Law & Order SVU “Melancholy Pursuit” was a dull, lifeless episode, the weakest of this season so far. And, based on the emails I’ve received from viewers, some were quite annoyed with the way the episode was promoted. The promo showed that Noah went missing while he and Benson were in the park, implying something sinister occurred. Of course, being very experienced with the years of misleading SVU promos, I knew there was never any danger. I don’t blame fans for being upset at this clearly cheap ploy to get viewers to tune in to what turned out to be a non-event and something that added zero to the overall story line. Noah wasn’t kidnapped, he just wandered off and was playing with another child. I found myself wondering how such a little child could have wandered so far in such a short time, especially since we hardly ever see Noah walk; Benson always seems to be carrying him. (He’s also very quiet – almost too quiet. I suspect they have to pay the child actor more if he dares utter a word.) Think about it: in the apparent short time Benson had her eyes off him, Noah covered a lot of ground, so much that Benson was running quite a distance in the park to find him. Granted, we didn’t see what happened the whole time Benson was talking to the woman stranger (who was a little too friendly) so it is possible more time could have passed where Benson didn't have eyes on him than it appeared. It does make one wonder how Benson allowed herself to get so distracted, seeing that she seems like she can't go a second without holding Noah.
The case itself plodded along, very much like a normal investigation would, which can potentially involve a lot of suspects. While Dodds seemed very affected by this case, taking it too personally, I couldn’t feel anything for the victim, the family, or Dodds. Seeing Lily’s body in the morgue, Dodds almost reacted as if he’d never seen a dead body before. Yes, Dodds is kicking himself for making a mistake in misjudging the case, but he acted like he never realized bad things can happen to kids. I can’t put my finger on it, but this whole story line felt forced. Unlike Dodds, I felt nothing.
I know I have mentioned this in past recaps, but why is it that when detectives/cops approach a suspect that they call out the suspect’s name while they are very far away, giving the suspect a head start to run? This is not just an SVU thing, it’s a crime show thing. Dodds and Carisi were just plain stupid to call out to Gary while they were such a distance away. Gary clearly was in the middle of making a delivery so the they would have plenty of time to walk right up to him and prevent him from getting that head start. Yes, I know it is done to set up an action scene, but all it does is make the detectives look foolish.
It was great to see Tamara Tunie return as ME Warner. But no Raúl Esparza, again. What gives? That's the only mystery in this episode that is worth solving.
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.
Andy Karl – Sgt. Mike Dodds
Tamara Tunie – Dr. Melinda Warner
Ali Wentworth - Shari Parker
Angelica Page – Mrs. Evans
Ross Gibby – Patrick Evans
Brian Avers – George Marino
Jonathan Judge-Russo - Gary Ryan
Joanna Bonaro – Camille Marino
Nick Cordero – Robby Marino
Alice Barrett Mitchell - Stella
Pilar Witherspoon – Helen Ryan
David Dean Bottrell – Stan the Homeless Man
Lorenzo Pisoni – Brendan Cahill
Carolee Carmello – Brendan’s Birth Mother
Pedro Morillo Jr. - Diego
Matthew Schechter - Peter Best
Tony White – Cleon Johnson
Sam Gedymin - Kyle
Bradley Dubow – Noah Porter Benson
Here is the recap:
Benson is in the park playing with Noah and another woman comes by and begins to chat with Benson. The woman asks Benson if Noah is “her only” and Benson states “for now.” Meanwhile, Fin and Carisi speak with Mr. & Mrs., Evans, in their home, about their daughter Lily, 15, who is late coming home from school. The principal had told the parents that Lily was out today. Her cell phone is going right to voice mail. They last saw her when she left at 6:15 in the morning for the swim team practice at Asphalt Green, who confirm she was there but left around 7:30. They have called everyone and no one has seen her.
Back at the park, the woman is still chatting with Benson who realizes the time and that she has to get Noah home. But when she looks for him, he is nowhere to be found. Benson calls out his name in a panic and the woman, whose child is still in the park, walks with Benson as she screams out for Noah.
Back at the Evans house, the detectives find that Lily’s friend Peter has also not seen or heard from Lily all day. Carisi sees her iPad but it is password protected, and asks what is her cat’s name or her birthday.
