Thursday, October 26, 2017

Law & Order SVU “Complicated” Recap & Review

The special victims case in “Complicated” wasn’t very complicated, in fact, it seemed very familiar. That’s because Law & Order SVU already did an episode in season 10 titled “Stranger” that followed a virtually identical story line of an imposter presenting herself as a girl who’d gone missing years prior. It was no surprise that the missing girl had been killed by her brother, the body disposed of by his father in order to shield the boy from any consequences of his actions. 

Was it completely inappropriate for NYPD to be digging out the girl's body and then have Carisi take it away, wrapped in the original blanket? I would think that forensics would be there to dig it out, collect evidence, and then properly transport the body to be further examined.

 Luckily, this episode wasn’t all about the SVU case. Benson’s problems with Sheila Porter and the custody of Noah ramped up. Benson and Trevor Langan end up in court facing Sheila Porter and her attorney. Benson is quick to argue her case at every step, despite what seems like Trevor’s efforts to calm her down. Later, we get a tearful scene with Benson as she confides with Barba on the custody case. Barba thinks Sheila Porter can’t get custody after 3 years and Benson knows the law is on her side. But Benson worries because the judge is allowing Sheila’s filing for visitation. Benson struggles that she doesn’t know if it’s right to keep Noah from his only living relative. Ultimately, Benson takes the high road and meets with Sheila, where Sheila explains her own struggles with her daughter Ellie - Noah’s mother. Later, Benson has invited Sheila into her home to meet Noah, who is quick to call her grandma and hold her hand while he shows her his room. Will this remain a happy arrangement or will things turn bad down the road for Benson? We all know that it’s hard for anyone to live happily ever after on Law & Order SVU.

In the original press release with the episode details, it stated that “Carisi's (Peter Scanavino) conversation with a newspaper reporter puts him in hot water.” Did I fall asleep during this episode and miss this? I certainly don’t recall anything like this. Maybe it will turn up in a deleted scene?  (Note - yes, there are three deleted scenes on this issue, posted below.)

The cameo by Isaiah Thomas felt shoehorned in and very awkward. If ever there was a deleted scene in an episode, this should have been one of them.

Note: THREE deleted scenes have been added below, which explains the newspaper reporter issue. 

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:
Brooke Shields - Sheila Porter
Peter Hermann - Trevor Langan
Paul Schulze - Bill Lawrence
Jane Houdyshell - Judge Ruth Linden
Maureen Mueller - Counselor Daniella Janet
Ili Ray – Britney Taylor/Emma Lawrence
Mike Faist – Glenn Lawrence
Isaiah Thomas – Isaiah Thomas – Himself
Lawrence Ballard - Dr. Leon Bailey
Tanya Rivero – Host
Kabe Park – Michael Kim
Max Pava – Gregory Lang
Ryan Buggle - Noah Porter Benson

Deleted scenes

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Suzi said...

Yep. First thing I thought was they’ve done this episode before. Whilst I’m still a hardcore fan of law and order, I do wonder if they’re running out of ideas. It also felt like the story was a subplot to the Noah thing. Now I don’t mind personal stuff at all but not when it takes over the main storyline. So far, apart from ep 2 ?? Or 3?? (Can’t remember) I think, the start of this season has been quite poor. I’m not finding myself excited to watch future episodes right now. 😔 I still don’t want to see it end however!!!

Lisa said...

It should be renamed Law and Order the Do over unit. I’m not sure why Benson( or the writers) think that Noah can’t be taken away. Courts have been known to return children Noah’s age to Birth parent(s) when due diligence was not done baby Richard case ( 3 or 4 yrs ) comes to mind. Trevor should have did a better search for a blood relative . Elle Porter was a junkie they are not known for their honestly . It’s just sloppy writing which has been a common theme for the past few seasons.

Vim said...

Actually wasn't once episode, when much older kid (teen already) has been return to his biological father, despite long time passed since adoption?

Laurie Fanat said...

What a pathetic episode. They're not even trying any more. The missing person imposter story line has been done by SVU before and I would have expected that Benson and Fin would have remembered that case and done more thorough checking on her. But no, Benson rushes into "reuniting" her with her "parents." I screamed at the TV when the police dug out that body and Carisi carried it away. CRAZY. They completely ignored proper forensic procedures. If they wanted Carisi to look like a hero, he only made the SVU look like a sloppy unit. I know that Mariska is sacred to some but she doesn't do crying scenes very well. It all seems so forced. I think that the new show runner is trying to give the series a new feel and I like some of the things they are going to energize the characters, but without a fresh story line. the effort is falling flat. I so wanted this season to be better...

