Friday, October 12, 2018

Law & Order SVU “Revenge” Recap & Review

Law & Order SVU “Revenge” depicted the incel (“involuntarily celibate”) version of “Strangers on a Train”, with members of an incel group thinking they could exact revenge via getting revenge for others in their group. By doing it under the guise of not having a connection with the victims, they think they can get away with it. Unfortunately, one of them does have a solid connection, and this is his undoing.

Despite the fact that the case was solved almost too easily and the story itself not too compelling, I was surprised that I liked this episode. I don’t know why. Sometimes when I view the NBC promo clip for an upcoming episode, or even read the description, I get turned off. But in this case, my instincts were wrong. I liked the pacing of the episode and the writing. It felt comfortable, like one of the older Law & Order SVU episodes, maybe because there wasn’t any personal drama for the lead characters. This kept the focus on the case.  There was a nice balance of detective work and legal wrangling and the hour moved quickly.

The legal case hits a bump when the detectives use GPS information received by accident from the phone company. Carisi is kicking himself for using the GPS data, saying he should have known better. Benson gives him a pass on this, reminding him he is a cop, not a lawyer, despite his law degree. I would not have been so forgiving. First: they got a memo from Stone saying that data like this can’t be obtained without a warrant due to a recent Supreme Court ruling. Second: they knew it was data they weren’t supposed to have, even if the phone company sent it in error. Third: how hard would it have been for Carisi, knowing the new law and having a legal education, to ask Benson in advance about using the information during interrogation? Benson could have conferred with Stone first,  allowing Stone to go for the warrant - maybe the judge would have granted it. If I were Benson, I would have been harder on Carisi.  He SHOULD have known better.

Here is the recap:

Rick and Ann are having intimate time in bed when a knock comes at the door. Rick answers it to find a man with a pizza, wearing a motorcycle helmet, who forces his way in and attacks them both at gunpoint. Later, with police on the scene, Benson and Fin question Ann and Rick about the incident. During questioning, they find that Rick and Ann didn’t order a pizza and that the attacker kept calling Ann “Stacy” and Rick “Chad”. The detectives wonder if the guy hit the wrong apartment

Carisi and Rollins speak with the doorman who was away from his post as he had to pee. There are no “Chad” or “Stacy” named tenants. Carisi looks at the tenant list and sees the name Chad Moore, but the doorman says Chad’s wife is Brianna. Benson and Fin confer with Carisi and Rollins; Benson tells Fin and Carisi to check pizza joints within 30 blocks and Benson and Rollins go to speak with Chad.

The discuss the situation with Chad and Brianna. They say they don’t know Ann or Rick. Rick knows nothing but Brianna seems unsettled. Benson gives her her card.

Back at SVU, Rollins explains they have the pizza guy on security camera but his face is covered. Fin got nothing from pizza joints. Brianna arrives at SVU and speaks with Benson and explains that she had an affair a year ago, his name was Jake Sanders and he taught her spin class. She broke it off and Jake did not take it well. Jake has a gun,

At Pro Cycle on Friday, October 5, Carisi and Rollins arrive and Jake, on a bike, tries to flee. They chase Jake in their car and quickly apprehend him. Carisi finds a gun on him and they arrest him. At SVU in interrogation, Jake says the gun is legal but he denies attacking Chad. Benson observes and Fin says Jake is not the attacker; video shows him teaching a spin class at the time of the attack. Benson gets a phone call and tells Fin they have another rape, same MO.

At the apartment of Paolo Ricci and Beth Palmer on Friday October 5, Fin speaks with Paolo who does not know a Chad. He did not buzz the man in. Beth explains how the attacker called her Stacy. The man was short and shoved her face into the couch and pulled her hair and screamed at her like he hated her. Benson wants to get her and Paolo to the hospital. Beth says she opened the door and didn’t ask who it was. Fin enters and tells Benson they have yet another Chad and Stacy.

