Thursday, February 23, 2017
Law & Order SVU “No Surrender” Recap & Review
The advance details for this episode released by NBC stated “Fin (Ice T) revisits his military roots when a fellow Army Ranger (guest star Sarah Booth) struggles to recover from a sexual assault.” I think fans were hoping this would be an episode centered on Fin but no, he was no more than window dressing. This was the biggest flaw I saw in this episode. They had a great opportunity to use Fin’s background and understanding of the culture as an Army Ranger to lead this case and to be front and center in helping the victim, a female Army Ranger, come to grips with her sexual assault. Instead, they gave the lead to Benson, and relegated Fin’s revelation that he was Ranger to nothing more than a footnote. It also implied that a male SVU detective is incapable of providing the needed support to a female victim. I would have been very interested to seeing how Fin handled this, instead, we got the same old platitudes from Benson.
I realize that viewers should care about what happened to the victim opposed to the likeability of the victim, but I admit I have a hard time engaging in an episode where the victim does not appear sympathetic at all. In this case, it may be because the victim herself made it quite clear that she didn’t want any sympathy. By the time she realized who assaulted her, it was hard to feel anything for her. The fact that she also beat her assailant/former fiancé bloody didn’t help either. I wonder if, in her press conference, she would have also admitted that she did take matters into her own hands and lashed out with uncontrolled violence? I doubt it. A lawyer could probably argue that she beat him up as she suffered from some sort of PTSD from the assault. Regardless, there seemed to be a disconnect with her press conference which seemed to allow her to keep her status as the Army Ranger “golden girl” when clearly she used her training to administer her own form of justice.
We jumped back in episode time to January (the previous episode took place in February), and it looked like fall outside. I understand the filming schedule doesn’t always allow the scenery to fit with the dates on the episode time cards, and changes with the episode airing schedule don’t help either. Had Captain Beth Williams, the victim, not mentioned the actual date in her press conference, maybe the date in the time cards could have been altered at least to fit in with the overall episode sequence. While I really enjoy having the date cards peppered though an episode, sometimes it increases the sense of continuity errors.
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.
Sarah Booth - Captain Beth Williams
Ryan Metcalf - Mickey Reid
Joe Holt - Major Robert Dantley
Frankie G - Jose Marquez
Brian Charles Johnson - George "G-Man" Fortino
Leslie Lyles - Sylvia Williams
Betsy Aidem - Doctor
Perry Yung - Master Randy Lui
Steve Rosen – Public Defender Guthrie
Kris Eivers - Gary Cook
Stephen Bradbury – Judge Colin McNamara
Joe Hansard – Kevin Collins
Christopher LaPanta - General Fuller
Jane Fergus – Newscaster
Babs Winn - Female Party Guest
Thomas Grube – Male Party Guest
Camari Brown - Jogger
A new ad for the US Army “2.0” is unveiled in a meeting with military officials which features Captain Beth Williams. They praise her service and her abilities and they want the country will hear her story on her 3-month tour with Major Robert Dantley. She is told this is her new mission. She is pleased.
At a congratulatory party, Beth kisses her fiancé Mickey Reid who states their wedding will be next year on May 20. They ask her to make a speech and she talks about what drives her and where she finds her strength – here with her home and family. He fiancé suggest they toast with Champagne for their real friends and real pain for their sham friends. They seem happy.
Later, a man out for a jog at night sees blood on the ground and a woman also on the ground crawling away nearby. He races up to her and asks if she is okay but she strains and says she is good. It is Beth. He tells her not to move, he will help her, and he calls for an ambulance.
Benson arrives on the scene; the woman is being tended to by EMTs, Benson arrives with Fin already on scene. Fin explains that the vic’s name is Beth Williams; a jogger found her and she is in bad shape, she can barely talk. It appears she was sexually assaulted; her skirt was torn and her underwear was pulled down and she had blunt force trauma to the back of the head. The uni found a military ID; she’s a captain in the US Army. She is a Ranger, the best of the best. Fin explains this is why he called her, he thought she’d want to be early on this. Benson reads the info from Fin’s phone which says Beth Williams, born and raised in Queens, is the first woman to graduate Ranger school, 3 tours in Iraq, and earned a silver star. Benson comments that a local girl makes good and this is her welcome home present. She shakes her head.
