Thursday, February 18, 2016

Law & Order SVU “Collateral Damages” Recap & Review

“Collateral Damages” lived up to its name, with one high powered official, Deputy Commissioner Hank Abraham, getting caught with a massive amount of child porn. As Hank isn’t very well liked, his troubles don't bring much sympathy. But his family is hit hard with the collateral damage. Hank’s wife – revealed as SVU favorite Pippa Cox –  is now on shaky ground with her job and their children must live with the shame and embarrassment for years to come. Yet Hank, the slime ball that he is, is initially more worried about saving his own guilty skin. Somewhat predictably,  he attempts suicide, and Pippa finds him in time, saving Hank’s sorry life. It’s only after this event that Hank gets some sense and cuts a deal with Barba to plead guilty. This was an excellent, well-written episode with plenty of drama, taking two unrelated characters and crafting a tragic story line for both. Playing out in the background were interesting stories for the main cast as well.

Sergeant Dodds is still recovering from his gunshot wound, and his father, the Deputy Chief, was putting pressure on him to take a position with the joint terrorism task force. While his father is pushing him higher up the ladder, Dodds sounds unsure he wants to climb any further. He likes working with the SVU. The question:  as Andy Karl will be playing the lead in the stage musical version of “Groundhog Day” and will likely not have time for SVU at some point, how will Dodds leave the squad? Will he eventually take his father’s advice, or will he have an unhappy ending?

In addition to  the secretive marriage of Pippa Cox and Hank Abraham, we find that Benson and Tucker’s (likely secret) relationship has progressed. As Benson and Tucker head into a bar, Benson sees what looks like a crowd of younger people having fun, and decides to go somewhere else. I don’t think there was anyone in there that she recognized; I think she may have wanted to be somewhere quieter, more relaxing, and maybe more intimate. As they walked off to find another place to get a drink, Benson hooks her arm into his. I am not sure if I am happy for her or revolted over this relationship. Tucker (AKA "Mother Tucker") has been such an ass to her in the past, but I know their relationship has changed over time. Even though I know we’re talking fictional characters here, I never had any desire to see these two people have a romantic relationship as I never felt that kind of chemistry between them. But I’m willing to go with the flow here and see what happens.

Jessica Phillips, who played Pippa Cox, was exceptional in this episode. As usual, Raúl Esparza was fantastic in portraying  Barba’s disgust and frustration with Hank Abraham.  Josh Pais has always done a fine job as the annoying Hank Abraham, and he's done it so well that I'm happy to see his character get his comeuppance.

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 – Sergeant Mike Dodds
Robert John Burke – Captain Ed Tucker
Jessica Phillips – Pippa Cox
Josh Pais - DCPI Hank Abraham
Peter Gallagher - Deputy Chief Williams Dodds
Danny Johnson - Teddy "Brown Sugar" Hawkins
George Morfogen – Mr. Marcowicz
Susie Essman - Counselor Arlene Heller
Sarah Mezzanotte - Amber
Ned Eisenberg - Roger Kressler
Stephen Bradbury – Judge Colin McNamara
Mayank Saxena – CCS Officer
Peyton Lusk - Jordan Abraham
Jadyn Tattoli – Lia Abraham
Alexander Driscoll - Daniel Pullman
Adam Lim - Guo Chang
Jessica Sharples – Naomi
Bill Kochs – Reporter #1
Dawn Yanek – Reporter #2

Teddy "Brown Sugar" Hawkins is taking photos with fans and selling his barbecue sauce. Rollins arrives, working undercover as “Crystal” with her “niece” Amber. Teddy thinks Amber is a bombshell and Amber seems amazed it is famous boxer Teddy Hawkins. Benson and Fin are monitoring nearby, and when Benson worries if “Amber” knows what she is doing as she looks young, Fin explains Amber is from the academy and that Rollins prepped her and primed Teddy. Fin radios to Carisi, asking if he “has eyes” and Carisi says he thinks Teddy is not wasting any time. Teddy offers “Crystal” and “Amber” long island ice teas and when Amber asks if she needs an ID, he says not when she is with Teddy. While they drink, we can see that Rollins’ necklace includes a camera and Fin and Benson can observe and record. Amber is enamored with Teddy’s boxing belts, and he comments the ones displayed are replicas and offers to show them the real ones. They agree to follow Teddy downstairs to see them. Carisi worries to Benson and Fin that if they go downstairs he will lose sight of them, but Fin assures him they still have visual on Rollins’ cam.

Rollins walks in with Hawkins, and Amber is amazed at the place and his boxing awards. He tells her she has the face of an angel and a body for sin. While Rollins stands in the background, he tells Amber to sit, asking how old is she again? She says she is almost 16. He says she is so young, asking if she ever thinks about modeling. He adds he has a friend that runs an agency, asking if he can take some photos for him. She says that would be amazing. He gets his camera and asks her to smile for him. She laughs and he takes some photos. He asks her to stretch a little, and she giggles and lays back. He says she is so pretty and she giggles more. Benson and Fin continue to observe from the camera feed. He suggests she open her blouse a little more, and she complies. He asks if she take her top off, and Amber looks to Rollins, who says “If that’s what Teddy wants,” so Amber removes her top as Teddy snaps photos. He asks her to turn around and unhook her bra, and she takes more photos and says he is starting to get other ideas. He moves to undo his belt and asks her to get on her knees. Rollins pulls her gun and announces she is NYPD as Amber moves away, covering herself with her arms. Teddy asks what is this, saying nothing happened, as Benson, Fin, and Carisi arrive. They arrest him for attempted rape. He is outraged. As they remove him from the room, Fin tells Rollins and Amber “nice work.” Rollins comments that if you stay in the job long enough, all your heroes die. Amber has a blank look on her face as she and Rollins walk off.