At the park, Benson, in full panic mode, races around calling for Noah, and the woman chatting with Benson asks if he wants her to call the police. Benson, breathing hard, puts her hands to her head,. But she turns and sees Noah sitting on the ground nearby, playing with another child. She races to him and picks him up, saying he gave mommy a scare.
Back at the Evans home. Dodds has arrived and asks Fin that SVU gets called for missing teens now, and Fin says the lady is a clerk at the DA’s office and she didn’t want lights and sirens. Dodds seems to blow it off, saying they made a courtesy call and unless there is contact with an older male…Fin states if it a junk case they will kick it back to the precinct. Carisi shows Dodds photos Lily had on her tablet in provocative poses. Carisi asks the parents if Lily ever talked about someone named Diego, and they state Lily does not know a Diego. Carisi explains she was texting him photos this morning. He shows them a photo of Diego and they don’t recognize him, saying he is no one Lily knows. Dodds states they will track him down and ask.
Back at SVU, Benson races in and Dodds tells her that email was just an update and she did not have to come in. But she chides him for not calling her earlier, asking how long the child has been missing. Dodds states maybe 12 hours, and she is not a child, she is 15, probably a runaway, and explains she was sexting to Diego. There is no trace of her cell phone. Fin is retracing her steps and Carisi is talking to the parents, implying they are in denial about their daughter. Dodds explains all the other things he has checked and done so far, and states she has been acting out. They found cigarettes and condoms in her bedroom and Dodds comment she doesn’t want to see the selfie. Carisi comes in with Lily’s friend Peter Best who is concerned for Lily.
Later, in the break room, Dodds speaks with Peter who says Lily has been weird lately, cutting class and leaving at lunch and coming back. She smelled like cigarettes or pot a couple times.
Meanwhile, Carisi and Benson speak with the parents in another room who says Lily is not moody and is always smiling and singing and she likes cats and swimming. Mrs. Evans is upset they haven’t sent out an Amber Alert and Benson explains they have to be certain it is an abduction.
Peter tells Dodds that Lily said she could not talk to her parents, and she has been hanging out with a new squad and she said she wanted to go from a pool girl to a cool girl. The cool girls have been crashing frat parties at Tompkins Square.
At the Tau Omega Fraternity House at 39 Stuyvesant Street on Tuesday, October 6, Diego enters the frat house and his friend Kyle asks if he is here to party. When Diego sees no one else is there, he wonders what is up. Fin enters calls out he is NYPD and for Keith to put his hands up. Keith asks Kyle if knows about this and set him up, but Fin tells him not to talk to Kyle, talk to the detectives. Carisi finds no weapons but did find some weed. Fin shows him a photo of Lilt and asks where is she, and Keith claims he does not know who that is. Fin shows him another photos of just her body, and Keith says anything she says about him is a lie. Carisi asks when was the last time he talked to her, and Keith replies when he found out she was 15, 15 will get you 20. Carisi tells him he’s got that right, and it makes the pictures on his cell phone child pornography. They take him away.
Later, Keith is in interrogation as Fin and Carisi continue to question Keith who says he doesn’t know what happened to her. Benson watches from her office and Fin walks into Benson’s office, saying Keith claims he was at work all day and asks if anyone checked his alibi for that morning. Dodds replies that Keith was teaching extreme combat class all morning. Dodds confirms Keith has no connection to where Lily swims, and that is upper east, and Keith is in Brooklyn. The police checked his apartment and there is no sign of the girl. Carisi exits the interrogation room and tells the others that Keith swears he was in Brooklyn since last night and only came into the city when Kyle asked him for weed. He adds Lily is not the only girl sexting him; Carisi doesn’t think Keith is good for this. Benson says they have enough to hold him, and asks Fin to see if Keith can think of anyone Lily would be hanging with. She shakes her head, saying that 16 hours – she could be anywhere. Carisi comments along with all the other teenage girls that slipped out tonight. Dodds adds that his dad has a saying: little kids you find, elderly you find, teenagers you solve. He thinks she’s hooked up with someone she knows, they just have to find out who that is. Benson counters that, no offense to his father, but the longer this goes on, the less likely that scenario is. Carisi, looking at his phone, comments that he has something – a homeless guy just tried to use her debit card and said he found it when he was looking for cans and bottles, and the unis are with him.
