Friday, January 11, 2019

Law & Order SVU “Plastic” Recap & Review

Law & Order SVU “Plastic” is a “ripped from the headlines” story based on an Orange County, California reality TV surgeon and his girlfriend who were charged with drugging and sexually assaulted women. But this episode features a twist: this fictional story has a missing girl and a dead body. The episode features guest star Mark Feuerstein, who can now call himself a “repeat offender”, having previously appeared in the Law & Order episode “Bible Story” (season 16, episode 11). He has a long way to go before he can match other guest star Kevin O’Rourke’s record as a repeat offender, Kevin having several Law & Order and SVU appearances.

When a fictional story closely matches a real story, I usually find myself losing interest quickly, and it didn’t take too long for me to become bored with this episode. Knowing that Doctor Heath Barron was a plastic surgeon,  when the story moved to a missing girl and a dead body that didn’t match this missing girl, the outcome was predictable.

I understand that time frames are compressed or accelerated for the purpose of telling the story within an hour, we didn’t see or  hear that they did any verification of Sadie’s identity. As both Heath and Sadie seem to be accomplished liars, and seeing it was Benson who suggested who Sadie really was, I would have assumed they would have checked Sadie’s DNA before calling Ceci’s father. Hopefully they will do that before Peter Stone cuts any deal with Sadie. Hopefully Sadie won’t get too much of a break – she still participated in a rape.

Here is the recap:

Heath and Sadie arrive at a party and decide to mingle. Ava and her friend Trina discuss the people who are at the party, and Ava approaches a good-looking man, who says he is broke, but fun, Heath approaches Trina and helps her carry the drinks and gives her a bottle of wine. Soon afterward, Ava gets sick in the bathroom and turns to see Sadie, who offers to help her, saying her boyfriend is a doctor. Sadie goes to get him.

Later, Trina tells everyone to get out of her bedroom, saying it is off limits. She sees the good-looking guy that Ava had been talking to, who told her Ava got wasted and she left. But Ava is staggering as she walks down the street, and stops a few times to ring doorbells and asks for help. One person answers and says she has the wrong house, but when he sees on his doorbell camera that Ava has collapsed, he and his partner race to help. When he opens the door, she says she has been raped. They call 911.

At Mercy Hospital at 3665 West 32nd Street on Sunday, December 6, Benson and Carisi arrive; he brought her coffee with almond milk and no sugar. Benson says he is the best. They discuss the victim, Ava Parcells, who had drugs in her system and high blood alcohol. They did a rape kit. Benson worries with that level of intoxication Ava won’t know what planet she is on.

When they speak with Ava, she denies doing drugs, ever. Benson suggests he may have slipped her something, and when asks if they mean in her drink, Carisi suggests maybe. Carisi asks if she recalls where she was last night, and Ava states that her new boss, Trina, had a party at her loft. She had a few Moscow mules. Benson questions if she was with anyone, and Ava says that she was dancing with this guy. Lee, and her body started to feel heavy and hot. She went to the bathroom as she thought she was going to throw up. After that, everything got fuzzy. Benson asks if she has any idea where or when she was assaulted, if it was at the loft party. Ava is not sure. She woke up in a strange bed, her ankles were tied. She untied them and then she just ran. Benson asks if she can remember any other details, like a noise a sound, or a specific smell. Ava replies he smelled sweet, like Gucci Rush, it made her think of high school. Benson thinks this is helpful, and asks if there was a woman. Ava realizes the scent was a woman’s; Ava’s hands were pinned down and she couldn’t move, and they were taking turns. Carisi questions, “they?” and she cries and says it was a couple – a man and a woman – they both raped her.

Afterward, Fin and Carisi speak with Trina at her loft. She found Ava’s purse and phone under a table, She did not see Ava leave, and says Lee didn’t assault Ava, he was with her all night, showing him sleeping in her bed. When the detectives seem to suspect Trina and Lee, she mentions another couple at the party. One of the guys said he was a doctor and he brought an expensive bottle of wine, which Trina hands to Carisi.

Back at SVU, Fin and Carisi explains to Benson it was not Lee, his DNA did not match. Rollins tracks the expensive wine purchase to Dr. Heath Barron, a celebrity plastic surgeon, Mr. Mommy Makeover. His girlfriend is Sadie Parker, who owns Sadie’s Sugar Shack, designer cupcakes. Benson tells them to see if Ava can make an ID.

