Thursday, October 19, 2017

Law & Order SVU “No Good Reason” Recap & Review

Law & Order SVU “No Good Reason” was a preachy episode, devoid of drama,  clearly geared to speak to the teen and pre-teen audience. (I suspect the older the viewer, the less interested they were in this episode.) While anyone can be cyberbullied or sexually assaulted, this story focused on a group of high school students who are likely representative of what’s going on in many high schools across the country. The victim was Mandy, a self-absorbed teen, and involved her equally superficial circle of friends.

I was quickly bored when a long opening scene showed how Mandy was using social media and her vlog to highlight her shallow life. But suddenly, her video turned to the dark side when something happened to rock her world, and not in a good way. Her parents get worried when Mandy goes missing, and the SVU gets involved. They find that someone has posted a photo of her from a party while she was unconscious, and someone had also written on her partially clothed body with a Sharpie. Eventually, the detectives track her down and hear that Mandy had also been raped at that same party.

An unexciting investigation ensues, with one of the boys from the party - Andrew - eventually admitting to forcing himself on Mandy. Apparently he wanted her to like him so badly but she didn’t have those same feelings, so he wrongfully took matters into his own hands. Barba cuts a deal for rape 3, 18 months, 4 years probation, and Andrew must go on the registry. Benson adds that Andrew has to allocute in open court so the whole school doesn’t think Mandy is a liar. He does so. Benson and Barba get their win.

The episode wraps with Benson - later that same day as the allocution - at the high school auditorium, on stage with Mandy, speaking to the students about bulling and sexual assault. She asks the students to stand up if they have been bullied, hazed, hurt by gossip, sexually assaulted, or a victim pf violence. Quite a few students are standing, and Benson reminds them they are all in this together, and they have the power to change this by being more accepting and compassionate. Short testimonials from some of Mandy’s circle of friends in the crowd follow, and I find tedium setting in. Maybe it’s because it’s been decades since I’ve been in high school and the problems are generally the same, but I was completely disinterested in this final scene. Yes, having these kinds of talks with students can get some of them thinking about these issues, but it will take more than one speech by Benson to change the culture. (NBC has provided a video of this scene which is embedded below, catch it while it is available.)

We also see Benson on the courthouse steps being served with a notice of motion from Sheila Porter’s attorney. Porter is asking the court for Benson’s financial disclosure and a psychological evaluation;  Porter is trying to challenge Benson’s fitness as a parent. Of course, this story line will continue, and we can only wonder how long this arc will be drawn out this season. Hopefully it can wrap up quickly so other characters on the show can have some drama of their own.

Note - two deleted scenes have been added below!

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:
Brighton Sharbino - Mandy Fowler
Colton Ryan - Andrew Drake
Madison Pettis - Stacey Vanhoven
Geraldine Highes - Denise Drake
Erin Davie - Kirsten Fowler
John Patrick Hayden - Bruce Fowler
Steve Rosen - Counselor Guthrie
Helma Augustus Cooper – Judge Reginald Flowers
Tyler Dean Flores - Max Rivera.
Katherine Reis –
Gary Lee Mahmoud – Alan Muss
David Raymond Wagner – Leo Ross
Antonio Edwards Suarez – Al Rivera
Sandra Elizabeth Rodriguez – Lisa Rivera
Travis Przybylski –Daniel Ross
Jacob Rosenbaum – Ethan Cohen
Nathanial Stampley – Neal Vanhoven
Damon Trammell – Process Server
Will Herzog – Eric
Jowin Marie Batoon – Kylee
Avery Rose Pedell – Deanna
Elainey Bass – Steph
Bilaal Avaz - Liam

From NBC – High School Assembly Scene with Benson

Deleted Scene

Deleted Scene

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magix74 said...

I too found this episode a little tedious. The opening scene went on for way too long. For a moment I thought I had the wrong station and wasn't watching SVU! Perhaps the show is trying to target a younger audience. I have to remind myself that I've been watching this show from the beginning and have pretty much seen it all. For the younger generation this could be their first time exposed to such issues so I hope that they can learn as much as I did when I first started watching the show. Whilst it was a nice touch that Benson went to the school, I find it unlikely that in reality students would respond quite like they did in the show. It was a bit too 'feel good' for me.

