Thursday, November 19, 2015

Law & Order SVU “Depravity Standard” Recap & Review

“Depravity Standard” was a follow up to Law & Order SVU “Manhattan Vigil”, the show’s 300th episode.  That episode involved a 2012 case, and Lewis Hodda was eventually arrested for the murder of Hector Hernandez, plus the kidnapping of Wyatt Morris. Tom Sizemore reprised his role as Hodda. Also returning was Alex Karpovsky as Stephen Lomatin, who at one point was also a suspect. In “Depravity Standard,” we find ourselves three years later. At first it seems Hodda and his attorney have arranged a deal with ADA Barba. Everyone gets a surprise at the plea hearing when Hodda decides to claim he was coerced into confessing, and, saying he didn’t do it, forces Barba to go to trial. It gets ugly quick when Benson’s interrogation tactics in 2012 come into question. She admits to labeling Hodda as a “chomo” which could prove dangerous to him in prison. This was not on the interrogation video the jury sees, but Benson knows – as viewers know – she did say those words. Her intentions were good in 2012; she was using that threat to get Hodda to tell them where the missing boy was being held. But the fact that they could not use that kidnapping case in the murder trial meant Benson’s intentions would not be heard by the jury. One would think that Benson had already learned her lesson about making idle threats to perps, thinking back to a previous episode (I can’t recall the name right now) where Benson’s life was in danger from a man whom she had threatened would be raped in prison, and later, he was. Maybe with the Hodda case, the lesson will really stick with Benson this time. (Update: thanks to a fan who reminded me that episode was Law & Order SVU “Perverted” from season 11. )

BD Wong’s Dr. George Huang finds himself working against the prosecution. Retired from the FBI and now hired as a consultant, his testimony for the defense sheds light on Hodda’s behaviors and doubt for the jurors. Benson gets in Huang’s face about it, but he must remind her that, without that confession, neither he nor she knows really what happened when it comes to the murder of Hector. I think he knows Benson would never intentionally coerce a confession, but he does have to follow his own conscience and base his finding only on what he knows as fact. It was great to see BD Wong again, and the fact that he and Benson have a previous connection made the elevator scene much more intense.

Stephen Lomatin comes off as being even more unhinged as before, and I hope that Barba does as promised by letting the NYPD know what Lomatin did regarding his tampering with a juror. I can see where Lomatin’s behavior in 2012 would give some jurors reasonable doubt about Hodda,  so the hung jury was almost inevitable.

It was interesting to have Carisi as “shadow” counsel, although I can see where he may even become more annoying to the SVU – and Barba - with his increasing legal exposure. I was shocked he did keep silent as Barba instructed…well, most of the time. I enjoyed the banter between Barba and Carisi, which went from Barba being irritated to a bit of appreciation, especially when Carisi gushed compliments at him.

The defense attorney, Lisa Hassler, was aptly named, as she was a major hassle for Barba. Robin Weigert, a “repeat offender” from multiple Law & Orders, SVU, and Law & Order LA episodes, never disappoints. I hope we see her again.

Andy Karl was missing in action. As it was mentioned that Thanksgiving is a slow time for the SVU, I suppose he wasn’t needed. But with Benson and Carisi involved in the case and Fin keeping watch on Rollins, I would think that at least the SVU Sergeant would have been holding down the fort.

The big shocker was the cliffhanger where Rollins appears to be in labor, then things take an unexpected turn. Kelli Giddish did a fantastic job in conveying the pain that Rollins was in during her now troubled delivery. Things look VERY serious. But we won’t know how things turn out for Rollins or her baby until Law & Order SVU returns on January 6, 2016. It’s a long wait and I am sure many fans will be on pins and needles waiting for the outcome.

This was an excellent episode, perfectly executed in acting and in writing. The dialog for every character matched their personalities perfectly; Barba’s snappy comebacks, Carisi’s overdone chatter, and even Huang’s calmly standing by his principles. Mariska also did an excellent job in showing Benson’s frustration with being hung out to dry. (When Barba told her to sit her ass down, I found myself wishing, just for fun, that he would have delivered that line as Jesse L. Martin used to do on Law & Order: “Sit yo ass down!)

The case was riveting and the ending with Rollins was very unsettling. We know that Barba is likely not done with Lewis Hodda, but if we never see him again, it may not be that big of a deal. But we DO care what happens to Rollins. All I can say is…stay tuned!

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:
Tom Sizemore - Lewis Hodda
BD Wong – Dr. George Huang
Robin Weigert - Counselor Lisa Hassler
Alex Karpovsky - Stephen Lomatin
Joe Grifasi - Judge Hashi Horowitz
Liza Colon-Zayas – Delores Rodriguez
Mili Avital – Laurie Colfax
Steve Rosen – Public Defender Guthrie
Kathryn Meisle – Sharon Daley
Betsy Aidem – Dr. Sloan
Jenna Wolfe - herself
Allyson Morgan - Nurse Shelby Roberts
Steven Reich - Juror # 4
Natalie Carter - Juror # 5

In a prior time, Lewis Hodda is on video, in the SVU interrogation room, being questioned by Benson, who can only be heard on the video. She is questioning him about the death of Hector Rodriguez, saying she has to hear him say it. Benson calmly questions him, trying to get him to admit that he killed Hector. Hodda claims that nothing happened, and dances around the issue. He then admits that he snapped his neck, nothing happened but he would tell his mother something did, so he snapped, and so did his neck. He put him under a concrete slab. He asks her why she asked him this, they had an agreement.

