Friday, November 30, 2018

Law & Order SVU “Alta Kockers” Recap & Review


Law & Order SVU “Alta Kockers” was a solid episode, mostly due to two fantastic guest stars, “repeat offenders” Judd Hirsch and Wallace Shawn, who played the two curmudgeonly and reclusive old men. (The episode title is a Yiddish word for the same, but I’ve sanitized it from the literal translation.) What starts out as the average, every-day SVU murder and possible hate crime, turns into a story of two brothers who both appear to hate each other but are also both sharing a horrible secret of being sexually abused at a young age. The brothers are full of other secrets; besides the abuse, Ben, the younger brother, has written a book about sexual abuse under another name, making plenty of money. The elder brother, Joe, seems clueless to all of this and to their pending financial ruin.  Also, their mother is dead and in the freezer in the basement.

When the SVU investigates the murder of a person who they believe to be the author of the book, it takes a predictable turn. Once the publisher admitted he had never met the author before that night, it was obvious that the murder victim was only a stand in for the real author. Assuming that one of the two guest stars would be one of the authors, I hoped that the episode wouldn’t be dull. But these two characters were written well, and performed brilliantly. It was like watching real brothers argue. They disliked each other so intensely that their only interaction was in the form of constant disagreement. Yet they still loved each other, keeping their horrible secrets to themselves and one brother taking the blame for the murder of their mother.

While in SVU interrogation, Carisi is still working to investigate their home and he discovers their mother’s body in a freezer. It appears that they smothered her. While in Rikers, both brothers individually tell Benson and Rollins about being sexually abused when they were young. It was hard not to feel the anguish that both men still felt, and Hirsch and Shawn played these roles perfectly. Finally, at the trial for the murder of their mother, Joe takes the blame and quickly collapses. The final scenes with Joe on his deathbed and Ben finally telling this brother what happened was heart-wrenching.

Some of the dialog in this episode may have been upsetting to some. Early on, when Benson says of the victim “she is not a she, physically”, this was considered to be an insensitive comment to someone who is transgender. It was later explained that Bobbi was not transgender, just a boy posing as a young girl for the book signing. I’m not sure that makes the line okay. I would have expected for Benson - of all people - to be more sensitive to the dead body. I’m not sure what the right words would be, maybe saying something like “we could be dealing with a victim who is transgender.” Also, I am not sure that using Yiddish words like “shvartza/shvartze” in the context it was used is proper for network TV. It’s just as bad as the “N” word.  Also the term fegulah (or feygele) is equally derogatory. I assume that these words were interjected to heighten the sense that these two men had isolated themselves for decades and had no idea that words like these are not acceptable any longer.

This was also SVU’s fall finale; the show returns with a new episode on January 10, 2019.



Here is the recap:

Author Bobbi O’Rourke is reading an excerpt of her book at a store book signing, describing her hard life, which receives much applause. Later, Bobbi interacts with fans and her publisher, Walter, is also there, and he is fielding questions. Bobbi seems uncomfortable and, using an excuse to get a refill on her wine,  makes an exit.

Later, Fin and Carisi are on the scene outside the book signing. An officer explains that Bobbi was outside with a glass of Chablis and a smoke and was hit in the head with a brick. Benson is already on the scene. Benson says Bobbi was not raped and Carisi questions what are they doing here? Benson says she is not a she, physically; they may be looking at a hate crime.


Back at SVU, Carisi explains to Benson that they pulled prints from the brick but they are not in any database. Bobbi has a learner’s permit from North Carolina, he’s 16, but the address is not real. Rollins adds that if his book is true, he ran away at 13 years old and turned tricks at truck stops until he reached New York. Bobbi is not transgender, Robbi figured he’s make more money being a teenage girl. It is how he paid his rent, she assumes until the book. Fin shows a video from the store after party where it seems a man follows him out back. Benson tells them to check with the bookstore to see if they can get a name.


At the bookstore, Fin and Carisi speak with someone who works there who says Bobbi could have been one of the greats. He does not know the man in the video. There was a short guest list for the reading and the rest were first come, first serve. Fin asks for the list and the guy refers them to the publisher, Pitch Dark Press.

