Thursday, March 31, 2016

Law & Order SVU “Sheltered Outcasts” Recap & Review

“Sheltered Outcasts” had Sonny Carisi working undercover in a shelter for men that included a special section for sex offenders. With some rapes having occurred in the area, this seemed the best way to get inside to see if there was any connection to those attacks and any guests of the shelter. Peter Scanavino did an excellent job playing both creepy sex offender and a detective who is conflicted about the stigma these sex offenders will face for the rest of their lives. I know that some fans were worried that Carisi would be killed in this episode, likely fed by the promo for the episode which said, “An undercover case goes terribly wrong, leading to the biggest SVU shocker of the year.”  SVU fans should know by now to never believe the hype from the promos. In my opinion, the undercover case did not go terribly wrong, nor was this the biggest shocker of the year. I despise this kind of misleading promo. Yes, I understand the need for hype, but I abhor trickery to create buzz. There was nothing in this episode that comes close to being the biggest SVU shocker of the year.

This episode was directed by Mariska and it is clear she is becoming more skilled in this craft.

SVU character Gregory Searle (A.K.A. Julian Cooper), a kidnapper from the episode Avatar (season 9, episode 2, aired in 2007) returned.  He is out of prison on a compassionate parole due to having colon cancer. The story line didn’t do much with this character and I found myself wondering why even bring him back if his contribution to the episode was minimal.

I know I’ve said this before, but I think because I watch so many crime shows, I can spot the perps too quickly; there aren’t many surprises for me in network procedurals any more. Tom Zimmerman (played by Scott Grimes) was no shock. Sometimes I think it’s the actors selected for a specific role that telegraph how the story will progress.  However,  I didn’t expect that he was piggybacking on the other crimes, so that was an interesting twist!

Rollins is becoming more protective of Carisi and it appears they are developing a relationship that could go beyond being colleagues.  I don’t see any palpable chemistry between these two beyond friendship but the implication is that Rollins may want more from the relationship.  Similar to how I feel about Benson and Tucker, I’m indifferent to which way this goes and am willing to see it play out, even though I think there is no romantic chemistry between ANY character in this cast.

We hear that Dodds is off for a week for an anti-terrorist course at Quantico. It’s odd that Dodds – a recurring character – gets his absence explained but Fin's was ignored for weeks.  At least Fin was very present in this episode.  We we got a shred of back story for him, hearing that he is meeting with his son who now has a husband. He also mentions to Benson that both she and Rollins have babies and he sees that things are changing, but I don’t think there will be a parakeet in Fins life in the near future.

Raúl Esparza did not appear in this episode.

The next episode is May 4, which should put the season 17 finale at May 25. Hang in there!

Here is the recap: 

Mariska Hargitay - Lieutenant Olivia Benson
Ice-T - Detective Odafin “Fin” Tutuola
Kelli Giddish - Detective Amanda Rollins
Raúl Esparza - ADA Rafael Barba
Peter Scanavino - Detective Dominick “Sonny” Carisi, Jr.

Guest stars:
Michael Rapaport - Richie Caskey
Scott Grimes - Counselor Tom Zimmerman
Kevin Tighe – Gregory Searle
Leo Fitzpatrick - Gerald Loomis
Lisa Arrindell – Robin Daughtry
Donna Mitchell – Judge E. Kearns
Saul Stein – Tom Nomaks
Molly Camp - Mary Colten
Mike DiSalvo - Robert Levy
Chazz Menendez - Anthony Nomaks
Laura Piccoli – Sofie Nomaks
Natalie Roy – Hannah Levy
Joyce Lynn O’Connor – Sharon Caskey
Myrna Cabello – Parole Office Felicidad Flores
Shauna Miles – Glenda
Robert McKay – Andy Becker
Brian Patrick Murphy – Jerry Nomaks
Chass Menendez – Anthony Nomaks
Mike DiSalvo – Robert Levy
Reggie Green – Jackson
Cezar Williams – Court Clerk
Zeek Epps - Deshawn

Hannah Levy, pushing a stroller, walks on the street with Sofie Nomaks, who invites her to a spin class, but Hannah takes a rain check. They near a homeless shelter where men are standing outside, and they cross the street to avoid them.

In the evening, as Sofie arrives home, she is attacked and raped in the vestibule of her home.

