Friday, October 18, 2019

Law & Order SVU “The Burden Of Our Choices” Recap & Review

“The Burden Of Our Choices” highlighted the complexity of abortion laws, especially as some states are trying to circumvent current federal laws by attempting to enact their own rules. I don’t believe the episode portrayed Ohio abortion laws correctly. The fetal heartbeat bill was stopped and is still considered pending. (Update: I was reminded that Carisi DID mention in court that the law had not taken effect. Trevor Langan, however, argued in family court as if it WAS in effect.  The only issue here in this episode should have been her age; fetal heartbeat should never have played into it.)  But they used this situation to show how lawmakers – and certain religious zealots – try to twist the laws to suit their own agendas. The episode was filled with stereotypes, such as Ohio being a backwards state and people of faith all being against abortions. I found both stereotypes insulting (Full disclosure: I'm an Ohio resident and a lapsed Catholic.) I’m not saying that there aren’t people in Ohio who don’t have firm beliefs on abortion, but this is the case for many people in other states and religions. Maybe if they would have addressed the fact that the Ohio heartbeat law was not enacted, I would have given the episode a little more credibility.

This episode was heavy on the preaching and I found myself constantly looking at the time to see if it was getting close to finishing. It felt like it was never going to end. I did enjoy seeing more legal wrangling in this episode – and Trevor Langan - so that was a plus for me. But it wasn’t enough to stop me for rolling my eyes at some of the dialogue.

Carisi reveals that his mother terminated a pregnancy at the age of 45 as the fetus had a heart defect that would mean a quick death after birth. It was one of those scenes that allowed Peter Scanavino to bring some deeper emotion to Carisi.   He revealed this to an attorney that was steadfast against abortion, just to hit on a point that Carisi and his mother grieved over her abortion and he wouldn’t let the teen's creepy stepfather off the hook. Something about Carisi needing to reveal something so personal to a low-life such as this lawyer felt misplaced. Information as intimate as this should not have needed explaining to any lawyer as Carisi didn’t require an excuse or justification to go after a man who raped a child. I could see him revealing this to Officer Tamin as a side discussion, just to make a point with her, seeing that she didn’t seem to think he was going to support the victim.

During the opening scenes, Rollins has her daughter Billie baptized, with Benson and Carisi as godparents. Rollins closes out the episode as she waits with Evangeline who is having an abortion.

Officer Tamin has been assigned to help SVU, and of course, she has read 5 years worth of major case files and also open cases in no time. Benson jokes that Tamin is an underachiever, and during the episode, Tamin gets answers at warp speed and takes such initiative to earn high praise from Fin. Despite the forced scenario where SVU finally gets staffing help and the person happens to bring such talent right away, I think she will make a great addition to the team as the character has a spark and edginess. She did risk alienating Carisi quickly, however, when she went on a rant of her own about abortion rights. Working SVU is not about a detective's or officer's own agendas (except when it's Benson's!).  Like Carisi, she is there to uphold the law. I don’t disagree with her overall point, just that shouldn’t make snap judgments.

There is a deleted scene at the end of this recap where they try to clean up a mess first started in the episode SVU season 20 premiere “Man Up/Man Down” where Benson may have given the impression to Rollins that she had an abortion as she didn’t confirm or deny it. In the later SVU episode “The Good Girl” , the issue comes up again, this time, Benson saying it was “complicated.” This deleted scene clears things up once and for all: no pregnancy or abortion.  (If you want to see a complete history of this Benson pregnancy scare issue, it’s here: Law & Order SVU “The Good Girl” Recap & Review.    In case this scene gets deleted from sharing, here’s what was said: Benson tells Rollins when she was 19 and in college, she had a pregnancy scare with a boy she liked but didn’t love, she wanted to do something important with her life. She decided to make an appointment at the clinic and spent the next few days agonizing. She didn’t eat or sleep and wondered if she was making a decision she would forever regret. She got her period while she was on the way to her appointment and never did get pregnant after that. Sometimes she wonders about having a biological child but now with Noah, they are happy. Rollins admits she didn’t think that’s what Benson was talking about, and Benson apologizes, Rollins saying that is okay.