In the present day, in Supreme Court in 2015 on Friday, November 13, Lewis Hodda enters the courtroom, and the judge asks Hodda’s attorney Mr. Guthrie if his client has a plea. He states yes, Hodda pleads guilty to the charges of murder in the second degree and kidnapping in the first degree. Benson, sitting in the gallery, nods. The judge tells Hodda he needs to hear that from him. Hodda pauses and the judge prompts him for a reply. When Hodda still does not answer, the judge then prompts Guthrie, who whispers something to Hodda. Hodda shakes his head and then stares back at Benson. He sighs, and then says no, and as Barba looks up, stunned, Hodda adds he is not doing time for this, repeating loudly “I am not doing time for this! No.” The judge questions if they have a plea, or don’t they? Barba quickly states they all agreed to one, but Hodda shouts back that everyone was yelling at him. The judge asks who was yelling at him, and Hodda replies that Barba was, his own lawyer was, and before that…he motions towards Benson and says “she was.” Benson look surprised. Hodda goes on to say he didn’t harm these boys, none of them. He says, “I swear to God your honor, I’m innocent.” Benson shakes her head.

After wards, Hodda is taken into the judge’s chambers, accompanied by Benson and Barba. Hodda explains that he fired his attorney, calling him a hack. He says he will be his own lawyer, Guthrie wanted to put him in a box just like Benson does. The judge asks Barba why Benson joined them, and Benson explains she took Hodda’s confession. Hodda pipes in and says there was no confession. She reminds him it was on video. Barba states he would like to remind Hodda how strong their case is and it is in his best interest to honor the deal they made. Hodda screams there was no deal, Benson put words in his mouth and she threatened him. He screams that she hammered at him for hours. Benson, trying to control her anger, says it was because he admitted to kidnapping Wyatt Morris, a 7 year old child who would be dead in that basement if Hodda didn’t tell them where he was. Hodda states that he saved his life, asking if that was his crime, to save his life. Benson calmly counters that Hodda admitted to kidnapping him, just like he admitted to killing Hector Rodriguez. He claims Benson but words in his mouth. The judge recommends Hodda get an experience lawyer and he agrees but that means they go to trial. Barba shoots him a look as Hodda goes on to say that means if they want to take him down, they are going to have to prove it. He laughs, saying ALL of them. He claims again he didn’t do it, as the officer takes him out of the judge’s chambers.

Later, in Barba’s office, he and Benson speak with Hector’s mother Delores and Wyatt’s mother Laurie Colfax about Hodda changing his plea. Barba explains they will go to trial and wants to go with the strongest case first – Wyatt’s kidnapping. Benson explains the evidence is fresh and Wyatt can identify Hodda as the man who took him.  When Hector’s mother is concerned they are not addressing Hector’s death, Barba explains the evidence is 16 years old and is only circumstantial. She counters Hodda confessed, and Barba explains he just recanted. Benson states this is a major felony and he will be put away for a long time. But Laurie says Wyatt is still traumatized and she doesn’t want Wyatt to go through with this and she won’t cooperate. Despite Benson and Barba’s explanations, and begging from Hector’s mother, she refuses to help and leaves the room. Delores turns to Barba, saying now they have to put Hodda trial for what he did to Hector, and Barba admits they’ll have to. She says they’ll have to say what Hodda did to those other boys, but Barba explains that is up to the judge, but he will do his best.

At a later date, Carisi races up to Barba in the courthouse hall, asking if he is going to the Hodda motion hearing. Barba replies he wishes he weren’t. Carisi comments that Barba knows he is going to law school at night – Barba quips he alerted the bar association – and Carisi asks if he can shadow Barba in this case as he could learn a lot. Barba brings up Benson being short staffed but Carisi checked with Benson who told him Thanksgiving is slow and this is the perfect time. Barba agrees but gives him the first lesson: shadow counsel do not speak and has no opinion. Carisi says Barba won’t even know he is here. As they move to enter the courtroom, Counselor Lisa Hassler calls out to Barba and asks if he brought backup. He asks which cause brought her to court, and she explains she is taking over Hodda’s defense, asking who is the arm candy? Carisi introduces himself as working for SVU and going to night school at Fordham Law. He adds he knows all her father’s cases and as he starts to go on about it, Hassler looks at Barba and suggests he save the taxpayer’s money and plead this out with time served. Barba replies he knows she is the pro bono queen but comments that Hodda rapes and kills children. She reminds him “allegedly and singular.” She looks at Carisi and says it’s nice to meet him, and she enters the courtroom. Carisi comments to Barba that her old man was a legend. Barba adds that she is still trying to impress him, even though he’s been dead for 11 years.

In the courtroom, Judge Horowitz hears their arguments for bringing up the Wyatt’s kidnapping in the trial. Barba thinks it is relevant and probative and Hassler counters it is not even proven. Barba says they are reserving the right to charge him on the kidnapping, but the judge doesn’t want to muddy these waters and tells Barba it is inadmissible. Hassler brings up the alleged coerced confession but Barba counters that the confession is on video and to let the jury decide whether it is valid. The judge states to Hassler that as her dad used to say, it was worth a shot, ruling that the confession is admissible.

Carisi returns to SVU and announces that the hearing was awesome. Benson counters that Barba didn’t think so. Carisi says Barba took a hit but the badinage is Hodda walked out with that new lawyer. Fin asks if they are supposed to be happy for him, but Carisi admits no they are not. He adds that Barba said it would be really good if they could find anything linking Hodda to Hector while Hector was still alive. Fin dryly states they gave him everything they had from 1999. Benson asks about that auxiliary cop, the one that found Hector’s lunchbox, saying she saw him at Hodda’s plea hearing. Fin says Lomatin is nuts, adding that Munch thought he was good for the crime. Benson comments for a minute but he didn’t do it. Fin comments he’s still nuts; he’s been leaving messages for Rollins at 3AM. Benson states Lomatin knew Hector, he knew the neighborhood, and he was the one that noticed the arson pattern that got them to Hodda. Fin states Lomatin will only talk to Rollins, and Benson says have her call him.

