Thursday, November 5, 2015
Law & Order SVU “Patrimonial Burden” Recap & Review
Law & Order SVU “Patrimonial Burden” was a very predictable episode – I correctly guessed who did it only a few minutes in. Still, this episode loosely based on the Duggar family scandal was very well written and well acted. I think Sgt. Mike Dodds is fitting in very well, despite the fact that he still may not completely get what working Special Victims is all about. He seems a little torn between the advice he’s received from his father the Deputy Chief, and how things work in the real world, in the trenches. His comment about his father's advice on not leaving until the boss leaves, implying the boss is a man, may have been an innocent slip on Dodds’ tongue, but may also indicate that his father, being in the upper ranks, still can’t relate to women in leadership positions in the NYPD.
One thing about Mike Dodds/Andy Karl that got me in the episode – making me laugh a bit – is that for weeks I have been trying to figure out who Andy Carl resembles. It finally hit me that there is something very John Munch-looking about him, like he could be a long lost son. It was something that I saw in his facial expressions and in his profile. Now that my brain has realized this, I am not sure I can “unsee” it.
We also learn that Rollins is now on complete bed rest. I like the way they worked Kelli Giddish’s pregnancy into this episode. They dedicated just enough time to it so it didn’t detract from the main story. Clearly, Rollins is getting concerned about what she got herself into with this pregnancy, but Carisi assures her all will be okay because his mother lit a candle for her in church. Yes, I am sure that will mean all will be fine (wink). Speaking of Carisi, I think Peter Scanavino does a great job in his role. I know it's the writers who give Carisi his lines, but I think Peter really brings them to life.
No Barba. Again. What's the deal here?
The disclaimers at the beginning of the episode that states the story is fictional and does not depict any actual person or event has always makes me laugh. The whole Law & Order brand uses the “ripped from the headlines” tag line as a promotional tool, making the disclaimer hypocrisy in its highest form. I know why they do it but it never ceases to amaze me that there have been few lawsuits filed by people whose stories upon which these episodes are based. The episode was highly promoted as based on the Dugger story, so the disclaimer is rather meaningless!
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.
Andy Karl - Sergeant Mike Dodds
Geneva Carr - Pam Baker
Karen Tsen Lee – DNA Tech Susan Chung
Richard Poe – Elias J. Barnes
Betsy Aidem –
Kieran Mulcare - Rick
Ryan Devlin - Pastor Eldon
Christopher Sieber - Frank Baker
Victoria Leigh - Lane Bake
Chris Elliott - Pete Matthews
Gordon Tashjian - Officer Doug Tramwell
Katie Claire McGrath – Sophia
Ron Dizon - Nurse
Rachel Annette Helson -Tymber Baker
Angus O’Brien – Graham Baker
Bridget McGarry – Summer Baker
Luke Trevisan – Parky Baker
The reality show “13aker’s Dozen” – the “B” in Baker looking like the number 13 - is filming the Baker family in a sexual purity promised/pledge ceremony with Frank Baker and his daughter Lane. The large family standing by. Mom Pam Baker explains the Virtue ceremony. Later, we see Lane preparing for the ceremony and ball with her whole family in New York City.
Later, at the Virtue ball, Pastor Eldon invites the fathers and the daughters out to the floor for a special dance. Frank Baker dances with his daughter Lane. A camera records a female members of the family, while we hear family members explain the importance of virtue. Summer, talking about her promise ring and sister Tymber with husband Rick mentions the only man she has ever kissed is her husband. One of the sons, Graham, asks when they will get to eat the cake, which looks like a large wedding cake with a topper depicting a father and his daughter. Pam Baker asks Summer if she is watching her brother, and when she calls to Tate, Graham says he will get him. Pam says the little ones are very spirited. Graham picks up Tate and Pam adds, “so are the big ones.” Meanwhile Frank is still dancing with Lane and says she is beautiful, just like her mother. She smiles broadly and says, “Daddy, stop.” As he spins her as they dance, she continues to say, “daddy stop” and then, getting wobbly, faints and drops to the floor in her father’s arms. Pam rushes to her and the cameraman Pete Matthews says she is out cold. Frank calls for water and Pete calls 911. While the family looks on, Pam tells Lane that mommy is here as Lane’s siblings watch with concern,
Afterward, Benson arrives at the hospital to a waiting Fin and Carisi and they tell her about Lane Baker and explain the virtue ball and that Lane, despite her promise of virtue, is 3 months pregnant. Benson sees the siblings standing in a circle and praying for their sister.