In SVU interrogation, Counselor Heller, representing Teddy, says this is harassment and that Hawkins was set up. Carisi counters that he didn’t hear him say no. Hawkins says when the woman approached him with her foul come-ons, he decided to gather evidence. Rollins asks if this is why he asked her niece to get on her knees. Hawkins replies he wanted to see how far they would go before he made a citizen’s arrest. Carisi laughs. Meanwhile, along with Benson in her office, Barba is watching the interrogation and he turns off the sound, asking dryly who is this exemplary human being? Benson says it is Teddy “Brown Sugar” Hawkins, the former boxing champ and the current face for all those shopping mall barbecue joints. Barba asks if he realizes how much trouble he is in, and Benson says not yet; he’s been doing this for so long he thinks he is bulletproof. Deputy Commissioner Hank Abraham enters and claps, saying, “There they are, my two favorite people!” He says he has good news for a change. Barba takes a breath and says word travels fast. Abraham comments they have Hawkins on attempted rape and asks what else, what about child porn? Benson states that TARU tossed his home computers and this is clean but they did find some bad sites on his restaurant service but they can’t prove that he accessed them. Abraham comments that still Hawkins is a big get, and that One PP wants him schlonged, perp-walked, cuffed, and his punim on every cable news show in the country. He tells Benson well done and he leaves the office. Barba stares forward and when Benson comments with sarcasm that she got an attaboy from Hank Abraham, Barba adds with a blank face, “Cue the apocalypse.” Benson turns the audio back on, and Rollins and Carisi continue to question Teddy who claims entrapment. Benson enters and tells Heller to get her client camera ready as it is time for his perp-walk. She tells Teddy he is about to trend world-wide, and she points to the front entrance, saying the press is en route. But Teddy caves, and whispers to Heller. He says they have Teddy all wrong, he is a hero and will get them the real bad guys. Heller says Teddy will expose an on-line pedophile ring, and to tell Barba to stop admiring himself in that glass and come in and do his job.

At the Physical Therapy Clinic at Mercy Hospital on Wednesday February 10, Dodds is undergoing therapy when his father Deputy Chief Dodds arrives, who complains his son is not returning his father’s calls. Sgt. Dodds says he is doing better, rubbing his arm, asking how is he? His father said he just had breakfast with the head of the joint terrorism task force and suggests Sgt. Dodds switch gigs, saying everyone knows about his heroism. Sgt. Dodds says he got shot, but his father reminds him it was in the line of duty and the word is he took a bullet for that rogue detective from Chicago. Sgt. Dodds questions who is spreading that word, and his father says to never mind that, this is his ticket up and out. When Sgt. Dodds says he just got to SVU, his father says that was just a stepping stone, part of the 5-year plan, and if he wants his lieutenant’s bars, to go JTTF, that is where the juice is now. But when Sgt. Dodds says he is just getting comfortable, his father tells him to never get comfortable, and as soon as his shoulder is better, back on the ladder.

Back at the SVU, Teddy is talking about himself in the third person, and says he wants to do the right thing, stating  people offer him videos all the time and he can help take those guys down. Heller says Teddy does not view this material, he just knows people who do. Barba asks if she is saying her client doesn’t download this stuff yet the people that do trust Teddy implicitly? She says right, and comments since they have less than a flawless case – undercovers drinking and stripping – the smart move is to go after the real creeps: the distributors in the act of uploading. Barba sighs, and tells Teddy the charges aren’t going away but the more he cooperates, the more generous Barba will be with sentencing recommendations. Heller asks him to hold off on the arraignment; it is better that the people he is reaching out to don’t know he has been arrested. Teddy explains these guys don’t post the juicy stuff until after midnight.

Later, the police knock down an apartment door and Carisi enters and nabs a man uploading. Fin does the same in another man’s apartment. Fin calls Benson and Barba who are at the SVU squad room and says Pullman is in custody and is crying like a bitch. Barba makes the two men off the board and Benson tells Rollins that Carisi is on his way to her. Rollins says they should have saved him the trip; it’s almost 1AM and maybe the person with the ID “babybanger” on the “cradlerobberz” web site took the night off. Carisi arrives and he and Rollins are ready to call it a night when suddenly they see activity. Carisi comments that is bad luck for him, in another minute they would have been out of there. Inside, Carisi breaks down the door to find an old man inside, not online, and confused about why they are there. The detectives see no computer as they explain why they are there and Rollins asks where is his modem. The old man seems clueless but Carisi sees a box which Mr. Marcowicz says his neighbor said he put in for his cable. Carisi sees it is emitting the signal going next door. Marcowicz says a nice family with two kids live there. Rollins and Carisi step into the hall and the door from the apartment next door opens, and Pippa Cox is shocked to see them there, saying she heard something. Rollins and Carisi are just as surprised to see her, and Rollins asks if they can come in, saying their cells are down and asks if she has a computer they can use. Pippa lets them in, saying her husband is still up and in his office and is sure he won’t mind. Carisi asks is her husband has his own home office, and Pippa says he needs it, adding :you know him, always working.” Rollins whispers this is a police matter, then she and Carisi open the doors to find Deputy Commissioner Hank Abraham there, on his computer. He tries to close out the screen and asks what are they doing here? Carisi says they were just about to ask the same questions, and orders him to step away from the computer. He complies. Rollins looks back at the computer which now shows a photo of his family.

Rollins accesses the computer while Carisi is on the phone with Benson. Pippa asks what is going on, and Hank says nothing, it is departmental business and to stay out of this. She backs away. Hank tells Carisi he assumes Benson told them to walk out of there, and Carisi states that she is on her way. Hank claims this is an innocent mistake, he clicked too many buttons. Carisi raises his voice and counters that they caught him in the act of distributing child porn. Hand says he has a secure modem from the NYPD, and Rollins stands up and states this is why he caches Wi-Fi from his 80-year- old neighbor. Hanks says this gets crazier and crazier, but Rollins seems sickened by him and says she is going outside to wait for Benson. She leaves, and Hank tells Carisi that he doesn’t want to put the two of them in a bad position, he knows they are just the messengers, but this could go wrong in a lot of ways. Carisi says he hopes that is not a threat, and Hank just glares back at him.

Outside, Benson arrives. Fin is there waiting with another Sergeant and Benson asks that Sergeant to turn off his flashing lights on his car.  He complies. Fin says he was halfway home when he got Rollins' call and figured Benson could use the back up. She thanks him and says they are still in the apartment.  Fin asks if computer crimes is there yet, and Benson says almost, asking for time to get Pippa and the kids out.

