Lesion Of Doom
Unvaccinated rich teens give Noah the measles in a ridiculously self-serious but highly entertaining SVU.
An opening montage of disease-vectoring -- kissing, lipstick-sharing, fist bumps in the school hallway, toddler toys in a waiting room, iPhone handoffs -- culminates in an afternoon of underage drinking at a "rainbow party" attended by the in crowd at Tribeca Academy.
Leveraging middle-class-audience anxiety about the city's affectless teen elite with yet another snapshot of their alleged selfish monstrosity and sexual pan-affiliation? ...Right, sorry. Actually, it's that a kid who isn't even at Beejapalooza, but got the photos because everyone at the Academy got them, uploaded them to porn sites and is now in deep shit for distribution of child pornography.
A kid who did participate gave measles to half the other kids at the party because his mom Trudy is an anti-vaccination zealot. What's worse, she conspired with other moms and their pediatrics clinic to lie on the forms requiring NYC kids to have gotten their shots, but the real real REAL crime is that Trudy's son's half-brother gave the measles to Noah, whose compromised immune system parlays the measles into pneumonia; spins his mommy off the emotional rails and centrifuges the rest of the squad along with her; and wedges in a PSA on antibiotic resistance. Can we just rename the show Law & Order: VSE already?
It's more a merging of two capital-I Issue stories than a fictionalization of either.
Missi Pyle is super-rich pinko Trudy Malco, and she is fantastic -- perfectly sincere in her true-believer cluelessness, doesn't cheat it at all. Let's also take a minute to appreciate the bitchy stage direction/production design that had Trudy and her friends pointedly eating sushi (hello, mercury/food poisoning), and last but not least wardrobe's glittery commentary:
(In case you're reading this on your phone: Trudy's necklace says "Kale.") There's also a Sopranos mini-reunion happening, thanks to Aida "Tony's sister" Turturro as the trial judge (didn't do anything) and David "Tony's lawyer" Margulies (falsified records) as the hippie pediatrician.
Send the kiddies out of the room, they're talking about MRSAs! ...Just kidding. A quaintly PG hour by show standards.
It's not appropriate for Liv to question Trudy, or otherwise involve herself in the investigation at all, once it's clear Trudy's son's half-brother gave Noah the measles -- not if she's going to take the stand as a witness, then cry-yell at Trudy in the courtroom hallway because Noah's fever is spiking, and not for nothing, but Noah's always spiking a fever, no? And once Noah's exposed, his doctor quarantines him and Liv and her nanny, so the entire squad has to trundle to Liv's apartment and/or the hospital with file boxes and run the case from wherever Noah is. The rest of the squad is also obligated to pretend to care how Noah's doing, repeatedly, out loud, and the cast is not super-committed to the idea, which is hilarious, since it's evidently occurred to them as well as to me that perhaps the best use of their time as cops with, one presumes, dozens of other cases is not to sit around the courtroom listening to Liv lecture the world on the MMR.
Liv. Forever and always. Carisi too, kind of (Scanavino is making his own fun by doing a bit of hand-sanitizer business in almost every scene).
During a discussion of whether they can effectively prosecute any of the kids on pornography charges, Barba sighs that the primary uploader is 15. "And white, and rich. It's not gonna happen," Fin shrugs. ...Hey, Fin? How's it going in court today?
Sweet dreams, chiefie.
The jury rings Trudy up for second-degree reckless endangerment; she gets three months.
Carisi sticks his head in while Amaro and Rollins are discussing (very reasonably on Amaro's part! they got my letters!) Amaro's son's imminent move to San Diego, and apologizes for interrupting. "You're not interrupting," he's told -- in unison. Hmm. Also, Noah got a haircut, praise the Lord.