C said...

I think it was Julie Martin who tweeted a photo of the writing staff yesterday - and I couldn't help but thinking, "this is the best plot all of these lovely and intelligent looking people were able to come up with?"
There can only be one explanation: they're making all of these choices on purpose. They're dumbing things down. No one knows why.

I still enjoy this show, I'm in too deep. But sometimes I just want to scream.

What I liked:
- Amanda and Sonny were a great team, as usual.
- Raúl Esparza. So much emotion, so much talent.

Thanks for your recap, Chris! Hope you're feeling better!

Lisa said...

The Benson whisper lip curl combo is not a pretty site

Margot Undercliffe said...

I also knew how it was going to go having seen the earlier episode which was a better episode of this storyline. I felt Carisi wanted her to be the girl and was prompting her in the interview. Couldn’t believe forensics weren’t on the scene as they went to dig up the body. The blanket wasn’t opened. It was just sloppy.

Love Barba being supportive.

I wonder what the next Noah arc will be?

Jamie Leigh Littlewolf said...

I'm getting so tired of this being the LAW AND ORDER: OLIVIA BENSON SHOW. I mean do we have to see this EVERY SINGLE EPISODE. I think it's SO unfair to the loyal fans who are here to watch the other lives of the other members of the team unfold, and while I too will ALWAYS applaud Raúl Esparza's work EVERYtime, he's been wasted in back to back episodes now. WE WANT BARBA IN THE COURTROOM not as a confidante for Liv!! I was exicted to hear that Carisi was going to get a little sticky with a reporter and boom! Yet another cut scene to make room for the Brooke/Mariska show. Please don't get me wrong, but is this Dick Wolf's way of telling us the show is over and they just want Liv to live happily ever after? I thought Dick Wolf amongst the rest of EVERYbody want to see SVU break the original Law and Order record of 20 seaons, and then even go as far as 21. That won't REMOTELY happen if this season continues as it is. Barba is meant to be a shark when needed in the courtroom, and a good guy as well. We need SOME DAMN GOOD WRITING FOR FIN!! AND PLEASE some DAMN GOOD writing for Carisis. He's done his time, he deserves it. While I believe Amanda does she. She's had her story lines. C'mon can we have a break from the Mariska/Brooke show please?? And there have GOT TO BE more ands better story lines out there. Elder abuse. Doesn't anyone else think of why they are NOT bringing back Mercedes Rhuel, Barba's "mami" and have her bring a case to her son? Hire me!! I have a ton of great ideas!! And btw, Does ANYONE out there think that things are just fine "just" because Benson is plaing nice with Mrs. Porter? Really? Come ON!!!

OhSusannah said...

What are the chances that Liv will finally find her happily ever after with Noah- and hottie grandma Sheila Porter? Hey, it could happen at this point. Liv has tried out a personal relationship with quite a few men, all of them unsuitable for whatever reason.The final irony could well be that she finds true love and happiness with a woman.I could see it. This episode felt so familiar- oh, wait! Back a few seasons ago , they told the story of a teenage girl needing and finding a family. much better the first time around.The winter finale is coming soon to NBC/Universal, and I have to wonder if another renewal is in the cards.

Fefe Yo said...

Olivia/ Mariska Hargitay (same person) is so arrogant, greedy, and self-centered to make everything about her. So over this show. She needs to leave the show and they need to create more intriguing stories and character story lines. I can't stand that woman...everytime I see her, I want to throw a pillow at the screen after saying obscenities. The other commenter was write it is Law & Order: The Olivia Benson Show.

*btw she is so selfish to battle Noah's grandmother for custody. She is his grandmother and should have custody of Noah. Olivia had her chance to have a child, but she did not. Let the boy be with his real family...before he grows up with resentment.

So over this show...just been a L&O fan for ages.

Draven Long said...

Chris, I'm certain you know by now, but maybe you haven't seen yet, so I'll tell you anyway.

About the Carisi newspaper report putting him in hot didn't fall asleep and you don't recall it because yet again they deleted that important scene that was part of the episode description. It's just been released by SVU. His girlfriend makes an appearance as that newspaper reporter.

Unknown said...

Law & Order been my favorite show ever time when it first came on

Nicole Samulovitch said...

Law & Order been my favorite show ever time when it first came on

Nicole Samulovitch said...

You guys are my favorite show on Law & Order

Chris Zimmer said...

@Draven Long - yes I already added it to the post!

Carley Parfitt said...

If you hate the show so much and the MAIN CHARACTER, why are you watching?