It is now morning and Fin shows Benson a rock with blood on it used for the blunt force trauma which CSU is photographing and running for prints. Carisi approaches an announces that CSU found a backpack under a bush with $5,000 and asks when Fin was a Ranger did he ever walk around with 5 grand? Fin says it was more like $5. Carisi wonders why the perp left that behind, and Benson suggests that is not what he was after. Fin asks why she was walking around with 5 G’s cash and when Carisi says with this neighborhood, it kind of narrows it down, Benson tells him not to jump to conclusions. She tells Fin to coordinate with the Army CID and see if they know anything and tells Carisi t get with Rollins at the hospital and she will meet him there. She tells him to find out what Captain Williams was doing there.
At Columbus Memorial at 568 West 113th street on Monday, January 9, Benson meets up with Rollins and Carisi. Rollins explained Beth just got out of neuro ICU and they sutured up her head wound and it sounds like she is okay but they are keeping her there until they can rule out complications, She adds they can talk to Beth as long as they keep it short. Carisi is glad she is alright and Rollins states Beth put up a fight, there are several offensive wounds with lots of cuts and scratches on her knuckles. Benson comments a woman like her will not go down without putting up a fight. There is some blood on her leg and some may have come from the perp. Benson tells them to run it. Rollins says the family has been contacted and the mom and fiancé are in the waiting room. Benson instructs them to talk to the family and she will talk to Beth.
Rollins speaks with Beth's mom Sylvia who said they had a party to celebrate her graduation from Ranger school. She left early and Beth said she would be home later but when she didn’t show up she figured she spent the night with Mickey. Rollins asks about the cash and whys she’d be walking around with that kind of money and Sylvia does not know.
Benson enters Beth’s hospital room and introduces herself and asks if she is feeling well enough to talk. Beth looks like she is going to cry and says nothing. Benson assures her it is going to be okay, she promises. Beth, struggling to compose herself, thanks her, and says she appreciates that. Benson asks if she can ask a few questions and Beth agrees. When Benson asks if she knows who did this to her, Beth says she can’t believe this really happened. She says the timing is…then says this is the last thing she needs right now. When Benson asks what does she mean, Beth explains she is staring a press tour next week for the Army. The goal is to project strength, courage, power. She says she can’t be in here talking about getting raped. She cries. Benson explains that nothing has changed, she is the same person before this, the same strong person, and asks again if she can tell her what happened. Beth is silent and Benson asks if Beth knows who did this to her. Beth says nothing. She then says she wants to talk to Major Dantley, her superior officer. Benson says she understands but the more she can tell her the more helpful she can be. The door opens and a doctor enters and says they need to take Beth upstairs for more tests. Benson asks for two more minutes, but Beth begins to get out of the bed and the doctor explains they need to do this quick, she has already discussed this with the other detective, Benson looks surprised and Beth says she is okay, she can walk. She walks away from the bed and out of the room, and Benson follows.
Meanwhile, Carisi speaks with Mickey and George. Mickey says Beth left the party at 11 as she wanted to be with her mom and she didn’t want him leaving the party on her account. Carisi explains the cash but they have no clue. They played Xbox after the party and Mickey regrets leaving her go alone. Carisi asks George if he can speak with Mickey alone and George leaves. Carisi asks if Mickey and Beth had sex in t he past 48 hours and Mickey says yes, last night. He did not use a condom as Beth is on the pill. Carisi asks to swab him now and Mickey agrees.
Back to SVU, Benson and the detectives watch a news story about “Army 2.0” and Beth’s feature and tour. Benson comments Beth is as strong as any of the male Rangers. Fin finds some haters on the RedChanIt site and they read off some of the hateful posts. One user, Superman78, made a threat and it’s the closest thing they have to a lead so Benson tells them to track that user down and find out where he was last night. Rollins will call Barba to see if she can get a warrant for the RedChanIt service. As she walks off with Carisi, Benson sees a man in the squad room in an Army uniform and Fin explains that is Major Robert Dantley, Beth has been serving under him for the last two years and Beth will be traveling with her on her press tour. Benson walks off to meet him.
Major Dantley walks in to Benson’s office and explains that Fin got in touch with him about Captain Williams, saying it is horrible. He adds that anything Benson needs, she has their full support. Benson thanks him, saying she appreciates that. He states that it is in everyone’s best interests if this tragedy remains confidential; the last thing they want – the last thing Captain Williams wants – is for this unfortunate event to be played out in the press. Benson says she thinks they can both agree that their primary concern is what’s best for Captain Williams. He blandly replies “Terrific” and then says Beth will be a Jane Doe. Benson replies if that is what Beth wants, ultimately it is her decision. She explains that some survivors prefer to go public; it encourages other women to come forward. He says “Of course.” Benson asks if he has any idea what Beth was doing at 207th Street at 4 in the morning. He replies “no ma’am” and she goes on to ask if he was aware of any issues or any problems. He replies “no ma’am.” Carisi knocks on the door and enters and asks Benson if he can have a word. She excuses herself and leaves her office. Outside her office, Carisi explains the rape kit came back and the semen DNA is a match for Mickey Reid, her fiancé, as they expected. Benson suspects the perp wore a condom. Carisi states maybe, explaining they didn’t find traces of lubricant, he is guessing the guy didn’t finish. The good news is the lab found somebody else’s blood on Beth’s skin. Benson asks if he is in the system, and Carisi replies he is all over it; Jose Marquez, 35, and he has a rap sheet from here to Yonkers, including felony assault. They give each other a look.
