Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Law & Order SVU “Townhouse Incident” Recap & Review

“Townhouse Incident” was a drama filled episode where again Benson found herself held hostage, but this time she had company. Benson’s babysitter Lucy, sensing something was wrong at the home of another client and asking Benson to check it out, unwittingly puts Benson in this life threatening situation. But if anyone could get all the hostages out alive, it would be Benson. Despite the fact that we all know Benson would survive the ordeal,  the real drama was watching how she calmly worked on her captors in order to find any foothold in gaining control over the situation. I know I am not the only SVU fan suffering from fatigue with Benson being placed in perilous situations, but I must admit that they did a fantastic job with this story. It also allowed Mariska to display her Emmy-winning acting talents; she doesn’t have as many opportunities to do this with Benson now in management. With all the horrors that Benson had to face with William Lewis, you can bank that this situation will mean after-effects to Benson’s mental well being.

It’s interesting that Benson’s long history of mistrust with Ed (“Mother”) Tucker – now Captain Tucker – has developed into one where she now trusts him with her life. And it’s Tucker’s sometimes annoying steely resolve from working Internal Affairs that has made him the perfect person to help Benson keep everyone cool with the hostage situation. In a way, Tucker has shown more character development over the last few seasons than anybody else on the show. He’s gone from being hated to someone that fans tolerate, maybe even (gasp) LIKE. Tucker can still annoy, but he seems to have genuinely softened toward the Special Victims Unit. Is it out of any feelings/respect for Benson or has he realized that there aren’t the problems with the SVU as there were in the past?

While this was a nice feature for Mariska, there was enough to go around for the other cast members and everyone brought their A game. (Note: Kelli Giddish did not appear in this episode.)   The episode even LOOKED good, with great on location shots that were well presented with interesting camera angles. When I enjoy an episode visually, I tend to like the story even more, and this episode was one of those cases.

One lesson Dodds learned: Always be mindful of the underwear that you’re wearing before you go to work. You never know when you’ll be asked to strip down to your skivvies in public!

The role of Noah Porter Benson has been recast, which makes sense, considering that the timeline of episodes and the growth of a small child rarely synchronize in the television world.   It does concern me a bit that, like Noah 1.0,  even Noah 2.0 makes no sounds whatsoever.  I'm not sure if it's because they are trying to show that Noah may be developmentally delayed, or if it just costs the show more if the child utters one word or any sound at all (or both).   Having a family member with severe developmental delays, the lack of speech and verbal sounds were early indicators of a problem, and I could be just transferring my fears to the fictional Noah.

The story of the "push-in" rapist re-appears briefly,  and it's possible they have their man - or it's the set-up for another arc at some later time.

There was one glaring continuity issue: The date on the episode title cards was listed as January 4, but the date on Benson’s phone, which showed Noah’s photo,  displayed the date as Monday, November 30. Also, the previous episode, “Catfishing Teacher” took place in late December, after the date on Benson’s phone, but we saw no evidence of this traumatic experience for Benson in that episode. If we are lucky, this date inconsistency will not rip a hole in the space/time continuum.

For Raúl Esparza fans, it was great to see him in this episode, even if it was only briefly.

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:
Andy Karl – Sgt. Mike Dodds
Robert John Burke – Captain Ed Tucker
Joe Reegan - Joe Utley
Amber Skye Noyes - Roxie Volkov
James McMenamin – Ralph Volkov
Wendy Hoopes - Lisa Crivello
Cole Bernstein - Tess Crivello
Jack Gore - Luca Crivello
Kevin Geer – Chief Gabriel
Bronwyn Reed – Lucy
Sean T. Andrew – Captain Sasso
Josh Saviano – Counselor Don Taft
Anthony Grasso – Richard Crivello
Hasaan Gilmer - Pierson Dawes
Allyson Morgan – Nurse Roberts
Qurray Ann Kadwani – Stacey King
Tommy Pope – Glen King
Jack Nawada Braunwart – Noah Porter Benson

Lucy, Benson’s sitter for Noah, visits the home of Lisa Crivello to pick up her son Luca to walk him to school. She gets suspicious when Lisa is acting strangely and sends her away. When Lucy gets to Benson’s apartment and while Benson is playing with Noah,  Lucy mentions this.  Lucy says Lisa’s voice was shaky and there were red marks on her neck. He husband was also there, yelling. She asks if Benson can swing by. Benson nods.

Later, Benson knocks on the door of the Crivello home and Lisa answers. Lisa tries to blow her off but Benson mentions Lisa’s cut. At first Lisa says she should go, and Benson suggests she would come back later. A voice from inside growls quietly to “let her in” and Lisa then tells Benson just come in now. As soon as Benson walks in the door, she is grabbed and slammed against the closed door by a man (later identified as Joe) with a gun, and a woman (later identified as Roxie) is holding a gun to Lisa. Joe and Roxie scream to her to put her hands up and she complies.  Joe threatens to blow a hole through her face if she moves. Benson says okay and freezes.

Benson identifies herself as a police officer who is there by chance. Another man (identified as Ralph) dumps the contents of Benson’s purse and she admits she is armed and her weapon is holstered on her right hip. Joe searches her and finds her phone. Joe says they have a problem here, and ask if the “old man” has told them where the money is yet. Ralph says no, he is holding out. Lisa explains they don’t keep cash here, and Roxie flings her down. Joe tells Ralph to kick Richard's ass until he coughs. Ralph enters the other room and kicks Richard Crivello repeatedly as he lay on the floor. Joe asks Benson who knows she is here, and she replies no one,  and when Joe says she better not be lying to him, she insists she is not. He holds up Benson’s phone and shows the lock screen with a picture of Noah and asks if this is her son. She says it is. Joe says this is good, it means she doesn’t want to die. He tells Roxie to tie her up.  Benson suggests they don’t need to do that and that they should talk, but he punches her and she falls to the floor, stunned. He growls that he told her to shut the hell up, and he pushes her back with his leg. Lisa’s daughter Tess looks on in fear.

Meanwhile, back at SVU, Dodds arrives in the break room while Fin is reading the paper. Dodds asks if anyone uses the heavy bag in the weight room, he brought his gloves. Fin asks if Dodds boxes, and Dodds replies at the Golden Gloves and the Pro Am, and asks if Fin does. Fin stays seated and says he does not want to hurt him. Carisi enters and says they have a call, and asks where is Benson. Dodds says she is at a DNA conference all day.  Carisi says their push in rapist may have struck again, this time in Chelsea. When Fin questions if it is the same guy, Carisi states he is black, tall, in his 20s, he is armed and the MO is the same and the vics ID’d the sketch. Fin says “just like they did before” with skepticism. Dodds comments either way, to bring him in alive, and tells Fin to notify central and alert transit. Fin adds housing, saying he knows the drill. Dodds says he is sure he does, and tells Carisi to tell the One-One they are en route and he will text Benson when they get there.

