NBC

If You See Something, Say Something

When a courtyard assault goes unreported by dozens of neighbors, the Law & Order: SVU squad has its work cut out.

Initial Crime

At a coffee shop, Libby falls into a K-hole and is set upon by a group of teenage boys while other cafe customers look uncomfortable and/or film the incident, but do nothing to intervene. Nor does anyone speak up when the kids drag Libby out of the coffee shop, disingenuously play-acting "let's get you home, ma'am"-type stuff...

Real Crime

...and then trying to get into Libby's apartment using her keys. A neighbor does run them off, at which time the kids force themselves on her in the building's courtyard. Neighbors and passersby see and hear Libby struggling, but don't call 911 or come to her aid, with the usual excuses -- and a couple of key exceptions.

Verdict

After catching Libby's friend Doug in a couple of weird lies, the squad realizes he saw what happened and he's put on the stand, even though he's drunk, which is the whole reason he didn't come forward in the first place -- he'd fallen off the wagon and felt ashamed. But after a classic-lawyer-show redirect from Barba proving that, ripshit or no, Doug has a photographic memory and is credible on seeing the defendants at the scene, all three are found guilty of criminal sexual acts in the first degree.

Headlines This Was Ripped From

Kitty Genovese, most likely, though it bears some resemblances to a 2009 case in Richmond, CA.

How Was The Real Story Fictionalized?

Genovese was attacked in Queens, not Manhattan (or Staten Island, as Carisi is quick to note), and did not survive the attack; she was attacked by one man, not a group of kids; her killer confessed, though he entered an insanity plea.

Famous Guest Star Who Obviously Did It

Daveed Diggs, of Hamilton, is back as the less-guilty third kid's attorney; Anthony Ramos, also of Hamilton, plays one of the main perps, Juan. Allyce Beasley (Agnes on Moonlighting) plays a guilty neighbor. The one I spotted immediately is Patrick "Quellek" Breen as Doug.

2016-02-03-svu-breen

"By Grabthar's hammer, I will be avenged for this outfit." - a small hound.

L&O-verse Regulars

Breen was in several Mothership eps, including that one where the junkie mom makes her 13-year-old do hits for her; J. Mallory McCree as Ronnie made his debut on a late Mothership. Diggs played the same role earlier this season on SVU, but generally a light-ish week for the corps.

It's Late, Y'all!

A witness describes the yoots "taking turns forcing themselves inside her mouth."

Fin Speaks For Us All

When the kids split from the shelter they all live in and the squad tracks down Will at a hustler stroll, Fin shoos away a waiting john with, "Hey: New Jersey. Move your car, get outta here!" on the car's PA.

Egregious Breach Of Procedure

Leaving aside that evidentiary procedure prrrrrobably precludes putting a witness you know to be intoxicated on the stand?

2016-02-03-svu-liv-eyeroll

...Hee. Anyway, beyond that, the squad could stand to work on their lineup poker faces, and Carisi has a snarky meltdown after a foot chase collars the suspects, sarcastically thanking the citizens of New York for their help. And speaking of that chase: Super-Intense Action Liv, now with karate-chop motion!

2016-02-03-svu-running-liv

But it's a good week for our heroes; the nature of the case and the bystander effect means the cops have to legit investigate, cracking Twitter codes shared by the suspects, tracing a phone one of them nicked from a bystander, remembering that single Doug who's in AA claimed he was at a bar with his boyfriend when the attack took place. Good straight-ahead procedural episode.

Who On The SVU Team Is Taking It Personally?

Carisi, whose moral disgust at his fellow citizens' disinterest in each other's safety threatens to overcome him; Rollins, who is back from mat leave and insta-judgy of Libby when she finds out Libby lost custody of her kids thanks to substance-abuse issues; Benson, though she's thankgodfully low-toning the fact, because despite the phone calls plural we see in which she protests that she's faahhhhhhnnne after the hostage thing, she's in "refill the glass before it's even empty"-land once Noah's in bed.

2016-02-03-svu-liv-drankin

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

Rollins is back at work and seems content with it, albeit non-cutely acting like she invented maternal rectitude. And it's unclear whom Benson is on the phone with at the end there (Tucker? Dodds Sr.?), but the not-even-the-TV-for-company vibe with the red wine is not great. Carisi is good with purse dogs.

Readers liked this episode
What did you think?

Discussion

Explore the Law & Order: SVU forum or add a comment below.