At 492 West 35th Street on Monday, January 9, Rollins and Carisi find Jose Marquez while he is working on a construction job. Carisi asks about Jose’s injured eye and admits he was in a fight with Beth but then he shows them a video with both of them in a fight club match. Carisi and Rollins look shocked at her aggressive fighting.
Later, with Jose in SVU interrogation, he denies raping Beth. When he says where the fight was held, Carisi comments it was four blocks away from where Beth was assaulted and Rollins comments he may have a fragile ego and doesn’t like getting his ass kicked by a woman. He says she won fare and square and says he respects her. He also mentions the $5, 000 purse for winning – all cash. He left right after the fight; it was 3:30 AM and his wife took him to the doctor for his injury. Rollins doesn’t believe him but he says he is clean. She gave him a beat down and that was the last time he saw her.
Benson arrives back in Beth’s hospital room and Beth says she is feeling better. When Benson calls her Beth, Beth says she prefers Captain Williams, and Benson complies. Benson asks if she remembers any details but Beth has not. Benson questions her about the party and where she went after that. When Beth balks, Benson brings up the fight club and Beth admits she was there at a mixed martial arts event and she needed quick money for her mother’s early Parkinson’s experimental medication that is not covered by insurance. No one came on to her. She left at 4:26 and she was alone. No one followed her, adding she obviously let her guard down. Benson assures her that she didn’t do anything wrong, but Beth respectfully disagrees, saying as a Ranger she must be mentally alert, physically strong and morally straight. She adds under no circumstances will she ever embarrass her country. Benson reminds her a predator raped and assaulted her and embarrassment doesn’t even enter the conversation. Beth says they see things differently, and Beth glares blankly at Benson. Benson says okay and thanks her, then gets up to leave. She adds that she knows this is difficult and she wants to assure her she will do everything in her power to find the person who is responsible for this. Beth asks what does she do, asking what is her mission. Benson tells her it is to heal, and she leaves the room.
Back at SVU, Fin tells Carisi that Jose’s alibi checks out and he has a fractured rib, too. Rollins comments that a couple hours later Beth gets a beat down, asking how that happened. Benson says what they do know is Beth was assaulted 4 blocks from where she fought Jose and Fin wonders if someone followed he from the fight club. Benson thinks it is possible and she thinks they should talk to her martial arts coach as he organizes these, and tells them to get the name of every person who was in that room.
At Warrior Martial Arts at 30-57 Steinway Street in Astoria, Queens on Tuesday, January 10, Carisi and Rollins speaks with her coach, Randy, who says he has been training Beth since the 8th grade. He says she is a huge draw and it is not sexual in any way, they came to see two skilled fighters face off. He states he did not leave, he has a loft in the same building that he holds the fights and he slept there and his girlfriend was with him all night, Carisi comments they will have to talk to her too. Rollins says they will need the name of everyone there, and when he balks about privacy issues, Rollins reminds him this is a rape investigation and they are beyond privacy.
Back at SVU, Carisi has all the names on a whiteboard and they have ruled out many. Benson enters and says they got info from RedChanIt which says that Superman78 is Gary Cook, and Carisi sees his name on the list. Fin has the file and says he was an Army vet, dishonorably discharged, 3 drug convictions and in his spare time works as a freelance IT guy. He’s posted more nasty comments that day and Carisi reads one off. Benson tells them to bring Gary in and to see how tough their “man of steel” really is.
Later. Rollins approaches Gary as he exits a building and she shows her badge and says she wants to talk about Beth. He runs. But Carisi is standing in the other direction and gets caught in a crowd and Gary hits some people and falls, allowing Rollins to catch up with him. They both struggle with him on the ground and Carisi yells for Gary to stop resisting. They cuff him. Rollins asks him where is the fire, and Carisi, finding drugs in Gary’s pocket, says there is no fire, just a parole violation.
