Law & Order: SVU Review: From Russia with Love

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I'm torn. On the one hand, I really enjoyed parts of this week's episode "Russian Brides."  But on the other hand, the repetitiveness of the show's themes and crimes has made it difficult to be eager for new episodes. This wasn't a terrible episode; in fact, there were some pretty enjoyable moments, especially those involving Cragen. However, for many weeks I've had the same response to each episode: haven't we seen this before?

The whole Russian bride/prostitute angle has been explored before, as well as the danger of the Russian mob. It's true that these earlier shows explored slightly different stories, but the episode really repeated a lot similar themes: the secrecy of the mob, the poor treatment of the prostitutes, and the ruthlessness of the mob.

Timothy Busfield on SVU

I will say that that I thought it was an interesting twist to have the Russian bride, Lena, actually be an equal partner in the scam to extort money from lonely American men. She was just as brutal as her male counterpart, Liev. It was a real move forward for the show to imagine that women could be more than just victims but also perpetrators. And she was very good at her good that she fooled our beloved Captain Cragen.

Cragen's undercover operation was one of the bright spots of this week's episode. The captain is usually on the back-burner during investigations, so it was refreshing to see him taking an active role in bringing down Liev and Lena. The most entertaining part, other than the constant jokes about his age, was what Cragen revealed to Lena (or Irene at the time).

Amaro advised Cragen that the most effective undercover officers use back-stories that are similar to their own. When Cragen told Lena about his deceased wife and their inability to have kids, you could see how his past still haunts him. It really added some more tragedy to his father-figure role. We could see how it grieved him that he never had the chance to be a father. And it made it very easy for Lena to manipulate him.

On top of that, we learned a little more about Amaro's childhood. His abusive father really had an affect on his views about marriage and probably influenced his decision to join SVU. Amaro tried to use this little revelation to build a better rapport with Benson, but she wasn't as keen to start opening up about her past. Benson has been resistant to getting too close to the new detectives. Perhaps she's just unwilling to lose another partner and friend again.

While I do look forward to finding out more information about Amaro (and even Rollins), I am even more interested in seeing if Benson will ever try to build friendships with her new co-workers. But more than that, I worry that SVU might become boring if the writers don't continue to really work at rejuvenating these old storylines. Are you still hooked on SVU?


Editor Rating: 4.0 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.3 / 5.0 (40 Votes)

I love Danny Pino in Cold Cases, I hope he stays. The writing of the stories have to improve so all the SVU cast will shine.


I've been a fan of svu for years and I really miss stabler. I don't like Amaro or Rollins. I think finn and munch would have been fine without them.


Oh my God, am I the only one that hated this episode?!? This has got to be the absolute worst episode I have watched in all the years I have been a fan of the show and I have been a die hard fan for all of those years. Ever since the departure of Stabler the writing and stories have been getting worse and worse, and this week is the worst. It was so predictable, since the supposed victim was found alive and well all I can think of was Keyser Soze, I COULD NOT believe that they fell for her stories it got so bad I was screaming at my computer screen 'how can you be so gullible?!?' I didn't like the whole Cragen storyline I thought it was forced and an excuse to give him some screen time before his inevitable departure from the show. I absolutely hate Rollins I would get rid of her in a heart beat if I could have my beloved Munch back and I suppose Amaro is growing on me.
I just feel with Stabler gone the whole balance of the show has been out of whack, Benson looks lost most of the time and they just dont feel like a team but maybe with time and better storylines they can get back to what they were.
There is only so much I can take I tune in every week and keep getting disappointed so please SVU get your act together I don't want what happened to Criminal Intent to happen to you.


I miss STABLER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


This is 13, actually. I'm actually loving what we've been seeing of Rollins thus far. She and Fin have great platonic Partner chemistry. She's equal parts eager-beaver, cynical and street smart, and mind-game player, often simultaneously. And Kelli Giddish is pretty much singlehandedly reversing my personal stereotypes about southern accents. More Rollins, please.


How many seasons has it been now? Nine? No wonder you feel like you've seen it before! SVU is for fanatics at this point, and they do a damn good job. Great to hear from Cragen, and enjoy Amaro.


The more I try to like this new cast, the more I don't. They just don't gel together at all. Blondie ie Rollins just seems like eye candy for the men and has no purpose. Too bad because Kelly is great on The Good Wife but sucks in this role totally! She also sucked in Chase so maybe playing cops is not her thing. The only bright spot on this show is Danny Pino he shined on Cold Case and same here. Benson just seems tired and over it all at this point. Send her to Queens to retire with Stabler and then quietly retire this show, It Is Time!!


What surprises me about this long lasting show is that they can keep coming up with stories. There is only so many sex crimes, they have covered them all but still have us coming back. Yes gets old but give credit where it is due. Good actors help this show too even if one of them is named after a drink.


I'm still loving SVU and I'll keep watching till the day it's done.
I love the cast that's still in it and I love the new cast. Amaro and Rollins are both interesting and I can't wait to see more investment in them.


Am I the only one who really could care less about hearing more about Amaro, and would instead much prefer to get even the slightest glimpse into Rollins' backstory? Hell, even her "It's Personal" case was dominated by Amaro! I know she's supposed to be like the new Munch or something, and she and Fin are absolutely fantastic together, but I feel like she's been sitting on the sidelines for way too long.

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Law & Order: SVU Season 13 Episode 7 Quotes

Remember Captain, no matter how tempting it may be, you cannot get intimate with a suspect. It will undermine your credibility at trial.


Finn: Knock it out, killa.
Cragen: I heard that.