With Rollins and Carisi, Ava looks at a photo array and Ava identifies Heath as the guy from the party, saying he looks so familiar. Carisi asks if she’s seen him on TV, and Ava explains she doesn’t watch TV, adding he was definitely there. She says Trina said he brought an expensive bottle of red wine. Rollins brings up photos of women, and Ava spots Sadie and says she was so nice, the woman took her outside when she was feeling sick. Carisi asks if she remembers getting in a car with them, and Ava thinks maybe, she doesn’t know. Rollins asks what does she remember about them, and Ava replies that the woman gave her a drink from her water bottle and after that, she went into a dark hole. Before she blacked out, the woman said she was going to get her boyfriend, he was a doctor.

At the townhouse of Dr. Heath Barron at 99 Grove Street on Sunday, December 16, Benson speaks with Heath, who says sex can become complicated. He seems cooperative. He denies drugging her, saying Ava offered him and Sadie drugs. He took nothing but Sadie took a pill.

Meanwhile, Carisi speaks with Sadie who says Ava was into it. She implies Ava was coming on to her. She mentions running into her in the bathroom and took her outside for air and went outside for air. She took the drugs Ava offered and they got handsy and kissed and then Heath arrived.

Benson mentions to Heath that Ava had klonopin in her system, and Heath denies giving it to her. He said Ava suggested taking the party home, and he and Sadie like to have fun on the off hours. Sadie also states to Carisi it was Ava’s idea to come home with them. She says Ava told Heath to tie her up, and when they woke up she was gone. Sadie denies raping her, saying Ava was obviously on drugs and acting out a sexual fantasy and was using them.

Benson comments this is a regular thing, picking up women. Heath laughs and says Sadie and he have been together forever and ever, like an old married couple. He says she jokes to add sugar to maintain freshness, saying she is a baker. Benson suggests Ava was the sweetener. Heath gets a serious look and states he has a public profile and doesn’t know anything about this woman and her agenda. He question if that is on him, and he admits yes, but denies he or Sadie assaulted her. He adds that if she keeps this up, he will have to call his lawyer.

Back at SVU, Benson and Rollins discuss the case, that they’ve heard this story a hundred times before. Rollins quips that Botox and cupcakes sounds tempting, saying she could dream. Both people were attractive and maybe Ava, with vodka and ecstasy in the mix…Benson and Rollins see Ava has arrived at SVU. They lead her into Benson’s office. She asks what are Heath and Ava saying, and Benson explains they are claiming it was consensual and that Ava gave them the drugs. She did nothing of the sort. They explain that Sadie said Ava did a three way in college and wanted to try again, and Ava testily counters she did not want this. She is upset they don’t believe her, shouting she did not want this. She gets angry and Benson says they will build a case and they will start by getting a search warrant for their apartment. Ava leaves.

Later, Carisi and Fin are at Heath’s with other police, executing the warrant. They find a huge stash of prescription drugs and weed. Carisi finds chains. He also finds a cache of thumb drives and a log book listing women’s names for each drive, Ava is one name.

Back at SVU,  they see a video with a woman on one of the drives, and she is clearly unconscious. The recordings go back 10 years. Benson tells them to pick up Sadie and Heath for Ava’s rape.

Fin and Carisi arrive at Calle Dao at 461 West 23rd Street on Monday, December 17, and find he and Sadie are in a private booth making out with another woman. They arrest them.

Back at SVU, in interrogation with Fin, Carisi, Heath and his lawyer, they bring up the sex tape and that Ava did not consent. The woman in the video was Melissa Nochak, and Heath states it was a fantasy of being a living doll acted out. She wanted it. He describes what he likes and Carisi and Fin glare in disagreement. Meanwhile, Benson and Rollins speak with Sadie who says Jenny Abrams is in another video, and says Jenny was enjoying it. She asks Benson if she ever made love to a woman, and when Benson glares at her, Sadie describes what it is like and Rollins cuts her off. Benson asks if Sadie is aware that Heath brought a lawyer, and she says she doesn’t need one, she has nothing to hide. Outside the room, Benson tells the other detectives that Heath and Sadie have an answer for everything. Carisi says so did Ted Bundy, until he didn’t. Fin says they are forthcoming about details he wouldn’t want to get into. Benson tells them to check into each of the women they named and that they could find in the tapes.