Here is the recap:

Benson hangs up the phone with Noah, telling him to tell Fin she is on her way. She walks out of her office to Officer Tamin, telling her that her provisional tour starts today. Benson apologizes that she can’t be there, but Tamin says she is sorry Benson had to come in on her Sunday off. Benson comments that if Tamin has time, she thought she could catch up on some open cases. Tamin states she already did, and she read the files from all the major cases from the last five years. Benson jokingly calls Tamin an underachiever, and when Tamin laughs, Benson adds she will be fine, and she did a very nice job with Sir Toby. Tamin thanks Benson, saying she will feel better once he’s convicted. Benson comments, “You and me both.” Looking around the squad room, Tamin asks where should she park? Benson replies they have a few empties, and points out a desk, and welcomes her to SVU.

Meanwhile, at a small church service in Ohio, Evangeline Miller is jittery. After the service, the Pastor Mark Randall speaks with Evangeline’s parents, Tammy and James Miller, and talks about the power of prayer. Pastor Mark hears that a boy Evangeline was friends with ran away to New York. Evangeline and her parents then talk about her doing her homework and chores before she goes off with her friend for a sleep over.

In another church back in New York, Benson arrives and thanks Carisi for picking up Noah. She tells the other detectives that One PP finally gave them some backup. The event is the christening of Rollin’s youngest, Billie Mabel Rollins. Benson and Carisi are godparents.

Back in Ohio, Evangeline packs a bag and heads out on a bus and leaves Ohio. She dozes off, leaning on a stranger who asks her if she is going to New York by herself and she says she is staying with her friend Isaac. The man has his hand resting on her leg.

Back at SVU. Tamin sees a missing person notice come through for Evangeline.

Evangeline gets off the bus in busy New York City, and looks around in the crowd.

Later, Benson and Fin arrive at the squad room and speak with Tamin who mentions  the teen runaway from Jolene Ohio. Benson says that is still missing persons. Tamin says the girl is 13 and she called her parents who think she was lured here by a boy, Isaac Franklin, 19, from their town. Fin explains the Jolene sheriff says Isaac skipped out on a bench warrant for statutory with a different girl. Benson tells them to track the boy down, call the parents back, and tell them that SVU…Tamin interrupts and says the parents are here, they drove all night. She points them out in the waiting room, saying the guy that is with them is their pastor.

Rollins, with Benson, leads them into the interview room. Rollins explains that Evangeline’s cell is off but they are tracking her social media. Mr. Miller suggests to track Isaac’s phone and he explains she followed Isaac who left Ohio about a month ago after they caught Isaac with a 15-year-old girl. She is friends with his little sister and that would not stop a boy like that. He was not her girlfriend but she takes her faith seriously. Meanwhile, Fin speaks with the pastor who says Evangeline is troubled as Tammy’s ex was a bad man and he “went home to god” 5 years ago – Oxy. James is her stepfather and he adopted her when she was 9. They also have two children of their own. Tamin enters and tells Fin she found something. Fin excuses himself and follows Tamin out of the room. She tells him that going over this girl’s social media, it’s mash-up of “Jesus is my boyfriend” songs and kitten videos. Fin asks if there is anything that puts her in New York, and Tamin replies no, but she does have a lead on Isaac. Fin sees the photo of Isaac and reads the info in the photo saying “look who made it to New York” and notices his fresh tattoo. He says all they have to do is check out tattoo parlors, and Tamin states she already did; she started with parlor websites near Port Authority, East Village and Uptown and shows that she found some done by Gretchen from In The Heights Tats. Fin suggests they go, and Tamin explains she just spoke to her and she knew where Isaac lives and she didn’t ask why. Fin comments on her good work.

