Michael Parmelee / NBC

Getting It Twisted On SVU

Something's rotten in Denmark during Carisi's UC assignment. Could be that handful of red herrings.

Initial Crime

A young woman is assaulted at knifepoint, from behind, by a mask-wearing attacker in the vestibule of her building. Asked to ID the perp based only on a voiceprint line-up, she hesitantly picks...

Real Crime

...Sonny Carisi, whom the squad has pulled in along with his bunkmates at the homeless shelter. Carisi is undercover at the shelter, which has a sex-offender section, trying to figure out who's committing the serial rapes in the neighborhood. The first victim's incensed overprotective father comes after Carisi with two of his friends and a baseball bat, only for a fellow shelter dweller named Caskey to intercede on Carisi's behalf with a bat of his own. Caskey, apparently a one-time offender who did ten years for a grievous mistake at a friend's bachelor party, hopes he can leverage his good deed into a downgrade of his sex-offender status to Level 2, which would mean he can move back in with his wife (she's loyal to him, but she lives near a school, and at Level 3, Caskey can't do that), and Carisi is open to it.

He's less open to the mounting evidence suggesting that it's Caskey who raped not just the Manhattan victims but a series of Hempstead vics from when he stayed there, and then he has the misfortune to turn up late to group therapy, and to know kind of a whole lot about their therapist's schedule, the day their therapist...

REAL Real Crime

...gets stabbed and raped. Long (but well paced! it didn't feel that convoluted, watching it) story short: another dude in the shelter entirely, Loomis, is committing some of the rapes, but only the ones where the attacker is silent, because Loomis has a stutter/doesn't speak. Caskey's attorney, Thomas Zimmerman, is committing the ones where the guy tells the victims to do what he says, and when a Hempstead victim hears Zimmerman chatting in the squadroom and freaks out, that's how they get Caskey's wife to help them set Zimmerman up. Told you it was a long story!

And the happy ending (ew, not that kind) is that Carisi is, of course, perfectly fine. Little sore from the scuffle; disillusioned about his own instincts; not dead.

Verdict

Guilty of Barba negligence!

...I'm only kind of joking! No jury verdicts, but at arraignment, Zimmerman pleads not guilty with a flourish; Loomis does so with a stammer.

(Mariska Hargitay directed "Sheltered Outcasts," and it's solid work. Hat tip to the casting team as well, of which more in a moment.)

Headlines This Was Ripped From

I can't swear the story is ripped from any headlines, though the Rodney Stover attack from last year shares a few similarities. Feel free to correct me in the comments, as I can't imagine this is the first time an evil attorney took advantage of sex-offender clients' lack of standing and credibility to commit his/her own crimes.

Famous Guest Star Who Obviously Did It

Quite a line-up (as it were) to choose from here: Michael Rapaport as Caskey is the big name, but is not guilty. Even more likely is Kevin Tighe, who always seems to play these skeezes anyway but, to my probably-inappropriate delight, is actually reprising his prior SVU role as Gregory Searle in my very favorite ridonkisode, "Avatar" (a.k.a. "the Vixy Platinum one I'm always alerting y'all to on Twitter"). Searle is paroled on "compassionate release" because he has colon cancer, so he's physically unable to have committed the crimes, though he's still giving me the shudders by hanging onto an old photo of his niece from her childhood. Then there's Leo Fitzpatrick, who made his acting debut as Telly in Kids and is best known as Johnny from The Wire. But winner and still shitbag champeen is Scott Grimes as Zimmerman.

L&O-verse Regulars

Tighe; Lisa Arrindell as the counselor makes her second SVU appearance (the first, "Disabled," featured Jill Scott as sister caring for/abusing her former-prodigy sister, played by Arrindell); the first victim's father has played a bouncer a few times. And here's my very favorite deep cut: Joyce Lynn O'Connor, who plays Mrs. Caskey, was on a notorious Mothership episode involving a fertility doctor -- played by David Margulies -- who used his own sperm to help a gazillion couples get pregnant. O'Connor played one of the gay wives. AND she was Mrs. Profaci in the Logan movie, Exiled!

It's Late, Y'all!

Carisi having to pretend that he likes to look at pictures of children getting raped is pretty squeamy.

Fin Speaks For Us All

After wondering to Liv if maybe she shouldn't pull Carisi from the shelter, Liv asks sarcastically if Fin wants to take his place, and Fin's like, sure don't kthxbai. Later, while searching a storage unit whose manager has eyes for him, Fin flirts back with "Glenda," then immediately shoots Rollins the "just business" eye-roll. Hee. He also complains that Dodds Jr.'s absence has left them shorthanded...not that he liked Jr. or anything, and sighs that a lot's changing around the squad what with all the baby-having and whatnot. Liv: "Do YOU want a baby?" Fin:

NBC

NBC

Hee.

Egregious Breach Of Procedure

Fin and Rollins both question whether Carisi should stay under when he's clearly struggling with some aspects of the assignment, but annoying Liv is not a breach of anything IMO.

Who On The SVU Team Is Taking It Personally?

Carisi, because he trusted Caskey, then didn't, then did again, and also had to act like a bad toucher; Fin and Liv, because Searle is out.

Revelations About The Continuing Characters' Personal Lives That We Should Remember Going Forward

Fin and Liv have that weird talk towards the end about how he doesn't have a life, and wants one, which doesn't track for me; I get that they had to have someone who's old-guard deliver the line, and Fin's kind of the only choice, but he's also always the one who would be telling Rollins and Amaro not to bring the job home with them, and I've traditionally assumed that, when he's not on an episode, both Ice-T and Fin are setting proper work-life boundaries. It's never a thing Fin as written has seemed like he'd have issues with, so I'm not a huge fan of that, but in any case, at the very end, he's spiffed up in a tie and headed to his son and son's husband's place for dinner...and a blind-date set-up? Tucker is neither seen nor heard about; Dodds Jr. is at anti-terror training in Quantico (I think?); Rollins, seeing Carisi has the blues, invites him for dinner at her place. He asks if she's learned to cook. She's like, nooo, you're gonna cook. Hee.

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