Later, Fin and Carisi talking to Lomatin at the street memorial for Hector, and Lomatin comments it was good to hear from Rollins. Lomatin says every year Hector’s mom had a memorial service here on the day he disappeared and no one from the case came for the last few years besides him. Fin mentions Lomatin was the one who noticed the pattern, the problem is none of those crimes are admissible in court. Carisi asks if Lomatin ever saw Hodda hanging around Hector, and Lomatin says no but he can say he did. Fin asks “come again?” and Lomatin says this year is his last chance to join the police department and if it will help him get a real badge, he will say whatever they want. Fin and Carisi look at each other.

Meanwhile, Benson and Barba walk near the courthouse and discuss Carisi. Barba quips if she is sure she can spare him. She says if she needs him back she will let him know. He says dryly, “Please.” As they approach the courthouse, they see Dr. George Huang, who is happy to see Benson. He explains they liked him too much in Oklahoma and he put in for early retirement. He is consulting now, and looking at his watch, says he has to run. Benson says they will catch up later. As Huang races off, Barba explains she will definitely see him later, explaining that Huang was hired by Hassler as her expert forensic psychologist. Benson says Hodda is not insane, he gave that confession voluntarily, it’s not like they beat him with rubber hoses. Barba counters he is sure she didn’t but tells her not to sound that defensive on the stand. He adds that Hassler is sharp, and Huang is a hired gun now, he will find something. Benson looks stunned.

Later at SVU. Carisi is hard at work, a bag of takeout for Pangione’s sitting nearby,  as Barba approaches and asks if he has anything. Carisi states he watched Hodda’s confession 3 times and Hodda is crazy but not crazy. Barba thanks him, calling him Dr. Carisi, asking if he is going to take up medicine after he passes the bar. Carisi says not tonight, he is taking the care package of food up to Rollins who is still on bed rest and is going shacky-wacky. Barba says Carisi can drop it off on his way uptown; Hector’s mother takes the stand in the morning and she can use some hand holding. He asks Carisi to also remind her Benson is not going to be in the courtroom for her, and Carisi knows it is because Benson has not testified herself as yet. Barba says good, and tells him to be supportive, she is a good woman. Barba adds Delores is at her old apartment, she never moved in case Hector returned.

In Supreme Court part 27 on Monday, November 16, Delores testifies about the day Hector disappeared and how his body was found in that basement. She says Hector would have walked past that building which was managed by Hodda. She did not know Hodda. Under cross, Hassler apologizes for her loss and for going back over this. Delores testifies she has never seen Hodda. Hassler asks if the case was important to Benson, and Delores says that Benson was very dedicated and wanted justice for Hector, Hassler making it sound like Benson was trying to find someone to blame for Hector’s murder.

Afterwards, in the empty courtroom with Barba, Benson is livid that Hassler made her look too conscientious. Barba said Hassler implied Benson was so desperate to get closure for Delores that Benson manufactured a suspect. Benson states that is ridiculous and asks Barba if he let her get away with it. Barba explains he couldn’t shoot her; Hassler is just doing her job and she is good at it. Benson, very irritated, says that Barba hung her out to dry, and Barba calmly tells her to table that, Benson is up after lunch and suggests they prep. Benson, annoyed, says she has actually testified a few hundred times so she thinks she will be fine. She turns and says she will get back to the squad room. Barba curtly says, “No you don’t. Lewis Hodda might walk if Hassler can make the jury think your emotions got in the way of your police work which is what they’re doing right now. I need you to sit your ass down and work with me.” Benson, who has stopped in her tracks, throws her bag down and says fine, and she storms to the stand, telling Barba to “start working.”

Later, in court, the video of Hodda’s confession is being played for the jury while Benson is on the stand, watching. Fin is sitting in the gallery with Delores. Barba asks if Benson was present when Hodda made his admission, and she says yes. She adds it was voluntary and he was informed of his rights. She testifies they had learned that fresh concrete had been poured in the basement of a building Hodda was managing a few days after Hector disappeared and their investigation turned up allegations that he was a child molester. Hodda said that the old floor had been damaged from water from a nearby fire and they determined that occurred too far away and it was impossible for the water to get back to his building. She confirms neither she or her partner applied any coercion, physical violence or threats.