At the apartment of Isaac Franklin at 129 Dyckman Street on Monday, September 16, Fin and Tamin question him about Evangeline. He has no idea about where she is but when Tamin gets out the cuffs, he says she needed a place to crash and she is friends with his kid sister. He got into an argument and Evangeline left. She needed money but he said all he could do was let her crash there. He loaned her his dog and she could panhandle with the dog outside the 99 cents pizza place.

Later, Fin and Tamin see her outside the store and Tamin moves to talk to her. Evangeline tells her the dog hasn’t eaten all day and Tamin asks what about her, offering to buy her a sandwich. Evangeline declines. But when Tamin slips and calls her by name. Evangeline gets skittish and moves to leave, but then collapses.

At Mercy Hospital Pediatric Wing at 365 West 32nd Street on Monday, September 16, Benson and Rollins hear that Evangeline is dehydrated and suffering from exposure and exhaustion. Benson asks if there are signs of physical abuse, and the doctor explains if she reports, she can’t promise patient confidentiality. She also understands her age and that she is a runaway and if she doesn’t report she is breaking the law. Benson asks if there is anything she feels comfortable telling them, and the doctor explains she thinks she has been sexually active or abused for at least two years and is also 12 weeks pregnant.

Later, as Benson and Rollins speak with her, Evangeline is shocked to hear her parents are there. She didn’t want them to find out she was pregnant. She says they can’t know she disobeyed God’s word and why she is in New York. She explains she is there to get an abortion.

Later, in the interview room at the SVU with Benson and Rollins, Evangeline explains she is too young to have a baby. She says she turned her back on God and did not save herself for marriage. She wanted Isaac to help her but it was not him. She didn’t want to say no to “him” and he kept asking and he said he loved her but if was their secret and if she told anyone, her mom, things would be really bad. She should have told her but was too afraid she would not believe her. She says they can’t tell her mom or Jim or Pastor Mark that she wanted an abortion as they would never allow it.

Later, Carisi, who has been observing, says it is just a matter of time. He was talking to his mom when states started passing fetal heartbeat laws and her mom has a second sight for these kinds of things. She asked him what is going to happen when some kid gets pregnant and comes to New York for an abortion. Benson asks what did he say, and he explains they are in uncharted waters. Benson says Evangeline is here now and New York has full reproductive rights for girls of any age, and Carisi says that is right, it is the girl’s decision. Rollins says she definitely wants the abortion. Fin adds that the parents are fundamentalists and when they get here they are going to throw her in the car and take her home. Carisi says as she is 13 it is going to be hard for a judge to deny parental custody. Rollins mentions the evidence of sexual abuse going back years, and Carisi replies that is a different story. A family court prosecutor could argue the parents knew or should have known about the abuse and that gets you neglect. Fin says there may not be time for that, the Millers are on their way there now. Benson counters to Carisi they are talking about a pregnant 13-year-old runaway. She asks can’t they take emergency custody? He doesn’t reply, and Benson says she is going to call ACS. Carisi says she is also going to need her own lawyer, and he adds he will call legal aid. Benson explains they are just going to send someone who is handling 75 other cases. She states she knows somebody who is very good with custody issues and tells Fin in the meantime to find out from Isaac exactly what their relationship was and how much the parents knew.

Later, Evangeline unites with Tammy and James. But she says she does not want to go home. Rollins explains they need to talk about a few things first. James says they are her parents and she has to obey them. But before Rollins can explain, the door opens and Trevor Langan enters and he tells Evangeline he will represent her. The parents are confused.

In Benson’s office, along with Carisi, the parents hear from Benson about the ongoing physical relationship. They think it is Isaac, but Benson and Carisi explains she didn’t come there for Isaac, she came to New York because she doesn’t want this pregnancy. They are stunned but think the baby is a gift from God. They insist they are taking her home now but Benson explains Evangeline is in the custody of Child Protective Services. Carisi explains they have to appear before a family court judge and he can help them get a lawyer. James says the pastor was a lawyer before he was called by God and James knows things are different in New York but their daughter is not killing her baby.