At Pitch Dark Press on Monday, November 19, Fin and Carisi speak with Walter about Bobbi, who was living two lives. Bobbi would not let him put his photo on the book jacket. He shows them a draft of the book which showed up unsolicited. The author left out his name, address, and phone number but he got a call a few days later from a timid voice. Walter was amazed at what Bobbi lived through. They show him the photo of the man on the video and he does not know him. He goes to get the guest list the detectives need but does not have Bobbi’s address. They direct deposited his checks into his account.


Back at SVU, Fin comments to Benson that the kid is a ghost, nobody ever saw him but his publisher. Carisi adds that the address he gave is the 92nd Street Y, Fin saying none of them recognized Bobbi or the kid in the video. Benson asks why somebody would want Bobbi dead, and Fin wonders if it is money, he has over a half million in his bank account. When Benson comments that is a lot of books, Fin informs her he sold his rights to Hollywood. Carisi wonders if it is jealousy, that one writer was jealous of his success, but Fin suspects it is sex; the kid’s fame and fortune all came from it. Rollins races in with her laptop and says somebody posted a video from the reading showing the guy with a copy of the book “Absalom Absalom!” which he bought with a credit card. His name is William Glover and he lives in Forest Hills.


At the home of William Glover in Forest Hills, Queens on Monday, November 19, Fin and Carisi arrive as he is playing with his kids in the yard. He asks if they have to do this here. Carisi suggests they go back to the station. William’s wife comes out the front door and calls them in for dinner. His wife says she has a whole leg of lamb if his friends want to stay. William suggests they eat without him. He kisses her and says he loves her as he leaves with Fin and Carisi.

At SVU, Benson and Rollins have William in interrogation. He quickly admits he killed Bobbi. He says he took a brick and hit him and hit him. He denies he is gay, saying he has a wife. He said she told him her name was Tammy, the first time he met her three weeks ago. He picked her up in a parking lot a block from his office. He describes her, and says she only wanted $50, $25 goes to her boss. He didn’t know she wrote a book until he saw the leaflet on the C train, upset that she lied to him. When Benson asks if that is why he killed her, he pounds the table and says he is not gay.

Later, still at SVU, Carisi ponders over a batch of donuts as Benson approaches, telling him to pick one. He ask what is the point, and she suggest because he is hungry. He asks if Glover got a lawyer, and Benson says Stone is with him now, assuming they will work out a deal for man one, without the hate crime. Carisi wonders why Bobbi made a lot of money from the book, why would he go back on the street? Benson thinks that is all he knows and does not know how to stop. Carisi wonders if somebody was forcing him, thinking about the publisher who drove up 12th Avenue looking for Bobbi but never saw him, but Glover found him there several times in the last few weeks. Benson thinks Carisi suspects the publisher is lying, and Carisi thinks he was pimping him out.

At The Honey Well on Tuesday, November 20, Carisi speaks with Walter about Bobbi and explains the guy who killed him found him on 12th Avenue. Walter admits he lied, he never actually met Bobbi. Tammy – or whatever he called himself that week – did the reading. Bobbi is real, the whole secrecy is real but once they sold the rights, the Hollywood producers wanted to see his face. Walter explains how they found him on the street and he bought a forced license and had him read a couple pages. He paid him $500 to keep him in Oxy and didn’t think anyone would get hurt. He asks if he is under arrest and Carisi says he will get back to him on that.



Back at SVU, Carisi explains if it wasn’t for the publisher scam, this kid would still be alive. Benson tells him to try convincing Stone there was causation. Carisi suggests they charge him with fraud, and Benson questions because he lured people into a free book reading? Benson adds until they change the laws in Albany there is nothing they can do. Fin comments that the book is filled with sex that Bobbi had with scores of adult men who all could be charged with statutory rape. The wonder how they can find Bobbi and Fin explains he had TARU track the IP address of the on line bank transactions.


At 413 West 150th Street on Tuesday, November 20, Fin and Carisi arrive at a huge house. A neighbor explains she never sees anyone from the house. Fin radios in that they will need a team and a warrant.


A team opens up the large front door and Fin calls out for Bobbi. The home belongs to Fred and Rose Edelman. They search the home. Carisi enters a room and covers his mouth. He tells Fin there is dried blood in the corner. A man enters and sees them and yells, “What the hell” and they tell him to put his hands on his head. The man complies and when they ask about Bobbi O’Rourke, he replies that the bartender from Malone’s died 59 years ago, he went to the funeral. Fin sees another man enter from another door and orders him to stop right there and put his hands on his head. The other man says Bobbi died in ’75. The two men are brothers, one calling the other a putz. Fin says they are both coming down to the station, and the second brother says he is not getting in a car with the first brother, not in this lifetime. The second brother gets argumentative.

