs me so much, I just wish they never made her a rape survivor, seems so pointless to go there if they were not planning on using it.

mrmeadowlark said...

I personally loved that the Grand Jury in this episode chose to make an example of the cops by indicting them on charges they have no chance of being convicted of.

Cops tend to throw their authority around, and our society tends to put them on a pedestal, making them totally infallible and completely untouchable. It needs to stop. The playing field needs to be levelled off a bit.

Laurie Fanat said...

Let me get this out of the way first: the scene with Rollins and Murphy was weird and corny. How strange to have a discussion like that in a place like that. Since Murphy was clearly now in New York, why not phone Rollins to touch base with her first. No, he decides to confront her outside the precinct. He already knew she was pregnant, why not call her and ask to meet her somewhere? Something about the way he called her “darling” sounded weird too. I adore Donal Logue an wish he could have had a permanent role with the show, BUT I wonder when their relationship started. Was he her boss when it started? Bad news. Rollins already been raped by a co-worker and it is a little off for her to jump back in the sack with another boss or work colleague…in addition to Amaro (I assume?).

There was no way they could do the whole “cops killing unarmed black men” story right in just an hour. The episode was very rushed and the timeline far too compressed to be credible. I applaud their attempt but I don’t feel it worked. Was it on purpose that they made the 2-7, the Law & Order mothership precinct, look so bad? This made me sad. Why didn’t they have someone like Fin involved in the shooting? That would have made it more interesting and added a twist. I don’t think they wanted the risk of making anyone in SVU look bad.

Barba should have not taken this case. It was not a special victims case and Chris you are correct, it would have been a case that would have been handled far up the chain. Yes they were probably trying to create a political dilemma for Barba and then later some friction between him and SVU but this was not the case to do it.

The SVU team gets a FAIL for not resolving the serial rapist case so unless they want a huge open case on their hands, the show will revisit it soon.

There was a lot of action in the first part of the episode so they did well with that.

If they were trying to capitalize on the "Black Lives Matter" movement they failed on addressing that too. All I saw in this episode was the old Blue Wall.

Juda packer Martinez said...

To Laurie fanat your comment on fin I like in the 16 years his been on svu his only had 1 real incident in self defense in the episode haunted which he killed a kid in a store in self defense then was looked at like a hero then the episode delt with his pasts as a narcotics officer, so yes in his 16 years he has not been in trouble with I.a.b like stabler, amaro, benson, rollins, even cragen went to jail and Cassidy was on trial for been accused of rape. The problem with the fin thing which I am all for would be that there are crimes been committed and to spend an episode on more of an actual story, actually what am I talking about next week's episode revolves around rollins trouble sister, I wish like someone mentioned last night's episode was rushed I liked it but the rapist is still out there. I wish with Barbra they went the route Mccoy went when van Buren killed a kid in self defense and Mccoy did the best of his abilities not to take sides, also on burned card ed green last episode cutter try to prosecute him when he thought he was guilty.

Vim said...

My points:
1. Two officers empty their clips, one fired three bullets. They did this at very close range, when possibility of missing is very small. In other word, the victim got shot by around 25-30 bullets - he should be sieve! It is miracle that he made to hospital - even if each cops would fire just one shot, chance for survival would be slim at best. Ohh wait, if I remember correctly, when victim was lying on the ground he had just one wound(!)

Officers should be fired - for tragically bad aim
2. So we have kid shot multiple times - did Benson or other tried to stop bleeding?
3.Reveal of Who-is-the-father: I don't like that Murphy is dad, but I have to admit, that it match up Rollins character - she really have father complex. We should be thankful, that it wasn't Cragen. That said, scene of reveal was very, very bad.

From my point of view ending was to show, that for cops danger of beeing shot is real. That - unlike, for most people - police can get shot at any time. What is more - if they follow procedure they can be charged, if not they can be killed. And mayor will try get some political point on both occasions.

MrDstar101 said...

@Mickie bye bye!

Episode was really enjoyable. Was so shocked at Murphy being revealed as the father, but nevertheless was good to see him again.

Vim said...

4. Considering this and previous episode, we can be sure, that Barba will soon get in some trouble and One PP will try (maybe succesfully) punish him - maybe throw him to the prison

Lannes said...

First time commenting, but I adore this blog! My thought? The comment was made that Barba better watch out the next time that he needs a cop. I think he's going to become the victim of a hate crime. Which would be horrible but might cause Benson to rethink what will probably be a tense relationship for the next few episodes.

Marla K said...

Another completely useless, badly written episode.

Someone tell me WTH was Benson doing at the hospital at the end of the episode? What does a citizen being shot during a routine traffic stop have to do with SVU?

Absolutely nothing, that's what.

Does MH have something in her contract now where at the end of every episode they have to have a close-up of her face with a reaction?

On a side note, I am very disappointed that they finally give SWW something to do other than walk on/be glib/walk off, and they have Dumas end up in trouble (and is therefore likely to never be seen again).

ChristiRN said...

