His Law & Order: SVU Judgment Cometh, And That Right Soon
The warden from The Shawshank Redemption grosses out a cavalcade of guest stars with his Gigante-meets-Hefner Quaalude 'partying' -- and this isn't even the infamous Trumpisode!
Sarah Morrissey is tending bar at a birthday party for department-store magnate Lawrence Hendricks Sr., and makes an afterparty love connection with his grandson, Eric...only to wake up in their vast apartment the next morning with her pants pulled down and no memory of what happened. She heads to SVU -- where, I feel obligated to mention because the shot composition very obviously wanted me to, Liv's victim spidey sense takes her out of a convo about Fin and the sergeant's exam** to notice Sarah wandering tentatively into the squadroom, like, there is literally one other human being in the foyer at the time, but okay, Liv's practically a psychic and the best? -- and Liv helps her begin to piece together that she had a couple of tequila shots with Eric.
Eric, meanwhile, is like, yeah, we had a couple drinks and Did It, but it was consensual (though it's established Sarah did not say the word "yes"). Odd, then, that the lab found Quaaludes on Sarah's tox screen...and two semen samples.
The other one is from Eric's horndog grandpa, Lawrence Sr., whom the squad is happy to arrest for rape (after putting an outcry witness in danger for about the billionth time by wiring Sarah up and sending her to a park to try to entrap the Hendrickses), but the heir apparent, his daughter Cynthia, is happy to go to civil court to have Senior declared incompetent. Is she trying to get control of the business sooner rather than later, or abetting Senior in avoiding jailtime? Hard to say, and regrettably, the episode doesn't take advantage of casting Sarah Clarke in the role in order to explore it; instead, we find out that Senior's current girlfriend planted the baggie of Quaaludes in Eric's room...
...and Eric remembers having another round of drinks with Senior and Sarah after he and Sarah had sex, and his grandfather warning him away from one drink in particular, but he doesn't want to testify -- until Junior, long since removed from the line of imperial succession, tells Eric that he split up with Eric's mother because Senior Quaaluded Eric's mother while she was pregnant with Eric, and the marriage never recovered. Eric manages not to coat Barba's office in vom, agrees to testify, and...
...Senior is convicted of rape.
I spent a good 20 minutes of the ep asking my husband, "So wait, is this The Trump One?", forgetting that that one's Gary Cole. (Dick Wolf apparently "suspects" the Trumpisode will air in the spring. He also said something about a love interest for Liv related to a backdoor FBI pilot, like, the hell was wrong with the love interest she had?! ...I swear I'll let that shit go. Eventually. Probably. Not this week, sorry not sorry).
Aaaaaanyway: it's kind of hard to say who Senior's supposed to be. Various Google search strings turned up Andrew Luster and William Kennedy Smith (which seems too "vintage" for SVU), but given the overt reference to "bunga-bunga parties," perhaps it's Silvio Berlusconi? With a side of Vincent "The Chin" Gigante, I suppose, and Rupert Murdoch to taste, plus Bill Cosby with the 'ludes, blech.
Provided it is Berlusconi, I don't believe he's alleged to have roofied anyone, and used sex workers to encircle him in the pool, not "civilians"...and did not try to cut the line on his own grandson. The Chin was a mobster, not a retail magnate. Murdoch tends to marry the younger ladies and, while he tolerated the likes of Roger Ailes, the line of succession with his kids is of late orderly and transparent. Cosby doesn't own department stores.
Bob "Warden Norton" Gunton as Senior, though Jim "Prezbo" True-Frost of The Wire as Junior has showed up in the L&O-verse as a baddie before, and 24 fans know you have to keep both eyes on Sarah Clarke.
Gunton has a first-season Mothership on his c.v.; it's nice to see Hendricks family attorney Raphael Sbarge (the underused Molk on Murder In The First) getting work, and he's notched a 2010 SVU (a 16-year-old impersonates a detective...it's from the Sharon Stone era) and a LOLA). True-Frost was on the Rosie Perez SVU, which fortunately I'd forgotten about (he was the head of a pedophile ring), as well as a couple of Criminal Intents and late-season Motherships.
On the line-edit level, nothing too horrible, but Gunton has no vanity in delivering ugly lines like, "These morning-after regrets are so tacky." Hat tip to the extras in the Avalon board meeting who, confronted with Senior's utter shamelessness about his sexual proclivities, simply cannot:
**Taking the sergeant's exam? Didn't he already do that at the end of last season? I guess we can't have him AND this guy
in the same episode or it'll cause a rad inception, but jeez, writers. A little effort, maybe.
See above re: sending Sarah to a meet with Grabby Grampy, and not for nothing but the squad does this often enough that it does seem like the savvier suspects (and grand juries) wouldn't keep falling for it, but oh well. I think the scene only exists to create doubt about Senior's competency and drop the "Monica" clue. (And to give Barba the "...You're good!" line, which was fun.)
Other than that, just the customary relocation of the entire squad to the courtroom to make disgusted faces at utterly standard defense-counsel tactics. If you want to end the episode on a "cynical" on-it-goes-this-thing-of-ours shot of everyone picking up phones because for every one bad guy they put away there's blah blah unsung heroes blah, fine, but maybe they'd have less to do back at the cop shop if all of them didn't drop ongoing cases to sit in court and look constipated? You cast actors and put them in the jury box; you can cut away to them, no?
Liv, because she gave up Tucker for this so now she's got to double down on the stricken lip-biting and intense whispered vows to catch the perp.
And seriously, did Tucker ask you to cut back on your hours? Everyone's a grown-up here; is there some reason you couldn't just agree that you're in a relationship, and occasionally have a quickie in your office, which has a door on it that presumably locks? ...Oh, that's right; you dumped Tucker to spend more time with Noah, who is unseen in this episode. Shut up, show.
None, and although that should be a relaxing break, it's actually merely annoying, since the script is at pains to remind us that they're all Focused! On! Justice! To the Detriment! Of! Their home lives!
...Shut! Up! Show!