Law & Order: SVU Review: Where's the Crime?

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In "Missing Pieces," the writers of Law & Order: SVU resist telling the standard kidnapping story and present us with a case in which no crime has really taken place.

Granted Nate's parents filed a false police report and sent the detectives on a wild goose chase, but they are both innocent when it comes to the death of their young son. The story really played with our expectations of what a SVU episode is supposed to be, and I found the change quite refreshing.

Benson and a Father

The plot did feel Susan Smith/Casey Anthony-ish, but this episode turned out to be very different from those real life cases.

I was pleased that Amaro seemed to be the focal point of this investigation. I've enjoyed watching his character and was far from disappointed by his performance this week. I find Danny Pino to be so convincing in his role as both a dedicated detective and father.

He really provided a safe sanctuary for Nate's mother Ali to really open up about what happened to her son. He was equal parts understanding and tough as he reassured her that she was a good parent... while deftly picking up on her lies. Amaro seemed to genuinely care about this overwhelmed and grief-stricken individual; in the end, that caring helped the detectives get the truth about the supposed car theft/kidnapping.

He got much more information out of Ali than Benson was able to procure from Tim, her boyfriend. But I think that had more to do with Tim than Benson. She worked all the right angles and really showed her skills as an experienced detective.

Both Benson and Amaro played the part of the good cop, even when they discovered the baby died of natural causes. Amaro and Benson wanted to just let them go home, despite Finn and Rollins' suggestion that they should be charged with something for wasting all those police resources to find their supposedly missing child.

I don't blame Finn and Rollins for feeling that way because they had to trek all across upstate New York to track down the real story. They seem to be on the same page most of the time, and they have a really good partnership.

Except, where would that leave Munch? He hasn't been as visible this season, so maybe Rollins will take his place as Finn's partner.

Even though I was convinced that these two parents were guilty, the twist really made me feel sympathy for them. They both felt responsible for their child's death and punished themselves for it. And yet, they wouldn't turn on one another; they loved each other so much that they each tried to take the blame for a crime that didn't happen.

The real tragedy of the episode was pointed out by Amaro when he said, "Sometimes babies, they just die." Ali admitted that their lives weren't perfect, but she was happy. It was a heartbreaking end to their little family.


Editor Rating: 4.5 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 3.8 / 5.0 (31 Votes)

I cant stand Kelli Giddish. She is just spoiling the show completely. I cant watch when she is on screen she is so bad.


I'm sorry, but this episode was crap. The tempo was SO SLOW! The last half hour was, talk to her, talk to him, go back to talking to her, talk to him to rattle his cage, more crying, the end. Where's the twists? Where's the surprises? And what exactly was the point?? The parents bury their kid and cry to the police. What crime was committed, besides the parent's ineptitude? Stabler or no Stabler, the writing's gotta got better. Cause a show's still going to stink without the speed, the style, the wit or the charm of the writer's first 12 seasons.


I love law and order but stabler needs to come back. the new characters are horrible the guy was good in cold case and the lady has never been good in any show. I hate when tv shows make these changes, but Stabler went on to bigger and better things. Hopefully he comes bakc for a visit once and a while.


Good writing is noting without good actors though :(


So Stabler cant clean out his own desk ? He cant pop in and pack up his own stuff like his photos of his family ? Benson has to do this does she. And what is she going to do with the photos ? Take them home with her ? Why is she so depressed, she is going to see him at the at of the end of the day, he only lives round the corner. Some body hasnt really thought about the writing have they and the reality of the characters have they.


Do any other fans know if a similar crime/missing persons case was the basis for this episode? I watched it the day it aired and the details of the case: a woman going to a store and someone takes off with her baby, turns out there are holes in the story, husband/boyfriend has aggression issues, etc. seemed really familiar to me.
Does anyone have more info?


This episode was just awful. It was static and full of talking heads. the new character continue to be weak and uninteresting.
And there were several crimes committed by the parents. They filed a false police report. They obstructed justice. They illegally buried a body. While sending them to jail wouldn't help them, letting them off the hook completely is unrealistic and sends the wrong message.


A strong episode. Good writing. From someone who is from upstate NY...Buffalo, they totally dropped the name of the city entirely wayyy too much. It was just odd. I liked seeing Amarro though, he did really well.


I figured this show was gone when one of the long time leads left. This show proves what good writing and great acting can do. Still a fan.

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Law & Order: SVU Season 13 Episode 5 Quotes

I just want to go back and make it not happen.


The way he was buried, he was loved.