Back at SVU, the detectives discuss what they know so far. Carisi put the names Chad and Stacy through RTC, Accurint and TLO and got nothing. But he tried the Dark Web and found that Stacy is not a specific person. A Stacy is any woman that an incel wants but cannot get because of guys called Chads. They mention a guy in Toronto who drove his van through a crowd of people because he wasn’t getting any. Fin states there is no reason for anybody to be involuntarily celibate, this is why god invented hookers. Carisi counters that sex workers are part of the problem; these guys think they should not have to pay for sex and woman should want to please a man at any time. Rollins comments “Welcome to the 17th century.” Carisi says there are 6000 guys willing to write about this stuff on line.

Benson speaks with Ann but she doesn’t know anyone who would do this. Rollins speaks with Beth about the same issue and she mentions a time before Paolo a year ago she wanted to meet people. She went to Tudor Mansion where they throw parties so people can hook up. They vet everyone and she met a creepy guy outside there who they wouldn’t let in. . He said that “Riley’s cool” in the third person and then saw him in other places later as if he was following her. He had red curly hair and was weird. She gives Rollins information on Tate Brightman who runs the place.

At the Brooklyn Heights Promenade on Saturday, October 6, Tate tells Carisi and Fin it is like a traveling party. People pay him to make sure they are mingling with the right sort of people. He maxes out at 200 people out of 1000 applicants. He says his applicant list is confidential, and Fin counters he has never heard of pimp/john confidentiality. Narcotics are forbidden. Carisi suggests they show up to make sure that is the case, and Tate decides to cooperate. He finds a Riley Porter on his list, who applied five times. He shows them Riley’s address.

Later, Riley is in SVU interrogation with Fin and Carisi. He explains his line of work. They speak about women in derogatory manner to get Riley to start talking, saying that their boss Olivia has buffalo nuts and too good for mortal men and that somebody needs to give it to her good, like Riley gave it to Beth Palmer. Riley plays dumb but they continue to press him and denies raping Beth as there is no such thing as rape. He says it is in the Constitution; all men are created equal and entitled to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Sex makes them happy and taking it is a fundamental right. Carisi tells him they will check his cell phone and security cameras and if he was anywhere near Beth Palmer’s apartment last Tuesday he will be pursuing happiness in Ossining for the rest of his life. As Benson observes, Rollins enters and tells her they have another one, this time he shot the boyfriend.

At the hospital, the doctor explains the injuries to the victim, John, to his parents, with Rollins nearby. She speaks with the parents. Benson speaks with Carol who says the attacker commented that his friend would have enjoyed and wanted to do it himself. There was blood everywhere. John was on the floor bleeding. He wore a helmet with a visor down, he was about 5’9”-10” and was loud, screaming, saying “screw you John.” He did not call him Chad. Carol cries but Benson says it is hard to imagine but things will get better. She says the attacker mentioned O’Riley, his friend. Rollins walks in and shakes her head at Benson – John is likely dead. Benson says she needs to talk to Carol about John, and Carol figures it out and sobs.

Back at SVU, Benson explains the cases to Stone. The first two rapes used the names Chad and Stacy but the third used real names. Victim 2 said she had a stalker named Riley. Riley does not have an alibi for the night Ann was raped. Benson wonders if Riley and incel friend traded rapes to get revenge. They were all snubbed by women and wanted revenge so one buddy gets it for the next and none of the guys had any particular connection to their victim so they would all alibi out. They had to let Riley go but wants a warrant for his computer to find out more about his 2 friends. Stone says he will have to find a judge who saw “Strangers On A Train.”

Meanwhile, Carisi finds Riley’s incel handle - “Phalluspower” – seeing a lot of messages leading up to the first rape, all to somebody called “Hateful-One.”

Later, Carisi and Rollins have Riley back in interrogation and confront him about the other rape and his handle and his messages. Rollins starts to question him and he gets rattled. She mentioned that Carol was raped but John Quinn was murdered. They continue to press him and he caves and says Hateful-One is Chris Carnasis, he lives in Riverdale and works at Whole Foods, but he didn’t kill anyone. It was a guy he met on-line, IronCross X; he doesn’t know his real name.

At the Carnasis Residence on Sunday, October 7, Benson and Fin arrive at the household and his mother answers. Chris shows up and appears to be a nerdy, awkward kid. They arrest him.