Carisi speaks with Jenny who says it was consensual. Nita says it was consensual and thinks it was cool. Melissa says it was a very enjoyable evening.

Benson hears from Peter Stone on the phone and tells the others that Heath and Sadie have been arraigned and released ROR. Fin says they couldn’t find anybody else who would say anything bad about them. When Carisi mentions Ava, Fin counters that her story would be a lot less compelling to a jury once they hear of the others. Benson tells them to keep looking, but Rollins states Heath and Sadie aren’t worried, showing them on a TV interview from that morning saying the accusations are false. Fin comments they are going on the offensive. Heath explains what he and Sadie enjoy, Sadie saying it was her idea and it is normal. But Ava arrives and shouts they are lying. She is upset that she is being vilified on TV. When Benson tries to calm her, Sadie begins to storm off, saying she is done. Benson says they will keep going and there will be more girls, and Ava snaps back, saying to let them testify. She storms out.

Later, Carisi shows Benson an encrypted video on Heath’s computer and TARU enhanced it. It shows and underage girl that appears to be recorded by Heath. He send the girl’s image to NCMEC and matched it to Ceci Taylor, who went missing from Brooklyn 14 years ago, one year before Heath graduated from Stony Point Med. Benson comments that is two hours north of the city. Carisi thinks if they could prove he shot this video there…Benson tells him to go.

At Stony Point Medical School at 981 Wilbur Boulevard in Poughkeepsie, NY on Wednesday, December 19, Fin and Carisi speak with a professor, Louise. She speaks about Heath and explains how nicely he treated her. Meanwhile, Benson speaks with Ceci’s father, Hal Taylor and shows him the video. She has been missing and worries she is dead. Benson says they do not know. His wife Ruth died last year, and she and Ceci were close. Ceci did not think she was pretty. Benson asks if Ceci ever tried to contact them, but he says no, there have been no signs she is alive. They had a fake funeral for her 7 years ago to get closure but there is no such thing. He cries and says maybe it is a good think Ruthie is gone.

At the home of Tara Kimbel at 179 Liss Road in Wappingers Falls, NY on Wednesday, December 19, Fin and Carisi speak with Mrs. Kimbel about Heath. She explains she rented the house to Heath years ago and doubts any girl moved in with him. He says he was fixed on a female med student who was with another guy who worked construction. Fin asks if the house has a basement and asks if they can take a look.

In the basement, they find a spot where the video was shot and Fin notices a few panels that Mrs. Kimbel says she didn’t replace. As Fin knocks on the wall, Carisi asks her to leave them and wait for them upstairs. Fin pulls away some of the paneling and the remains of a body fall out. Carisi says they guess they know what happened to Ceci, and Fin says 7 years for child porn, murder Heath goes away for life. Mrs. Kimbel comes back downstairs and is shocked when she sees the body.

Back at SVU, Carisi and Fin explain what they found at the house. Benson tells them not to get out ahead of their skis, but Carisi says they have a little girl on video and a little girl’s bones; 2+2 =4. Rollins comments sometimes it doesn’t; the ME ran the DNA from the bones in the bag and a hairbrush sample from Hal and it doesn’t match. The body is not Ceci’s. Fin wonders if the video of Ceci will convince Ava to testify, and Benson states that video was very convincing and maybe it will convince someone else.

