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Of Law and Order

SVU: Signature
So jam-packed was the hour that I couldn't pull myself away long enough to take notes.  It's not what I'd call the season's best piece of work - not when Olivia was pretty much left to carry an episode on her own, with the dubious help of Lake and a guest star - but for a first-time viewing, it was a fast-paced story with plenty of twists that kept my interest.  But to be perfectly honest, we all know that's because I have a somewhat disturbing predilection for gruesome methods of murder.

Even if the bodies didn't show it, Warner gave one of the most graphic description of torture I've ever heard on this show (I'd remember if they had ever talked about organs like the uterus being punctured with foreign objects, right?).  Then we got the full effect of the torture chamber with its many deadly-looking instruments, a video of a tied-up woman screaming over and over again that sent chills down my spine, and a half-dead woman so traumatized that she barely seemed to recognize she'd been found by the police.  Although to be fair, that wasn't helped by Lauren's decision to cut the tape off her wrists with the nearest scalpel, i.e. leaning over her with a sharp object and an absolutely deadened expression on her face.  Right there, I flashed back to Erika Christensen's appearance on "That 70's Show," specifically the part where she appears as a zombie in Red's nightmare.  The image was surprisingly hard to shake off again.

Special Agent Lauren Cooper was certainly a piece of work.  I never remember the guest star = bad guy rule, but I still knew there was something funny about her.  I jumped from suspecting that *she* was the serial killer (one of these days, it's going to work out like that!) to thinking she'd killed her mentor and fixed it to look like a suicide, until her "bad" role turned out to be killing the serial killer.  Then I knew she was destined to follow in the footsteps of her mentor, although frankly I'm still trying to work out her logic for that one.

I mean...am I missing something?  All she did was shoot the man.  Okay, fine, "in cold blood."  KIND OF.  Still, she's an FBI agent, and TV agents are constantly shooting and killing people in standoff situations; I don't see why this was different, especially seeing as he was a sadistic bastard.  How does shooting him once - an instant and strangely humane kill - turn her into "a monster"?  I think it was especially frustrating for me because technically, she could have gotten away with it.  She got the case dismissed (and rightly so; it's ridiculous to spend the time and money pursuing a case like this when there are other, much more serious ones to bump up in the queue); she disposed of the weapon; there would have been no other evidence if she hadn't kept the damn stupid casing in her apartment.  I think that's about as close to perfect crime as it comes, and then she threw it away?  *rolls eyes*

Very nice acting from Mariska at that point, though.  Even suspecting what was coming, the speed with which Lauren whipped out the gun and shot herself made me jump, and while I laughed at Olivia in the previews, her scream of horror was very real, as was her stumbling away and being overwhelmed by tears.  I was not sulking at all about the fact that Elliot was on a contrived trek to Canada instead of being there to comfort her.  I guess I should be happy that Lake didn't attempt some sort of horribly awkward arm touch or embrace?  Thank God he was smart enough to just stand at a distance and look awkward.

Speaking of the contrived trek to Canada, there's leaving the newborn Stabler off screen (a choice of which I approve), and then there's actively working to make it seem like he doesn't exist.  How many extended-shift/overnight assignment has Elliot taken since E Jr. was born?

I don't know what else to say, really.  High-stakes episode; whether it will repeat well remains to be seen.
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Over to Wednesday now, I considered watching the season premiere of Criminal Intent last night, but after about six seconds of Goren I could not zoom away fast enough, so I abandoned that idea and landed on Til Death instead.
Hey, I remember this show!  I used to...well, not love it exactly, but watch it for purposes of entertainment if nothing better was on.  As always, the show is nicest when it keeps the focus on Eddie and Joy rather than Jeff & Steph or even Eddie & Joy's daughter.  (who is an abnormally skinny wretch of a college art student, dating a 28-year-old hippie despite looking 13 herself,  who carries herself with an air of pretentious New-Age philosophy that makes me want to slap her every time she appears). Anyway, nothing spectacular (except maybe Eddie undermining Principal Jeff's authority during early-morning staff meetings), but it was quite suitable for an hour of kicks and giggles, especially since I was very comfortably killing time until 9 by having my dog stretched out parallel to me on the bed.  Nothing better than wrapping your arm around a warm and furry living body pillow. 

