Wednesday, November 30, 2011

'Law & Order: SVU' Review - 13.09 Lost Traveller

        In the newest episode of NBC's Law & Order: SVU, Benson and Amaro interview the distraught parents of a missing Romani child who disappeared on his way home from school, who are distrustful of the police. The initial investigation leads Fin and Rollins to the powerful leader of the Romani community, but he denies any involvement. The family remains hopeful their boy will be found, especially after they discover his cell phone is still active. With the help of a new TARU tech and a meddling newspaper reporter, the detectives narrow the perpetrators to a mentally challenged neighbor, throwing the tight-knit Romani community into turmoil.

        Overall, this episode was good. It didn't have any outstanding moments but it also lacked any cringe-worthy ones as well. The part that irked me the most was the use of stunt casting Gilbert Gottfried as the new TARU tech. Showrunner Warren Leight spoke of his casting as a way of bringing fun to the pieces of technology dialogue that tend to be a bit more dry and boring. However, his character would have been just as compelling played by anyone else. The character's snarky persona was enough to keep me engaged so I just don't see why they needed Gottfried to begin with.
        Unlike previous episodes this season, this episode did not suffer from pacing problems or the feeling of too many useless bodies in the room. I will admit that the interrogation room scene with the reporter didn't need the inclusion of Linus Roache's character but his presence did keep things concise and moving forward. Too many times in the past, there have been episodes that felt like they took too long to get to the main story or had scenes that went on for too long. This episode did an excellent job of pacing itself while still including every little detail detrimental to the ending reveal of the case. Speaking of the ending, I was completely shocked that it was the two girls who did it. Before that, I thought it would have been the teacher or the bully after they dismissed Mark but now looking in retrospect the girls where just a little too close to the case for them to be purely innocent. However, the detectives did catch a lucky break in the first place by just coincidentally running into one of their fathers while he was walking through the neighborhood.
        The thing that was the most intriguing about this episode was the increased focus on the tension between the partnership of Rollins and Amaro. Both are the newbies trying to fit in and do their best. But they're both the type of people who want things to be done their way or they want to be the person to catch the perp. They're also constantly questioning the others tactics despite it being the best thing for the case at that time. Unlike other critics, I enjoy the two of them working together and I think that if the producers want to take the risk of doing an entire episode following Rollins and Amaro as the two lead detectives on a case, then why not just go big or go home? The ensemble feel and tone is nice and has made this season much better than previous ones but every now and again we just need an episode that  showcases how one of these characters is truly upheaved by a compelling case.
        In the end, this was a nice little episode to prove that this show still has the means to support its longevity. Every character in this story was compelling to watch and kept drawing me in closer. We saw different factions of certain characters that helped as we watched this story unfold as well as we delve deeper into the personal turmoils of our main detectives. It also brought forth the first big perp reveal at the close of the episode of the season.