At 2347 12th Avenue on Tuesday, October 6, Carisi and Dodds speak with Sam the homeless guy who shows them where he found the debit card. They see what is likely Lily’s bag.
Back at SVU, the Evans confirm that is Lily's bag and Benson explains they are bringing in the homeless man. Mrs. Evans loses her cool and Benson and Mr. Evans try to calm her.
At 791 West 135th Street on Wednesday, October 7, Carisi, Fin and Dodds are on the scene with a group of officers and dogs scanning the area and Carisi sees a foot peeking out under a moving blanket. He calls the others over and he carefully opens it as Fin says he will call Benson and the ME. They see it is Lily and she is dead. Dodds is taken aback.
Back at SVU, Dodds tells the parents the bad news and Benson adds they are sorry for their loss. Dodds shows them a photo of the body and Mr. Evans confirms it is her. Dodds explains they are talking to the homeless man who is a bottle and cans guy. Benson moves the photo away from the parents and states the man has no history of violence. Mrs. Evans says she has to see her, ad Benson explains as soon as the ME is ready.
Meanwhile, Fin is with ME Warner who says Lily’s cause of death was epidural hematoma from blunt force trauma to the back of the skull. She died from a slow bleed to the brain several hours after the initial blow. There was no evidence of sexual assault but her clothing was torn and she found DNA under her fingernails and semen on her thigh. She sent the sample to the lab. Dodds walks in and Fin introduces him to Warner and he asks if there is anything he can tell the parents. He looks somewhat distraught. She says time of death was before 4 and 8 PM. Dodds asks so when they were are the parents’ the day before at about 6, she was still alive, and Warner explains she can’t say with certainty.
Carisi is questioning the homeless man, Stan, who says he was in the St. Luke’s ER and someone stole all his cans so he was lucky he found the debit card. Carisi leaves the interrogation room and later the man is put in the holding cell. Carisi tells Benson his alibi is confirmed. Fin says their guy is still out there. Dodds says they go back to the pool and re-interview everyone, someone saw her. But Warner enters and says they usually don’t do this in New York but she was so frustrated she asked the lab to do a less stringent familiar search. There was no match the CODIS but there was a partial match in the database, a 15% overlap. Benson comments that is closer than a stranger. Warner says both samples have a dropout on the Y chromosome; the DNA in CODIS shares the dropout. That and the overlap together – if she had to guess - the DNA in CODIS is a close male relative to the killer, maybe a half brother. Benson asks what is his name.
Later, in an office, Fin and Dodds speak with Brendon Cahill who claims he has nothing to do with this. They explains the familial hit on the DNA and ask for a list of all his male relatives. They find out he is adopted and has no idea who is birth father is. He has a name and address for his birth mother but he never contacted her. Dodds asks for his mother’s name.
At the Lobster Box Restaurant at 34 City Island Avenue in City Island, NY on Wednesday, October 7, Benson and Carisi speak with Brendon’s mother and she is reluctant to talk but says the father passed away 5 years ago, his name was Ray Marino. He had two other sons, George and Robby Marino, both would be in their 30s. She says the boys and his widow are still in City Island and thinks she may have his home number but asks them not to tell Camille about her and Ray. Benson says there is no need. She asks what is her son’s life like, and Benson says he is successful and has seemed to have found his way.
Back at SVU in interrogation with Fin and Dodds, they get a DNA sample from George Marino. He is a lawyer who was in his office and was in his car driving in at the time of the death. He does not recognize Lily and denies killing her. They ask about Robby.
Robby is in another interrogation room with Robby who also denies involvement. He said he crashed at his brother’s office who lets him sleep there when he works nights. Robby is a roadie and Carisi asks him if he uses equipment like what the body was wrapped in when he works, and he says yes and everybody uses those. Carisi brings up Robby’s arrest 2 years for aggravated sexual assault, and he states he was acquitted on all charges. Carisi asks if his brother defended him on that.
Meanwhile, Fin and Dodds discuss this with George who says the jury believed Robby but he is silent when they ask if HE believed Robby. He then explains Robby does things the stupid way and Dodds continues to try to work George that he is protecting his brother. George admits they have a cover story and told Robby whenever he gets taken to say he is with him. Fin shows him Lily’s picture and asks if Robby is capable of killing this girl and George says he hopes to god he isn’t. George begins to cry. Benson, watching, nods.
