Wednesday, January 11, 2012

'Law & Order: SVU' Review - 13.11 Theatre Tricks

        In the newest episode of NBC's Law & Order: SVU, an actress in an interactive theater production is raped on stage, while the audience believes it to be part of the show. Detectives Rollins and Tutuola track down an obsessed fan of the young actress who recorded the assault while stalking her, which leads Detectives Benson and Amaro to a respected judge. With the judge's reputation on the line, the SVU squad explores the underbelly of the New York theater world to uncover who really orchestrated the public attack.

        In the legal drama's first new episode of the new year, we saw an episode that knocked it out of the park on so many levels. In the past, I have often complained about how at a certain point procedural episodes become too predictable and sometimes struggle with pacing problems. Not with this episode. At first, I believed that the detectives would arrest the judge and then turn into the legal side of things since Alex was in the episode. Then, they had to investigate his claims that he was set up and I thought of the director about five seconds before the show went there. The hour kept the suspense until the very end with the reveal that the girls' roommate set the attack up. She was a likely suspect but the writers did a great job of just discretely introducing her at the beginning so that the connections could be made but vague enough to the viewers as we couldn't quite determine who the real perp was until the end reveal.
        This episode - along with Double Strands - really allowed Kelli Giddish to shine as Amanda Rollins. I know not everyone has really warmed up to her as the new detective but her fresh innocence and perseverance for the truth were a highlight of the episode. In my opinion, her best scenes are when she's interrogating the suspect and using her words to belittle them while her worst are when she is just stuck behind a computer saying "look-y here" information.
        The episode also focused on the bond between Olivia and Amanda as they questioned the safety and trustworthiness of men. Somehow it feels like we've already had a subplot with the message that men are creepy and evil this season but my memory could be wrong. I again applaud the reference to Elliot by Olivia but hopefully as Harry Connick, Jr. joins the show next week, those elements of a sappy and lost Olivia disappear and we see more of the confident fighter Olivia both in her personal and professional lives.

Side Notes:
  • Again, didn't quite need the Gilbert Gottfried cameo, but he was far less annoying here than in his previous appearance. 
  • Wow, lawyers must really love plays about hell if there were eight plus the judge in attendance of the show.
  • Truly loved the ensemble approach to this investigation with everyone (expect MIA Munch) having a great break in the case.
  • If that opening scene wasn't a shout-out to the Alex-Olivia shippers, then I don't know what is!