Back at the Crivello home, Ralph continues to kick Richard who denies they have a safe. When Ralph tells Joe that Richard says they don’t have a safe, Joe is angry as Ralph swore there was cash here. Ralph says Roxie is upstairs going through the jewelry and when she is done, they should go. Joe barks to Ralph that he said there was a safe and to go find it. As Ralph walks off, Lisa whispers to Benson that Roxie rang the bell at 6AM saying she had been robbed and when she went to call 911 the two men burst in. She says Ralph used to drive a truck for her husband’s stores and Richard had fired him. Luca is tied up upstairs. Ralph whines that he wonders what is taking Roxie so long, and a message rings on Benson’s phone. Ralph asks who is there, and, as Joe snorts a drug, tells Ralph not to worry about it. He tells Ralph to go downstairs and find that safe. Ralph complies and Joe mentions to Benson she got a text about a rapist. Benson states she really needs to answer that, and Joe sends an answer of his own, saying she just did. Roxie comes downstairs and says he found $200 and a bunch of crap jewelry. She pulls out her gun and asks Lisa where is the real stuff? Lisa insists there is nothing here. Joe suggests they bring Luca downstairs and Benson suggests he not do that. Lisa admits they have a safe deposit box. Ralph comes upstairs saying he found electronics, and Joe tosses it off, saying they have a new plan – they are taking mommy to the bank.

Meanwhile, at the home of Stacey and Glen King on Monday, January 4, Carisi, Fin, and Dodds get the details on the attack from Stacey and Glen. He went out the window. She was not raped but it was close. She scratches his face. Later, Fin and Dodds are outside looking at the fire escapes – the building is on lock down - when Carisi approaches and said the suspect climbed up and neighbors says he is checking doors on the adjacent roof. They race up.

Back with the hostages, Joe opens the upstairs bedroom door and brings Benson into the room with Roxie, who has Tess. Joe sits Benson on the bed and ties her hands. She looks at Luca, who is sitting on the floor, also restrained.

On the rooftop, the detectives apprehend the suspect, who is armed. They order him to put the gun down and he asks if they are going to shoot him like the other guy. Fin says no and they quickly cuff him.

Meanwhile, Benson’s phone pings with a message and Joe reads it, saying they caught the rapist. He thinks they should celebrate, and asks who is up for a party. He picks Tess and says she is coming with her. As Tess screams while Joe pulls Tess into the other room, Benson pleads with Roxie, who looks unhappy with this latest turn of events. Benson tells Roxie this is on he (Roxie) and says to let her in there. Roxie slaps Benson hard, and then puts the gun to Benson’s chin, telling her not to do that again. Luca looks concerned as Tess can be heard screaming from the other room. Benson looks dazed.

Back with the rape suspect, he claims they got the wrong guy. Fin says they have prints and DNA and the labs will tie him to all the cases. Carisi adds that the girl he assaulted and stuffed in the dryer was 12. The suspect says he knows he wants a lawyer. Fin tells him to go ahead a lawyer up, he is still going down.

Back at the house, Luca hears Tess and tells Benson that Joe is hurting her and to make her stop. Roxie tells Benson to make Luca shut up, and Benson says they will have to untie them and Benson insists she is not going to do anything. Roxie complies and Benson consoles Luca and he quiets down. When she hands Luca headphones and a tablet so he can watch a movie, she tells Roxie she can’t believe this is how she thought this would go down. When Roxie replies that Benson does not know her, Benson says she knows she doesn’t like to hear her boyfriend raping a 16 year old. Roxie isn’t buying any of it despite Benson’s continued pleas. Another message comes in for Benson and Roxie looks at it. She asks who is Lucy, and Benson explains Lucy is her sitter and she is also Luca’s sitter and she needs to talk to Benson. She needs to know about Noah’s day care pick up and she really needs to answer that.

Back at SVU, the rape suspect is in interrogation and his lawyer, Counselor Don Taft, arrives who accused the detectives of planting the gun. Barba says this is the man’s third rape and they have multiple IDs. Dodds mentions the DNA and forensics and Taft says to save it for the judge. He goes in to speak with his client. When Barba asks where is Benson and Fin says she is at the DNA conference, Barba says she is not, he was there all morning and he would have seen her. Dodds and Fin look at each other with concern.

Lucy, meanwhile, speaks with Carisi and when he says Benson is not there, she admits she is worried, She sent her to the brownstone of another family she sits for – she had a strange vibe from the mom . She says she hasn’t been able to talk to Benson but she got a weird text.

Carisi races to the other detectives and Barba, with Lucy following. He tells them they have a problem; Benson sent a message to the babysitter. He hands Fin the phone who reads the message: “Stuck at precinct all day, pick up William at day care he has a play date with Lewis today.” When Barba hears the name William Lewis, he says this is not good and asks when they last heard from Benson. Dodds says he texted her a few hours ago and she answered back. Barba asks that Dodds didn’t actually speak with her, and when Dodds says no, Barba and Fin thinks that William Lewis is a code for 10-13. Carisi adds that Lucy said Benson checked on a neighbor this morning, and Dodds asks where.

At the brownstone, Benson’s phone rings again and Roxie looks at it, saying Barba keeps calling, asking why. Benson says it is just her office. Joe comes back in with Tess, who looks in shock. Benson tries to comfort her and Joe sees Benson is untied and complains to Roxie. Benson explains she was just helping with Luca. Roxie says she is not going anyway, and Joe threatens of Benson pulls anything she will not see her son again. He ties up Benson again. Roxie’s phone rings and it is Ralph. They got the cash from the ATM but Lisa wants to talk to the kids again and when Roxie says no, Lisa grabs the phone anyway and screams that she wants to know now. Roxie explains Lisa just wants proof they didn’t kill them and Benson suggests they take a photo and send it to them. Joe yells at the kids to smile and he takes a photo. He tells Lisa to get the cash or they are dead. The doorbell rings and Benson suggests she answer it and she can get rid of them. But Joe tells Tess to do it.

Tess answers the door - Roxie is standing near with the gun pointed at her - and it is Carisi and Fin pretending to be truant officers. Tess says both kids are sick and her parents are not home. She says she has to go and closes the door. Fin comments to Carisi that GPS says Benson is still inside and Carisi adds that girl is not okay.

Afterwards, Roxie tells them the others are gone and Joe thinks they are cops. He asks Tess what she said to them and she says nothing, just that she and Luca were sick. Benson comments they may have figured out she is here and their next move it to call for backup and now is the time for them to go. Joe wants her to stop talking but Roxie is wavering, saying he should listen to her. Roxie wants to get out but Joe pulls her and makes her look at Benson, saying Benson is a cop and everything she says is a lie and a trap. Benson states there is no perimeter here and urges him to look out for himself. She suggests they slip out the back before they figure out who they are. Joe says they are not going anywhere until they get the money.

Outside, police and ESU arrive and set up a perimeter and try to see or hear what is going on inside. Dodds arrives and Chief Gabriel, there with Carisi, says they have a level one going on and the precinct has the area on lock down. Everyone in the line of fire has been evacuated and everyone else has been told to shelter in place. Carisi asks if they have called into the house yet, and Gabriel says they are waiting for the hostage negotiations.   Captain Sasso says the pole cams are up and they see two armed suspects, a white male about 40 and a younger white female. Fin says Benson is inside with a teenage girl and a younger boy. Sasso says everyone seems sequestered in the 2nd floor bedroom. Carisi says Richard owns the Crivello grocery chain and was MIA today,  and Lisa is a stay at home mom. Sasso has no visual yet but is working other angles.

Inside, Joe looks out and sees they are surrounded and gets angry. Roxie laments they should have gone and thinks they will kill them.  Benson tries to convince them to let the kids go, and to keep her, she is their best asset. Joe asks Roxie about Ralph and they begin to argue. Joe is losing his cool. He tells Benson she will get them out, and tells her to call them and order them to stand down. She says they won’t. He threatens to shoot Tess and Benson asks for her phone to call her Sergeant. He leaves her speaker on as he wants no secrets.