Frank and Pam speak with Benson who explains the doctor had to call the police as there is mandatory reporting in these situations as Lane is 13 and pregnant. Frank says this is a family matter and refuse Benson and Fin talking to Lane; they want to talk to her first as she doesn’t know she is pregnant. Fin asks if Lane has a boyfriend, and Frank explains no, their children don’t date. Pam says they don’t need their help but Benson presses that they have a job to do and Lane’s condition could be the result of a criminal act. Pam thinks if Lane was hurt in any way she would have told the,
The doctor explains to Carisi there were no signs of ongoing trauma and that she had low blood pressure which caused the fainting and otherwise healthy. She adds that, without violating confidentiality, Lane didn’t get a chance to tell her anything, her parents were with her every second.
Frank and Pam insist they are good parents but Benson says this wasn’t an Immaculate Conception, asking if Lane has been alone with any boys. Frank says no and Pam says they home school as they believe in faith based education. Pastor Elson arrives and Frank introduces him to Benson and Fin, and they explain to Eldon that they want to talk to Lane. He says that Frank, Pam and Lane would be more comfortable speaking to the local authorities and as their pastor – and lawyer – he will contact the Allanville PD. Benson looks less than thrilled.
Back at SVU, Benson expresses her frustrations to the detectives and Rollins thinks they are being protective of their brand and mentions the scandal with the Duggars. Carisi defends their right to their beliefs. Dodds says given there is no evidence of an assault or a complaint from the girl or her parents, why are they pursuing it. Benson explains Lane is 13; it is statutory rape. He knows that but he has been there before mentioning an issue with the Hasidim in Crown Heights and how religious communities close ranks. Benson counters this is why they don’t let it go, adding Lane lives in an insular environment and whoever got her pregnant is a predator with access. Carisi comments is it access outside of their jurisdiction and asks if Benson wants him to put in a call to Allanville PD. Dodds doubts that with local celebrities in a small town that they will be much help. Rollins jumps in an says she may have found something. She informs them their entire life is an open blog and finds that, if, as the doctor says Lane is 10-12 weeks pregnant, it happened in - Carisi says September/August and Rollins corrects him to July – it was when they were in Harlem doing mission work. Benson states this is probable cause for statutory rape in New York City, and Dodds looks like he knows he made an error. When Rollins asks if she and Carisi should take a run at the hospital, Fin reminds her she is on desk duty. When Rollins tries to make her case, Benson decides to send Dodds and Fin.
Fin and Dodds get in the elevator, and Dodds asks Fin if Benson is always this proactive. When Fin asks if there is a problem, Dodds explains that when this happened with a Hasidim in Brooklyn, the DA called them off. He adds it is like his father said to pick your battles. Fin counters than Benson has been doing this a long time, and if something is wrong, it is.
When Fin and Dodds get to the hospital, they find Lane was already discharged that morning.
At the Grace Savior Church hostel on 51 West 26th Street on Tuesday, September 8, the kids are outside while Frank and Pam are recording another segment for the show and state they are leaving the city. Fin and Dodds approach and the cameraman stops recording. Fin and Dodds make another run at talking to Lane, but Pam says like Pastor Eldon told them, they will deal with this in Allanville. As crowds gather and take pictures, they discuss Lane being in the city 3 months ago and that she could have gotten pregnant here. Fin warns if they have a predator in their circle they will want help with that. Dodds says they are all on the same side and they are drawing a crowd; they last thing they want is for this to go public, asking them to all come down to the station.
Later, while they are all at the station, Carisi deals with a roomful of Baker kids. When one kid asks for a blanket for her brother, Carisi hands her his suit jacket. He asks who wants pizza and when they all indicate yes, Carisi calls Graham out to help him order it. Outside the room, he tries to get information from a reluctant Graham. Graham says they were in New York together 3 months ago but noticed no one hanging around Lane, it was just them, team Baker and the crew.