Later, Benson has Sadie in the interrogation room and Benson says she doesn’t want to speak about Ava. She shows Sadie the video Heath had hidden on his computer. Meanwhile, Rollins shows the same video to Heath and his lawyer.  He claims someone emailed it to him but Rollins countered it was recorded at a location where he used to live at medical school. He wonders how they knew he lived there, and Rollins explains and old classmate of his, Louise, took her colleagues there. He seems rattled they spoke to Louise. Rollins thinks he is still carrying a torch, but Heath says that is ridiculous. Rollins thinks he has been looking for Louise ever since she walked out on him. Benson shows Sadie a photo of the body at the house but she scoffs. Rollins tells Heath they think he also killed Ceci. Sadie seems to be in denial, but Benson says she isn’t concerned about their sex practices as long as nobody gets hurt, but somebody DID get hurt and ended up in the wall of his house. Sadie says he is a healer, not a killer, and doesn’t think they can prove any of it. Benson realizes that Sadie is Ceci. Sadie thinks she is crazy, but Benson thinks Heath turned Ceci into Sadie. Benson continues to press her and Sadie yells at Benson to stop. But Benson wants her to stop protecting Heath, and Sadie accuses Benson of never being in love. Benson questions if Heath loves her. Sadie thinks this is a stupid question, saying that she is everything to Heath. Benson questions why does he invite other women to their bed? Sadie looks at the photo of Ceci and then the body of the girl. She says her name is Moira, she met her at a bowling alley in Brooklyn. It was raining and she didn’t have her umbrella. Moira said her friend would drive her home, and Benson comments he took her to the lake house. Sadie thought it would be fun. Sadie says one day she woke up and Moira was gone, and Heath claimed she went back home to her mom. She saw him re-paneling the wall and thought it was a water leak. Benson calls her Ceci, and asks if she knows what she thinks? Benson answers her own question, thinking that Moira didn’t live up to his fantasy. Sadie says he is not a killer, but Benson suggests it was an accident, or he became bored with her, she became his fantasy girl, and when he got bored with her, he molded her into what he saw as perfection. Sadie says he loves her, but Benson thinks he loves the IDEA of her. She adds that beauty fades, even the perfect beauty that he created. That is why he brings other women home to his bed; he is searching for something that can never exist.

Meanwhile, Heath tells Rollins that women are fragile beings and are tortured by the what-ifs, describing body issues. He suggests to a pregnant Rollins she is awake at night worried that her body won’t return to what it was. Rollins says they don’t need to talk about her, but Heath counters she is a woman and has fantasies. He makes those fantasies real and doesn’t kill little girls. Rollins angrily says he cares about his own fantasies; fantasies aren’t about flesh and blood, they are never going to be real. Heath gets angry and says he has hear enough and gets up to leave. Rollins shouts that the only place he is going is Rikers and orders him to sit down. His lawyer tells Rollins that Heath has already been ROR’d, but Rollins reminds him that was for Ava’s rape, now Heath is looking at murder. She gets in Heath’s face and tells him to sit.

Benson asks Sadie is she raped Ava, and Sadie says nothing. Benson continues to press and tries to suggest they work a deal. Sadie admits to giving Ava a lot of drugs and didn’t want to hurt her. She says they didn’t mean to, she just wanted to be beautiful.

Carisi and Ava have been watching Sadie and Ava says Sadie is so sad. She agrees to testify. Carisi says it is the right thing.

Afterward, Benson tells the others that Stone says they will work with Sadie/Ceci if she testifies against Heath. Fin stats NCMEC found two Moiras missing in the time frame. Carisi comments he would not want to make those calls. Benson sees Hal Taylor arrive and she tells him Ceci is a little rattled but she is sure this will help. She takes him over to the cell and he reunites with his daughter, who sobs and says she is sorry. They embrace and have a tearful reunion. Benson looks on 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:
Mark Feuerstein - Dr. Heath Barron
Alyssa Sutherland - Sadie Parker.
Willa Fitzgerald - Ava Parcell
Kevin O'Rourke - Hal Taylor
Caroline Lagerfelt –
Nedra McClyde - Ilana Benjamin
Jasmine Richard-Brooks –
Bradley Rose – Lee Black
Allison Thomas Lee – Louise Halpern
Angela Jeanneau – Melissa Nochak
Raquel Nave – Nita Markinson
Jane Bruce – Jenny Abrams
Ian Knauer – Seth
Clayton Dean Smith – Bill
Tanya RIvero – Reporter
Conni Shi – Maitre’D
Jennifer McKenzie – Amber Jones

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Mending_Wall said...

Since they are married, I thought privilege applies and one spouse cant testify against another. Am I right? Either way I was a bit bored with this episode as well

LiRebelo said...

I love SVU but unfortunately this season has been a disappointment. I was really looking foward to this episode, mainly because I really like Mark Feuerstein; but somehow I felt that this episode skiped important parts, even though Mark's performance was great.

Chris Zimmer said...

Heath and Sadie were not married.

A Tacky Redemption said...

I did feel entertained during this episode. Many scenes provided titillation for a casual viewer, especially a male audience - after all isn’t a threesome a fantasy for most men? It really does not take long to come to the realization much of the script was written by men for the male viewer. The lack of “clapback” from Benson when asked personal sex related questions, also directed most viewers to go, “augh ha” so Benson does have a darker side to her sexuality! Silence was used in these instances for the audience to fill-in the blanks, which was deliberate by the script crew. I did like the episode when taken at face value. I still like SVU and will continue to watch.