In the police van, Dodds gets a call from Benson who says they are all okay. Joe says he wants the cameras down and the snipers to back away, and Benson repeats this, making sure to mention Joe’s name. Fin writes down Joe’s name on the board next to the photo. Dodds says a negotiator is en route and asks if everyone is okay. Joe scoffs at the negotiator and Benson says they just want to talk. Joe counters he knows what that means. Roxie reminds him to get away from the window and he does. Benson tries to convince him to talk to them, saying if he doesn’t they will burst in there and take him and Roxie out. Roxie urges him and Joe says fine, asking who at the NYPD does she trust? She says her squad, her detectives, but Joe wants someone with more pull, someone who cares about Benson. He asks if there is anyone at the NYPD who cares if she lives or if she dies? She doesn’t answer.

Later, Ed Tucker – now Captain Ed Tucker - arrives and gets an update from Dodds and Carisi. Tucker wants to know everything they told Joe, and Dodds explains they agreed to pull back ESU and turn off the cameras and get him here. Carisi says Joe sounds pretty hopped up, so Tucker assumes Joe's on drugs. Tucker thinks Joe’s emotions are up and he’s high – not much room for rational thinking. Chief Gabriel introduces himself to Tucker, saying he is the incident commander. He explains that ESU is set and the hostage negotiation team can walk him through this. Tucker says he is alright; he was on the team before IAB and he takes the refresher twice a year.

In the brownstone, Joe pushes furniture up to the walls and windows as a barrier. He asks Benson what about her friend, the one with the juice? Benson says he will be there and when he gets there he will want to know how everyone is doing and asks if he will let her check on Richard and Roxie can go with her. Joe claims this is all Benson’s fault and if anyone dies…Roxie says no one is going to die and Benson is going to get her guy and then they are going to get out of here. Joe asks Roxie what about her idiot brother? Benson comments that the whole place is surrounded and if Ralph saw a cop…the phone rings and he holds his gun to Benson and tells her to answer it on speaker. Benson answers, saying they are on speaker and Joe is here with her, Tucker identifies himself and asks if everyone is okay. She replies that Joe and Roxie are taking good care of them. Dodds writes Roxie’s name on the board. Benson adds that the children are unharmed and the father’s injuries are under control. Tucker asks about Lisa, and Joe tells Benson to say that Lisa is here. Benson asks what if Tucker wants to talk to her, saying that if Tucker thinks she is lying he is going to get nervous and they don’t want that. He says not to say a thing about the bank. Joe puts her back on speaker and Benson says Lisa is not there right now, but she will be back soon. Fin tells Carisi there is a third hostage taker and thinks they are making a bank run. Dodds suggests they check the family’s financials to find the bank and Gabriel will check every bank in the zip code. Carisi says to get a photo of the mother and he will text it out. Fin asks to let them know if they get anything on the third

Tucker, still speaking with Benson, asks if Joe is there with her, and Benson says yes, he can hear him. Tucker speaks with Joe and asks if everything is alright. Joe explains he has a gun on Benson and wants no tricks, and Tucker says he’s done this a lot more than he has and he can get Joe out of this. Joe tells Benson to tell him, and Benson informs Tucker that Joe has some things that he needs. Joe says he wants an SUV with tinted windows, no driver and not rigged, and a million dollars in cash. He also wants the streets to a helipad be cleared and all the traffic blocked like he is the freaking Pope, and wants a helicopter standing by, and wants a CJ4 jet fully fueled, no pilot because he can fly. Tucker says that will take some time, and Joe points the gun at Tess and says to Benson to tell him or else. Benson states calmly that Joe is not playing around, and Tucker says he understands and tells Joe he will get all things in motion but asks as an act of faith to release the kids? Joe’s suggestion is to shoot the kids right this second, there’s his good faith. Joe hangs up. Tucker hears that ESU has the place covered and is ready to go inside, and he says he is sure they are but this doesn’t need to get tactical yet, Joe is making demands which means he is looking toward the future and he wants to live. Dodds informs them the mom just made a withdrawal at an ATM and Fin and Carisi are on the way.

At the Commerce Bank of Manhattan on Monday, January 4, Ralph and Lisa are waiting in a room and Carisi and Fin are there waiting with police backup to apprehend Ralph. Ralph asks if Joe gave him up, saying he is the one who made him do this. Carisi tells him Joe is not his friend right now, he is, and Ralph should tell him everything that is going on in that house.

Barba arrives on the scene and Dodds tells him they have Ralph Volcov, with a record for assault and drunk driving, and who was fired from Crivello’s grocery chain after two failed drug tests. Barba wonders if this is a revenge plan, but realizes Ralph is not the ringleader. Inside the police bus, Ralph says this was Joe’s idea, Ralph didn’t want to hurt them, they ("we") needed the money. Barba introduces himself and ask who is we? Ralph says he and his sister Roxie, their mother needs a new hip as she can hardly walk.  He adds Roxie is in the house but she didn’t want to hurt anyone either, that is all on Joe. Barba asks if Joe is his real name. and when Ralph looks down, Barba demands that Ralph look at him. Barba says if anyone dies in there, Ralph is on the hook for felony murder; Ralph helps them or he is gone. Ralph says Joe Utley is his real name.

Meanwhile, Carisi speaks with Lisa who is being tended to by EMTs. Lisa tells them each person had a gun, 3 pistols and Joe had a machine gun. They took Benson’s gun. Lisa pleads to go back in there as she promised to bring back the money and she needs to see her kids. She says they were okay a half hour ago and mentions the photo she received.

Back in the police bus, Barba shows Ralph that photo and he admits this is the last time he had contact with Joe and Roxie. Dodds comments they need Ralph to call them, but Ralph says Joe is going to be mad. Fin shows him a photo of Joe from a military database and Ralph confirms that is Joe. Dodds reads off that Joe was dishonorably discharged from special forces, adding they sent him down for the war on drugs and he joined the other side. Tucker enters and informs them Joe is about to call Ralph, but Ralph says this wasn’t his idea. Tucker tells Ralph to play along and tell Joe he has the money and to ask the negotiator to let them hook up safely. Ralph comments that he doesn’t think he should get involved, and Fin asks Ralph if he ever wants to see his sister alive again? Dodds hands Ralph the phone and Joe asks Ralph where the hell is he and does he have the cash? Ralph replies yes, he has it right here. Joe says the cops know they are inside and he should get back here and tell them to let him in. Ralph says the house is surrounded, and Joe tells him to just do it, the cops will let him in. Ralph says he can’t they got him. Inside, Joe yells “son of a bitch” and yells at Roxie about her brother, the cops have him. Roxie asks if he is okay and Joe replies he is not really concerned about Ralph right now. Roxie says she is and asks if they are going to get him back. Joe’s phone buzzes as does Benson’s. Joe looks like he doesn’t know what to do and Roxie screams for him to answer one of them. Joe answers the call with Tucker who says he is there with Ralph. Joe says he wants Ralph AND he wants the cash here now. If they lie again, his pretty little girlfriend dies. Tucker says nobody can make him kill anybody if he doesn’t want to. Joe scoffs and gives the phone to Benson, who says he really wants Ralph in there now. Tucker says he understands but it’s not something he can do right now. Benson tells Joe and Roxie that Tucker is telling the truth; they are not allowed to send in civilians inside. Joe brandishes his gun and says he is done talking. Tucker says over the speaker that ESU is all over this block and asks if he knows who they are. Joe replies they are like SWAT. Tucker says if Joe stops talking to him, they pull him away and those guys take over. Joe asks to talk to Ralph. Tucker holds the phone to Ralph, who tells Joe he can’t go in, they have snipers. Joe tells Ralph he is an idiot, and says to Roxie that Ralph said he could do this, that he could get the money. He tells Roxie this is her fault; she said Ralph was good for this and he could get the money. She tells Joe he should have gone and not to blame this on him and this is his fault. She says that Richard – still laying on the floor bleeding – is not doing so great and he is going to die. Joe pushes her to the floor and she drops her gun. Benson sees this but Roxie quickly picks up the gun. Tucker asks if everybody is okay, and Benson says okay, they know Ralph is not coming in here but do you have his money? Tucker says good idea, asking Joe to make another deal. . They will give him the $50,000 Ralph got. Ralph adds he also has bonds from the safety deposit box, and Tucker adds those too. Tucker says the money the bonds – and Joe should give them the kids; a trade for a trade. Joe agrees, holding up one finger, and Benson says if they give him the money, they will send out one person.

