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Law & Order: SVU Review: The Debut of Danny Pino

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Welcome to SVU, Detective Amaro! While I'm still not a hundred percent about Rollins, I think I'm really going to enjoy watching Danny Pino as Amaro. His introductory episode may have been standard SVU fare, but he really stood out as an interesting character in this week's episode, "Personal Fouls."

Kelli Giddish's Detective Rollins didn't have much to do this week, which was fine by me. Her (over) eagerness and silly flirtatious questioning of last week's perp was a little grating, but I still hold out hope that she can develop into a more watchable character.

Unlike Rollins, Amaro transferred in with reserve, despite that crazy beard from his Narcotics stint. He never responded to Benson's hostility with anything more than single question. He was very mature about it, especially given the magnitude of Benson's bitchiness this episode. Although I understand she's still mourning the loss of her partner for the last twelve years, by the middle of the episode, I'd had enough of the snotty quips.

Danny Pino on Law & Order

What really worked about Amaro is that while he was very much a presence throughout the investigation, he let the other, more experienced detectives, take the lead as he learned the ropes. He's also a bit mysterious. His wife is in Iraq for propaganda reasons, but what was with that photo of the little girl? He was going to put it on his desk, then changed his mind and replaced it with a photo of him and his friends. His character has some subtlety and it will be entertaining to watch his back story be revealed throughout the season.

As for the main plot, it was pretty typical fare for SVU. I liked some of the interesting spins on the usual story, like the use of a basketball star as a victim of sexual abuse. The coach's preying on poor, ethnic children and their families was disturbing, especially because he thought he was entitled to touch the boys since he helped them out of their situations. A disturbing line from his new star player, Devon, may not overtly mention the abuse, but it definitely points out how easily these sexual acts can be excused:

You do for Ray, Ray do for you.

By the episode's end, big-time star Prince Miller publicly admits to his abuse at Ray Master's hands and urges other victims to come forward. This scene was, no doubt, meant to be encouraging to victims of abuse, because a powerful man like Prince came forward despite the embarrassment of his admission. It was a touching moment, especially when it was followed by Devon breaking down while watching Prince's press conference.

It was a good episode, but not a great one. What's lacking is the charisma of the ensemble. Where was Munch? Finn had some good moments, commenting on the difficulty of black and Hispanic males to admit to abuse, but he still feels underused. This group is not yet working as a team, and maybe that's Olivia's fault. Or maybe the group just lacks chemistry. I can't wait to see if Benson and Amaro can move past their cold start.

Do you think the team can stir up some chemistry together?

Review

Editor Rating: 3.5 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 3.6 / 5.0 (59 Votes)
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I missed last weeks episode. What happened to Stablers character?

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watchable character Benson and Stabler havent been them in years

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Don't think Benson's going anywhere. Rollins has a focus episode coming up in E4. Can't wait for it, personally.

Aries93

As for the chemistry between Amaro and Benson, I didn't really see anything, besides an upcoming negative reaction. He seems to have more chemistry with Tutola and Rollins, but I guess over time we'll see some improvement, as Benson won't be around as much. I just hope they bring back Munch for when Benson is phased out.

Aries93

I really adapting to the new Law and Order: SVU. Regardless of Stabler being there or not, it's still a great show and has a lot of future potential with cast changes. Honestly, as long as the writing is good, that's all I need.
I missed Munch this episode. I enjoy Munch, so seeing him not in the picture anymore is really sad. It's like they're trying to phase out the oldies. Munch is still viable!
I enjoyed Detective Nick Amaro, as well as Detective Amanda Rollins. I just wish Rollins got more exploration into what goes on with her. Although, I'm glad all the characters got decent amount of screen time. It's so rare these days.

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And Rollin's "wide eyed rookie" act? It's an act. The writers implied a good bit of experience back in Atlanta. Not only was she working sex crimes (including one involving a child, for chrissake) but during "Scorched Earth" she's a complete realist. Idealistic young rookies don't have that kind of understanding of the intricacies of politics, power, and money. This was one of the tightest episodes of SVU I've seen in a very long time. No aesops, no preaching, and no Stabler coming yea close to snapping and punching a suspect. I like it.

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Rollin's "silly flirtatious questioning" was classic interrogation technique. Play to your suspect's weaknesses, establish a rapport, and try to find an "in". Munch actually gives Rollins his blessing there, with this off handed mention that the DSK epxy happens to be immune to his particular charms (by the way, Munch being flirtatious is the most hilarious mental picture ever). I have to say that Rollins gave it a good try. Believe it or not, interrogating a suspect tends to not involve beating the living s**t out of him in a fit of rage, no matter what (Un)Stabler might have taught us.

Law & Order: SVU Season 13 Episode 2 Quotes

It's hard enough showing one rookie the ropes, and now we have two. I mean, what is this, a daycare center?

Benson

This is a whole different world, Serpico. Not everyone has the stomach for it.

Benson to Amaro
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