Later, police and the SVU are on the scene. Rollins states that Sofie is 25 and the perp had a knife who told her to do what he said. She’s being transported to Mercy General Hospital for a rape kit. Benson asks if she gave a description, and Rollins replies white or Latino, average height and weight; he had a ski mask on and the vestibule light is out. Benson says it is the same MO as the last two assaults. As Benson heads to the door, Fin approaches with Mr. & Mrs. Levy and their child; Mrs. Levy is a friend of Sofie’s and they live next door. Mrs. Levy explains she ran into Sophie on the way home a few hours ago who asked her to go to spin class with her. Mr. Levy comments if she had, she might have been the one who was attacked. He asks Benson if she knows that there have been two other rapes in the area in the last month. As Benson nods her head, Mrs. Levy adds since the homeless shelter has opened, they have a special section for sex offenders and you can see them listed on line. When Benson states they are aware, Mr. Levy asks what are they doing about it? Fin asks if they have been seeing those guys around here, and Mr. Levy says all the time, they hang out at the bodega and get cigarettes. Rollins asks if they have seen any of them there tonight, and they shake their heads no. Benson thanks them and an officer directs the Levys away. After they leave, Rollins looks at Benson and says the victim thinks she saw the perp run that way, toward the shelter. Fin adds they will check for cameras and witnesses. Benson suggests they talk to shelter management and see if they have a swipe code or sign out log and asks which one of their guests qualify.

Later, at Spuyten Duyvil Shelter on 18 Cumming Street on Monday, March 14, they are directed to a room where all the possible candidates are waiting. One man, Richie Caskey, says they didn’t do anything. Benson comments it is just a request; they’d like them to come down to the station and ask a few questions. Rollins adds they could get their PO’s down there to check their possessions and appointment calendars and maybe do a spot drug test to make sure none of them violated their parole. A new guy is not there and Richie says the man went to get some food. Another man asks how long they want to keep them, and Benson is shocked to see that man is Gregory Searle, and Fin comments he thought they put him away for good. He says he was released on compassionate parole; he has health issues. The shelter manager says nobody cares, just do what the police say. Suddenly, Carisi walks in, dresses as a homeless man, asking who is on with the donut holes. He looks surprised to see them as they glare back at him.

Afterwards, the men are being led into the SVU squad room, Carisi with them, still acting as he is one of them. Rollins asks Benson where does she want these guys, and Benson tells her to just get them out of sight; the victim is in the interview room with her father. Fin asks her if she wants him to smack Carisi around a little bit to make his cover look good. Benson says they had two rapes in Inwood this month; that is why Carisi volunteered to live in that shelter undercover asking if he would like to take his place? Fin says no. As Fin walks off, Rollins observes that Carisi looks like hell, and Benson thinks he is just trying to fit in and if he wants out, he will let her know himself. Rollins doesn’t think he would. Benson looks surprised at this comment, to which Rollins says, “Never mind.” She adds she is glad Benson is back, she is the boss and, like she said, they just have to trust each other. Benson replies, “Exactly” and Rollins walks off.

In the interview room, Benson speaks with Sofie, who is describing her attack with her father, Tom, present. She explains the attacker pulled off her gold chain and said to do what he said or she won’t get hurt. She didn’t fight him as she was afraid of the knife. Benson assures Sofie she did what she needed to do and she survived. Sofie father Tom brings up the homeless shelter and the sex offenders, and he gets upset about the situation. He is upset with his daughter moving into that neighborhood and orders her to move back home. Benson cuts him off so she can speak with Sofie and he sits back down, staying in the room. Benson explains they brought in some men and she wants her to listen to their voices to try and recognize anyone. She doesn’t think she will be able to, but her father cuts in and says she will do it. Sofie looks anxious and Benson turns and glares at Tom.

Rollins speaks with Richey who said he was with his wife, and Rollins records him saying, “Do what I say and you won’t get hurt.” Fin does the same for Gregory, who says he has colon cancer and he isn’t running around doing anything. Rollins is then with Gerald Loomis and says - about the phone doing the recording - that it’s not going to bite him. When he says nothing, Rollins asks if he wants her to call his parole officer. She holds out the phone and says, “Last chance.” He doesn’t respond at all and Rollins gets up and moved to leave. Suddenly, he says, “Do what I say.” Rollins brings the phone back to his face and says, “From the beginning.” He says, haltingly, “Do what I say and you won’t get hurt.”

Afterwards, Carisi comments to Fin and Rollins and that she got Loomis to speak, adding that Loomis has a bad stutter and barely said two words since Carisi moved in. Rollins asks how is it going, asking if he is okay up there. Carisi replies that the food sucks and the company is worse, but if anybody raped anybody, they are not bragging about it. Fin questions how about tonight, wondering who was out at 7 PM? Carisi explains he does not know, he was out himself, he was trailing a guy from down the hall who claims he was framed and that women can’t resist him. It turns out he was just going out for a vape. He gets up to leave, and, putting on his coat, comments they might get a call from the shelter therapist, Robin Daughtry; she wants the background information from his arresting officer about his “heinous crime.” Fin states dryly he will fill her in. Carisi explains he should get back, they are keeping him longer than his roomies. Fin says he needs his help, and hands him a piece of paper to read off, and, holding up his phone, says he needs another filler voice.