Captain Tucker arrives and Benson walks away from Fin and approaches Tucker. Tucker says, “I know you live to make my life miserable, but JC, Mary and Joseph, this?” Benson counters he didn’t have to wake the Commissioner and tell him his trusted PR chief was busted for child porn. Tucker adds that he never trusted that guy anyway. Benson states that no one does, he’s an angry prick. Tucker asks if she is sure it is him, and Benson replies her squad knows what they are doing. Tucker asks that Hank’s wife is that red-headed DA, and Benson confirms it is Pippa Cox, she is a lawyer for Social Services and she protects kids. Tucker says this gets worse, and Benson confirms it does: they have two of their own. Tucker approaches Fin and Rollins who are waiting on the steps and he asks if Rollins is sure every “i” dotted and “t” crossed. She explains they tracked the Wi-Fi to his computer and caught him actively uploading. They took a digital snapshot of his entire system and everything was by the book. Tucker says he is sure it was but…Benson cuts him off and tells Rollins that Tucker just wants to make sure they hand IAB an airtight case. Tucker adds that if Hank was not the initial target they will need an updated warrant, and Rollins replies it is almost here and in the meantime, should they bring Hank in? Benson says yes but not to cuff him in front of his family. Tucker adds to get Hank out of there before the press shows up.

Inside, Hank is concerned about all the police cars and when Carisi moves to cuff him, Rollins explains Benson said they do not have to do that. He tells Hank he wouldn’t count on too many more favors. As Rollins and Carisi leave the room with Hank, Pippa looks for answers but he says it is a misunderstanding and tells her to keep calling Roger Kressler and meet him at SVU. The kids are upset.

The apartment door opens to a hoard of law enforcement officers and Hank asks if they have to do it like this in the middle of the night. Benson states they are just following protocol. He sees Tucker and asks who called IAB? Tucker tells Hank he is not a cop thank god, just a departmental employee. Hank counters he has a hell of a lot more juice than Tucker. Benson asks Rollins to take Hank down now. As they leave, Tucker says let’s do this, but Benson asks for five more minutes,

Inside, Carisi is talking with the kids, with Pippa present who tries to assure them it will be okay. Benson enters and Pippa is glad to see her, but is shocked to find Benson has a warrant to search the apartment. Pippa says this is impossible but Benson says it is not, CCS is outside and they need to start their search now. Pippa complains it is 2 in the morning. Benson says she will get them a hotel and is stalling the CCS search as is, but Pippa needs to pack her bags and get her kids dressed and they need to go now. Pippa gets the kids and rushes off to do so. As the kids leave, they see a dog there who will sniff for the contraband and when young Lia goes to pet it, Fin says she can’t play with the dog right now. Pippa tells the kids it is all a bad dream.

The apartment is searched everywhere, and the dog detects something in the bedroom. They open a bedroom drawer and find flash drives attached to the bottom of the underwear drawer. Tucker tells them to put them in separate Faraday bags and make sure every procedure is by the book and he wants a clear chain of custody on this.

At SVU, Hank is in interrogation with Kressler, and Benson is in her office. Benson tells Tucker that Kressler got there at 6AM and has been in there for over an hour. Tucker wonders what their strategy is. He comments that CCS processed the flash drives and describes the hard core content. Barba doesn’t know what to say. Tucker states they are running facial recognition and Barba asks them to confirm he was caching a Wi-Fi signal from next door. Benson explains how Rollins and Carisi caught Hank in the act. Benson adds who else had access to his den but they dusted his computer for prints and Hank’s are the only ones on it. Tucker adds that the password he uses for the chat room is the same one Hank uses for the NYPD server. Barba asks where is his family. Benson explains they spent the night at the hotel and they had unis monitoring them; Pippa is on her way to SVU now with the kids for their interview. Barba comments Pippa is corporation counsel for Children and Family Services and her job is to protect abused children. He questions that she had no idea, and Benson replies she really does not think so. She walked Rollins and Carisi straight into that den when he was online. Rollins knows on the door and enters, saying that Hank’s lawyer says they are ready. Barba lets out a heavy sigh and walks to the door. He stops and asks if they want to join him or is he on his own?

Barba walks in, along with Tucker and Hank. who claims this is a political take down, yelling it is Barba and the DA’s office. While the interrogation continues, Rollins enters Benson’s office and explains Pippa, and the kids Jordan and Lia, are there for their interviews and where does Benson want them? Benson said to put them in interview, she just wants to keep them away from this.

Benson enters the interview room where Pippa is waiting alone. Pippa is clearly not thrilled with what is going on and Benson explains the protocol. Pippa wants to place the blame on others that have entered their apartment and they know Hank has enemies.

Meanwhile, Hank is still in denial and Kressler tries to blame it on the neighbor’s modem. Hank says his modem was down and he may have tried his neighbor's by mistake. He states that an image popped up and then many others that he could not close. That must have sent him into a wormhole. Baba asks if this only happened one time, but when Hank says yes, Tucker explains the evidence they have from CCS. They tracked usage from his same account from the night before, over an hour, and 18 hours in the past week. Hank claims it was someone else going through his Wi-Fi, but Barba brings up the flash drive with the images. Hank is silent and Barba asks Kressler if he needs more time with his client. Hank looks trapped.

Benson, speaking with Pippa, explains the evidence and Pippa says Hank is not a criminal and she has nothing more to say to her. Benson explains that is her right, but they do need to speak with her children. Pippa says not without her present, but Benson says Pippa knows the rules. She says Hank would never hurt the kids, but Benson says there may be a lot that she is not aware of, and what if, god forbid, there was something her children were not telling her? Benson says Pippa knows if there was,  the kids wouldn’t say it in front of her, so she asks Pippa to let them do their jobs. Benson needs to be sure she is right, and so does Pippa. Pippa counters that as their mother and a lawyer, she will watch through the glass. Benson agrees.

Rollins speaks with Lia and Carisi with Jordan, and they hear nothing that indicates Hank has abused the children. Pippa is relieved and asks to take the kids home, to which Benson agrees. Pippa asks about Hank, and Benson can’t tell her what he is saying. Pippa explains that Hank likes to keep their personal and professional lives separate, and a lot of people they work with don’t even know they are married. Pippa leaves.

