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Theo Has At Least Two Mommies On Law & Order: SVU

So it's no surprise that when he gets kidnapped, the squad's mommies are Taking! It! Personally! Related: Liv is the worst at boyfriend.

Initial Crime

Regular readers will know what THIS correspondent thinks the real crime is here but we will GET TO THAT LATER. First, the case of Theo Lachere, who goes missing after his mom, Nadine, puts his "quiet headphones" on him so she can have a mini-rager with a dozen friends and some drugs, then is awakened the next morning by her faithful nanny Gloria to find her front door open and Theo's room tossed...without him in it. Or, ominously, the rug that's usually on the floor.

Real Crime

Not, the script is at pains to tell us, Nadine's painful self-absorption, plans to relocate Theo to Ibiza, or treatment of her child as an accessory, although its non-legally-binding opprobrium is duly and repeatedly noted. Nor is it the fact that this nozzle -- a sketchy ex of Nadine's from after she split from her ex-wife, Fran, who also comes in for the show's judgment because she failed to adopt Theo and/or assert her rights as the non-bio mom in a timely fashion -- undertook a flight from the cops with his hipster hat still on.

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"WHOEVER IT IS ALSO KIDNAPPED BARBA." Well, I can see how it might look that way, and I share your irritation, but: no. It turns out nanny Gloria had her brother Oscar stage a kidnapping scene so that she could take Theo to Juarez and raise him on her family's farm, since she's the one who does the actual parenting (and Theo is clearly bummed the plan didn't work in the end; nice bit of "ugh, you" business from Iain Armitage as Theo when Nadine is performatively reunited with him).

REAL Real Crime

...Liv's goddamn commitment issues, but like I said, we'll get to it.

Verdict

None; Nadine (and Fran) will have to wait for a family-court ruling on whether Theo can go home with her, and while Liv thinks Barba will recommend leniency for Gloria under various mitigating circs, Gloria's out of Theo's life for good.

Headlines This Was Ripped From

Possibly Miller v. Jenkins.

How Was The Real Story Fictionalized?

The Miller-Jenkins case is quite complex -- not least because various people accused of helping to kidnap the child across the Canadian border are also named Miller, but not related to the bio mom or one another -- but there doesn't appear to have been a nanny involved in this one. As well, this is a case that I think is mostly known for the involvement of anti-gay Christian groups, and while "Chasing Theo" implies that Gloria is religious, the takeaway isn't that Gloria disapproves of Nadine's sexuality, but rather her taking drugs and autopiloting Theo's care like he's a housecat.

Famous Guest Star Who Obviously Did It

It's not Under The Dome's Rachelle Lefevre as Nadine, or NCIS: New Orleans's Zoe McLellan as Dr. Fran, or Friend Of PTV Nat Cassidy as the P.I. Fran hired to get dirt on Nadine's parenting. Hey, buddy!

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Congrats on not getting stabbed by Ice-T!

L&O-verse Regulars

None to speak of, except Lynn Marocola as the snarky on-scene uniformed cop; she's got 22 of these on her IMDb page and finally pulled a credit for it this week. And, you know, this fella.

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...Guys, I'm so mad rn.

It's Late, Y'all!

I may have to retire this category, since the days of Tamara Tunie grimly delivering lines about anal tearing have long ended. Note: this isn't a complaint.

Fin Speaks For Us All

He's not having Gabriel's take on his break-up with Nadine: "Right. Dumping a wonderful guy like you." Myriad "...nope." faces to enjoy as well.

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Same, sir.

Egregious Breach Of Procedure

It's a writing breach, not a procedural one, and it's not like Liv's underlings will have cause any longer to ask awkwardly and inappropriately how it's going with Tucker, GODDAMMIT, but "I saw Tucker here; everything okay?" is not how friends or colleagues of similar rank speak to one another, never mind when it's the boss.

Who On The SVU Team Is Taking It Personally?

Liv, because single mom and because Noah just clambered up on the counter to help himself to some cookies (and she reacted like she'd come upon him naked on the roof, twirling her and Tucker's guns like Wild Noah Cody or something); Rollins, because single mom; Carisi, because Rollins; Tucker, because Liv is hiding behind the job, and Noah, to avoid "connecting" with him, BECAUSE SHE IS CRAY. ZEE.; me, because you can punish me with TWO monologues about the challenges of single parenthood like I'm a slow-witted child OR you can put me in Robert John Burke time-out when I did nothing wrong, BUT NOT BOTH, DICKS.

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

[tapes down caps lock key] FUCK YOU, SHOW.

...Okay, let me try to talk rationally through why this is so FUCKING ANNOYING instead of just embedding a bunch of tweets from the @infinite_scream account. I'll start with the goofy way Tucker is saved in Liv's phone.

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It's called "a nickname," Liv, and even you would have time to give a man who tried to take a knee for you a special moniker in your contacts. My husband had his own shteez in my phone before we scheduled a second date, even. Yeah, they've worked together since God was in short pants, and this isn't a huge thing -- except it goes back to what I said last week about the awkward/incorrect chemistry between them as a couple of, what, a year's standing?. And not for nothing, but they've dropped these little "Bunker is doomed" turds in the episode punchbowls every week all season, like, if you're going to break them up so Liv can be a fucking sanctimommy about putting Noah first, GET ON WITH IT ALREADY, is the first thing. The second thing is, she puts her job first anyway, which she admits to Tucker in almost as many words, so whatever! And third of all, Tucker is good with Noah! (Noah's "byyyye Tucker" was hilare, and broke my heart also, because: yep.)

Why does the writing -- or possibly MarHar, to underline that her character has "good" priorities? -- have to do this? Why not just put her in a relationship with whatever cop and park it on a back burner, with occasional sweeps-period simmering to let us know it's still on? Why can't the lady lieutenant lean in, and have that succeed? Why does Liv have to choose between career and personal-life happiness? Because the real issue is that the writing still doesn't know how to do the personal-life stuff, and it's not why we watch this franchise, except perhaps to make fun of it (see: Stabler's Stupid Offspring Drinking Game, The), so not only do we have to sit through it, but the single mom is the one who takes it in the teeth, AND THEN BURKE GETS WRITTEN OFF! I mean, right? We'll never see him again, probably? HAAAAATE! (Not you, Burkie. So long, and thanks for all the glares.)

...Okay, let's try to end on a positive note, to wit: Carisi assures Rollins she's a good mom, and herds her out the door for a home-cooked spaghetti dinner in front of some shitty reality TV.

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