Law & Order: SVU
Original Air Date: Feb 15, 2012
Caitlin – Staff Writer
We’ve often had character development on SVU through the detectives’ connections to cases. Amanda gets a turn here, though by the end of this episode, it might be difficult to remember just what that connection was.
A woman opens the door of her home to be shot dead. The shooter kills her husband as well, and leaves their daughter shot in the head. Her boyfriend and his father show up, the former blaming the latter for what happened.
No, this dad isn’t secretly an assassin. He just grounded his son so the daughter, Emmy, couldn’t come over. Emmy’s mother, Joan, works for a gay rights group and his having an affair with her female coworker. And that’s the least scandalous thing about this family. Suspicions turn from a couple of rouge cops to the family’s housekeeper, Carmen, who stole things according to Emmy’s father, Sidney.
Carmen denies having stolen anything, and says the fact she stopped working had nothing to do with the accusations. She does, though, have a brother with several charges against him. But it seems the man has seen the error of his way and become one of those very enthusiastic kinds of preachers. Still, there might be another lead through Sidney, who was getting involved with the more unsavory gambling world.
Apparently, he was in a bit of trouble with Murphy, a Scottish bookie with potential for violence. But Murphy says he wouldn’t have Sidney killed because then he’d never get his money back. As he’s leaving the station, he catches Amanda’s eyes and she recognizes her at once. Later, he and some of his men attack her outside a gas station, saying she’ll wind up a lot worse if she tells Cragen.
She meets Fin at a bar later, because apparently there’s no danger if she just talks to him. She used to bet on football games herself, and though she paid Murphy off, he still holds power over her. She tells Fin where to find Murphy and other men, including his powerful boss. However, this man also denies having interest in killing Sidney. At the hospital, Emmy wakes up from being in a coma.
She’s recovered miraculously well, but doesn’t seem to remember much about what happened. She also has herpes, which is awkward what with her and her boyfriend swearing they haven’t had sex with each other. It turns out she was raped by her own father. Meanwhile, Murphy decides to go to Cragen himself, and the captain calls Amanda into his office. As a former alcoholic, he understands her gambling addiction to real money slots United States and will support her, but tells her to get help.
As if the incest itself wasn’t bad enough, we learn two more upsetting pieces of information. First, Emmy’s mother knew what was happening and didn’t try to stop it. Though Emmy denies she told anyone, including her boyfriend, it’s clear Carmen and her boyfriend were aware, and that they tried to tell Joan before taking maters into their own hands. Upsetting piece of information # 2: Emmy may have helped them.
Both Carmen and her brother defend each other, until Nick gets a confession from the brother by telling him Emmy has died. He and Carmen knew Emmy was supposed to be at her boyfriend’s. Her getting shot was an accident. And, as it turns out, she did indeed plan out the whole thing. On that cheerful note, Amanda goes to group therapy for her addiction, because clearly that isn’t an awkward transition at all.
I mean, it was nice to see Amanda get some real character development, especially in a way that allowed her to bond with Cragen over his now rarely mentioned past. But when the gambling angle slipped away, her issues just kind of stood out awkwardly from the main case. As for Emmy, it makes sense that she’d want her mother dead too, for letting her father rape her, but was it really necessary to have her be the one planning it? I guess the writers thought we needed one last kick in the gut.
A couple other things- first, that scene in the bar may have been our first glimpse at a potential romance between Amanda and Fin. Of course, it may also have just been friendship, but this is television. We could well read something into him slamming Murphy’s head for hurting her. Second, Murphy was played by same guy who played Big Al Stram on Detroit 1-8-7. I’ll admit, he makes a good threatening villain character.
Next Week: Hunting Ground