Chris Zimmer said...

@magix74 - I think the age thing is my problem. I'm in my early 60s and have been watching SVU since day 1 and I know I'm too far out of their desired demographic now, sadly! And yes, we've likely both seen it all - more than once (wink)!


It Felt Like A Normal Episode That Has Been Repeated Before. However I Will Disagree With You On The Ending, I Thought It Was Great And In A Way With This Whole Harvey Weinstein Scandal It Was Good To Show More People Open Up, Even Though Is A Show That We Always Focuses On Cases It Also Is Very True That Even Our Hero Cops Or Other Cast Members Have Been Bullies At 1 Point Or Another In The 19 Years The Series Has Been On. Everyone Is Entitled To Their Opinion And Should Be Respected,Which I Respected Your Opinion If Not I Would Not Be Here Commenting. On A Side Note It Seems Benson And Rollins Have Developed A Pretty Good Friendship From Every Scene They've Had Together Up To Now This Whole Season.

Lisa said...

The last 2 seasons have been huge disappointments. I long for the SVU from yesteryear Sadly we have this mess we have now preachy and Noah Drama driven I’m shocked Noah isn’t in the opening Credits since they devote so much time with his storylines.

Draven Long said...

Chris, I see that we highly disagree over this episode. I'm actually a teen, so that might be the reason. However, I love SVU as it is.

But this episode, to me anyway, was the best of Season 19 so far. The promo was highly deceiving, I got the vibe from the promo that this one would be quite boring. However, the hour flew by in what seriously felt like ten minutes.

Rollins reveals a personal detail about herself to try to get Mandy to get away from the cliff she was on the edge of (as Amanda put it.) She then said a quote that will stick with me, about how what others said about her didn't define her, only she can define herself. That scene gave me intense chills.

Benson's speech at the end and that scene literally had me in tears. I'll never forget that scene. From the emotion to the speech to even the music, which was the most beautiful piece I've ever heard them air, I felt that was a timeless scene. Julie and Brianna definitely did a marvelous job on this episode.

Other tidbits...Sheila already pisses me off. And it felt quite predictable that Andrew was the rapist. The way he said he loved Mandy so much sickened me.

All in all, "No Good Reason" I felt was a powerful, very important, timeless episode. That ending scene SIMPLY DEMANDS an Emmy. Season 19 has just knocked it out of the park so far, because Michael Chernuchin knows what he's doing. Next Wednesday's episode "Complicated" only promises to be yet another great one.

"No Good Reason" gets 5 stars from me.


I just want to clear up Chris that my last comment for some reason came under my other account +Juda Packer Metal which I just want to let you know are both my accounts, I just don't know why the comment came under that account? I will send you an email later and get your thoughts on a different show, I just don't feel is proper to do it here on an SVU post.


I like your way of thinking and giving a rating!! I give it a 4 out of 5 mainly because I love the ending!!

Laurie Fanat said...

I didn't care for this episode. It was too contrived. I agree that those who are younger probably loved it more than the over 40 or 60 crowd (that's me). The last scene was especially corny. I can't think of a better word. Benson reminded me of a preacher trying to get a group of non-religious people to come to Jesus, and magically they do! I could be getting tired of the repetitive nature of SVU, where the cases don't seem very creative all, and the cases get solved in such a speedy fashion. Think about this - Mandy made her last vlog on October 16 and then takes off, is quickly found, suspect ID'd, he allocutes on October 18 and Benson speaks to the school that same day. Sorry, but that timing is just not realistic. This is the kind of story telling that I hate - treating the viewers as if they are stupid. It's possible their coveted demographic isn't paying attention enough to catch these types of things so the writers don't care. This is probably why SVU continues to bleed viewers. I watch the show out of habit now, not because I enjoy it. I watch it via my DVR so I can skip the commercials, so there is no benefit to advertisers on me. This show has lost so much quality over the years it is so sad.

I also hope the Benson/Noah think wraps quickly, I'd rather see a Barba centered story arc. Heck, I'll even take a Rollins arc if it will get away from the constant Benson drama.

WestVirginiaRebel said...