Back at SVU, Benson describes Chris to Stone as a millennial cliché – a 27 year old who lives with his mother in a big house. He is deaf and dumb per his lawyer, Dave Arnold, who Benson describes as a real winner. Stone calls him “Dave “do what” Arnold” and when Benson says she doesn’t get it, Stone replies, “You will.” They enter interrogation. Quickly, Arnold asks “You wanna do what?” and Stone mentions racketeering. They mention that Riley gave Chris up, and the situation around the rapes. They continue to press him and mention the third person attacked and the incel group, calling it an on-line rape and mass murder club. Chris gets upset and says those bitches are lying. Stone mentions the RICO forfeiture laws, and will confiscate everything Chris owns. Chris mentions two computers and a printer, but Stone means the nice house in Riverdale and all of its contents. He says that is his mom’s, and Stone asks who’s to say he didn’t help her pay for it? The statute allows him to take first and investigate later. Benson says this means his mother will be living on the street until they figure this out. Stone adds he has a team of movers with big trucks on standby. Chris folds and says the man goes by Iron Cross on line, it was his idea. Benson presses for his name and Chris says it won’t make a difference. When Benson says it will, Chris says “The Omegas are rising. We’re gonna get what we’re owed all over the country. The world. You’re looking at a revolution by men who have nothing to lose.” Benson presses for his name.

Later, Fin, Carisi and Rollins arrive at a library and see their target. They approach Tony Kelly – aka Iron Cross – and they arrest him for rape and murder.

At SVU in interrogation, Rollins and Carisi question Tony with his lawyer, Nikki Staines, present, while Fin and Stone observe. Nikki notes she hasn’t heard any evidence yet, including the testimony of the accomplices. Stone comments to Fin she is correct but Fin counters they have another card to play. Rollins says Tony’s cell phone GPS puts him there at the time of the attack. Nikki wants to see the search warrant, asking if they are aware of the Carpenter case. Carisi says they are aware of it. Nikki comments “Thank you Justice Roberts” and then says she will look at that warrant now.

Afterwards, Stone, angry, tells the detectives that when he send a memo about a change in the law, at least they could do the honor of reading it. When Fin says they did read it. Carisi says he asked the phone company for Tony’s cell phone records - Rollins says for which they don’t need a warrant – and Carisi goes on to say they included the GPS. Rollins asks if they are supposed to ignore it. Stone replies until they get a warrant, yes. Unless Stone can convince a judge to overlook a Supreme Court decision, they have nothing on Tony Kelly.

In Motions court on Tuesday, October 9, Nikki argues the police violated Tony’s 4th Amendment rights but Stone counters the police obtained the records unwittingly and says as it was a phone company error the judge find an exception to the recent change in the law. Nikki states that in Carpenter vs US…the judge cuts her off and talks about privacy to Stone. Stone brings up inevitable discovery, but the judge isn’t buying it and sustains Nikki’s motion, saying the GPS records are inadmissible. The judge dismisses the case. The victims look devastated.

Outside the courthouse, Stone tells the stunned victims and family that they will get more evidence and file new charges. The other guys cut deals but the victims are upset Tony walks away. They think it is not fair.

Back at SVU, Carisi moans that he should have known better, but Fin says any of them would have done what he did. Benson reminds Carisi he is a cop, not a lawyer, despite the law degrees. She says they needs something to corroborate what they heard. Fin thinks the seeds were planted with this incel group a long time ago, and Carisi wonders about Tony’s mother, Carisi thinking nobody knows him better than his mother. Benson tells them to give it a shot.

At the apartment of Melanie Pierce on Wednesday, October 10, Fin and Rollins speak with Melanie and ask about John Quinn. His father took off years ago, and Tony doesn’t talk much. When Tony did talk, all he talked about was Carol Solomon, and hear that Tony talked about her all senior year and took her to the prom. She has a picture.

Afterward, Benson shows the prom photo to Stone, saying Tony took her to prom and Carol snubbed him and has been fantasizing about her for 10 years. She thinks it is motive. He does not agree. He comments that three lonely guys cooked up this elaborate plan and two of them executed it perfectly but Tony, probably the smartest of the three, screwed up. When Benson states that is what criminals do, Stone wonders if he didn’t. The others attacked strangers who wronged their buddy but Tony raped the woman who hurt him in high school. Benson wonders if, in the heat of the moment, he wanted Carol to know it was him.