Later, Carisi and Dodds continue to work Robby who denies everything, mentioning George gave him up. Robby gets more upset with the questioning. Benson is watching with Fin who says it’s been 6 hours and Fin says CSU is checking on the moving van and blanket. Benson says they have no blood, no hair, nothing. She tells him to call Warner and put pressure on her.
As Dodds continues to question Robby, Robby seems like he is going to break and says he just wants to sleep. Carisi enters and adds more pressure and then Robby says yeah, she got into his van. Dodds and Carisi keep the pressure on Robby and he sounds like he is going to admit it. There are three knocks and Dodds keeps pressuring Robby and the knocking happens again, more insistently. Dodds and Carisi leave the room and Dodds tells Benson Robby is right on the edge but Benson tells Dodds to pull him out, they are done with him. Fin says he is not their guy, and Warner adds that the DNA on the body doesn’t match either of the brothers. Dodds and Carisi look shocked. Warner says it matches none of the brothers. She thinks the three are all related to the killer and there may be another half brother. She can’t be sure Ray Marino fathered them all. Benson shakes her head in frustration as Warner adds she needs Ray Marino’s DNA. They have to exhume his body.
At the Holy Trinity Cemetery on City Island New York on Friday October 9, Marino’s casket is extracted as Fin takes a photo for Rollins, saying she will be pissed she missed this. Fin sates she is on bed rest and bored out of her mind.
Later, Benson, Carisi, Fin and Dodds visit Warner who confirms Ray Marino fathered Brendan, George, and Robby who are all cleared. Somewhere there is another half brother. There is nothing definitive to go on. She did look at the semen on the body and can guess the age of the person as the last born of the 4. He is closer to 20 than 40 and it could be from a second or third marriage. They suspect he had another affair. Fin says they are looking for the illegitimate son of a dead man.
At 15 Eastchester Street in City Island New York on Saturday, October 10, Benson, along with Dodds, walks with Mrs. Marino and George. Benson apologizes for what she did to her boys. They explain there is a bad guy out there who assaulted and killed a girl, and it may have something to do with her husband. Benson thinks Ray took a secret with him, thinking there is another son. Mrs. Marino is in denial and says she will sue the NYPD. As Mrs. Marino races into the house, George walks them to the car and admits his father had an eye. Ray was a charmer and there was always a pretty woman. He recalls a woman, when he was 12, that his father met at a Labor Day carnival. She had twins, a boy and a girl, and how his father won a prize but gave it to the boy twin. He doted on these children and in hindsight, maybe he wanted them to meet the half siblings. Ray made the kids not mention Stella, who worked in the museum, and probably still does. George adds that nobody ever leaves City Island.
Later, at the museum, Benson and Dodds speak with Stella who mentions her daughter Nina who is 30 and said her twin brother Nicholas died in a motorcycle accident 10 years ago. She wonders why they are asking about him and Dodds mentions his father came up in an investigation. Stella uncomfortable mentions his father is also dead. She is surprised they know about Ray but they continue to press her, and find Ray was cheating on her too. The other woman was her best friend from high school, Helen Ryan, who has three boys, and Helen was married too.
At the Adrien & Beau Boutique at 422 West 14th Street on Saturday, October 10, Fin and Carisi speak with Helen about Ray Marino and she denies a relationship and blows them off.
Back at SVU, they recap they know Ray has fathered children with 4 women that they know of. They think Helen is covering as she is still married. There are no records for Mark, Gary, or Daniel Ryan and there is no DNA in the system. Daniel and Gary work in Manhattan and Mark is a psych major in East Harlem. Dodds thinks City Island is a closed loop and suggests they get a warrant for DNA for every male between 20 and 30, and Carisi reminds him about civil liberties and that no judge in the county will sign off on that. Benson tells them to keep investigating, to canvas Asphalt Green, Lily’s school, and see if anyone can ID the Ryan brothers. She emphasizes to double check security cameras. Dodds suggests they pick them up and find an excuse later, and Benson tells him not until they know what they are doing. Fin tells them to hold up, they don’t have to go to them, they go to their mother’s house every Sunday. Benson nods.