Back in the interview room with Benson, Sofie listens to the voices and can’t identify any of them. An officer knocks on the door and a lawyer, Tom Zimmerman, approaches, stating he is Richie Caskey’s attorney. Benson explains Richie is assisting them in an investigation. Tom sound skeptical. Fin approaches with Rollins and asks if there were any hits, and Benson introduces Tom. Tom states he also represents Greg Searle, explaining that does not fit his profile, Greg is in an ephebophile, meaning he goes for younger girls. Rollins says with sarcasm that this is a wonderful argument. Tom asks if the alleged victim has identified anyone, and when Benson doesn’t answer, Tom states he will take that as a no, stating if neither of his clients are under arrest to send them back to the shelter. Benson says “in a minute” and suggests Tom have a seat. He does.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Law & Order SVU “Sheltered Outcasts” Sneak Peeks

Here are sneak peeks from Law & Order SVU “Sheltered Outcasts” which will air on March 30, 2016 at 9PM ET on NBC. The episode was directed by Mariska Hargitay. The videos feature Mariska Hargitay, Kelli Giddish, Ice-T, and Peter Scanavino.

My recap and review of Law & Order SVU “Sheltered Outcasts” can be found at this link.

Please note: These videos have a limited life and may be removed at any time, so catch them while you can!

SVU_17019Clip1_16x9 by tvwatchr

SVU_17019Clip3_16x9 by tvwatchr

Check out my blog home page for the latest Law & Order information, on All Things Law And Order.

Also, see my companion Law & Order site,These Are Their Stories.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Law & Order SVU “Unholiest Alliance” Recap & Review

“Unholiest Alliance” completed the story which began in the previous episode, “Manhattan Transfer”.  There were no big surprises here, with certain members of The Catholic Church being involved in a sex trafficking ring. If there was anything that bordered on a surprise for me, it was Tucker’s cousin, Father Eugene, having any involvement in facilitating the criminal activity.  It appears not everyone can be as squeaky clean as his often-sanctimonious cousin, Captain Ed Tucker. I admit I had hopes that Tucker would be wrong about his cousin but sadly his instincts about Eugene were correct. Despite the predictability, this episode was well written and visually interesting, with lots of location shots beautifully lit and framed.

The story highlighted Sonny Carisi’s faith and his Catholic upbringing that he used to convince Father Eugene to do the right thing, despite Tucker's skepticism that Eugene would do anything to help. Sonny was capitalizing on Eugene’s weak spot, but it worked so well because Sonny truly believed what he was saying.

Deputy Chief Dodds is becoming more creepy and unlikeable with every episode, and I wonder if anyone – maybe even his own son – will eventually turn up some dirt on him. I fully understand that the higher one goes in an organization, the more political a person can be, but at least it is comforting that his son can see right through him.

Fin is back, although there was no explanation given for his absence.

Finally, there is some acknowledgement that Benson may be drinking too much. While Tucker doesn’t actually say she's having too much, he was quick to make a subtle note of her wine refill which indicates he has a concern. Benson getting in over her head with alcohol will probably come to a head sometime down the road.  She and Tucker do seem to spend a lot of time sitting at the bar.

And while on the subject of Benson and Tucker, while I have no problem with the relationship, it lacks a romantic spark. In one scene, Benson takes his hand and kisses it, which seemed more friendly than romantic.  The relationship has a cold, clinical feel to it.

Here is the recap:

Mariska Hargitay - Lieutenant Olivia Benson
Ice-T - Detective Odafin “Fin” Tutuola
Kelli Giddish - Detective Amanda Rollins
Raúl Esparza - ADA Rafael Barba
Peter Scanavino - Detective Dominick “Sonny” Carisi, Jr.