Barba walks back into the interview room and Kressler says they have decided not to continue with the conversation. Barba explains this is not going away and if Hank stops taking, he has to arraign him. Kressler says there is no need to rush to that, he knows how the press will react. Barba counters to Kressler that his client should agree to a plea and they work out a deal.   Hank denies his guilt but Barba states it will be better for his family if this gets settled quickly and quietly. Hank states there is nothing quiet about a charge like this and thinks that is why Barba is doing this. Barba tells Hank he has been handling other peoples’ crises his whole life, he wants him to think about what he would advise a client in his position to do. Hank says nothing.

In arraignment court part 12, on Friday, February 12, Hank is arraigned, with photographers present. Both sides make their arguments for bail and the judge sets it at $30,000, and that Hank must be released to home detention, required to wear a GPS monitor ankle bracelet, relinquish his passport, and refrain from any and all computers and cell phone usage. Hank looks back to Pippa sitting in the gallery.

Afterwards, as Pippa leaves the courtroom, photographers shout out questions to her as Benson tries to race Pippa away from them. Fin stops the reporters from following.

Benson and Pippa head down the stairway and Pippa comments they are like a pack of wild dogs. Benson says she is so sorry, but Pippa questions this, saying this is Benson’s fault. She adds there were a hundred ways she could have handled this and Benson didn’t have to destroy them. Benson says nobody is trying to destroy her. Pippa explains she got an email today from her boss; she is on leave pending transfer to a position that doesn’t involve contact with juveniles, and screaming, she adds sex offenders or assault victims. Benson tries to calm her but when Benson asks if she is okay, Pippa screams that is not okay and not alright. Her kids are not okay and Hank is not alright. She thinks this is payback and asks Benson who got her to do this? Benson swears this is not the case. Pippa asks who else could this be? Pippa realized Hank did this and completely breaks down. Benson gets Pippa to sit down and Pippa sobs and Benson comforts her.

Later, Pippa leaves her apartment, wearing sunglasses and a big scarf in an attempt to hide herself. Barba arrives and says Hank’s lawyer asked him to come up and talk to him, and she explains she knows, this is why she is leaving, she can’t be here. Her kids are at her parents in Pennsylvania. She thanks him for asking and walks off.

In the apartment, Hank, there with Kressler, thanks Barba for the arrest, thinking that it is the wake up call he needed, His life was out of control and he was an addict trying to fight it, it was too ashamed. Kressler says Hanks has been talking to a rehabilitation center with an impressive success rate where he can get the help he needs. But Barba says it is not that simple any more. Hank says he understands he has a lot of work to do and these are deep-seated issues and these are serious charges, but if Barba could put them on hold it would give him the chance to save his life and his family. But Barba says even if he looks the other way, the Feds won’t. Hank is shocked at the mention of the Feds, and Barba explains Hank is a high profile NYPD official and the Feds have been calling almost hourly to get their hooks into him. And unlike the NY DA, the Feds charge a mandatory 5 years per image and Hank will get the maximum: 20 to 30 years. Hank asks Kressler if Barba is bluffing, and Kressler says no. Hank asks how Barba got on to him, did someone turn him in to safe his own ass? When Barba states yes, Hank asks if it was Teddy Hawkins, and Barba replies Hank knows he can’t answer that. Hank suggests he make a deal like Teddy did, but Barba says it is too late for that, his rat got all that cheese. Barba suggests if they want to help them find the people that produce the images and videos, but Hank says if he was in contact with anyone like that who would do thinks like that to a child, he would have called the Feds in an instant. Barba asks if Hank realizes that the kids he is watching and the digital images are crime scene photos of real children being raped. Hank tries to rationalize that he never touched a child, or was in a room with the child and he doesn’t know anyone who has. Barba seems disgusted and moves to leave as Hank shouts that he is a parent for god’s sake. Barba says he doesn’t know why they asked him here, telling Hank this really isn’t going away and he doesn’t see a deal to be had. Hank tells him not to give him that crap, there is always a deal. Barba counters that Hank need to focus on what is going on; his friends will desert him if they haven’t already, an all Hank has left is his family, don’t abandon them. Hank sarcastically calls Barba “Mr. Nice Guy” – here to help - but Kressler tells him this isn’t getting them anywhere. Hank asks who side is he on? Barba says there is no conspiracy here; plead guilty, serve his sentence, and spare his family any more pain. Hank says just leave him alone, both of them, telling them to get out. Barba and Kressler leave.

Back outside the precinct, Benson speaks with Dodds who is sorry he wasn’t there to support them. He says his father said he took a bullet and ended up dodging one. Benson comments his father does have a way with words. Dodds adds his father thinks he should use this leave of absence as a transition point to explore other opportunities. Benson asks what that might be. He explains the Joint Terrorism position, but he is not sure that is what he wants to do, he likes it here. She says then he has a decision to a make, just remember it is his decision, not his father’s. Dodds thinks his father will not accept that.

Later, Benson meets at a restaurant with Pippa, and over a glass of wine, Pippa says she doesn’t have a lot of people she can talk to. She is staying in a hotel and she misses her kids. She thinks it is selfish but Benson thinks it is best they are out of town. Pippa explains that Lia is back to sucking her thumb and Jordan is silent. Benson thinks with time and therapy…but Pippa cuts her off and says their father - aside from wanting to kill Hank - he wants her to change their kids' last names since anyone that Googles them for the rest of their lives will know their father is a pedophile. Benson says she is so sorry. Pippa says her mother is blaming her for not suspecting Hank, but Benson says men who do this have to hide it, they get very good at compartmentalizing. Pippa cries that she married him and slept with him for 12 years. No radar went off, asking how blind and how stupid was she?

Later, in Barba’s office,  Benson and Barba have a drink and Barba says it sounds like Pippa is accepting this is really happening. Benson asks about Hank, and Barba says he is in and out of denial, he thinks he can make a deal and somehow get away with it. He adds that Hank refuses to go on the registry and if he can’t get him to plead, the Feds are going to take over. Benson asks how many people have they put away for this, and not once has she ever had any sympathy for them. Barba says that is not their problem…then says it is their problem. Barba gets a call – then tells Benson that Hank slashed his wrists.