A question on next week's CI, though.  That redheaded detective in the previews is pretty, but she is also very clearly not Wheeler.  Where is Wheeler?    Ah, never mind.  I forget that half this season has already been shown and I don't have to follow NBC's whims on this one.  Apparently the actress is on maternity leave.  But she is eventually coming back, right?  Because Wheeler is pretty much the only thing that lured me over here in the first place, and when she's not in sight I am not even tempted to watch the series.
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18.3
Oh, Law and Order.  Why do you like pushing buttons, especially mine?  Hm?  On CSI, 95% of the time it's a straightforward case with an obvious bad guy.  I realize you need slightly more drama for the courtroom half of your show, but so far this season you're 3 for 3 on controversial themes and/or convoluted explanations with multiple guilty people.  I'm not even going to get into the concept of "the gay gene" here because I think it's stupid; even if I don't believe homosexuality is something you decide to pursue for the fun of it, I also don't believe it's the result of one specific gene whose inclusion in your code incontrovertibly destines you to be gay.  I like to think it's a slightly more flexible trait.  ...I kind of got into it anyway, didn't I?

What I do mean to talk about is the ridiculousness of all the public defenders getting on their contemptuous moral high horses over the D&C, and nauseating way in which they used this to manipulate both brothers into cooperation.  I especially hated phrases about how it was "so easy" to get rid of his son, because, YES, DAMN IT, IT IS.  Well, not easy, but logical.  Why?  Because he doesn't know his his (unborn) son.  He has no interactive memories of or direct emotional connection to him except as a concept, an idea.  There is nothing to miss except a memory of a promise.  On the other hand, there is the woman he loves.  A 5% chance of recovery isn't much hope, no, but it is also better than basically zero, which is what he was promised if the baby was carried to term.  Why would he not fight tooth and nail for any chance to have her back?  I refer you once again to the refreshing "I love my children, but I'm in love with my husband" article, and promise you that, while my opinion might change once my children had a few years under their belt, at or before the moment of birth I see no reason to love a random baby more than your spouse. 

The problem in this case was that he'd agreed to the D&C as part of a secret and highly illegal deal with his father-in-law to provide an alibi for his brother and thus keep said brother out of jail (I would like to point out that this is a pure-win situation).  Brother, of course, flips his shit upon finding out that the father-in-law only wanted the D&C because he didn't want a gay grandson.  I need to make use of apostrophe here.

Dear old man: tests can be wrong, new and unsupported research can definitely be wrong, I bet there's no gene for bisexuality so he might still like ladies, for every Jack McFarlane there is a Will Truman, people can repress in order to conform, and no one says you personally have to care for or even interact with the kid; in short, YOUR LOGIC WAS FAULTY SIR!  Notice how most of these reasonings don't even require you to stop being prejudiced. 

Dear husband: The father-in-law's anti-gay agenda should not have influenced you, since it was necessary to give you a better chance at getting back your wife and I you might have eventually made that decision on your own, and even if it did YOU SHOULD NOT HAVE ATTEMPTED TO EXPLAIN THIS TO YOUR FLIPPING-HIS-SHIT GAY BROTHER, ESPECIALLY WHILE IN THE PRESENCE OF LAWYERS.  You calmly and rationally stick to your "Dude, wife trumps baby, deal with it" story.  But you know what you especially shouldn't have done?  Tried to claim that your son was better off dead than growing up in a horrible and bigoted world just like his uncle did, and get routinely beat up for being alive.  Dude, society gets more tolerant every day.  Even now vs. ten years ago = huge difference.  15 years from now, I suspect it will be even better, so...MORON. 

Dear brother: You realize that your outburst of rage basically just got your brother to admit to obstruction of justice?  So now instead of you both being free and clear, you're both going to jail.  CLAP.  CLAP.

Meanwhile, Connie and Cutter stand around looking supremely pleased with themselves, and OKAY, I think this is why I am always siding with the criminals and questioning the sentences.  I somehow don't think this was the writers' intention, but I never feel satisfied or happy with what the lawyers pulled off, because they're always so smug and self-righteous about it.  It bugs.

In other news, I continue to not warm up to Cutter at all, whose flaunting of rules, sideways tactics, and hypocritical bellyaching about improper procedure for evidence seizure leave me rolling my eyes.  The ubiquitous Blackberry doesn't help either; I loathe it even more than Jack does. 