Meanwhile, Frank explains to Dodds and Fin he would be more comfortable if he or Pam was in there with Lane but they explain it is procedure until they get this figured out. Pam speaks with Rollins who asks if her husband doesn’t mind her working with all these men. Rollins comments it is not an issue. Pam guesses Rollins is 8-1/2 months along, and when Pam sees Rollins is not wearing a wedding ring, she comments that this can happen with the swelling.
In the interview room, Lane tells Benson that her being pregnant is God’s will, she just didn’t think God would let it happen until she got married. Benson asks that she does know how she got pregnant, and Lane says that she had sexual activity. Benson asks if it was when she was on her mission in New York, and when Lane hesitates, Benson assures her it is okay, adding whatever happened it is not her fault, she didn’t do anything wrong. Lane states that is what he told her, that she was still a good person. Benson says she is, there is no doubt about it, she just needs to know the name of the person who told her that. Lane replies that she can’t say, and Benson asks if it is because he made her promise not to tell. Lane nods silently.
Dodds and Fin speak with Frank who admits he was there in July. Tymber, Lane, Parky, Graham and the crew were also there. Pam stayed upstate. When Frank asks if maybe he should call Pastor Eldon again, Dodds says he can but asks that he didn’t do anything wrong. When Frank states of course not, Dodds says then he doesn’t need a lawyer.
Benson continues to question Lane and says she won’t ask her to name names so she doesn’t break any promises. Benson asks if it is somebody that she knew, and Lane says yes. Benson asks if it was someone in her family, and Lane tells her not to say that. Benson asks if it was somebody t hat works with her family, and Lane says he wouldn’t hurt her, he loves her. Benson says in that case, he won’t get into any trouble. Lane says she promised, and Benson replies that Lane promised not to SAY, but suggests she write it down, that was she is not breaking her promise.
At Algernon Rentals at the loading dock on 428 West 15th Street on Tuesday, September 8, Pete Matthews the cameraman is loading up the truck with his equipment and Fin and Carisi approach. Carisi asks for a DNA sample and shows him a warrant for his DNA and also for his cameras and equipment and everything shot this season. Fin gets the DNA sample from Pete and when Pete asks what this is about, Fin says Lane says Pete raped her. Pete looks stunned.
Back at SVU, Pam is shocked at the news about Pete. She tells Benson he is one of their long time crew members and the kids grew up with him and they trusted him. Benson explains that is not unusual in these situations. Pam says Lane has never said anything before but if Lane says he did this, then he did this. They raised their children to tell the truth.
Dodds gives the news to a shocked Frank who wants to get with Pete alone. Dodds is sympathetic but says there is something Frank can do to help get this guy.
Benson asks Pam to do an amneo on Lane but Pam refuses, citing the risks to the baby. Benson explains if they can prove paternity, this would be statutory rape and Pete will do time and lane will be spared of a traumatic experience. Benson thinks the risk is small but Pam insists nothing evasive, they don’t believe in any of that. Benson suggests they could wait 6 months until the baby is born, but they can’t hold Pete and that gives him time to disappear and get away with his. Pam wants them to get him to confess. Benson asks if the other daughters said anything about him, this may not have been his first time. Pam asks Benson if she means Tymber or Summer.
Meanwhile, Fin and Carisi have Pete in interrogation and they are watching a video that Pete took of Tymber and Summer undressing. Carisi calls it child porn and Fin says this is a federal charge. Pete says he is supposed to have cameras everywhere and he should have erased it, lesson learned. He denies raping Lane and when Carisi says when the baby’s DNA comes in, his life is over. Pete smiles and is happy; he then drops the bomb that he had a vasectomy 10 years ago. He doctor can confirm it. He wonders that if Lane said that, she is a good girl and thinks she was told to say it, saying the family protects their own. He says he has footage in the cloud going way back and says he can show it to them so they can see what is going on.
