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Law & Order: SVU Declares (Info)War On Good Writing, Sympathetic Characterization

The show's take on fake news involves a very real, very unwelcome return to the Noah-in-peril well.

Initial Crime

Congressman Luke Bolton presents himself in Liv's office to complain that he's being Alex Jonesed libelously dragged on a site called EndlessTruth.com for using child prostitutes run out of a Chinese restaurant. The claim is baseless, despite an EndlessTruther hacker's attempts to frame Bolton by means of kiddie porn planted on Bolton's computer...

Real Crime

...but the sex ring the site is claiming Bolton is involved with is real, so the squad tries (somewhat ineptly; more on this later) to track it down while EndlessTruth.com "editor"-in-chief Ron Duca resists them at every turn with claims of free speech and protecting journalistic sources. Scuzzy enough on its own, in my opinion, but in the show's opinion...

REAL Real Crime

...Duca only really turns into a bad guy when, as payback for trying to shut him down, Duca runs a front-page story questioning Noah and Jesse's parentage and claiming Liv and Rollins acquired their children in exchange for keeping Bolton's/other sex rings' business off the court docket.

Actual police work -- the kind that obliges Liv, a lieutenant who's overinvested in the investigation as it is because it's a day ending in Y, to take the literal wheel of a car chase; sigh -- entraps the driver of one of the girls, and Marian manages to lead them to the house where she and her fellow victims are held, but the episode's act-out is Bolton, dead on the floor of the Chinese restaurant he went to with his daughter to show that it was a safe and non-felonious place to enjoy some General Tso's, a mitzvah that got him shot by yet another gun-waving EndlessTruther. Pity; Bolton is played by James Waterston, Sam's son, and had some great "fuckin' seriously?" faces for our hero Liv,

so it's too bad the character's burnt so quickly.

Verdict

Someone needs to indict Liv on identity theft, because could this blocking be any more early-season Stabler?

But seriously, folks: no courtroom scenes, because no Barba. Boo.

Headlines This Was Ripped From

The fake-news phenomenon generally, and more specifically the particularly over-the-top allegations that Hillary Clinton raped and "chopped up" kids; the pizza-place shooting in DC.

How Was The Real Story Fictionalized?

I don't think Jones's avenging "angels" have killed any elected officials as of this writing, though apparently Jones's ex-wife has filed for sole custody of their kids, citing Jones's threats against a member of Congress among other unhingey factors.

Famous Guest Star Who Obviously Did It

Waterston is the highest-profile of the lot, and is innocent. The Path's Patch Darragh plays Duca; Kevin Carolan is not-so-red herring Fleming.

L&O-verse Regulars

Waterston's an L&O vet (the Season 9 finale) as well as legacy, and casting is giving that stolen-embryos episode cast a lot of work lately, because he was in that too. Carolan has a number of L&Os on his c.v., including the S10 finale in which Stuckey loses his shit. Ditto Darragh, whose Mothership ironically dealt with a conservative talk-show host's wife manipulating a fan into killing her husband. Bronwyn Reed's back as the long-suffering Lucy, who in addition to dealing with Liv's foolishness also has to inform Rollins that she will not run out of Cheerios; "they have grocery stores in New Jersey."

It me.

It's Late, Y'all!

"A filthy couch in the back room of a pots-and-pans store" is pretty evocative, but since we're seldom if ever going to see an M.E. because the budget won't allow for that or a psych, or even an ADA most weeks, I should probably retire the category.

Fin Speaks For Us All

The newly minted Sergeant-T is on fire this week; a bellowing EndlessTruther announces that "we're not done here!" and Fin levels a pistol at his temple: "Oh yes we are." Later, he snaps at a suspect, "Whyn't you SHUT UP!", and is quite smug about producing the subpoena Duca is gassing on about them needing.

This is the shit you cling to in an episode like this, because...

Egregious Breach Of Procedure

...buckle up, folks. Let's start with why Liv waited until Duca refused to give up his hard drive to run facial-recognition software on the girls in the photos. Even Catfish would have done that, like, second thing. Then there's her utterly inappropriate interrogation of Duca, which Fin has to interrupt, though not even for that reason, and the "Arrest the son of a bitch who runs that thing." "For what?" "...Breathing." exchange. Yeah: not how it works, Lieutenant. And of course she's hyperinvolved in every aspect of the investigation, and is Marian's saintly point of contact and comfort, and gets into a car chase (which is a pathetic two blocks, but still), and after it's all over, she threatens to frame Duca for kiddie porn if he doesn't back off her and Rollins. Not Bolton or anyone else, though, because who cares about other slanderees who aren't Noah's mommy.

And I know I've said it like a bazillion times, but if she's such an indispensable piece of the unit that she, the commanding officer, has to go into the field and save every damn day, could Liv please be written like it's not her first day on earth, much less dealing with sleazy criminals who falsely accuse her of stuff?

She's not Amish.

AND FINALLY, the fucking NBC promo department. A scene in which a teenage girl is being debriefed about her experience as a sex slave is not a great time to advertise your G-list burn-off dating show.

It's offensive. Do better.

Who On The SVU Team Is Taking It Personally?

HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA Liv and Rollins. Ha. Ha ha. HA HA HA HAAAAAA this show, honestly.

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

Jesse is cute. Rollins likes sesame noodles.

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