Later. Stone has Nikki and Tony in a conference room. He tells them Riley took a deal for 10 years and Chris took 12. Nikki states unless Stone has corroboration, he is wasting their time. He says he wants them to meet someone, and he brings in Carol, along with Benson. He claims he doesn’t know her, and Benson states it is Carol Solomon and they went to high school together. Stone asks Carol to remind him of the good times, and she says she can’t, she’s never seen him before in her life. Benson says his mom told them Carol is all he talked about and went to prom together, Tony leaps up and Benson tells him to sit down, and Nikki gets angry, saying they are done. Carol asks who is he and why did he do this to her? Tony says it is because she is ignorant and shallow and throws herself at worthless men like John Quinn. She cries and says she loved John but Tony says she is not entitled to love. Benson asks if he is, and he shouts “You’re damn right I am!” He comments about Chad and Stacy, winners of the genetic lottery, flaunting it to the rest of them. Stone asks if he means losers, and Tony shouts for Stone to look at themselves, saying they are too obtuse to see what is going on, they have no idea. Nikki looks down, silent. He mentions perfect people running around Central Park, picnics in Sheep’s Meadow, always flaunting and having a wonderful time while he was alone, it’s time they all learned their lesson. Benson asks it’s time they what? Nikki cautions him not to answer that and he pauses then moves toward Carol, asking that she doesn’t know who he is. Benson tells him to step back and don’t do that again. He tells Carol he loves her, and rattled off her old address when she lived with her perfect mom and dad, and rattles off her favorite foods, movie, etc. She screams for him to stop and as he pushes forward, Benson pushes him right back and cautions him. He mentions her old cell phone number and knows that because he called her and left a message asking her to prom but he guesses her inner bitch took over and she didn’t have the decency to call him back. Stone asks if that is why he killed John, and Tony screams why should he have a life when he had nothing? When Benson asks if he raped Carol, Tony states he took what was his. Benson tells him to turn around and put his hands behind his back, and she cuffs him. Nikki tells Stone they should talk. Carol looks stunned. As Benson takes Tony away, Carol shouts at him, calling him a bastard, saying she never got his voice mail…because that was never her phone number, he called somebody else. She shouts that he is a stupid, evil bastard. Benson looks at Stone with her face showing surprise. Benson takes Tony away, and Stone looks on as Carol sobs as we fade to black.

Mariska Hargitay - Lieutenant Olivia Benson
Ice-T - Sergeant Odafin “Fin” Tutuola
Kelli Giddish - Detective Amanda Rollins
Peter Scanavino - Detective Dominick “Sonny” Carisi, Jr.
Philip Winchester – ADA Peter Stone

Guest stars:
Callie Thorne - Nikki Staines
Ethan Slater - Riley Porter
Steven Maier – Tony Kelly
Kennedy McMann - Carol Solomon
Emma Fitzpatrick - Beth Palmer
Sarah Rich - Anne Whitman
Louis Mustillo - Dave Arnold
Tom Titone - Judge Joshua Goldfarb
Jolly Abraham – Dr. Patel
Kyle Decker - Tate Brightman
Megan McQuillan _ Brianna Moore
Nicholas J. Coleman – Chad Moore
Will Dagger – Chris Carnasis
Eric Freeman – Rick Karsch
Deidre Madigan _ Melanie Pierce
Peterson Townsend - Jake Sanders
Joshua David Scarlett _Keyshawn
Ric Reitz - Danny Quinn
Victoria Adams-Zischke – Nancy Quinn
Donna Del Bueno – Linda Carnasis
Rick Irwin – Paolo Ricci
Gillian Glasco – Dominique Rivers
Deshawn Wyatte – Paramedic
Victoria Oliver – Ashley
Elizabeth Tanick – Jenna
Maggie Weston – Brooke
Max Meisel – Brock

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OhSusannah said...

