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Law & Order – Recap & Review – Just A Girl In The World

photo: nbc
photo: nbc
Law & Order
Just A Girl In The World

Original Air Date: October 2, 2009

Brittany Frederick – Staff Writer
brittanyfrederick@ thetwocentscorp.com

It’s never good when the CSI’s are pulling…pieces…of a dead body out of the water. However, one seems to be having a particularly bad time of it, because she’s upset over it, and then ends up dead on her kitchen floor a few days later. This is our brief introduction to Daisy Chao, this week’s Official Dead Body.

Detectives Lupo and Bernard start by the usual investigation of her bank accounts, and find a suspicious withdrawl from a bad neighborhood. Not only that, but she was rattled, convinced that her fiancee may have been seeing someone else. Seems that she called him a lot and he didn’t answer her. They bring him into interrogation and put the screws to him as to where the missing money is. He claims she asked him to withdraw the money. They think that they have him, until Lieutenant Van Buren interrupts them to tell them a similar attack has just been avoided in the Fourth Precinct.

The victim is Emma Kim, a journalist who recounts how her attacker seemed to have a fetish for Asian women and how she narrowly escaped him. Seems like maybe it’s not about the fiancee after all.

They take Emma back to the scene of her attack to try and see what they can find out, which isn’t much. When they suggest she go elsewhere, Lupo adds that she can stay at the precinct – someone has a little crush. Bernard calls it right away, and everyone should be hearing alarm bells. How many Law & Order characters have gone down that road and it’s ended badly? How about Logan in Exiled? Or Curtis in Confession? Oh, well.

Using the decal on the back of his cab and the information they get from Emma, the cops haul in the cab driver, who of course just says he wants his lawyer when Lupo opens a severe can on him. However, he’s in deep trouble when Emma identifies him as her attacker. And does it while holding Lupo’s hand. He notices. The defense lawyer notices. Bernard notices again and again, tries to point out to Lupo that this is a Bad Idea, literally 90 blocks in the wrong direction. Guess who doesn’t listen? And can you guess what happens next? Of course you can. He ends up in bed with her. Bernard does not approve.

With absolutely no preamble we go directly into Emma being questioned by both ADA Rubirosa and the defense attorney, who points out that he saw exactly what was going on between her and Lupo. Cue Big Dramatic Music Swell as obviously, the case is now royally screwed up by someone’s libido. Wisely, he runs away from a very angry Connie. If it had been Cutter, there’d probably be a Cluebat upside his head.

Does this stop him from getting frisky with her again? Of course not. And I used to think Lupo was one of the smarter cops in this show’s history. But it’s in the process of stopping by her bathroom that he finds the mysterious piece of lingerie purchased with Daisy Chao’s missing gift card…and knows now that the two crimes are, in fact, related. Namely, he found the mystery woman that Daisy’s fiancee was sleeping around with, and it’s Emma. Way to dig yourself into it, Lupo.

He breaks all this to Bernard, who’s like “well, you kind of did this to yourself, dude,” and they fight like cranky relatives at Thanksgiving. Bernard opens a massive can on Lupo that he absolutely deserves, before going to do the same on the fiancee all over again. Seems he and Emma work for the same magazine. He cops to sleeping with her, and says he took the money from Daisy for her, after she gave him the same sob story she gave Lupo. His mistake was telling Daisy about Emma, and now Lupo realizes he’s been played big-time. Of course, this is just before the lieu gets to have her time mocking him and his bad decision-making skills.

Lupo’s revenge is to take this information back and try to squeeze Emma, to get her to crack. Big Dramatic Music Swell pops up as he turns the screws on her. Bernard and Van Buren are hanging out in the surveillance van and turn up to arrest her and search the place. Emma looks completely unbothered, which means you know she’s totally guilty. She makes a Random Cryptic Statement as she’s being arrested, which is much less worth mentioning than one more Van Buren jab: “You really know how to pick ‘em, Detective,” she says as she walks out.

With only fifteen minutes left in the episode, Cutter finally shows up looking utterly unimpressed by Emma’s jailhouse rhetoric, as she tries to blame everything on Daisy’s fiancee. He calls bullshit in Jack’s office, and even he snarks at Lupo’s bad choice of bed partners. Everyone’s got something to say and deservedly so.

Mike and Connie go back to the CSI offices and question the evidence, and CSI Guy cracks. He admits he took a blood sample to wrongly frame the cab driver. Retesting of the evidence proves that Emma and Daisy’s fiancee were having an affair, that Emma doesn’t have the disease she claims to – meaning she conned him out of that money. Getting suspicious, Lupo finds out she’s pulled the same scam on other guys with other diseases, and when they interview said guys, they find out Daisy’s been trying to catch Emma – namely, a motive for Emma to kill Daisy. And all the pieces fall together.

BUT.
Yet again, Lupo’s error in judgment comes back to haunt them, when the defense attorney capitalizes on it to force him to testify – in order to tear him to shreds. And yet another Big Dramatic Music Swell happens as he tries to dig himself out of his own grave. This is utterly useless as she makes up a sob story about how he was doing all these horrible things to her, and so of course it’s my favorite lawyer Mike Cutter to the rescue with a smartass comment that hits the nail on the head.

Cutter goes through the whole list of people she’s conned and all the things she’s tried to con them with. She even tries to make things up about the judge on the stand to force a mistrial, but Cutter points out that this will only get her off the hook, so he goes on anyway. Connie thinks he’s crazy, and he is. Crazy like a fox, because he starts playing the World’s Smallest Metaphorical Violin and pokes holes in her story like Swiss cheese. He makes her think he’s going to help her, making her blow up all over again and look really, really pathetic. She cries like a fourteen-year-old girl, but it doesn’t stick: she’s going to prison for murder, where of course, she can hit on the male prison guards and such and keep herself entertained. (Is it me, or does this show increasingly end on a down note over the last couple of seasons?)

I sort of prefer the last episode to this one, but I think that’s because I found Emma so utterly annoying and wanted to beat the living daylights out of her. There’s a difference between a bad guy you love to hate and one that’s so annoying it makes you want the episode to be over. But it’s good to know that the show’s ensemble is so strong – every main character has their moments here except for maybe Connie and Jack – that they can still do good work even with a weaker narrative.

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