Later, during the cross examination, Hassler asks that, after Hector Rodriguez disappeared in 1999, what did the police conclude? Benson testifies that officially, that he had been taken by his father in a custody dispute, but Benson had disagreed. Hassler asks that the police department was wrong but Benson was right? Benson replies unfortunately, yes. Hassler asks how motivated was Benson to prove she was right? Benson states not motivated enough; it took her almost a decade. Hassler adds finally Benson had Lewis Hodda in her interrogation room, and Benson says yes, where he confessed to murdering a 7 year old boy, on the video. Hassler comments she is much more interested on what is NOT on the video. Hassler states that Benson interrogated Lewis Hodda for over 6 hours before turning on a camera, and asks during all that time Benson didn’t coerce him or threaten him. Benson insists no, adding she followed police procedure. Hassler asks if Benson told Hodda that witnesses had seen him with other children who had been murdered. She admits she may have. When Hassler asks if that was true, Benson states that the Supreme Court has ruled that the police are allowed to make misrepresentations. Hassler asks if by that she means lies, Benson replies basically, yet. Barba looks uncomfortable as Carisi, sitting next to him, looks to the jury. Hassler asks that, after lying to Hodda about these nonexistent witnesses, she asks if Benson told him that, and she quotes: “Nobody likes a chomo in state prison.” Benson admits yes, but counters it was a matter of urgency; the defendant had another child. Hassler asks Judge Horowitz to instruct Benson to answer the question only. The judge tells Benson she is flirting with causing a mistrial, saying the jury will disregard. Hassler asks what is a chomo, and Benson explains it is a child molester. Hassler mentions child molesters are frequently assaulted in prison. Barba objects, saying Benson is not a prison warden. But the judge allows it. Benson admits yes they are. Hassler says Benson lied and then threatened Hodda as a chomo, and Benson states they had good reason to believe he was a child molester. Hassler argues that Benson promised to advertise that belief to assure he was assaulted when in prison and only then did he confess. Hodda looks like he is getting upset. Benson states he confessed because he was guilty.

Later, Hodda is on the stand, shouting that he confessed because she – pointing to Benson in the gallery – would get him killed. He adds that she said if he cooperated, she would put out the word that he was not a chomo so he would be safe. He believed they were framing him and they could do anything they wanted to and he had to say what they wanted him to if he wanted to get out of there alive. When Hassler asks if he murdered Hector, Hodda says he never saw that little boy before in his life. Carisi writes down something on his note pad and shows it top Barba. As Hodda says there were a lot of ex-cons in the building, Barba sees Carisi wrote “little boys?” . Hodda states the whole neighborhood was like a war zone. Benson, sitting in the gallery with Fin, shakes her head.

Under cross, Hodda admits he ordered the concrete and Barba brings up the fire and the water flowing uphill. Hodda says he does not remember. But Barba played back the video where Hodda does recall Hector and his backpack. Barba asks if he put the backpack in the ground with Hector when he buried him, and Hodda says no. He said he never laid his hands on Hector and when Barba asks, says he was not sexually attracted to Hector. When Barba brings up Hodda hanging around children’s’ playgrounds, he says that is one of Benson’s lies. But Barba counters with exhibits – police reports - showing otherwise. Hodda thinks Barba is also putting out lies, and he said he told them why he confessed, out of fear. Barba continues to press but Hodda says he is not afraid of anything. When Barba asks where did Hodda put his hands on Hector,  Hodda states he never touched him down there. Barba jumps on this, asking calmly where did Hodda touch him then? Hodda seems confused and says nothing.

Outside the courtroom, Carisi compliments Barba on his cross and Barba thanks Carisi for picking up on the “little boys,” calling it a tell. Carisi comments what Barba did with that, it if was a boxing match, they would have thrown in the towel right there. They run into Hassler who asks if they are gloating, and Barba smiles and says “Guilty.” Hassler says nothing makes her happier than seeing a member of the patriarchy struck before he falls. Barba comments he seems to be on his feet, but her client just made an impression on the jury. Hassler counters she would say Barba did, and thanks him. She walks off. Barba looks at Carisi, perplexed.

Later, Dr. Huang is testifying that Hodda is scarred, physically abused by his alcoholic father and he never resolved his fear of that. Hodda compensated by taking pride in impulsive physical behavior and macho posturing. The only way he could avoid beatings was to do what his father commanded, and if another authority figure were to threaten him, he might respond by doing what that person wanted. A police detective would qualify as an authority figure, and the threat of prison being labeled as a chomo would be particularly potent for someone clinging on to the idea of himself as hyper-masculine. When Hassler asks what if an ADA said Hodda was attached little boys, Barba objects and the judge asks Hassler to rephrase the question. She asks what if an authority figure publicly insisted that Hodda was attracted to little boys, Huang states that assertion would be the psychological equivalent of the strap that his father beat him with. Hodda lurches in his chair and looks like he is going to cry. Huang adds if Hodda's emotional defenses were breached – Benson shaker her head and Hodda squirms in his chair –  it could trigger that kind of compliance. When Hassler asks that if Hodda wanted to avoid this, would he admit to touching a child he never met, Barba leaps up and shouts and objection, saying they are now beyond hypothetical. Hassler says Huang is an expert witness and she is asking for his expert opinion. The judge allows it, and Huang states that yes, Hodda might say anything. Benson shakes her head again.

Afterwards, Huang steps into the elevator and a hand appears and stops the doors from closing. Benson steps in, and asks Huang what the hell was he doing up there. He calmly states he was testifying, and she challenges for that man? She adds she and he used to put people like that away. She adds Huang knows what Hodda did to Hector and Wyatt. Huang says to Wyatt yes but to Hector, he does not know. Benson asks Huang, “You think I coerced him? Is that what you think? How long have we known each other?” Huang states that Hodda is suggestible and it may not have been her intent but if she planted an idea, he may have believed it. She firmly states that Hodda believed it because he did it. Huang says he is sorry, but he doesn’t know that, and neither does she. The elevator doors open back up and more people step in. The both move to the back of the elevator and as Huang stares blankly forward, Benson shakes her head.