In Family Court Part 44 on Tuesday, September 17, Trevor Langan and a state attorney argue their point with the judge. Langan mentions that if Evangeline goes back to Ohio, consent law and fetal heartbeat legislation will make it impossible for her to legally terminate the pregnancy. Pastor Mark calls it legal murder, an demands she be returned to the parent’s custody. He says instead of group living with at risk teens, he suggests her aunt, who drove all night from Jolene to assume temporary custody. The judge says she would need a home study and assurances that the court’s orders will be respected. Evangeline blurts out that she will take her back to Ohio. Randall says his clients have no intention of violating a court order. Langan argues the parents’ agenda is to force a 13-year-old rape victim to carry to term and prevent her right to choose. Tammy says Evangeline would never choose murder and James adds they don’t know who got into her head, but this is not the daughter they raised. Evangeline shouts she can’t go back home as he – pointing to James – put the baby inside her. Everyone is shocked.

Back at SVU, Carisi explains to Benson that the Mercer County DA promised to open up and investigation but only after Evangeline goes back to Ohio for questioning. Benson thinks they are more worried about stopping the abortion that stopping the abuse. Carisi asks if they are sure it is him, and Benson says if Evangeline wanted to blame the stepfather she would have done that in the first place; this is the last thing she wanted to reveal.

Later, Benson and Rollins speak with Evangeline in the interview room. She says it was the day after her birthday when she was 11. She describes that he said he said she was becoming a woman. He took off her pajamas and said if she loved him she would do this and he touched her. One night he said she was ready, and she said no she was waiting for marriage. He said it was okay and it didn’t count as he was married to her mom and they were family. She tried once to tell her mom but she wouldn’t listen, she got so mad. He said if her mother found out he would have to leave them.

At Crosspoint House at 461 West 46th Street on Tuesday, September 17, Fin and Tamin catch up with the pastor, asking to speak to James. The pastor is taking him to the airport and blames Satan for what happened in the courtroom. He calls Evangeline a liar but Fin asks for DNA. James gets to the car and says what his daughter said was an abomination and when Tamin asks if that is why he is running away, he says he has two kids at home who need him. He forgives Evangeline for her lying and prays for her to find a way. Tamin says he’d better pray for himself because he is going down. As the pastor readies to leave, he says the worked is watching and god will not allow them to kill an innocent baby. As they leave, Tamin apologizes to Fin for losing it a bit, and he replies it’s fine, she did good.

Meanwhile at SVU, Tammy tells Benson that James and Pastor Mark can’t know she is there. She says her husband is a good man and father and suggests Evangeline is lying. Benson thinks that it is the truth and asks if Evangeline tried to talk to her. Tammy thinks Evangeline is trying to hurt them, and Benson says there is a way to get to the truth. She says Evangeline has agreed to a fetal DNA test, assuring Tammy it is a simple test of the mother’s blood. Benson asks if they can get James’ DNA and if he is innocent then it could exonerate him. Tammy says they can wait until after the baby is born. She sees Benson is judging her but however it happened, Evangeline is pregnant she intends to meet her grandchild here, not in heaven. Benson asks, “However it happened?” and Tammy glares at her and leaves.

At Mercy Hospital at 365 West 32nd Street on Tuesday, September 17, Rollins is there while they do the blood test. She tells Evangeline that Carisi is working on getting James’ DNA. Evangeline says she is telling the truth, asking if god makes mistakes. Rollins says humans do, and Evangeline says if god doesn’t make mistakes then this baby is part of his plan. Rollins says they don’t always know what is plan is. Evangeline asks if they can pray together, and she grasps Rollins’ hand and begins to pray and thanks him for sending her to help her.