Guest stars:
Robert John Burke – Captain Ed Tucker
Andy Karl – Sgt. Mike Dodds
Peter Gallagher – Deputy Chief William Dodds
Robert John Burke – Captain Ed Tucker
Jonathan Cake – Monsignor Patrick Mulregan
Michael O'Keefe – Father Eugene O'Hanigan
Abigail Savage – Sister Nina
John Ales - Detective Tom Russo
JD Williams - Detective Anton Jefferson
Frank Vincent – Bishop Catalano
Sahr Ngaujah – Father Akintola
Jason Cerbone – Lorenzo Desappio
David Cale – Judge Wheeler
Brock Yurich – Lance Woodstone
Amanda Bishop – Heidi Aronson
Melinda Tanner – Sister Antonia
Yainis Ynoa - Natalia Diaz
Karen Christie-Ward – Sister Ida
Dru Johnston - Father Joseph Leahy
Rebecca Gruss – Danielle Backerly
Maggie Borlando – Margaret Kenswick
Emily Cramer – Deanna Walsh
Derek Kelly – Trooper
Rick Zahn – Inquisitor #1
Victor LaMantia – Billy the Gravedigger

The episode opened with a recap of events from the previous episode; the full recap can be found here: Law & Order SVU “Manhattan Transfer” Recap & Review

In the squad room, Deputy Chief Dodds tells the squad he knows having their Lieutenant transferred abruptly is unsettling, but “ours is not to reason why.” Fin asks how long Benson is going to be gone, and Dodds replies that best hope, temporarily. The detectives look on, warily. Dodds adds that for now to keep doing their jobs. Putting his hand on his son’s shoulder, he says they are in good hands with the Sergeant. As DC Dodds walks off, Sgt. Dodds comments that first off, he was blindsided by this as all of them. He adds that second, he is going to need their help. Carisi stands up and say, “Copy that, Sergeant.” Rollins questions what are they supposed to do? Dodds explains that leads to his third point: the Lieutenant was recused because of the allegations against Captain Tucker. Fin wonders what that has to do with Benson? Dodds replies that he can’t speak to that, and neither should any of them, but this is still their case and since charges have been made against Tucker, Barba has been pressuring them to follow up on them. He says, “So start following up.” He walks off.

At the Internal Affairs Bureau at 315 Hudson Street on Saturday, March 5, Captain Ed Tucker is being grilled by the Group 1 panel about any involvement in a sex trafficking ring. He states Detectives Russo and Jefferson, who are making allegations, are lying and they are dirty, and SVU had busted them in the raid and whoever is running this told them to blame him. Ed is questioned about Monsignor Mulregan and Father O’Hanigan’s confirmation of the story and if Tucker is saying they are in on the conspiracy too, and Tucker replies he does not know. He explains Father Eugene is his cousin so some of this might be personal. He adds that Sister Nina Kelly suggested to him that Father Eugene was somehow involved and asks if they have spoke to her yet.

Meanwhile, Sister Nina is feverishly packing her things. Later, in a van, she picks up Natalia who asks if anyone else is coming. Sister Nina says not today and they drive off.

Elsewhere, Benson waits outside and as Barba approaches, Benson calls out his name to stop him. He continues to walk, saying they are not supposed to be talking. She asks if he knew she was getting transferred, and Barba states that One PP doesn’t keep the DA’s office apprised of its byzantine maneuvers. Benson angrily replies to let her fill him in, stating he told them about her and Tucker and a few hours later she’s getting pep-talks about what a great asset that she would be to women in Community Affairs Barba calmly states she is seeing someone he is investigating and One PP had to know. Benson insists Tucker is not a sex trafficker. Barba firmly replies then the investigation will clear Tucker and until it does, stay out of it. Benson counters that whoever is behind this murdered Cara and while he and One PP is chasing their Trojan Horse, other girls are in danger. Barba shakes his head and states they can’t talk about this, and he quickly walks away from Benson. She is dumbfounded. Her phone rings and it is Sister Nina calling from the van. Nina asks if Benson told them she is not cooperating any more, and Benson asks where is she? As Nina sees another vehicle following her, she tells Benson to just tell them she is leaving town and they don’t have to worry about her. Benson tells her to wait, asking for Nina to listen to her, but Nina says she has to go and she ends the call. Benson continues to call out to Nina but it is too late. A van pulls up to Nina’s and pushes Nina’s van off the road. As Nina and Natalia sit stunned and injured in the van, a man walks up to the driver’s side.

Later and still outside, Benson walks up to a waiting Tucker, who has just tossed down a cigarette. She asks him how he is holding up. He replies that Group 1 has been grilling him since 8 AM, Benson comments they can’t think he is in on this, but Tucker thinks they can. He asks what does she have? Benson urges that he needs to be careful; somebody is after Sister Nina and Tucker might be next. He asks what is she talking about? Benson explains that she called her this morning, spooked, and now she can’t reach her. Dodds is tracking her phone. Tucker says, dryly, “Great. Alright, keep me posted.” Looking at his watch, he says he is due back upstairs. Holding onto her arm, he says there are more questions about him and his cousin Eugene. He lets go and walk off. Benson sighs.