Benson is watching with Rollins and Dodds and they discuss Pete's revelation. Fin and Carisi bring out Pete’s computer and show them a video Pete had of Graham groping Summer’s piano teacher and her strenuous objections. Rollins says that would explain why the piano teacher dropped out midway through that season and so did Graham. Carisi adds that Pete says the parents knew about this and so did the town judge who sent Graham away to Camp Righteous Path, and Evangelical reform camp for bad boys in Canada. Rollins adds it was not in any episodes. Fin wonders if they told Lane to say it was the cameraman or if she came up with that herself. Dodds says there is no way they would blame their son. Benson tells Dodds and Rollins to tell the Bakers to stay close in case Pete confesses and tells Fin and Carisi to drive up to Allanville.
On the Allanville Golf Course on Tuesday, September 8, Fin and Carisi speak with Judge Barnes about Graham and sending him to the camp. He said he only suggested that in his capacity as an elder in the church, not as a judge. Carisi tells Fin that is why there is no legal record of that, and the judge is surprised they checked on that too. When Fin asks why did he send Graham there, the judge explains Graham is a boy with too many sisters and he needed to be around young men to let some steam off. He had no trouble with his sisters. Another foursome pulls up and the judge waves to Pastor Eldon – Gregory Eldon’s father. The judge says Gregory Eldon is a good man and the acorn didn’t fall far from that tree. As the judge walks off, Carisi puts all this together and Fin says he doesn’t like golf, he doesn’t like small towns, and he really doesn’t like the Catskills.
On the way back, Carisi in on the phone with Benson explaining their progress and no one knew anything about Graham but they all knew they were up there. Carisi hangs up and tells Fin that Benson said to watch their backs. They then get pulled over by Officer Doug Tramwell for what seems like speeding – or as Fin says “driving while NYPD.” Instead the officer uses this as cover to hand the detectives Graham’s juvie records – three complaints of forcible touching, one attempt at assault on a minor, a few speeding tickets, and the record was sealed by Elias J. Barnes. Fin suggests they get the hell out of here.
Later, Pastor Eldon is having a group discussion with the Baker family. Benson and Dodds arrive and asks to talk with him and Frank and Pam Baker. Lane looks at Benson who returns a concerned look back at her. In another room, Eldon asks that they are not charging the cameraman, but Dodds explains they are – for unlawful surveillance and possible child pornography but not statutory rape. Benson thinks Lane might lie to protect someone. Benson brings up the issues with Graham but Frank thinks Graham’s problems were nothing like this. Dodds presses to talk to Graham but Eldon says that is not possible, Graham is on his way to Ecuador for a mission in need. Dodds comments that was fast, and Benson asks Eldon if his father or Judge Barnes told him to get Graham out of town. When Eldon states they are making a lot of assumptions, Benson tersely asks, “Am I?” Eldon says as the family’s attorney, he asks them to leave their church. Benson says that is his right, and she turns to leave. But she quickly turns back and tells Pam she needs her to know that these issues don’t just go away. His daughter needs help.
Back at SVU, Benson and the detectives discuss this latest information and Benson comments that Barba said they gave to have Graham dead to rights on the statutory charge before they even try extradition. Rollins adds he also said he has no interest in compelling an amneo or blood test. Carisi comments this translates that even Barba knows that it is political suicide for a DA. Fin suggests they wait for 6 months until the baby is born and prove it then. Dodds asks if they will stay on this 6 months – the family won’t testify and they sent Graham to Ecuador. Benson says she doesn’t want to hear this. It is not about adolescent curiosity, he is a predator and it he did it once he could do it again. Rollins wonders that he did it before. She’s been binge-watching the show – desk duty! – and they cover every moment of each pregnancy except for when Pam had Tate, the two year old. She adds every kid is spaced out two year apart or more but not Tate, born only 11 months after the last. Dodds suggests they are Irish twins, and Rollins says maybe, but then adds that Pam announced 4 previous pregnancies by the third month. With Tate she waited until 7 months. She shows a photo of Pam then and she did not look that far along. When Carisi starts making a comment about Rollins size at 7 months, Fin stops him. Benson speculates that Graham got another sister pregnant, and Rollins thinks, based on what happened on the show, it was Summer. Dodds thinks they still have the same problem, but Benson says they don’t need an amneo to get Tate’s DNA or Graham’s. Dodds reminds her the family won’t cooperate, they are going around in circles. Benson tells Dodds he made his point. There is silence. Carisi breaks it by saying cooperation is not an issue here; he mentions when he was minding the kids when they were there, Tate got cold so he gave him his jacket and Tate drooled all over it. Benson asks that he didn’t take it to the dry cleaner, and Carisi says he only wore it twice. Fin comments they still need Graham’s, and Benson asks what about his father? Rollins tells them Frank was in the ROTC so they can get it. Benson states that if this is incest, then Frank is the grandfather on both sides. She gives Dodds a glare.