Back at SVU as Benson pours herself coffee, Rollins enters and explains that Evangeline may be confused, mentioning her religious upbringing. She explains that she never wanted an abortion, she just wanted to be a kid and have a life. She adds she kept quiet for years about being abused, then finally gets the courage to get on a bus and come to New York from Ohio…they can’t let them take her back home to that abuse and force her to have his baby. Benson counters it is not up to them, there is a court-ordered stay on the abortion. Rollins recalls when she was 13 she was so angry all the time and wanted to get the hell out of her house and be free, now she has two little girls. Benson says she knows it is hard. Rollins says she worries about them all the time. Tamin enters and tells them Carisi called and the family court is ready to rule.

In Family Court Part 33 on Wednesday, September 18, the judge says Evangeline understands the ramifications of her decision and it is hers alone. Tammy says she can’t kill their grandbaby, but the judge stands firm. But a lawyer bursts into the room and says he is Forreston Graham, from Mercer County Ohio's DA’s office, and he asks for a cessation of proceeding and he is there to protect the rights of the unborn baby Miller. Evangeline, stunned, looks back at an equally surprised Rollins. He mentions he has arrest warrants for the detectives and for Carisi, and his boss, as well. He says the state of New York is illegally holding Evangeline, and adds anyone who facilitates the murder of this baby will be charged with causing fetal harm and conspiracy to commit murder and is subject to immediate prosecution in the state of Ohio. He serves the judge as well, telling her whatever decision she was about to hand down, he’d think twice about making an irrevocable mistake. He storms out, Tammy looks thrilled, and Evangeline looks stunned.

Later, Forreston addresses a crowd of protesters – pro and con - about advocating for the unborn baby. He said Mercer County will conduct a full investigation but it has no bearing on this matter. He adds the baby is innocent of all sin and deserving of life. As he continues to speak, Deputy Chief Christian Garland approaches Benson and asks if they are taking on the state of Ohio. Benson says it is more like Ohio is taking on them and mentions there is an arrest warrant for him too. He says he is flattered. She adds the charge is conspiracy to commit murder if she has an abortion and they are serious. Garland says so is he, explaining he is a deacon at their church and he believes in the sanctity of life but a 13-year-old girl forced to carry a rapist’s baby, if they want to fight, they’re going to get it.

At Supreme Court Part 52 on Wednesday, September 18, Graham argues that he wants all the officers turned over to the Mercer County DA’s office. Hadid, there with Carisi, says Ohio has no standing in this family court proceeding. Forreston sees this as a criminal case. He argues his point, saying the detectives are accessories to murder. Carisi says that law has not taken effect. Hadid says the detectives are mandated to enforce New York law. Forreston says there is precedent for respect for the other state’s laws and asks that New York give Ohio law the full faith and comity. Carisi argues the Mercer County DA has it backwards, Ohio should give New York full faith and comity by respecting their choice to protect the rights of young women. Hadid says they can’t expect a New York state court to hand over its New York City police officers for doing their jobs. Forreston admits their motion is extreme but what is happening here is pure evil – a modern day genocide and says blood will be on all of their hands. The judge tells him that is enough, and he asks if they are holding him in contempt. She says no one is doing that, and he goes on another rant, this one about the holocaust and the killing of babies since Roe v Wade. The judge denies the request and Forreston says they appeal, and will take this up to the Supreme Court if necessary. She tells them that is his right.

At All Saints Home for Pregnant Youth at 503 West 142nd Street on Wednesday, September 18, Rollins speaks with Evangeline and explains Langan has to go back to family court but she has to be patient. She says everyone knows who she is – the Ohio girl – and her friends keep testing her. Pastor Mark keeps emailing her and the lawyer say murderers and getting abortions destroy two lives and it is her obligation to show the world she chooses life. Rollins says the rest of the world is not her responsibility. Rollins does not know what will happen with her stepfather but knows she will not have to live with him again. Evangeline asked if her mom said that, and Rollins says that will take a little bit of time.