In Supreme Court Part 27 on Tuesday, November 17, the jury watches TV news coverage with Stephen Lomatin when he discovered Hector’s lunchbox. Lomatin is on the stand and Hassler questions about how Lomatin found the lunchbox, implying Lomatin knew where to look and tried to imply Lomatin was involved in Hector’s disappearance. She brings up when Munch questioned him on the case, and he says it was not an interrogation, they were discussing aspects of the case. She asks if Lomatin took offense when he was considered a suspect, and Barba objects as there is no foundation. The judge sustains it and tells the jury to disregard. Lomatin thanks him and says Munch was a conspiracy nut and his own Captain and the other detective apologized to him. She brings up all the pictures he had in his attic, showing all his photos, saying he was a man obsessed. He calls it research. She brings up his involvement over the years, and then asks how long he has been taking anti-psychotic drugs. Barba objects and the judge sustains it. Lomatin says he cares about children, even when no one else does. She asks if he has as special relationship with children, and Lomatin says not like that. Again, Benson, sitting in the gallery, shakes her head. When she asks if he murdered Hector, he gets upset and tells the judge this is ridiculous, they guy who did it is right there, pointing to Hodda. The judge tells him to answer the question, and he says he will not dignify that question with an answer. Hassler tells the jury she is not hearing a no.

Later, Barba makes his closing arguments, saying there can be only one logical conclusion, form the physical evidence and his own words, they must find Hodda guilty. Afterwards, the judge tells the jury it is time to deliberate, and giving them instructions about the presumption of innocence. He adds that they must find him not guilty unless they conclude that he was proved guilty by a reasonable doubt.

On day 2 on jury deliberations on Thursday, November 19, Hassler is outside the courthouse speaking to the press about the jury deliberations. Barba and Carisi see this, and Carisi comments she is still making her case. Barba comments jurors aren’t supposed to watch the news. Delores approaches Hassler in front of the press and begins to chastise her. Carisi pulls her away and the reporter, Jenna Wolf, asks Barba for comment. He states that the people have the complete confidence in the common sense of the jurors, that is all they ask for and all that they need. He looks to Hassler and then walks off.

Back at SVU, Fin asks Carisi if there is anything, and Carisi replies it is 5 days. Fin says Benson is with Delores. Carisi shows Fin a web site which shows the jury forewoman, Sharon Daley, who has been posting for months about a big family reunion she is having on Thanksgiving. Fin adds that the holiday is coming and the jury is stuck in a hotel on Staten Island. Carisi adds they all have to be dying to get out of there. Fin’s phone rings and it is Rollins, then tells her to hold on he will come get her. He tells Carisi something is happening, the doctor wants to check on her. He asks Carisi if he is cool holding down the fort, and Carisi says he is, he wants to be close in case the jury comes back. He gets a message saying they just did. As Carisi grabs his coat, Fin tells him Happy Thanksgiving.

On day 5 of the jury deliberations on Sunday, November 22, they find the jury has a question. The forewoman says one of the other jurors – and a man, juror #4, speaks up, saying a few of them want to hear the rules again about if a confession is voluntary. The judge says a statement is not voluntary if it is obtained by the use or the threatened use of physical force by any other improper conduct or undue pressure. He cites an example of what the police promise or said to the defendant, the defendant’s treatment during the detention and questioning, and the amount of time or the length of time of the defendant’s questioning. Barba stares forward, wadding up paper in his hand and tossing it.

Afterwards, as they exit the courtroom, Carisi bitches to Barba and Benson about them using that chomo business. Benson counters that they don’t know the whole story; Hodda kidnapped another boy and he had to get him to tell her where he was. Carisi says he gets it, totally. Barba asks Carisi to give him and Benson a sec. Benson tells Barba she keeps going over this in her head, and he explains Hodda had kidnapped another child. He phone buzzes it is Fin and Benson asks if she is alright. Fin, at the hospital with Rollins, explains to Benson that the doc said the heart rate has slowed up so they put Rollins on a monitor, and right now it is watch and wait. He asks Rollins if she wants to talk to Benson, and Rollins says maybe later. Fin explains and then asks Benson if it is cool if he stays a while, then tells Benson he will keep her posted. He hangs up and asks Rollins if she is okay. She says yes but she will just feel better when this is over.

Meanwhile, Barba is leaving the courthouse and Lomatin races up to him, saying he has left Barba 7 messages. Barba explains there is nothing to talk about, the case has gone to the jury. But Lomatin says the problem is a juror, #4, Thomas Johnson, lied. Lomatin admits he gave the court clerk $50 to get his name. Barba, stunned, asks that be bribed a court clerk. Lomatin says he checked Johnson out and said he was arrested for assault in Maryland last year but the charges were dropped and he lost his job. Barba says there must be at least ten thousand Thomas Johnsons and he tries to walk away. Lomatin insists it is him. He went to his house in his uniform and talked to his sister, it is him. He is on the jury and he doesn’t like cops. Barba, trying to keep his anger in check, says Lomatin committed bribery, impersonated a real police officer, and he tampered with a juror. Lomatin says Johnson could be in that room right now poisoning the entire jury, he has to tell the judge. Barba glares at him and says to ask for what, a mistrial? It is too late to bring in an alternate. Lomatin says he did not know that, saying he should have acted faster. He said he did find it out and asks if Barba will tell the NYPD, and Barba says dryly, “Oh yeah, you can count on it.” Barba walks off.

On day 6 of the jury deliberations on Monday, November 23, the jury forewoman says one of them wants to her Benson’s testimony as well as the defendants and Huang’s. The same jury who raised the issue before – juror #4 – stands up and says he is not the only one who would benefit from this. The judge says every juror has the right, and tells the court reporter to begin. She brings out a stack of transcripts. Hassler leans over and tells Barba they need to talk. He nods.