Later, with EMS on the scene, Tucker is on the phone with Joe, saying he made the right choice. They have the money and twp EMTs are standing by to take Richard out of there; he promises no guns and no tricks. Joe asks Benson what are they wearing, and she looks out the window, seeing one of them is Dodds. She explains they are wearing EMT uniforms and Joe asks how will he know that they aren’t carrying? Benson shakes her head and Joe gets on the phone and tells Tucker he wants both those guys to strip down now. Tucker insists they are not carrying but Joe insists they make them strip. Tucker agrees but says they keep their vests on. Joe replies that is fine, and asks what about his car and if his helicopter is ready. Tucker says they are working on all of it and they need more time. Tucker gets on the radio and tells the guys entering as EMTs that Joe wants them to strip.

Inside, Roxie dumps the money on the floor while Joe holds a gun on Dodds and the EMT, wearing their vests and only a T-shirt and boxers. Joe asks about the car and Dodds says they told him to tell them the car is on the way and so is the helicopter. Joe asks how does he know they aren’t lying, and Benson says if they say it is coming, it’s coming. Joe says fine, then, pointing to Richard, says to get him out of here. As they move to pick up Richard, Joe demand their vests. They comply.

Outside, Dodds and the EMT take Richard out. Dodds says it is not good in there but Benson is okay. Tucker, on the phone with Joe, thanks him, saying it’s good to get Richard out of there, now they are on to the next step, the car is pulling up. A nice black SVU pulls up and Roxie confirms to Joe the car is there. Joe says he is sending someone out to check the car, and he wants the keys in the ignition and the engine running. He wants all the ESU guys gone, screaming he wants a clear path. He tells Benson – calling her boss lady – to put the vest on Roxie. He cuts the restraints on her wrists and while Benson helps Roxie with the vest, Benson tells her she doesn’t need to do this. She adds that Ralph is safe and this is her chance. She should go out there and not come back, she knows she does not want to die. Roxie asks how does she know, and Benson whispers that when she gets out there and drop to her knees and put her hands up. Roxie tells her to shut up and to buckle her in.

Roxie walks out the door and carefully down the steps. She moves to the car and checks inside while Benson watches from inside. Roxie calls Joe and says everything is clear, but she comes around the other side of the car and sees a large number of police with guns trained on her. Joe tells her to get back in here, but Roxie is frozen in place. Joe asks what is taking so long, and yells to her to get in here and lets go. She moves to open the door to the SUV, then looks to the police. She tells Joe she is sorry, and she moves away and drops to her knees and puts up her hands. Carisi yells to the others that she is surrendering. Joe hears through the phone that they have her. He holds the gun up to Benson’s face and says, “Damn you.” She asks him to take it easy, but he wants to know what she said to Roxie. She insists she didn’t tell her anything. He pulls the gun away and screams, then he pulls her to the chair and says he is sick of her lying to him, shoving her down. Benson says this is better for him, they don’t need her, they are so close to getting out of here. The phone rings and she says he should tell Tucker how they are going to do this – Joe’s terms. Joe answers the phone and Tucker says Joe has what he wanted – the money, the car, the chopper and the plane. But now Tucker wants something – the kids. Joe says no, they are all going out there together and if anything happens, everyone will die with him, end of negotiations. Tucker states he kept his side, they will need at least one kid. Joe replies fine, when he gets into the car, he will give him the little kid, but he is keeping his girls. He sits down while Tess and Luca huddle together, crying. Joe asks Benson if they are taking him out, and she says if he keeps his gun to her head, they will not try to beat his trigger squeeze, that she knows for a fact.

Outside, Chief Gabriel tells Sasso, Tucker, and the detectives that they are not going to let them drive out of here. They are not to shoot until Gabriel gives the green light. Tucker asks if maybe if Joe comes out and sees the massive police presence that they ask him to lay down. Gabriel says to take a knee is not Tucker’s call. He thanks him for his help and tells Tucker to keep Joe talking as long as he can, but ESU has this now. He asks if this is clear.

Inside the house, Joe has Benson and the two kids huddled around him and Benson tells him to keep his gun to her head. Joe says she doesn’t need to worry about that. He says let’s go. Outside, Dodds can see them exiting the garden level and they walk to the street slowly. Benson tries to reassure Luca and Tess as Joe screams for police to get back – farther back. They comply. Sasso radios for the sniper to wait for the green light. Joe tells Benson the kids are going in the back of the car. Benson tells Joe they don’t really need the kids any more, if he keeps the gun on her and lets the kids go, they can make this about him and her; she is all he needs. He tells the kids to go. Benson calls out he is letting both kids go, and then she thanks him as the kids race off. She says she is just going to let Tucker know the plan. He says he is going to tell Tucker, and Benson swings around and punches Joe. The command is given to take Joe out; the sniper fires and hits Joe squarely in the head. He drops to the ground, dead.

Benson stands there frozen as the Carisi and Tucker race to her, Tucker yelling for someone to secure Joe’s weapon. As Tucker and Carisi hold on to Benson, she says she is okay. Fin stands over Joe’s dead body and states dryly that Joe was dead before he hit the ground. Benson asks where is Noah, and Carisi says they will bring him. She asks but WHERE is he, and Carisi says he is with Lucy right now and they will find them for her. Tucker urges her to just take care of herself. She stops and tells Tucker thank you. He asks for what? He adds that she did a great job in there. He suggests they get her out of there. As Benson walks off with Tucker and Carisi and police swarm the scene, we fade to black.

All Content (Recaps, Review, Commentary) Copyright © 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.


brittneylovesyou said...

How have you watched the episode already!?

Chris Zimmer said...

Blame Canada! Seriously, the episode aired in Canada on Monday night and I have a few great fan connections in Canada. I actually meant to post the recap at 11PM tonight and I forgot to change the "AM" to "PM". My bad!

The episode was great, don't miss it!

Petra S said...

I will always respect your opinion Chris, & enjoy your site, but did we watch the same episode? I would go as far as call this a series low that's how bad I thought it was. Not even seeing Barba pleased me as his only doing in this ep was mentioning Lewis and that line could've easily been Fin's instead.
Like what was she even doing there in the first place? My gawd. She went there on a whim and I think she actually made things worse.
And the overacting. By everyone but especially the guest stars. And I can't take it with these writers any longer. Okay so let's have a 16yo raped but let's focus on Liv's frowning face instead cause she's all that's important and the girl comes out sniffing but no let's stay on Liv and focus on her pain and forget about the raped 16yo.
And why did the robber turn rapist out of the blue? Cause Liv was there. Of course. It was not necessary to have a 16yo raped in this episode!! They had already taken it far enough, they did not have to go there just to let Liv suffer through listening/seeing another woman get raped.
I'm just so gutted cause I want to like this show but it's not doing anything to help me out. I'm happy Kelli wasn't in this ep cause I'm pretty sure I would've had to bash her as well. Nothing was good about this episode. Nothing.
I'm not sure I can sit through the next episode with her being back at dr Lindstroms and then *shudder* the upcoming Benson/Tucker romance. I don't think I can call myself a fan any longer and that actually saddens me :(

Ana Andrade said...