At the hospital, Benson sees Pippa and asks how is Hank doing. She says Hank lost blood but he will make it. She found him on the floor in the bathroom, she stopped by the apartment to get stuff for the kids. She wonders if she hadn’t stopped, but Benson says she did and she saved his life. Pippa said she just reacted, she didn’t want to lose him. He asks if this ever stops getting worse, and Benson says no, not until Hank accepts where he is.

Later, Counselor Heller is on the news talking about Teddy Hawkins who pleaded guilty to one misdemeanor count of unlawfully dealing with a child. Heller states he also established a one million dollar fund to deal with victims of alcohol, drug addiction, and sex abuse. Deputy Chief Dodds and Sgt. Dodds watch the story at a bar, and Sgt. Dodds comments Teddy will get 6 months while Hank will get hard time. His father adds he heard Hank tried to kill himself, calling him a dumb bastard. He asks his son about the task force, and Dodds tells his father he appreciates the opportunity but for now he wants to stay at SVU. His father says there are very few bright shining paths in life and he has one laid out in front of him right now but if he doesn’t take it, somebody else will.

In Supreme Court part 12 on Sunday, February 14, Hank pleads guilty to multiple charges of possessing an obscene sexual performance by a child. Hank states he hurt his family and his friends and the department; whatever led him down this road there is no excuse for his crimes and he is sorry. Kressler adds that Hank is undergoing rigorous addiction treatment. Barba states that with Hank’s cooperation with the on-going investigation and commitment to treatment, the people believe that justice will best be served if the four year sentences on each count runs concurrently. The judge agrees, and says Hank will serve his sentence in protective custody and he will remain on the sex offenders registry for a minimum of 20 years. Hank looks dejected as does Pippa. As Barba moves to leave, Hank thanks him, and Barba glares at him, saying nothing, and he walks off. Hank looks back to Pippa who is sitting with Benson in the gallery, and he is taken away. Pippa tells Benson Hank is still her husband, and they have two children. Benson says she gets it.

Later, Benson is walking outside with Tucker who wonders how Hank’s family starts over. Benson replies she can’t even think about it. He asks Benson if she is still up for that nightcap, and Benson replies yeah, she could really use a drink. They move to walk into a bar, and Benson looks inside to see a crowd of younger people who are laughing and having fun, but changes her mind and suggests not here. He says wherever she wants to go, “you tell me.” She says okay, and puts her arm through his arm. As they walk off, we fade to black.

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Ana Andrade said...

This episode was good. I never really cared about Deputy Commissioner Abraham. I am glad that Olivia realized that even people you know and maybe trust are capable of something like this. I just hope that the message finally sinks in. I did like how this episode showed how something like this can destroy a family. The actress that plays Pippa Cox was great!

Regarding the situation with Dodds, I think that this was foreshadowing his eventual departure. I always assumed that Andy Karl’s role was temporary, especially since they haven’t made him a series regular. Now that I know Andy Karl is on to something else, my suspicions were confirmed. I think mini Dodds will be gone by the end of the season, most likely as a result of taking his father's advice.

Now for Olivia and Tucker. I honestly don’t really care about them being together. I think it will be interesting to see where they go with this relationship. I was personally rooting for Liv to get with Trevor Langan, especially since Mariska and Peter are actually together. As long as Liv is happy I’m happy :)

Nancy R said...

You might want to change the "Araby" to "Attaboy" in your 3rd section (after Abraham leaves Benson and Barba.)
I don't like the Tucker budding romance. Like you and many others have said- he has always been anti-SVU.

Nancy R said...

Oh, I forgot something. I know there are dogs trained to sniff out drugs. But dogs that find flash drives?? Is this real?

empxth tbh said...

i really liked this episode.. (except for the last scenes with benson & tucker).. for some reason it felt like an "Older" episode, like season 13 (which isn't really old considering the show has 17 seasons, but the episodes were great :D)

empxth tbh said...

oh, and @Nancy R: crazy right :D

JS Mc said...

Awesome episode! writing 7 acting was at it's zenith BUT I do NOT like this pairing! Too much bad history in hers & SVUs past...Unbelievable to me!JMO

BensonFan said...

Abraham got a concurrent sentence? Does that mean that he only serves four years?!

Chris Zimmer said...

@BensonFan - yes, he gets only 4 years for all, but he must be on the registry for at least 20 years.

Cath T said...

I thought it was a very good episode and Jessica Phillips was simply outstanding. What a pitch perfect performance.

Nice to see Fin actually get a line or two but still pretty much missing in action.

Dodds Jnr might be leaving? Good, the dullest character in the history of SVU not helped by a wooden performance.

I guess my only question mark with the script is the opening scene. That looked like entrapment to me but I'm not an expert in the law so maybe it was above board. It was a fine line though.

As for Tuckson. No thanks I'll pass. Makes no sense that Olivia would look to Tucker for a romantic relationship. It's been shoe-horned in to appease fans that are clamouring for Olivia to become involved with someone, anyone.

Erica said...

Sorry, but I just can't buy #Tuckson. Are we supposed to forget all the times he's been a complete dick to her in the past?? Talk about suspending disbelief!

Great episode otherwise, though. Not action-packed, but intense nonetheless.

BensonFan said...

I don't think anyone should have taken pity on Abraham. He should have served the maximum.

I also hope that the Benson/Tucker romance fizzles out soon.

Anonymous said...

Hi newbie here and always lurked. This episode was alright but I thought Barba was too deferential to Abraham. I could care less about Sgt. Dodds and his Dad and I care even less about a potential romance between Tucker and Olivia. I hope that relationship crashes and burns like Olivia's past relationships.

Laurie Fanat said...

Let me say right up front that I have enjoyed Robert John Burke as Tucker for many years. I liked it when he was being a total jerk. I like it that he's softened a bit. The Benson/Tucker thing gives me pause though. Like Chris wrote in her review, I'm open to letting things play out and see what happens even though it is an odd pairing. My preference would be for her and Stabler to go off into the sunset at the end of the series, or even match up her with Trevor Langan. The latter has been on Benson's opposite side in the past just like Tucker but at least there is some REAL chemistry between the two. Benson is getting old and so is Tucker, and it could be why there isn't the sexual heat that we would expect from a younger couple. I don't care for it but who knows it could work.

This episode was very good. It wasn't action packed but the story was interesting and showed some thought in its development.