Unknown said...

Thanks for the info re: the reporter scene. I read the episode description but never saw where Carisi got in trouble so I was confused.

Once this episode started playing out, I was immediately reminded of the other one from a few years ago w/the girl who had been abducted by her father for years. I also thought it was pretty predictable. The brother seemed off when the parents were looking at the picture. I guess they made the dad complicit instead of the mother this time around.

I couldn't agree more w/those who are beyond sick of the constant Noah drama w/Olivia. It is never ending at this point, and I'm just not interested. I couldn't care less about Noah and what happens to him. There's just been too much drama around him already. End it. I'm sure whatever truce Olivia made w/Sheila will result in more Noah drama. Argh! As others have mentioned, they need to do more w/the other characters.

Chris Zimmer said...

A second deleted scene has just been added!

Draven Long said...

I've seen the episode now, and have some things to say. (Obviously 😜)

First off, maybe it's because "Stranger" is still an episode of SVU I haven't yet seen, but I found "Complicated" rather enjoyable. I was actually surprised when it turned out the brother killed Emma (when I called it anyway.) And I was highly intrigued by the case.

Isaiah Thomas should have just not agreed to do this cameo. It was agreeably very awkwardly shoehorned in because there wasn't anywhere else in the episode he could appear.

Maybe I'm wrong, but wasn't forensics RIGHT THERE with Carisi? If so, that was COMPLETELY lazy how they handed the body to Carisi so he could take care of it.

The deleted scene FOR ONCE felt like it wouldn't have held any extra weight to the story, and he suffered no repercussions from Benson, so I'm fine with this deleted scene. However, if they were going to delete the scene, why the hell did they put it in the episode's press release?

Finally, speaking of Olivia, I must discuss the opening and ending scenes. I was at first completely on Benson's side, but now I'm on the fence. I was pissed when Sheila brought up the CLOSED abuse investigation as a reason to try to take Noah away. And I was touched by her reasoning for wanted to at least be in Noah's life. I mean, she IS (so far, this is Dick Wolf we're talking about) his grandmother, and she's lost her daughter, so now has no one left but her grandson. The very end touched me, but that thank you by Sheila could mean anything. For now, I trust her, but it will be tense for a while going forward.

So for me, this was another great episode for Season 19. I feel like SVU is making up for what it KNOWS was in all in all HORRIBLE Season 18. This episode was a bit predictable, but felt like old SVU to me (again, probably because I haven't yet seen "Stranger".) This episode gets 8/10 from me.

The November 8 episode title scares the hell out of me. "Something Happened." WHAT HAPPENED? Did Sheila cause more drama, did she kidnap Noah? Did Rollins or Carisi get hurt somehow? Was there a squad room hostage situation? We have to wait a while to find out!

Js McFail said...

I guess i'm in the minority but I liked this episode except for the fact that it was almost identical to a previous episode...If the writers are gonna do that at LEAST change some of it! (That's just good plagiarism!) LOL/JK
I love Mariska & Raul the most of all the characters so I love to see their acting interactions. I just wish they would use some different topics besides rape 90% of the time...It gets old...
I never get tired of seeing Benson on screen since she's the only original actor left & then Fin...If they left I would most likely leave with them...JMO

Chris Zimmer said...

A third deleted scene has been added!

Draven Long said...

Hey Chris, just wanted to let you know in case you didn't that the January 10 episode of SVU will feature THE RETURN OF M.E. WARNER!!! Can't wait for this episode!

Anonymous said...

Apart from the obvious flaws of the episode mentioned earlier, it was just not realistic. As far as I know the statute of limitations in New York runs out for manslaughter after 5 Years. Since the girl has been missing for 10 years there would not have been ANY court case at all. Shouldn't the writers know this????

malifact said...

This episode didn't just recycle Stranger but also an episode of Criminal Minds where a boy killed his younger brother and the parents covered it up. I actually thought Glen got off lightly. He didn't hit his sister over the head or something with more force than intended. He held a pillow over her face and you need a lot of anger to kill someone that way. I didn't mind the Noah sub plot this week as the acting from Brooke, Mariska and Raul was decent, although I can see where the story is going

Gabytta said...

They should hire you! the stories seems so flat nowadays...And Yes, the Olivia story should be close by now.
Barba is a great character but very short screentime is given to his court cases.
CARISI was great from the get go, and sometimes it feels like he needs a storyline too, as well as Amanda.
After so many seasons it is predictable and the episodes need another types of cases, like you point it out.
IF I made any sense at all I'm sorry , non native speaker here.