This episode sounded like an after school special. I've been out of high school for a long time as well, but kids just wouldn't react that way especially when they're being lectured or preached to. You want to reach high school students, talk to them, not at them. And yeah, the Noah thing is a distraction.

michaelmuses said...

Sonny's detective work is seriously impressing me this season by the way. I like the way they're writing his character.

Patricia Bailey said...

I agree with Magix74: for a moment at the beginning, I thought I had the wrong show. I found myself waiting for someone to kill the teenage girl as she was making her "vlog"!

Three or four times now, I have gone back to Season 1 and watched the entire series from the beginning. In doing this, I find that there are certain episodes I refuse to watch again - because I remember how bored or irritated they made me. This episode will be one of them.

Mama Kiki said...

It seemed like a direct dig at Netflix's '13 Reasons Why', while sugar-coating and over-simplifying the true depths of assault recovery.

Lola said...

I also felt that the episode was boring throughout, so I won't hit on the same points that others have made. I'm pretty much done watching SVU. I don't think I can take anymore Noah/Olivia drama. What I wonder is, where did all the supporting characters go? Why don't they have MEs or psychiatrists or lab techs? They helped fill out the story and make it more interesting and real.

Js McFail said...

I too thought I had the wrong show up in the beginning...LOL But I was really never bored! I felt it addressed the subject matter of abuse AND included BULLYING as a form of emotional abuse which is correct!
As a survivor I felt like the end scene in the HS auditorium was awesome! I wish someone had done that when I was in the education cave (which seems like)centuries ago! LOL
As a retired teacher I can identify with all those problems but they are magnified in today's world. I would never return to education unless it was adults!
I too think they are shoving too much drama on Benson & she's my favorite character on SVU...(Barba is my second favorite...) The writers are dredging up too much drama & dragging it out wayyyyy too far for my liking...Also they need to stop making 90% of the episode topics about rape, it's dragging that out also...JMO

Chris Zimmer said...

Another deleted scene - this one with Kelli Giddish and Peter Scanavino - has been added after the recap/review!

Fefe Yo said...

This episode was horrible. I rolled my eyes in boredom all throughout the show. Both Olivia and the actress Mariska Hartigay are very self righteous and arrogant.
Olivia is constantly preaching women's choices, however, she is always pestering the women to make the decisions she wants them to make- at all costs. She hasn't learned her lesson from the aggressive stances she has taken in the past that has cost people their lives.
I am soooo fed up with this show. Hasn't Mariska made enough money to just finally leave? She is also one of the producers too...damn.
This whole thing with Noah is annoying. His real grandmother is around so why challenge her. Let Noah go back to his real family. There are so many children out there who have no families who need to be adopted.
They need to change this whole SVU format. This is ridiculous.

Unknown said...

I scoured the internet for a review like this—thank you! While the story itself was true to life, everything else was WILDLY unrealistic to me and my husband who is a high school teacher (we’re young and grew up with social media, and we live in a major US city so I’d say we aren’t out of touch). In the first 5 minutes we started joking that this episode seemed to be written by someone much older and clearly out of touch with slang and teen activities and relationships. Little did we know it was going to turn into a full-fledged Lifetime Original Movie at the end, complete with ridiculously unrealistic school assembly.

What I will say is that I loved the focus on the words and actions of the teen characters, as we often see parents speaking for their kids. So, more of that would be great and less of the out of touch writing for kids.

Truly the worst written ep of SVU we’ve ever experienced and both of us are huge fans. Hoping the rest of S19 isn’t terrible.

Domenick Michael said...

Look, I loved this show. I still want to love this show. I’m trying so hard to be loyal but it really is working my last nerve. It seems like lately you get 2 great episodes a season and then 20-22 hour long monotonous public service announcements where each whole mess just preaches endlessly. And as for the Noah storyline, I get the travails of Liv being a single mother. I appreciate her evolving with motherhood but Lord Jesus enough milking it with one Noah crisis story arc after another. Let the woman enjoy her damn kid and let us enjoy him too without making him a distracting melodramatic nuisance. 20 seasons of a show is a lot to expect but it still has mileage if only it stopped talking down to us and started focusing on better stories that play out without a forced agenda. The writing needs to shape up.