In SVU interrogation, Carisi and Rollins question Gary, who says he last saw Beth after the fight. He was having a smoke and followed her a little. But he says he only shook her hand, he says he cherishes women. He makes sexist comments but explains he told her “good fight” and she walked away and he took a cab to go see his grandma. Benson and Fin are observing and Fin wisecracks about that comment. Benson states there is no DNA match and there are no witnesses. Fin asks how Beth is doing and Benson says she is coming around but this is tough for her. They don’t see a lot of victims that are decorated war heroes. Fin comments Beth is used to being the aggressor and that is part of their creed - Ranges lead the way. Benson thinks this is why she is really struggling. Fin asks if Benson thinks Beth can ID this guy, and Benson explains Beth says her memory is still foggy but maybe if they show her a picture of this “renaissance man” that will clarify things.
Benson and Fin arrive back at the hospital to see Beth leaving on her own orders, heading to her mom’s house. Benson stops her and reminds her it is only 24 hours and her body needs to recover and they still need to do tests. Beth says she is quite in tune with her body. Benson asks if they can speak with her in private to show her a photo.
In the waiting area, she picks Gary out of the photo array and says he looks familiar. She recalls him smoking outside the fight and has seen him around the gym. She says she saw his face at the assault. She says she saw him smoking a cigarette and he followed her down the block and she confronted him and shoved him and told him to back off and he walked away. She walked to the subway and heard footsteps and she turned and it was him. She says she is sure. Benson says they will bring him in. Fin tells Beth he knows how tough she is, he was a Ranger also. She says “sua sponte” and Fin replies “Back at you.” He adds they both know every soldier needs a little r&r and suggests she stay another day and watch TV or read a book. She thanks him but says her mom needs her and with all due respect, hanging out in a hospital is not her idea of r&r. She leaves. Fin turns to Benson and says Beth is hard core, and Benson agrees, asking if Fin doesn’t think it’s odd that she didn’t ask them more about Cook, adding she didn’t ask his name or if they were going to arrest him. Fin thinks if she asks about her assailant she’s admitting she let it happen.
Back at SVU with Fin, Benson announces to Rollins and Carisi that Beth ID’d Gary Cook and to charge him. But Carisi and Rollins have two problems. Gary Cook’s grandma lives at the St. James Assisted Living facility and that alibi checks out, Gary could not have made if from there to where Beth was assaulted in time. They also have surveillance footage which shows Gary approach Beth and shake her hand and then walk off, just like he said. Gary is telling the truth, and Benson comments that means Beth isn’t.
At Beth’s mother's home, as she is getting her mother into a car, Beth is stopped by Benson who confronts her with the details about Gary Cook. He could not be the guy. Beth says she must have made a mistake. She explains to Benson she has been called back to base and is flying out tonight with Major Dantley. Benson is shocked, saying she thought she was going to stay two weeks for her mother. Beth coldly says “duty calls” and Benson suggests she stay a few days to give herself a chance to heal and for them to find her assailant and put him behind bars. In her experience, that will help her find closure. Beth says that soldiers do not need closure, soldiers need a mission. She gets in her car and leaves.
At the office of Major Robert Dantley at Fort Hamilton Army Base on Wednesday, January 11, Benson is there with Fin, explaining to Major Dantley that they need Beth’s help and ask if she can keep Beth here a few more days. Dantley says he has a chain of command just like her and the Army feels it is best to get Beth back with them. Fin says he gets that but she has an important mission here finding the punk that hurt her. Dantley explains he is just as worried about Beth as they are and he is a lot more worried. They have know each other 5 years and is a fellow soldier and Ranger. Benson says this is not just about Beth, explaining that there can be other potential victims. But Dantley counters he needs soldiers in the present and the longer Beth stays her stuck in the mire of this unresolved tragedy the worse it is for all of them. Fin states the more likely it is the press gets wind of what happened. Dantley says no. He has known Beth since she has been in her slick sleeves and watch her evolve as a person and as a soldier. He is getting her back to where she belongs but adds to make no mistake, he is on her side and to trust him on that. Benson replies she does, she just hope his approach works.
Meanwhile, Carisi and Rollins are heading to the subway stop where Beth was headed and to the closest bar near the park and the only place open late night. They enter and speak with the manager who gives them all the receipts for that night. He doesn’t recognize Beth or knew that anyone followed her. Rollins sees a receipt for Michael Reid – Mickey, Beth’s fiancé, and the time was 4:25 AM. They realize Mickey lied to them.