At an NYPD checkpoint on City Island Avenue and Bridge Street on City Island, NY on Sunday, October 11, Dodds and Carisi have Gary pulled over under the guide of a sobriety check. They look in his van and do a breathalyzer test. He has items like those found with Lily’s body. As they let Gary go as he is sober, Carisi asks Dodds, as they have all three brothers, why did Dodds want him to check Gary twice. Dodds wanted to be sure, Gary had ratchet ties in his van. They do a few more checks, just in case anybody is watching.
At the ME’s office, Warner asks whose idea was it to get DNA off the breathalyzer, and Fin starts to explain it was him, but Benson cuts him off and tells him they can take the victory lap later. Warner says the DNA on Lily’s thigh and fingernails is a straight match for Gary. Benson says “Proof. Finally.”
At Hudson Beverages Distribution Center at 842 Washington Street on Monday, October 12, they speak to the manager about Gary and ask where is his next stop.
Dodds and Carisi catch up with Gary who is making deliveries, and they call out to him as they are several feet away so he starts to run. They chase him and eventually Dodds tackles him and throws him to the ground, getting rough. Carisi alerts Dodds that bystanders are recording this so Dodds turns it down. They take him away.
Back at SVU, Fin tells Benson Gary hasn’t lawyered up yet but they don’t need his statement. Carisi says they know it’s him, they have his DNA, fibers from the moving blanket, and ratchet straps in the van. Dodds comments that they don’t know why. Fin explains there is never a good answer to that question. Benson tells them nice work, and she will call Barba. But Dodds thinks a confession can’t hurt, and Benson explains it can, if it is coerced. Dodds insists he will do this by the book. He says Lily went missing and he jumped to the wrong conclusion and they lost a lot of time. Benson stops him and explains that he can’t put this on himself. He thinks Lily may have been found alive, but Benson counters that Lily was gone the second Gary pulled her into the van. Dodds wants to hear that from him. Benson nods and says okay.
Benson and Dodds speak with Gary and they explains what they know. Gary said Lily got into the van and sat right up front next to him and he gave her a soda. He had seen her before outside the pool. He just wanted to talk to her, he loads soda at the complex every day and he sees her and she is cute. He was hoping they could be friends, they smiled at each other. He did not grab her or scare her, she got in all on her own. He asked her if he could drop her someplace and then he tried to kiss her. She said no and started yelling. He thought someone would hear so he covered her mouth and pulled her in the back. He cries and says he shook her to get her quiet and hit her head against the floor and she went out cold. He was scared so he started driving fast. After a while he parked the van and got out, he was going to let her go. But it was too late, he doesn’t think she was alive, she wasn’t breathing. He couldn’t feel a pulse. He waited a long time until it got dark and then he wrapped her in a blanket and left her there under a ramp. It was only an accident. He knew no one would believe him, he has been sick about it ever since. He sobs as Benson leaves the room and Dodds stares at him.
Later, at the Evans home, Benson and Dodds explain what happened. The Evans are stunned. Dodds says he is so very sorry, and Benson looks at him.
Back at SVU, Dodds is at his desk staring and Fin says he is glad it is over, that was a brutal case. Carisi asks Dodds if he is okay, and he says he is, but asks how the Evans and other families come back from something like this. Benson explains they got the guy and that is as good as it ever gets. Fin asks if she is going to see Rollins, and Benson replies yeah. Carisi says Rollins has been living on takeout, suggesting they all go out there and he will cook them a real meal. Fin replies he is with that, and Benson adds “Me too.” Carisi asks Dodds if he wants to join them, but he declines, citing paperwork. Benson whispers to Carisi she will meet him out there. Benson approaches Dodds and says paperwork can wait. He comments that Lily’s parents will never get over this. Benson agrees they won’t. Dodds comments that Benson has a kid and that has got to make this job harder, She admits it does. She says she will tell him something that somebody told her after her first tough case: “Go home. Talk to somebody you love. And don’t make this job your whole life.” He nods and Benson leaves. Dodds closes his laptop and looks at the file on Lily, and after looking at her photo, closes the file. He stares off as we fade to black.
All Content (Recaps, Review, Commentary) Copyright © allthingslawandorder.blogspot.com unless otherwise noted
Check out my blog home page for the latest Law & Order information, on All Things Law And Order.
Also, see my companion Law & Order site,These Are Their Stories.