Seeing the episode promo and the clips and pictures it was obvious that Abraham would be the guy who would be the perv. I didn't expect Pippa to be married to the guy. For me, that surprise made the story.

Even though Barba was repulsed at Hank, he let Hank off easy with the 4 year concurrent jail term. Benson also cut him some slack with the no cuffs arrest. We don't know what the extent of what Hank was offering to the DA's office as far as information on other perps and the information must have been worth it.

Dodds will be out at SVU eventually. Should we make predictions on how he'll go out? I think he will get killed in the line of duty. Or, maybe daddy does something so embarrassing that baby Dodds has to go someplace else.

A very good episode, finally.

BelleCody said...

First, LOVE this blog!!! So glad I found it.

Second, I guess I'm in the minority because I like both the Benson/Tucker pairing AND Mike Dodds. I've been rewatching the last few seasons (thanks to snow days!) and I can see little changes in the Benson/Tucker relationship. I say let's see how the pairing plays out. And even though I like Dodds Jr with Andy Karl getting the lead in "Groundhog Day" I'm sure he's a short timer. Shame because I think they could have used him to rile up Fin like Stabler used to do.

And Jessica Phillips aka Pippa Cox was GREAT!

awiles95 said...

It's like you said a year ago Chris, the Benson Tucker relationship could be the end of the SVU as we know it, ha ha. It does look like Andy Karl is going to be gone, even though: A lot of me wants him to stay, I feel like his character was bought more to life recently. The other part of me thinks that he's a neutral factor. I dunno. I hope I'm right, however.

Lannes said...

So I am a Barson shipper, but I knew that was not happening last night. That being said, I think it might have been better had we seen Dodds Sr. with Benson at the end of the episode (she did say that he had a way with words!). Here's the thing; I think Dodds Jr. is not long for this world, and I predict that his death will be tied to an SVU case. Think of how that would have played out if Benson was starting a relationship with his father. Maybe they can still go that route with Tucker if there is an IAB investigation or whatever. And then for the love of God let Barba help her pick up the pieces!

BensonFan said...

I thought Barba was gay. No?

Sarah Prior said...

BensonFan, I've always assumed Barba was gay as well.

Victoria Everwood said...

Warren Leight, what is your obsession with disgusting pairings???? Just stop!!!!!

Caroline Rohe said...

@BensonFan and @SarahPrior nothing has been said if Barba is gay. Most likely bi, if anything is brought up, since Raul himself is bi. We do know that Barba has had relationships with females in the past.
I know everyone is freaking out that Benson and Tucker are together, but I didnt think their scene was overly romantic, instead they looked like friends going out for drinks, but not head over heels for each other. Perhaps the Tucker scene is a red herring.
Overall I enjoyed the episode, and Barba's suits were on point. Although it was easy to predict that Hank was going to try and take his life, and thus his sentience wasn't nearly as harsh as it should have been.

Lannes said...

@BensonFan and @SarahPrior I remember reading that Esparza's intention is to play Barba as ambiguously bi. We have seen and heard of former girlfriends.

Anonymous said...

This episode was very good. I enjoyed the writing and acting thoroughly. The engaging dramatic storyline was peppered with just the right amount of humor/wit (Barba not relishing the idea of going in to speak to hank alone or Olivia’s commenting on Chief Dodds’ way with words). I did not feel sorry for Hank, but Pippa’s position really pulled the heartstrings.

When Sgt. Dodds first came on board I wasn’t a fan of his wooden overly done performances, but have just started to get used to him. IMO he has shown some improvement and I will be sorry to see him go if he does, before being given a proper chance to expand his character.

Rollins’ character changes have been somewhat startling but curious, and I hope further character development won’t be too harsh. I have enjoyed her undercover work and think she has a knack for it. I think Carisi’s character, who is rapidly becoming one of my favorites, is a good amiable balance to her, at times, cynical disposition.

I’m glad to see Fin whenever the writers work him in. IMO there has been too little of him lately. The same goes for Barba who was able to deliver his ever sharp and astute observations within plenty of screen time this episode.

As for Olivia and Tucker, I for one am happy with this development and hope it ends well. Olivia deserves to be happy. Tucker will obviously understand the demands of police work and the horror involved with the cases she works, hopefully there will be less conflict of interest than when she was dating the journalist or the ADA, both of them appear to be in similar life placements, and hopefully his straight edge and her, at times, unconventional methods will balance each other out. They have known each other for a long time and with her tenacious, brave, loyal and strong dedication to her squad and teammates it’s no wonder his attitude and interests in her have changed. The past is the past, yes he was a complete jerk at times, but even then I have always respected his integrity to his job and was interested to see his character with every appearance.
I never had any delusions that Olivia would run off with Stabler; there was too much genuine friendship with both him and his wife to hurt his family like that. As for Barba, I never saw more than friendship. Both he and Olivia can be too hard-headed to make a relationship other than friendship work. I certainly wouldn’t have minded a Benson-Langan pairing as someone suggested but his character, unfortunately, seemed to be less involved with the show than Tucker’s. I only hope that if Olivia turns out to have a slight drinking problem Tucker will be able to call her on it and help. It makes me sad to think she would go down that path considering she now has a son and had a mother with that problem.

Petra S said...

Great episode. Good acting & intriguing case. ADA Pippa has always been good in the past, the actress def showed her range in this episode, so I hope they can find some way for her to bounce back from this and get back to work in the future. But by then I hope she's ditched that pervy hubby of hers.

I would've loved to see more of the squad but it made sense for Liv to handle this particular case. Barba was good but he did thread lightly with Abraham. Who I second and third everyone else, should've gotten a much harsher sentence.

I'm putting my money on Dodds Jr facing a bullet & being burried before the end of this season. Then again I'm as lousy as Rollins at gambling. Just as long as he's gone I'll be a happy camper.

Liv with Tucker feels like a betrayal for me. Tucker is the one we're supposed to loath, that Liv should dislike as well for everything he's put SVU through over the years (even if that was his job). But Liv can screw who she wants to as long as it's off screen. I could care less about her love life but if it makes her a more enjoyable character in the squad room then fine.
For the creative team of SVU to use her love life as the secret hashtag is such a waste and, to me, just a clear sign of how lost this show is in their hands. They should focus on the case, spread awareness and not who Liv is bonking or not. Bring on that new showrunner asap!