Laurie F said...

The ripped from the headlines theme is wearing thin for me. This was just an average episode.

To @A Tacky Redemption: maybe this would be titillating for teenagers! This dialog felt cheesy to me. Is this the best they could do to spice up the 10 o'clock hour?

Mark Feuerstein's voice has always grated on me. It sounds to creepy and phony, so maybe this suited him well for the role. Still - a very predictable episode.

The ratings looked dismal again. Chicago Fire, on the other hand, is doing very well in SVU's old time slot.

Sonny Honey said...

Maybe the writers can come up with a story line where Benson goes to the hospital for an hour to visit Rollins after giving birth and we get to see Fin & Carisi in an entire episode by themselves for a change.

Catherine said...

What a disaster. The writers really need to do their research because there are three major legal issues here.
First is the search warrant. When you apply for one, you have to be specific about what you are looking for and why you think you will find it during the search. The only thing I can think of as a basis for a warrant is the drugs in Ava's system. You can look for drugs in a lot of places. But not inside a notebook and not inside flash drives. So they will be inadmissible as well as everything learned because of them ["fruit of the poisonous tree"]. That includes the body in the wall.
Second is the murder charge itself. Jurisdiction is a really big deal. The body was found in Wappingers Falls in Dutchess County. That police department will run the investigation, not Manhattan SVU. But there is no murder charge possible until the ME determines cause and manner of death.
Third is the interview Benson has with Sadie at the end. Stone told Benson that Heath and Sadie had been arraigned and released ROR. That means Sadie had a lawyer. Benson couldn't talk to her without her lawyer present. Nothing she told Benson can be used against her including her statement that Ava was given drugs.
There are other problems with the episode. But these three just gut the whole episode.

Chris Zimmer said...

@Catherine - interesting points!

Unknown said...

Most people seemed to think differently, but I really liked this episode! Of course, compared to seasons 1-12 it was nothing, but for the amount of dismal episodes in season 20, I was rather impressed. On the negative side, I will agree with several people above in saying that the "ripped from the headlines" cases are getting old. I am totally okay with some of the episodes being that way, but I also really miss the messed up plot lines that the writers used to make with the craziest endings. I also wish there was more suspense/action and mystery in this new season, like seasons 1-12 had. And as always, I desperately miss the old crew from seasons 1-12. At least bring back Tamara Tunie or Stephanie March, who both made guest appearances last season. But as a whole, I did find the episode interesting, and despite the accelerated timeline I found it ran rather smoothly. We also saw a little bit more of Finn and Carisi than usual, I hope they are featured more and more in the coming episodes. Personally I was glad that Stone wasn't in this episode, I just haven't warmed to him, he honestly bores me, and I like it much better with just Benson, Rollins, Carisi, and Finn. All in all, while average compared to all twenty seasons, for season twenty itself this one was my favorite, but add more old faces and more suspense, mystery and original plot-lines and SVU will be much improved.

Unknown said...

Signed, SVUFAN#1

Railroad said...

Botox & Cupcakes would have been the perfect episode title.

Unknown said...

What I would like the most is to have the ORIGINAL L&O back. !!!!

magix74 said...

I thought This episode was ok. Maybe because I was watching when I was tired, but It didn’t occur to me that Sadie was the girl. I also Wasn’t aware of the real life case, which probably helped. Agree with @Catherine though - lots of legal errors.

Carrie Long said...

God, this was a horrible episode to return with. That plot was predictable as hell, and the twist at the end was desperate. In my opinion, Season 20 started strong, but is beginning to wear thin. Hopefully next week's episode picks up the pace!

leelee said...

I agree with Draven Long!! They made it obvious that Sadie was CC. At least for me it was obvious. Just an ok episode. I never care that much for the ripped from the headlines episodes lol! The next episode looks like it will be better!! I hope lol

John McMullen said...

CNN Headline, Feb 5: "Charges will be dropped against a California surgeon and his girlfriend accused of drugging and raping women, prosecutor says."

I'd sue SVU.

Have you noticed that there is a lot more personal conflict and stuff is falling apart in the department with a lot of departures and "deaths." I think they are ready to close up shop. I can't help but think a lot of the plots are one-sided, too.,