Law & Order: SVU Is Liv-ing In The Past
When the show tackles the Brock Turner case, an ER reunion makes us all feel kinda sick.
Budding finance douche Ellis Griffin goes to a Halloween party, where the redheaded cousin of a former fling catches his eye. They flirt a little as the night goes on, and then he comes upon her in the bathroom, where she drunkenly suggests "getting some air." A short time later, a British tourist is hauling Ellis away from Janie, the redhead, who's unconscious behind a clump of garbage bags. As uniform cops swarm up on the scene, Ellis is protesting that he didn't rape Janie, and continues protesting this all the way to an interrogation room, from which he's sprung by...
...his father Patrick, a Nassau County sergeant and Liv's old partner/mentor from pre-Stabler days. Patrick looms right up on Liv to give her the full-guilt press, and Liv's cry-voiced submissiveness in most of her scenes with Patrick is not the look you want to see modeled by a grown-up lieutenant, but Liv's failure to strap her Van Buren on and tell Patrick to get bent is not in fact the real crime here. It's actually that Patrick is trying to leverage their past -- specifically, that he covered for her with IAB when she was accused of "disappearing" a stash from a drug house, lying under oath so her career wouldn't end before her rookie year did -- so she'll keep mum about the "surprise witness" he finds to lie for Ellis that Janie was awake/consenting during their encounter.
Ellis initially agrees to plead to a lesser charge, although he still insists Janie consented (Janie doesn't remember anything after Ellis "bursting in on" her in the bathroom), but when it's time to allocute and apologize, which is all Janie wants, he can't go through with it and the case proceeds to trial, with the entire SVU squad in attendance, of course, because what "other" cases, amirite? Sigh. Anyhow, Janie reluctantly testifies, and the defense tries discredit her (and her "liberal feminist social-justice warrior friends"; snerk), but as Barba is ripping the snitch witness's account to shreds, Ellis finally can't take it anymore and yells that the guy wasn't there and didn't see anything and he just wants to plead guilty and have the whole thing done with. He apologizes to Janie for raping her, in so many words, and gets 24 months in prison. Liv gets the parallels to Brock Turner underlined on her face when Patrick sneers, "You want to destroy his life because he had sex with some drunk girl?" GOT IT, show.
Barely. Janie was found near some trash bags, not behind a dumpster, and by two Swedish exchange students, not one British tourist. Turner got six months, not 24, and as far as I know did not express regret or take responsibility for his actions. Much of the rest -- the fathers' statements about not punishing their sons for a lifetime for 10 (or 20) minutes of stupidity; the victim's inability to remember the incident; a drunken voicemail used to discredit the victim -- is nearly identical.
It's not obvious that Corey Cott's Ellis did it, thanks to a relatively nuanced performance by Cott, but the minute Anthony Edwards shows up at the cop shop looking pissed off, you know he's going to present a problem.
It's too bad they had to burn Edwards on this appearance, because ever since Zodiac I've really enjoyed seeing him pop up various places, but this is his first L&O-verse turn...and probably his last. Jenna Stern is back as The Only SVU-Case Judge In Town, Elena Barth. Joseph Lyle Taylor recurs as defense attorney Mickey D'Angelo and appeared on several Mothership eps. Kelly McAndrew as Diane Griffin had an under-five part on an SVU 10 years ago.
"He was on top of her, thrusting" and "we were enjoying each other the whole time" are more derpy than disturbing. Speaking of derpy, check out the lackadaisical dancing by Cowboy Extra over here:
At least move your head, bro, jeez.
Upon hearing that Ellis is a cop's kid who still agreed to talk to them without counsel present, he snorts, "That was his second mistake. His first mistake was humping a passed-out girl." Fin also pulls a couple of faces, the first while witnessing Liv's discomfiture in the face of Patrick's emotional bullying...
...and the second after the script obliges him to ask, and I quote, "How's that going, you and Tucker?" Liv says it's complicated. Fin:
Liv's too-zealous attempts to make sure they've vetted Janie's story and behavior so that maybe she won't have to go toe-to-toe with her old rabbi get her this "lieutenant, please" look from Barba,
but don't quite sink to the level of egregion. Nor does her stopping by chez Griffin to tell Patrick she's onto him with the witness. The intercession with Barba to kibosh a charge of witness tampering is a breach, but that flagrant for this show.
Liv, because Patrick.
Well, everyone appears to have agreed in a silent movie about the American jury-trial system.
Just kidding, except: all y'all settle down. You too, writers who keep teasing the inevitable Trouble In Benkerdise sweeps episode. Either up Robert John Burke to regular cast and show us what's going on, or shut up about how "it's complicated"; it isn't. They're both cops, they're both hot, they love each other and he's good with the boy. Ain't get simpler than that. ...Actually, do both those things. Burke's great but we don't need the dramz. And no, this is not permission to go back to showing us portentous shots of Liv drinking pinot "instead" kthxbai.