Head Of The Class
One predatory teacher uses another to catfish a student. Come for the creepy moaning, stay for the Fin stinkfaces!
High-school English teacher Phoebe Burnap is boning a student. ...Wait, two students. Actually, maybe it's three or four students? So that's statutory rape, plus Ms. Burnap is basically forcing one of the kids, a star wrestler, to do her in the supply closet in exchange for keeping his English grade high enough to qualify him for the team academically. And now it looks like she's trying to lure the team's significantly scrawnier equipment manager, Zach Foster, on an out-of-town trip with her over Christmas break.
One of the other wrestlers in Ms. Burnap's semi-voluntar-em told his coach, Mr. Bezinski, who said he'd take care of it. That turned out to mean sending some of Ms. Burnap's boobalicious sexts from a burner phone to get Zach to the train station, where Bezinski "just happened to" drive by, pick him up, take him back to his place, put rohypnol on his pizza, and spirit him away to Bezinski's family cabin in Pennsylvania, where he bad-touched Zach until the squad put all the pieces of Bezinski's photo crazy wall of his victims together and rescued Zach.
Despite rape-shield laws meant to protect survivors like him from the glare of publicity surrounding high-profile cases, Zach via his parents decides he's not willing to testify -- primarily, it seems, because the message is not getting through that having an involuntary physical reaction to Bezinski's skeezy ministrations doesn't make him gay or mean that he consented. So, our heroes return to Nat Dennehy, a deeply reluctant source of intel whom the detectives found on the aforementioned crazy wall, and try to get him to testify even though Dodds Jr. had to tiptoe through a nudge-wink minefield of "I wasn't there and I don't know anything, but if I had been there, maybe I would remember X and Y clues, except nothing happened, NOT GAY" the first time around. Nat refuses to help...then shows up at the cop shop with a phone video of Bezinski's confession. Great! ...Nope: Nat beat the list of victims out of Bezinski, then buried a steak knife in his femoral artery and left him to die, and nobody is sad about that, except that it means now Nat is going down for Bezinski's murder.
Burnap gets a too-generous deal in exchange for helping the cops track Zach down; we leave Nat in the interrogation room while the cops and O'Dwyer make sad O. Henry faces.
Neither of the RL teachers appears to have boomeranged the sins of a fellow educator in order to set the catfish trap.
Michael Gaston's usual flavor of evil is a little more military-industrial corporate-Masonic than this, but it is he who plays Bezinski. (Hat tip to Jeanine Pirro, playing herself as an arraignment judge and clearly loving it.)
Robert Sean Leonard is back as ADA O'Dwyer, and while I miss Barba, it's hard to get mad at ol' Neil Perry. Noah Fleiss as Nat has an SVU under his belt (so to speak) from ten years ago, and a Mothership as well; Kelli "Burnap" Barrett appeared on SVU in 2011; Missy Crider as Zach's mother did a Criminal Intent; Erik Heger as Zach's dad was in that Mothership season finale with Harry Hamlin, Daughter-Killing Senator. But my fave cross-connection is Jordan Gelber, the Chris-Christie-lookin' guy playing the principal: back in 2003, he logged almost ten eps on SVU as a crime-scene tech. (Breaking Bad cinematographer Michael Slovis makes his L&O-verse directing debut.)
Burnap's sex moans really have no business on network TV. Her initial trick turns down pizza from a classmate with "I already ate out."
Liv orders Nat not to say one more thing until a lawyer arrives, and she's immediately clocked by O'Dwyer but he doesn't seem that bent about it.
Nobody's taking the case all that personally, but when Dodds presents his report on squad inefficiencies to Liv -- blundering through a "new moms changing their minds about coming back to work, amirite?" swipe at Rollins, then accusing Fin of being "a kicker" who tries to fob calls off on others -- you can bet she's at TIP DefCon 1 in seconds, and Fin coming in seconds later to semi-prove Dodds correct on at least one point doesn't get Dodds an apology, either.
When questioning the guy the squad DOES find Burnap with at a Vermont B&B -- a 21-year-old she met when he was a high-school senior, and has just eloped with; geesh -- Fin, getting nowhere, snaps, "That kid's in love, you can't trust someone like that." Snick. As usual, though, his best please-to-fuck-off work is non-verbal:
Rollins isn't sleeping much and is bored shitless on mat leave, but loves being a mom. I suspect the little sprout we open on in close-up is probably the Giddishlet? Whatever the infant's provenance, s/he is kee-YOOT. Even cuter: Carisi bringing Rollins out to lunch and solemnly informing her it's time to "Ferberize" the nipper. Cutest of all:
And then Rollins pulls a hilare "I give up, you're the best" face. I am not trying to hear about anything the detectives are doing in their off-work time ESPECIALLY if it is each other, but since that ship has sailed and Rollins has for some baffling reason decided the Logue was a one-and-done, I will make an exception IN THIS ONE INSTANCE because Carisi is adorbles and he looooooves her.