I can't wait to see it. I'll leave my full thoughts on this episode tomorrow.

@Chris, I think that they were using a real phone during filming and that November 30 was the day that scene was shot. In the SVU world, Catfishing Teacher still took place in December before Townhouse Incident, which takes place in January. What do you think?

Cath T said...

I enjoyed the episode but I am tired of the Benson in peril stories.

I can see the psychological exploration of how Benson will cope being placed in a similar situation but there were so many hostage situation clichés. Car, fuelled up plane, $1M bucks. Really? I'll put that down to the perp being drugged up and having watched too many hostage dramas.

I'm liking Carisi more and more but maybe that's in contrast to the fact that I'm having a lot of trouble caring about Dodds. The man is a personality free zone. Karl's performance comes across as pretty flat.

Was Fin in the episode? Oh yes he was. I blinked and missed it. Same for Barba.

Please no Benson/Tucker romance. I don't think I could bear it.

Doesn't really sound like I enjoyed it does it? I did. There were some strong moments most notably Mariska.

Mariska was brilliant and I enjoyed watching her performance. That was the highlight for me.

Perhaps it's just my overall view about the season so far. It's just not engaging me.

Chris Zimmer said...

@PetraS - I always wonder how this happens but it does! There have been times I've hated an episode and others have loved it. I think there is a scientific study in there somewhere! It may defy logic but I don't disagree with your observations! Sometimes I watch an episode and get a great vibe and then see it again through the eyes of comments people make here and I can see the flaws. I always appreciate the feedback I get even if it's a polar opposite at times!

@AnaAndrade - I am sure you are correct. I would have thought that there would have been a way to make the lock screen have the correct date on it, even if they had to fake it somehow.

@CathT - I think I am with you on not wanting a Benson/Tucker romance. I love Robert John Burke as Tucker but don't feel a romantic chemistry with Benson.

Carisi has some personality, Fin is becoming devoid of it, Dodds, well, he's still a bit of a blank slate but I don't dislike him. But I really don't get what they are doing with Barba. His presence in this episode didn't make much sense but I will take what I can get (wink).

JS Mc said...

Chris (or anyone), OT, I know, But why has Barba only been included in about 3 or 4 episodes this season? Is he doing a Broadway play or something? I miss him & LIV, their bantering & chemistry...

Chris Zimmer said...

@JS Mc - I don't think he's doing anything on B'way. It's a real mystery!

kat said...

@JS MC and @ Chris Zimmer - Raul was doing Shakespeare in the Park during the beginning of the season, hence his absence.

Also I don't want Tucker/Benson romance. He's old enough to be her dad! I really hope Barba and Liv get together. I mean did you see how many times he kept calling her cell?!

Lannes said...

@kat Agreed! I think that Barba was in the episode to bring that point home. Tucker is a misdirect. Barson need to talk about how he felt when he was in the van and hearing the horror from the other end of the line. And I STILL think that the events from the "Community Policing" come back to haunt Barba. Why else reference that case in THIS episode? If Barba gets hurt, Liv will open her eyes

Victoria Everwood said...

I'm so sick of seeing Olivia in peril. Seasons 9, 10, 12, 14, 15, and now 17 all have her in some sort of "danger." Enough already! And Noah...just...ugh.

As a side note, did the Mysteries of Laura promo remind anyone of a cheap knock off of the SVU Lewis storyline? Even the brief shot of her reaction was an exact copy of Mariska's one current facial expression that never seems to change.

Victoria Everwood said...

@Lannes While I abhor the idea of Olivia dating Tucker, I hope you are aware that she is, at most, only eight years his junior.

Lannes said...

@Victoria Everwood I get that. But I ship Barson, and this is coming from someone who used to think that Stabler should leave his wife and kids for Liv. Barson is something different, and it needs to be explored. Raul and Mariska obviously have this terrific working friendship, so let's see it go deeper!

Victoria Everwood said...

@Lannes Casey and Olivia are the ones who truly belong together. And I'm sorry. My comment about the age was meant for Kat, who said Tucker could be Olivia's dad.

Lannes said...

@kat @Victoria Everwood Casey was all kinds of awesome. May the SVU gods strike me down, but I never was a Cabot fan. Casey was the better ADA. Still, Barba belongs with Liv. That's my story and I;m sticking to it!

Vim said...


Actually actor who is playing Ed Tucker is only 4 years older than actor playing Benson - it is smaller difference than between Barba and Benson.

About episode
Maybe I am biased, but it was already too many episodes that focused at Benson beeing victim. Therefore I hated this episode - only thing which I like, was that they continued previous rape case.

ladybug81 said...

I only got to watch second half of episode because of work. Even though I had already seen the ending online I still felt it was a tense episode. I was very unsure of another Benson in trouble episode but I like that this was handled differently than the Lewis episodes. This was more psychological than physical. I do hope they take the time to explore her mental state after this than they did before. Yes we saw therapy sessions but we didn't always see how she was coping. It was as if she dealt with it as little as possible. When you don't deal with a traumatic situation properly it has a way of coming back on you.

I get the possible reason s behind switching Noah, and the little boy last night is too cute, but I miss those chubby little cheeks. Chris I've wondered the same thing about maybe hinting at Noah having developmental delays based on his early life. I have a sibling who was delayed a bit, he wasn't quiet but it was very difficult to understand him until he was about 5. I keep thinking that could be one reason we never hear him speak.

While I want to see Olivia happy I just can't see it with Tucker. Yes I get the whole 'he's changed. He was just doing his job all those years' argument but I still don't see any chemistry between them. I do think he's changed in ways but again, no chemistry. I think it's interesting several have pointed out Barba as a possible romantic interest here. I've never given them any thought, and I missed most of his scenes last night so I can't speak to how he acted, but I would take him over Tucker. A friend just emailed me her thoughts on the episode & she pointed out that he seemed awfully worried. She also speculated that they could be using Tucker as a distraction. I saw that mentioned several times on twitter last night & think it could be a possibility. When Joe asked her who cared & someone high up I think k she called Tucker because she knew he was a Capt eith the hostage negotiation team & I think there has come to be some form of mutual respect over the last few seasons. Plus she had an odd look when he referred to her as Tucker's girlfriend. Kind of a 'huh?'look. Maybe I'm just rationalizing because I don't want to see them together. I mean if she's gonna be with someone we never thought she'd be with I'd rather it be Alex. At least there was chemistry between them.

Next week seems like it could be interesting as well. I liked how the voice over in the promo said 'when did a misunderstanding become a crime?'

m gomes said...

Chris Zimmer i love ur blog, recaps & reviews but i'm gonna have to disagree on this one, the ep was not boring, but it was stupid,

how come Olivia goes to a house after the nanny told her something was wrong, and doesn't have her guard up?

and the cops only surrounded the front of the house, no one checked the back door for a possible way in,

and the two dumbass intruders don't bother to check the back door for a possible escape, since everybody is at the front door

and worst of all ... Tucker, really? she puts her trust in Tucker

david said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anne said...