In SVU with Benson and Rollins, they ask Joe Edelman about Bobbi and he says he doesn’t even know him. When Rollins says they traced the IP address to his house, Joe says he doesn’t know what an IP address is. Meanwhile, Fin and speak with Ben Edelman who mentions computers and when Fin mentions Bobbi was a boy who dresses as a girl, Ben refers to that as a “fegulah.” Fin does not think that word can be used anymore because it hurts people and words can hurt more than a gun. Ben thinks everybody should say it and nobody would get hurt. He knows nothing about Bobbi can says his brother is a son of a bitch. He says Joe is a schmuck, not a fegulah.  But Joe says he wouldn’t put anything past his brother. When asked if Ben would hurt Bobbi, Joe brings up Cherise, the shvartzah. Benson tells him that’s unacceptable. Joe doesn’t get it. Benson leaves the room.

Meanwhile, Fin mentions to Ben that his parents are listed as the owners of the house, and Ben said dad died in 1969 and his mom in 1973. Joe hasn’t left the house since, and when Fin asks about him, Ben asks if he is supposed to leave Joe all to himself? Joe explains to Rollins that Cherise came on Tuesdays and Fridays and she cleaned and made terrible soup. Joe says Ben was convinced she was stealing; Ben put quarters all over the house and one was missing and Ben was convinced she was a thief and he fired her in 1975. But Ben thinks if anything happened to Bobbi it was Joe.


Carisi is back at the house and when he enters a dark area, he trips some kind of booby trap and a book case and pile of books fall all over him, knocking him to the floor. He yells there is a man down and calls for Officer Montero. Assistance arrives and they get the bookcase off Carisi and he says is alright, but thinks there is something behind there. He sees a room with a computer and the “Blue Barracuda” book written by Bobbi. He sees a file on the computer titled “Blue Barracuda 2” by Bobbi O’Rourke. It looks like the next book.

Carisi calls Benson who says they know Bobbi was there, and Carisi explains the document was last opened two days ago. He asks if the blood test came back yet, and Benson tells him no, to keep searching, Bobbi could be hiding in there. Montero joins Carisi to continue the search.

Back in interrogation with Fin, Ben says he’s like a corned beef sandwich from Carnegie Deli. Fin explains it closed two years ago. Ben says nobody told him about the shiva. Benson, entering the room with Rollins, tells Ben to get up. He asks if they are taking him home now, and Rollins replies not quite. He notices and comments about her being pregnant, saying, “Oh, tatellah. "


Benson and Rollins are in interrogation with Joe and Ben and Benson comments that Bobbi O’Rourke was in their house two days ago, Rollins adding no one has seen him since. Joe comments including him, and Ben calls him a liar. They start arguing about an old issue. Ben stands up and says he won’t sit here and listen to him, but Benson stands up as well and says yes he will. She raises her voice and states they will sit there until he and his brother tell them what happened to Bobbi O’Rourke. They are silent.

Back at the house, Carisi continues to search and finds a lock on a freezer.

At SVU, Fin enters interrogation and says that the DNA on the manuscript matches the blood on the laptop and the floor. Benson tells the brothers they will search the home from top to bottom and will find him. She tells them they are under arrest and to put them in the cage. But Ben tells them to wait, it was him. There is no Bobbi, and Benson tells them to give them a lawyer, she is done. But Ben tells her to wait, he wrote the book. Joe is surprised. Ben asks his brother who paid for the house and groceries? Joe mentions their mother’s money, but Ben says that will run out in 6 months; Ben thinks about the future, about everything. Benson asks if he hasn’t left the house since 1973, how did he get a computer? Joe seems surprised, and Ben sarcastically says he drew hieroglyphics on the bathroom wall. Benson tells Ben to focus. He explains he gave Carlos, the kid who delivers from the deli, $100 bucks to buy it and set it up. Benson asks about the blood on the floor, and he explains he cut himself while trying to carry his mother’s sewing machine into the basement, chiding Joe for not helping. He stepped on broken glass and offers that they can test his blood, saying why do they think Bobby never showed his face? He mentions the bartender from Malone’s – Joe would remember him - which is where he got the name. Ben says they didn’t kill Bobbi, SVU did.

Back at the house, Carisi finally pries open the freezer and finds a dead body of an old woman.