Back at SVU, Carisi enters and said the appeals court refused to hear Ohio’s case and even pro-life groups thought the charges were ridiculous. Tamin comments so they are not under arrest, and asks about the stay abortion. Carisi says the judge didn’t want to make a ruling until the Ohio arrest warrants had been dismissed and they are still deliberating. Tamin asks for how long, adding Evangeline is 12 weeks pregnant and any day after the first trimester gets more complicated. Benson says part of Ohio’s plan is to run out the clock and Tamin asks what century is this – all these old white men trying to control women’s bodies, wondering how far off are we from the Handmaiden’s Tale? Benson explains Tamin grew up taking these rights for granted, but her mother – there was a time when she considered abortion and her only option was a back alley. She adds that if you have enough money there is always a way but it’s the poor women and these girls in some states they are going to see deaths, that’s where this is going. Tamin says that is what they are going back to. Carisi says fundamentalists and Catholics see abortion as that, and when Tamin asks that he is Catholic and asks what he thinks, he replies what he thinks what HE thinks but if a woman is a victim of rape or incest…Tamin says she hears that and it sounds like what he is saying is a woman has to be a victim to have control over her own body. Benson counters that is not what he is saying, and Tamin says good, because that is not a decision that should ever be made by a group of men or a prosecutor who has never had to make that choice. Benson tries to stop the discussion but Carisi, annoyed, says just so they are clear, his job is to uphold that girl’s rights and that is what he is doing. He does not see this as black and white and in his experience, no woman wants to have an abortion. Tamin says fair enough but these laws that are getting passed are not the answer. Benson agrees they are not. Benson’s phone buzzes for a message and she says Rollins says Evangeline just threw herself down a flight of stairs.

At Mercy Hospital at 365 West 32nd Street on Wednesday, September 18, Rollins moans her regrets about this accident to Benson. Rollins thinks Evangeline tried to take care of it herself. Tammy walks in and asks about her daughter and the baby. Rollins explains there is still a heartbeat. Tammy speaks with Tammy who suggests she will take the child and raise it like a brother or sister. She will talk to Jim, calling it a misunderstanding. Evangeline mentions rape, and Tammy accuses the detectives of putting words in her mouth. Benson tells her now is not the time, but Tammy shouts back at Benson, blaming them. But Evangeline says she wasn’t trying to kill the baby, she was trying to kill herself. Tammy looks stunned.

Later, Benson speaks with Tammy and she blames herself, She mentions that her first husband hit her and he said that Evangeline would grow up to be a whore just like her mother. Jim is not like that and is a kind, good man. He adopted her and adored her. He was so affectionate with her…she pauses. Benson says she did not put those words in her daughter’s mouth. Tammy says even if the DNA shows the baby is Jim's, it is unique DNA created an conception and will never be on this earth again, calling it a miracle. She could never agree to an abortion and Benson says that decision is out of her hands, but she does have a choice to make. She can believe her daughter and leave Jim or chose Jim and Evangeline will grow up in foster care until she is 18.

In Family Court Part 44 on Thursday, September 19, Tammy testifies for Evangeline she believes her daughter and hopes her daughter can forgive her. The state attorney requested remand to ACS for two weeks to insure Evangeline gets the medical care she needs. The judge agrees, saying after the treatment she can be returned to her mother and get on-going counseling and to be sure James Miller has been permanently removed from the home. Langan says he is in contact with child services in Ohio and if they find out that Tammy has allowed any contact by James Miller. Evangeline will be removed from her custody. The judge asks if the Ohio DA will prosecute James Miller and Carisi stands up and says that is unclear. The judges wishes her good luck and all the best.

Afterward, Forreston speaks with Carisi and chides him that he destroyed a family and helped insure the murder of another innocent child. Carisi says he believes in god and understands that abortion causes a death. He adds his mother got pregnant when she was 45 after having four kids and an ultrasound showed that the baby had a fetal heart defect. Even if she was able to carry to term the baby would not live more than a few days. She decided to terminate and never told his father. Carisi looks like he is going to cry as he says his mother told him and said how much she loved that baby but she didn’t think it was fair to the other children or to the kid, who would only know pain. She cried for a week. He didn’t know what to say to her but does know they both grieved. Forreston asks what Carisi is telling him this, and Carisi replies because they are not so different and he can’t image that Forreston would think it’s right that a man who had so lost his way has so abandoned god that he would rape his own stepdaughter and get away with that. Carisi storms off.