Later, as Benson is leaving, she sees Dodds still at his desk. She comments that he is still here. He says it is paperwork, adding that his dad says you should never leave your desk until your boss leaves his. Benson pauses and looks at him, and he quickly corrects himself, adding, “or hers.” She gives half a laugh and says she is going home now and asks him to walk her out. He closes up a folder on his desk and walks out with her, apologizing if he spoke out of turn. She assures him it is okay. He comments that if he has doubts about the direction of the case, he shouldn’t say anything in front of the whole squad. She explains there are two things he needs to know about her. First, she likes an open and free exchange of ideas. He comments he picked up on that one. She says that second, she is usually right, She smiles and so does he, adding that he copies that. She gives him a word of advice: he is off to a good start; he doesn’t need to knock it out of the park in his first few weeks. She taps his arm and walks to the elevator.
At the office of the Medical Examiner on 433 East 26th Street on Thursday, September 10, Dr. Chung says she got DNA from Carisi’s coat with 3 different sets: Carisi’s, a female relative of Carisi’s – he says it his new niece, she drools a lot – and one that she is certain is Frank Baker’s DNA on the maternal side. Rollins think one of the daughters is Tate’s mother. But there is no trace of his DNA on the paternal side. Tate’s father is not related to Frank Baker. There are no hits on the DNA, bit as Dr. Chung explains further, Rollins begins to experience intense pain and she says something is not right.
Later, Rollins is in a hospital bed with Carisi by her side. He tells her she has to slow down but she says it was back pain. The baby is okay but they will run some tests and they want her to stay, and bed rest afterwards. She worries about what she will tell Benson but Carisi assures her Benson knows the situation. Rollins asks herself what is he doing, having a baby on her own. Carisi assures her and says he has been working with her for a year now and there is nothing she can’t handle. She says she really screwed up, adding tearfully she won’t be able to do this. Carisi assures her again that she will, it will be okay. He knows that because his mother is in church lighting a candle for her right now. Rollins smiles and laughs but Carisi gives her a serious look.
Back at SVU, Benson gets the news about Rollins from Carisi over the phone. She explains to the others that Rollins and the baby are okay but they want to keep her there for observation. She asks where are they, and Fin says Graham is not Tate’s father, there is no Baker DNA on the paternal side. When Benson asks why they sent Graham to Ecuador, Fin explains that he may not be the father of Summer’s baby but they can’t rule him out on Lane. Benson wonders that there are two separate predators in their circle, commenting it is closed community. As she talks it through, she realizes it is the pastor. Dodds recalls Eldon was on the East Harlem mission trip with Lane. Fin finds that Eldon and Summer were together in 2012 giving out Christmas gifts in East Harlem. Benson thinks his MO is that he gets them away from home, and she moves off to call Barba.
At Grace Savior Church hostel on Thursday, September 10, Fin and Dodds speak with Eldon about him being on the mission trip with Lane in July. He sees where they are going with this and thinks it is because they don’t like his or the Baker’s values and they are threatened by him. Dodds asks if he thinks this is religious persecution, and Elson comments he has seen it before, every time he leaves New York he thinks of keeping going but there is too much work to be done and souls to minister to. Fin asks if it is like he ministered to Lane, and Eldon says he’s had enough of this. Dodds comments not quite, and says they will need a DNA sample. Fin says since he didn’t do the deed, he won’t have any problem giving them one. Eldon says they need a warrant for that. Fin replies “ask and ye shall receive” and Dodds pulls out a warrant, telling Eldon to open up.
Back in the ME’s office, Benson and Carisi get the DNA results from Dr. Chung – there is a paternal match with Tate and Eldon. Benson gets on her phone.