At SVU, Benson is in her office reading the book when Rollins enters, saying the ME got Rose Edelman thawed and she had malignant tumors in both lungsm, but she died from asphyxiation. The ME thinks they used a pillow. Benson asks if Rollins read the book and she replies enough to get the general flavor. Benson reads back an excerpt and says she’s heard the exact same thing from abuse survivors, yet it came from a 73 year old who has rejected an alienated society. They wonder if he was abused, and Benson says if he was he deserves closure. Rollins says she is coming with her, there were two kids in that house and the desk is driving her crazy.

At Rikers Island on Monday, November 26, Ben is explaining to Benson a day when he and Joe were young. He talked about swimming out and riding the waves until there were no waves. The undertow dragged them further from the shore but a lifeguard saw them and swam out toward them. The next thing he knew he was on the beach regurgitating water. His mother kept them afloat until the lifeguard got there. He is not about to confess to something he didn’t do. Benson wonders what would Joe do, and Ben says they would have to ask him.

Rollins speaks with Joe who is evasive when he asks if she has a husband, but then answers no but there is someone special. He admits he never wanted a wife, he is too busy. She mentions he is handsome. He asks if she is shacking up like flower people, and she says flower children have been gone a long time. He asks if Ben has confessed yet, saying he is weak. He says sometimes it is hard being the bigger brother.

Benson tells Ben she did not come to talk about her mother, she came to talk about the book. He is surprised she read it, and she said it was so real and doesn’t understand how he could have written it without…he says he doesn’t want to talk about it. She adds she knows how hard it must have been, but he says she knows bubkes. Benson says she knows that anyone who could have written a book like that certainly lived through something. She thinks he wrote the book to tell the world how devastating and horrifying it was. He states he wrote that book because they need the money. She says he was ashamed, which is why he didn’t use his real name. She can only imagine what he felt – hate, rage, disgust, but shame isn’t on him, this wasn’t his fault. She asks who hurt him.


Joe tells Rollins that after school, they used to go to this play center, and there was a counselor there – Vincent – who was about 20, and taught him how to pick up grounders. As Ben, still with Benson, looks distressed, Joe tells Rollins that he would never let him do anything to Ben, what kind of a brother would he be? Rollins asks if Vincent hurt Joe, and Joe says he was only 12 years old, asking what kind of a person…he stops. Ben, meanwhile, tells Benson about Vincent, and that he was always around, and the first time was in the locker room when nobody else was there, Vincent saying this is what big boys do. Joe asks Rollins not to tell his brother, and when Benson asks Ben if he told anyone, he asks who would he tell? She suggest his brother, and he says he would laugh at him. Joe tells Rollins he was the older brother and was supposed to protect Ben, asking how could he tell him about…Rollins suggests his father, but Joe states he would get mad at him if he didn’t get an A on a test, he would say it was his fault. Benson asks Ben if he told his mother, and Ben says of course not, she would have thought he was dirty and wouldn’t love him anymore. Benson shakes her head.


Later, at the courthouse with Stone,  Benson says both boys were abused. He counters they didn’t say anything until they were charged with murdering their mother. Benson believes them. He says he will do his best to get it excluded at trial. She says he won’t have to, neither of them will admit it to each other. She adds that the ME’s report says Rose’s cancer caused her intolerable pain. Stone says they both know that doesn’t matter, and she suggest Stone cut them a deal. He states he worked on out with their attorney – one year jail time, 10 years probation. When Benson states that is generous, Stone explains they turned it down. Benson thinks they are sympathetic defendants, but Stone counters until they hear their mother’s body was kept on ice in the basement. He walks off and Benson shakes her head.

In Supreme Court Part 29 on Thursday, November 29, the defense attorney speaks for the two men and their mother’s illness and death. He states how they took care of her and couldn’t see her buried or cremated. He says how much they loved their mother and how they kept her where she wanted to be, in their home. But when the judge tells Stone to call his first witness, Joe stands up and says that is enough. He refuses to sit down when the judge orders, and to Ben’s shock, Joe admits he did it, he killed his mother, and Ben had nothing to do with it. He says is so so sorry and he collapses. Stone calls for an ambulance.