Victoria Everwood said...

@Petra I totally agree. Warren Leight has given Olivia more boyfriends since season thirteen than she's had in the entire show. And each one has been more far fetched than the last. I thought her fugly one night stand from season one was bad. But now Tucker, the man who has made her life a living hell, her superior, is her date? Please.

Here's hoping the show runner after Warren Leight is actually capable of writing a decent story that doesn't involve giving Olivia a bed buddy or a child she would never otherwise have gotten, especially if this were the real world. And I agree with the thing about using this crap to promote the show. Let's not forget those cringe worthy hashtags of #thehand and #whosbangingBenson. Funny. I thought this was a crime drama.

Guess I was asking too much.

Cath T said...

I'm positive the whole Tuckson thing is in response to some fans wanting Benson to get laid and find "happiness."

As someone who actually liked the relationship between Amaro and Rollins and put up with the twitter hate about them it's funny that now we're meant to accept this unlikely Benson/Tucker thing and not be negative.

Frankly I don't actually care one way or the other whether Benson gets it on with Tucker or not. Although it is a big "middle finger" to Stabler, Amaro & the rest of the squad taking into account the angst Tucker has caused the SVU over many, many years.

I haven't been overly impressed with Season 17 and was surprised by the show's renewal for another season. I can't put my finger on it but the episodes have seemed "flat" to me. I haven't hated it but I've lost interest in the characters except for Carisi. Even Barba isn't piquing my interest.

Also, what about Fin? What's the point of him even being there?

My favourite episodes have been Institutional Fail, A Misunderstanding, Forty One Witnesses & Collateral Damages. The serial killer episodes did nothing for me and I'm not into the crossover stuff with Chicago PD.

OhSusannah said...

THe only reason I can think of for Fin's (Ice-T's) recent absence is the fact that his wife has given birth to their first child together. No doubt the producers gladly obliged Ice-T's need for less screen time.
I really liked this S17 episode. It reminded me a lot of when SVU was very good. I find it interesting that while I had no virtually no sympathy for that awful Hank Abraham, I did feel awful for his wife Pippa Cox and their two young children. For me, the standout scenes in this one were when Olivia tired to console Pippa, who made her disgust for her so plain.How could she have been that unaware of her high-powered husband's child porn proclivities?Given her own job and the fact that they had two young children together in the home,her failure in recognizing her husband's perversions was really riveting.Jessica Phillips as Pippa Cox was just outstanding.
Benson and Tucker seems like an unlikely romantic pairing to me. Much of Tucker's problem with the SVU team seemed to be more to do with Stabler than anyone else on the squad, and he often made Liv's work life difficult for that reason. Her loyalty to her first partner was steady and unflinching so maybe she disliked Tucker out of that loyalty. The only time he seemed to really take exception to Liv's integrity was when that biker was killed and Liv was up on charges -f murder- which Trevor Langan defended her against. I would have much preferred that Liv ended up with Trevor as they have Noah's best interests at heart together but only time will tell. I agree, much of the fandom seems to insist Liv have a romantic life, and the showrunner panders to that endlessly. All in all, a good solid episode.

mary brooks said...

A great episode. I am not into crossovers especially when they involve the need to increase ratings of a program like 'Chicago PD'.

Hopefully this is the beginning of the end of the ''DODD'' ERA. I am sure part of Daddy's plan would have been to get rid of Benson.

As for Tucker, I am happy with Tucker and Benson. Yes, there were some bad times between them, but I feel it involved her partner Stabler more than anything else. People evolve. People change. As an IAB agent we only saw one side of him. I am willing to give him the benefit of the doubt that he cares for Liv--more so than Stabler ever did.

musicmensch said...

They're gonna kill Sgt. Dodds in the season finale, mark my words. And we will see a soft and tender side of Deputy Chief Dodds that we didn't think was possible from him. Remember his first couple episodes in season 16?

As the first episode of 2016 aired, I knew almost from the moment Andy Karl still didn't show up in an opening credits title card of his own that he was not destined for longevity with this show. And when Gallagher said the words "he's my son" the way he did earlier in this season, I knew something big would be in store for Junior-and not necessarily in a good way.

Think about it, though-for years, the season finale of SVU has involved at least one member of the team in big trouble.

2007, it was the entire squad.
2008, it was Lake.
2009, it was Stabler.
2010, it was Warner.
2011, it was Stabler again.
2012, it was Cragen.
2013, it was Benson.
2014, it was Amaro.
2015, it was technically Amaro again, but happy endings were in store for everyone for once.

2016 is the year of Dodds.

Anonymous said...

Wow! a lot of Dodds haters here! I for one like Andy Karl as Dodds much better than I did. The first couple of episodes, his acting fell flat with me but I am getting to like his character more and I hope they do not kill him off. Maybe because of svu's budget they cannot make him a star on the show right now. Maybe they are waiting for Fin to retire ;)
As far as him having a broadway gig right now, I don't think that is an indication of him being killed off the show. All the rest of the shows cast has done other things while being on the show and some have guest starred for years on svu while doing movies, commercials, other shows, etc.

Petra S said...

@Victoria Everwood - Warren himself said just a while back Liv holds grudges like none other but now all of a sudden he wants us to buy she's forgiven SVU's archenemy enough to jump his bones!? Naha.
And to top it all now his writers are starting to whine on Twitter as well. Saying "we" are never satisfied. "We" never asked for them to put Liv in messy relationships or cater to fanatics. The creative team should probably take a break from Twitter, and stop throwing hashtags around (yes I'm talking mostly to you, Julie #diehardsmatter Martin)

@HerbaceousHaven - Andy's Broadway play Groundhog Day goes up in spring 2017 and from what I understand it's a fulltime gig. I can't speak for the rest of the cast but I know Kelli has not been able to do anything but guest star once on The Good Wife since she got on this show. Oh and she made a baby of course.
Someone said this was part of the reason Danny wanted off as well, but I've heard many reasons for his departure so I'm not sure.
Ice has said on his podcast he's aiming for 20 seasons so I don't think there's much chance of him retiring but he is on a year to year contract so who knows. All I know is he'll be missing for the two upcoming episodes and that's going to suck.