I have to admit the baby daddy reveal distracted me from the rest of such a charged and timely episode. I didn't think there could be a reason that I wouldn't like seeing Donal Logue on my screen but that scene proved me wrong. Declan was so dynamic when he was the Lt. in charge of SVU or assisting them with a case. Unfortunately, I don't see how they can bring that integral aspect of the character back now that he is having a child with a member of the squad. Donal was really charming in that scene but I'm afraid it is just going to pigeon-hole him into the role of baby daddy going forward.

ladybug81 said...

I went into this epsiode a little unsure. I was thinking they would be biased toward one side or the other. I don't think that was the case. I think they showed both sides & did as well as they could given the time constraints of an epsiode. I was surprised last night when some on twitter began calling Benson a racist or as many claimed she was out of character. I don't believe that. For me in her testimony you could see the internal struggle she was having. I think she was questioning whether or not the 2 officers should've fired like they did, but I also think she was putting herself in their shoes. For many years it was just her & no one else, now she has Noah to worry about. I think that was part of her struggle, what would she do in that situation. No one knows how they would react in a a possible life or death situation until they are in it. Maybe procedure needs to be reexamined for how instances like that are handled. I am a relative of a police officer & I do worry for his safety. I think someone said it on the show last night, can't remember for sure, but what if the officers had just waited a second to see if he was armed. Another character said if they did they could've been killed. I think that is a fair point to make. The sad thing is no one wins in a situation like this, everyone loses.

Roselynn Finch said...

I am so sick of people calling everyone racist and painting cops in such negative lights. I'm not saying stuff like this doesn't happen, but the media loves to capitalize on it, and it's getting as old as Caitlin Jenner and Kim Davis. I'm just tired of it, and this episode was so boring that I had to rewind the end just to figure out who even got shot. Ugh. And the baby reveal...that's as nasty and forced as Bensidy.

Anonymous said...

Well, I felt cheated after this episode. Nothing was resolved and the rapist that raped that mother and daughter is still out there at large! Sheesh, I agree they should have made it 2 episodes instead of 1...the only good part about it was that it went by so fast I couldn't believe it had ended! I had to check the clock...yep whole hour went by and nothing really resolved. Maybe I would have felt better if they had put "to be continued" up after the show.
Ugh, really?!? That's who Rollin's father of the baby is? What a disappointment. That must have been some snow storm, they couldn't get out to buy birth control!
Yeah, and what is Benson doing out of the precinct again?!? Who's in charge???
OH, and my husband wants to know why the white female ADA's in the past had a broom closet for an office but Barba has this spacious office with a secretary/para-legal too? LOL

Roselynn Finch said...

@HerbaceousHeaven Probably because the writer is a sexist pig who thinks women need men to truly be happy.

Chris Zimmer said...

Maria K - it was a rookie cop that got shot.

Chris Zimmer said...

Lannes, I agree, I think Barba will need a cop at some point in this season and who knows how they will react. And thanks for coming to the blog!

Cath T said...

So Murphy is the baby daddy. No surprises there and the reveal was a bit clumsily handled. It felt rushed and shoe-horned in. Not sure why a NYPD detective would be in Serbia investigating a sex trafficking ring unless he's joined Interpol or something. At least all the twitter speculation & misdirection will end now.

It was a strong & powerful episode. It would have been even stronger if it had been less compromising. It was a bit too soft on the officers concerned in the shooting and the tag at the end with the death of a traffic stop cop diluted the message. The whole "cops get shot too" wasn't necessary.

I understand that the "guilty" party as outlined in this episode is police procedure but the message that some cops are racist and are much more likely to act with deadly force when it comes to black youth didn't really come across because the cops were portrayed as sympathetic characters.

There are a few inconsistences when compared to Amaro's 180. Amaro wasn't treated with such a softly, softly approach especially by IAB. Tucker wanted Amaro's head on a platter but was much more on the side of the cops in this episode. The situation Amaro found himself in wasn't as bad as the one portrayed here yet how he was treated was more severe. He wasn't just suspended. He was charged and had to raise bail in order to stay out of prison.

Also in Amaro's case a DA from outside the Manhattan jurisdiction was brought in to prosecute the case. The reason for Barba prosecuting was spurious but necessary I guess if they want to build up some Benson/Barba tension which I liked.

I found Benson's position and that of the SVU squad quite understandable based on how the events were presented. If just one of those cops however, had been an out and out racist then that might have made for a more interesting dilemma for her.

All in all a good episode but if it had gone just a bit further, taken a risk in actually portraying one of those officers as a racist it could have been brilliant.

Unknown said...

Seems like it was going to be a part 2 of the episode. Why did they stop at that?

Jamie / Fiero425 said...

Thanks for the recap! I ended up missing the end! Seems I didn't miss much since the case wasn't solved and another innocent person gets a dirt-nap provided by the NYPD! That was a lot of shots pumped into that kid! Someone or 3 need to change their vocations with those kinds of trigger-fingers! ;-)