Later, Joe is unconscious in the hospital as Ben yells at him, sobbing, saying he is stupid and is hogging the stage. Benson says his brother is still protecting him. As Ben sobs, Joe’s monitors show he is dying. The doctor races in and orders them out. Later, the doctor tells Ben that Joe has died. Ben asks if he can go him, and Stone says he will officially drop the charges against Ben. Ben explains to Joe’s dead body what happened with Vincent at the center as Benson listens. As we see them in the hospital room, we fade to black.




Cast:
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:
Judd Hirsch - Joe Edelman
Wallace Shawn - Ben Edelman
Jayce Bartok - Walter Evans
Michael Kostroff – Evan Braun
David McElwee - Will Glover
Eddie Hargitay - Eddie Montero
Kathryn Kates - Judge Marlene Simons
Calhoun Koenig - Bobbi O'Rourke
Elijah Guo - Cal Carver
Najat Arkadan Washington – Maggie
Weica Camarano – Rachel Ortiz
Katie Hartke – Karen Glover
Paytra Gessler – Faye
James Beaman – Oscar
Vanessa R. Butler – Chelsea
Mary Theresa Archbold – Doctor



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33 comments:

the late phoenix said...

for me, this was outstanding. it was so different from the show's usual fare, there was a shadowy mood and atmosphere to it. it hit upon a lot of my personal draws. the hotshot cyberpunk ingenue writer at an exclusive nighttime reading, i thought that amorous couple getting into it in the front row would be something but they were a red herring. and then when the setting shifts to that marble mansion stuck in the '70s with the wood golf clubs and hoarder piles straight out of Grey Gardens for Men, it goes full film-noir. Judd Hirsch reminds of a nostalgic time when you could still hail a cab not an Uber in NYC. and when you meet Wallace Shawn's famous storytelling lisp again you can't help but be transported back to that My Dinner With Andre final night-drive scene with the jazz in the back. this amazingly might go down ending up my favorite SVU episode ever which is saying something for a show this far in. great stuff. (yeah that surreal interlude with the kvetching about the Yiddish insults was almost played for laughs, i'm sure the cast had a lot of blooper-reel fun with those two legends)

WestVirginiaRebel said...

"Words can hurt worse than a gun" say what? Words alone can't kill (although they can motivate lunatics to do so). Also the brothers might have been victims, but murder is still murder unless it was self defense. Unfortunately Benson's comments also seemed like a throwback to an earlier era on SVU.

Draven Long said...

This was a spectacular episode!! A definite highlight of Season 20. I agree on Benson, Chris. As a transgender person myself (my Google account is my birth name, and I don't know how to change it) I was angered and disappointed that she of all people would say such a thing.

Jessica F. Norick said...

I liked this episode. The plot had more twists and turns than a mountain road, and I happen to like that. I'm also a sucker for cagey old codgers. A solid episode indeed.

Laurie Fanat said...

I wouldn't have liked this episode had Judd Hirsch and Wallace Shawn not played the two brothers. They brought believable personalities to both. There were missteps on the language with Benson and others. Benson's comment about the "she not being a she" was wrong. She should know better. I would expect a crude comment like that from Fin maybe, but not Benson. She must not be perfect after all. The flip side is that Bobbi could have been viewed as a cross dresser and would that make the comment okay? Not every male in female clothes is transgender. These days people must feel like they are walking through a minefield when they try to comment on these issues. We have the benefit now of knowing what Bobbi was - not transgender - but I blame the writers for not thinking through what Benson would say to keep with her overly sensitive persona. The safest thing to say would have been that they were dealing with a murder of someone who was either transgender or a cross dresser. In fact, they could have used this as a time to train people on what the difference is.

On the Yiddish terms, I cringed when I heard him say shvartza. That is a horrible word to a black person. I think they put it in there for shock value.

Good episode overall but kudos mostly to Judd and Wallace.

Good fences Make good neighbors said...

I dont think benson meant to be offensive. She was setting up a possible motive. Perhaps it could have been phrased better

swtpete_at_gmail said...

Shawn Wallace's character says of Bobbi being a boy and dressing as a girl, "oh a fegulah." I can't find the (slang, defamatory, derogatory, offensive) language or word origin online anywhere. Did it lead to the word fag and is it yiddish?? Thanks. Excellent write up if the episode though I can't read it cuz it'll have Spoilers! From, Peter in San Diego CA USA.

JustKeepinItReal said...

Does anyone know the name of the real life person this is based on. He was in Hollywood, he wouldn’t speak much and made friends with some real a list celebrities?

swtpete_at_gmail said...

