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

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What's happening to SVU?

While last week's installment had some high points, I couldn't find much about this week's "Educated Guess" to be excited about. For the most part, the show lacked any suspense. By the time we met Uncle George, I'm sure most of us had him pegged as the assailant. The episode also featured a disbelieving mother character and an enabling wife, which seem pretty standard for this kind of plot.

Amaro at Work

The mediocre storyline couldn't even be helped by the guest stars. Natasha Lyonne's infamous personal problems would seem to make her the perfect choice for the role of the tortured mental patient. Gia has suffered abuse for so long, unable to talk to anyone, that her mental instability were a natural reaction. Instead, Lyonne delivered a weak caricature of a mental patient, alternately angry and cagey. There just wasn't enough to her performance to really make us connect with her.

I was excited to see two True Blood alums, J. Smith-Cameron as Gia's mother and Carrie Preston as Gia's aunt, here. However, even they couldn't shake the middling atmosphere of the story. Gia's mother, Diane, really looked the part of the beleaguered mom and sister. It was easy to believe that she would avoid facing her daughter's accusation because it would cost her too much.

Preston's Bella, Gia's aunt, really captured the essence of the character's denial, but could have softened the portrayal with a little bit restrained suspicion. Her refusal to believe Gia was almost abusive.

Most of the time, it really is up to Amaro and Rollins to breathe new life into the series. At one point, Amaro invoked the ghost of Stabler when he admitted he just wanted to pound the crap out of suspects like George. Benson's response: "My old partner, he uh... there were a few times he came pretty close." Pretty close??!?

That's an understatement. But I don't think we have to worry about Amaro just yet. He may be tempted, but so far he hasn't witnessed one too many rapists get away with their crime and he doesn't seem to have the same anger management problems that Stabler possessed.

Rollins was paired with Benson a lot and, at first, the partnership didn't do much for her character. Benson's sympathetic approach to the possible rape victim was in stark contrast to Rollins' strong skepticism. But she did begin opening up to Benson after hearing about Benson's attack. Rollins claims she left her last job because of a similar issue, possibly with a co-worker, that was "not worth pursuing." It's surprising that someone as tough as Rollins would let something like that go.

Rollins also admitted to growing up in a household with both drug and mental issues; her skepticism towards mental patient Gia could really just be a result of being inured to these types of situations. And her tough exterior could really be a reaction to her childhood and former work environment.

Over time, SVU has offered up some riveting, tragic and innovative episodes, but, with such a long run, creativity in the storytelling becomes even more difficult. Lately I've been feeling that the writers are not up to the task. What do you think?

Review

Editor Rating: 3.5 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 3.9 / 5.0 (27 Votes)
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You cant replace stabler

William-e-bruce

Well I figured it was Uncle George the minute I saw the actor. He plays the bad guys more then he don't. But yes concentual, that puts him in the loonie bin with the whole family. Mom was the most sane. I see the actor who played Charles Lee the officer they thought did it first was on several episodes of Law And Order:CI.

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I thought the episode was great and I am loving Season 13. It wasn't difficult to figure out it was the uncle, but I wasn't expecting him to try and spin it as a consensual, loving relationship. Certainly over its many episodes, SVU has had some "whodunnits" but even in those and other stronger episodes it usually probes deeper than "identify the bad guy". I like that there is some character development this season, some long needed continuity, and some back story.

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Very pedestrian.

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This was some story last night!.
One of the sisters was played by the actress Carrie Preston.
And the other sister was played by J.Smith Cameron.
Both women have just come off of Season 4 of HBO's TrueBlood.
Preston plays Arlene Fowler Bellefleur
And J.Smith Cameron played the mother to Sam Merlotte and her
son Tommy Micken's .
J.Smith Cameron played the mother of Gia, a young girl who has
mental problem played wonderfully by Natassha Lyonne.
J.Smith Cameron never beleived Gia when she said she was raped.
She thought her daughter was crazy.
Her daughter it turned out wasn't crazy.
Turns out that her brother in law was molesting her child
since she was 14 and the mother was clueless an so was
Gia's aunt cause she had no idea that her own husbnd was doing this!

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The writers really need to do their research. They completely forgot that there is still a statute of limitations issue. George can't be charged with what he did to Gia as a teenager because she didn't file charges within 5 years of her 18th birthday. Other episodes, even the recent "Personal Fouls", got that right.

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I also agree with the view of Preston's portrayal needing to be toned down. It seems to me that she brings that harsh intense Arlene quality into all her roles now.

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I enjoyed it. Then again, I thought SVU had completely lost its way and become little more than a shallow caricature of itself by Season 8, so anything WL can do in Season 13 is still a step in the right direction.

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I have been bored out of my brain by SVU this season. Storylines incredibly bland; plots laughably thin; no chemistry or real characters left. Stories 'borrowed' from the news and half-disguised people from news stories we all recognise just don't make for interesting plots, sorry. I used to like SVU. It had.....urgency.
Now it's flat, bloated and bland.

Aries93

I have to agree also.
It lacked suspense, but it was worth a watch.
I too pegged Uncle George as the rapist when I first saw him.
Maybe I should join the SVU squad? I could nail these rapists so fast. XD
As for Rollins, I liked the backstory to her hostile home life as a child and her past job.
As for Amaro, he reminded me much of Stabler this episode and as much as I liked Stabler, I didn't enjoy the anger issues. Cut it down Amaro.