Thursday, September 27, 2007

No "Alternate" For SVU Season Premier

Photos curteous of

By Trublu
PTR Staff Writer

Fin: Nice haircut.

Some things never change, such as the amount of humor that you’ll find in an episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. While it’s been a rough ride these last couple of seasons, I was delighted to see that SVU seems to have gotten back on track with their season nine premier. And what better way to start off than with resolving that cliffhanger that we had at the end of last season? (And of course, viewing Benson’s renewed “butch” cut, a favorite among viewers everywhere.)

It was no surprise to learn that Olivia was suspended, Elliot and Fin were on the edge of being suspended, Cragen is being “temporarily reassigned”, Chester is as annoying as ever, and Munch is… a sergeant?

*Double take*

Did this happen at the same time Liz Donnelly was being made a judge? “Bar bet,” he says. Sure. I’d go for what would be probably the most important promotion that I’m going to have in my career on a bet in a bar. Wouldn’t you?

Chester: It was an honor to serve under you, sir.
Cragen: I’m not dead yet!

That was a gem, though, and part of such a dynamic opening! The whole squad was thrown upside down at the end of last season, and it seems as if someone just pressed the “blend” button. Great decision to start after all the suspensions have (mostly) occurred, but where everything is actually starting to fall apart. Cragen is being removed for “failure to supervise,” but the brass have now removed all the supervision there was ever going to be. Party time!

And Miss Cynthia Nixon makes her dynamic entrance! She looks so calm, cool, and collected, that you hardly want to believe that she is lying about her identity. The first clue that not many may pick up, though, is the different accounts people give of her. One describes her as a witch with paranoia, one as a perfect mom and employee. I’m convinced that this part was tailor made for Nixon; her tone and her facial expressions were just perfect in each aspect of her acting.

There was a nice Benson/Stabler character moment during the scene in the interrogation room. We get to see that Elliot still doesn’t possess that sympathy card that he needs so badly, but Olivia still has it. Of course, we find out later that it doesn’t matter what cards Elliot played here, only that they were being played.

The disorder of the week is “Dissociative Identity Disorder” AKA Multiple Personality Disorder.(SVU is actually very educational, since Huang is so amazingly amazing at teaching the detectives all about these disorders in the five seconds he gets on film).

Olivia: So far we’ve seen a therapist, a 6 year old child, and a tough Russian.
Elliot: And I bet she does a mean Christopher Walken too.

See what I mean? Humor.

Now, to the creepy Elliot-flirts-with-the-suspect-and-there’s-lightening-outside scene. If you were confused out of your mind at the presence of lightening in this scene… don’t worry, I was too. Hopefully you, like I did, didn’t spend too much time on it, and instead focused on Elliot being creepy and flirting with Dory in order to get a confession or a location for April. Now that’s SVU twisted for you.

Fin: I think you need to adjust your TV. The baby we’re looking for is Caucasian.

That’s what you get when you send Munch out in uniform to do a press conference. Chaos. I must admit, though, that Munch looked awfully handsome in uniform. I think Richard Belzer just asked the writers to make it so he could wear the uniform and look snazzy. Wonderful as he looked, though, that didn’t stop him from looking awfully silly when April’s mother came waltzing into the squad room, reporting that April was just fine.


It was very creepy watching the hypnotism scene, yet it was oddly fascinating at the same time. Watching Nixon bounce back and forth from personality to personality was especially gratifying, and the climax at the end where the therapist has to snap her out of the trance… phenomenal. I really enjoyed how the writers chose to portray the effect of Janice’s ever changing personalities; if you were keeping count, Olivia had to introduce herself to Janice at least four different times. The last time, it seems like she’s back to actually being Janice, and they let her go home.

Oopsie number two.

While Kathleen has a cutsie scene where she gets to complain about her community service, and Kathy gets to show off her baby bump, Janice is busy murdering her parents. She even gets to hold Kathy hostage, which was just a fun scene to watch. Nixon dressing like an awkward teenager, wielding a knife and professing her love for Elliot totally made my day. And the awful yet totally satisfying comment about the “electricity” that passed between her and Elliot in the interrogation room? Priceless! (You see now why there was lightening.)

Chester: I’m not saying that we didn’t have crazies in Brooklyn, but you guys are cuckoo magnets.
Fin: You should have been here for the case where the white supremacist shot Munch in his ass. He still needs to sit on a special pillow.

Defense lawyer: She has five documented personalities.
Judge Bradley: Should we swear them in separately?

Casey: I didn’t do it, my imaginary friend did.

All obviously poking fun at a woman with a supposed disorder… and Munch, but funny none-the-less. Munch getting shot where the sun don’t shine will always and forever be funny.

Now, here comes the part where we go to trial and debate mental illness. Yes! It’s like it has to be in every episode, somewhere. Only, Casey get her neck wrung in this one. Writers! What do you have against Casey? She keeps getting attacked all the time…
Casey: DA walks, killer flops. That’s one for my scrapbook.

But, eureka! Casey makes the discovery.

It was all a lie.

Yes, you saw correctly. Your jaw dropping to the floor was justified. The whole thing was a hoax. There never were any multiple personalities, but you sure were convinced, don’t try to say that you weren’t! I was totally flabbergasted; between Nixon’s flawless acting and the amazing writing that was part of tonight’s episode. That two women thought they could get away with murder... and almost did, by faking a personality disorder? Fantastic television.

Overall, this was an example of one of the finest bounce back television premiers. Each character had a more equal spread of the screen time, and every character was featured. Cynthia Nixon gave so much to these characters, it was fascinating! It was also about time that SVU featured an out actress, so congratulations to them.

Stayed tuned next week for “Avatar,” when the virtual reality world of the internet comes into play. Pass that remote!


TVFan said...

Great premiere! It was nice to see SVU back to its more "classic" form. Cynthia Nixon was amazing! She moved effortlessly between those fake personalities. It was also nice to see The 4400's Laura Allen playing her sister/co-conspirator.

Trublu said...

I was enthralled by Cynthia Nixon's performance. She helped make the season opener the best it's been in a long time.

And yes, Laura Allen was a nice surprise as well! I loved her on the first season of The 4400; I just never got around to watching the subsequent seasons.