PS. Whatever happened to law and order criminal intent? I heard the autistic or on the spectrum Vincent d'onofrio character got seriously ill. Heading to Wikipedia to learn what years it ran. Hope Hulu or Netflix have it!

swtpete_at_gmail said...

*Asperger's Syndrome

Unknown said...

Best episode I have seen in a very long time! Hirscher and Shawn were wonderful!

swtpete_at_gmail said...

Found itO - Or a possible lead. Fagala. The TV show's closed captioning put 'fegulah.' Further reading, haha not exactly academia though: https://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Fagala

Amy Majdalani said...

Enter change google account name in search bar?

Jessica said...

Wow. I didn’t expect to be crying at the end of an episode of Law and Order, but here I am. The final 10 minutes, from the reveal of the abuse to Joe’s death, were really emotional.

Some trivia: the fake Bobbi O’Rourke story could be drawn from the J.T. LeRoy books/incident, in which the supposed “real” person of J.T. LeRoy was played by the actual author’s sister in law.

The two reclusive hoarder brothers living in a house made of booby traps could have been drawn from the real life Collyer Brothers.

Jessica said...

Perhaps you are thinking of J.T. LeRoy?

Sharon Polikoff said...

The timing of this episode is unfortunate, given the ongoing rise of antisemitism as seen especially in the Paris attacks and now the Pittsburgh tragedy. While these characters weren't targets of antisemitism themselves, they presented an unpleasant image of two white/Jewish holdovers from the 1950s, spewing pejorative language directed at blacks, transgender, pregnancy (?) even if they may think of it as harmless. I agree with the earlier comment that the Yiddish word is not much 'better' than the n-word. It really shouldn't be revived in a 2018 television show.
Why add more fuel to stoke the hatred of someone on the fringe who may already have a negative attitude toward Jews?

Sir.GoodGuy said...

Great episode! Might be the best one since "The Undiscovered Country".

SVUFAN#1 said...

Here are my thoughts
Positives:
-1. Wallace Shawn and Judd First were spectacular in their roles. In particular, I loved seeing Wallace Shawn on SVU, as he is one of my favorite actors from various movies. They played the role of two old reclusive brothers very well
-2. The first half of the episode: First half of the episode was intense with many twists and turns. I really liked the house the brothers in, they made it creepy and intense, and brought back some of the old action that SVU used to have. I liked wondering who really wrote this book and what happened to them, what secrets the brothers were hiding, ect.
The negatives
-1. If there's a thing as having too many plot twists, this episode was that. I was buying everything the story said until the mother was found in the freezer. There was too much going on with the mother and the book and then, the abuse stories the brothers gives. It felt like too much, and I was confused. And they never actually explained how the mother died, and who really killed her. I would have liked the plot to stick with one element (the book/ abuse or ONE brother) or the mother.
Solid episode until the last ten minutes in short

Unknown said...

If they'd discovered that the person was posing as a women for non-gender reasons, or a cross dresser, at the start, none of the pronoun usage would have been as problematic and a lot of potential offence could have been avoided. I just put that down to poor thought going into the writing. Especially since that was the conclusion anyways, why the hell not just lead with that?

The offensive Yiddish words, on the other hand, seemed like a deliberate way to put offensive slang into the show, and I'm not certain how much "shock value" was at play since the vast majority watching wouldn't understand what was said without looking into it, by which point the shock factor is completely disengaged from watching the show. I don't understand the inclusion at all.
It also led to the use of the stereotype of the crotchety old Jewish man, which was completely unneeded except for being able to throw in some offensive words on network TV. It's not like old Jewish guys are the only out of touch bastards out there, not by a long shot, and it played on that tired old trope that old Jewish men are hilarious curmudgeons who you sympathize with.

On the other hand, the two actors were the only reason the episode was watchable, so there is that...
(I still have no idea what part the mother played in the episode, other than a real stretch to get the guys into jail in the first place?)

Rick W. said...

Good episode. But, when I first heard Judd Hirsch speak in it, all I could think of was Eddie Murphy playing the old guy who hung out at the barbershop in "Coming To America".

Unknown said...

Great episode. Some people are too sensitive.

Randi Spencer said...

Again, I dislike how insensitive the team was towards two little old men. They were shut ins, and not up to speed on what's appropriate to say and not to say these days. But I disagree, the word shvartze means black, which is not derogatory. It's meaning has been twisted.