Back at SVU in the squad room, Rollins questions Father Eugene, who says he became concerned that the girls were being preyed upon by two vice cops and he suggested to the Monsignor that he talk to his cousin in Internal Affairs. Rollins asks when was this. Carisi speaks with the Monsignor who says it was a year ago, March 14; that is the date of the letter he sent to Tucker outlining the crimes. It was a hand-written letter and he gives Carisi a copy. Carisi asks if he is sure he got his and if he heard back from Tucker. In interrogation, Fin speaks with Detective Russo who is there with his lawyer, and says Tucker called him and his partner on March 16 last year saying he wants to meet. His attorney gives Fin a print out of Russo’s calendar. Russo says his lawyer or rep was not with him and that Tucker said it was off the record and strictly for intel. Before Russo can continue, his lawyer says he wants to make clear that anything Russo says to implicate Tucker cannot be used against him. Fin tells him to go on. Russo says they go down and Tucker is there without his partner and says he knows about them and the girls and that it can go one of two ways: they lose their badges and they do some hard time or they cut him in on their action and he closes the file out. Fin asks if they have any way to verify this, or if the meetings with Tucker recorded, and Russo says no, it was Tucker, his partner, and him, and he told his Captain about it. There is a knock on the interrogation room window and Fin asks for a few minutes and leaves the room. In Benson’s office, Fin tells Dodds that Russo has his story down. Rollins adds that if Jefferson and Russo met with Tucker, then IAB is sure to have a record of it. Carisi enters and shows Dodds the copy of the letter the Monsignor gave him outing the vice cops. Fin comments that either Tucker is dirty or someone is setting him up good. Dodds puts the letter in a folder on his desk and states he will give this to Group 1. He adds that the next problem is the Lieutenant called; Sister Nina might be in trouble and her burner phone is going straight to voice mail. Rollins observes that the burner phone has not GPS, but Dodds counters TARU just triangulated the last call from Saxon Woods. He has an emergency exception to put a trigger fish on her phone and if it is on, they will find it.

Later. Fin and Rollins are at the scene of Sister Nina’s accident with a trooper. They hear the last call was made less than a mile from there. The van belongs to an Episcopal Church in Yonkers and he has left word. Rollins asks the trooper to call again. Fin observes someone ran Nina off the road and Rollins, noting the drag marks, thinks Nina was taken to the other vehicle. They find two suitcases in the van; one is Nina’s and realize the other belongs to a younger girl; there are two vics. The trooper returns and says the church lady says the van us driven by their revered, Father Joseph Leahy.

Law & Order SVU “Sheltered Outcasts” Photos

Here are advance photos for Law & Order SVU “Sheltered Outcasts” which will air on March 30, 2016 at 9PM ET on NBC. The episode was directed by Mariska Hargitay. The photos feature Mariska Hargitay, Kelli Giddish, Peter Scanavino, Molly Camp as Mary Colten, Michael Rapaport as Richie Caskey, Leo Fitzpatrick as Gerald Loomis, Mike DiSalvo as Robert Levy, Chazz Menendez as Anthony Nomaks, and Scott Grimes as Counselor Tom Zimmerman.

My recap and review of Law & Order SVU “Sheltered Outcasts” can be found at this link.

Photos by: Michael Parmelee/NBC 2016 NBCUniversal Media, LLC

Check out my blog home page for the latest Law & Order information, on All Things Law And Order.

Also, see my companion Law & Order site,These Are Their Stories.

Law & Order SVU “Sheltered Outcasts” Promo

Here is the promo for Law & Order SVU “Sheltered Outcasts” which will air on March 30, 2016 at 9PM ET on NBC. The episode was directed by Mariska Hargitay.

My recap and review of Law & Order SVU “Sheltered Outcasts” can be found at this link.

Check out my blog home page for the latest Law & Order information, on All Things Law And Order.

Also, see my companion Law & Order site,These Are Their Stories.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Law & Order SVU “Unholiest Alliance” Sneak Peeks

Here are previews for Law & Order SVU “Unholiest Alliance” which will air on Wednesday, March 23, 2016 at 9PM ET on NBC. The previews feature Mariska Hargitay, Kelli Giddish, Peter Scanavino, Ice-T, Andy Karl, Peter Gallagher, and Robert John Burke.

My recap and review of Law & Order SVU “Unholiest Alliance” can be found at this link.

Please note: these previews have a limited life and may be removed at any time, so catch them while you can!

SVU_17018_Clip1_16x9 by tvwatchr

SVU_17018_Clip2_16x9 by tvwatchr

Check out my blog home page for the latest Law & Order information, on All Things Law And Order.