I saw this new episode earlier on Thursday night as I live in Canada. When I was online later on, the entire SVU cast and crew were hashtagging the word #Uprising and SVUXX, the season's hashtag. I thought when they were using the word Uprising it referred to the episode's title, which I thought was Revenge. Taht's what my digital tv guide mentioned at any rate. It got confusing until I realized it was in fact the same episode I had seen earlier....I liked that episode overall, and U loved that there was no new personnel personal issues-lol.

Unknown said...

I have to admit that after Man Up, Man Down, and Zero Tolerance, I all of which I was disspointed by, I was extremely pleased with this episode. Revenge, although by no means in the top ten of episodes in SVU, was an incredible improvement over the previous three episodes. I actually found the plot quite interesting; after watching over three hundred and fifty episodes, some of the more recent ones in season 18 and 19 have felt old and unoriginal, but this episode was unlike any other in the idea of incels and their trading off rapes; it was a breath of fresh air. This episode also proves a point I and a lot of other people have made as well: when you stop focusing on the detectives personal lives, the episodes get way better. I particularly liked the last scene, with the interaction between Carol and Nikki, and how she reveals at the very end that he called the wrong number, meaning that all of his anger and hate, causing him to commit rape and murder, all originated from a betrayal which never even occurred. There are two main critiques that I have of this episode. One: I love Olivia Benson as the compassionate detective who interviews the victims, and she is still doing a great job at it, but it's just not realistic for her to be out on the frontlines so much when she is a detective. This is why I was so angry when they took away Captain Cragen. I understand why the writers want to keep her in the thick of things, and I want her to be too, but it just doesn't seem realistic. Bring back Cragen! And two, speaking of bringing back characters, I am really craving some familiar faces. The only characters that have appeared from any time since season 1-12 who are still on the show are Olivia and Finn. We need some of the original cast, even if it's just for a few episodes per season; bring back Warner and Cabot for reoccurring appearances, they both managed to appear in the last season for an episode! I really would love to see Stabler, Cragen, and Munch back too. Also Novak, Wong, Barba, you get the gist. There are so many characters that have just disappeared. I feel like it would make this season so much better if we could bring back some familiar faces. If we add the old cast with new and original ideas (like what we saw today), then season 20 will be in business.

Logan Ross said...

I missed this episode but thanks to this Amazing BLOG I really didn't. I love the review and total detailed recap of the episode.I appreciate this so much.

gummboote said...

This episode wasn't unwatchable, but it was silly, a caricature of the issues involved and of SVU itself. For Benson and co not to know the meaning of "Chad" and "Stacey" just made them seem dumb - likewise, there was really no need to look it up on some mysterious "dark web", plain Twitter could have told them. And yes, why is Benson still turning up at the crime scene and doing first interviews with traumatised victims? That's not her job any more! It makes her feel like an emotional vampire who gets off on dispensing absolution ("none of this is your fault" etc), or else someone who doesn't trust anyone under her to do their job. In fact either of those could be interesting new directions for the show. Have some genuine conflict within the team - crusading St Olivia turning into a liability while the people working under her really don't like her.

Laurie Fanat said...

I liked this episode too. The interaction between the detectives was comfortable and natural. None of the episode dragged. No distractions. They should stick with this formula more and cut out the soap opera stuff. But the viewer numbers...scary. They dropped a lot since last season. I thought Chicago Fire was in that time slot last year and did much better than SVU is doing. NBC can't be happy with that. Chicago Fire is doing better in its new day and time slot than SVU has done in that same slot and I bet NBC is happy with that. If these sad numbers keep up I can't see them keeping SVU for another season.

Anonymous said...

I don’t get the “dark web” thing. These websites and forums are not exactly well hidden. Acknowledging that these groups seem to be getting larger and are all over the Internet (they’re on Reddit, Youtube, Twitter, they have their own websites, etc) would’ve been better.

Jessica said...

I'm glad other people are mentioning how ridiculous it was for them to present incel "culture" as so obscure one needs to do a "dark web" search. One can go on pretty much randomly selected social media platform and/or message board/forum and easily find incel BS. I knew what "Chad and Stacy" meant the second I heard it, and it was laughable that the detectives wasted time with a "mistaken identity search. The idea that sex crimes detectives in the world's largest city wouldn't know these terms is unrealistic.