I do love Connie though; I'm amused that after years of the women playing second-fiddle eye candy to Jack (not that there's anything wrong with that), now that she's stuck with Cutter, she spends a large percentage of her time looking like an exasperated mother trying to control her hyper 7-year-old.  I firmly believe that she is not-so-secretly annoyed by the fact that she didn't get a promotion when Jack did.  And while I didn't see much of their working relationship last season, I firmly believe that she misses working with him for more than the simple fact that he was better than Cutter (please don't spin that in a shippy direction, brain), a belief which was thrilled by one of her remarks tonight, "You agreed - no dumping on Jack in front of Connie."  That moment seemed brilliantly refreshing, and I had a hard time figuring out why until it occurred to me that it was the most human thing I've ever heard her say.  I've not been paying attention, but I don't think she gets a lot of lines, and when they do they're almost all in lawyer-speak either about the case or to a defendant.  Nice change of pace here. 

I also continue to warm up to Lupo a whole bunch.  Yes writers, I will slavishly follow your orders to be interested and intrigued by the bread crumbs you keep dropping about his sister-in-law.  Also, when Cutter lies about having search warrants it's stupid, but when Lupo demonstrates ninja skills to swipe information off a suspect's PDA, it's awesomecakes. 

And then Greene magically gets a deep layer of backstory about a broken engagement and against-his-wishes abortion of a baby with the Down Syndrome gene.  Wow, this should keep the fic writers fat and happy for WEEKS.

...I cannot believe how much I just wrote about Law and Order.  Italicized for emphasis. 

Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
stunt_muppet
Jan. 11th, 2008 04:40 am (UTC)
I jumped from suspecting that *she* was the serial killer (one of these days, it's going to work out like that!) to thinking she'd killed her mentor and fixed it to look like a suicide, until her "bad" role turned out to be killing the serial killer.

I was so certain she was going to be the serial killer at first, especially when the victim started screaming uncontrollably and shaking her head in her presence, that I was actually quite disappointed that she turned out not to be. Although, granted, that would probably have made it too similar to a certain CI episode, but, dammit, I wanted her to be the Woodsman. I wanted to see that interrogation scene.

When Lupo demonstrates ninja skills to swipe information off a suspect's PDA

I was quite annoyed with him for that, though, because it's so obviously Not Legal. I mean, how could he possibly have not considered that that was going to get thrown out in court? That showed me naught but poor detective work or a lack of foresight, and while I'm still somewhat fond of Lupo, that scene got on my nerves.

And then Greene magically gets a deep layer of backstory about a broken engagement and against-his-wishes abortion of a baby with the Down Syndrome gene. Wow, this should keep the fic writers fat and happy for WEEKS.

*grumbles about how the L&O fic-o-sphere doesn't move the way I think it should at all*

Actually, the backstory dump annoyed me a bit, too, just because it felt so out-of-nowhere. We spend all this time with minimal background information about Greene and all of a sudden there's this? It feels last-minute, like the writers were struggling to give this case some sort of personal connection and slapped it on Greene when it had nowhere else to go.

Or it could just be that this is raising red flags for me - this kind of thing is how SVU and CI started to slip into wangst-land, and I really, really don't want old-school Law & Order to end up there too.
rainbowstevie
Jan. 11th, 2008 05:08 am (UTC)
I was so certain she was going to be the serial killer at first, especially when the victim started screaming uncontrollably and shaking her head in her presence
No kidding. When she grabbed the scalpel I was just waiting for her stab Olivia with it. In retrospect, I don't know what that would have accomplished, but it seemed dangerous to be letting someone with such dead eyes have sharp objects in hand. And that interrogation scene *would* have been fantastic. This seems like a problem that could solved through AU fanfic; do tell me if you find (or write) such a solution.

I was quite annoyed with him for that, though, because it's so obviously Not Legal.
Eh. I figured he was waiting for the lawyers to spin it like the data was unique and in danger of being deleted...at the time, I was mostly impressed by the fact that he could e-mail it in about five seconds.

Actually, the backstory dump annoyed me a bit, too, just because it felt so out-of-nowhere.
*solemnly hands you back your show* I liked it, because I'm always up for backstory in any context unless it involves random teenage sons turning up, but I have to admit if there's any procedural on which it seems less fitting, it would be this show. I can understand why it bugged, and in retrospect it probably would have been better to stick to the subtle track. Wow, that was a long sentence.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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