Fin and Dodds arrive at back at the hostel looking for Eldon and find he left earlier and ask where.
Meanwhile, in the Allanville courtroom, Frank and Pam are witnessing as Judge Barnes performs a wedding ceremony for Eldon and Lane. Officer Doug Tramwell races in with Benson and Carisi and Benson interrupts the ceremony. Benson is shocked to hear Eldon and Lane are getting married, saying she is only 13. Eldon says she turned 14 today and it is perfectly legal, he has the permission from her parents and judge Barnes. Frank says Eldon stepped forward to help them, and Pam says he is willing to provide for Lane and her baby and will make a wonderful son in law. Benson looks on with horror. But she questions the parents who say they are protecting their daughter, it will be in name only and he will be like a father to her. When Benson asks if that is what he told her, Eldon tries to ask them to leave and he tries to get the judge to continue on. When Pam says he will give Lane’s baby a name, Carisi blurts out that is good because Eldon is the father, telling Eldon that he figured if he married Lane it would be hard to prosecute him for statutory rape. The judge backs off with Lane as Benson continues to explain the situation. She brings up Tate and that there is no Baker paternal DNA in him. Frank gets upset and Eldon steps in and advises Frank and Pam to stop talking. He says if they got Tate’s DNA it was without a warrant and was inadmissible, and Carisi gets in his face, saying it is a bad sign Eldon making a legal argument right now. Pam comments she doesn’t know what is going on, and Eldon tells the judge to have the officer remove Benson and Carisi from the building as they have no jurisdiction. Carisi comments about another legal argument, and he says alright, but before he goes, he tells Pam that they did test the pastor’s DNA – legally. Benson adds that Eldon is Tate’s biological father and they believe his is also the biological father of Lane’s baby. Pam is stunned and Eldon says they are lying, but Benson explains that DNA doesn’t lie. Pam looks to Frank and said he told her Graham confessed, and Frank admits he did, but that Graham did not confess to him. They look at Eldon, Carisi gets in his case for trying to pin this on Graham, saying he out the be ashamed of himself. Eldon tries to explains but Pam gets upset, asking Lane to tell her the truth, Lane says he loves her and it is God’s plan for them. She yells at Eldon and when he offers his explanation, she screams at him that Lane is just a child. Eldon tells Frank to get a hold of his wife, and when Pam says no, Eldon says she does not say no to him, he is her husband, her patriarch. Pam is upset at Eldon's lies, asking why. Benson explains it was because he knew that she would do anything to protect Graham. Judge Barnes looks on, silent. Pam says she will testify, about Tate and everything. Barnes says “Gregory” and Eldon says they have no case, they told the whole world Tate was their baby they don’t want their fans to find out that they lied and Lane…Benson give him an icy look and tells him he needs to stop talking to her. Pam apologizes to Lane and Lane also says she is sorry, Eldon told her that is what people who are in love do. Frank glares at Eldon and Pam says Lane will tell the truth, and so will Summer, and so will she. She doesn’t care about the damn show and neither does Frank. She shouts that they want him put away. Office Tramwell reads Eldon his rights as he arrests him for the statutory rape of Summer Baker, and Benson adds Lane Baker as well. Carisi continues to read him his rights and Eldon comments he knows his rights and none of this will hold up in court. He looks at Lane and says he loves her, and Lane hides in her mother’s arms. Carisi gets in Eldon’s face an whispers that Eldon really is a piece of crap.
Later, Frank and Pam are making a statement to the media while the SVU team watches the coverage from the squad room. After is it over, Benson comments that Barba told her that Pastor Eldon will plead to multiple counts of statutory rape so he is looking at hard time. Carisi comments that Eldon is another son on a bitch hiding behind the collar. He mentions a priest in his church while he was growing up saved his life, but you only ever hear about the bad ones. Fin asks if Dodds still thinks this was waste of time, and Dodds says no, he gets it. He just thought SVU would be taking rapists off the streets, not out of churches. Benson tells him for what it is worth, most rapists don’t hunt on the streets, they hunt where they are trusted. He nods his head, thinking about this as we fade to black.
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