Law & Order: SVU
Original Air Date: Oct 19, 2011
Caitlin – Associate Staff Writer
It’s Halloween on SVU. We finally see Nick’s young daughter as they go trick-or-treating. We also see Olivia at a party with Calvin. Yes, that Calvin- the boy who was left in her care and then away from her last season.
In the midst of all this fun (happiness never lasts long here), a woman stops to buy diapers but soon walks outside screaming that her car has been stolen with her baby inside. All the detectives drop their plans.
Ally, the young mother, is frantic. Her boyfriend, Tim, does not seem to be a nice guy, though she insists it’s just because he doesn’t like cops. They’re both terrified for their son Nate, and there are no leads. But Tim has a record, and there was an instance where Ally’s sister called the police to protect her. Still, she insists that there’s nothing wrong and he’s angry that they would think there was. The car is finally tracked down. Nate is not inside it, meaning he could already be dead.
16 hours after the disappearance, though, no body has been found. Nick tries to chat casually with Ally, and Amanda and Fin talk to her sister, who confirms that Nate was in the car when she last saw the family. She doesn’t like Tim, but for now, the guy is just worried about his kid. Then a man turns up with Nate’s car seat. The guy he bought it from is taken in and admits he robbed the car, but insists no baby was in it. There are no suspects, and for good reason. Ally and Tim may have killed their own child.
Nick goes back to Ally and finds her sleeping on an office couch. She and Tim continue to be questioned separately and Olivia shows Tim a picture of a cooler with evidence that Nate was in it. Ally describes the morning before Nate’s disappearance. After insisting they spent the night in the car, she admits they went a hotel. A barman says they got drunk with Nate sitting below the table. Questioning continues, getting more and more intense. Tim is distressed, but Ally remains eerily calm- and eventually sends them to her son’s body.
Dr. Warner finds that Nate was loved and buried with care. Nick, obvious shaken, goes back to Ally while Olivia goes back to Tim. Finally, Tim says he shook Nate when he kept crying. And Ally says she left Nate for a bath where he accidently drowned. Melinda says they’re both lying to protect each other and the baby died of SIDS. That doesn’t change the fact they buried Nate out of fear of being blamed for his death or that they sent the detectives on a wild goose chase. But for now, there’s nothing to do but let them go home.
I know this wasn’t really a Halloween episode and we’re over a week away from the actual day anyway, but still; from trick-or-treating to a dead baby? How depressing can you get? (Please don’t answer that, writers.) And there were no major plot twists- unexpected conclusions are drawn all the time in cop shows- deranged murderers or even real “bad guys”. Most episodes of this show that aren’t about shock value usually try to impart a message of some sort. I’m not sure this even does that. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but I wouldn’t suggest watching this episode in a good mood unless you don’t want to be in a good mood anymore.
Besides that, it was nice to see Nick’s daughter, though I still have no clue what we were supposed to take from that first glimpse of her photo. Munch has gone missing again, but that’s par for the course here. I was hoping we’d actually get to see more of him in the wake of Elliot’s departure, so while I like Amanda and Fin together, I hope it doesn’t mean he’s going to be even more absent that before. I’m not going to take this episode as too much of a reflection of the season, though. There’s no new episode next week, and this struck me as mostly filler, helping to get us to November sweeps. Emotional filler, definitely, but I just don’t have much to say about it- and this time it’s not because I’m too bewildered to form coherent thoughts.