Twins, again? By the second time T.R. Knight's rape suspect, Gabriel Thomas, declared his innocence in "Double Strands," I was ready for Amaro to figure out that Thomas must have a twin. Granted the title of tonight's episode did sort of spoil the surprise of the detective's big discovery, but it's not like we haven't seen this before.
As I mentioned last week, with such a long run on television, it can be hard for Law & Order: SVU to keep the storylines fresh. This episode really reminded me of the season 6 episode "Identity." Luke and Logan (formerly Lindsay) Stanton perform the perfect murder through a clever use of a movie-theater alibi and twin DNA. But now in season 13, the "evil" twin, Brian Smith (also played by Knight of course) uses their identical DNA to set up his brother.
His deception is pretty clever, and extensive, as it involves following his sibling on all of his business trips and copying his appearance right down to the yin-yang tattoo. But it only takes two little mistakes to make Amaro suspicious.
While the twin plot may have seemed a little repetitive, I thought Knight did a really convincing job of playing both the distressed family man and the devious twin brother with serious mommy issues. As Gabriel, he obviously invited sympathy as a wrongly accused man. But, regardless of how repugnant Brian's crimes were (including framing his brother), you couldn't help but pity him. Knight really brought out the wretchedness of both Gabriel and Brian's situations. The dual role allowed him to portray the vulnerability of both his characters in two very different ways. He was a great guest star.
Rollins and Amaro were at the center of the episode, tracking down Gabriel and Brian. I haven't been a big fan of Rollins so far this season, but her character is growing on me.
I like that Rollins is supposed to be like a female Stabler; it brings a new dynamic to the show. She's utterly convinced of Gabriel's guilt as soon as they bring him in for questioning, which actually keeps her from interviewing him. Clearly, there was a lot of evidence against Gabriel, and Rollins' guilty-until-proven-innocent approach wasn't too appealing, but it did remind me of some of Stabler's aggressive approaches to getting the job done.
However, she easily lets go of her previous assurance that Gabriel was the rapist once Amaro provides the new suspect. From there, she bravely puts herself into danger and smartly coaxes the confession out of Brian.
If Rollins is the Stabler, Amaro feels more like Benson. He isn't so sure of Gabriel's guilt and follows his gut instincts to discover the truth. He matched Rollins' impatience to see Gabriel convicted with a brooding thoughtfulness, just like Benson. Together, I think these two would make a good team.
Oh, and we got a little more Munch this week, which was great. At one point, he looks at a deeply troubled Amaro and asks, "What's bugging you, new guy?" Classic irreverent Munch!
What do you think of a Rollins-Amaro partnership?