Thursday, September 29, 2011

'Law & Order: SVU' Review - 13.02 Personal Fouls

        Continuing on in its transitional thirteenth season, Law & Order: SVU's second airing continued to show the new direction the show is going towards this year while still telling a unique tale. 
        As Basketball Coach Ray Masters is inducted into the Metro Basketball Hall of Fame by former students Carmelo Anthony and Chris Bosh, an ex-player accuses the coach of sexually abusing him as a child. Detective Nick Amaro transfers into the SVU squad and is thrown on to the case. The detectives interview former players but no one admits to abuse, forcing Benson and Fin to dig deeper into Coach Ray's most successful player, basketball star Prince Miller and his manager/cousin. 

         First off, I want to say that this was a great episode that touched on a very important topic that rarely gets shown. But in a matter of personal taste, it just wasn't for me.
        This airing continued to deal with the disappearance of Elliot from the squad room as well as how Olivia is affected by it. Olivia has clearly gotten more defensive because her crutch (of Elliot) has been taken from her. Cragen tells her they're getting another new detective and she sees this as a replacement for Stabler (much like the viewing audience, I'm sure). Much like she was with Rollins, at first Olivia doesn't want to bond with Detective Nick Amaro. Even when doing their job, she made him be in the background without letting him take the lead with the questions.
        I love the idea of rotating partners. It makes the workplace feel so much more realistic while also acknowledging the fact that neither Danny Pino nor Kelli Giddish are the "partner" replacement of Christopher Meloni. I know some people like stability and seeing two people who look great together always be assigned to each other but with these scenarios we can see every possible combination and then maybe in the future we'll come to love this new blood as much as previous characters.
        I thought it was interesting on how unique Danny Pino's detective was as a character. He is a single parent but not really. His wife is stationed in Iraq and he has a little daughter to take of. He's a second grade detective who just took down a major case. But here's my question, if he was so great and respected in the Narcotics & Warrants divisions, why would he be transferring into SVU? It was clear that there is more to his backstory and I'm anxious to find out more.
        I also loved the scene in the morgue between Benson, Amaro and Warner. The two detectives tried their best to force Warner to rule it as a homicide even though it was inconclusive. That conversation really did shed some light on the black and white ambiguity of this issue and what it truly takes to be a medical examiner. She had to stand her own ground and show that there could have been a numerous amount of possible scenarios surrounding his death - some as a suicide and some as a homicide.
        I could have done without the manager / cousin murdering Stevie (the original accuser) sub plot. That story really weighed the dramatic main plot down and although I didn't foresee Stevie dying it wasn't that interesting of a twist. But it was through this twist and Prince seeing himself in a young kid with Coach Masters that got him to talk. So even though I didn't like it, I will admit that it made sense with the overall story.
        In the end, Prince goes in front of the grand jury and also offers a press conference releasing Coach's manipulation of him as a child. This was the most well-written, directed, and edited piece from the episode. Prince talks about what many men in this situation would be feeling: regret and confusion. His speech also shows the other people affected by the story throughout the episode and how they are dealing with him stepping forward. It was very great and the perfect way to end this story.