I have such mixed feelings about this episode. While I love 2.0 SVU, the Lewis storyline was not my favorite, and I was not at all looking forward to something like it it being revisited. This episode was much, much better than I expected, and I agree with @Chris that the direction was great, it was visually compelling, and Mariska was wonderful (as always). The episode really moved, and was well-paced and taught. Also, it was good to see some follow-up on the push-in rapist from Community Policing, so see Barba, and to see the other members of the squad have something to do, even though it was limited.

OTOH, I agree with @PetraS that the episode had a LOT of problems. The biggest problem (for me) is that it felt really forced. It seemed like the writers were working backwards from the idea of having Liv in a hostage situation, and were straining for a way to get her there. They didn't want her held hostage again by an SVU perp, but this was completely convoluted. There was no way Liv would have done this (stopped by an unknown house), especially since she was supposed to be somewhere else. She's a LT, she would have called a couple officers from that precinct to make a welfare check on the house. I'm not looking for absolute realism in TV, but this was silly and felt so forced.

The coked up hostage taker -- ehh. The rape of the teenager felt absolutely gratuitous and exploitative. I also did not understand at all why Liv would call Tucker? Why not Dodds Sr? He's more senior in the department, and Liv has had a fraught relationship w/ IAB. And 20 years ago Tucker was in hostage negotiation? Um, OK. I so hope there is no Tuckson romance -- UGGHHH.

Also (and maybe I should stop reading stuff the writers post), there had been some talk (like a Hollywood Reporter article) that this would be Liv reacting differently to a tough situation because now she had Noah. I didn't see that at all (which is fine, Liv is who she is, and Mariska embodies her perfectly IMO). But Liv has always been a character who is a survivor w/ a strong sense of self-preservation. At the same time, she has said over and over to perps (including Lewis) "take me and let the other person go." And she did the exact same thing here! I wouldn't have expected her to act any differently, but the hype was this was a different Liv, with different priorities, and therefore she would act differently in a hostage situation.

I personally am not looking forward to a lot of Liv-In-Therapy episodes so I hope that's not the way they go. I think they were trying to showcase Mariska by putting her in peril, and while some things worked, others didn't. It will be interesting to see how the season develops.

Lisa said...

The episode was a hundred kinds of bad
Benson in peril is over done if she is this traumatized she shouldn't be a cop

david said...

Old enemies sometimes become new friends. Tucker's antagonism towards SVU was greatly reduced after Stabler left.

CLA said...

@ Petra

I understand: as you love Rollins, if Amanda instead Olívia of you would have loved the episode. Writers esolhem Olivia because they know of Mariska skills. The episode won much praise, especially for Mariska. And SVU rose through the ranks. It is always like this: episodes focused on Olivia has more viewers. They know this and exploit the fact. After all, the series survives if it is seen.

Anne said...

@CLA You're right. At the end of the day, they have to make a show people want to watch, and based on the ratings, it seems that this is the kind of story people want to see.

Anonymous said...

Wow @ Anne, you seem to have relayed my thoughts! :)

I certainly liked the episode better than I thought. I too wondered why Benson went to the townhouse and didn't ask 2 of her detectives to check out the situation there or better yet try to call and talk to someone first! She put everyone including herself in danger, not to mention all the tax dollars spent on negotiation and SWAT teams! :)

I was also surprised she would call Tucker and not Dodds Sr. and that he wouldn't even be mentioned in this episode. I mean he is her boss.

I found myself wondering why Barba^s character was even there? That was wasted dialog IMO.

After all that drama and rape of a 16 year old girl and people being beaten, my husband and I laughed out loud when Ralph said that they had robbed the family because their mother needed a new hip! It was like a knee jerk reaction I think cuz of all the drama happening because some woman needs a new hip?!? sheesh!

I have to say that I liked Dodds Jr. better than I have. His more assertive attitude is becoming to his character.

I too will miss the little boy that originally played Noah. I mean we have seen him from an infant on the show and growing up to toddler, why wouldn't we miss his endearing face?

The writing was not the greatest in this episode. It was written by Brianna Yellen. Her name did not look familiar to me and I found myself wondering if she had written any other SVU episodes before?

And lastly, as far as a romance between Benson and Tucker or her and Barba I just can't seem to swallow it. I think that would end it for SVU and for me. :/

Ana Andrade said...

I thought this episode was better than I expected. However, it went the way I thought it would. The acting and directing were good in my opinion. It was fast-paced and drama-filled.

However, there were some things that I completely didn't like. The rape of the teenage girl was completely pointless and unnecessary. Also, Joe becoming a rapist was unrealistic and only served the purpose of "traumatizing" Liv even more. I put the quotation marks on traumatizing because in my opinion, there is nothing about this experience that seems especially horrific. Not that this wasn't terrible, but she's been through way worse, especially with Lewis.

For some reason, I liked the old Noah better. It's so weird seeing another kid playing him. As for Tuckson, I don't want it to happen. I felt that Liv should have had Fin be the one they were talking to because they've known each other the longest.

@HerbaceousHaven - Brianna Yellen has written episodes for SVU before.

Anonymous said...

@Ana, Thank you! Do you know specifically the episode names that she has written? I'm wondering how I liked those. :)

Ana Andrade said...

I know that she has written Decaying Morality with Kevin Fox as well as the teleplays of Institutional Fail and Melancholy Pursuit with other writers.

Ana Andrade said...

I know that she has written Decaying Morality with Kevin Fox as well as the teleplays of Institutional Fail and Melancholy Pursuit with other writers.

Ana Andrade said...

My previous comment was for @HerbaceousHaven

Anne said...

@HerbaceousHaven I think Brianna also co-wrote Granting Immunity.

Chris Zimmer said...

@HerbaceousHaven: IMDB has all her credits:

Anonymous said...

Thank you both @Ana and @Anne!

After SVU, last night, I switched over and watched American Crime.
Same kind of story as we've seen on SVU, but the acting and writing was so good I found myself being sucked in. It was compelling and heartbreaking and I found myself wondering why we can't have that performance on SVU?
I love the characters on SVU but it certainly is lacking most of the time in substance.

Laurie Fanat said...

I am not sure how I feel about this episode. We all knew Olivia would come out of it okay. As Chris said, many are tired of Benson always being in danger. But at least the show tried hard to put together an hour of television that, on the surface, was very watchable. I agree that once we dig into the fine details, things get sucky. Benson made an error by going alone to the house, especially without telling anyone on her staff, her new Sergeant to be exact, where she was going. She allowed herself into the home when even she sensed something was wrong. She should have backed away at once when Lisa first turned her away, and then called for backup.

She did try to diffuse the situation and gain the upper hand, but it also seemed a little too easy for her to turn Roxie. Barba was there for show only. I usually don’t comment on stuff like this but Raul did not look well to me. With his recent absences from the series with zero explanation from the show’s producers are even his own twitter feed, I worry there is something wrong with him. It’s none of my business about his personal life, I’m just saying that something seems wrong and I think fans sense there is something not right with one of the fist billed characters being missing so much.

As I mentioned, Benson’s being in peril is tiresome and if they were looking for this to create a more severe (or relapse) of PTSD for Benson, count me in as bored already.

I have grown to like Tucker but please no shipping with Benson. Ick. Same with Barba. I would rather see her with someone outside her inner circle. I can’t recall who suggested it long ago, maybe it was you Chris, that she should pair up with Trevor Langan (her real life husband Peter) and they should go off into the sunset. If the series ends this year, this is how they should end it.