Hassler enters a conference room where Barba and Carisi are waiting and she says they have to end this. Barba thinks they are going to come in with a verdict and Hassler wonders which one. She asks if Carisi needs to be here, and Barba says to chaperone, yes. He asks what she wants to talk about, and Hassler says her client will take a plea. Barba reminds her he did that before and changed his mind. She said it wasn’t a good plea. She wants criminally negligent homicide, Carisi asks is she kidding, and Barba holds up his finger and says “Sush!” He asks how much time.

Later, in Barba’s office with Benson and Delores, Benson and Delores are stunned that Hassler is  asking 8 years for killing Hector. Barba says he is going to say yes; juries that stay out this long don’t convict.   Benson asks then why did Hassler offer anything, and Barba explains juries are unpredictable and you never know, nobody knows. Benson asks then why did Barba bring them here, and he explains he want to make them understand, mainly Delores. He says he’s done the best he could. She knows he has, and Benson tries to assure her. Delores agrees.

Later, in the judge’s chambers, Barba and Hassler are there to discuss the deal, but before they get into it, an officer enters and hands the judge a note. The jury is deadlocked, claiming it is hopeless. Hassler says “Hopeless…” and Barba says, with a look of concern, that they still have a deal. But she asks, “do we?” and tells Barba he should have said yes earlier. She tells the judge the deal is off.

Later, in the courtroom, the jury forewoman says people are getting angry and it is getting tense. She says they really tried but there isn’t a point. The judge declares a mistrial and continues with Hodda’s remand as the state decides how it wants to proceed. Hodda looks happy as Benson tries to console Delores. Barba shoots Hassler a steely look as Hodda hugs her. He looks at a distraught Delores.

Outside the courthouse, Delores asks Benson what does it mean, and she explains they can re-try Hodda. The jury forewoman and another female juror approach Delores and explain most of them are sorry, and that Hodda is evil. Benson walks over to Barba and Carisi and asks what happened in that jury room. Carisi explains that one of the jurors thought Lomatin was jury and Barba adds two of them thought the confession was coerced. She asks if Barba is going to try him again as this cannot end here. Barba states it shouldn’t but they will see. Delores approaches Barba and says some of the jurors would like to light a candle for Hector tonight and asks if that is okay. Barba says of course. She thanks him, saying she knows how hard he tried. Barba asks Carisi if he is going to the memorial and he explains he is going to the hospital to keep Rollins company. Barba suggests he and Benson to go together, and she says she will meet him there.

That evening, at the memorial, Benson arrives with Laurie Colfax, who explains to Delores she is so sorry and that Hodda won’t get away with it. She spoke with her ex-husband and Wyatt, they all want to help and they will cooperate and go to trial.

Later, Rollins is still in the hospital with Carisi tending to her, and Benson arrives. Carisi tells Benson the contractions are five minutes apart. Rollins looks very uncomfortable and tells Benson she is tired, it hurts like hell, and is too late for an epidural. Suddenly Rollins looks like she is in extreme pain, and while Carisi thinks this is it, they quickly realize that something is very wrong when Rollins says it is not a contraction, it is something in her back. She sobs in pain as the monitors begin to beep wildly, and she says something is wrong. Carisi yells for a doctor as Rollins screams in agony. A nurse enters and sees Rollins is bleeding heavily and then runs for Doctor Sloan. The doctor enters as the nurse says Rollins is hemorrhaging and the fetal heart rate is decelerating. The doctor tells Benson and Carisi to step out NOW, and they do so, and watch though a window. Rollins, sobbing, asks what is it. As Rollins sobs and screams in pain, we fade to black.

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Ana Andrade said...

This episode was sort of disappointing for me. I felt as if nothing got resolved in terms of the case. I was also hoping that some big twist would be revealed. I agree that Benson should have learned about threatening perps like that and I hope she takes this as a learning experience.
The ending with Amanda was heartbreaking. I think that her and the baby will be fine though. They probably did it to keep viewers tuning in. I'm really looking forward to when the show returns on January 6, 2016.
Chris, the episode you are talking about when a perp comes after Liv is called Perverted and it was in season 11.

Phil Smith said...

Chris Zimmer I really like this episode, but I was a little disappointed that Barba's cross wasn't shown of B.D Wong. Obviously a cross examination happened, just not filmed due to time re-straights. I think they could have edited out a scene or two and filmed the cross. It would have been verbal judo between Barba and Wong.

Phil Smith said...

@ Ana Andrade it was resolved. After the hung jury That evening, at the memorial Laurie Colfax who says to Delores how sorry she is and that Hodda won’t get away with it. She also states that she had spoken with her ex-husband and Wyatt, they all want to help and they will cooperate and go to trial. So it's alluded to that with a new trail Hodda will lose. With the other family cooperating evidence that wasn't allowed before will be admissible at the new trial.

And I agree with you that Kelli Giddish's portrayal in the hospital was heartbreaking, her acting was spot on, the pain and fear felt very real.

Ana Andrade said...

@Phil Smith - OK. Thanks for clearing that up for me :)

Nancy R said...

I'm disappionted that they deleted the scene in which Barba and Benson discussed her grand jury testimony in Community Policing. It was short and lent some background to their relationship/friendship problems. Those of you who haven't seen it look for it on Twitter or Tumblr.

Chris Zimmer said...

@Ana Andrade - thanks for the name of that episode. I knew it was on I recapped but I couldn't find it right off the bat. I added the info to my post!

Anonymous said...