Back at SVU, Rollins enters Benson’s office and tells him that DNA confirms James Miller is the father and they charged him with 114 counts of rape of a child. Benson says she knew Carisi would not let that go. Rollins says Kat and Fin are on the next shift and asks to punch out early. Benson agrees and tells her to take some family time. Rollins thanks her and leaves.

At Morningside Women’s Health Clinic on 527 West 120th Street on Friday, September 20, Rollins sits with Evangeline who says she is scared. Rollins says she will be there, waiting. The nurse calls for Evangeline and she moves to the other room, looking back at Rollins. Rollins looks on and sighs as we fade to black.

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

Guest stars:
Peter Hermann - Trevor Langan
Jamie Gray Hyder - Katriona "Kat" Azar Tamin
Demore Barnes - Deputy Chief Christian Garland
Zuleikha Robinson - Bureau Chief Vanessa Hadid
Zach Gilford - James Miller
Lucy Walters - Tammy Miller
Olga Merediz – Judge Martinez
Kira McLean - Evangeline Miller
Betsy Aidem – Dr. Sloane
Ami Brabson – Judge Karyn Blake
Christian Clemenson – Forreston Graham
Jamie Mc Shane – Mark Randall
Rebecca Gibel – Corp. Counsel Hayley Brogan
Stanley Simons – Isaac Franklin
Ryan Buggle - Noah Porter Benson
Sarah Dacey Charles – Minister
Ashley Alvarez – Dee Simmons
Kendren A. Spencer – Nurse #1
Brittany Cabasa – Nurse #2
Sean Shannpn – Oxy Guy
Bill Kocis - Reporter
Charlotte Cabell - Jesse Murphy Rollins
Vivian Cabell - Jesse Murphy Rollins

Deleted Scene:

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Gummboote said...

I thought this was an atrocious episode, full of its own agenda and pretentious and silly with it. The only surprise was that it wasn't the Ohio pastor who raped Evangeline.

Benson says they can't hand her over to some social worker who's got 70 other cases. How come SVU are never troubled by their workload? No wonder Tamin could read up on five years' major cases. (And then Benson shows her to a desk with an up-to-date Apple Mac, as all the computers in SVU's offices seem to be. Are New York City police really that well-funded?)

Laurie F said...

That was hard to watch. It doesn't bother me when they get preachy now and then but this episode was like they wanted to beat everyone over the head with their message. Was I watching one of those ABC after school specials? This episode was written for teenagers. I really disliked this episode.

The deleted scene: it didn't take Warren Leight long to undo the mess done previously to the Benson "did she or didn't she" question that started at the beginning of season 20. Chris thanks for putting the links to the trail on how this story has progressed over the years. We're back to where it started in season 4 episode 14 where she told Cabot she had a pregnancy scare in college! God knows they had to fix the implication that Olivia did something like have an abortion because Benson must be as pure as the driven snow.

Carisi and his tearful revelation to that lawyer? I agree it would have made more sense for him to have the talk with the new officer, who seemed to give him some hell about his faith. Carisi only needed to tell the lawyer that he won't hold back on prosecuting the pervert stepdad.

They're going to give every detective more backstory. This time Rollins gets a baptism but then they make her stay with Evangeline as she goes for her procedure to even it out at the end. We can't have too much happy for one person in an episode unless it's Benson.

I'm glad they added the new officer. She has spunk. Will she make some stupid mistake down the road? Probably. That's what they do.

Why do I watch this show any more? To see how bad it can get? This episode may be hard to beat this season in that regard.

magix74 said...

While i appreciated The subject matter and the fact that the young girl was able to access the abortion, the legal aspect of this episode was atrocious. Do they not have lawyers who advise them?? To think that an Ohio prosecutor can just waltz into a NY courtroom like he did is just nonsense. I guess It shows that these religious nuts will stop at nothing to try and get what they want, even when it’s so ridiculous.