Later, Carisi and Rollins arrive at Mickey’s house and George answers the door and doesn’t know where Mickey is. Carisi asks if that is what Mickey told him to say, and Rollins walks into the house, telling George to step aside. Carisi and Rollins call him out on his lie of playing video games with Mickey that night, and he admits that the morning after it happened, Mickey called and asked him to cover for him, and said he was out drinking alone and it would look bad. He tells them that Beth broke off the engagement after the party which is why she walked home along. Mickey was crushed. When Carisi mentioned they looked cozy at the hospital, George thinks that with all that happened, maybe she changed her mind. Mickey knew about the fight club and he didn’t want her to do it. Mickey really left the party about 20 minutes after Beth and thinks there is no way he could have done this, he has been in love with her since the fifth grade. Rollins gets on her phone and tells Carisi that TARU is up on Mickey’s phone and they have an address and are on their way now – it is Beth’s mom’s house.
Benson and Fin arrive at Beth’s mom’s house and see Mickey’s car. Benson comments that Mrs. Williams is at the hospital all night and wonders what he is doing there. Fin notes that the lights are out inside and that he doesn’t like this. Benson pounds on the door and announces they are NYPD and to open up. They hear a crashing noise from inside. They find the front door unlocked and they enter. Benson calls out to Mickey and hear more noises from the basement. They continue to call out and Beth says they are down there. Benson and Fin head into the basement and find Beth beating Mickey who is on the floor. Benson yells for Beth to step away and for Fin to call a bus, and Benson pulls off Beth from Mickey to stop her beating him. Beth sobs and Benson consoles her as she says she is sorry.
Later, Mickey is being taken with police to an ambulance. Benson approaches Beth who is standing outside, and Benson states she is at a loss for words, asking how did they get here. Beth says when she figured out it was him, she had to handle Mickey her way and make him look her in the eye and make him suffer, but she is good now. Benson sternly counters that she is not, it is not Beth’s decision to decide whether or not they prosecute. Benson asks if Beth wants to tell her what really happened, and Beth says he was so drunk and angry and she tried to calm him down. He got physical and she turned to walk away and he hit her. She and Mickey have been going in different directions for years, his world kept getting smaller and her bigger. Benson says he obviously has a lot of pent-up anger. Benson adds Beth put her in a very difficult position; Beth has lost all credibility as a witness and not to mention what she did in there was a crime. When Beth states Mickey deserved it, Benson says she understands that but the DA’s office is not a big fan of vigilante justice. Beth asks if Benson will charge her with a crime, and Benson snaps back that she doesn’t know. If Beth starts to cooperate and help them convict Mickey she will talk to the DA and see if they can help her out. She adds that they are arraigning Mickey tomorrow morning and she would like Beth to be there.
At arraignment court Part 12 on Thursday, January 12, Mickey is arraigned and pleads not guilty to the charge of rape in the first degree. Benson and Fin are in the gallery and Beth has not arrived; Benson cannot believe it. Benson steps out of the room to call to try to locate Beth.
At Fort Hamilton Army Base on Thursday, January 12, Benson walks outside with Beth, saying she knows Beth made her peace with this but Beth needs to tell the jury what Mickey did to her. Beth corrects her and says what she let him do. Benson counters that none of it is on Beth. Beth explains she was supposed to be a courageous leader and a role model for all the little girls out there and she feels like a fraud. Benson explains that something like this changes you but it doesn’t reduce you; she can still be that role model. She adds that Beth is courageous and if she testifies she is confident she can put Mickey behind bars for a very long time. Beth asks if she testifies, will her name get out there. Benson states yes, it is possible, but in her work over the years with survivors, there is an amazing power and freedom in coming forward. But Beth thinks it is different, she is a shoulder. Benson states that it isn’t, “Rangers lead the way, remember?”
Later, in the courthouse hall with Benson, Beth arrives in full dress uniform. Benson asks if she is sure, and Beth says yes, positive. Benson says, “I’m proud of you Captain” and Beth corrects her to say “Beth.” Benson smiles and nods. Major Dantley is also there and nods to Beth in support. Beth reaches the podium to face a waiting press, her mother also there. Beth states that Michael Reid was just indicted for rape and she instructed the court to not refer to the victim as Jane Doe. She feels it is her duty to step forward to tell the world the truth. She states her name is Captain Beth Williams, and on January 8, she was raped. This does not lessen her ability or worth as a soldier, and it will not define her, it will not break her, and she is not ashamed of what happened. She stands there with one mission only, to encourage other survivors of sexual assault to do the same. Benson nods as Beth adds there is only honor in being a survivor. As photographers take their photos, Beth looks to Benson who nods and smiles in agreement. Beth smiles back and looks to the crowd as we fade to black.
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