Also, see my companion Law & Order site,These Are Their Stories.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Law & Order SVU “Unholiest Alliance” Photos

Here are photos for Law & Order SVU “Unholiest Alliance” which will air on Wednesday, March 23, 2016 at 9PM ET on NBC. The photos feature Mariska Hargitay, Kelli Giddish, Peter Scanavino, Raúl Esparza, Ice-T, Andy Karl, Robert John Burke, J.D. Williams as Det. Anton Jefferson, John Ales as Det. Tom Russo, Yainis Ynoa as Natalia Diaz, Jonathan Cake as Msgr. Patrick Mulregan, and Michael O'Keefe as Father Eugene O'Hanigan.

My recap and review of Law & Order SVU “Unholiest Alliance” can be found at this link.

Photos by: Michael Parmelee/NBC 2016 NBCUniversal Media, LLC

Check out my blog home page for the latest Law & Order information, on All Things Law And Order.

Also, see my companion Law & Order site,These Are Their Stories.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Rick Eid Named New L&O SVU Showrunner reports that Rick Eid has been named as executive producer and showrunner for season 18 of Law & Order SVU, replacing Warren Leight who exits after the current season 17. Read the full story here: Rick Eid Named New ‘Law & Order: SVU’ Showrunner, Inks Universal TV Deal

Check out my blog home page for the latest Law & Order information, on All Things Law And Order.

Also, see my companion Law & Order site,These Are Their Stories.

Monday, March 7, 2016

Law & Order SVU “Sheltered Outcasts” Episode Information

Here are the details for a new episode of Law & Order SVU, “Sheltered Outcasts.”

Law & Order SVU “Sheltered Outcasts” Air Date March 30, 2016 (9 PM ET/8C Wednesday NBC)

Detective Carisi (Peter Scanavino) lives undercover at a homeless shelter to determine if one of its sex offender residents is the suspect in a string of neighborhood rapes. Also starring Mariska Hargitay, Ice T and Kelli Giddish. Guest starring Michael Rapaport, Scott Grimes and Kevin Tighe. Directed by Mariska Hargitay.

# # #

My recap and review of Law & Order SVU “Sheltered Outcasts” can be found at this link.

Check out my blog home page for the latest Law & Order information, on All Things Law And Order.

Also, see my companion Law & Order site,These Are Their Stories.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Law & Order SVU “Manhattan Transfer” Recap & Review

“Manhattan Transfer” is the first part of a two-episode arc which involves the SVU, the Catholic Church, One PP and various members of law enforcement, politicians, and a member of a DA's office. It was a hairball that only got hairier as the episode progressed. It was an excellent story filled with drama, tension, and uncertainty, making for a nice set up for the next episode where hopefully the case will be solved. Benson pays a huge price for her efforts. Despite Benson telling her squad that she is "out," I’d say it’s likely she will be restored to the SVU in the next episode, the only questions being how this will transpire, or if there are other casualties down the road.

Benson’s relationship with Tucker comes out at the worst possible time, making their involvement with this case appear questionable to some. When Barba realizes those two are romantically involved, he acts as if Benson has just put a knife into his heart. He seems hurt that Benson didn’t confide in him about it, and possibly angry that she let Tucker get so involved in the SVU part of the case that it now appears tainted. Clearly Barba can’t honestly think Benson would have any involvement with a sex trafficking ring, but as he doesn’t know Tucker that well, he may not trust him. During the dialog between Benson and Barba, Barba brings up all the questions the fans have raised about why Benson would get romantically involved with Tucker, considering their past history. That scene felt slightly awkward as I felt that it was the writers speaking to the fans; it didn’t feel like Benson and Barba discussing the issue as colleagues. But the questions about the relationship had to be raised and answered. This episode belonged to Robert John Burke, who perfectly showed Tucker's dual personality as a likeable guy and a suspicious, raging hot head.

Sister Nina went from being in interrogation and holding to being completely free. How did they conclude that she had nothing to do with the operation? The two Vice detectives have the (lame and likely fabricated) excuse that they were working undercover, but I would think that just because Nina is a nun who said she infiltrated the group to help the girls should not give her a free pass. The SVU was too quick to take her at her word. Maybe I missed something? Tucker, on the other hand, assumes the worst of his cousin, the priest, who wasn’t even at the underage sex party and whose only fault was that he knew the name of a young female rape victim who was later (likely) murdered. Sister Ida also seems to be getting a free pass so far. While I don’t know how this story plays out, in this episode it implied that nuns/women aren’t capable of heinous crimes but clergymen are automatically suspect. (I attended an all girls parochial high school taught by nuns, priests, and seminarians, and I could tell you lots of stories about ALL of them. But I won’t! I will say is there were quite a few that were far from saintly.)