SVUFAN#1 said...

The actual crime here (a step-father raping his stepdaughter) has been explored already in this show- multiple times. It's time for the writers to stop regurgitating old stories and begin to write new ones. I imagine this is why the writers added the political element- to make it more interesting. However, everything was so dramatic and over the top (really? Trying to Arrest the detectives and judge for following their own state laws?) that this did little to help the already-boring story.
-It looks like they are setting the stage for Kat to become a main character soon, and I am overall very happy about that. However, I severely disliked the way she attacked Carisi. He has a right to his opinions and I don't like that she was trying to shame him for them.
-I'm so excited to see Tamara Tunie guest starring in an upcoming episode! They NEED to bring her back, I love Warner!

Jess said...

I don't mind the way the Ohio team tries to make a dramatically huge overreach and grandstand in the name of extremism...the current landscape is ripe with people twisting laws, and right now, the atmosphere is one of outrageous legal manipulation. So that didn't ring false to me.

I never care for the lazy choice to write religious communities as cliche evangelical cartoons. Even though they offer up glimpses of things counter to this (the strong single mom Rollins is a person of faith baptizing her kid, for instance, and even though Carisi is slightly more old school in his Catholicism, he still stands up for rights he may personally grapple with), the show leans more and more toward "people of faith are all right wing hicks, backwoods nuts or cult leaders." Remember when they used to have religious characters who weren't insufferable, like Sister Peg (RIP), who championed the junkies and hookers?

dttruman said...

Leight has been starting out the crimes with some solid investigating, but then when he choose to move on to his social or political agendas, he loses all credibility and the rest of the episode just becomes a train wreck. His agendas are so much of a farce that trying to write acceptable dialogue makes it twice as worse. Every character seems to have an opinion, but each is a narrow minded opinion and that is why it will probably discourage a lot of viewers from making an informed decision. The only viewers that will like this episode are the extremists on both sides of the abortion issue. There was no mention or even a chance for compromise. Neither side was willing to acknowledge that every rule has an exception.

Unknown said...

Love Carisi - the actor is great. HATE the new girl "Kat" and can't stand that ONCE AGAIN Carisi allowed himself to be "used" by Amanda - her making him her 2nd out of wedlock baby's "godfather" since she can't make him the "baby daddy" to both her kids so he can stay at home while she goes out looking for her next hook up.

Unknown said...

I actually found myself getting more invested as the story went on...I can't stand it when old white men (the pastor and the lawyer) think they can dictate what women get to do with their bodies. I found myself cheering for Evangeline more and more as the show went on. I was even emotional at the end when Evangeline finally got to have her abortion. She did not want a baby at such a young age and who can blame her? While I do believe that abortion is an act of murder, that gives me no right to espouse my views on a woman who absolutely has valid reasons to get an abortion and to dictate why she should or should not do it. I was profoundly struck personally by the juxtaposition of the beginning and ending scenes. Rollins has her daughter baptised and then is there for Evangeline as she has an abortion. That's an example to me of how nobody is perfect and regardless of what religion you practice, everyone--*everyone*--breaks the rules from time to time. It is nothing to be ashamed of, especially since God is one to forgive all sins.

That all being said, I think I've seen too much of this show to be truly surprised by everything anymore. I knew from the get go that it was the step dad who had raped his own stepdaughter.

I loved Peter's acting. It was a strange scene with that lawyer but it offered Carisi a chance to shine for a second which I wish we got to see more often.

chillicothe20 said...

As a fellow Ohioan (one in a very rural county), this episode rang incredibly true. People around me all the time talk like these zealots. And the heartbeat bills and the like are terrifying.

Unknown said...

Does anyone know the name of the song playing as Evangeline is riding the bus to New York?

Chris Zimmer said...

I believe the song being played was "Trying" by Rachel Bawn.