I have to remind myself that this is network TV, which doesn’t have the latitude as do the shows on cable. For a network show, they did a nice job. I agree with Chris on the location stuff. They need to do more of this, it makes it look like a classy producti

juda O said...

Hi Chris thanks for your recap again, as I told you earlier I'm crushed over Alan Rickman death but that's just something I wanted to say to pay my respects to him. Now as far as the show I like it only thing was we seen this story with Benson been kidnapped many times like on the episode escape from season 5 also in season 13 where she negotiated with a kid not to kill nanny and of course William Lewis and while I'm at it Stabler in the episode where dr. Warner shot the kid at the end and in the season finally of season 10,Benson is the luckiest not to have nothing happen to her. I mentioned William Lewis I swear in the beginning of the episode the actor looked a little like William Lewis, anyway like you mentioned it was good to see Barbra and carisi is becoming a favorite of mine and I always pay attention to dates I swear my birthday October 15 has appeared so many times on svu.

Petra S said...

@CLA - I'm not sure if it was a question or not but if it was I think I answered it in my initial comment. Not even Kelli could've saved this episode for me and I'm happy she wasn't in it or had that storyline written for her.

Warren has made it clear on Twitter that he's fishing for an Emmy for MH and if they want to do that by throwing random rape victims in there just so viewers feel pity for HER that won't work with me. They should be ashamed of themselves for exploiting rape like that. I stick by what I said earlier, raping that 16yo was unnecessary for this episode but if they felt they had to go towards a sexual assault then at least they should've found a way for Liv to prevent that from happening. THAT would've been heroic and also different from the Lewis arch.

Adi said...

I enjoyed the episode, but I can see why it polarizes people. SVU has a tendency to drive up the hysteria far, far, far more than the original Law & Order did to the point where sometimes it feels more like a CSI episode than Law & Order.
But in this case, the drama an on-site locations felt more grounded - it was a pretty basic premise, but the added variables of a completely unstable and unprepared kidnapper on drugs made things more interesting. I wish the writers would have pushed things a bit further and at least killed one of the hostages since obviously they weren't going to kill Benson.

RE: Noah not speaking - this is probably two-fold. One is that yes, you do have to pay more for speaking child actors largely because kids are godamn nightmares to direct in terms of lines or even basic stage directions.

This drives up production costs because any time a child has to do ANYTHING the chance of them screwing up their line or their continuity is about 10 times higher than an amateur actor. You're literally working with someone whose brain hasn't physiologically developed to understand the nature of what they're doing.

Add to that that they can only work for 3-4 hours a day max, one scene where a kid as young as Noah actually DOES stuff can take so, so much longer.

That's why Modern Family waited to become a breakout success before having ANOTHER baby plotline. Even their initial costs with the young kids must have been staggering.

(This is also why twins are in high demand as child actors. You can double your shoot time)

Theuresamaven said...

I believe that at least part of this episode was based on the home invasion in Cheshire, Connecticut, where all three women in the family, including a fourteen year old, were raped and murdered, the father beaten nearly to death, and their home set on fire while the police looked on at a distance. In the Connecticut case, the mother was also taken to the bank to withdraw funds, and the bank notified the police. The situation was so heinous, the govenor postponed the vote on ending the death penalty, so that the perpetrators could be given the death penalty if found guilty. If this SVU was indeed based on the Connecticut case, the writers showed a great deal of retraint because they waited nearly ten years before using the material. Regarding the writers, there have only been ten episodes shown this season, and I would like to see where they are going. That being said, I really do miss Fazekas & Butters' writing, those were the best seasons of SVU.

Chris Zimmer said...

@Adi, you make a great point. Imagine the dramatic effect and ensuing discussion had a hostage (not Benson) been killed? That could have also raised the stakes even higher for Benson.

@Theuresamaven - I read something recently which I think said it may have been based on another case and now I can't find that article.

@Petra - it does seem too obvious at times that they are hoping for an Emmy for Mariska, but sadly while she did a fine job here, I think her Emmy nomination chances are slim. There are so many other roles out there for women who are doing so much better that I doubt she has a chance, mpo matter how hard they try. Adi mentioned the writers could have pushed things further by killing a hostage and I think he's on to something. The rape was exploitative and seemed like they just decided to toss it in to make it even more like a special victims case. The more I read the comments about this episode the more I can understand why, as Adi said, that it polarized people!

Doreen Chiapparelli said...

OLIVIA took control of that situation! She totally used her past experience with lewis to manipulate Joe and roxy. Saved that family and herself.BADASS ENDING Emmy worthy mariska was epic!!

Doreen Chiapparelli said...

OLIVIA took control of that situation! She totally used her past experience with lewis to manipulate Joe and roxy. Saved that family and herself.BADASS ENDING Emmy worthy mariska was epic!!

BensonFan said...

I feel like the person who habitually says she will leave her no-good spouse who refuses to change. Then there's a spark of transformation, and I'm hooked right in again. That's my relationship with SVU these days. I keep swearing I'll give it up because there are so many things about it that I can't stand now. Then an episode like this comes along that reminds me of the good old days, and I give it another chance.

Lol I think I need help!

Phil Smith said...

I enjoyed this episode. Believe it or not I actually have nothing to pick at. I think the show was well done, despite Benson seeming to be a magnet for kidnapping. Now maybe it would have been a twist to have one of the male detectives in that situation for a change, could have been a different chemistry that a male would have had with Joe and Roxy. To either event I still liked this episode.

@Chris Zimmer, I know it has never been stated, but I think Tucker calming down and respecting Benson and the squad; has to do with Stabler leaving the NYPD. Can't be just a coincidence that he started softening after Stabler's departure. I think Tucker and Benson butted heads more because her taking her partner's side, which made her guilty by association. For a long while Tucker wanted Stabler's badge and let's face it Stabler was a loose cannon. I think know that he got to know the real Benson he realized she was not at all like her former partner and common respect grew from there.

Phil Smith said...

I said this before that Benson should hook up with Jackson Zane, the journalist. It was obvious that there was romantic chemistry between them. It could make for a great episode Zane out of no where approaches Benson, maybe a story he's working on, he's clearly out of jail now, he had been sentenced to 5 years. So maybe his sources break wide open a case, like a bigwig in nyc city hall that's a molester. This could also give Barba lots of screen time. Benson and Zane of course they become romantically involved, where it was left off at in 2005.

Chris Zimmer said...

@PhilSmith - When Meloni exited the show (meaning Stabler's exit), so did showrunner Neal Baer. I think over time, Warren Leight and his crew just decided to take Tucker into a different direction. It didn't happen right away. If I recall correctly, Tucker also seemed to have some issue with Amaro similar to the issues he had with Stabler. While Tucker did seem to really have it out for Stabler, I still think that he's softened a lot more since Benson took over AND after her ordeal with Lewis.

@BensonFan I don't think you need help! I think there are a lot of fans out there that probably feel the same way. It's the new normal (wink)!

@DoreenChiapparelli I think this was a great episode for Mariska to show what she can do when given an interesting story!

Theuresamaven said...

Actually, Benson and Tucker make great sense, considering that his attitude towards her has been softening for years (back to when he thought that he had killed an innocent victim). While he looks older because his hair is gray, Burke and Hargartay are only four years apart in age. Something must be happening, since Tucker was the one that Benson chose to call when she was told to call someone who cared for her. Whatever they do, I hope that SVU doesn't go into the "family" thing like they did with Stabler's family in the beggining of the series, where roughly fifteen minutes of each episode centered on the Stabler family, which did not allow for the episode's plot development.