It was inappropriate that Benson, as a Lieutenant, would allow Nina, a person who was part of a sex trafficking arrest and investigation, to stay in her home and be alone with her child, especially if there had been concerns about Nina’s mental state. I understand Benson may have been concerned that the system was compromised, but I can’t believe they don’t have other resources to guarantee Nina’s protection.  Benson makes another error by bringing Tucker to her apartment and having Nina discover that he was related to Father Eugene. Was anyone besides me worried that Nina, in her panic, was going to fling Noah out the apartment window? I felt a little uncomfortable as Nina kept backing up towards it. This is one of those cases that Benson should have recused herself, or Tucker should have recused himself,  once his cousin Eugene was suspect. Benson has a big heart but that trait is sometimes her downfall.   Her handling of this case so far leads to her packing up her personal belongings from her office at the end of the episode. Had she handled Nina through the normal channels, and had she kept Tucker out of the SVU part of the investigation, maybe it wouldn’t have looked like there was a cover up.  It's obvious that someone doesn't want this case to go any farther.   It's also possible that Deputy Chief Dodds has found an opening to weasel his son into a promotion.

I was amused when Tucker commented that he is loathed by half of the NYPD. I think he was being too kind. He's probably loathed by MOST of the NYPD.

And breaking news: Noah finally utters a word! At least, I think this was the first time he spoke. Pretty soon he well be demanding a larger salary (wink).

Again, another episode without Ice-T and no explanation has been given for Fin's absence.

Here is the recap:

Mariska Hargitay - Lieutenant Olivia Benson
Ice-T - Detective Odafin “Fin” Tutuola
Kelli Giddish - Detective Amanda Rollins
Raúl Esparza - ADA Rafael Barba
Peter Scanavino - Detective Dominick “Sonny” Carisi, Jr.

Guest stars:
Andy Karl - Sgt. Mike Dodds
Robert John Burke – Captain Ed Tucker
Jonanthan Cake – Mosignor Mulregan
Michael Potts - Sergeant Cole Draper
Michael O'Keefe – Father Eugene
Joniece Abbott-Pratt - Marissa
Abigail Savage - Sister Nina Kelly
Maggie Borlando - Margaret Kenswick
John Ales - Det. Tom Russo
JD Williams - Det. Anton Jefferson
Mary McCann – Didi Denzler
Sahr Ngaujah – Father Akintola
Karen Tsen Lee – Medical Examiner
Jeb Brown – Captain Gerbic
Richard Topol –ADA Wynne
David Cale - Judge Wheeler
Camila Perez - Cara Gutierrez
Karen Christie-Ward - Sister Ida
Camilla Perez – Cara Gutierrez
Larry Bull - John Townshend
Yainis Ynoa – Natalia Diaz
Rebecca Gruss – Danielle Backerly
Jack Nawanda-Braunwart – Noah Porter Benson

The SVU is staking out a party with underage girls. Carisi is undercover at the party while Benson and the others are in a surveillance van nearby. On the video feed, Benson sees Judge Wheeler and Dodds notices a Bronx ADA, two assemblymen and a councilman. Rollins wonders if the nurse who tipped them off knew what she was onto, and Benson thinks maybe, the nurse said the girls were scared and she wouldn’t give up any names. Dodds is anxious to move in but Benson tells him they need to wait until they do something more incriminating. Dodds worries how close she wants to cut it, as Judge Wheeler has his hands up that girl’s skirt. The girl seems ill and asks to use the bathroom, and as she coughs, Carisi asks if she wants some water. But a man doesn’t like Carisi’s interference, and, pushing him, tells Carisi to mind his own business. This starts an altercation and one man brings out a gun. Benson sees this and orders Dodds and Rollins in. Benson and the detectives storm inside and order all to get their hands up. Benson holds her gun on a few of the guys and asks them if they are going anywhere. She then orders some officers to get them out of there. Benson shouts that she is Lt. Benson and orders the guns down, and one man pulls out a badge and says they are on the job from Vice. The other Vice cop does as well. Rollins says they are from SVU and Dodds asks the color of the day, to which one man answers “Yellow.” Rollins comments, “Son of a bitch” while the Vice detective states they just derailed a two year operation. They all look stunned.