BensonFan said...

I'm in the camp that feels indifferent toward Dodds. He had no depth, so it's hard for me to be offended by him or to feel any attachment to him

ladybug81 said...

I really liked this episode, right up until the end. I've never been a big fan of Pippa Cox, but this time Jessica Phillips blew it out of the water. Especially the scene with Olivia on the stairs. My heart broke for her all the way through.

Mini Dodds I didn't care much for in the beginning, actually I was indifferent toward him, but he has grown on me. Will it break my heart when he goes? No, but I do like him more than when he started.

When it comes to the whole Tucker mess, I'm not thrilled about it. I understand the whole character growth thing, as humans we grow & change. Plus we could see it coming a mile away so I don't know why people were so surprised by it. My thing is I don't like the character. I've tried to over the last season or so when I began to see how he was changing but I just can't do it. Will I tolerate it? Yeah. I'm not going to stop watching but I can certainly FF through those scenes. Really as long as we don't see any affection beyond what we saw in the epiosde I'll be okay. I do think they seem to put Olivia with a man when she's at a low point. David Haden came along while she was trying to get over Elliot leaving. Full disclosure I'm a huge Bensidy fan. Brian was just someone to have fun with I believe but they became serious after Lewis. Now, she's still recovering from Lewis, Nick's departure, new promotion, raising a child, understaffed at work & the hostage situation. I guess he seemed like the next man to be in this line up. Another thing I've noticed, especially last season, is two timed we saw him he was offering g her drinks (can't remember the episodes). I'm wondering if this is going to factor into the drinking problem that seems to be growing? Will he help her or be an enabler? I want to see her happy, but I just don't think it's with him. I'm hoping it doesn't last. It is interesting though that in an E Online teaser when asked about them, Warren said "their friendship". Hoping that's all it is, but I doubt it.

The writers I understand need to promote their show & I'm fine with that. What I don't like is how they go overboard. No they can't please everyone & we all know that. I've also noticed how at times it seems like they are trying to make fans feel like they are not a tru fan if they don't agree with everything they do. The hashtag the other night was just stupid. What bothered me most about it, was that the hashtag overshadowed a powerful episode. It should've been something that related to the episode & not a minute scene at the end.

@Petra S I have to agree with you on the catering to certain people. I have had many interactions with different members of the cast & writers/producers. Most of the time it's fine but there's been a few less than fine moments. I don't believe in being rude or nasty in my comments but I'm also not going to suck up to everything that is said & done. I've unfollowed quite a few fans & writers for this reason. My favorite tweet came from a fan, one of 'the favorites', who said they loved how they had plotted an entire episode & season off of a few seconds of a scene. So I guess the writers are using the tweets of a select few to plot the show? What o do love about the fans I still follow, and converse with quite regularly, is that we can agree to disagree. Some are Tucker fans some are not, but we've had discussions about this & yet we don't belittle one another or try to make each other feel as if our opinion doesn't matter. Is this development enough to make me quit watching? No, like Olivia I'm loyal to a fault. As many times in the past they've done something & I've thought: that's it I'm done, I still come back the next week.

Chris Zimmer said...

@ladybug81 - which hashtag do you mean? Was it the one about the hand? I've heard a lot of negative about that one. I try to ignore Twitter the day the episode airs and especially as the episode is airing. I just can't get too into the self promotion that goes on. I also don't want it to cloud my review. (I don't like people telling me too much what I should look for in an episode or what to focus on!) I do understand what you're saying about them going overboard. It seems very juvenile at times!

Ana Andrade said...

Chris, every Wednesday, the writers reveal a hashtag that you can use if you want Tweet live while the episode airs. It usually has something to do with the episode. Here are some examples from this past season:

Collateral Damages- #MysteryManonSVU
Nationwide Manhunt- #SquadUp
Townhouse Incident- #WeAreWithBenson
Catfishing Teacher- #CatfishedOnSVU
Depravity Standard- #SVUFallFinale
Maternal Instincts- #WeAreFamilyOnSVU
Community Policing- #BlackLivesMatterOnSVU

The week leading up to Collateral Damages the writers were teasing about a mystery man that Benson has been seeing, hence the hashtag.

ladybug81 said...

I was referring to #MysteryManOnSVU every week they have a hashtag that relates to the epiosde. I just felt it should've had more to do with the epsiode itself than that last scene. I think they chose that one just to work people up over who she was with. I think there were similar ones with Bensidy as well. Like I said I'm a Bensidy fan but even when 'the hand' speculation was going on I though it went overboard at times. It's just sad that it seemed like they were promoting who Olivia could be out with rather than a very good episode & important subject.

Chris Zimmer said...

@Ana Andrade& @ladybug81 - I usually do see those hashtags but I guess that I just can't get into the constant tweeting & retweeting that they do before/during the episode. It's like noise to me! I couldn't recall the #MysteryManonSVU hashtag for some reason. I recalled someone tweeting a pic of Benson's holding someone hand, though. I did see that some weren't thrilled that everyone focused on that last scene and not the whole episode, but since they did make the hashtag pointing to Benson's mystery man, I guess they only have themselves to blame! (wink)

I will never understand why some people with the show take great pains to whip fans into a frenzy and then get upset when the fans actually get into a frenzy, but maybe not the frenzy they wanted!

Victoria Everwood said...

God, Bensidy was an abomination. They were never anything more than a one night stand and a one sided obsession (from him). Then, suddenly, she magically has loved him all this time? Give me a break. I'm an avid CO shipper, so I guess that clouds my judgment. But Bensidy, Tuckson, and Olivia and David are just disgusting. For someone who wants to avoid a conflict of interest, she sure does find herself in a lot of them...

Ashley W said...

Actually, yes! They're electronics sniffing dogs, and one of them is credited with finding Jared Fogle's (former Subway spokesman) thumb drive.

BensonFan said...

CO shipper?

Kathy Simon Zack said...

Anyone know anything about Olivia's turquoise earrings? They looked so elegant on her!

marcntip said...

Is it just me or did Pippa’s hair color change from the time she crying and Benson was holding her, until Barba spoke with her on the street before going up to see Hank, Her hair was dark red, then all of sudden it was reddish blonde