Theuresamaven said...

Possibly because New York brownstones, particularly in that area, have a back door and a yard, but because these yards end in a six foor high wooden fence with an inverted "V" type spikes on the top, and there is no egress? But since the ESU captain said that the block was sealed off, that the block had been surrounded, with all possible exits blocked.

Chris Zimmer said...

@Theuresamaven I always cringed at the Stabler family drama. I simply despised it!

Theuresamaven said...

May I suggest that it is Esparza and Giddish who actually have the chemistry, and that no one on the SVU, besides Meloni, had any chemistry with Hargarty? Perhaps it's time to bring some new blood.

Theuresamaven said...

Maybe it was Mr. Settle's over the top ADHD portrayal of Zane, but I found him kind of creepy.

CLA said...

@ Petra

This question what writers do episodes for Mariska win an Emmy is very questionable. In my view, people draw their own conclusions without any foundations. I think it unlikely that at this point, Mariska even think about winning an Emmy. Mariska already has an Emmy and a Golden Globe. Kelly Gidish trambém espisódios had focused on it, as well as Meloni. Had they not been awarded was not for lack of talent. Many aspects interfere with indications and awards.
SVU is a series or arouses passions in his fans. I have never denied that I am an admirer of the grander Mariska Hargitay work in and out of screens. I think she has won the biggest prize of his life: the recognition of his enormous talent and especially the admiration of society its social work, aimed at helping the victims of sexual and domestic abuse. Mariska has become a social activist, a humanitarian. Shall not'm jealous of its beauty, its comfortable financial situation. I admit though, I envy their initiative, their dynamism, their entrepreneurship, which ultimately are factors that can change the world for the better.

Cris, I just saw the episode and its revision was fantastic.

Sorry, for my English.

Will Serrano said...

RJB is just 4 years older than Benson. Also, a throw away line or two explaining his promotion to captain would have been nice. Tucker is an old character from the early 2000s for the show since he was a sergeant, so it would be nice to learn more about him, actually. I'm done with Benson's abduction/hostage/kidnapping stories. They exhausted them with William Lewis's storyline. There was the prison story where she nearly got assaulted under cover, the time the guy she put away got out and attacked her after he got raped in prison because he thought she set him up, the guy in the cabin Amaro shot from under the floor board, William Lewis twice, the kid who held her hostage who didn't know his TV producer dad drugged & assaulted people auditioning for parts, this episode, am I missing anything? My point isn't the reused plot device, it is mainly that Benson didn't kick any ass and was untied multiple times, and had access to disarming that burglar in the room with kid, and in the end only managed to convince her to give herself up after inspecting the SUV. Even Erin on Chicago PD took names, chewed bubble gum and destroyed that one dude to save her life, despite getting injured. Same with Burgess. Benson tried talking her way out.

CLA said...

@ Will Serrano

My point is not reused the plot device, it is Mainly que Benson did not kick any ass and was untied multiple times, and had access to disarming que burglar in the room with kid, and in the end only managed to convince her to give herself up after inspecting the SUV.

You're kidding right? Benson is a competent and balanced police. She knows what she does and always makes perfection. In the arc of Lewis, it brilliantly overwhelmed. In this episode she was hostage she was perfect. Acted cautiously, not put at risk the lives of the victims and, when he saw what was possible, dominated Joe. And although I like Erin, CP, Benson is many places above.

Theuresamaven said...

Do you really believe everything that you read? Whenever any of the Law and Order franchise says that the episode is coincidental, especially at the beginning of an episode, I never believe it, every since that law suit by the Indian American attorney from Brooklyn who sued Dick Wolf and the franchise. The case was dropped, but every time that I see the disclaimer in the beginning, rather than the end if the episode, I always believe that it is based on truth. The episode that proves my theory was on Criminal Intent, the one where the four college students were killed while in a park, and shown a week before the actual trial. The actual trial in New Jersey found all of tge perpetrators guilty, but as of last week, the main perp appealed.

Unknown said...

A lot of people cringing at a possible Benson/Tucker romance, but I reckon they'd be really cute together! Why anyone would rather Benson/Barba bewilders me. Apart from his character, Barba hasn't physically, emotionally or mentally experienced Benson's ordeals; Tucker's worked in ESU. Don't get me wrong, I still love Barba and the way he dresses like an eternal bachelor.

Karen Bland said...

So which episode did olivia and tucker get together? I want to go back and watch that one!

Chris Zimmer said...

@Karen Bland - the first episode where it was made know she was in a relationship with Tucker was "Collateral Damages" which aired in February. The recap, check out the pic towards the end of the recap:

T said...

I recently discovered your website, and think it's awesome! Just had to mention that, keep up the good work.

I really liked this episode, which surprised me. When I saw the preview for it, I immediately rolled my eyes and questioned how many times Olivia would be in these types of situations. It reminds me of the lawyer on Walker Texas Ranger, but I think Chuck Norris was the only one who took that show seriously. We are actually supposed to take SVU seriously.

Despite my cringe reflex (and I am actually someone who thoroughly enjoys hostage situations when it's not the same character 30 times), I thought the execution was great. It was totally not realistic how Olivia found herself in that situation, but how everything unfolded was interesting IMO.

I love SVU and can sit through some serious binge sessions, but I can also at times be a harsh critic. I think that comes from the fact that I am police officer, and while no detective, am very aware of when SVU takes some extreme artistic licenses. I understand it's good for the drama, and don't usually mind.

I am seemingly in the minority, but I think Benson/Tucker are awesome together. While some see their past as too negative to overcome, I see it as something that strengthens their relationship because they overcame it. They must really care about each other to let those bygones be bygones! They went from enemies to allies essentially, because they got a more wholistic understanding of each other.

I think it helps that they have developed Tucker in recent seasons. His interactions with Benson have changed, as well as his approach in investigations. He's shown a softer side, and an interest in her career success. I also think it shows growth on Benson's part that she would let him in. Some of it might come from promotions that she understands the system more, and the need to hold the detectives in her squad accountable, though she still has loyalty to them. She probably understands Tucker's role in that more, and why he needs to be relentless to get to the truth. Especially since they are shown to cover for each other and such. Plus in reality people can go from love to hate very easily, so the opposite does not strike me as unrealistic.

I think I also give Tucker a pass because i understand the need for IAB. While I hopefully will never personally experience an IA investigation, I understand why they can't give you the benefit of the doubt. It would lead to so many other issues. It's easy to label the investigators the enemy, but really they do a hard, but necessary job. I like Tucker, and I like Olivia with him.

guel1028 said...

I found it kinda strange how they put Benson in another hostage situation so soon after the William Lewis thing. Does anyone else feel like the guy who was keeping Olivia and the kids hostage kinda looked like William Lewis too?

Unknown said...

I'm watching this as a rerun right now, and wanted to see if anyone else thought Olivia is a total imbecile in this episode. No? Someone shows up and says there's an obvious problem..she goes over to check it out...she allows herself to walk/be pulled into it..oh's a day when no one is expecting her so won't realize she's missing! How convenient. Don't call and let a fellow police officer know what's going on, don't ask for an armed co-worker to meet you for backup. No, wander into a sketchy situation with all the stealth of a new born kitten. Leading to the rape of a young girl, the near death of the father bleeding out on the kitchen floor, and the full scale invasion and evacuation of the neighborhood. One phone call and this would all have been avoided. I believe I see, once again, why I gave up watching this show on a regular basis years ago.