I LOVED this episode. It was so refreshing after the last 2 episodes.
The actors were spot on. The chemistry between them was perfect.
I did not miss Andy karl as Dodds at all.
I really liked Robin Weigert as defense attorney Hassler. I too, hope she returns to svu in the future.
My only complaint would be, that it's a really long time to keep us in suspense, regarding the outcome of Amanda and her baby, if we have to wait until Jan. 6th? for the return of svu. :)
And, "shadowing" is usually offered to PRE-law students, who think they might be interested in a law career. They usually would be assigned to a 1st, 2nd, or 3rd year law student and do not participate in trials and certainly do not sit second chair. Law students can apply for externship and usually only the brightest and best are allowed into the program. They do not go and find an attorney but are assigned to one that is already in the program. They can sit second chair and some DA's who have offered to be in the program will have a law student sit second chair with them at trial.
And the other thing I'm going to nit pick is when Barba and Hassler went to the judge, in chambers and told him they had made a deal, it is highly unlikely that a court official would just barge in chambers without knocking and hand the judge a note from the jurors.
All in all it was great episode and even if they did not get Hodda this time on a murder charge, they certainly will in the future on kidnapping.

Anne said...

I agree with @HerbaceousHaven. This was a fantastic episode. I love Manhattan Vigil, and this was a strong follow-up. It was tense, tightly-written and the entire cast nailed it. When no one pulls a gun and it's still riveting - that's a good episode. Having Liv and Barba together is something the show needs to do more -- they play off of each other wonderfully, and all of their scenes were gold. I have some legal nit-pickings too, but generally this was one of the strongest episodes this season -- great case, great characters.

I also didn't miss Dodds at all, and having re-watched some earlier episodes, I just don't see why he is there. I have always liked and welcomed the new characters on SVU 2.0 -- Nick, Amanda, Carisi and Barba are all top-notch in my book. But Dodds has NO dynamism. His character is totally flat, w/out any of the energy that characterizes the other members of SVU. Maybe that's the point, get in this kind of daddy's boy who is still a blank slate and see where he goes, but it's just not working w/ the rest of the cast. There's a lot of the season left, so maybe they have big plans but so far, he's not interesting. I like the Dodds senior character a lot, but mini-Dodds is a no (for me).

Petra S said...

Well this might surprise some but I hated that scene/cliffhanger. It's not a soap! Why are these writers so determined to kill us with baby drama!? Grrr. I don't care that it's my favorite character, that's just lame to use that & they really should keep BTS photos from being published if they want us fans to really be worried about that baby. And I won't even go in to the whole making an actual pregnant actress go through that 4 days before she goes in to labor IRL. Kelli knocked it out of the park but that I knew she would/could do. It was nice to see the squad being there for her as she was closing in on going to labor but I still wish that last scene never happened.

Up until then I enjoyed the episode though. Barba was awesome and him basically telling Liv to sit the f down was great! Add Huang on the other side from Liv, all fun to watch. Carisi shadowing Barba was also great. I think I would enjoy Carisi more as a lawyer than a detective actually. That can not happen though if it means less Barba on the show.
Tom Sizemore was brilliant. I found him mostly sleazy in Manhattan Vigil but he was a joy to see in this episode. Really good.
And Amanda's lawyer is a judge now, I wonder if she got him turned off taking clients *lol*
And no Dodds Jr. Yay for me. They should just add Huang and Warner to the regular cast and use Barba more. Then I'd be set :)

WestVirginiaRebel said...

Better than last week's. I really didn't like Benson getting in Huang's face the way she did-she's not Eliot Stabler.

empxth tbh said...

I really liked the episode, although the thing with Amanda at the end was really horrible to watch and even tho the acting was good, I really didn't like that scene, like why couldn't it just be a nice scene with the squad being there for her and being friendly, why did it have to be a "cliffhanger"? :D
And about "making a pregnant actress go through that" I've seen that a lot on like other forums where people say stuff about the episode, and I think if she really didn't wanna do it she wouldn't have had to (I know they've got a contract but I'm sure if she was really against it they would've accepted that), also it's acting and it's not real so she knows that, it's not like the scene seemed as "real" for the actors as it did for the audience :D

empxth tbh said...

Oh and also, the female lawyer kinda seemed like she was an unexperienced actress or something, like you could really see that she was remembering lines.. but idk that could just be her lawyer persona or something :D

Erica said...

Am I the only one who was thinking "Look at the cop again! He totally did it!" Or was he too obvious?

Juda packers 41287 said...

Thanks for recap again chris, it was good to see Barbra is still around he was the entire episode. I do think that either munch or cragen could of been on this episode been that it is part 2 of Manhattan vigil and revolving around season 1. Also if Amanda is in the hospital and Murphy been dad should Donal logue have been in this episode he was not on gotham this week so I thought for sure he would of been on this episode. The storyline with carisi trying to be an Ada I am not sure what to think about it maybe he finds out is not for him cause his really really grown on me he went from a comical john munch character to a very good important character.

Chris Zimmer said...

@Erica, I don't think you're alone in wondering about the cop. Something is "off" about him.

Sarah Prior said...

Thanks, Chris. I always really enjoy reading these. Anyone know if/when Donal Logue will return for an episode?

Chris Zimmer said...

@Sarah Prior - sorry, no news on that front!

Chris Zimmer said...

@HerbaceousHaven - I am reposting your comment from today at 4:26PM. It looks like your post had a huge blank space at the end of it which made it appear like there were no comments afterward=. I copied what you posted below and if you want to repost under your name, please do so! Thanks!

HerbaceousHaven said...November 19, 2015 at 4:26 PM

All I could think of during this episode was lucky hes only a volunteer! LOL
His character is very irritating, which Alex Karpovsky played very well.
You almost feel sorry for him as he will never become a real police officer.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Chris! I don't know what gremlins I guess :)

Leah said...

