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Law & Order: SVU Review: Little Boy Lost

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After a few weeks of lackluster episodes, SVU returns this week with "Lost Traveler," an intriguing take on a kidnapping case with some entertaining insights.

While the series still relies on the same patterns and themes each Wednesday, this episode proved that the standard approach can still be entertaining... provided those elements are used in a creative manner.

The SVU detectives are used to finding resistance when they start asking questions, and the normal routine for any episode involves a lot of misdirection and half-truths. So it wasn't surprising that for much of this hour the detectives were just trying to get someone to talk to them. However, this time the series explored a lesser-known community of immigrants: the Romani people.

Helping for the Romani

From school bullies to a dismissive Brooklyn detective, SVU did a good job displaying the continued prejudice against these folks dismissively called Gypsies. It's easy to see why this immigrant community dislikes outsiders so much, especially when people like Detective Dumas actually suggest this kidnapping is really a Gypsy scam. The writers tried to provide a balanced perspective on the group and, for the most part, created a more rounded characterization of the close-knit Romani community.

Another thing that SVU does well - albeit repetitively - is its "straight-from-the-headlines" storytelling. In this episode, the kidnapped child's voicemail was being hacked by a reporter, a British reporter. The obvious reference to the Rupert Murdoch scandal didn't really add much to plot, other than allowing us some satisfaction in catching the allusion and leading the detectives to the wrong suspect.

However, this reference really helped increase the tragedy of the episode because we had to see the parents move from hope to devastation so quickly. The show took an experience we've only read about and made it real for the viewers.

Perhaps the only predictable and uninteresting part of the episode was the revelation that Emma and Courtney were the killers. Those of us who have watched this drama over the years can usually spot the guilty parties early on, especially when they hang around a lot and offer up helpful clues to the detectives. This isn't the first time two young people have suddenly gone from teasing a child to killing him. It's not even the first time we've been seen a cold-hearted female killer on the show (there actually seem to be lots of them). All of this history undercut any shock at Courtney's final exchange with Benson:

Benson: Why?

Courtney: Why not?

Chilling, but not necessarily surprising .

Also, the dynamic between Amaro and Rollins is becoming an entertaining distraction from the main storyline. They don't actually make a good team (yet), but they have interesting chemistry together. He's not a fan of her hastiness and she just thinks he needs to learn to keep up. As a team, they make a good combination of cynicism (Rollins) and cautious optimism (Amaro). It's sad that the majority of the time Rollins' cynicism seems to win out, like when they didn't find Nico alive. But Amaro's optimism kept the team from focusing all their attention on Mark. Maybe they will end up making a good duo after all.

What do you think?

Review

Editor Rating: 4.5 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 3.8 / 5.0 (34 Votes)
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Aries93

@I Miss Stabler but Amaro is Growing on Me: Well, I'm not American, so your insults are not offending me. As for my assumption that the handicapped guy did it; it was merely because all of the evidence pointed that way. Unless you were watching a different episode, I do believe that everything said it was him until the last 5-7 minutes said otherwise. And for Benson, they are fazing her out. Her hours are being cut in the second-half of the season in order to put more screen time on Rollins and Amaro. The reason for even bringing in Rollins and Amaro was to put fresh faces up, so if the show were to continue for another 3-5 years, that the characters are younger and that they can keep it fresh.

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This show is not the same as the first 12 seasons. One of the things that atracted me to the show was The way Olivia and Stabler worked together, the way they stood by each other, their friendship, and most of all the way they interigated their perps, it is not the same, with Rollins and Alpluto.
Even now this season it isn't the same Olivia's has no fight left in her. In my opinion The reason they are changing the story or the show, is that Olivia & Stabler has just gotton to old for the parts, and the producers want younger people such as Rollins and Apluto

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I am really liking the addition of Amarro, but I don't feel the same way yet about Rollins. Maybe they are trying to make this part of her character, but it seems all too often that she jumps to conclusions and quickly assumes someone is guilty while turning a blind eye to the real perpetrator(s). Then they usually redeem her later in the show by giving her a chance to be a good detective after one or more of the others have reined in her instincts (which were off yet again). In contrast to Rollins, Amarro comes across as a very intuitive and solid detective. Both Stabler and Benson always have been emotionally-charged detectives, but they are perceptive and have good judgment (the vast majority of the time). They were/are intuitive like Amarro seems to be. Not so much with Rollins. Too often she seems driven by emotion to the point it blinds her to the truth (or seeking the truth). She gets her mind made up way too soon. If you didn't have the other detectives reining her in, it could be bad. Like I said, maybe that's part of her character, but it's hard to see her as a good detective (and thus like her character) since those traits keep appearing on the show. I like good partner combos, but I also like each detective in the partnership to be able to stand on their own -- like Benson and Stabler always could do. That made the partnership stronger. With Amarro and Rollins, it seems like Amarro is the solid detective while Rollins is the one who lets her emotions guide her investigation.

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I'm really liking Rollins and Amaro. Rollins saying "that this is going to turn into a recovery" is the best delivery of that concept since Sipowicz on MYPD Blue said of the Polish boy "This isn't going to end well" in one of that series best episodes.
I agree with the other commenters that a bit more of Munch and Tutuola would be nice.

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i personally find the relationship between amaro and rollins really intriguing. i hope svu develops this further as the series progresses. also, i agree that svu needs to focus on its main characters more and not its minor characters.

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THE SHOW HAS NOT BEEN THE SAME SINCE STABLER LEFT! BENSON IS NOT THE SAME WITHOUT HIM. I DONT LIKE THE NEW TEAM AT ALL. ONCE BENSON LEAVES IT WILL BE ALL THE OLD RERUNS FOR ME!!! IT USED TO BE MY FAVORITE SHOW!

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@Dexter Idolizer,
Law and Order is not know for their twists, they are known for challenging the many closed-minded ignorant assumptions that exist in North American society. Assuming the "handicapped" guy did it and is a pedophile is a prime example of a close-minded ignorant assumption. I can see how for someone who believes that mentally ill and mentally disabled people are deviant killers and pedophiles, it may have been a twist ending. For those of us who don't think this way, we saw it coming. As for Benson, they are not "fazing" her out. In real life she is now a mother and is cutting back on her work hours.

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The new episode was okay. I still like Benson & Stabler and Ice T & Munch as the characters. Not feeling the new characters

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This was also an oblique reference to the tragic murder of a Hassidic boy in Brooklyn. Then they segued into the phone hacking focus.

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WITHOUT CHRIS MELONI THE SHOW IS LACKING..THE ONLY SOLUTION NOW IS TO GIVE ICE T MORE OF THE ACTION..HE AND MUNCH ARE THE BEST OF THE ORIGINALS LEFT..
THE SHOW LOST A LOT WITH THE LOSS OF MELONI AND DOESN'T SEEM TO BE ABLE TO RECOVER..TRY BRINGING ICE T AND MUNCH TO THE FOREFRONT MORE..MITE SAVE U..

Law & Order: SVU Season 13 Episode 9 Quotes

You're in trouble; your partner's pretty and smart.

Brooklyn Detective Dumas

So you're not a scumbag trying to scoop the competition on a milk carton case. You are one of the good guys.

Munch
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