At SVU, Rollins tells the girls she needs to know how they found out about this party and how they got there. On girl says they were friends, and another clarifies they weren’t really friends, they met them at a Wiz Khalifa concert. Benson is watching Rollins talk with the girls and Barba approaches, and he asks her what fresh hell awaits. Benson states they responded to a tip that underage girls would be at a sex party and in attendance was Bronx ADA Wynne, two assemblymen, a retired DA investigator, a councilman, and she tells Barbs she is sure he recognizes…Barba finishes that is it Judge Wheeler. He comments why is he not surprised. He asks if the girls are taking, and Benson said no, their pimps have them completely under control, and haven’t even bothered to send a lawyer and no one will admit to knowing whose party it was or who supplied the girls. Barba says it is par for the course. Benson goes on, saying it gets worse: Detectives Russo and Jefferson from Vice were working the case from another angle and they pulled their guns and badges as they made the bust. Barba thinks they must know who threw the party, and Benson says if they do they are not saying. They claim they ruined their UC operation, but tells Barba not to worry, she called their Captain. Barba quips, “You mean he wasn’t there too?” Barba asks if there was anybody at this party that wasn’t a public servant, and Benson points out a woman in another room, saying her name is Nina Kelly, and her ID says she is a nun and they are trying to verify this.

Carisi is in interrogation with Nina as Benson enters the room. She questions why a nun would be at a sex party. Carisi tells Benson that Nina is not comfortable with him in the room so he makes a quick exit. Nina explains she is not comfortable with male cops, and Benson comments that as a madam, she is sure Nina has had a lot of run-ins. Nina denies being a madam, saying she is a nun. She spent months trying to infiltrate the ring to save the girls, thinking it is rigged. Benson says she isn’t part of the good ol’ boy network, and asks Nina to work with her and tell her about who throws the parties and procures the girls and she will get the girls to the shelter. Nina believes if they think she is cooperating she will not be able to save anybody else. It took a long time to earn the trust of a lot of people. When Benson asks who hired her, Nina tells her to ask the johns that. Benson explains they haven’t been forthcoming. Nina says they know they will get away with it.

Meanwhile, Dodds is in interrogation with Russo and Jefferson who say their cover story is that they are dirty cops. “They” like to have them at the parties to keep everyone in line. When Dodds asks who is they, saying there is no record of their UC op, Russo says their captain told him not to put this into DECS, too many other johns have access. Captain Gerbic enters and, after some small talk, he and Dodds leave the room. Gebric enters Benson’s office. She says the timing was bad and knows their cover was blown, and he says they have to get new guys in there and it sets them back. He asks what her people were doing there and Benson explains it was an anonymous tip and they are all in this together. He says he wishes he could help, but they are playing the long game here. He comments she has seen the pedigree of the johns and asks if anybody is talking. Benson states not yet. He tells her to ask herself why, who are they protecting? He is going out on a limb even acknowledging this. Benson appreciates this but explains underage girls are still be raped and trafficked. Gerbic says where SVU sees victims, he sees willing participants and these girls are not exactly Madonnas. Benson looks appalled and Gerbic says to never mind that; they care just as much as they do and they are going to nail these guys. Benson starts to argue that SVU is better equipped, but he cuts her off and says he hears her; they are already inside and if SVU moves in now, the carnival just picks up and moves to a different lot and the games just keep getting played. He says he will get his guys out of her, but when Benson says she wants to run this by the ADA first, he tells her to call the Deputy Inspector and see what he says. Benson looks stunned.

Afterwards, as Gerbic walks out with Russo and Jefferson as Benson and the detectives watch from the break room, Rollins asks if that is it and if they are shut out, but Benson says if they are deep UC she gets it. Carisi comments it is a UC investigation they can’t investigate because who they are investigating, saying it is a mobius strip. Dodds wonders that his father may have some intel, and Benson suggests it is worth a try. As Dodds walks off, Benson asks if the girls are with social services, and Rollins says she will take another run at them tomorrow. As they walk off, Carisi asks Benson if they are just going to let these johns go, and she replies for now, she will call Barba – or not. Nina, in the holding cell, calls out to Benson, and Carisi asks is something is the matter. She says she doesn’t understand, asking if they are just going to let those bastards go. Benson states that is none of her concern. But Nina says because they have badges it means it is okay for them to assault 16-year-old girls? She explains this has happened multiple girls, multiple times, saying they are not cops, they are rapists.

At Bernadine’s Halfway House for Women at 570 Sutter Avenue in East New York, Brooklyn on Tuesday, March 1, Benson speaks with Sister Ida about sister Nina who says she is doing God’s work. Benson explains the circumstances of Nina’s arrest, Sister Ida says if that is what Nina said happened, it happened. Benson stats Nina gave her a name of a girl she brought to her, Cara Gutierrez, and Sister Ida says Nina brought her there about 6 months ago; she was a troubled girl but she believes she is healing. Benson asks if she can speak with her, and Sister Ida says she won’t say a word unless Sister Nina is with her. Benson understands and thanks her. Sister Ida says it is good to see her again, asking about Noah. Benson confirms she adopted him and he is thriving. Sister Ida says they still say the rosary for Ellie every year. Benson thanks her and leaves.