Great to have Huang back. I hope he comes back more consult for the NYPD.

Perhaps I'll have to go on iTunes and buy 'Manhattan Vigil' because I didn't understand why three years passed between when Hodda was arrested and when the trial started. Was there another previous trial? I was very confused.

ladybug81 said...

I was a little bored by this episode. I wasn't a big fan of Manhattan Vigil but I was optimistic about this one. I didn't really care for when they kept going back showing how the deliberations had stalled. Maybe it's just me but I think that could've been mentioned in another scene. I love Carisi and was surprised he was able to sit at the table with Barba and actually keep quiet. Tom Sizemore's acting was very good, as was the rest of the cast. My favorite moment was the Benson/Barba scene in the courtroom. Was glad to see Huang back, wish we could see him more often. Kelli's acting was on point. That had to be a tough scene to play out just days before her own child was born.

Cappi said...

I'm happy-Barba is back! Glad to see him getting more assertive with Benson. Kelli was great in her final scene, so realistic. Chris-Why the long break for SVU and do you feel there will be a season 18? Chicago PD was renewed early and it is below SVU in the rating games.

Phil Smith said...

@Leah it was stated that there were long delays getting the case to trial. Which is realistic, many major criminal cases in reality can take several months to years to be tried. It's never clarified what caused the delay, but one can guess it was the prosecution and defense that held it up, with arguing which judge would try the case and jury selection, etc.. Hodda during that time was in prison.

Leah said...

@Phil Smith: thanks!

Chris Zimmer said...

@Cappt - I think a lot of shows take a long break during the Thanksgiving - Christmas - New Year holidays. Many networks had their fall finales this past week (and into early next week). LAst season, SVU did have an episode in early December, but their overall episode count last season was 24 amd this season it's only 23. If I recall correctly, they do some filming during this time, it's just that as far as the TV network schedules go, this makes a good time for the fall break!

As far as season 18, it's anybody's guess. The ratings for SVU bounce up and down but the show does well for NBC. The issue has always been money; despite cost control, it's probably still an expensve show. So I guess if the network is getting their money's worth, and as long as Mariska is in for another season, the chances are good for renewal. If so, there will be a new showrunner next season; Warren Leight is out after this season. So, there are a lot of factors to consider, which is why it may be hard to predict which way the show goes! NBC has also a strong investment in Chicago PD as they already have Chicago Fire and now Chicago Med. I think they are looking to build a new powerhouse with those three.

empxth tbh said...

The Chicago shows are NBC's future, but I'm sure they'd keep SVU around for another few years.. although since Warren is leaving maybe they'll decide it's time to end it, idk.

BensonFan said...

Warren is leaving? Is there a reason?
I'n actually glad he's leaving. I hope the show returns to more of the suspense that I feel has been missing the last few seasons.

Chris Zimmer said...

@BensonFan - yes, this is his last season. He got a 3 year exclusive with Sony Pictures but could still finish season 17 for SVU. Here's a link to Variety which had some of the details:

Doreen Chiapparelli said...

Great recap, totally agreed with you. Manhattan vigil is one of my fav epis. I thought Tom Sizemore's performance was great too! Kelli's scene was so good you felt the pain! Loved tension between liv and barba, plus carisi/barba scenes hilarious, missed dodds. What's taking so long to renew???

Laurie Fanat said...

This was a good episode. I was more interested in the dynamic between Barba and Benson and Huang and Benson. Benson is used to getting her own way all the time and these two put her rightfully in her place. I was never interested in the Hodda story although I do like how Tom Sizemore played him. There was some real drama in this episode for a change.

I would have preferred to see Munch, Cragen, and Pino return rather than Huang. It would have fit the case better.

I don’t know how I feel about the scene with Rollins. If they were going to do a cliffhanger, that’s the way to do it, though. Some nice acting on Kelli’s part, and I give her a lot of credit for going on screen with a very natural look!

Phil Smith said...

@ChrisZimmer I don't mind the wait until January, besides all the work you do for this blog you deserve a break and down time.

Chris Happy Holidays!

Juda packers 41287 said...

Your right chris around this time of year many shows take a break, next week is gotham fall finale and no cpd til January, there is chicago med I am not sure with storyline if next week is chicago fire fall finale. I am on ion television they are showing reruns from season 7 and I am thinking all the characters that took of when meloni left like Judith light, Caren browning, Joanna merlin, David Thornton, viola davis, etc it seems that Warren brought in his own crew which is ok on some like Elizabeth marvel, Raul esparza, carisi, etc I just wish we had a few characters from the meloni days around.

BensonFan said...

@Chris Thanks for giving me the link to the article. Enjoy your break!

Keith said...

Would anyone else be happy to see another former regular back like Cabot, Novak or Cutter as the SVU Bureau Chief or Executive ADA? I miss these guys! Maybe enough ppl can tweet to WL and we can make something happen :) #hopeful

Kre8ive said...

So I know this is late, but i'm just catching up...I didn't get what the tell with "little boys" was?

What exactly was it that Carrisi spotted?

Chris Zimmer said...

@Kr8ive: When Carisi hears Hodda say "Hodda says he never saw that little boy before in his life" I think Carisi thought that was a term that a pedo might commonly use, a phrase that Hodda may have been a little too comfortable with. At least that is my guess!

Kre8ive said...

Wow, you replied! Thank you...this just made my day :)

(& Yes, your guess makes sense)

Chris Zimmer said...

@Kre8tive - You are very welcome!