Chris Zimmer said...

@Randi Spencer - It's all about the context. In the context the word was used, it is an extremely derogatory word.

Sonny Honey said...

Nice to see so many comments on this episode as it seems to have hit a chord with so many viewers. I agree most with SVUFAN#1 and will just add this: IMO it says a lot about the show when it can pull in actors such as Judd Hirsch and Wallace Shawn, both outstanding in the roles they played - I almost forgot at times that I was watching SVU. Outside of that, I don't think the writing or the regulars for this fall finale episode added much. I was pleasantly surprised to see Carisi allowed off his "Benson leash" and allowed to go investigating on his own - I believe he & Fin should have more screen time working together. Maybe it's just me, but I found it odd that Benson & Rollins were the ones assigned to get the two male characters to open up about the abuse - given the fact that the brothers minds were still back in the times they grew up in, I thought it odd that the writers would have them open up about such horrible personal events to women. A busy episode, yes, but kudos to the guest stars who made it worth watching.

Sharon Polikoff said...

Looks like the SVU writers have listened to our comments and cut back on the team's soap opera issues - psycho Noah, Peter's sister, etc. But Rollins's 'someone special' reference tells me we're going to see a lot more of her doctor boyfriend who was just thrown into the show out of ieft field. I guess the Carisi-Rollins romance that we were teased with just won't happen.

Draven Long said...

According to Julie Martin, an EP on the show, the Noah storyline is just on hiatus. It's not going anywhere. And I still desperately hope that Rollins-Carisi happens.

Unknown said...

@Randi Spencer - a certain offensive word for gay people didn't originally mean something awful. That doesn't mean it's currently an okay thing to say, either. Also, as was already said, the in show context of the word used meant a hell of a lot more than "black." It's use was in bad taste, and felt like when kids in school would try to get away with swearing in foreign languages after taken classes. Immature.

I have absolutely no doubt that all of Noah and Stone's BS will be back very soon, too. Unfortunately. And I'm pretty sure from what's been said that the doctor storyline is leading to Rollins/Carisi, too. Also unfortunate, imo.

Domenick Michael said...

I understand people’s sensitivity to the language. in this episode but it’s important to view it with some context and persepective. Stuff like that was fairly common and accepted language 40 years ago and those guys had isolated themselves from society so it would have been difficult for them to grasp how inappropriate they were. Benson was trying to explain the situation for a 1970’s mindset because the guys just weren’t getting it. It was critical to the point, mood and backdrop of the story. Offended as we may get (gay male here with many transgendered and gender fluiid friends) in order for a story set in the past to be powerful and a learning tool, we have to set aside our current understanding of what’s socially acceptable to see what it was really like way back when and how far we’ve come (helps us not overglorify the past too much). Most people are absolutely horrified to hear the words retarded, mongoloid or imbecile but as recently as the mid 1970’s those were socially and clinically accepted terms. It helps contrast then and now when used in a story depicting the era and helps us appreciate how far we’ve come and how much further we need to go.

Draven Long said...

But what about Benson of all people saying that Bobbie/Tammy wasn't physically a woman, and the entire cast referring to her as he for the remainder of the episode, thus misgendering her?

Domenick Michael said...

Oh and it was a fantastic episode. Not sure the story would have been quite as powerful without the outstanding guest performances and moody lighting/directing. Carisi needs more to do. His character has such potential but the writers seem to ignore him and Fin. I love when Fin asserts himself. Not too criticize Stone, Rollins and Benson (I’m gonna admit being critical of Noah lol) but fans love Carisi and Fin just as much and want to see them highlighted more.

Domenick Michael said...

I’m going to rewatch it again because I felt Bobbie/Tammy was simply posing as a female to take advantage of the situation rather than actually indentifying as one. I could be wrong because I was annoyed they were going to do a rehash of the Vivica Fox episode from Law and Order which had a similar premise so I was a bit distracted until it swicthed gears completely and sucked me in. Thanks for pointing that out.

Chris Zimmer said...

@Domenick Michael - I can save you the rewatch - this is from my recap: "Rollins adds that if his book is true, he ran away at 13 years old and turned tricks at truck stops until he reached New York. Bobbi is not transgender, Robbi figured he’s make more money being a teenage girl. It is how he paid his rent, she assumes until the book."

Ernie's Mother said...

This was a great episode! Good job, SVU! I haven't seen one this good in a long time.