Wednesday, January 17, 2007

One of SVU's Outsiders Finally Reappears

Picture curteosy of

NBC Recap

If I were to analyze the episode based on the amount of sleaze the characters oozed or the number of times that Lake’s gut was mentioned, it would seem like “Outsider” was a dud. Not so, however; in SVU’s most SVU like episode this season, I finally saw something that I’ve wanted to see all season. Fin! Yes, ladies and gentlemen, the “Cop Killer”/Lover, Ice-T, finally appeared in an episode for more than five seconds. It’s a miracle cast down upon us by the SVU gods. Or the writers, who it seems have finally utilized their most versatile character.

The episode prominently featured Fin and his son, Ken, which proved to be a little strange and ultimately quite annoying. While I loved seeing him in a normal role (you all remember last season’s disaster, “Strain” which was basically Ken’s national coming out party) he was the anti-SVU cop. He was obsessed with the detectives’ “lack of effort,” which was really them not doing anything illegal to obtain a tainted conviction. Finally, the illegal-ness stops, and someone, Fin’s son of all people, comes in and wonders why they don’t resume.

Introduce the random Brooklyn SVU dude, who listens to his scanner at night, operates on gut, and was as sleazy as… well, Trevor Langan. (Peter Hermann had some tough luck here.) He introduces the far fetched, but eventually true theory that his homicides are connected to Fin’s rape cases. A strange idea, since as Fin mentions later, murderers don’t usually progress backwards to just rape. However since Lake’s gut says he’s the same guy, we now have an extra detective on the case. (Where in the SVU world was Munch? Why can they not utilize them in an episode with Fin? Why?)

Lake: Benson and Stabler get gold stars in Cragen’s class, where does that leave you?

*Shakes man’s hand.* I wouldn’t go as far as hugging the man, because of his little encounter with Casey later, but right now he is my best SVU buddy. Did the writers even realize that they were writing this as they penciled it in? They’re basically sticking it to themselves now, unless they actually think that we only want to see Benson and Stabler.

Suspect: Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go handle more money in ten minutes than you’ll handle in a lifetime.

Haves vs. have nots anybody? It ultimately didn’t have anything to do with the episode, but it was still a very funny, and accurate, line.

Lake: My gut says he’s lying.
Fin: Your gut is a genius.

One of Lake’s (or his gut’s) many moments, he actually turns out to be right. Unfortunately, this lead doesn’t exactly turn out to help the case any, but the newest victim does. Third of three actually attacked in the course of the episode, the last victim is who finally cracks the case wide open. Handprints from where the perp tried to choke her are the link between the Manhattan rapes and the Brooklyn rape/homicides.

Casey: Yeah, I’ll run the subpoenas through the Medicaid fraud unit; he’ll think we’re investigating his billing practices.
Fin: Well if you pull that off Casey I’ll give you my badge.
Lake: And I’ll buy you dinner.
Casey: I’m not a cheap date.
Lake: I’ll remember that.

*Twitches and falls out of chair.* No! No! She can’t have just acknowledged that! Limers everywhere fell out of their chairs during that scene. I can’t tell what Casey is doing; the sleaze factor has now exceeded Trevor Langan’s amount by tenfold. The only non heart attack worthy thing that came of this encounter was:

1. We got to see Casey, which is always of the good. And,

2. Her hair definitely seems much redder, which is a squee worthy moment in itself.

Lake: My gut tells me that’s not our guy.
Fin: That’s not your gut, that’s indigestion.

Once again Lake’s gut makes an appearance, and once again he’s right. This time it was more pertinent; when the detectives discover the scrap book (yeah, the play along perp likes to see his own name in the paper and make comments on his crimes) it leads Dr. Chanoor to give up his son, who the detectives recognize to be the janitor at the doctor’s clinic, and the perfect mold to the desperate to be known signature.

All the ego stroking that the perp insisted on makes sense when the detectives meet Henry, Dr. Chanoor’s son. The good doctor led his son to believe that he was a waste of space and air, leading Henry to seek attention by raping women and making them praise him. (We don’t even need Huang to figure this one out; this man was desperate for any type of attention.) The psychology thankfully worked in the reverse as well; as soon as the detectives realized this was why Henry committed the crimes, they gave him exactly what he wanted. Praise for a clean and nearly undetectable job. After that, Henry opened up like a clam.

I don’t believe we’ve ever seen a sibling, or any relative for that matter, be someone’s defense lawyer, but this goes to show why that should never happen. Petrovsky chose to ignore the strangeness of the request that Henry be required to wear an ankle bracelet. And, how did the tech people lose the signal? Once the signal begins to move, aren’t they supposed to follow it?

The reverse psychology works again, and lake reels Henry in by offering to make him famous. Unable to resist, Henry yields to the power that is Fin’s excellent marksmanship.

There was a strange motif within this episode which only really made sense at the very end, which was the family life of two of the victims and the Chanoors. Ming’s father became overprotective of her when he found out that she was raped, threatening to sue Fin and the police department if he didn’t drop the investigation. When Kara’s (the second rape victim) father arrived, he instantly whisked her away to Italy. Dr. Chanoor, however, was exactly the opposite with his son. Cold, critical, and static. He had no qualms about yelling at his son in the hallway, and asserted many times that he thought his son was a good for nothing boy who had never earned his love.

This episode has been long overdue, but where was Munch? The writers don’t seem to understand that they have four detectives. This means that since Benson and Stabler are partnered together, Fin and Munch are partnered together. Further exploration would logically yield that when Fin appears in an episode, Munch should too. Alas, perhaps Munch is dating again and doesn’t spend so much time at work?

The serial rapist plot always makes for a good episode of SVU, and this one was no exception. In easily one of the best episodes of the season so far, the detective dynamic was good, the plot wasn’t obvious, and while Chester Lake was annoying, he did work well with Fin in the end.


Y said...

I had read somewhere a couple of months back that the characters in SVU would have less stories where they're all in 'em together. Reasoning... budget. They're shooting more than one episode at one time.

Trublu said...

Makes sense, and I remember reading this too. But,why then are Mariska and Chris the major leads in the majority of the episodes? If they were to really budget well, half the episodes would be Olivia/Elliot and the other would be Fin/Munch. If they separated them even further, they could shoot four episodes at once! Then that would leave more for the all together episodes. What SVU brass is saying just doesn't add up... and then, they're also adding Adam Beach to the cast! That can't be cheap either...